Not since the War have I felt fear and desperation the way I have felt it since arriving in Haiti.
And the battle we just fought was one that nearly rivaled that of the last battle of the War.
When I entered the compound, I could not allow myself the luxury of letting that fear possess me. After all, this was George’s little brother and Harry we were rescuing, no matter what connected me to them in my past, life was precious, no matter what the differences between those lives may be. Besides, I do not want George losing another brother to the evil in this world.
I hated the moment I heard Fleur fall and shriek, not in pain, but in anger, as she stunned the man who grabbed her around the ankle as she toppled to the ground beside the hut we used for shelter from the onslaught of the guards. Poor man…after she stunned him, she started beating him even as she lay on the ground, shouting curses at him in French and occasionally kicking him in the face with her good foot. He was pretty bloody by the time Tonks and Neville got to Fleur to help her walk.
“Just wrap ze fucking ankle and go. I can do more zan enough to protect myself from zese bastards. Go!” She shouted at Neville, who I am sure worked as quickly as he could so he could leave her as soon as he could. I did not think the French language contained so many expletives…she is not so perfect a French lady as first I might have thought…
But now the battle is over and we are left to search what appears to be an abandoned compound, for Harry and Ron. I have a nasty feeling that we are not going to find them here…but I do not let on as it would crush everyone’s spirits. George and I break away and I begin casting Portkey signature spells, trying my best to determine whether or not a Portkey has been recently activated. As we slowly walk through the camp, George stays close by me, watching out and looking in all directions as I concentrate on the task at hand.
Then my fears are realized as my wand passes over and indicates that indeed, a very large Portkey had been activated, one that carried multiple travelers an exceedingly long distance. A string-style Portkey.
“George, look,” I point out and collect my findings as his expression falls in disappointment.
“They’re not here anymore, are they?”
“No, sweetie, I do not think so,” I whisper as I slip my hand into his with a squeeze. “A group of people Portkeyed out of here less than an hour ago. A big group…and they used a long-distance Portkey string.” He stiffens at my words and fights to control himself.
“Come on, let’s keep looking.”
In the area we are responsible for searching we find a cage of bamboo stakes. There is no roofed shelter to the bamboo cell and the stakes are connected with twisted vines. Poppets hang from the posts and vine-ropes, dozens of poppets. George grabs one. A bucket full of waste sits in one corner, two buckets containing some type of leftover food paste and rancid water sit in the opposite corner. A set of rusted shackles lie on the dusty ground near the center of the cage.
George grabs my arms as I falter at the smell.
“I think I’m going to be sick,” I whisper as he pulls me away from the scene back toward the center of the compound. As we hike past a palm tree, we notice a pile of robes, the scarlet robes of Aurors, beneath it. George bends to retrieve the garments with an oath on his lips before grabbing my hand again. We run to the center of the camp, finding Fleur sitting on a stump, favoring her ankle while she waits. We show her the robes and poppet and another slew of French curses falls from her mouth.
“Zis, zis is a Voodon poppet. A cursed trinket, designed to keep zose who can perform magic from doing so. Zey were placed around ‘arry and Ron to keep zem from performing ze curses and escaping,” she throws the poppet to the ground in frustration as we tell her of the activated Portkey.
Soon the rest of the troop returns from their search and Bill carries Ginny in his arms until they reach us. She is uninjured, but obviously distraught. Bill, Charlie, and Ginny found a second bamboo cell, identical to the one George and I discovered, on the opposite side of the compound. I had hoped it would not be Ginny to make such a gruesome discovery.
Once the entire camp has been searched, evidence collected, and everyone is together once more, I inform everybody of the Portkey activated prior to our attack. Ginny chokes and heaves a heavy sob as Tonks and Bill try to comfort her and keep her from physically harming herself in her disappointment and rage. Susan and Neville stand behind Fleur as the couple cling to each other in disbelief. Fleur leans forward, her head in her hands as she whispers to herself. George is leaning on me solidly and I try my best to steady his weight.
“MERLIN FUCKING DAMN IT!” Charlie screams as he punches the wooden siding of one of the buildings. I hear a small crack as his fist connects with the surface and I am sure he has broken his hand. He does not flinch. We all stand silently for a few moments.
“Come on, everyone, let’s get out of here,” I say as I pull out the shrunken Portkey I made to take us all home. I hold it out in my hand and with a wave of my wand, it returns to its normal size…an umbrella. One by one, we take hold of a portion of the length of the object. Charlie is the last to touch it and the instant he does, it activates.