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“Cronus Rising”


“Chapter Seven: Witch Weekly’s Influential Wizards Gala”

            Harry stood frozen as he watched the look of mirth escape his godfather’s face. A laugh of triumph rang behind him somewhere but he did not pay any attention. His focus was situated on Sirius Black’s body twisting gracefully as he glided backwards towards the shimmering veil. An expression of shock and peace clouded his features as the curtain wrapped around his torso to drag him under. He was gone.


            Emerald eyes snapped open, his breath catching in his throat. There was a slight weight on his chest that seemed to affect his ability to breathe. Glancing down, the outline of Teddy Lupin’s head rested idly on his chest. His gaze wandered to the left to spot a sea of red hair sprawled across the pillow next to him.


            He was only vaguely aware that he could no longer feel his fingers. The weight of his godson and girlfriend on his arm over the course of several hours caused the limb to feel dead and pathetic. Slowly, he tugged his arm out from underneath the slumbering forms. The limb felt like dead weight and tingled painfully. Using his other hand, he shook out his arm to start the blood flow.


            The image of Sirius’ death lingered in his mind. It wasn’t often that Harry revisited that night in the Department of Mysteries in his dreams. When he did, however, his heart would ache and the feeling of loss was raw. Deciding that sleep would not come easily, he slid off the mattress and padded towards the kitchen to make a cup of tea.


            The clock on the microwave enlightened Harry that is was just past four in the morning. Collapsing into the chair situated around the kitchen table, his fingers laced around the warm mug.

            Thoughts of Cronus ran rampant in his head. Earlier that evening, Draco Malfoy was to attend a meeting with the man and his followers. Anxiety set in hours ago. What if his cover was blown? What if he was already lying lifeless on a cold, stone floor? How could Harry tell Narcissa Malfoy of her son’s death… his mother who saved his life that one May day when the Killing Curse hurled at his body and killed the part of Voldemort’s soul residing inside of him?


            A knocking at the front door snapped Harry out of his morbid dwellings. He rushed to the door to look out the peephole to see a familiar man jittering. Opening the door, Draco Malfoy rushed in with his hands stuffed in his pockets. His white face glowed almost translucent in the pale moonlight emitting from the window.


            Harry tried to act natural when he realized he was only clothed in his boxers and a threadbare Holyhead Harpies shirt Ginny gave him when she first started five years ago. Crossing his arms over his chest, he tried to act casual.


            Wordlessly, Malfoy pulled back the sleeve of his shirt to reveal the Dark Mark burning brightly in his skin. Harry’s eyes were glued on it, unable to force his gaze away. Only after the fabric recovered the flesh did Harry dare to look up.


            “I can’t do this,” Malfoy hissed. “I can’t do this again.”


            “What happened?” pushed Harry.


            Malfoy’s gray eyes darted around the small apartment as though he half expected childhood enemies to burst out of the walls and curse him.


            “Oi, Malfoy! What the ruddy hell happened?” he hissed.


            “Is anyone else here?”


            “My godson and Ginny are in my bedroom.”


            Malfoy scowled and made a motion to leave when Harry stopped him. Drawing his wand from the waist band of his boxers, for he never went anywhere without his wand on him at all times, to cast a Silencing Charm around the living room.


            “He’s my cousin…”


            At first, Harry didn’t even believe that Malfoy had said anything. His voice was barely above a whisper. Then, Harry thought that Cronus being Malfoy’s cousin was completely ridiculous.


            Bellatrix Lestrange was dead. Andromeda Tonks was dead. Those were his only living relatives who could bare him a cousin. Harry’s insides twisted. What if there was a secret Black child? What if Andromeda’s own son had her killed?


            “Explain,” Harry demanded before his mind unraveled with theories.


            “He told me that his parents were Bellatrix and Rodolphus Lestrange.” Malfoy sighed. “I guess he was born right before they joined ranks with the Dark Lord. Not wanting a child to cage them down in a movement they deemed important, they gave him up for adoption.”


            Harry’s heart pounded against his ribcage. All the air in his lungs escaped as though he had fallen fifty feet off his broom and landed on the hard earth. 


            His mind wandered to Mrs. Weasley and the look of fury plastered on her features when Bellatrix Lestrange nearly killed Ginny. The protection wards around the Burrow were not enough suddenly. Surely, Cronus would go after the woman who murdered his mother.


            “He told you all that? Why?”


            “He said blood was the most important connection you could have with a person,” Malfoy replied wearily.


            “His parents gave him up for adoption…” Harry trailed off trying to make sense of the whole situation. “They didn’t want him. Wouldn’t you think he’d hate the very foundation of family?”


            Malfoy sneered.


            “I didn’t psychoanalyze him, Potter.” Malfoy stuffed his hands in the pockets of his robe. “I came to tell you who he was and what he was planning to do.”


            “You mean besides kill my girlfriend, my godson and myself?”


            “He wants his father out of Azkaban,” he continued as though not hearing Harry. “He’s already coordinating plans to break him out. Not to mention, he has a hefty number of rebellious wizards under his wing who share his philosophy of totalitarian rule.”


            “Rodolphus Lestrange is still alive?”


            The Death Eaters who survived the Battle of Hogwarts were carted off to Azkaban immediately. Trials awaited them within the next few months, almost all of the wizards claiming they were hoodwinked and cursed, but most were not given the benefit of the doubt. When they were sentenced to lifetime imprisonment in Azkaban with Voldemort officially declared dead, many followers did not wish to live out their prison sentence. A mass suicide pact had been made and Death Eaters were dropping dead nearly every day.


            There were a few nutcases who truly didn’t believe Lord Voldemort was dead. They thought they could escape easily enough for dementors were banned. Instead of the creatures, the best charm experts in all of Europe flocked to Azkaban to put up wards that made escape impossible.


            Harry never thought much of Rodolphus Lestrange before. His wife and brother died during the Battle of Hogwarts, his son given up for adoption and yet Lestrange was still alive? It made little sense in Harry’s mind. Lestrange had nothing to live for.


            “We’ll add several more wards around Azkaban and increase the number of wizards on the staff. If he comes near Azkaban, we’ll get him.” Harry ran a weary hand through his messy black locks. “What is his real name?”


            “I don’t know,” Malfoy replied with a sigh. “I didn’t ask and he didn’t say. He just told me who his parents were and that he trusts me because I am both an ex-Death Eater and his blood.”


            “No matter, we’ll find out soon enough.”


            “You can’t tell anybody!” hissed Malfoy. “I was the only one he confided in about his parentage! If word gets out, my guise as a spy is over with and I will be dead before you can say Hippogriff!”


            Harry nodded gravely. They did not need to make the information public to rattle Cronus. With background information on him, they could easily find out his Achilles’ heel and draw him out in the open. Cronus could not hide forever. His days were numbered.


            The floorboards creaked and a rumpled Ginny Weasley appeared in the doorway to the living room. Harry glanced at her, silently telling her to keep her mouth shut. His gaze turned to Malfoy who had stiffened considerably.


            “I mean it, Potter! Stay the hell away from me and my girlfriend!” Malfoy hissed. “I do not know anything and I am not willing to help you!”


            With that, Malfoy stormed out of the flat and slammed the door shut behind him. Ginny glanced at Harry with tired eyes. Crossing her arms, Harry’s old t-shirt lifted ever so slightly to reveal her creamy white thighs.


            “What’s going on?” she whispered as she closed the distance between them.


            “You know I feel incredibly uncomfortable discussing work with you.”


            He reached out an arm and wrapped it around her shoulders. Drawing her close to his chest, he planted a soft kiss on top of her messy red locks. Her face peeked up at him, her lips brushing against his chin.


            “If you can’t trust me, Harry, then who can you trust?”


            “It’s not a matter of trust. I trust you more than anybody, you know that. It’s just… the less you know, the better.”


            “This Cronus bloke is after me. I think I deserve to know the details of what is going on.”


            Her breath tickled his neck. She rose up on her tip toes to touch her soft lips to the sensitive spot belong his ear. He hated when she did this because he became putty in her hands.


            “It was just about who Cronus is,” he replied huskily.


            “Who is he?”


            She twisted in his arms so that they were vis-à-vis and began to plant kisses along his cheekbone. His eyes slid closed as her lips founds their way to his own. Snaking a hand around her neck, he pulled her close to him.


            She always tasted sweet. When her fingers curled through his messy locks, he moaned in pleasure and tugged her as close as humanly possible. Her hips grinded into his as he nipped her lip playfully. She pulled back, a finger placed gently on his lips.


            “Who is he?”


            “Ginny…” Harry groaned.


            He leaned forward in an attempt to distract her, but she adamantly kept her mouth away from his. He did promise to be honest with her about the whole Cronus ordeal last week.


            “He’s Bellatrix Lestrange’s kid,” he whispered.


            “What?”


            Harry explained the story to her to the best of his ability. He was careful to leave out the Azkaban plot. When he was finished, Ginny’s eyes were narrowed and her mouth opened in an ‘O’ shape.


            “So… Harry, are you going to reopen the Order of the Phoenix?”


            “What? No! He’s not Voldemort, Gins.” Harry slid his hands down her sides until he felt the elastic of her panties through the thin t-shirt. “He can’t stay in the woodwork forever. All we gotta do is find out his read name.”


            “You’re finally listening to me about Cronus?”


            Harry sighed heavily and looped his thumbs under the elastic and pulled her close to him. Her hands rested idly on his shoulders.


            “Before, we had no idea who this guy was. He could have been…”


            “You honestly didn’t think he was Voldemort, did you?” questioned Ginny.


            “I don’t know, Ginny. The irrational part of my brain was attempting to convince me that it might be him… that he made another accidental Horcrux like he did with me. Then the rational part of my brain told me that he was deader than dead. It’s just good to know that this is some whacko Death Eater’s son who wants revenge. I can deal with that.”


            Cupping his face into her hands, Ginny rose to her tip toes to give him a chaste peck on the lips. His hands roamed around her body until they found the small of her back.


            “Come back to bed,” she whispered and lined his jaw with soft pecks.


            “I can’t,” he replied.


            “Harry…”


            “No, it’s not… I had a bad dream. I don’t feel like sleeping.”


            Ginny nodded and gave him another peck on the lips before ambling out of the room. Collapsing on the couch with his feet propped up on the coffee table, Harry dug through all the information he had on Cronus. He wanted to be beyond prepared for when they would meet.


 


            That weekend, Harry found himself donning formal attire and adjusting cufflinks on his wrists. Behind him, lounging on the bed with Moony embraced loosely in his arms, was Teddy Lupin. He was sulking at that moment. He wanted to go to the Witch Weekly’s Most Influential Wizards Gala with Harry and Ginny.


            Harry attempted to explain to his godson that such events were not fun and that he didn’t even want to go himself. Ginny was making him. For weeks, Ginny was stuck in their flat unable to go out on her own. The only time she did leave the flat was when she had to go to practices or games. Even then, she had a flock of at least ten trained Aurors accompanying her. She claimed that she was going stir crazy, wanted to get her hair done and buy a new dress, and get out of the flat for the night. She wanted to go on a date. Harry could not deny her that.


            The one condition of going to the gala was that Teddy would not go with them. The party would consist of the 100 most influential people in the United Kingdom and there was a chance that Cronus would show up. The only Weasleys who did not make the influential list were Mrs. Weasley, Charlie and George. Mrs. Weasley was attending with Mr. Weasley (who had snagged number 99 for his involvement in reinventing the Ministry). Charlie was off in Romania. So Teddy would stay with George and Angelina for the night.


            Teddy was not happy about this.


            “Don’t be mad, Teddy,” Harry said softly as he straightened his tie. “You’re lucky you’re not going. It’s some stupid party with a bunch wizards and witches who think they’re better than they are. It’s going to be boring and annoying.”


            Harry turned to look at his godson. Teddy glared at him.


            “Victoire isn’t going either,” he reasoned. “You two can have fun together.”


            “Victoire is a baby,” Teddy said matter-of-factly. “I’m not a baby. I’m six.”


            Harry crossed the room and crouched in front of the bed. He tugged at Teddy until he was sitting on the edge of the bed and looking at his godfather. Resting his hands on his godson’s knees, Harry looked at him directly in the eye.


            “I never said you were a baby, Teddy. You are, by far, the bravest young man I have ever had the pleasure to meet. I am beyond proud to call you my godson. I look at you and… Merlin, Teddy, you look just like your dad. Your dad was the kindest and smartest man I ever had the honor to know. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t miss him… that I don’t wish he were here to tuck you in at night instead of Ginny and myself.” Harry licked his lips. “Every day, I try to raise you the way I think Remus would have wanted. I am not, Remus. I’ll never be him. But I do know what he would do if he were me.”


            “What’s that?” Teddy whispered.


            “He wouldn’t allow you to go to the gala with Ginny and me.” Harry squeezed his godson’s legs. “There was a time when I was thirteen. There was a man who everyone thought wanted to kill me. I laughed it off and went on my merry way doing what I wanted to. I came into possession of a map of Hogwarts, a map that your father and mine created while at school. Hermione told me to turn it in, but I refused. I wanted to sneak out of the castle and have innocent fun. Your dad found me with the map. He was not pleased. He told me that the man trying to kill me was a very serious matter and that my parents gave their lives to save mine. I was repaying them by gambling with my life for treats and cheap thrills.”


            Teddy looked down at his shoes. Tears burned his amber eyes.


            “Your parents died a noble death, Teddy. They died in hopes that their son would be able to live in a war-free world. I will not gamble your life for a night at a boring party. This whole Cronus business will all be over with soon and then you can come to all the boring parties you want with Ginny and me. I promise.”


            Slowly, Teddy’s head nodded. He sniffed loudly and wrapped his arms around his godfather’s neck. He murmured his apologies into the folds of Harry’s dress shirt. Harry hugged him back tightly and told him it was alright.


            Glancing behind his godson’s mess of sandy locks, Harry saw Ginny leaning against the doorframe of the bedroom. Her red hair was loosely pulled back into an elegant updo with stray curly strands framing her face. An emerald dress clung pleasantly to her thin waist.


            After dropping Teddy off at George and Angelina’s, they made their way in the Ministry-issued sedan to the gala. A herd of Aurors stood at the entrance to the ballroom, stiff and unwavering. Ginny handed their invitation to the wizards and proceeded in.


            The room was already jam-packed with witches and wizards dancing, drinking and eating at their assigned tables. Ginny kept close to Harry, her hand resting comfortably on his offered arm. There was one stipulation that Harry made if they were to come to the party: Ginny had to stay close to him at all times.


            “Oi! I’m glad you’re here!”


            The couple turned around to see Ron Weasley standing behind them with ears tinted red and jaw tight.


            “Where’s Hermione?” questioned Ginny.


            “Talking to Slughorn. The bloody idiot snagged eighty or something. Still doesn’t know my ruddy name and I’m the sixth most influential wizard in Britain! Beat him by a good seventy-something.”


            “How disappointing.”


            “You look dreadful,” Harry interrupted. “What’s wrong?”


            Ron scowled and jetted his chin to the left. Harry and Ginny both looked. Standing tall and muscular with his wiry hair was Cormac McLaggen. A broad smile was stretched on his lips as he laughed openly with Barnabas Cuffe.


            “Bloody idiot,” Ron hissed. “He made eighty-four, I think.”


            “Why do you care if McLaggen is here?” questioned Ginny.


            “Why do I care? He dated Hermione!”


            “They never dated,” stated Harry.


            “They went to Slughorn’s party together back in the day! They’ve snogged! If that’s not dating, I don’t know what is!”


            Ginny laughed and, at the look Ron gave her, she promptly hid her face into Harry’s arm. Trying to keep a straight face, Harry gave his most sympathetic look he could muster.


            “I don’t think you have to worry about Hermione and McLaggen,” Harry said gently. “She thinks he’s vile.”


            “Still… I reckon Hermione would be in a right state if Lavender was here,” reasoned Ron.


            “I highly doubt that,” Ginny commented.


            “It’s just… Hermione’s exes are all famous or prominent members in society. Who have I got? Lavender Brown who designs robes and dresses for a living,” Ron said sullenly.


            “She does design lovely things though,” Ginny added. “I’m actually wearing one of Lavender’s designs! I owled her with my predicament of not being able to leave the flat because Harry’s a paranoid bugger and she sent this over to me at a discounted rate!”


            Ron only scowled.


            “Harry! Ginny! Willaby!”


            Slughorn stumbled towards the small group. The champagne in his glass sloshed over the rim of the glass. Ron sulked away to find Hermione.


            “Professor, it’s good to see you,” Harry said politely as he shook his hand.


            “Professor,” Ginny addressed with a nod.


            The contents on the glass were quickly thrown back into Slughorn’s eager throat. A waiter passed them and he clumsily placed the empty glass on the tray.


            “I must say, Harry, m’boy, that Miss Weasley looks absolutely enchanting on your arm. She is, perhaps, the best accessory you could have.”


            A soft chuckle escaped Ginny’s lips and Harry smiled courteously.


            “I must confess, Professor Slughorn, that I keep Ginny around for more than just her stunning good looks.”


            Slughorn laughed boisterously and patted Ginny gently on the arm. Harry glanced around the room in hopes of finding a familiar face that would help them out of the overly polite conversation that he was trying to maintain.


            “I have to inquire, you understand, for you two are my favorite students, when you two will tie the knot? You’ve been dating for five years, am I correct?”


            Harry glanced down at Ginny who was looking idly towards the couples spinning gracefully on the dance floor.


            “Yes, five years is correct… give or take a few months,” he replied.


            “When are you two going to get engaged? Or… dear me, have you already popped the question but want to keep it out of the public eye?”


            “Uh, no. No. Just… waiting until it feels right.” Harry smiled tightly. “I have a godson who lives with me, you know. I have to make sure it’s all stable with him first.”


            “Oh, yes, yes. Remus Lupin’s boy? Teddy, isn’t it? I daresay, I hope I am still teaching at Hogwarts when he comes along. I’d love to have him attend Slug Club meetings.” Slughorn winked. “He’ll be great with godparents such as you two.”


            “I’m sorry to interrupt, Professor,” Ginny spoke tenderly, “but the Minister is waving Harry and me over.”


            Ginny tugged Harry with her across the room in the general direction where Kingsley was dancing with his wife. Looking back, Ginny ensured Slughorn moved onto his next conversation before faltering on the dance floor.


            Harry wrapped his arm awkwardly around Ginny. Dancing was still foreign to him and he was convinced he had two left feet. If it was appease Ginny, however, he would embarrass himself in front of everyone.


            Ever since his mission with Malfoy, Harry had been avoiding the topic of Cronus and would only answer her questions when she brought it up. He did not want to fight with her anymore about the affair. For a good week, the two had failed to fight at all. It seemed as though their relationship was back on track to the way it was before Cronus came into the picture.


            The engagement ring burned in his pocket. He got into the habit of carrying it around with him wherever he would go partly because he didn’t want her to find it in a drawer and partly because he didn’t know exactly when or even how he wanted to propose. 


            Harry thought he’d go traditional and ask Mr. and Mrs. Weasley for their permission for Ginny’s hand. Then, when the whole Cronus ordeal was over with, he’d take her to a fancy restaurant and pop the question. He already started to write the speech in his head and, no matter how many times he revised it, the proposal sounded cheesy.


            “What are you thinking about?”


            He looked down at her and smiled.


            “Nothing,” he replied.


            “Nothing?” she raised her eyebrow elegantly.


            “Just… trying to figure out how my mother ever got along with Slughorn,” he said with a shrug.


            Ginny, seemingly pleased with the answer, rested her head onto his chest. They swayed to the music. His chin rested onto her head. Breathing in her scent, he instantly relaxed in her arms.


            Scanning the dance floor, Harry spotted Mr. and Mrs. Weasley dancing formally together. They were whispering and Mrs. Weasley’s cheeks flushed. His eyes wandered again until he spotted Ron and Hermione. They were a good foot apart from each other. Ron was staring down at his feet, a look concentration etched onto his features. Hermione looked annoyed and kept trying to tug him closer.


            Three songs later, Harry tugged Ginny along to find their table. Glancing at the place cards on the table at the front of the room, Harry immediately saw one that read Harry Potter – Number 1. The card to his left read Ginny Weasley – Number 78. To his right was Kingsley Shacklebolt – Number 2.


            Ginny sank into her seat and tossed her name card into the center of the table. Taking his seat next to her, Harry glanced around the room.


            “I wish Luna was here,” Ginny commented.


            “I don’t think Luna will ever make the most influential list.”


            “Harry…?”


            “Ginny…?”


            She twisted to face him. Her hands reached out to grasp his into hers.


            “Slughorn brought up a good point…” she said slowly.


            Harry remained silent.


            “I just… five years is a long time. I want to marry you, Harry.”


            “Give me some time, alright, Ginny? I love you and I am committed to you. I want to marry you. I do. It’s just… with Cronus causing trouble and Andromeda’s death still raw with Teddy… I want our wedding to be perfect. It’s not a good time right now.”


            She nodded and forced a smile onto her face. Turning away, she focused her attention to her plate which was rapidly beginning to fill with food. Harry turned to his own plate, the weight of the ring in his pocket becoming nearly unbearable.


            Soon everyone was taking their spots at the tables. Ron and Hermione joined them. Soon Kingsley and his wife did as well. Finally, Odin Vidar filled the last seat. The food was delicious as the seven made small talk and avoided all serious conversations.


            Towards the end of the meal, the editor in chief Adele Pozzi of Witch Weekly took the stage. The tip of her wand touched her throat.


            “Thank you all for attending the hundredth and sixth annual Witch Weekly’s 100 Most Influential Wizards of the United Kingdom Gala.” Applause sounded throughout the room. “It is my pleasure to announce that for the first time since 1975 that all 100 wizards are in attendance tonight! The wizard who snagged the top spot needs no introduction. He is surely just as famous as Merlin himself! I am pleased to say that the legend is just as great as the man. Harry Po-”


            A young witch hurried onto the stage causing Pozzi to take the wand off her throat. Furious, she glared at the newcomer for interrupting her speech. The woman grabbed Pozzi’s wrist and touched the wand to her own throat.


            “Everyone remain calm,” the girl spoke in a slightly robotic tone. “Don’t bother withdrawing your wands. There is a shield surrounding the stage and your spells will not penetrate it.”


            “Harry!” Ginny hissed and gripped Harry’s forearm.


            Slowly, Harry withdrew his wand from his jacket pocket and held it tightly in his grasp under the table. His eyes flickered to Kingsley who did the same. Harry had no doubt that Ron and Vidar followed suit.


            “Tonight’s entertainment has arrived,” the girl said with a smirk.


            The chandeliers rattled above them before bursting into thousands of tiny pieces. Glass rained down upon them. Several people ducked under the tables while others attempted to cast shield charms. Harry was one to cast a shield charm but found his wand was not cooperating. His fingers laced around Ginny’s wrist and pulled her to the ground, his body covered hers.    


            The largest chandelier in the middle of the dance floor tumbled to the ground. It connected with the hardwoods with a loud clank and the glass darted in every direction.


            “I think I forgot to mention that there is also an anti-magic shield surrounding you. Your wands are effectively useless.”


            The woman yanked Pozzi’s wand out of her grasp and, with a flick of the wand, sent her flying onto the dance floor. She screamed in pain as shreds of glass embedded themselves into her skin.


            Harry could feel Ginny trembling beneath him. He tightened his grip around her and rested his cheek upon her head.


            “All for one and one for all!” an unfamiliar male voice shouted.


            A man dressed in billowing, black robes entered onto the stage with his wand clenched in his hand. Long, dark hair was pulled back into a short ponytail. He was pale with heavy-lidded eyes. Harry knew immediately that the man was Cronus for his resemblance to the late Bellatrix Lestrange was striking.


            A herd of man and woman followed behind him all in traditional white Death Eater masks. They surrounded Cronus, wands out and arms crossed over their chests.


            “The United Kingdom’s 100 most influential wizards…” Cronus trailed off with a smirk. “Your reputations precede you.”


            With a flick of his wand, the tables and chairs soared upwards. They lingered there seemingly glued to the ceiling. The name cards rained from the sky.


            Harry glanced over at Vidar who had his wand clenched tightly in his hand and his jaw squared. His eyes blared furiously as he inched closely to the stage. His actions were extremely foolish as he’d be dead before he would even make it halfway to the stage. Harry could not warn him to stay put without drawing attention to their corner of the room. If Odin Vidar was irrational enough to play a martyr then Harry could not stop him.


            Cronus scanned the room. His eyes rested on Harry and a sneer spread across his features. His gaze flickered to the flaming red hair that peeked out from underneath Harry.


            “Harry Potter, so we meet at last. I daresay, I am rather disappointed that I do not have a good view of your girlfriend. I hear she puts up a good fight.”


            At the comment, Harry tightened his grip around Ginny so that she could not look up and give Cronus the satisfaction of seeing her. His body shifted slightly and covered up a little more the slight figure below him.


            Out of the corner of his eye, Harry saw Vidar storm towards the stage with his wand out. Nobody made a move to stop him and Cronus merely glanced over at him. Vidar’s body collided with an invisible barrier. He was thrown backwards onto the dance floor right on top of the broken chandelier in the center. He grunted loudly.


            “Anyone else want to attempt to play hero?” Cronus questioned. “Perhaps you, Harry? No? I hear you have quite a hero complex.”


            Harry remained silent. Hermione gave out a dry sob from the right. His eyes wandered to see Ron covering Hermione akin to how Harry was with Ginny. Hermione’s russet eyes stared unblinkingly at Vidar.


            “I implore you all to reevaluate your loyalties to your government,” Cronus spoke gently. “The Ministry finds it fit to allow werewolves equal rights, monsters who would ravish your children into bits and pieces without a second thought. They deem Muggles on the same playing field as us. Why must we hide from such vermin? We are more superior and advanced than they are. House elves have rights and require payment for their duties? Ludicrous! The old, traditional ways of our world have been thrown to the dogs. This new world order is spreading like wildfire. I will not stand for it. Your government, Minister Shacklebolt and Mister Potter, will backfire. I am a traditionalist and find these extreme liberal policies unnerving.”


            Ginny struggled underneath Harry’s grasp. She wanted to look at Cronus, wanted to see what was going on. Harry held tight, however, and faltered her motions to move.


            “I will liberate you all from your insufferable government with one, swift coup de grâce. I will finish what our gracious Dark Lord started.”


            The windows shattered loudly and rained down more glass upon the floor. People screamed and attempted to pull their clothes to cover their faces. The tables and chairs shook violently from above them and tumbled to the ground.


            Harry jerked up and pulled Ginny out of the way just before their table slammed where they were crouched. The legs splintered off the tables and flew in multiple directions.


            Flames erupted around the room in coiling strands. People were screeching and made a mad dash for the doors. Harry glanced at the stage to see that Cronus and his lackeys were Disapparating out of the ballroom.


            Gripping Ginny’s hand in his, he tugged her along behind him. They side-stepped the rising flames and hurried out of the ballroom with everyone else. Once outside, he turned to observe her. A large gash ran from her hairline down to the corner of her eye. The blood had caked onto her pale skin. Her dress was torn in several places but she was, essentially, unharmed.


            Tenderly, he touched the end of the cut. She jerked back, wincing in pain. Wrapping her arms around herself, she shivered. Harry shrugged off his jacket and placed it around her shoulders before pulling her close to his chest.


            “Mister Potter! Mister Potter!”


            Turning his attention to the left, Harry saw Professor McGonagall rushing towards him. Small cuts littered her face. Hair gray hair was unraveling from its usual tight bun.


            “Ramsey Henson,” she said in a flustered tone. “Ramsey Henson of Slytherin, top of his class, excellent in Transfiguration and Charms. He was, by far, a model student.”


            “Ramsey Henson?” Harry whispered. “His name is Ramsey Henson?”


            “I thought you’d like to know.”


            “Thank you, Professor. Are you alright?”


            She nodded stiffly, her eyes glancing around at the mass of people on the grounds outside of the ballroom. Professor McGonagall rushed off to help those lying on the floor in need of medical attention.


            Hermione and Ron were with the other Weasleys all whispering and hugging each other. Kingsley was crouching down to talk to Odin Vidar who had a herd of Healers surrounding him.


            “I want to leave,” Ginny whispered as she buried her face into the folds of his shirt. “I just want to get Teddy and go home.”


            Harry nodded. Everyone was quickly Disapparating from the scene or helping to get the injured to St. Mungo’s. Tightening his grip around her shoulders, he Disapparated from the scene. He had things to do before it was too late. Plans were quickly being formulated in his mind and they would be carried out within the week.


            Cronus was, Harry feared, more powerful than originally thought.




Thank you for all the reviews! Over a hundred reviews. That warms my heart with joy. Do keep them coming as they are very encouraging and truly helps me stay inspired to write. I hope you enjoy the new chapter. :)

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