Out of the Shadows
Chapter 9: Breaking Bonds
Writter: fall shadow
Summary: Harry has been raised to follow a path of darkness, but when he meets Hermione things start to change and he finds out everything he has been led to believe is a lie. Now, with a strengthened resolve, he must do whatever it takes to stop the one he once considered his master.
Harry stood there looking around, feeling out of place on the odd doorstep of the Lovegoods’ house. While they were packing to leave, Hermione had warned him that her friend, Luna, was a bit strange. Harry remembered what Hermione had told him:
“We didn’t really get along at first, because we were so different, but after a while, we realized that we actually had a lot in common. I never had many friends growing up, and neither did she. I guess we both felt like loners who people judged before they got to know them.”
“I do feel bad leaving Crookshanks with my parents,” Hermione commented as they waited.
Harry nodded and heard movement inside the house.
The man who answered the door looked rather odd, too, in Harry’s opinion, but he wasn’t one to judge.
“H-hello?” the man asked nervously.
“Hello, Mr. Lovegood. I’m Hermione, Luna’s friend, and this is Harry. Sorry to drop by so suddenly, but we wanted to ask you something. Is Luna in?” Hermione asked him. At the mention of their names, however, he seemed to become even shakier.
“No, no, Luna is… out,” he told them in an unsteady voice. “But you may come in; if there is something you wanted to ask me.”
He led them into the house and made them tea, or at least he tried to- with the amount he spilled from trembling, Harry doubted much made it into the cups. The man’s behavior made Harry feel incredibly uneasy.
Something isn’t right here. This guy looks like a mess- like he’s afraid of his own shadow or something. What happened? And where is Luna, just after Christmas when she should be home for the holidays? I doubt they would be back at Hogwarts yet, and Hermione said she didn’t have many friends.
“Thank you,” Hermione said, accepting the small cup of tea.
Harry tried to catch her eye, and he gave her a look. He was pretty sure she understood not to drink the tea, just in case, because something didn’t seem right.
After faking drinking some of the tea (at least, Harry hoped she was faking it too), Hermione pulled out the book Dumbledore left her.
“Mr. Lovegood, I was wondering if you knew what this symbol stood for. Could you tell us? I remembered seeing it on a necklace you wore when you came to pick Luna up from the station for the holiday this year.”
Mr. Lovegood explained that it was the symbol of the Deathly Hallows. The Deathly Hallows were three magical items in a story in the book about three brothers that most people believed to be just a legend. Some people, however, believed that these items actually existed. Believers wore the symbol in the hope of finding others who also sought the Deathly Hallows. Hermione read the story of the three brothers aloud, since Harry did not know it.
In the story, the bothers had cheated death with their magic. Death, angered by this, had appeared before them. He congratulated them and offered them each a reward. The eldest brother arrogantly wished for a powerful wand that could not be beaten, the Elder Wand. The middle brother, who had lost his wife, asked for a way to see her and be with his deceased loved one, and received the Resurrection Stone. The youngest brother, humble and wise, wished for the Cloak of Invisibility that would never fade and with which he could not be found, even by Death. According to the legend, if someone possessed all three items, they would become the master of death.
“Do you think Voldemort believes they are real? Do you think he’s after them?” Harry asked Hermione as soon as she finished reading. He heard Mr. Lovegood gasp when he used the dark wizard’s name.
“Harry, this is a children’s story… surely it is just a fantasy,” Hermione told him skeptically.
“I assure you, Miss Granger, there are those who believe in their existence, even today,” Mr. Lovegood said in an ominous voice. “He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named would be wise to fear one who possessed all three and thus became the master of death.”
“Dumbledore couldn’t possibly have thought that Death himself showed up and handed out these gifts to the brothers for cheating him with magic.” She looked irritated at the suggestion that this was fact and could be relied on to defeat Voldemort.
“I’m not saying it’s a good way to beat him, but doesn’t that sound like something Voldemort would want, if it was true- to master death?”
“I don’t know, Harry. It’s possible,” Hermione answered, looking worried, but far from convinced.
Silence fell one the group for a short time, but Mr. Lovegood spoke.
“If- if you will excuse me for a moment,” he said in an unsteady voice, shakily standing and going upstairs.
Harry wasted no time in leaning over closer to Hermione to whisper.
“Let’s get out of here. Something doesn’t feel right. You didn’t drink the tea, did you?”
“No,” Hermione answered, talking quickly and quietly, “I didn’t drink the tea. I could tell you didn’t think we should. But I don’t know if we should just leave… What if something has happened to Luna?”
“I don’t-” Harry stopped suddenly, noticing Mr. Lovegood returning. When he came down, he looked much worse than he had a few minutes ago.
Harry stood. Hermione still looked uncertain, but hesitantly got up, too.
“Thank you, Mr. Lovegood. But I really think we should be leaving now.”
“No!” the older man said far too quickly. “You must stay a bit longer. Surely you had… more questions.”
He looked downright desperate to keep them there; it made Harry all the more desperate to leave.
“Is something wrong, Mr. Lovegood?” Hermione asked, pleadingly, not wanting to leave him or her friend in trouble, but sensing the danger in staying. “Did something happen? Where is Luna?”
“Hermione, we have to go. Now,” Harry told her, grabbing her arm firmly as pain surged through his scar. Hermione looked at him in concern, but Mr. Lovegood addressed them solemnly, directing their attention back to him.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Potter, Miss Granger,” he nodded to each of them in turn, looking terrified. “I- I had to do it. They… took my Luna. She’s all I have.”
He raised his wand toward them suddenly, and cast a stunning spell in their direction.
Thankfully, he wasn’t quick enough, and Harry managed to dodge the spell while pushing Hermione out of the way, too.
“Expelliarmus!” Harry shouted, causing the man’s wand to fly out of his hand and across the room.
Hermione quickly cast a stunning spell on Mr. Lovegood, and walked over to his still body.
“Obliviate,” Hermione said, pointing her wand at him and erasing part of his memory.
Dark spots were dancing in front of Harry’s eyes, and he blinked, trying to fight them off.
“Hermione…” Harry called to her, bracing a hand on the table next to him as his scar flooded with pain again.
She was at his side in a second, holding his arm to steady him.
“Harry, are you alright? What’s wrong?” she asked him in a worried voice, putting her other hand on his back.
Before he had time to respond, there was a great crash as one of the windows upstairs shattered. Harry and Hermione drew their wands but within seconds the whole house was a chaotic whirlwind of broken glass, flying dishes, and black wispy shadows. The noise of all the crashing objects, smashing windows, and rushing wind filled Harry’s ears and his head as he felt his wand slip from his hand. He tried to call out to Hermione, but he felt something slam into his head and darkness spread across his eyes until all he could see was black.
A piercing scream.
A flash of green light.
Then another scream reached him, muffled and different, off in the distance.
As the fog gradually lifted from his mind, the noise grew louder and closer until it was right next to him. The terrible cry faded and he opened his eyes to a sight he had hoped he would never see again. He was back in Malfoy Manor- back in the same room he had escaped from not long ago. Though to Harry, it felt like a lifetime…
He forced his head to the right slightly and saw her profile, bound next to him against the wall.
“Oh, the boy wakes,” he heard a high-pitched laugh as a cold voice spoke. The voice sent chills up Harry’s spine. The menacing, cruel tone of amusement, and the hiss that was just barely noticeable in every word- he immediately knew who was speaking, even before his head gave a painful throb.
Harry felt his bindings, which he had hardly been aware of, release him and he staggered forward, struggling to stay on his feet as pain seared through his scar.
“Hello, Harry Potter,” the Dark Lord’s voice slithered through the air to reach Harry. “Did you think you could defy me, after everything I have done for you, Harry, after all we have taught you? You are so close to being one of us; don’t give up now. Being the merciful lord I am, I will allow you to rejoin me, but first, you must beg for forgiveness.”
“Yes, beg, little boy!” he heard Bellatrix demand in her high, insane voice.
Harry’s eyes were locked on Voldemort’s and he found that he couldn’t speak at all. But standing his ground silently spoke volumes.
“You dare to defy me, Harry?” Harry could hear anger laced in his words now; there was a dangerous annoyance in his tone and his face.
“You will do as I say, and kneel down and beg for my forgiveness,” Voldemort told him, sneering in satisfaction, some of the anger gone.
They both knew he could force Harry to do it by magic, to bow down to him, but he wasn’t. The evil wizard’s eyes flickered to Hermione and a smirk formed on his thin lips. Harry felt his stomach drop. There was so much tension in his body that he was trembling.
“You wouldn’t want anything to happen to the Mudblood you went through all this trouble to save, would you, Harry?” he asked, slowly. “Bow to me! Beg for the forgiveness of your master!”
Out of the corner of his eye, Harry saw Bellatrix move closer to Hermione, her knife held out toward the girl threateningly.
Swallowing his pride and anger, Harry took a shaky step forward and slowly knelt down, his eyes staring at the floor in front of his knees.
“Beg.” Voldemort’s command was intimidating and uncompromising.
Harry struggled to find his voice. In response to his silence, he heard a gasp followed by a strangled cry of pain. To his horror, Harry could still vividly picture Hermione’s tortured face and pleading eyes from the last time they were in this room.
“I-” Harry could feel his heart pounding so hard he hear it in his ears as he pushed the words out, “I am sorry… please forgive me, Master.”
Bellatrix cackled and he could hear the laughter of a few others in the room as well. Glancing up, Harry noticed the Malfoys and Snape standing off to the side watching, along with two or three other Death Eaters.
“Very good, Harry,” Voldemort told him. “Now, your wand.”
Harry could feel Voldemort’s hand extend toward him without even looking up. It took him all of a second to realize that they probably hadn’t bothered to take their wands yet because they needn’t have worried about it- the others all had wands in their hands, and in the case of Bellatrix, a knife in the other. Harry and Hermione didn’t have a chance, even if they had somehow gotten their wands out.
“No!” he heard Hermione get out before Bellatrix silenced her again.
He had no choice. Shaking, Harry handed over his wand, still refusing to look up at the man who killed his parents.
Seconds later, Harry heard a sickening crack. His wand fell to the ground in front of him in two pieces. He felt some of his fear and anger replaced by dread and overwhelming helplessness. His wand, the brother of Voldemort’s, was gone, broken. Hermione was trapped and at the mercy of Bellatrix, which Harry knew didn’t really exist. And he was kneeling before the man who had killed his parents, defenseless.
“And, for your disobedience- Crucio!”
Instantly, pain exploded throughout Harry’s body and he had to hold himself up with his hands as he fought not to give in to the urge to scream. Fire seared across his skin and tried to rip his muscles apart.
“Stop!” Hermione’s voice called out.
An instant later, the immediate pain Harry felt subsided.
“You dare interrupt the Dark Lord, you filthy Mudblood?!” Bellatrix screeched maniacally.
“Do not waste your breath on her, Bellatrix,” Voldemort instructed, as he raised his wand to point directly at Hermione. Harry was still reeling from the Unforgiveable Curse, but the tone of Voldemort’s voice made him look up. He froze at the sight of the thin, pale wand pointed at Hermione.
“Avada…” the instant Harry heard the first whisper of a sound, he used all of his remaining strength to jump in front of Hermione. He noticed her eyes widen just as he moved to shield her body with his.
Eyes squeezed shut and with his back to Voldemort, Harry had no idea what happened next.
“Kad-” suddenly the Dark Lord’s voice cut off sending a shock through every human in the room. Crash!
“You shall not harm Harry Potter!”
For a moment, everything was silent; it seemed everyone was too stunned to move.
The next moment, smoke filled the room along with several shouts and screams. Harry felt a small hand with long, thin bony fingers grab his. He wrapped his other arm tightly around Hermione, whose bondages had disappeared, and pulled her to him.
A second later, he felt a tug, heard a quiet pop, and everything in the room was gone.