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Chapter 5

 

The Prophecy

 

 

“I still can’t believe that you agreed to do this,” Ron commented, leaning over the desk that had been set up in the back of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes where Hermione was pouring over a large potions book, a caldron bubbling away beside her.

 

“Hum?” Hermione muttered, running her finger along the faded text, her eyes screwed up as she concentrated.

 

“You, agreeing to help bust Malfoy out of Azkaban. I don’t believe it,” Ron said.

 

Hermione looked up and huffed in annoyance. “Do you have to talk so much? I’m trying to concentrate.”

 

“Sorry,” Ron turned away and slouched around the room picking up objects and discarding them with a heavy sigh. He examined a small green frog, that when he squeezed it, it’s tongue shot out and licked his face, leaving a trail of green slime behind. “Ugh!” he exclaimed, tossing the frog back into the box.

 

Hermione glanced up irritation on her face.

 

Next, Ron wandered over to a shelf and picked up an unmarked tin can. Curiously he popped the lid and little pink worms shot out, tumbling all over the floor. “Damn,” Ron said, stooping down to retrieve the wiggling creatures that just seemed to keep multiplying.

 

Hermione’s head raised from the book and she gave him an exasperated look.

 

Stuffing the worms back into the can, Ron placed it back on the shelf and backed away, turning his attention to the blue and white stripped boxes stacked in the corner. Opening the top box he found that it contained a sword. “Cool.” Reaching into the box, Ron took the sword out of the white tissue paper it was wrapped in and swung it around his head. The sword instantly began to sing. Ron stared at it stupidly.

 

“Ron!” Hermione yelled with frustration.

 

“Um, sorry,” Ron fumbled with the sword, shutting it back into the box. “Sorry,” he repeated. “I’m just bored sitting here and watching the potion brew.”

 

“Well,” Hermione said, her voice dripping with sarcasm, “I’ll see if I can knock you up a Mardi Grais shall I?”

 

“Sorry,” Ron mumbled again, slumping down in the seat at the head of the table. “You didn’t answer my question. How come your ok with this break out? It’s illegal.”

 

“I know.” Strands of frizzy hair escaped from their tight band and she pushed them out of her face. “I’ve decided that I’m only going to obey rules that I respect. And besides, Harry’s right, there won’t be a fair trial for Draco, or anyone involved with Voldemort this time around.” She sighed softly, “Draco doesn’t deserve to be locked away for years on end. It’s just not fair.”

 

“No,” Ron agreed, as much as he disliked Draco and thought he was a prize idiot on occasions, he hadn’t done anything evil, not really, and Ron was so on board with the break out plan. “Luna’s ecstatic over it.”

 

Hermione smiled softly. “She would be, the love of her life is coming back to her.”

 

Ron lifted his eyebrows in a quick gesture and resumed staring moodily at the wall. “Where’s Harry?”

 

“At Gringot’s, he’s exchanging money I think,” Hermione replied. “Hush for a minute, Ron.”

 

As Hermione busied herself sorting through the ingredients spread out around her, Harry came through the door a mobile phone against his ear. “Ok….. I thought that Jimmy could manage to do it sooner rather than later…. Yeah…. I know, Dudley, but this is important. Great. Thanks. I’ll see you in a day or two.” Harry tossed the mobile on to the desk and peered into the caldron. “How’s it coming, Hermione?”

 

“Great actually. Should be ready in a few hours.”

 

“By the time I go to Azkaban?” Harry pressed.

 

“Definitely.” Hermione promised.

 

Ron picked up the discarded mobile and turned it over in his hands. “So this little thing can really let you talk to your cousin even though he’s miles and miles away?”

 

“That’s right,” Harry confirmed. “I could talk to him on that even if he was in another country.”

 

“Good thing you are talking,” Hermione said, “Dudley’s been a big help.”

 

Harry grinned and agreed with her. He had been counting on Dudley to help out in hiding Draco once he was free. Dudley had a few dodgy friends in the muggle world, the type who could produce fake identification papers when needed, which would help Draco and Luna to get out of England for a little while. It was nice, if a bit awkward, being on friendly terms with Dudley, and Harry only had his mobile courtesy of his cousin, who had presented it to him as a “Great You Aren’t Dead” present on his return to Privet Drive after the war. It was apparently top of the range, although Harry had been out of touch with the muggle world for so long that he couldn’t tell one mobile phone from the other.

 

George called out to Harry from the front of the shop, asking if Harry had brought him any lunch, and Harry went out to see George with the sandwich he had picked up for him.

 

“Here, Ron, take over with the potion for a minute will you,” Hermione said, handing him a wooden spoon she had been using to stir the potion. “Stir anti-clockwise for the count of three and then clockwise for three. That’s all you need to do.”

 

“Sure, I can do that,” Ron took the spoon from her.

 

“Thanks, I’m desperate for the bathroom,” Hermione hurried from the room leaving Ron alone.

 

Standing over the potion, Ron dipped the spoon into the bubbling lavender liquid and began to stir. He absently plucked Hermione’s scarf off the back of the chair and pressed the soft wool to his nose, inhaling the flowery scent of her perfume. That kiss she had planted on him during the final battle had been the one and only kiss they had shared and Ron wasn’t exactly sure where they now stood. He knew that he needed to kick his butt into gear and say something, or do something, like Hermione had done, but Ron lacked the inspiration and the nerve, he wasn’t sure what he needed to do now.

 

“Everything ok?“ Hermione asked, coming back into the room and pulling him out of his continual loop of brooding thoughts.

 

“Um, yeah,” Ron said, taking the spoon out of the potion.

 

Ron, being Ron, had completely forgotten about Hermione’s previous instructions.

 

 

                                                                * * *

 

Harry walked purposefully down the dimly lit corridors of Azkaban. It was a dreadful place, dark and gloomy, with an oppressive air that sucked all the goodness from his body. The tiny island which housed Azkaban was freezing, the water nearest to the island a sheet of ice and a thick white fog swirled around the cold stone fortress of a prison.

 

The island was odd, Harry thought, it wasn’t like any other island, the cold he was feeling wasn’t like the cold from walking too long in the rain or the snow, it made his skin tingle in the same way but a little more intensely; rather like it was slowly covering his skin in a thin layer, seeping through his pores into his blood and swirling through his body chilling him little by little. It was a deep chill, almost as if it would harden as time went on and freeze him from the inside out.

 

As soon as he had seen the building rising up dark and foreboding against the sky, Harry had felt the bile burn the back of his throat. Sirius had been locked away in there for years for something he hadn’t done. This place had robbed his godfather of his life and had forced him into hiding in a house he had no love for. As essential as the place was, Harry would always have strong feelings of hate towards those who had imprisoned Sirius there and those who had watched over him through his suffering; and he didn’t want Luna to feel those same feelings as he had.

 

Whatever doubt Harry had left in his mind about breaking Draco out of this place was wiped away; with each step he took deeper and deeper into the prison and closer and closer to Draco’s cell, Harry was even more convinced that he was doing the right thing.

 

The inside of Azkaban was no warmer than the outside, in fact it felt even colder; but for some reason Harry noticed, his breath did not fog up in front of him. Harry wondered if the prison had dark magic cast over it, or if the cold was a lingering effect of the dementors that had guarded the place for so long. It was a dark cold, almost he thought, as if he would never be warm again and it seemed to cause his deepest nightmares to prod at the corners of his mind and all rational thoughts to fly out of the window.

 

Turning the corner, Harry stopped short when he saw Draco’s cell. He couldn’t see Draco through the bars, but he knew the boy was in there. Squaring his shoulders determinedly, Harry crossed the stone floor and peered into the small cell through the bars.

 

“Draco?”

 

Draco was sitting on his bed, his back propped up against the iron headboard as he stared unseeingly at the wall, his mind elsewhere. It was a coping mechanism and Draco knew it, he let his mind drift, caught himself up in a memory or a desire for the future and immersed himself in it until that was all he could feel and Azkaban faded away.

 

Blinking, Draco looked up, his sad grey eyes locking onto Harry’s face as he looked through the bars at him. “Potter?”

 

“Yeah,” Harry rubbed his jaw awkwardly. “How are you?”

 

“Hallucinating I think,” Draco said, rising to his feet slowly.

 

“I’m not an hallucination,” Harry assured him, glancing over his shoulder to check that there was no-one listening to them. “Come here, quickly, Draco. I need you to drink this potion.” Harry fumbled in his pocket and produced a small quantity of the potion that Hermione had brewed. “Hurry, Draco.”

 

Draco crossed his little cell to the door and took the bottle that Harry held out to him. “What’s going on? Why are you here?”

 

“I set up a visit to come to see you. Perks of being the Chosen one, I could come to your cell rather than have you meet me in a room.”

 

“Thanks,” Draco said snidely, “How are you enjoying seeing me locked up? Brought so low?”

 

“Oh stop it,” Harry snapped. “I had to come to your cell to help you get out of it. Now drink the potion.” He turned away from Draco and rounded the corner again, as luck would have it, Draco was in the corner cell and Harry crouched down in the far corner, producing the hole in the wall from his back pocket he pressed it against the corner of the cell as near to the floor as possible. It was only small, so even if the guard’s spotted it, there would be no cause for alarm, Draco could do nothing the way that he was.

 

“What’s going on?” Draco demanded when Harry reappeared at the bars. “Why are you here, Potter?”

 

“I’m here to help you,” Harry repeated. “We can’t get you out of here legally, so we’re breaking you out. That potion is a shrinking potion, in exactly two hours, when you’re bedded down for the night, the potion will take effect and you’ll shrink down to a few inches tall. Then you’ll go to the far corner of your cell where you’ll find a hole in the wall, courtesy of George Weasley. Go through the hole and go down the corridor…”

 

As Harry gave Draco directions to get out of Azkaban, Draco listened incredulously, his eyes widening and his jaw dropping open. He nodded along like a puppet, hardly daring to believe that this was true, that this was happening to him.

 

“Don’t forget the instructions,” Harry warned.

 

“I won’t, but what happens once I get out of the building? Will I be able to apperate?” Draco wondered. He couldn’t really see how that would be possible, there was probably some form of spell over the island to stop apperation.

 

“I don’t know,” Harry admitted. “I’m not sure what spells are placed on the island, and Hermione wasn’t sure that you’d be able to apperate seeing as you’d only be a few inches tall. But you won’t need to apperate anyway, in fact, I’m not sure that you could even apperate all the way to Hogwarts, that’s where you’re going to need to go.”

 

Draco flicked his hair out of his eyes. “Is it safe for me to go there?”

 

“Yes. And it’s important that you do. We’ll be there waiting for you. It’s important that people see me, Hermione, Ron and Luna at Hogwarts, far away from Azkaban, that way we’ll have a water tight alibi for the time of your escape,” Harry explained.

 

“Makes sense,” Draco agreed. “But, how do you intend that I get to Hogwarts?”

 

Harry smiled, “You fly of course.”

 

“Oh? On what?” Draco asked dryly, “A matchstick?”

 

Harry snorted, his lips twisting into a grin. “No, when you come out of the building there’ll be an owl waiting for you. The owl will have a little bag tied to it’s feet, you get in the bag and the owl will transport you to Hogwarts.”

 

“I have to get into a bag?” Draco repeated.

 

“That’s right. Drink the potion, quickly. It’s set to work for around ten o’clock. I understand that is the last round of the guards. Be sure that you’re sitting on the floor around that time otherwise you won’t be able to get down from the bed,” Harry reminded him.

 

Draco nodded and opened the bottle, tipping the contents to the back of his throat quickly and handing the bottle back to Harry. “How come you have this on you? Weren’t you searched?”

 

“Yet again, a perk of being the Chosen One,” Harry lifted his hands up and shrugged. Usually being singled out and given special treatment embarrassed him, but Harry had to admit that at the moment, it was extremely helpful. Glancing down at his watch Harry said, “I’d better get going. Good luck, I’ll see you soon.”

 

Draco nodded. He watched as Harry walked back down the corridor and for the first time in months, Draco felt a surge of hope. Luna had kept to her promise, she had found a way to get him out of Azkaban and he would always be grateful to Potter for helping him. Potter had no reason to help him and Draco knew that, Potter was doing it for Luna not for him, and he couldn’t stop the twinge of jealousy flickering in his chest that Potter was so close to Luna.

 

 

                                                * * *

 

Luna sipped at her tea merely for something to do, her eyes continually drawn to the window, waiting for some sign of Ron’s little owl Pig. In reality, Luna knew that she wouldn’t see Draco for another few hours yet, but knowing he was on his way made her fidgety and her palms sweaty. Time was passing so slowly, and an uneasy feeling was creeping up her spine, making the fine hairs on the back of her neck stand up.  She was worried about Draco, yes, but for some reason, a reason that Luna couldn’t quite put her finger on, this feeling was not about Draco. It had been steadily growing stronger over the course of the day like a menacing shadow was following her.

 

Ron and Hermione sat around the table with Luna in the staff room, while Harry leant against the wall beside the window. McGonagall, Flitwick, Sprout and Trelwany were also present, drinking cups of tea and nibbling on cakes and biscuits as darkness crawled over the school. There was a fire glowing in the hearth and the room had a friendly and cosy atmosphere.

 

“Hogwarts is coming along nicely,” Flitwick said between bites of his cake. “We’ll be up and running again soon I should think.”

 

“I was thinking,” McGonagall said, stirring a lump of sugar into her tea, “That we might have a special Christmas Gala. The school should be all done by winter. What do you think?”

 

“That would be lovely, something to look forward to,” Sprout agreed, clapping her chubby hands together.

 

“What do you lot think?” McGonagall asked, turning her attention to her former students. When she failed to receive a response, she surveyed them one by one, noting how tense and strained they seemed, how preoccupied they were by the windows and the clocks, and she deduced that they were all up to something. It would certainly explain why they had opted to stay the night at the school rather than return to The Burrow after helping out today.

 

“Yes,” Hermione eventually replied. “That would be nice.”

 

“Hum,” Luna said, her eyes fixed on the dark night sky.

 

“Has anyone see Ginny today?” McGonagall asked, changing the subject completely in the hope of capturing their interest. “Any news from the hospital?”

 

“Nothing new to report,” Ron replied, his fingers wiggling first over one cake and then the other as he tried to decide which one to eat.

 

Harry, who had been staring out of the window, straining his eyes across the night sky, worry curling itself into a tight knot in the pit of his stomach that something would go wrong, turned back to face the room. The first thing he saw was Professor Trelwany who was sitting the closest to him. She sat bolt upright in her chair, her fingers holding tightly to the wooden arms and her eyes, always wide behind her glasses, were glazed and unseeing. Harry gasped, he had seen her like this once before.

 

“Professor? Professor Trelwany, are you ok?” Harry stepped closer to her.

 

“Sybil? Is everything alright?” McGonagall leant across the table and placed a wrinkled hand over her friends.

 

Trelawny gave no indication that she had heard a word anyone said to her. She took a deep harsh breath and began to speak in a deep, rasping tone, “The Dark Lord is gone, but the world is not saved. For what has gone before a price must be paid. Out of the darkness comes something worse. Only the power of four can undo the Arc Druid’s curse.”

 

The loud clap of thunder that rolled overhead and the sharp forked lightening that split the sky in two made them all jump, and Hermione gave a short scream, her hand pressing to her rapidly beating heart.

 

All eyes turned to the window, the weather had changed in an instant. The sky was dark and stormy, the wind rising and rain began to fall hard and heavy, slashing against the windows relentlessly. Luna’s hand curled around her throat and she took a steadying breath, closing her eyes she said a silent prayer for Draco’s safe journey to Hogwarts.

 

Her large silvery blue eyes followed the black clouds that scudded past the window and the uneasy feeling she had been carrying with her all day suddenly took on a sharper, darker edge, giving Luna the feeling that a sinister cloak had been draped over her. She had no idea what it meant, and a violent shiver ran over her skin.

 

 Luna couldn’t help but feel that whatever Trelawny had just predicted had in fact just taken place; and it was going to mean nothing but trouble for everyone.

 
 

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