Chapter 33 Nightmare Revisited
Fred ran for all he was worth. He could hear the snapping of hexes and curses as they hit trees and other such objects. Fred wasn't about to turn around and look. But out of the corner of his eye, he noticed a chain wrap around a tree.
He was really freaking out right now. If he weren't running for his life, he'd still probably be breathing just as hard. Seeing Pravus again like that...it was like his whole time at the Manor had come back to him in a flash.
It was hard to believe that it had been a year now since that had happened.
Fred tripped on something-probably a root-and he flew forward, but somehow managed to catch himself and roll into the fall, spring back to his feet, and then keep going.
Wow. That was a move I would have liked to record with one of those strange muggle recording video thingies. Wonder if anyone saw it...
His thoughts were immediately banished though, when something hit his back, and he went sprawling, this time much less gracefully. Fred thought at first that a spell had hit him, but then realized that it was a person.
He struggled a moment, when he heard a familiar voice hiss in his ear. "Stop it, Freddie! Listen," George said, and Fred felt something being pulled over his head. "Whatever you do, leave this one, or I will tell Mum and she will help me hex you to the next life and back. Don't make a noise, and for Godric's sake, don't be reckless for once!"
Fred was unable to say anything in response as his face was smashed into the dirt, but suddenly George's weight was gone, and Fred quickly got to his feet.
They were surrounded. He saw Hermione getting Harry to his feet, and was shocked to see that Harry's face was swollen quite badly and his glasses were missing. In front of him were George and Draco, who were being grabbed and dragged toward the others.
Fred was somewhat dazed from his tumble, but finally realized that the Snatchers were supposed to be grabbing him too. After all, he was wearing a bright blue coat. How could they miss him?
He suddenly understood what had happened and was horrified. Hands flying to his head, he felt the stocking cap that George had pulled over his head, and then he quickly looked down.
He was invisible.
Draco's heart was pounding as Pravus sneered at him.
"Names?" The head Snatcher asked, and then walked over to Hermione to stroke her hair.
Huh. Wonder when I stopped calling her Granger.
"Penelope Clearwater. Half-blood," Hermione answered. Draco applauded the effort, but he was pretty sure that as part of the Golden Trio, there wasn't anyone who was terribly unaware of who she really was.
The Snatcher looked over to Harry, whose face Draco just realized was awfully swollen. "Vernon Dudley," Hardy said, and Draco wrinkled his nose. The names were familiar, but the last one was obviously not a pure-blooded name. Draco internally sighed. They were stalling, but for what? They were kinda doomed.
He jerked a bit as Pravus yanked him forward by his arm. "We're not taking this lot to the Ministry," he said, sneering at the blond. "Young Mr. Malfoy here must be homesick."
Draco felt a pang of dread, and then realized that he wasn't the only one who would be dreading going back there. He turned quickly, and saw George being restrained by Greyback. He shuddered, but then realized that Fred wasn't there.
One look at George and Draco realized something was up, but he was just relieved for the moment that the other boy was out of danger.
Or at least, he hoped he was...
"This one is undoubtedly a Weasley," Greyback snarled, tightening his grip around George's throat.
"One of the twins, I daresay. You look like your brother did before we scarred him up! Well," Pravus continued, "Almost," and looked pointedly at George's missing ear.
Draco felt anger join the fear, and clearly saw it on the other's faces.
"Oh yes, this is going to be very fun."
The fear outweighed the anger as the lead Snatcher pulled back a bit of Harry's dark locks and looked at the spot on his forehead where the scar was supposed to be.
They were in big trouble.
Fred had just barely had time to grab George's arm before the group apparated away. George jumped slightly, but Fred figured that he understood that it was him.
Idiot. Bloody. Selfish. Idiot.
Fred knew he was as being unreasonable. But really...if George had had one of the invisible hats that they'd improved, why not give it to Harry? He needed it more.
But maybe George had been too far away. And George was just trying to help Fred. After all he had suffered, he knew what George had been thinking.
And Fred was relieved. Especially when he realized where they were.
Bellatrix led them into the parlor area that Fred had first been introduced to. Where he had been put under the cruciatus curse and had seen Draco for the first time at his own home.
Fred worked tirelessly to make sure his legs stopped shaking; so that he wouldn't give himself away. He had been afraid several times that he'd be discovered by Greyback, and had held his breath whenever he was near the werewolf. As it was, he stayed as close to George and Draco, seeing as they'd been together for the last few months, hopefully Greyback wouldn't take notice of a different scent.
"Where did you get that?!" Fred snapped his head around at Bellatrix's question. Looking over, he suddenly felt sick.
One of the Snatchers had the sword of Gryffindor.
"I found it in her bag," the Snatcher said, motioning to Hermione. "I reckon it's mine now."
What happened next caused Fred to back up agains the wall in shock. Bellatrix had an extremely enraged look on her face as she started shouting and shooting curses at the group of Snatchers. One was killed, and another had a snake around his neck.
"Are you mad?!" The leader said, trying to pry the snake off.
"Get out! GET OUT!" Bellatrix screamed.
"Lucius!" Fred turned to see Lucius Malfoy leaning up against the fire place. The man was gaunt, and looked haunted. Fred wasn't able to see Draco's face from where he was standing, but wondered what the boy was thinking.
"Take these ones to the cellar!" The mad woman screeched and shoved Harry and George toward him. She turned to Draco, sneered, and shot a curse at him. Fred stifled a yell as the younger boy cried out and collapsed. Bellatrix sneered, and then grabbed Hermione by the arm. Fred could see her shaking like a leaf from across the room; and realized that he himself was on the verge of passing out from a panic attack.
Get a grip! He told himself.
"I'm going to have a talk with this one, girl to girl!"
Fred was scared. What was Bellatrix going to do with her?
Torn between following Harry and George and staying to see if he could rescue Draco and Hermione, Fred decided to follow the others. If he was going to mount a rescue, it might be better if he had someone to help, and that would only happen if he could get the others out.
Swallowing and forcing his trembling legs to obey, he followed Lucius down to the cellars, and realized that it was a different place than where he'd been held. After Lucius left, Harry started to talk frantically about what they were going to do, and Fred nearly fell over when he heard the first scream.
Fred started at the voice, and stared in surprise as Luna Lovegood walked into the light.
"George!"he hissed through the bars.
Both the boys jumped. Luna just stared in curiosity. Behind her was-
"Mr. Ollivander!" Fred exclaimed, albeit in a quite hiss.
Funny. The man who Fred had tried to help in the beginning, and here he was. Fred suddenly felt guilty for not thinking of him in a the time that had passed.
Would I have lasted this long?
"Fred?" Harry asked.
Fred took the hat off, and Harry's not-swollen eye widened.
"Draco's idea..." Fred muttered. Then he glared at George.
"Reckless? Really? Pot calling he kettle black much?"
Another scream split the air, and Fred winced.
"Can you get us out?"
Fred studied the lock. He didn't want to tamper, in case it was warded like his had been. Draco had been able to get rid of those for him, but he didn't think he could do the same.
Footsteps sounded behind him. Fred slipped the hat back on, and moved to the far side of the door, watching in distaste as Wormtail made his way down. He opened the door, his wand pointed at the group.
"You. Goblin. Come."
Fred stared. He hadn't noticed the Goblin before now.
After Wormtail had left, Fred let out the breath he'd been holding. And then, jumped in surprise at a snap.
In the middle of the cell, stood a house elf.
Immediately, Fred thought of Libby, but the realized that that was impossible. She was dead.
"Dobby?!" Harry exclaimed.
There was another scream, which drowned out whatever the elf was telling them. But he heard the last bit.
"Shell cottage on the outskirts of Tinworth," George said, and Fred wondered why he was saying the name of the place where Bill and Fleur lived.
A moment later, Dobby was gone with Luna and Mr. Ollivander.
More steps sounded behind him, and Fred donned the hat again. Wormtail opened the door, and then fell on his face as a spell hit his back.
Staring up the steps in surprise, Fred smirked as Dobby asked, "Who gets his wand?"
Unsure of what the plan was, if there was any, Fred turned and hurried up the stairs, making sure his hat was on tightly. It wouldn't do to have it coming off. That'd be awkward.
When he reached the parlor again, Draco was still unconscious. Pravus was standing over him, and Lucius was sitting at the table. Hermione was laying on the floor, and Bellatrix was talking in low tones to the Goblin.
Sneaking by, hoping that his muggle sneakers wouldn't squeak on the floor, he went to check on Hermione.
He felt sick at what he found.
Hermione had the word Mudblood carved into her arm.
Subconsciously, Fred reached for his arm, feeling the phantom pain from the knife that had carved the words Blood Traitor.
"You're lucky, Goblin," Bellatrix was saying. Fred turned back, and saw Bellatrix walking over, sneering at Hermione, who had a few tears falling down her cheeks.
"I can't say the same for this one."
That did it. Something snapped inside him, and he tore off his hat.
"Like hell!" He shouted, and stupified Bellatrix so hard that she flew across the room and hit the wall.
Lucius jumped up and tried to shoot a spell at him, but Fred deflected it and disarmed Draco's father.
Across the room, there was a growl, and Fred whirled in horror as he saw that Greyback was still there.
But he needn't have worried. Harry and George were charging in, and they quickly disarmed and knocked out the werewolf. Fred sighed in relief.
But it was short lived.
"Stop!" A voice yelled, and all three of them turned to see Pravus standing with Draco pressed to him, a knife at the blond's throat. Draco himself was barely conscious, and he looked to be in pain.
"Drop your wands," Pravus said. "Drop them!"
Fred reluctantly dropped his, and Harry and George did the same with the wands they had confiscated.
"Well well well. Look here!" Pravus said, as Lucius picked th discarded Wanda up.
"Fred Weasley! He showed up alter all. Did you miss me?" Pravus gave an evil smile that sent shivers down Fred's spine. "And here! It's Harry Potter! All bright and shiny and new again, just in time for the Dark Lord!"
It was true. Whatever had caused Harry's face to become swollen, it had worn off, and at some point, he'd gotten his glasses back. There was no way you couldn't see it was Harry Potter.
"Call him!" Pravus said, and Lucius hesitated a moment. Fred noticed that he was staring at Draco, who was only on his feet due to Pravus holding him up. But after a moment, he rolled his sleeve up, ready to press on the Dark Mark that writhed on his arm.
Fred braced himself, and then froze. There was a strange squeaking sound...it sounded like that time in his last year when Peeve's dropped the chandelier and-
Fred looked up, alarm on his face, and then amusement. Dobby was sitting on the chandelier, and he was unscrewing it.
And it fell.
Pravus let out an undignified screech, and threw Draco forward. Out of the corner of his eye, Fred saw George catch him, and drag him out of the way of the glass that was flying everywhere. Harry grabbed the wands out of Lucius's hands, and Fred himself turned back to Hermione, half dragging her to the others.
"How dare you!" Pravus screeched. "You dare defy your masters?! You could have killed me!"
Oh, right. Dobby had been the Malfoy's house elf.
"Dobby never meant to kill. He only meant to maim...or; seriously injure." Fred snorted."And Dobby has no masters! Dobby is a free elf, and he is here to save Harry Potter, and his friends!"
With that proud declaration, they all leaned forward, grabbed some part of the small creatures hands or arms, and apparated away.