Harry collapsed onto the oversized bed within the Weasleys’ spacious tent. He gazed at the ceiling with a wild smile on his face.
“That was amazing!” he exclaimed. The mattress bounced as Ron joined him.
“It was, wasn’t it?” Ron asked, wonder in his voice.
Harry nodded in a daze. In fact, the entire day had been amazing. They had taken a portkey from a little ways off the Burrow and arrived at a field which looked to be a sea of tents. The atmosphere was noisy but full of excitement. Harry took in the scene with relish. Vendors sold their memorabilia to adoring fans, sparklers crackled in colors of green and red. In fact, there was so much green and red that it looked like Christmas. Some went all out with their decorations, making Harry’s eyes hurt. Severus looked irritated by the bustling hordes but Harry was swept up in the atmosphere.
“Come on, let’s go see what they’re selling!” Harry had told Ron, puling him into the crowd. He came out with a model racing broom that flew in circles around his hand and a two pairs of Omnioculars, one for him and one for Ron. They had returned to find Draco, Hermione and Mrs. Malfoy setting up a very nice tent beside Severus’s. Hermione had greeted them happily and they fell to talking as they sat around the Weasleys’ attempt at a fire.
“I heard Sirius got off,” Hermione had said with a wide smile. “You’ll have to give him my congratulations.”
“I will,” Harry had promised. “It’s been an awesome summer.”
“I’m glad,” she had said, patting his arm. “He and Professer Snape still fighting?”
“Yeah, but I think it’s fun for them. They don’t hate each other quite so much.”
After that, talk turned to other things and the time passed quickly before the match. The twins talked of betting and Ron told of each team’s prospects of winning. Harry simply absorbed it all, offering no opinions on who he thought would win. He just wanted to wait and see.
The match itself was a memory that Harry would treasure for the rest of his life. He stared in amazement as Ireland rained gold upon the stands and the Veela’s danced mesmerizingly on the field. At one point, he looked up to find Severus staring at him with a hint of a smile. Harry smiled back and looked into his Omnioculars for a better look at what was going on. The air buzzed with excitement as the match got underway. Harry watched the players’ every move. He was so absorbed in the game that he did not even note the house elf or empty seat behind Draco. Harry was enjoying himself immensely. Regrettably, the game passed far too quickly.
Cheers went up from the Weasley twins as Krum caught the snitch but Ireland won. In fact, cheers spread throughout the stands; from Ireland’s supporters anyway. Some Bulgarian fans cheered anyway, simply happy to see their favorite player catch the snitch in all its glory.
All of this replayed in Harry’s head as if he were watching it through his Omnioculars. He let out a contented sigh as Hermione and Draco joined them, chatting happily about the match.
“Krum is really something, isn’t he?” Draco said in amazement.
Hermione shrugged. “He didn’t look very happy to be playing though.”
Ron huffed dismissively. “That’s just his normal face.”
“I was sure Ireland was going to lose,” Harry commented.
“Nah, I knew they’d win,” Ron said.
The twins entered and lit some sparklers, telling jokes at Bulgaria’s expense. Everyone was laughing and having a good time. Slowly, the excitement drained away and left Harry exhausted. He said his goodbyes and returned to his own tent where Severus sat reading a book by the light of a lantern.
Harry shook his head. “You missed the party.”
“I was there for a while,” Severus replied. “It seems as if the party is still going on.”
“I got tired,” Harry said. “Night, Severus.”
Without even changing his clothes, Harry climbed into bed in one of the sectioned off rooms in the tent. He was asleep in seconds.
Harry tossed in bed as he had the same dream yet again, though the details seemed to be fading. It was more of a blur than it had been previously. There was something new this time: screams. Harry could hear their terror in his sleep and sat up with a jolt when his name was called.
“Harry!” a familiar, urgent voice said. “Get up, we have to go.”
“What?” Harry said, mind snapping into a state of feverish awareness. He heard screams from outside the tent. They were real. “What’s going on?”
“Death Eaters,” Severus said grimly. “Hurry.”
Harry jumped out of bed and followed his guardian’s long strides. “Where are we going?”
“Hide in the forest,” Severus said. “The others seem to have already headed there. Wand out, Harry.”
Harry nodded, gulping. He pulled out his wand.
“Nothing foolish,” Severus said, gripping Harry’s shoulder tightly. He fixed him with an intense look before stepping out through the flap of the tent. Harry followed. Fires burned, people screamed and several lay prone on the ground, unmoving. Harry took in the scene with horror. He saw people being levitated in the air, women shielding their children. It was horrible.
“We must move,” Severus said, leading the way towards the forest. He held his wand out in front of him.
Harry followed close behind, not wanting to lose sight of Severus even for an instant. They walked hurriedly through the thinning herd of people. As the forest got closer, Harry’s heart picked up speed, thinking in fact that they would make it. As he took his next step, a hand closed around his ankle. Harry stumbled, falling to the ground. He looked over and found a frail house elf gripping his leg. He shook it off and it ran away jerkily.
Severus stopped when he realized Harry was no longer following him. He was about ten feet ahead and turned to come back to Harry’s aid when a black figure stepped out from between the tents next to which Severus stood. He stopped. Another stepped out to his right, then his left until he was surrounded by half a dozen Death Eaters. Harry watched in horror. Somehow, they didn’t seem to have noticed him.
Severus raised his wand and fired off a spell, blocked easily by the Death Eater that stood between himself and Harry. An expelliarmus followed quickly, leaving Severus wandless. Harry slid backwards, hiding himself partway behind a tent until the time came that he could do something.
“Severus Snape,” one of them said in a low voice. Harry could not tell who it was for they all had masks on. “It has been too long.”
“Indeed,” Severus agreed. “Yet not long enough.”
A low chuckle emanated from one of the figures.
“You are a traitor,” someone snapped. “You don’t deserve-”
“To live?” another finished for them.
Harry froze. The circle closed in tighter, almost blocking Severus from Harry’s view.
Severus said in a loud voice, “Run.”
“What?” a Death Eater asked.
Harry knew that was a message for him but there was no way he was going to leave Severus here alone.
There was a murmur of whispering amongst the Death Eaters.
Harry saw Severus crumple to the ground. He had the feeling that something new would be haunting his dreams tonight.
“NO!” Harry screamed, feeling as if the breath had been sucked from his lungs. The nearest Death Eater turned around. Harry stepped out from between the tents and shot a Stupefy at him. He fell to the ground. The others turned to Harry as Severus pulled himself to his knees. “Severus!” Harry cried, tossing Severus his own wand. Severus caught it and in one fluid motion, brought it around in an arc and fired a spell. As he did so, several bolts of light shot towards Harry from the Death Eaters. Severus’s eyes grew wide as he realized this. He cut off his spell midway and shot something that flew fast at Harry.
It was not fast enough. Harry was jerked backwards as something hit his chest. He felt his feet leave the ground and remembered no more.
“Hurry!” Draco cried, pulling Hermione along. “We’re almost there.”
“Draco!” Hermione protested. “What about Harry?”
“He’s with Snape, he’ll be fine,” Draco assured her, even though he was not sure whether or not he believed his own words. They followed the bobbing spots of red hair in front of them in the dark.
“Duck!” Draco’s mother screamed from behind them. Draco obeyed without question, pulling Hermione down with him. She fell on top of him as a spell whizzed over their heads.
She pushed off of him. “Sorry,” she muttered.
Draco grunted as he pulled himself up and they continued on. Someone was following behind them. He reached for his wand to fire something at them and found it gone.
“My wand,” he said, panicking. “It’s gone.”
“Keep moving,” Narcissa insisted.
With no choice but to go on without it, Draco followed the others farther into the dark forest.
A few moments later, Hermione stumbled. Draco caught her by the arm. “You okay?”
“I twisted my ankle,” she said with a grimace. “I’ll hide out here, you go on. I can cast a disillusionment charm upon myself.”
“Go, Draco,” Narcissa said. “I will cast the charm and follow. Hurry.”
There was still someone not far behind them, periodically firing a curse or two in their direction.
“No,” Draco said, “I’m not going to leave you.”
“Drac-” Hermione began.
“They’re after Muggles and Mudbloods, don’t you see?” he asked in exasperation. He looked towards his mother. “Help me.”
Narcissa looked at him in conflict, clearly just wanting him to continue on. After a moment, she took Hermione’s other arm around her shoulder. Draco helped her forward as fast as they could go. He huffed as she put more of her weight on him to keep from toppling over.
“Good thing I grew a little this summer,” Draco muttered.
“Sorry,” Hermione said with a weak smile. “Got stronger, too.”
Draco managed a small grin as the hobbled along. He hoped their pursuer would give up soon. He had no idea how much longer they could keep this up, nor how they could withstand a fight if caught unawares.
Severus fired a shielding charm at Harry that hit just after he fell to the ground. Severus’s chest tightened but he could not pause. Repeating the spell he had begun earlier, Severus swept his wand arm in a wide arc around him and murmured an incantation. The Death Eaters were just turning their attention back to him, having already dealt with Harry. Severus hoped that his spell was quick enough. He ended it with his wand tip in the air and a green burst came out of the end in a rippling disc moving outwards. Before it could reached the Death Eaters, two more Crucios were sent his way. He managed to dodge one but another hit him square in the chest. Severus gasped but maintained the spell. When the green light hit the Death Eaters, they flew backwards, high into the air. Several thumps could be heard as they hit the ground. Severus did not care.
He rushed over to Harry, now alone in a deserted sea of burning tents and similar destruction. Harry was still on the ground. Severus felt his pulse. It was definitely there and Severus’s chest eased ever so slightly.
“Rennervate,” he said. Harry did not move. His chest rose and fell slightly which provided a modicum of comfort. Severus ran a diagnostic spell and it flared green once then yellow, meaning that Harry’s functions were normal but he was not conscious. Severus wondered why his awakening spell hadn’t worked, if that were the case. He scooped Harry up in his arms, his limp form weighing more than Severus had expected. He was about to take his chances apparating Harry away from there when a mad laugh caught his attention from behind. Severus turned to see a silhouette of a figure raise his wand towards the sky and utter a spell that was all too familiar to Severus.
The rippling image of a snake slithering in and out of a menacing skull caused Severus to stiffen as a chill ran up his spine.