A Dragon and a Phoenix

Chapter 34

"Draco," I breathed. "What are you doing here? Don't tell me. You were in on this the whole time." A burning anger was starting to course through my veins.

Quickly he crossed the space that separated us, grabbing my hand before I could protest. "Of course I didn't have anything to do with this, you idiot," he chastised, his tone anything but harsh. "I'm actually here to rescue you. I suppose if you prefer I could leave you to it, but judging by the 'just go ahead and kill me' speech, you're as ready to leave as I am."

I eyed him speculatively. If he were planning on handing me over to You-Know-Who, he could have done it at any time since we'd been at the manor. It didn't change how angry I was with him. "I don't know why I should believe you, especially considering how little trust you have in me. Maybe I should just take my chances and find my own way out," I retorted petulantly as I tried to pull my hand free of his grip.

Shaking his head and pulling me closer before I could pull away he wrapped his arms around me and kissed me. I pressed my hands against his chest, pushing away, but he wouldn't let go; his hand caressing my neck, his long fingers reaching up to twine through my hair. Finally, I gave in, throwing all of my rage and hurt into kissing him.

When we broke apart, both breathing as if we'd run a marathon, he gave me a lazy half smile. "I think maybe we should save the rest for when we actually make it out of here. I really had nothing to do with you being here. I know you don't trust me after what I said to you last night, and I don't blame you. You can yell at me about it when we get home, though."

I nodded. "Here, put this on," he handed me a hooded cloak like his own. Flicking his wand at my shoes, he transfigured them into knee high winter boots. "They don't do much in the way of fashion, but you'll appreciate them when we get outside. We're going to have to get off the grounds before we can disapparate. There are more curses and charms protecting this place than Merlin himself could get through."

I fastened the cloak and pulled the hood low to cover my face. He pulled his own hood back up, and took my hand, leading me out of the room. The corridors were deserted. We reached the first floor with no opposition, but just as we approached the side door to the gardens, I heard someone laughing behind me.

"Ru…" I was cut off as I was petrified. Draco spun around in time to catch me, but it was too late for either of us to escape. He eased me to the floor, raising his wand in defense.

Blake stood in the doorway, wand held loosely at his side. He clearly felt we were no threat.

"Malfoy, I can't say that I really expected you to show. We all know what a bunch of cowardly little weasels your lot are. You and your mother have been trying to hide from the Dark Lord. You should know better than that; there is no escape. I'm sure he'll be most delighted to see you."

"And just what makes you think you'll be able to stop us leaving?" Draco sneered. He sounded confident, but I caught the worried glance he gave me as he stood to face Blake, his wand still directed at his opponent.

"Well, it's not as if you really have a choice. She can't disapparate without a Dark Mark, and there's no way you'll make it off the grounds. The other Death Eaters are on the lookout."

"Well, I suppose I'll just have to start with you and work my way out of here," he snapped.

Without further warning, the duel began. Slashing furiously at each other, they hexed, cursed, and deflected. Unable to move, I could only see the blinding flashes and hear the crashing of misdirected spells.

They stood across the room from each other, both breathing heavily and bleeding from various cuts and injuries. "It seems that I underestimated your dueling skill. Guess I'll just have to up the ante," Blake taunted.

Without warning, he pointed his want toward me. I heard a sharp intake of breath as Draco dove between me and the oncoming curse. He managed to deflect it with a quick shield charm. Unfortunately the deflected curse knocked a large, heavy portrait off the wall and crashing down on Draco's head.

Blake righted the table and cleared the debris from their fight away before lifting me off the floor and laying me on the table. He grabbed my hand, forcing my arm down painfully. "You must be wondering why I used the full body bind on you instead of just a stunning curse. I wanted you to know what was going on. You can't very well see your new Dark Mark if you're unconscious. I was supposed to wait on the Dark Lord to arrive, but I'm sure he'll make allowances considering your attempt to escape. We're going to teach you how to use that firepower of your. You'll be one of our greatest weapons when we're done. Maybe you can even bargain for the life of your precious fiancé," he sneered.

Apparently Blake liked the sound of his own voice. I barely heard what he was saying as I wondered whether or not Draco was alright, and considered my options, not that I really had any at this point. "You'll be great, and I'm the one that found you. I'll be richly rewarded for brining you into the fold."

I felt the press of his wand against the flesh of my forearm. I steeled myself for the inevitable as he began the necessary incantation, but another whispered voice caught my attention. Draco had regained consciousness and was releasing me from the full body bind.

Using Blake's moment of surprise to my advantage, I grabbed my hidden wand and slashed at him with the Sectusempra curse. I dove off the table and hurried over to Draco. Blood had trickled from a nasty cut on his head, turning his pale blonde hair red. Using my limited proficiency with healing spells, I was able to at least stop the bleeding and clear up the double vision.

Getting him off the floor, we headed for the fireplace in hopes of using the floo network to get out of Windham Estates. As I picked up the floo powder, I heard a gurgling laugh from nearby. Blake lay on the floor, blood pooling rapidly beneath him, running out of the corner of his mouth. "Running away without even looking for him; what a terrible big sister you are," he ground out between gasps.

"Shit. We can't leave," I nearly sobbed. Turning, I looked at Draco desperately, "They have Dakoda."

"There are too many rooms in this place to search them one by one for him. They could be keeping him anywhere. By the time we got through one level, someone is bound to notice the dead Death Eater in the dining room floor," he insisted.

"I can't leave without him! He's my little brother, my family. They could be torturing him for all we know. They could be planning to Mark him as well. You can go on without me. I'll find a way out of here," I nearly shouted.

Heaving a sigh he conceded, "You know I'm not leaving without you. There's a variation on the Point Me charm that might help us out here. Since the two of you share the same blood, you can track him short distances. This will hurt a bit," he said before dragging the tip of his wand across my palm.

I flinched as the blood welled up beneath the shallow cut. "Now you have to lay your wand across your palm and use the charm. If it works the way it should, then it will show us the way to your brother. I suggest we start on the second floor."

Racing back up the stairs, I used the charm on the second floor landing. At first, I thought it wasn't going to work, but the wand spun slowly in my bloody palm and pointed us to the western corridor. We hurried along, checking each room we passed. There were no signs of him, so we went up to the third floor and tried again. Frustrated, I stood at the end of the corridor and tried the charm again. It pointed to the blank stretch of wall at the end of the hall.

"This is rubbish! It's not working! There's no other room to look for and if it answered to the Dark Mark like my room did, then you should be able to see the bloody door!" I shrieked.

"Keep your voice down," Draco hissed. We're running out of time. Someone is bound to come in from their patrol at some point. They'll be looking for us, and I don't fancy being trapped on the third floor when that happens."

He paced a circle, reexamining the nearest doors, muttering to himself. Then, just when I thought he was going to give up and demand that we leave, he stopped with a strange expression on his face. "Surely not," he snorted with disgust.

"What? What is it?" I demanded.

Without a word, he drew his wand across his hand as he had mine and pressed his bloody palm against the wall before stepping back. With a ripple, a door appeared. "Apparently some of the doors answer to the blood of those with the Dark Mark in a literal sense. You have to wound yourself to enter the room."

He reached for the doorknob and it turned with ease. The room before us was much like the one I'd been kept in, but there were a few more things there. You could tell that whoever they had been keeping there had been prisoner for quite a while.

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