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Kjkit - Harry Potter and the Marcello School
Chapter 22 - Riddle Manor
A/N – I've moved all reviews to the bottom, so that those of you who just want to get on with the story can go right ahead. Though I would love to hear your opinions… hint hint! Anyway, thanks to the rest of you. Enjoy!
Chapter 22: Riddle Manor
Remus Lupin let himself drop down onto the dusty floor next to Snape and silently accepted the flask the potion's master held out to him before speaking. "More people are starting to arrive. I'm guessing there's going to be a meeting tonight. With any luck an important one."
Snape shot a glare at the werewolf as he massaged the long fingers on his left hand. The pain from the black mark was becoming so great that his hand had cramped up into a claw. "You don't say." He muttered.
Remus passed the flask back, looking at the disfigured hand for a moment before diverting his attention to their surroundings again. "What do you think he's going to say tonight?" he asked, ignoring the evil stare as he reached out for the bag that lay between them and pulled out one of Molly's sandwiches.
Snape sighed. "He only calls us all together like this for two reasons." He explained. "One, he's planning some sort of attack. Most likely an large one if he's calling up so many people."
Lupin nodded. "We'd be lucky." He said, swallowing his mouthful and taking another. "The other?"
"More probable that someone or something has annoyed him, and he wants to prove his superiority. He's been calling a lot of these recently."
Remus took his time to study the potion master's face as he finished his sandwich. Snape was staring at the stone wall opposite, still absently rubbing his fingers and trying to get them to straighten out. They had been sitting together, hidden inside the Riddle Manor for nearly two days now, both knowing it was nothing short of a miracle that they hadn't been spotted yet. Snape had been clearly nervous about re-entering the place where all the occupants would not think twice about his death, but he had pulled up his emotionless face again and just got on with it. Remus recognised that it took a man of great control and inner strength to be able to face his greatest fears without so much as a complaint. Though, looking closer at his profile, Remus could see that the man's usually pallid face looked more ashen than normal, and his breaths were quicker and lighter than a man completely at ease with the situation.
"What are you staring at, wolf?" Snape muttered, not turning his head to face the werewolf.
"Your last meeting here." Remus replied, ignoring the man's icy words. "The one where you helped Harry disappear. Did they call everyone up for that?"
Snape blew some air through his nose in what Remus could only identify as amusement. "That boy didn't need any help." He said. "He just needed to someone to tell him what he was capable of."
Remus raised his eyebrow. "And you've realised this after how many years of telling him he's incapable?" he asked, but the potions master didn't reply, just continued to rub agitatedly at his hand. "Some would say that was help enough." He added after a moments thought. "Especially as it came from someone who would never normally give him such encouragement." He sighed. "And, on behalf of James and Lily, I'm grateful."
Snape turned his head to look at the werewolf when he heard the honesty in his voice and watched as the golden haired man rummaged in the bag and started pulling out some long lengths of pink string. "We'd better get these in place" Remus said, trying to untangle them. "They'll be starting the meeting soon and we don't want to be seen."
Snape nodded and took a deep breath as Remus handed him one of the fleshy strings of the extendable ears. He shook his head slightly as he pushed himself to his feet, in wonder as to how two of the most irritating students he had ever taught could waste their obvious intelligence on things that would only be used in pranks and mischief. As he followed the werewolf in a crouch down the corridor he corrected himself. Tonight the extendable ears were not going to be used in a carefree setting, rather they could even determine the lives of numerous muggles and magic-folk alike.
As they reached the end of the enclosed half of the corridor, Remus sat on his haunches and leaned slightly against the wall as he looked between the stone pillars of the balcony at the scene below them.
Voldemort was standing in a small circle of his followers, talking in lowered voices. It was clear that he was explaining something to them as they nodded together in agreement at what he was saying. "Do you know them?" Remus asked in a low voice and Snape gave him an incredulous look that indicated the question was pointless.
"I'm sure you recognise Malfoy, made some sort of a deal with Fudge and escaped Azkaban. And I believe you owe Bellatrix Lestrange for her actions in the ministry." He said, watching the muscles in the werewolf's jaw tighten. He nodded at the group before continuing, "Someone you may not have seen for a while is Avery. He's probably the sickest of the lot." Remus threw a glance his way and his eyes opened wide at the green countenance of the potions master. "Luckily I got to Harry before he did." Snape said, in way of explanation, but Remus remained horrified, his mind full of disturbing images of what the Potter boy might have been through. "Well, that time anyway. There are also two of the newer members there." Snape continued, ignoring the look on his colleague's face. If it were any other time Remus would say the greasy professor would have enjoyed his look of disbelief, but when on such a mission, teamwork was vital and both men knew they couldn't afford to linger on such petty issues. "One of them is just out of Durmstrang, I think the other is on the payroll at the ministry. Would have to run that one by Kingsley to be sure though. Look, they're leaving."
Remus snapped his attention back to the hall below them and watched as the five Death Eaters left the room. "Where are they going?" he asked.
Snape shook his head, a slight frown creasing his forehead. "I don't know." He said. "But I don't like it. The only reason they've left the hall this close to a meeting before is to pick up a prisoner from the dungeons. And even then it's a job for people like Crabbe and Goyle, the lumbering oafs, rather than five of the top duellists."
Remus shifted slightly, beginning to feel apprehensive due to the potion master's words and tone of voice, and watched as Voldemort walked up the couple of steps to where his high-backed chair was standing.
"Welcome." He said, with a sickening smile, raising his arms and getting the room's attention. "I am glad that you all saw fit to join me here this evening, and I promise you it will be one to remember…"
Remus noticed a flash of light out of the corner of his eye and turned to see Snape staring wide eyed at a golden feather that had floated to the floor just in front of him.
"Where did that come from?" Remus asked, his chest constricting.
"It just appeared." Snape muttered, reaching for the folded bit of parchment that rested beneath it. The minds of both men recalled the feather that Ron Weasley had claimed had delivered the warning message from Harry moments before the Burrow had been attacked.
"Is it from him?" Remus asked, shifting his weight slightly to get a better look at the parchment.
Snape slowly unfolded the parchment, and his breath hitched as he recognised the untidy scrawl of the Potter boy.
"Get out of there, they can see you! – HP"
Both men glanced at each other, their eyes wide in fear, before looking down at the hall to see the Death Eaters standing in a circle, eagerly waiting that night's entertainment to arrive.
"They're coming for us." Remus whispered in realisation, and suddenly stood, grabbing Snape's arm and pulling them both back down the corridor. He skidded to a stop besides where they had left the food and equipment bag and started stuffing their belongings into it.
"Leave it." Snape hissed, pulling the werewolf to his feet. He stuffed the letter and the phoenix feather into his pocket before passing Remus him his broom and grabbed the other. "If they're coming for us then we have no time!" He started running the rest of the way down the corridor, towards the broken window they had entered by two days previously. As they neared it, they heard a shout from behind them. Snape threw a look of his shoulder to see Bellatrix and Malfoy leading the pack of Death Eaters through the archway at the other end of the balcony that ran the length of the ceiling of the hall. "Jump!" he shouted to Lupin as the bright flashes of curses started hitting the walls next to them, and dived for the window before them, falling for a couple of seconds before pulling his broom under him and gaining control over it before he hit the floor.
Behind him he heard a shout of pain and turned to see Remus falling awkwardly through the window, the broom leaving his hand, and Snape caught of glimpse of something protruding from the man's shoulder before he started twisting as he fell to the ground.
Without thinking of his actions, Snape pulled on his broom and dived for the falling body, wincing as the muscles in his cramped hand protested against the sudden effort. Eventually he came beneath Remus Lupin and pulled him across the front of his broom before pulling up and twisting away from the walls of the manor, flying out of the range of the curses the Death Eaters were still sending their way.
After a few minutes of flying as fast as he could, Snape slowed down a little, looking for an appropriate place to land so that he could assess the werewolf's condition. The man was barely balanced on the broom, and his breaths were coming in painful gasps as the broom bucked slightly in the strong breeze. In a few moments, Snape spotted a small wood and headed there, landing on the grass just before he hit the trees, and trying to support the werewolf's weight as they stumbled slightly.
Snape dragged Remus into the cover of the trees and quickly found the cause of the man's anguish. In his left shoulder Snape found a silver dagger, marked with the stamp of Avery. He knew a silver knife could prove lethal if left embedded in the werewolf's skin for too long, and Remus was already looking pale and was on the verge of slipping into unconsciousness. Snape took a firm hold of the knife and jerked if from the man's back, quickly tucking the knife into his robes and pressing his hand against the wound to stem the flow of blood.
"Thanks." He heard the injured man whisper painfully. Snape just gave him a wry smile before a movement in the corner of his eye made the potions master look up to see a number of brooms carrying their riders towards him. The Death Eaters were spread in a fan shape and were travelling quickly and close to the ground, trying to spot the two Order members.
"Time to leave, I think." Snape muttered, adjusting his weight slightly so that the palm of his cramped left hand could press against the wound on Remus' back, whilst his able right hand searched in his pockets for the gold pocket watch Dumbledore had given them before they had left. When he found it he pulled it out, and wrapped his arms around the werewolf, supporting the man as much as he could before pointing his wand at the watch and calling "portus". Within the blink of an eye, both men had disappeared, moments before the shadow of two brooms drifted over where they had been sitting and two pairs of eyes searched the woods for any sign of the escapees.
Pink-fogg – so glad you reviewed! Lightened up my day after my first insulting review (see below!). Thanks!.
Horsecrzy – thanks hun. Review is appreciated. ;-)
CountessMel – who doesn't know something about Harry's scar? But well done for picking up on it, that comes into play about ch45ish! It's one of the parts I have written already! Just need to finish the great chasm in between! :-s
Frozenwings – stop trying to second-guess me, you'll spoil the story line ;-). Lol. I'm glad you are enjoying it though. And thank-you for the compliments about my writing style, it means a lot to me. And, I'm afraid to say that there are a lot more than another 20 chapters to come. I've finished my rough outline now, and would like to announce that there are approximately 65 chapters to this story. Just have to write them now. :-s
Stick with me though, I'll write and post when I can, though it might get a bit random once I finish uni.
LOTRfan86 – hope my advice helps. I didn't really know what to say. Glad you're liking this story, and good luck with your own endeavours. Oh, and I forgot to mention; baby name sites are great for looking up names with appropriate meanings to characters (though "Lucius" got me. I mean, "bringer of light"? – what's JK playing at?) and a thesaurus helps a lot! Hope to see you posting soon!
Chocoliciouz – you just continue to live in your own little dream world sweetie! Lord knows that I do! And Harry is there by his own free will. He thinks it will help him fight the Big V. How he gets over this set back will be explained in a couple of chapters, so don't worry. Keep reading!
Padfoot – how big is the grin on my face after reading your review? I understand about the lacking of good stories, there have been an influx on Hermione focused ones recently, and to be honest, I'm only really interested in the ones that centre on Harry. That's one of the reasons I'm writing this story. And a romance lover? I'll let you know that I'm not great at writing romances – but have just finished writing a bit of fluff, though I'm not one to linger, but just so you know what to look forward to. As for getting back to R&H; – hmmm. To be honest I keep forgetting. I'll make sure it happens a bit later though. Promise.
Daesereg – thanks for reviewing. I've already planned out all what Harry does in the story, and I have a feeling it might get a little bit worse for you before it gets better. Hope you stick with me though, and I'll try and keep super-Harry to a minimum for you! Let me know if it gets too much!
Jack Wilde, Candidus-Lupus-full moon, purple bunny, blip-dragon, Angelisl, Laughing, Striking panther, Spacecatdet – thank-you all Can only hope that you enjoy the rest!
Ranko – I'm sorry you feel that way. I assure you I'm not in anyway a cheater – have you seen how many similar story lines there are on this fanfic site? There are so many stories that there will undeniably be some that are similar in content. I can assure you, though, that whereas the idea of a different school is not entirely original – my progression through the plot and the finale is. Well, at least to my knowledge. But if you don't choose to read the rest, then it's up to you. Each to their own, and I'll try not to take it personally.
Meanwhile, if anyone else wants to send any constructive criticism my way, feel free. I'm happy to hear about points I've mixed up or grammar I've got wrong. It makes for a better and more readable story. Try and lay off the insults if you can though, I'm rather sensitive ;-) Cheers. Kit. xxxx