Chapter Eight: Sowing Chaos
Chapter Eight: Sowing Chaos
The wind whistled harsh and cold through the Blackmoor Labor Camp. Huddling in a corner, Colin shivered and wrapped his arms around himself. He hadn’t eaten all week, even if you could consider the glop they were occasionally fed as food. If he closed his eyes and concentrated, he could see the Hogwart’s feasts of old. Food stretching as far as the eye could see, but no matter how hard he tried he could not recall the taste, not of meat or potatoes or pudding, not even the taste of pumpkin juice. The welfare of mudbloods was not a priority for the new government.
The former Intendant had delighted in liberal use of the Cruciatus Curse, but the Dark Lord had decided that his new and everlasting reign should have monuments and buildings worthy of it. For that he required workers. Voldemort’s new utopia would be built from the sweat and blood of his enemies, from the mudbloods and the blood traitors. Blackmoor was not a torture camp. Those were located elsewhere, designed for those too dangerous, or merely unable to work. Colin’s brother had been handed over to Bellatrix Lestrange's tender mercies, when he had collapsed from exhaustion. That had been months ago, perhaps even a year. He was probably dead by now, or worse a gibbering mess for Death Eaters to laugh over at diner parties. The thought should have angered Colin, but he could not muster the energy. Not any more. He was just tired, so bone achingly tired. A fitful sleep claimed him. Perhaps he would awake in a Lestrange Dungeon, but Colin couldn’t bring himself to care. ***
Ron jumped up and down experimentally. There was no pain. He felt…fine, better even. He couldn’t quite grasp the concept.
“Would you keep still,” snapped Madam Pomfrey. Ron smiled apologetically. “Your leg appears to be fully healed,” she said after performing a series of diagnostic charms. “How does it feel?”
“Wonderful,” Ron said fighting back a grin.
“I’m not surprised. Your leg is younger than the rest of you.”
“Younger?” He rubbed his knee experimentally. “Is that even possible?”
“Considering the amount of curse scarring, that your injury was healed at all is a miracle,” Pomfrey said. Ron frowned and glanced over at Hermione perched on another bed trying to keep her hands from shaking. Harry and Ginny hovered around her speaking in soft voices.
“How is she?” Ron asked worriedly.
“Physically and magically she seems perfectly fine.”
“She destroyed her bloody wand doing a simple spell! Hell, she sent my leg back to the Fudge years. How is that perfectly fine?”
“I am well aware of what happened, Mr. Weasley. I have cast all the diagnostic spells and charms I know of with no result.” She sighed. “I have no idea what’s wrong with her.” The doors of the makeshift infirmary flung open to admit Flitwick and Gavrilov. They made a strange pair, two old men one tall and sallow, the other short and flushed. Strangely attempting to kill each other had not prevented a strange kind of camaraderie from developing between them.
“What are you doing here?” Ron practically snarled jumping to his feet with an agility he had not possessed in years.
“I heard about the…incident,” Gavrilov replied levelly ignoring the tone. “I thought I would see if every one was alright. In fact you seem to have profited greatly, Mr. Weasley.”
“Now see here…”
“I did not come here to quarrel,” interrupted Gavrilov. “Our own Ms. Granger is also suffering the effects of their little duel. Perhaps in future it would be best if we did not attack our doppelgangers.”
“She has trouble controlling her magic too?” Hermione asked.
“No,” answered Gavrilov. “She’s in a coma.” ***
Harold Potter watched as the best and the brightest healers and doctors bustled about the comatose body of his best friend. The greatest medical minds, both muggle and wizard alike, were trying desperately to make some progress, to find anything at all that could help. They were all failing. They tried to hide it of course, but Harold had studied deception at the feet of a master. No one had any idea what was wrong. They wouldn’t tell him that, not exactly. They would couch their uncertainty beneath the convoluted medical jargon common to muggle and wizard alike, and he would allow them their pretext for now. Fear could be a powerful motivator, but Harold did not deem it the appropriate method for healers.
A polite cough pulled him from his morbid thoughts. Harold had heard the other man’s approach, and felt the man’s growing impatience.
“Ah Cornelius,” Harold said without turning. “When did you get here?”
“I came as soon as I could,” Cornelius Fudge replied.
“Of course you did,” Harold said soothingly. “You always were a diligent public servant.”
“Thank you Mr. Potter.” Cornelius paused delicately. “I wasn’t sure I should come down, when I heard about Ms. Granger, but you’re summons seemed urgent.”
“Indeed, I’m sure, considering their assembled medical know-how, that Ms. Granger will be up and about in no time. The world, however, stops for no man or woman, not even her.” Harold finally turned to face Cornelius. The portly little man was much the same, except perhaps a little more portly and his rumpled grey hair was perhaps a little more rumpled. His pinstriped suit we’re as pressed and neat as ever, although his characteristic lime green bowler hat was shabbier then it had been in their last meeting. “Tell me Cornelius,” Harold continued. “How’s…retirement been treating you?”
“Well enough,” Fudge replied. “I can’t complain.”
“No,” Harold agreed pleasantly. “You can’t. In any case, I invited you here because the world will shortly be changing in new and previously unimaginable ways and I want you to be a part of it. I have an assignment for you, if you’ll take it.”
“One which requires skill, cunning and foresight. Naturally I immediately thought of you.”
“You’re too kind but…”
“Yes I am.” Harold grinned.
Fudge licked his lips nervously. “It is an honor, of course, but as you pointed out I am retired.”
“Must be nice,” Harold interrupted, “ the peace and quiet. No crises or press. Lots of time for hobbies and such, gardening for example, or I don’t know…writing memoirs.”
“Is that what this is about?”
“Allow me to assure you, Mr. Potter, that I will include nothing classified or slanderous in my book.”
“Well I would certainly hope not. After all, Albus did consider you a close personal friend.” Harold smiled innocently.
“I…uh…Mr. Potter I…”
“I would like to honor that friendship if I may,” Harold continued, ignoring Fudge’s incoherent muttering. “If you were to be successful in your assignment, I would personally endorse your return to politics.”
“Endorse?” Fudge stared at Harold trying to gage his sincerity. “You would do that for me?”
“Anything for a friend of Albus,” Harold said lightly. “I believe the chancellorship will be open in a couple of years. You would of course have to win the election yourself, fair and square.”
“The election,” Fudge repeated as if in a trance. “Mr. Potter…Premier…sir…I don’t know what to say.”
“Oh I think you do, and please call me Harold.”***
Colin jolted awake. He could hear screaming and shouting. He glanced around blearily. The guardhouse was in flames. Fellow prisoners rushed by him, some sprinting, others limping, a few even crawled. Where were they going? More importantly, why hadn’t the guards stopped them? Colin rose to his feet slowly and unsteadily. He followed his compatriot’s progress with his eyes. He gasped in shock. The fence, the guarded warded fence was broken. There was a way out, a chance of escape. Something foreign flowed through him, an unlooked for hope. The Order had returned at last, but no, even when Colin had been captured the Order had already been falling apart. Movement caught his eye. He could see grey robed figures, their faces obscured by charms, meeting the Death Eaters spell for spell. They were everywhere. No one fought the Death Eaters like this anymore, not in mass. Who were they?
“Don’t just stand there you bloody idiot!” Colin recoiled. A grey figure was standing right to him. He hadn’t even heard the approach. “Run!” The figure commanded. “We can’t hold them off forever.”
Colin frowned. There was something familiar about the voice, but it couldn’t be. “Dennis,” he breathed, but the figure was already gone. Colin shook his head. It was just a trick of the mind, but thought filled him with renewed hope. Perhaps his brother was still somehow alive. If he was, Colin would rescue him, and if he wasn’t there was always revenge. He felt a new burst of burst of strength, a strength he never thought possible, and he ran. He ran for the gap in the fence, for freedom, for revenge. Colin Creevey was free.