Chapter Three

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Everything seemed fuzzy, slow. Hermione staggered and despite their previous argument, Harry and Draco pressed against each other protectively. Many were only just realizing that something strange had happened; heads were still turning toward the silver cat as it vanished. Silence spread outward in cold ripples from the place where the Patronus had landed. Then somebody screamed.

Harry, Draco, and Hermione threw themselves into the panicking crowd, Draco's body carefully shielding Harry from any offenders.

Guests were sprinting in all directions; many were Disapparating; the protective enchantments around the Burrow had broken.

"Ron!" Hermione cried. "Ron, where are you?"

As they pushed their way across the dance floor, Harry saw cloaked and masked figures appearing in the crowd; then he saw Lupin and Sirius, their wands raised, and heard both of them shout "Protego!" It was a cry that was echoed on all sides.

"Ron! Ron!" Hermione called, half sobbing as she, Draco, and Harry were pushed and pulled by terrified guests. Harry seized her hand to make sure they weren't separated as a streak of light whizzed over their heads, whether a protective charm or something more sinister he did not know-

And then Ron was there. He caught hold of Hermione's free arm, and Harry felt her turn on the spot; sight and sound were extinguished as darkness pressed in upon him; all he could feel was Hermione's hand and Draco's tight, protective arm as he was squeezed through space and time, away from the Burrow, away from the descending Death Eaters, away, perhaps, from Voldemort himself.

"Where are we?" said Ron's voice.

Harry opened his eyes. For a moment he thought they had not left the wedding after all. They still seemed to be surrounded by people. Draco was still protectively clinging to Harry.

"Tottenham Court Road," panted Hermione. "Walk, just walk, we need to find somewhere for you to change."

Harry did as she asked, Draco easily following behind. They half walked, half ran up the wide dark street thronged with late-night revelers and lined with closed shops, stars twinkling above them. A double-decker bus rumbled by and a group of merry pub-goers ogled them as they passed; Harry, Draco, and Ron were still wearing dress robes.

"Hermione, we haven't got anything to change into," Ron told her, as a young woman burst into raucous giggles at the sight of him.

"Why didn't I make sure I had the Invisibility Cloak with me?" said Harry, inwardly cursing his stupidity. "All last year I kept it on me and—"

"It's okay, we've got the Cloak, we've got clothes for all of you," said Hermione, "Just try and act naturally until— this will do." She led them down a side street, then into the shelter of a shadowy alleyway.

"When you say you've got the Cloak and clothes . . . " said Harry, frowning at Hermione, who was carrying nothing except her small beaded handbag, in which she was now rummaging.

"Yes, they're here," said Hermione, and to Harry and Ron's astonishment, she pulled out a pair of jeans, a sweatshirt, some maroon socks, and finally the silvery Invisibility Cloak.

"How the ruddy hell—?"

"Undetectable Extension Charm," said Hermione. "Tricky, but Draco was a great help. Anyway, I managed to fit everything we need in here." She gave the fragile-looking bag a little shake and it echoed like a cargo hold as several heavy objects rolled around inside it.

"Oh, damn, that'll be the books," she said, peering into it, "and I had them all stacked by subject. . . . Oh well. . . . Harry, you'd better take the Invisibility Cloak. Ron and Draco, hurry up and change. . . ."

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⏰ Last updated: Jan 10 ⏰

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