Losses beyond imagining

Chapter 51

“I couldn’t talk her out of it!” Harry said with a lopsided grin, looking proudly at his wife.

“Ginny! You are coming?” Hermione hugged her in relief. One more person coming to the rescue!

One more person at risk….or rather two… Elphaba thought to herself. The mission was beginning to look like a camping trip rather. Perhaps it was for the best; they appeared to be a harmless group of friends having fun… far from the truth as it was.

“We ought to be going,” she said, trying to keep the disapproval out of her voice. “Best not linger…”

With a few soft popping sounds the group disappeared leaving the sea-gull on top of the lighthouse baffled.

They landed in a field, far away from the sea, near a farm. That is….someone appeared to be missing…

“Draco? Where is he?” Hermione said, immediately worried. She looked around, shocked, seeing nothing but grain fields.

Hermione then looked at Harry, who politely tried to hide his laughter—failing miserably— his eyes guiding her to look upward. Draco had landed in a nearby tree. She laughed heartily. Draco lay eagle-spread in the tree: his head lower than his limbs and tangled between the tree’s branches.

“Don’t worry… I’ll get you out…” Hermione giggled.

“You better!” Draco growled in return.

Wingardium Leviosa,” she shouted and Draco came slowly floating down.

“Thanks…” he grumbled, still embarrassed.

“Apparating can be quite nasty…” Harry said. “Luckily you didn’t get splinched.”

Draco grimaced. I could be worse, he supposed, but not much…

Elphaba took out a map. “We should get a move on,” she said brusquely. “It’s still a bit of a walk…”

“The empty farm should be a good hide-out though,” Harry said. “We’ll be able to cover quite some ground from there…”

They’d decided to visit a number of villages, closely scattered. The Jennings had some roots there, going back far. This could mean nothing or everything…

Harry remembered how he had longed to visit Grodric’s Hollow. To see where he was born, where his parents had been happy, where they had died…

Draco murmured something. “What?” Hermione asked.

“That village over there,” he pointed with a long, pale finger, “that’s the one where…” he swallowed hard.

“What?” she said again.

“During the Middle Ages, there had been pyres… loads of them, to burn Witches and Wizards… So, therefore, the Dark Lord… well, he thought it would be a good idea to… you know…”

“Kill a whole bunch of Muggles,” Elphaba interrupted. “As revenge…”

Draco nodded, his face slowly reddening. His mother and father had often related the story, proudly. It was the moment they’d met. Killing random Muggles their number one hobby…

“You’re ok?” Hermione brushed his arm. “You seem a bit…”

“It’s fine..” he said. “Don’t worry about it.”

“Sounds like a place they might be at,” Harry said triumphantly. “They might wish to undo Voldemort’s actions by attempting to restore Wizard-Muggle relations.”

“Fat chance!” Ginny huffed. Draco privately agreed. A place with such a history would not be easily persuaded…. Neither the magical, nor the Muggle community would be open to the idea.

“Let’s check that one out first then!” Hermione was enthused. “They’re idealistic enough to try it…”

After they’d dropped their things at the unoccupied farm, they went to the village. Draco had an ominous feeling about the plan. He would have preferred to stay put, but that clearly wasn’t an option. The last thing he wanted was to risk being branded as a coward. Still, he didn’t look forward to seeing the place of so much death and bloodshed…

As a quintessential English village, nothing pointed to its gruesome history at first sight. However, as they strolled around, it did become more visible.

“Why do so many houses have horse-shoes hanging over the front door?” Draco wondered, “and what’s with all the garlic…?”

Hermione explained the superstitious ideas of old. Draco laughed scorning. “That’s not going to keep anyone out…” he said, “You’d think they know that by now….”

Hermione gave him the evil eye. “It’s very scary for non-magical people to be so vulnerable and helpless when it comes to these matters… Not that you’d know…”

“If it is so important to them, they should get things like Sneakoscopes and such…” he replied.

“And how would they even learn about these things?” Hermione challenged him. “It’s not as if they would have magical friends they could ask…”

Draco shrugged. Perhaps they had brought it on themselves… He would not so easily forget the story of his ancestors he had witnessed in the Pensieve. How they had to hide to keep themselves safe.

“I suppose both sides are to blame for that,” he conceded. “I, for one, wouldn’t trust anyone who’s ancestors had burned Witches and Wizards alike, but I guess the same goes for Muggle victims of the War…”

“The latest war probably didn’t help either…” Elphaba mentioned, motioning at something in the distance. “It looks like something is happening over there…. A riot of sorts?”

A crowd had gathered outside a shop. The windows were broken already and some car tires were burning on its doorstep. A scared looking, bald man, was leaning out of the first floor window…

“Please leave me alone…” he begged as some teens threw rocks and tomato’s at him.

“Can someone explain to me what is going on here?” Harry bellowed, momentarily forgetting he was incognito, rather than the famous Auror. Ginny tugged his sleeve to warn him, but it was already too late….

“Harry Potter!” someone shrieked.

“Come to visit us!” an old lady carrying a handbag remarked, tears welling up in her eyes.

“Great,” Elphaba muttered under her breath. “Just marvelous…”

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