1. The Escape
Harry slunk warily along the footpath, his head slightly bowed, eye’s darting up and down the street, glancing every now and then left and right. His right hand hovered over the pocket in his worn out faded jeans where his wand lay hidden, but within easy grasp. His fist was unconsciously clenching and unclenching. Most people would have found the misty cool night air soothing, pleasant, but Harry was on edge.
As he rounded the corner of
Harry was able to make out the features as it made it’s way towards him. It was Kingsley Shacklebolt. After scanning the area as soon as he had seen Harry, Kingsley had removed his invisibility cloak and given Harry a quick nod in greeting. When they were within a few feet of each other, Harry spoke.
‘What’s happening? Who’s here with you?’ His voice was calm, but his look was determined.
‘Goldstein is at the other end of the street’ Kingsley said in his deep voice ‘But he’ll be replaced by Tonks at . I’m on until dawn.’ Even as he spoke, he never stopped surveying the area. ‘Nothing to report?’
This is how the quick exchanges between Harry and his guard had gone every night.
‘No, nothing.’ Harry’s eye’s barely met Kingsley’s as he looked down at his shuffling feet. ‘So … when am I getting out of here?’
‘Nothing yet I’m afraid.’ Kingsley was used to Harry’s impatience, he had stood guard five out of the eight nights since Harry had returned to
Harry looked up suddenly, and then looked back at the ground just as quickly, his eyes seeming to be searching for something. This was it! He thought. This was what he’d been waiting for. It was only a short amount of time, he would have to cut it close, but he knew he could do it. With one guard gone, he could slip through.
‘Is there any other news?’ Harry always dreaded asking this, but he had to know. If he was going to go through with his plan, he had to learn everything he could about what The Order knew. There was silence as Harry waited, eyes still lingering on the ground. He was sure if Kingsley caught his eye, he would see the guilt Harry tried so hard to conceal. Kingsley cleared his throat.
‘Some of the usual stuff.’ he said, though he seemed hesitant. ‘A few more missing people … they found Fudge’s body late last night.’
Harry looked away in disgust. Fudge hadn’t been his favourite person in the world. When Harry had returned from the graveyard, clutching Cedric Diggory’s dead body during the Triwizard Tournament over two years ago, Fudge had refused to believe that Voldemort had taken form again. And in the year following, he had gone to great lengths to discredit Harry in every way possible, squashing most of Dumbledore’s efforts to get people to believe in Harry and to prepare for Lord Voldemort’s return. But for all Fudge’s faults, he did not deserve the hand that fate had dealt him.
Harry took a deep breath and turned back to Kingsley. Somehow this news had given him the push he needed. He now held such resolve that he was right in his plans, that he could look Shacklebolt directly in the eyes.
‘What are Voldemort and his Death Eaters up to? They must have a plan! You must know something from following the trail of blood they leave behind.’ Harry said this with such loathing that Kingsley barely grimaced at the mention of the name Voldemort, but pulled back slightly from Harry, seemingly more uncomfortable with his tone.
‘We don’t know … exactly.’ Kingsley said evasively. This was the final straw for Harry, he could tell Kingsley was reluctant to say too much, and finally the pressure of the past eight days, sitting uselessly in his room at the Dursleys waiting for news, biding his time unable to rest as he waited for his chance, suddenly burst to the surface.
‘If you think’ he said gravely ‘that Dumbledore didn’t know I was ready for this,’ his eyes blazed threateningly ‘then you’ve already lost to Voldemort!’ his body was rigid with frustration.
Kingsley seemed exceedingly uncomfortable, but Harry didn’t care. If he was going to get out of
‘Look,’ Kingsley said, he was fidgeting with the invisibility cloak hanging fluidly in his left hand. ‘I don’t know what good it will do you to know too much right now anyway. You-you can’t leave until you turn seventeen in a few weeks, it’s safer that way. You will be better protected here than anywhere else until then, now that Dumble…’ he trailed off with an awkward hand gesture. ‘Well … you know what I mean.’ He gave Harry a steady look, ‘It’s what he would have wanted.’
Harry let out a heavy sigh and his body slackened slightly. He knew he could not tell Kingsley why Dumbledore would have understood, he could not tell him about the Horcruxes, about Dumbledore’s dying wish, so he resigned himself to returning to No 4, where he would sit and wait, now his chance had come. Harry turned to leave, hunched over, defeated, and had only gone a few paces when Kingsley called after him.
‘See you same time tomorrow night, then.’
Harry turned slowly and looked at Kingsley ‘Yeah,’ he said quietly ‘I’ll be here.’ A sinking feeling crept over Harry as he turned his back on Kingsley. Would he ever see him again? Would he ever see any of them again? He straightened himself to his full height and resumed his state of readiness as he moved quietly back up
He knew what he had to do, the path lay before him, and he would walk that path alone, as he had done many times before.
Harry could see the dim glow of light seeping through the small gaps in the curtains as he reached No.4. Someone was still awake. Harry crept up to the house and with great care, turned the handle and pushed the door open as quietly as possible, unwilling to give his Uncle yet another opportunity to start ranting at him, a favourite past time of his.
It seems the Dursleys had decided the best way to repay Harry for inflicting Dumbledore on them last summer, was to make his life with them even harder for him than before. He suspected that it had a lot to do with Dumbledore’s comment about their beloved, and hopelessly spoiled dope of a son Dudley, who in their eyes was a perfect angel who could do no wrong.
He stepped over the threshold then eased the door back into place and released the handle, but no sooner had he turned to mount the stairs when he saw his Uncle’s stocky figure standing in the doorway to the kitchen, arms crossed over his rounded stomach. His eye’s glittered dangerously, as he glared at Harry, a smug satisfaction etched on his face. He had obviously known Harry had snuck out, and had been waiting there for him, ready to catch him. Harry had the impression of being like a deer caught in the headlights of a car.
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