maxine_chan: (HP - HarryDraco paint by Sherant)
Maxine ([personal profile] maxine_chan) wrote2011-08-26 03:07 am
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FIC: All the Answers - Chapter 17

Ahem. Just gonna drop this here. FINALLY. \o/


Title: All the Answers
Fandom: Harry Potter
Rating: NC-17
Pairing: Harry/Draco
Word Count: 5400
Disclaimer: It's not mine. JKR is the brilliant mind behind HP.
Notes: This is a post-HBP 7th year fic that is not compliant with Deathly Hallows at all. Many, many thanks to my awesome beta, [livejournal.com profile] lksnarry1!
Summary: Horcruxes, former enemies showing up out of nowhere, and the usual teenage drama on top of it all - Harry isn't sure how he's ever going to make it through all this. But since when has conquering evil ever been easy?


--> All chapters can be found here. <--



previous chapter


~~Chapter 17~~


It occurred to Harry, as the four of them stood staring at the large, gaping, entirely creepy looking entrance into what appeared to be nothing more than an endless black tunnel, that there was no way this venture could possibly end well.

Why he’d begun to think it could, he had no idea.

“This better not be the only way in,” Draco said, crossing his arms and giving the cave a look of disgust. “No one told me we’d have to get dirty, I’m entirely unprepared for this! I’d have worn something of Potter’s if I knew.”

“Be glad you never had to go into the Chamber of Secrets, mate,” Ron muttered. Harry nodded from beside him.

“I can’t believe the only warning the beach has up is that sign,” Hermione said, complete disapproval coloring her tone. “At the very least they should have it taped off!”

“What’s wrong with the sign, Granger?” Draco looked over at the battered piece of wood in question. Its white paint was peeling off, but the blaring red words that spelled out ‘DANGER: KEEP AWAY’ were still easily visible. “It gets the job done, if you ask me. Besides...” He shivered slightly, arms tightening around himself, and lowered his voice. “No one in their right mind would go down there. You can all but feel doomsday waiting on the other end.”

Harry moved towards the opening. “Guess that makes us all crazy,” he said, ducking beneath the jagged rock and taking a hesitant step inside. The ceiling was low enough that he had to keep his shoulders hunched as he went, and he rubbed absently at his scar when it tingled.

“You’re mental, you realize that, right?” Draco called after him. “Chasing after bits of the Dark Lord’s soul, jumping headfirst into black holes – you’re off your rocker, Potter!”

“I haven’t jumped headfirst into anything, Malfoy,” Harry threw back at him with a roll of his eyes. “I’ve barely taken two steps. Anyway, you have to come with us.”

“Or at least your arm does.” Ron grinned. “Should we cut it off, spare you the trauma?”

Draco gave him a baleful glare. “Mental,” he repeated. “Absolutely mental.”

“You already said as much.” Harry said. “Are you done stalling yet?”

“No, I’ll need another five minutes, at least.”

“Come on,” Ron said, giving Draco a shove in the back. “We’re right behind you.”

“Don’t touch me, Weasley,” Draco snapped, stumbling forward. “I’m perfectly capable of walking on my own.”

“Then do it already!”

“I’ll go when I want to go and not a moment before–”

Malfoy,” Harry interrupted. Draco turned to him with a furious, petulant look on his face, and Harry quickly lit the tip of his wand before holding out his other hand. “Look, see? Not that bad.”

“Not that bad, my arse.” Draco ignored the offered hand, slowly taking a step forward. “It gets smaller, you idiot. You’ll be crawling by the time you get to the end.”

Harry dropped his hand. “We’ll be crawling, you mean.” He looked beyond Draco at Ron and Hermione. “You two following?”

“Of course,” Hermione answered promptly, lighting up her own wand.

Ron nodded. “I got last,” he said.

They had Draco effectively closed in by now, and he huffed, fiddling absently with the cuff of his left sleeve. “Well, go on, then!” he finally spat at Harry, and the other boy flashed him a grin before continuing into the cave.

The walls gradually closed in around them, the ceiling drooping lower and lower and stalagmites cropping up on the ground before them the farther they went. Harry fervently hoped they wouldn’t have to make a quick escape, because there’d be nothing quick about trying to get out of here. The ground sloped steeply up at one point, bringing them to a section where they had to lie flat on their stomachs to inch through.

“Not that I don’t think Granger isn’t enjoying the lovely view she’s been getting, Potter,” Draco said, breaking the silence as they wiggled their way onward, “but exactly how much longer is this going to take?” He ignored Hermione’s slap at his ankle Ron’s offended squawk coming from further back.

“What the hell makes you think I have any idea?” Harry replied, scowling even though no one could see it. “I’ll just pause for a moment and read this handy pamphlet and map Voldemort left behind for us, shall I?”

“Yeah, do that. And while you’re at it, check and see if he left a note about what cleaning spell to use to best get cave gunk out of one’s hair.”

“Maybe there isn’t one,” Harry said. “Maybe gunking up your hair is Voldemort’s idea of a joke.”

“Potter!” Draco sounded scandalized. “Don’t even SAY such a thing, I can’t bear to imagine it.” He paused. “And gunking isn’t even a word, you twit.”

“Whatever, you’d live. You might have to change your name, unless you want to be associated with cave gunk for the rest of your life, but at least it’s not irreparably damaging.”

“It’d actually be an improvement, I say,” Ron added. “Bet you’d look a right sight better than you normally do.”

“You’re lucky you’re not the one behind me, Weasley, because you’d be finding my shoe in your face right about now.”

“Hey,” Harry said suddenly, drawing to a stop. “I think we’ve reached the end.”

“Really?” Hermione said, trying to peer over both Draco and Harry. “What do you see?”

Harry hesitated, angling his wand down. “…A fairly good-sized drop.”

“That’s it?” Draco asked. He sounded entirely unimpressed.

“Won’t see the rest until we get down there, will we?” Harry replied, and with that he dragged himself to the tunnel’s edge. “I think there’s water, though. Why is there always water?”

“So now my shoes are going to get wet, too?” Draco said. “Is that what you’re telling me? Brilliant. Fucking brilliant, Potter.”

“Shut it already, would you?” Hermione said, exasperated. “Honestly, Malfoy.” She scooted closer, crawling over the back of Draco’s legs as she did. “Can you make it, Harry?”

Excuse me,” said Draco. He went ignored.

“Yeah, shouldn’t be a problem,” Harry said. He inched forward until he had enough room to pull his legs in front, though it took a bit of tricky maneuvering. Then, without giving himself time to change his mind, he pushed off.

The ground came up to meet him much faster than he’d been expecting, jarring his legs as he landed. “Ow!”

“Harry??”

“Potter!”

Hermione and Draco crowded at the opening, Ron stuck behind them trying to see overtop their heads. “What happened, mate, you alright?”

“Fine,” Harry said, standing slowly. “I’m fine.” He glanced down and quickly wished he hadn’t as a wave of vertigo swept over him.

There was no floor beneath his feet.

“…Well, there’s something you don’t see everyday,” Draco said, slipping out of the tunnel and lightly jumping down to where Harry was standing. He wobbled, grabbing onto the other boy’s arm to keep from falling, and glared at what appeared to be open air beneath them. “I don’t know what spell this is,” he muttered, sounding extremely unhappy about that fact.

“Didn’t expect you to.” Harry shook him off, going over to help Hermione down. She started prodding at the air with her foot as soon as she landed.

“It feels like a solid surface,” she said, leaning down and putting out her hand. “Like glass, almost.”

Ron hopped down after them, promptly slipping and landing with a thud on his behind. “Bloody hell, what IS this?”

“Smooth, Weasley.”

“Shut up, Malfoy!”

“Harry, look!” Hermione exclaimed, pointing eagerly beneath them. Harry followed the path of her finger, directing the light of his wand that way, and gasped.

“Hufflepuff’s cup!”

Ron and Draco were by their sides in an instant, looking down.

“That’s it?” Draco said. “That’s the Horcrux you need?”

“It bloody well better be,” Harry muttered, kneeling down and trying to find some sort of opening he could get through, though he doubted he’d be so lucky. The cup was on what appeared to be some sort of stone pedestal below them, much the same way the locket had been months previous.

“That water looks shallow, at least,” Hermione said softly. “No…”

“Inferi?” Harry raised an eyebrow at her. “Here’s hoping.”

Draco looked alarmed. “What’s this about inferi??”

“Don’t worry about it,” Harry said, moving so that he was sitting cross-legged. He paused, giving Draco a considering look. “You know some fire spells, right?”

“Of course.”

“Might want to have them ready.” Draco blinked, looking alarmed all over again, and then appeared to take Harry’s words to heart as he began mumbling under his breath and flicking his wrist in the appropriate motions to be sure he remembered how the spells went. Harry looked back at Hermione. “What do you think?”

She shook her head, a crease forming between her eyes as she furrowed her brow, and didn’t answer.

“Do you reckon that’s always been the way to get down here?” Ron asked, glancing back up at the opening of the tunnel they’d dropped from. “I can’t exactly imagine Snape crawling around like that. Not to mention You-Know-Who.”

Draco snorted suddenly, and when the others glanced at him questioningly he said, “Sorry. Mental image. My father – you thought I was bad about my hair.”

Harry grinned, but it faded quickly. “Voldemort probably made it more difficult later. Or maybe he found it first and just had the others Apparate in.”

“If that’s the case, then you’d think Snape would’ve just put the image of the place into our heads again. Like with Belgium.” Ron scowled. “Would’ve been a hell of a lot easier.”

“I’m sure there are wards up preventing that, Weasley,” Draco said. “Otherwise Snape would’ve come straight here himself to make sure there was a Horcrux, don’t you think?”

“Oh yeah…”

“And he said something about needing a Dark Mark,” Hermione spoke up. “Except none of us needed one to make it this far, which means that there’s something in here that requires it.”

They all looked around, like maybe they were hoping for the answer to just jump out at them and wave a sign around. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

Harry sighed, dragging a hand through his hair in frustration. He looked down at the cup again, at the water surrounding it, and on a whim pointed his wand. “Accio Horcrux!”

It didn’t budge, of course.

“…Really?” Draco said, lifting an eyebrow in Harry’s direction.

“It might have worked,” Harry muttered, even though he had known it wouldn’t. It hadn’t worked for the locket either, but Harry didn’t know of any other way to check what might be waiting for them in the dark water below.

Draco glanced down. “Accio cup!” he shouted, but the Horcrux remained sitting on the pedestal. He switched his wand to his left hand and tried to cast the spell again. “Accio Hufflepuff’s cup!” Still nothing. The water splashed gently against the dais.

“You’re not left-handed,” Hermione said.

“Dark Mark,” Draco replied, answering her unasked question. “Thought maybe if I did it with that hand…”

She nodded and then pointed her own wand. “Well if it won’t come to us, we’ll have to get to it. Reducto!”

“It’s not actually glass, Hermione,” Harry said when, like the other spells they’d cast, hers also yielded zero results. “I don’t think any spells we know are going to get through. It won’t be that easy.”

“No, I guess not.” Hermione sighed and sat down next to Harry.

Ron did the same. “How did you figure out the cave, mate?” he asked.

“I didn’t,” Harry replied, shaking his head. “That was all Dumbledore. There’s no way I would have made it through there on my own.”

“Reassuring,” Draco muttered, as he also took a seat.

“It’ll be something to do with you,” Harry said, looking across at him. “And it won’t be anything pleasant. Dumbledore had to make a blood payment for us to get into the cave last time, and that was probably the easiest part of the whole damn thing.”

Some of the color drained from Draco’s face. “I’m willing to do whatever, I just – it’d be nice if we knew what, exactly, it was that we have to do.”

Harry nodded and absently reached out to run his hands along the invisible surface they were sitting on. It really did feel like glass, which just made it all the more strange when it looked like his hands were hovering in midair. Draco moved to do the same – and then instantly drew his hands back, as if he’d been shocked, a startled look on his face.

“What?” Harry asked quickly. “You alright?” Ron and Hermione straightened, looking more alert.

“Did something happen?” Hermione asked.

Draco didn’t reply. Instead, he slowly lowered his left hand again, hissing when it came in contact with the barrier. “Stings,” he said shortly, his face scrunching up as he pressed harder. “And it feels different with this hand. Not hard, but like – like I’m reaching through mud or something. Ow!” He pulled his hand back abruptly; Harry saw that his palm was bright red.

“Is it burning you?” he asked, alarmed.

“Feels like.”

“Do you think that’s it, then?” Ron asked. “Malfoy shoves his hand through and then this – floor thing…it’ll go away?”

Harry and Hermione looked at each other, and Harry was somewhat relieved to see that she looked as worried as he felt.

“Can you be more specific?” she said to Draco. “Does it feel like your hand is actually passing through something? Or are you just pushing against it?”

“No,” Draco said slowly, with a shake of his head. “It’s definitely like I was passing through.” He moved his hand forward again and hesitated only for a second before pressing down. “The farther I go, the more of my hand it covers,” he said through clenched teeth. “My guess is – fuck.” He withdrew again, shaking out his hand and flexing his fingers.

“…You have to do that until your Dark Mark makes it through,” Harry finished for him. Draco looked at him and nodded. “Shit.” Harry was silent for a moment, staring at Draco’s arm, and then he said, “I don’t like it.”

Draco snorted. “I’m not exactly fond of the idea either, but you said yourself that it wasn’t going to be anything pleasant.”

“But this…” Harry gestured helplessly at the other boy’s hand.

“You could really hurt yourself,” Hermione said softly.

“Well has anyone else got any bright ideas, then?” Draco asked in a sharp tone, looking at each of the others in turn. Hermione seemed frustrated because nothing was coming to her. Ron glanced away, and after struggling with himself for a minute, Harry reluctantly shook his head. “No? I thought not. So shut up already and let me do this.” Then, before Harry could offer up any sort of additional protests, Draco took a deep breath and shoved his entire arm, straight up to his elbow, through the invisible barrier. His face instantly contorted in pain and though he was gritting his teeth in an attempt to keep back any cries that might have wanted to escape, he was unable to stop himself from letting out one strangled, cut off sound.

Harry automatically reached forward, but suddenly the floor beneath them disappeared and the four of them were tumbling through open air into the chamber below. They barely had time to let out startled shouts before they landed with a large splash in the water, and Harry had a moment of pure panic as he twisted around and lurched to his feet, terrified that something would be reaching up to grab him – until he realized that his hands had already scraped against the bottom when they fell so the pool couldn't be that deep. Sure enough, when he looked down he was relieved to see that the water only came to his knees.

"Ow,” Ron grunted as he clambered to his feet before offering Hermione a hand to pull her up, as well. “Probably should've seen that coming.”

“At least there doesn't seem to be anything in here,” Hermione pointed out, wincing a bit and rubbing her arm. She was right; the water merely rippled around them.

Harry looked around at Draco, finding him still sitting on the rocky bottom and clutching his arm beneath the water. “Alright?” he asked, quickly making his way toward him. Draco glanced up and shrugged.

“Fine,” he said shortly, but he still didn't stand. Harry crouched down in front of him and Draco grimaced. “Fucking burns,” he said, still using tight, clipped tones. “Was hoping the water...”

Harry nodded. “Hold tight,” he said, straightening up again. “Shouldn't be much longer, then we’ll get you some potions for that.” He turned back to face the pedestal, eyeing it warily. It was taller than he’d first thought, the cup itself sitting almost at eye level, just waiting to be taken. There had to be something else... But he couldn't think of what it might be. How had Dumbledore seemed to just know things?

“What's wrong?” Hermione asked.

“This is too simple,” Harry replied. “And with Voldemort, it's never simple.”

“I hardly think sacrificing my bloody arm is something most people would consider simple, Potter,” Draco griped.

Harry shook his head. “No, there'll be more.” But what? The cavern they were stood in was eerily quiet. There was no need for a boat, there weren't any inferi, and there wasn't any kind of potion for the cup to be submersed in. It was just them, the pedestal, and the water splashing gently up against it.

...Wait.

Harry looked again, watching the movement of the water, and then carefully turned to look at the others.

None of them were moving. Everyone was standing (or sitting, in Draco's case) perfectly still as they studied their surroundings, yet there were small waves forming around the bottom of the stone column holding the Horcrux. It almost seemed to be bubbling up, like the water was starting to boil, except it couldn't be because the water was cold.

Still…

“We definitely don’t want to be in here much longer,” Harry muttered, wading over to the Horcrux. He stopped when he reached it, deliberated for a few seconds, and then decided it’d be best to just go for it. Behind him he could hear Draco getting to his feet and sloshing closer; Ron moved to do the same. Harry braced himself, and then reached up to grab Hufflepuff’s cup.

His hand went straight through it, like it wasn’t even there.

“What–?” he started to say, eyes going wide, and beside him Ron groaned.

“Bloody hell, you don’t think someone’s already gotten to this one, too, do you?” he asked, reaching his hand out as well and watching as it passed through the cup.

“God, I hope not,” Harry said. “Unless, you know, they’ve destroyed it already. In which case, good on them.” He waved his hand through the Horcrux’s image a couple more times, noting that it felt similar to the few times he’d accidentally stepped through a Hogwarts ghost. It was like a brush of slightly cooler air passing over his skin.

“Oh, shove over,” Draco said, pushing Harry out of the way with his good hand. “I can already see where this is going.” He extended his other hand, the skin of which was now an angry, blotchy red that went all the way up his forearm, and closed his fingers around one of the cup’s suddenly solid golden handles. “There, see?” he said, and Harry released a breath he hadn’t realized he’d been holding.

He didn’t have time to feel relieved, though; the Dark Mark on Draco’s arm, which had already turned an ugly, poisonous looking green after being thrust through the barrier earlier, seemed to pulse suddenly, the snake writhing furiously on the other boy’s skin. Eyes widening, Harry opened his mouth to say something about it, but was quickly distracted by the way the bubbling water abruptly calmed around their legs. He looked down and unconsciously took a step back. Oblivious to all of this, Draco continued speaking, lifting the Horcrux off the pedestal as he did. “Figured it had to do with the mark aga–ahhh–!”

Draco’s entire body jerked as he gasped loudly. The snake on his arm snapped its head around to one side and a spasm shot through Draco’s hand, causing the cup to drop from his still shaking fingers.

“Malfoy!” Harry cried. Both he and Ron stepped forward as Draco’s legs seemed to give out beneath him, but they didn’t have a chance to reach him because, suddenly, the water exploded around them.

Like a geyser rushing up from below, it tossed them into the air and slammed them into the same invisible barrier from before, though it seemed to be a lot lower now. Before Harry could figure out what was happening, he was falling again, landing back in the water which was suddenly much deeper and rising still.

Dazed, his head pounding, Harry clutched at the pedestal and pulled himself to his feet, coughing and spitting out foul tasting water as he looked around for his friends. “Ron!” he called, just as the other boy burst through the surface and sucked in a lungful of air. “Ron, are you okay?!”

“Fine,” Ron said, sounding distracted and dragging an arm across his mouth. “Where’s Hermione? Hermione!”

She came up not far from him, hand pressed against her temple as she struggled against the undercurrent now threatening to pull them all under. Ron instantly moved to help, cursing as he slipped and almost fell himself. He made it to Hermione and wrapped an arm around her waist, holding her tight as he asked over and over if she was alright.

“I’m okay,” she insisted, but she had an unfocused look in her eyes and Harry noticed that her fingers came away bloody when Ron finally pulled her hand from her head. “Ron, I’m fine, I just – I hit my head.”

“How many fingers am I holding up?” Ron asked, ignoring her protests.

Ron.”

“Where’s Malfoy?” Harry asked suddenly. His thoughts felt muddled, like his brain was stuffed full of cotton, and he shook his head in an attempt to clear it. The water level had reached his chest now.

Ron looked around. “Malfoy?” he called tentatively. “Oi, Malfoy!”

“MALFOY!” Harry shouted much louder, still clinging to the pedestal but trying to make his way around it. Water seemed to be pouring in from everywhere now, raining from above, rushing in around them, and waves were sloshing all over the place and making it hard to see. “MALFOY–”

“Here!” he heard, and he spun around in the direction he’d just come from to see Draco stumbling towards him.

“How the hell did you get all the way over there?!”

“Cup,” Draco grunted, taking a final lunge toward Harry and grabbing onto the hand that was offered to him. “Fucking dropped the bloody thing, I wasn’t about to let it get away after all this mess.” He was panting and still barely seemed able to stand, so Harry copied Ron and threw an arm around his waist to steady him. Draco slung his own arm over Harry’s shoulder in return.

“All present and accounted for?” Ron asked. He was looking up. “Good – so how the hell do you reckon we get out of here?”

Harry hesitated, mostly because he really didn’t want to confirm what he was pretty sure he already knew. But there wasn’t time to waste, not with the way the water level kept rising, so he lifted his hand.

Not two feet above his head he came into contact with what felt suspiciously like a glass ceiling.

Ron didn’t even have to fully straighten his arm to find it. He swore. “Harry...”

“I know.”

“This is bad.”

“I know.”

“Now what do we do?”

Harry shrugged helplessly, trying to come up with something, anything, but it still felt like his thoughts were moving through molasses and he couldn’t string anything coherent together.

“What’s wrong?” Draco asked from beside him. “The barrier’s back? I can just–”

No–” Harry started to say, but Draco ignored him and thrust his left arm straight up.

“You might have to give me a boost,” he was saying, but then all of a sudden he cut himself off and they watched as he pushed at the empty air. “…Well.”

“What?” Harry asked quickly.

“It’s – ah. Not working.” Draco tried again, then shook his head. “Nope. Just glass. Or something that feels like glass. Whatever.”

“…You’re joking,” Harry said faintly, and Draco shot him an annoyed look.

“Yes, because I thought it seemed like exactly the appropriate time to try and get a laugh out of you.”

“Bubble-head charms,” Hermione said abruptly, lifting her head from Ron’s shoulder. “Then at least we’ll be able to breathe while we figure this out.”

Harry was so very glad that at least one of them was able to think under the threat of possibly having a concussion.

His joy was very short-lived, however, because when they said the incantation, nothing happened.

“You have got to be fucking kidding me,” Draco groaned.

“Can’t we do any bloody magic in here?” Ron asked desperately.

“Don’t suppose we could try transfiguring ourselves into sharks or something,” Harry said. Bubble-head charms had reminded him of the Triwizard Tournament, and from there it was an easy jump to Krum and what he had done to get through the second task that year. “Better yet, somebody find me some gillyweed.”

“Where’s Dobby when you need him, eh?” Ron muttered. Harry nodded.

Wait.

Dobby.

House elves could get through most wards.

Hermione’s eyes had gone wide and she looked straight at him, so Harry knew he was on the right track.

“KREACHER!” he bellowed, causing Draco to wince and grumble about having his ear shouted off.

The elf popped into existence mere seconds later, and Harry had never been so happy to see him.

“Master is – ah!” Kreacher yelped and crouched in the center of the pedestal he’d landed on. “What – why is Master calling Kreacher here, Kreacher isn’t wanting to swim!”

“Kreacher,” Harry said, throwing his free arm onto the pedestal and hauling himself higher up, dragging Draco with him. “Kreacher, can you feel the wards in here?”

“Wards?” Kreacher repeated. His eyes narrowed and he tipped his head to the side a bit, considering, and then nodded. “Kreacher is feeling wards.” He shivered. “They isn’t nice. Almost like–” His eyes widened.

“Almost like the cave Regulus brought you to?” Harry filled in for him.

Kreacher, for all that he claimed to hate Harry and dislike having him around, seemed panicked suddenly. “Is Master dying tonight? Is Kreacher going to lose another one? Oh, what will poor Kreacher do, Kreacher isn’t being able to protect anyone–”

“Kreacher, I’m not planning on dying,” Harry cut in. “But that’ll only be the case if you help us!” The water was climbing up to his shoulders now. He pulled himself higher. “We don’t have a lot of time – I need you to dismantle these wards so we can Apparate out of here!”

“Dismantle the wards…?” Kreacher seemed to focus on something again, and then he shrunk back. “These is evil, Kreacher doesn’t know if…”

“They’re Voldemort’s,” Harry said. “Just like the last place Regulus brought you.”

“Master Regulus?” Kreacher said faintly. And then, in a lower, angrier voice he added, “The Dark Lord.”

“Yes.” Harry nodded his head in Draco’s direction. “And look, it’s the one you like, we have to get him out of here, too.” Draco frowned at him, but Harry ignored it.

“Master Malfoy!” Kreacher cried, shuffling closer to the edge of the pedestal. “Blood of my Mistress! Oh, what a good Master you would have been, Kreacher would have–” He stopped talking abruptly before he could finish that, turning back to look at Harry. He seemed to be deliberating with himself.

Harry sighed and threw all caution to the wind. “We’re trying to kill the Dark Lord, Kreacher! Voldemort, the one who killed Regulus! Don’t you want to help avenge him? I know you can take these wards down, and we need your help!”

“We do,” Draco said shortly, though from the slightly pinched look on his face Harry guessed that it pained him to ask for help from a house elf. “Kreacher, get us out of here!”

Ron and Hermione kept silent, which was probably a wise decision.

Kreacher was quiet for a moment longer, and then he nodded once. “Kreacher will be needing help,” he said. “These is complicated, and Master can’t be breathing underwater. These is going to take time, but Kreacher isn’t having time.”

“Right,” Harry said. “Yes. Help. Go get Dobby.” The water reached the top of the pedestal then, pouring over the edge and covering Kreacher’s feet. The elf looked at it with wide eyes. “Go, Kreacher! Get Dobby and Apparate up there!” He pointed above them, hand coming into contact with the barrier again almost immediately as he did. Was the bloody thing getting even lower? “There’s – another level. So you won’t be in the water. Hurry.” Kreacher nodded again, and then disappeared with a crack.

“First time I’ll actually be looking forward to seeing that old bugger again,” Ron said. He had his free hand braced against the ceiling, his other arm still tight around Hermione. His face had gone pale beneath his freckles.

“He’ll come back,” Hermione said. Luckily her head seemed to have stopped bleeding, but she was still sagging against Ron. “They’ll manage. House elves have very strong magic.”

“I don’t doubt they can get the wards down, it’s how quickly they can do it that I’m worried about,” Harry muttered.

After a very long twenty seconds or so, another loud crack sounded and Kreacher was back, Dobby in tow.

“Ahh, Harry Potter!” he cried, jumping around from foot to foot as he watched them through the barrier. “Oh, this is bad. Bad, bad – but Dobby is coming to rescue you, Harry Potter! Don’t worry!”

“Much appreciated!” Harry called back somewhat exasperatedly, because honestly, talk later, they were running out of time!

“Just get on with it already!” Draco snapped, obviously less inclined to be friendly when possibly drowning to death loomed on the horizon. He spat out a mouthful of water and hauled himself further up onto the pedestal beside Harry, although, at this point, it wasn’t doing much good. He still had the Horcrux clutched tightly in his fist.

Ron tried to maneuver around so Hermione could hang onto it, too, but she wouldn’t let go of him. “No,” she said, voice shaking slightly, and latched both of her arms around his neck and pulled herself higher that way. “Ron, I–”

“No!” Harry interrupted harshly, not caring if he seemed mean or insensitive. “No, Hermione, don’t do that – we’re going to get out of here, everything’s going to be fine!”

Ron spared him a quick glance but looked back to Hermione almost immediately. The water lapped at their chins. “Sorry, mate, but if–”

“STOP IT,” Harry said overtop of him, but Ron ignored him just as easily and instead drew Hermione even closer and kissed her fiercely.

Something like despair welled up inside of Harry with startling speed and he felt Draco tense up beside him, the arm still around his neck tightening almost painfully. Harry very pointedly didn’t look at him, and instead thumped his hand angrily against that stupid bloody fucking barrier ceiling whatever thing and hoped that the house elves above them were actually accomplishing something with their squeezed shut eyes and clenched fists.

“Potter,” Draco’s voice said in his ear.

“Don’t,” Harry said shortly.

Harry–”

“Shut up,” he snarled, but then the use of his first name caught up with him and against his will his head snapped around so he could stare at Draco with wide eyes.

Draco gave him a weak version of his usual smirk. “Best take a deep breath,” was all he said, and then he proceeded to do just that as the water pouring in finally swallowed them completely.



...Why yes, I did make you all wait approximately 12983749283 years only to leave you with a cliffhanger. >.> My bad. XD

SEE YOU NEXT WEEK!

~Maxine


next chapter




You can also read it at Skyehawke.

[identity profile] arielpotter.livejournal.com 2011-08-26 02:45 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm so happy you decided to finish this wonderful story that I might forgive you for the cliffhanger of doom after 12964539837648 years of excruciating waiting.

Now all I need is a nice, hot, sexy, Maxine's style Harry/Draco scene in the next chapter and all is forgiven. I'm sneaky like that >_>

Nice job, as always.

[identity profile] maxine-chan.livejournal.com 2011-09-02 05:08 am (UTC)(link)
Ahaha, well no worries, I'm getting ready to post the next chapter now!

But I'm not saying what may or may not happen in it. XD

THANK YOU!!

[identity profile] thrnbrooke.livejournal.com 2011-08-26 03:05 pm (UTC)(link)
Argh!!!!!! I need more!!!!!!

[identity profile] maxine-chan.livejournal.com 2011-09-02 05:08 am (UTC)(link)
It's coming right now!! :D

[identity profile] awakejupiter.livejournal.com 2011-08-26 11:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Intense chapter. Help them Dobby and Kreacher D:

[identity profile] maxine-chan.livejournal.com 2011-09-02 05:08 am (UTC)(link)
You'll get to find out soon, I'm posting the next chapter now!

(Anonymous) 2011-08-27 01:19 pm (UTC)(link)
Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy? Why must you leave us like this? More! More! More!

- Addicted reader.
P.S. Fabulous btw =D

[identity profile] maxine-chan.livejournal.com 2011-09-02 05:09 am (UTC)(link)
Because I'm a terrible, terrible person, hahaha. But don't worry, I'm getting ready to post the next chapter now!

Thank you!! :D

[identity profile] pheonixfire39.livejournal.com 2011-08-27 02:12 pm (UTC)(link)
gotta love those house elves!!
can't wait for the next chapter, cliffhangers kill me!!

[identity profile] maxine-chan.livejournal.com 2011-09-02 05:10 am (UTC)(link)
Haha, indeed!

It's coming in just a couple minutes! :D

[identity profile] hpstrangelove.livejournal.com 2011-08-27 08:45 pm (UTC)(link)
Wow, I thought I was seeing things. I may wait to read though, since there's a cliffy.

[identity profile] maxine-chan.livejournal.com 2011-09-02 05:11 am (UTC)(link)
Haha, I know - shocker, right? I'm getting ready to post the next chapter now!
ext_40819: Shifty-eyed starfish from Nemo  (Default)

[identity profile] karaz.livejournal.com 2011-08-29 01:48 pm (UTC)(link)
Yayayayayayayae!! I've been wanting to reread everything first so couldn't read this chapter when you posted it but I'm so happy that you've decided to continue this. It was fun to see how many things the books or films did that you already did. Aren't you glad you took that path with Snape?

And cliffhanger of doom. D: But it's worth it if I get the rest of this one!
Edited 2011-08-29 13:50 (UTC)

[identity profile] maxine-chan.livejournal.com 2011-09-02 05:13 am (UTC)(link)
Hi darling! So glad you're still reading this. :D

Haha, I AM glad I took that path with Snape! He's such an awesome character.

Next chapter is coming in a couple of minutes! Thank you!!! ♥

All I need

[identity profile] son-of-herne.livejournal.com 2011-09-06 03:09 pm (UTC)(link)
I can't believe you actually got back to this fic. I read up to this chapter several years ago and then it just disappeared from H/D fandom. I'm happy you've decided to continue it.

(Anonymous) 2011-11-23 05:18 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh yay!! sporadically checking back has worked!! Yay! I'm so happy you've decided to continue with this fic. It's so much more of an adventure than JK's version of horcrux hunting.