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Impatiently Waiting

“Watch where the bloody hell you’re going!”

The disgruntled man shoved Draco, causing him to fall to the ground in a heap. Without another glance, the man turned and continued on his way. Draco pushed himself back up and glared at the man’s back. Apparently having a bloody shirt and a weak stance didn’t warrant any sympathy. He would have fought back; would’ve taken out his wand and stunned the man but he was too weak. His chest still ached and his limbs still trembled. But at least he was still alive.

The latter thought truly amazed him. After all that had happened, he was alive. He fingered the cut on his chest and then gazed down at it. Truly amazing. The knife wound looked old, even though it had only been dealt earlier that same day. It was pinched closed, as if it had been sutured, and was looking more like a scar than a fresh abrasion. But it didn’t matter to him. He was alive. He didn’t know how but he didn’t question it. Fate had obviously dealt him a good hand; one that ensured he had a longer life. And this time, he was going to play it right.

He turned his attention back to the streets. He was closer now, closer than he had expected. His body had been dumped only a few blocks away but it had taken him long to build up the strength to get moving. He had tried to Apparate but that had proved futile. He had only moved two feet and had splinched himself in the process, nicking off part of his ear. The bleeding had stopped and it no longer burned. But the message still remained. No apparition.

So, he had stuck to walking. Not that he truly minded. It gave him enough time to think. He hadn’t really figured out what he was going to do. One step onto Malfoy territory and he would undoubtedly be killed, probably before he could even raise his eyes. The only person who trusted him was Luna. He was hoping that she had listened to him and gotten help, gathered everyone together and acted before it was too late. And, if she had, then she was at the house now and could get him inside. But he’d have to act quickly and move lithely.

Noise drew his attention and he stopped, crouched. He listened closely, trying to discern the sounds. It resonated like voices, familiar ones. He moved closer to the source and craned his ears. He couldn’t make out what they were saying but the pitch and tone – he recognized them.

Feeling relieved, Draco ran forward, heading towards the voices. The trail led him down the street and up a little rise, sheltered by tall trees and thick bushes. He couldn’t see anyone, though. Just hear them. Where were they? He stopped running and continued to listen, ensuring that he was heading in the right direction. He was. Well then where –

Draco hit an invisible barrier and was thrown backward. His head hit a rock and it lolled. His vision swam as he heard gasps and footsteps. People came into view but they were mere blurs, indiscernible beneath the haziness of his eyes. He sensed someone kneel next to him and touch his forehead. And then, right before his head hit the ground and everything went black, he heard something that made him feel safe and at ease.


It was Luna.

“I think it’s best if you have a seat. Stay calm.”

Ginny shook her head stubbornly at her brother’s request and crossed her arms, pacing back and forth. It had been over an hour since Harry and the first group of men had disappeared into the Mansion. From where they camped, she could hear faint cries from the fight that had developed. Those cries made her nerves wrangled and her heart anxious. People screaming as if in agony, crashes booming loudly and event slight ‘whooshes’ from the more powerful spells. It all did little to keep her pooled in her comfort zone. So she kept moving, kept active, or else she knew she would fall apart.

It didn’t help either, that there was still no word from anyone. The plan was, that once everything was almost under siege, the rest would fall in and lace a full on attack – completely surprise the enemy and capture them all. It was a move she was anxious for, both to get some final answers and to see Harry again. The wait was killing her and she was getting scared, thinking thoughts she knew she had no business thinking. That fact only ticked her more and she spun, turning her attention from the Mansion.

Behind her, Draco was lying on a conjured blanket. Luna held a cold cloth to his forehead and was speaking to him, whispering in his ear. But he was only murmuring, slowly coming out of unconsciousness. Everyone else sat around, switching their gazes between Draco and the mansion below. Many recognized him as a Malfoy – the hair and facial structure was enough to go by – but Luna had quickly explained him. They were now only waiting for him to come to.

Ginny folded her arms and turned her head back. She was still anxious.

“Can’t we go on ahead?” she asked suddenly.

“Can we?” Hermione added, jerking to her feet.

Although she had not been pacing, her nerves were just as jangled and edgy as Ginny’s and her thoughts just as unpleasant. It was far from easy to sit and wait, unsure of the events taking place down below. She wanted nothing more than to rush ahead and seek the answer to her burning questions. Was everyone alright and still alive? Was Ron?

“No,” Charlie quickly chided, standing from his crouch.

Neville quickly followed and walked over to the two distressed women. “We have to wait,” he said, taking Ginny by her shoulders. “Harry’s signal means that it’s clear. Without it, we could pretty much walk right into a massacre.”

“But what if they need us?” Ginny asked, her voice wavering. “What if they’re unable to send the signal? We could be sitting here while they’re getting killed!”

Hermione’s gasp was covered by Charlie’s retort. “Don’t you think we know that? I understand the risks and the possibilities but I also understand the madness. We can’t barge into the unknown, Ginny. Doing that might be the very thing that gets the rest of them killed.”

“We could send a scout,” Fred suggested, staring out at the Mansion. “There is a clutter of trees, dense enough to ply through without being noticed.” He spun back to face Charlie. “We could send one or two people out, see if they could learn anything about what’s going on inside.”

Charlie stared at his brother for a few moments and then looked out past them. The vegetation was indeed both thick and close enough to get near the house. The only problem was that gaining entrance required slipping into the open. Knowing Percy, there were probably lookouts. The camp they had made was far enough to be invisible to prying eyes, which was why they had remained unharmed. But willingly treading onto soil that could be under watch was plain madness. A lot could go wrong.

He looked at his sister; her eyes were pleading, near tears, and he could understand why. Although they were all connected and faced losses – fathers, brothers, and lovers - she stood to lose the most out of this. Not only were said people at stake for her, she was also faced with the possibility of losing a father to her baby, maybe even the baby itself. And with that, she could lose her own life. It was unimaginable and something he hoped didn’t happen. Especially if he could help it.

He sighed and turned to Fred. “Alright. Two of you will go.”

“I’ll do it,” Neville quickly volunteered. Charlie knew his desire too; he wanted to do as much as he could to restore his good family name, rebuild it from the ruin his grandfather had placed it.

He nodded. “You and Fred. Five minutes. I want you to disillusion yourselves and keep your movements sleek and fluid.”

“Aye, Commander-General-Major, sir,” Fred quipped, lightening the mood with a half-grin and mock-salute to Charlie.

The stocky-man only scowled and pushed Fred’s shoulder, although the ghost of a smile shone through. “Get going.”

Fred and Neville headed out, moving swiftly and carefully. Ginny watched as they neared their target, careening to the designated spot, and then disappeared beneath the disillusionment spell. Even if only a little, her heart felt lighter. She closed her eyes and sent out a silent prayer, hoping their attempts yielded results. She needed something to hold her together; some kind of reassurance. She was scared beyond her own comprehension. Beyond even her own recognition. She placed a hand on her stomach and looked down at it. She rubbed her thumb back and forth, and moved her lips in a whisper, making a silent promise she truly hope she could keep.

“We’re going to get your daddy back.”

Percy felt immensely satisfied. He stepped down from his chair and folded his arms behind his back. Ahead of him, four people knelt, bound at the wrists with a guard behind them, aiming their very own wands at the back of their heads. Arthur, James, Harry and Ron looked at Percy with identical expressions of loathing. But he didn’t care. His plan had gone impeccably well, better than even he had expected. He had suspected that they would split up, separate in hopes of catching him off guard. But he had been prepared and had scheduled ambushes, throwing them off their game and cornering them all in the same manner.

He was a little shocked that it was only those four, though. He had expected everyone to come and could only guess that they lay in wait, hoping for a signal. But none would come and he had sent men out in search of the remaining party members. Meanwhile, he had who he truly wanted. He walked over to the quartet and smiled down at the one directly in front of him.

“Hello, father.”

Arthur arched his face up and then turned away. “You’re no son of mine.” His guard jammed the wand into his neck.

“Now, now,” Percy chided, signaling the guard to remove the pressure. “We mustn’t be rude.” He bent closer. “I hold your life in my hands, father. You ought to watch yourself.”
Arthur scowled but said no more. Smiling again, Percy straightened and walked down the line. Ron was next to Arthur. Percy gave him a tap on his cheek. Ron jerked forward but was pulled back by his hair. Percy arched an eyebrow in warning and continued down the line. He stopped between Harry and James and then crouched.

“Ah, Harry Potter.” He wagged a finger. “You’ve given me quite a bit of grief, haven’t you? Tsk, tsk.” He turned to look at James. “Mr. Potter, it’s so lovely to meet you finally. It’s too bad you won’t be alive for long.”

He stood just as Harry jerked, mimicking Ron’s previous move. This time, it was the guard who reacted, knocking him across his cheek. Percy stared at the scratch that was left behind and pursed his lips. These people were being so difficult. He sighed and took out his wand. Guess he’d have to teach them a lesson about behaviour. Just as he went to aim, the doors to the ballroom flew open and two of his men walked in, carrying two men. One of them had red-hair and was sporting a bloody lip while the other had dark hair and a blackened eye. Their hands were already tied behind their backs so they were simply thrown to the ground next to Harry.

“Who do we have here?” Percy walked over to the new prisoners. “It’s so good of you two join us, Fred.”

Fred scowled. “Scumbag!”

Another slap. Percy straightened and moved on. “And who do we have here?”

The other one, black-haired, kept his lips sealed. His jaw was clenched so tightly that Percy could see the veins popping in his cheek. He shook his head.

“I don’t need you’re response.” Percy turned around. “It’s not like I don’t know who you are, Neville Longbottom.” He turned back to see Neville’s reaction and was satisfied at the drop in his bottom lip. “Good. Now that I have all of your attention, I think it’s time I start dealing some punishment.”

He raised his arm and aimed his wand again. The first target was Neville. He had been the most defiant. People could jump at him, try to choke him, and even try to kill him. But no one refused him answers. Just as his mouth opened to speak the incantation, a voice stopped him.

“Why are you doing this?”

Percy turned to the speaker. Arthur. The man looked at him, his eyes questioning. It was unexpected. He didn’t expect anyone to question him, no one ever did. It didn’t anger him though, only intrigued him.

“You want to know why, father?” Percy walked over to him and stared him into the eyes. “Rights.”

“Rights?” Arthur repeated, no trace of any emotion in his voice.

“I wanted what I deserved,” Percy replied, before spinning away. “Power! Wealth! Respect! But I couldn’t have it and all because of you,” he yelled, getting angry as his words spewed forth. He spun back around and pointed a reprimanding finger at Arthur. “You kept me away; prevented me from gaining it all.”

The room fell silent. No one knew how to respond. All Percy’s men stood in awe. They had never seen him like this. Sure he had gotten angry but he never allowed anyone to push his buttons; never fed into anyone’s motives. But, yet, here he was, falling into Arthur’s trap to soften him. And the worst part - he didn’t even know it.

“You stood in the way, father,” he continued, “you and my pitiful siblings.” Here, Percy scowled down at Ron and Fred, both of whom only returned the facial gesture. “There were so many of them that it was impossible for me to inherit it all. And then there was Ginny,” he added, with another snarl of his lips. “She stood in my way more than the others. She was the only girl, the one you favoured above us all. I knew that with all them around, I would forever be grounded, lost in the shadows of others. I wanted out. And Albus Dumbledore afforded me that chance.”

Percy felt his emotions rise, his heart beat in warning. But he couldn’t stop. The flashes of the past from earlier still haunted him, reminded him of why. After all these years, he had started to lose sight of the why, just the how. He had kept going, working non-stop with the push of moving forward and losing sight of the knowledge of the past. But it was all coming back to him. In one great flash. And he was venting it all to the people who had stood in his way. He knew he mustn’t but he just couldn’t stop. So, he continued.

“He came to us with a vision,” he said, his voice suddenly turning contemplative as he stared off into the distance. “Bill and Charlie refused him. Which was perfect for me because it wanted in, and by myself. It was hard to make my move, but after the war started and things spiraled, I joined Dumbledore’s team, moved through the ranks quickly until I became Albus’ right-hand man.”

Percy pulled himself from his trance and moved down the line in front of the captives. He stopped in front of Neville and stared down at the boy. His clothes were slightly ripped, quite possibly from his trek through the bushes. But his face remained stoic, hard and unscathed. He, like the rest of the captives, was playing as though they were not afraid of whatever Percy had in store for them. After making a gesture to someone behind, Percy turned just as Neville was pulled to his feet roughly.

“Your grandfather was an amazing wizard,” he said simply.

Neville’s eyes bugged wide with surprise. How did…“How do…”

Percy turned to him with a smug smile. “Do you really think I wouldn’t know? Your grandfather confided in me,” he added. “He was such a fool. Just like my father; just like Mr. Potter, he stood in my way. And just like I must do with them, I had to get rid of him.” His smile widened and, if possible, grew even smugger. “Greyback has proven to be quite useful ever since.”

Neville felt his pulse slow and blood thundered in his ears. The implication was plain and the realization hit him hard. His vision swam slightly, dissolving everything around him. For the moment, it was just him and Percy. He knew his grandfather was at fault; he was, after all, the cause of everything. But the fact still remained that he was his grandfather, his blood, his family. And Percy had him killed by the hands of Greyback. The sick, maniacal, sanctimonious friggin –


Neville lunged, forgetting momentarily his bound hands and the fact that he was unarmed. It cost him, too. Percy raised his wand lazily and set the Cruciatus Curse on Neville. He dropped to the ground, the agony of the recent revelation still aching at him. Now, it mixed with pain far beyond anything he had ever known. His body writhed, his limbs bent, his brain quaked and he screamed so loud that it was unheard. Then, it all ended and he was pulled back to his position next to Harry, his knees barely strong enough to hold him upright.

“So, you took over,” Arthur said, his eyes trained forward. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Harry look at him and he winked slightly, letting him know. He had not just sidled over Neville’s torture like it was nothing; he was simply biding time, waiting Percy out until something could be done. They still had Ginny those to back them. At least he hoped.

“Yes, father, I took over,” Percy said, caressing his wand. “For the first time in my life, I was in control. My plan went underway and now, finally, it is about to come to a close.”

He walked over to Arthur and pointed his wand straight into the man’s face. He waited. Not from hesitancy, nor from second-thoughts. Simply for the sake of savoring, enjoying the moment. He wanted to see something in his father’s eyes – regret for not nurturing him the way he wanted; acceptance that he was about to die. But most of all, he wanted to see fear. And he got it. Percy smiled.

“Good-bye, Father.”

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