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HP stories following Canon after HBP >> The Coming by ArtemisFlame

Simple Text - To view MORE chapters use the chapter jump box to the right.
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Chapter 3
(The Coming)

"OK. We're going to go and get Harry now." Dad announced after dinner. Mudungus Fletcher, Tonks, Lupin, Mad-Eye, Fleur, Bill, Hagrid and Kingsley had also joined us for dinner as they were helping in what was now being called 'The Seven Potters'.

"Good luck." I said walking outside with the lot of them. They all nodded their thanks and Tonks gave me a hug. I tried to play it cool but inside I was stressing, thinking of ever possible thing that could go wrong with this risky plan.

Mum was hugging Dad and all the boys, telling them all to 'Be safe' and 'Take care'.

Then they were gone and Mum and I were left worrying ourselves silly. Mum took to the kitchen and, as she always did when she was stressed, began to clean. I started pacing the living room, trying not to think of everything that might, could or may go wrong on the 'mission'. Time ticked by. Then I saw a blue light appear in the backyard. I ran to the front door and threw it open. There lay a rusty oilcan; the portkey that Ron and Tonks should have been taking.

"Mum! Ron and Tonks' portkey is back but they're not!" I called over my shoulder, fear beginning to bubble inside me. Another blue flash and an ancient plimsoll appeared. I retreated inside.

"Dad and Fred's portkey just arrived as well. Mum, I think something went wrong." I said once I was in the kitchen.

Then yet another blue flash lit up the garden but this time silhouettes showed against it. Mum and I screamed and ran outside. Harry and Hagrid had landed in the garden.

"Harry? You are the real Harry? What happened? Where are the others?" Mum cried.

"What d'you mean? Isn't anyone else back?" Harry panted. He looked at Mum. She was pale so he must have gathered the answer.

"The Death Eaters were waiting for us. We were surrounded the moment we took off - they knew it was tonight - I don't know what happened to anyone else. Four of them chased us, it was all we could do to get away, and then Voldemort caught up with us...." He said and I felt the blood drain from my face. I could her the self-justifying note in his voice. I looked at him sympathitically but I don't think he saw it.

"Thank goodness you're alright." Mum said to him and hugged him.

"Haven't go' any barndy, have yeh, Molly? Fer medicinal purposes?" Hagrid asked looking slightly pale. Mum hurried back inside to get it. Harry turned to me and I could see that he wanted answers.

"Ron and Tonks should have been back first, but they missed their portkey, it came back without them." I explained gesturing to the rusty oilcan, "And that one should have been Dad and Fred's, they were second." I gestured to teh plimsoll, "You and Hagrid were third and if they made it George and Lupin ought to be back in about a minute." I continued checking my watch.

Mum reappeared then holding a bottle of brandy which she gave to Hagrid. He uncorked it and drank it in one.

"Mum!" I shouted, pointing to a spot several feet away. A blue light had appeared and it slowly began to grow larger and brighter until Lupin and George appeared, spinning and then falling. But something was wrong; Lupin was supporting George who was unconscious and whose face was coated in blood. I put a hand to my mouth and Harry ran forward and seized George's legs. Together, he and Lupin carried George into the house and into the sitting room where they laid him on the sofa. I followed them. Then the lamplight fell over George's head. I gasped. One of George's ears was missing. The side of his head and neck was covered in blood.

Mum bent over George and began tending to him. I heard a scuffle behind me and turned to see Lupin dragging Harry into the kitchen.

"Ginny, give me a hand won't you?" Mum said and I helped her clean George up. Both of us jumped when we heard Hagrid yelling but we were too worried about George to go and see what it was about.

Someone arrived outside but I was still helping Mum with George so I didn't know who it was. I heard someone walk in.

"How is he?" Harry asked. Mum stood up and looked around.

"I can' tmake it grow back, not when it's been removed by Dark magic. But it could have been so much worse....he's alive." She answered.

"Yeah. Thank God." Harry said, looking relieved.

"Did I hear someone in the yard?" I asked him.

"Hermione and Kingsley." He answered.

"Thank goodness." I whispered feeling slightly faint. I just wanted Harry to hold me. I was about to hug him when there was a crash in the kitchen.

"I'll prove who I am, Kingsley, after I've seen my son, now back off if you know what's good for you!" Dad shouted. He burst into the living room, bald patch shiny, glasses askew, Fred right behind him, both pale but uninjured.

"Arthur! Oh thank goodness!" Mum sobbed.

"How is he?" Dad asked just as Harry had before. Fred was lost for words and just gaped at the sofa as if it was something foreign. Just then, George stirred.

"How do you feel, Georgie?" Mum whispered. George's fingers groped for the side of his head.

"Saint-like." He murmured.

"What's wrong with him? Is his mind affected?" Fred croaked looking terrified.

"Saint-like. You see .....I'm holy. Holey, Fred, geddit?" George replied looking up at Fred. Colour flooded fred's face.

"Pathetic. Pathetic! With the whole wide world of ear-related humour before you, you go for holey?" He told George.

"Ah well. You'll be ableto tell us apart anyway Mum." George said grinning at Mum who was bawling her eyes out. He looked around.

"Hi Harry. You are Harry, right?" He said to Harry.

"Yeah. I am." Harry replied moving closer to the sofa.

"Well at least we got you back OK. Why aren't Ron and Bill huddled around my sick bed?" George said.

"They're not back yet, George." Mum said and George stopped smiling. Harry motioned for me to accompany him outside. As we walked through the kitchen I explained to him in a low voice,

"Ron and Tonks should be back by now. They didn't have a long journey; Aunt Muriel's not that far from here."

Harry said nothing. Fear had started to thump inside me. We had such a big family the chances of one of us..... I pushed those thoughts from my mind. As we went down the steps I took Harry's hand.

Kingsley was pacing in the backyard. Lupin, Hagrid and Hermione stood shoulder to shoulder gazing upwards in silence. Harry and I went and joined them. The minutes stretched by.

Then a broom materialised right above us and streaked towards the ground.

"It's them!" Hermione screamed.

"Remus!" Tonks cried staggering off her broom and into his arms. I realised Harry's hand. Ron tripped dazedly towards Harry and Hermione.

Ron mumbled something before Hermione flew at him and hugged him.

"I thought - I thought - " She choked out.

"'M all right. 'M fine." Ron said patting Hermione on the back. Tonks started on about how great Ron was I wasn't really listening then Ron asked,

"Are we the last back?"

"No. We're still waiting for Bill and Fleur and Mad-Eye and Mudungus. I'm going to go and tell Mum and Dad you're OK Ron- " I answered and then ran back inside.

"Mum! Dad! Ron's back!" I called when I skidded into the living room. They stood up and raced past me outside. I followed. Mum and Dad hugged Ron and then turned to Remus and Tonks.

"Thank you," Mum said, "For our sons."

"Don't be silly Molly." Tonks replied.

"How's George?" Lupin asked.

"What's wrong with him?" Ron asked frowning.

"He lost -"

But the end of Mum's sentence was cut of us me and many others cried out. A thestral had just soared into sight and landed a few feet from us. Bill and Fleur slid of it's back. Mum ran over to them.

"Bill! Thank God, thank God - " She cried embracing my brother. Bill hugged her back ut only out of reflex. He looked directly at Dad and said,

"Mad-Eye's dead."

Everything seemed to freeze. It felt like someone had punched me. Mad-Eye couldn't be dead? Not Mad-Eye! Was the thing that circled through my head, but Bill was serious and I noticed Fleur appeared to have been crying.

"We saw it. It happened just after we broke out of the circle. Mad-Eye and Dung were close by us, they were heading north too. Voldemort - he can fly - went straight for them. Dung panicked, I heard him cry out, Mad-Eye tried to stop him, but he Disapparated. Voldemort's curse hit Mad-Eye full in the face, he fell backwards off his broom and - there was nothing we could do, nothing, we had half a dozen on our own tail -" Bill's voice broke.

I'd never seen him cry. Bill had always just seemed so solid to me but Mad-Eye's death had obviously nearly ruined him; he felt responsible.

"Of course you couldn't have done anything." Lupin said.

Everyone stood looking at each other. I still couldn't comprehend Mad-Eye being dead. He was so hard and tough.

"Mad-Eye. Dead." I heard Dad say to the twins. They looked liek they'd been clubbed round the head. Bill had pulled out a bottle of Firewhiskey and some glasses.

"Here." He said and sent twelve glasses of Firewhiskey around (one for everyone but me) and held the thriteenth aloft. "Mad-Eye."

"Mad-Eye." Everyone echoed (Hagrid slightly late) and everyone drank.

"So Mundungus disappeared?" Lupin asked. He'd drained his glass in one. The atmosphere in the room changed very quickly. Everyone was thinking the same thing but no one wanted to suggest it; we were all waiting for Lupin to say it.

"I know what you're thinking and I wondered the same thing too, on the way back here, because they seemed to be expecting us didn't they? But Mundungus can't have betrayed us. They didn't know there would be seven Harrys, that confused them the moment we appeared, and, in case you've forgotten, it was Mundungus who suggested that little bit of skulduggery. Why wouldn't he have told them the essential point? I think Dung panicked, it's as simple as that. He didn't want to come in the first place, but Mad-Eye made him, and You-Know-Who went straight for them: it was enough to make anyone panic." Bill said, answering all the unsaid things floating around the room.

"You-Know-Who acted exactly as Mad-Eye expected him to. Mad-Eye said he'd expect the real Harry to be with the toughest, most skilled Auror. He chased Mad-Eye first and when Mundungus gave them away he switched to Kingsley...." Tonks sniffed.

"Yes and zat eez all very good," snapped Fleur, "but still eet does not explain 'ow zey knew we were moving 'Arry tonight, does eet? Somebody must 'ave let slip ze date to an outsider. Eet eez ze only explaination for zem knowing ze date but not ze 'ole plan." She glared around everyone, daring them to contradict her. Nobody did. The only thing to break the silence was Hagrid's hiccup. Fleur's gaze flickered and then rested on him. She suspects Hagrid, I thought, .....bitch.

"No." Harry said loudly and every eye in the room, including mine, flew to him in surprise.

"I mean....if somebody made a mistake and let something slip, I know they didn't mean to do it. It's not their fault." he explained, "We've got to trust each other. i trust all of you, I don't think anyone in this room would ever sell me to Voldemort."

Everyone stood in silence after his little speech. Harry went a bit red and gulped down some more Firewhiskey.

"Well said, Harry." Fred said suddenly.

"Yeah, 'ear, 'ear." George followed. I fought the urge to laugh. Despite all that had happened Fred and George could still make people want to laugh. Or me, at least.

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