Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: Control Issues :: 15 :: A-Mazed

15 • A-Mazed

Voldemort continued to peruse the research journals as his mate read, but looked up every so often as Harry made the occasional odd noise. “Harry, what is it?” he finally asked.

Harry lifted his gaze and gave him a rather peculiar look. “Did you have any idea just how conflicted Snape was?”

He blinked and arched a brow. “I’m not sure I understand. I do know he was unable to resist your thrall fully, and that your disappearance caused him a great deal of trouble personally.”

Harry shook his head almost violently. “No, he—yes, okay, he couldn’t fully resist. The thing is, he’s written here pages and pages about it. It was almost tearing him apart inside to resist, and to keep hurting me, but he persisted in spite of it. He really believed it was the best course of action, to train me like that, and that I deserved it, all of it. Fine, over time he was losing his true desire to exercise his sadism, but. . . .”

“Harry, that can only be a function of your incubus nature. Something to protect you, or at least try to. Please don’t tell me you’re feeling . . . sympathy for his plight? He deserved all the pain and suffering it caused him, not to mention what you did to him deliberately.”

“I just—I don’t know. The books never said anything about this.”

“All this proves is that their scheme would not have worked out in the end. It is likely that Severus would have spirited you away at some point, finally worn down to the point where he couldn’t stand it any longer.”

Harry shrugged a shoulder and said, “And maybe he would have made sure I killed you prior to that.”

“Surely, and then hidden you away, rather than killing you, and made sure you never left his sight again. If I’ve gleaned even a tenth of the contents of that”—he nodded at the journal Harry was holding—“from what you’ve said, he would have struggled until the bitter end, continuing to abuse you, Harry, until you were either dead, he was, or he capitulated and tried to initiate a full bond.”

“I’d like to think that wouldn’t have worked!” Harry looked quite horrified at the idea.

“Yes, well, his struggle does not negate his actions, my sweet. His struggle does not erase the evil he did to you, nor his reasons for doing so. Can you honestly tell me you might have let him live if you had known this?”

Harry sighed and shook his head. “No, you’re right. He created the problem to begin with, then got caught in a trap of his own making. I shouldn’t be letting the fact that something I couldn’t even control was trying to subvert his will be any kind of excuse to feel guilt. He might still have done those things if he hadn’t been able to induce my transformation.”

Voldemort nodded in agreement. “He says how he actually felt about you?”

His mate rolled his eyes expansively. “Nothing I’ve not heard before. I’m arrogant, insolent, stupid, prideful, reckless, careless, thoughtless. . . . And I look enough like my father to call it good and unleash the horror that is Snape’s personality, not to mention his skill with a whip. Maybe I’ll just skip to the last few entries. This is almost unbearable to read.”

“I would like to see it when you’re done, if you don’t object,” he said.

Harry shook his head and went back to reading, so Voldemort returned to his own. And when his mate became increasingly restless, finally snapping the journal shut with a thump, Voldemort looked up again and said, “Perhaps a workout?”

His mate didn’t protest and they were shortly out in the field back behind their offices, a crowd gathering like always, many of them grouped up by squad. Voldemort could only assume members of the training staff had called their trainees over for another demonstration/lesson. He shrugged mentally and redirected his focus to Harry, who was just then starting, and watched with a faint smile as his mate romped through a hundred golems like they were nothing.

He decapitated one golem so forcefully that the head went flying into the spectators to be caught by none other than Draco Malfoy, who apparently retained some of his seeker attributes, though the young man hastily dropped it and wiped his hands off on his robes, then tried to look like nothing untoward had happened.

Harry eventually finished up, whistling as a signal for clean-up crews to get to work, then strode over to Voldemort looking quite a bit more relaxed. “A good suggestion, cosire, of course,” he said.

“Would I be wrong to assume you’re hungry now?” Voldemort had wanted to soothe away his mate’s agitation, but he also knew he would get to play as well after the fact.

Harry shot him a knowing look, telling him his reasoning was no longer so opaque, and nodded. “Yes, very. Shall we?”

As they were walking away one of the squads broke out into a round of harmless pushing and shoving, ejecting one of their number as Harry and Voldemort drew close, to practically land at his mate’s feet. Harry’s reaction was to cross his arms and begin tapping one foot slowly.

The trainee looked up, revealing a flushed face. “My lord?”

“What, Chauncey Fouse, do you think you’re doing?” Harry said in a sort of creepy dead tone.

The young man glanced back over his shoulder at his mates, made a slight face, then gazed at Harry and said, “My lord, I admire you so much, and I’d like to . . . offer, uh, myself. . . .”

Voldemort nearly blinked in surprise, casting a very discreet look at the squad before focusing back on the trainee. He got the distinct impression the young man wasn’t offering to be an aide of some sort.

Harry unfolded his arms and held out one hand in a semi-dramatic gesture, not saying a word; the trainee cringed slightly. Several moments later Voldemort watched in surprise as everyone in the near vicinity seemed to want to curl in on themselves, and people quickly began finding reasons to be elsewhere. The trainee actually did curl up on the ground, his entire mien screaming fear.

His mate retracted his hand, glanced at Voldemort, then began walking again. Voldemort managed to contain his curiosity until they were inside the house, then said, “Right. What the blazes was that?”

Harry flashed him a cheerful grin. “It’s a new trick!” he enthused. “I was hoping I wouldn’t have to actually use it, though. You know how I can broadcast? Well, after that little incident with Moony, I was feeling a bit worried. What if someone else tried something? One of the men. So I had a think about things and wondered if it was possible to invert thrall. And apparently, it works pretty damn good.”

“Those men looked almost like they were experiencing a dementor’s presence, my sweet,” Voldemort said as they entered the sitting room.

Harry bit his lip, then shook his head and chuckled as he started to undress. “No, I think it’s more like their naughty bits were trying to find safety by crawling up inside their bodies.” He stripped off the last of his clothing and moved forward to grab Voldemort’s hand, then dragged him into the bedroom, and further, into the bathroom, where he began filling the large tub they had.

While that was going Harry undressed his lover, flipping off the taps once he was done, then stepped in, pulling Voldemort along with him. “I may be hungry, but I also need a bath after that workout.”

Voldemort allowed himself to be situated between his mate’s legs, then bathed, and Harry was very sure to soap up his penis and scrotum with loving attention. Naturally, by the time his mate was done he was aching to possess him, but first he really ought to return the favor, so he did, resituating himself behind Harry and giving him the exact same treatment, though his mate did come in for a luxurious interlude in which his hair was lathered up and rinsed.

Harry was quite eager by then to arrange himself in a kneeling position and half support himself over the edge of the tub, though he did mutter something about adding grips for future playtime, and pushed back strongly when Voldemort positioned the head of his cock and began to ease forward. Voldemort took the opportunity to glide his tongue over his mate’s scales as one hand slid over Harry’s slick flesh to grasp his cock and the other moved to tease his chest and stomach.

Harry went wild under him, splashing water everywhere with his frenzied rocking, his hair becoming increasingly tangled and in the way. Voldemort briefly entertained the thought of gathering it up and wrapping it around one hand, but dismissed the idea immediately as being too much like using it as a leash or reins. Instead he slid a hand back to grip his mate’s hip to gain more control over their rhythm and began pounding into Harry while stroking and squeezing his cock more firmly to counteract the slippery conditions.

A few moments later Harry tossed his head back and quite nearly yowled, bringing sharply to Voldemort’s mind his mate’s animagus form. And that set him off, barely able to keep milking Harry’s cock as his own started pulsing and his hips jerked almost uncontrollably.

Several minutes later Harry murmured, “There are times when all I want to do is laze about all day, with you, making love over and over again, and the world be damned.”

Voldemort hauled them both upright and kissed the side of Harry’s neck, ignoring the wet strands of hair that stuck to it. “Soon enough, my sweet, if you wish,” he murmured back, then said more normally, “But until then, that’s what weekends are for, no?”

*

Harry spent quite a lot of time at Gringotts that afternoon making arrangements. His account manager was absolutely delighted with the hefty bonus he was given after a long discussion about hiring teams of goblins to go secure his properties, Harry having decided he didn’t much care any longer whether or not his name ended up dragged through the mud. Once all that was out of the way he moved on to the next point of business, that of seeing whether or not the Weasley twins were actually paying him for the use of his face and name; they were not, according to Nitpuff.

Harry took that in stride, having already assumed he was being shafted, and moved right along to the next thing. After a few questions and a bit of checking on Nitpuff’s part, it was revealed that the Weasley twins had taken out a loan in order to purchase 93 Diagon Alley. Harry was thrilled beyond words to take title to the property on the spot (though it did take a few minutes to complete the transaction). The twins might continue to make their payments, but they would be going to Harry, not the goblins.

Such an action also gave him certain rights when it came to their shop and attached living quarters, though much like in the muggle world, that did not mean he could barge in at all hours of the day and night. Harry was also aware that the twins were only about halfway to paying off the loan, which meant the business had to be doing at least decently. That told him he had plenty of time in which to work, but he was feeling rather antsy about the fact that he still had people he wanted to torture and kill, and it had been a while since Umbridge by his reckoning.

Nitpuff was quick to assure him, however, that with adequate persuasion (translation: oodles of galleons), the goblins would display unwavering dedication if it came to a point where the property needed to be seized. Let it not be said that Harry was stingy when it came to money. After all, he barely had much to spend it on to begin with and he did have tons of the stuff. The paperwork, when handed over, showed Justus Bane as being the proud new owner of that particular location.

And a bit of discreet questioning (involving more gold) did make plain that he did have a vault he could access under that name. Nitpuff had asked him a rather odd security question in Harry’s opinion in order to produce a key. He wanted a description of the person who had assisted him in the Ministry records room.

That having been taken care of, Harry pulled up his hood and wandered out, morphing into the guise of Justus Bane on his way to Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes. Once inside he made a quiet show of inspecting the shop floor, eventually attracting the attention of one of the twins, who drifted up beside him with a puzzled look.

“Is there something wrong?”

Harry slid his gaze over and said, “No, Mr Weasley. I have received a very generous offer to purchase this property outright and was here to see if it looked as though you and your brother would be able to settle the loan, or if it would be necessary for me to initiate foreclosure proceedings.”

“What!? The goblins own this property right now. That’s who we’re buying it from.”

Harry shook his head slowly. “You are mistaken, I assure you. The goblins act as an intermediary, that is all.” Then he turned to face the twin fully. “I suggest you speak with your brother to decide if you wish to pay off your loan in full and not take the risk of having to relocate. In any case, an offer five times the worth of this property is not something I can easily overlook.”

The twin in question had lost all colour, leading Harry to believe they simply couldn’t afford to make good. And, given that he had understood the business was doing well, he wondered just exactly what they had been spending all their money on aside from payments, supplies, and things like food.

“George!” The second twin appeared a few moments later, and Fred quickly explained in hushed tones what was going on while George gave Harry a rather suspicious look.

“Wait here a minute,” George said, then headed through a nearby door.

Harry strained his awareness and senses to the utmost and was just barely able to hear the twin making a firecall. “We’re in a bind, sir,” he could hear George saying. “We need to pay off our loan now, in full, or we’ll lose this shop.”

A dusty voice replied, “I’m afraid I cannot help.”

“But, sir, what about Harry?”

The dusty voice replied, “It has come to my attention that access to those funds has been cut off.”

“But—” George made a sound of frustration. “Sir, how is that possible? And can’t we just send in someone under polyjuice? We still have plenty of hair left over from when we last saw Snape.”

Harry nearly raised a brow in surprise at that bit of knowledge. That explained the alarming gaps in his memory he had thought he had, and why his visage was so unlike himself when it came to things like grinning his approval of a product. Fred was shifting back and forth restlessly, obviously unable to hear his brother’s conversation.

“Doubtful,” said the dusty voice. “The goblins do have ways of assuring a person’s identity, and should an apparent Harry Potter show up without a key, they would check. As it is, all keys I hold are useless. Who—”

“All right, sir,” George said, overriding the man, “I’m sorry to have bothered you. Thank you.” He appeared a few seconds later looking quite harassed and cast a worried look at Fred, then turned his attention to Harry. “How long do we have? Is there some sort of deal we can make?”

“I suppose that depends,” Harry said rather tonelessly. “I might be persuaded to transfer your loan onto a different property here in the alley and discount it somewhat.”

The brothers exchanged a look. “Do you even have proof that you own this place?”

Harry aimed a faint smile at them and nodded. “Indeed.” He produced a copy of the title for them to verify, then tucked it away as they sighed heavily in tandem.

“Where exactly is this other property?” George asked, almost reluctantly.

“A few doors down from Terrortours, at number 57.”

George pondered for a second, then said, “Will you excuse us for a moment, please?”

“Certainly.” Harry moved a short distance away, ostensibly deciding to peruse the shelves of goods, but in reality straining his hearing in their direction and keeping an eye on them peripherally.

“I feel like I’ve heard that name before,” George was saying quietly.

Fred dismissed that with an impatient gesture. “Whatever. We can’t bloody well afford to settle. Now I wish we’d spent less money on entertainment, girls, and fripperies. I mean, did we really need entire wardrobes made from the finest dragonhide? What about Dumbledore?”

“We didn’t know this could happen,” George argued. “And no, he can’t help. He’s lost access to Harry’s accounts so there’s no more free money for any of us.”

“We have to use our own?” Fred sounded aghast at the idea. “We’re doing good, but not so good as to pay and maintain our lifestyle.”

“It can’t be helped, Fred. What do you think? Should we ask to see the other location? It’s probably smaller if he’s willing to discount the remaining money we owe.”

“I think we’re going to have to. We might even be able to get him to rework the loan agreement so our payments are smaller, especially considering we’d already paid half up on this place. Though, I wouldn’t doubt we’ll have to cut back on luxuries a bit.”

“Learning how to cook might be a good start,” George said somewhat acidly. “I don’t think we have much choice unless we want to find a partner or backer.”

“So quickly? I don’t think so. Let’s go talk to him again.”

Harry turned to face them as they came to a stop at his side and displayed an expression of inquiry.

“We would like to see the other property, when it’s convenient.”

Harry nodded. “Today is fine. If you wish, I can meet you there after you’ve closed up for the evening.”

George said, “That’s just over an hour away, so all right. We can be there at 5.30.”

“Certainly. I will see you then,” Harry said, then walked away and out of the shop. A short time later he was entering 57 Diagon Alley, a property actually owned by Voldemort under one of his many false identities, and which had been recently vacated when the tenants found a location better suited to their needs. That made it very easy for him to add a few special touches to the place for the twins to enjoy during their upcoming visit, and then he set about tidying up, vanishing the mild accumulation of dust and making the front display window nice and sparkly clean again.

The twins arrived about when they said they would and Harry was happy to let them in (nudging Voldemort’s mind to let him know to expect visitors soon) and invite them to have a look around, upstairs and down.

“Upstairs is a flat?” one of them asked.

Harry replied, “Yes. There’s a set of stairs, accessible from the back room.”

“I’ll check that out, then, while you look down here, Fred.” And with that George set off, quickly disappearing through a door at the back.

Fred began wandering around, checking out the empty displays and shelving, then went behind the counter area to poke around. Harry was exceptionally pleased when he took the given bait of a galleon innocently left right next to the register and promptly disappeared on attempting to pick it up. A few seconds later he received an image of an unconscious Fred from Voldemort and nodded, then headed off toward the stair to see about George.

Harry had trapped one of the doorknobs and arrived in time to see George reach out to open that particular door, it being the farthest from the interior flat entrance, and also disappear. He smiled, really quite pleased, and went back down to the ground floor to exit and secure the front door, then headed home.

By the time he arrived Voldemort already had both of them stripped down and was checking one of them over for dangerous items, so Harry started work on the other twin to save time. He would have to wait until the next day to capture their parents. In the meantime they could work these two over and dig around in their heads for anything interesting.

The next day, by some strange coincidence, Arthur Weasley was called out to investigate an incident involving a set of enchanted cutlery used at a muggle home in Barnsley. It was surely likewise a coincidence that when Arthur arrived Harry was holding a meat tenderizer in his hands like a mallet and trying to beat the tableware into submission. Arthur never had a chance to do whatever it was he ought to, as Voldemort nailed him from a dark corner of the room and knocked him out.

And while Voldemort took care of portkeying the man to a dungeon cell, Harry cleaned up, did a few repairs, then nipped upstairs to release the actual family from their short-lived comas. Within minutes he had followed his lover home, and now all he needed to do was capture Molly. And that, as it turned out, was almost too easy.

Arthur was placed under the imperius curse and planted in front of the fireplace in the twins’ flat. Of course, Harry and Voldemort knew all there was to know about the protections there having pillaged the twins’ minds, not to mention having learned about the back entrance to be found down a very narrow alley that ran behind the shops, barely wide enough for a person to walk through other than sideways.

Mr Weasley was ordered to firecall his wife and convince her to come through the fire to attend to the health of one of her boys. Given that it was a firecall she would not be able to tell he was being compelled with a curse, and she, true to her nature, popped through the fire within a couple of minutes and was promptly knocked out. Arthur was sent under again before he was portkeyed back to the dungeons along with his wife.

*

Voldemort did not see much of his mate during the week that followed. Harry was once again off doing mysterious things in preparation of his confrontation with the Weasleys. He was also spending time visiting his pet, Moony, and checking in on how Weatherby was coming along with his training regimen. However, Harry was extremely affectionate and cuddly during the evenings, always making him a delicious dinner and doing something nice for him, such as giving him a massage, though that was not to say he had not popped up frequently at around lunch time for the odd snack to tide him over.

“I really must wonder what you’re up to exactly,” Voldemort murmured against Harry’s neck Friday evening, then kissed the smooth flesh. His mate tilted his head so Voldemort bit down, eliciting a soft moan.

“Just a bit of renovation,” Harry said breathily.

Voldemort licked a line up toward his mate’s ear and said, “Oh?” Then he nipped Harry’s earlobe.

Harry let out a soft sigh and squirmed before saying, “Yes. Did you know that there’s a complex series of tunnels under this compound?”

He blinked and pushed Harry back so he could see his mate’s face. “Since when? And are they within the wards?”

Harry flirted his brows up for a moment, then nodded. “Yes, within. I made sure of it. As for since when? Uh, since about a week ago.” His grin was unrepentant. “I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s really fun to mess with people’s heads before I get to the real torture, Tom. There’s something I haven’t decided yet, though.”

Voldemort arched a brow, a tiny part of him wanting to be upset that his mate was getting himself involved in such grandiose schemes. Then again, Harry usually thought things through better than he used to when employing such methods.

“I don’t know if I should pretend to participate as Ron or not. I can’t decide if they’d be stupid enough to fall for it.”

“And just how would you plan to convince them, for whatever it is you intend to do?”

Harry shrugged a shoulder. “Well, we did take Divination for three years. Perhaps Ron decided he believed in it, and believed he could see the future, and joined Voldemort because he knew what was going to happen, and so he could be there to save them.”

Voldemort shook his head. “No. They might believe Ron Weasley is insane to some degree, but that won’t explain how it is that Ginny and Percy aren’t also being saved.”

“Well, you could play Percy, and I have an idea for Ginny.”

He shook his head again. “Harry, my sweet, you’re taking what is very likely to be a good idea too far. Don’t overcomplicate things. I allow that your portkey idea for Fudge was brilliantly done, but you should not necessarily take that as a reason to become overconfident. I do have experience in this sort of thing.”

“I know, that’s why I’ve asked,” Harry replied with a slight pout. “And all right, I won’t. I’ll stick to the easier version of things.”

Voldemort pulled Harry close for a moment to kiss away that pout, then said, “And when do you plan to move ahead?”

“Tomorrow, then, I guess.”

*

They were both watching from overhead. Harry had constructed something vaguely similar to the training facility in the sense that he and Voldemort could overlook the entire maze of tunnels without alerting the people within. The tunnels themselves were more on the order of partially excavated ancient ruins. Some of the walls resembled nothing so much as the sides of buried stone buildings and stretches of the floor were paved in cobblestones.

The four Weasleys awoke in a tunnel opening into what might have once been a common of sorts. A cracked and dirty fountain stood at the center of the open area, the ground surrounding it a mosaic of dulled and scratched coloured tiles that depicted fantastical sea creatures. They hauled themselves up, slapping away the earth that covered their clothing, and looked around in confusion.

George had the presence of mind to look up, possibly having noticed that the accumulation of dirt they had risen from might indicate a ceiling breach, but did not see a way out. “Does anyone remember how we got here?” he asked.

Molly started fussing over everyone, not particularly caring for the moment, as Arthur removed his cracked glasses and tried to wipe away the obscuring film without damaging them further.

Fred shook his head slowly. “I remember closing up the shop, but that’s it. It’s a blank from there.”

“You . . . were sick,” George said slowly, like he was trying to make sense of his memories. “I called mum and dad.”

“Yes,” said Arthur, patiently allowing his wife to try to tidy up his clothing. “You were worried. But, we . . . fell through?” He glanced up, puzzled.

“Ginny!” Molly shrieked and dashed off into the common, throwing herself onto the tiles at her daughter’s side. “Ginny, dear, please wake up!”

The menfolk rushed over as well, at least remembering that no one had seen her for some time. It was about then that everyone realized they were strangely wandless, not to mention barefoot, and their clothing was ragged and unkempt.

Harry looked at Voldemort and smiled impishly. “I strongly considered making it look like the Ministry, just to really confuse them. In any case, I hope they enjoy dragging that golem around.”

“Ginny, please, wake up,” Molly repeated, gently shaking her daughter, and becoming increasingly upset when she received no response of any kind.

“We’ve got to find our way out of here. She might need medical attention,” George said. “Fred, help me look a short way down each, er, tunnel.”

“Ah, boys,” Arthur interjected, “why don’t we just apparate? There’s no point in wandering around down here trying to find a mundane way out.”

The twins exchanged a sheepish look and hung their heads for a moment. “Sorry, dad,” they said as one.

“You two grab your sister,” Arthur continued. “I’m sure you can manage between the two of you. We’ll meet up just outside the Burrow, all right? Molly, dear, you go first so you can get things ready.”

Molly stood up reluctantly, wringing her hands, then nodded. She went nowhere, however, and shook her head anxiously moments later. “It’s no good. There must be a ward up.”

Arthur sighed heavily and had another squint round. “We can be grateful there’s lights down here at least.” The second he said it one of the glowing orbs scattered about flickered and died, its light extinguishing; he groaned. “Boys, get your sister. When one of you gets tired, the other can take her for a bit.”

George moved to pull Ginny up off the floor and sling her over his shoulder while Fred began cautiously investigating the tunnels leading off the common. Fred’s attention was quickly caught by an engraving at the outer edge of the common’s circular mosaic, though, and he crouched down to brush away the dirt. “Wenlock,” he said wonderingly, then started checking the same spot that fronted each tunnel. “Elphick, Flamel, Knightley, Dodderidge, Bane.”

“Those are all surnames of famous people,” Arthur said helpfully. “Street names, do you suppose, in their honor?”

“I remember now,” George said suddenly. “We were visited by a man named Justus Bane. He owns the shop location, said he had received an offer to purchase it outright and that we had to pay up or get out.”

Molly blinked, seemingly torn between her boys being put into such a position and possibly the idea that they might finally be forced to find real jobs.

“He offered to show us a different, smaller property, but. . . .” Fred trailed off, his memory failing him again.

“Dumbledore is concerned about that man,” Arthur said. “He was the one who got Fudge to transfer Tonks to the Unspeakables, and no one has seen her since. He also couldn’t get any information out of him.”

“Is this information helping us?” Molly asked a bit shrewishly. “We need to find a way out. If Dumbledore doesn’t like the man, then I suggest we don’t go down that tunnel.”

George gave his mother a look as if to say she was daft, but nodded anyway. “Then let’s go down Dodderidge. She founded the Leaky Cauldron, after all. Maybe it leads to there? Are we under Diagon Alley?”

Arthur sighed heavily again and found the tunnel marked Dodderidge, then motioned the others to follow. In less than a minute they trooped off, Ginny flopping about gracelessly over George’s shoulder, and ended up in a bewildering array of narrow covered streets and alleys, many of which had packed dirt floors with only patches of cobblestones peeking through.

Arthur steered a steady course, ignoring the offshoots, though he did pause on occasion to push at the odd door that revealed itself, but to no effect. They came to a T-junction eventually, the carving on the wall ahead reading Ollerton. He arbitrarily chose right (though it might have been that the left direction had no glowing orbs to light the way) and continued along, disappearing abruptly several yards in.

George nearly lost his grip on his supposed sister in shock and Molly shrieked. Fred pushed ahead and dropped into a crouch next to a section of the cobblestones, inspecting them closely, and then the walls to either side. After standing up he stamped a foot hard on the ground, ignoring his mother’s abortive attempt to restrain him, then scratched his head. “Portkey?” he asked of no one in particular.

“If dad stepped on a bloody portkey then there might be more scattered around down here. Who the hell knows where we’ll all end up.”

Harry skipped off to the side a ways, then nodded. Arthur had been ported to a different section of the fake underground town and was presently yelling out the names of his missing family members, trying to locate them by sound. He and Voldemort watched them for several hours as they scurried through the human-sized maze, even finding the time and inclination to make mad, passionate love to each other after Harry lost an impromptu bet over who would be the next to get shifted.

Weasleys were randomly ported about as they stepped with bare feet on enchanted stones or touched trapped sections of the walls. Eventually, though, they managed to exhaust not only themselves, but the multitude of portkeys, and found their weary way to the actual exit tunnel, which was marked, appropriately enough, Egress.

Harry and Voldemort hurriedly made their way to the dungeon itself, where the Weasleys would emerge, and prepared for their arrival, knowing they would finally end up going through the only actual door of substance in the entire maze.


Associated Snapshot: Directions