Alecto and Amycus Carrow spread the wizarding war to the Muggle world. It falls to the Patil twins, Lavender, and a new ally to protect those in harm's way!
You are Padma Patil.
Your restlessness doesn't stem from just the obvious fact that you, your twin sister Parvati, and all your friends and fellow classmates continue to find yourselves at war.
No, the source of your unease is a bit more specific than that.
Or at least it would be if you could just puzzle out what it is that's bothering you so much. Right now, that nagging feeling is remaining frustratingly, perhaps dangerously, vague.
You and Parvati stand inside Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, this most curious shop and even more curious Rebel base, and the two of you have already decided to team up with your good friend--and Parvati's best friend--Lavender Brown.
But your focus isn't on them, nor on the myriad other classmates and friends whom you might be laying eyes on for the very last time today. Excusing yourself, you leave Parvati and Lavender, and squeeze your way through crowds of Gryffindors, fellow Ravenclaws, and others.
You must speak with Harry.
Ginny Weasley has just finished impressing upon him the importance of finding Colin Creevey--and giving him a goodbye kiss--when you approach him.
"Oh, hi Padma," he says. He wasn't exactly expecting you, but he seems to guess that something's amiss. "What is it?" he asks distractedly.
"Well, I've been thinking... about the Horcrux hunt, that is. My group's hunt, with Neville and Hannah."
"For Nagini. Right."
"But I can't figure it out. I mean, why was it that Nagini--the pet snake of You-Know-Who, that actually hides part of his soul--why would it have been at the London Zoo? Doesn't that strike you as a bit of an odd place for him to put his pet?"
He lets out an exhausted chuckle. "Quite honestly, of all the very strange things that seemed to happen to us during the Horcrux hunts, I'd say that one's almost tame by comparison." You both look over to steal a glance at Lavender, who's absentmindedly fiddling with a baseball cap that she picked up on her team's quest for Rowena Ravenclaw's diadem.
"But why at a Muggle zoo?" you persist. "Why not by his master's side?"
You can tell Harry's giving this some serious thought, rubbing the scar on his forehead in the process.
"Voldemort had a number of uses for his snake," he says at last. (And you really wish people would stop using that horrible name so openly, but you're proud of yourself for not wincing this time, at least.) "He often used her as his eyes and ears. For information gathering."
"Information," you repeat, starting to feel downright alarmed now. "So do you think... Harry, does he know? About the Horcruxes? Could he feel it when we destroyed them all??"
His hand goes back to his scar. "He definitely knew when Nagini was killed because he lost a valuable source of information through his psychic link with the snake. It would be like a Muggle suddenly losing their television reception in the middle of watching a program."
You'd like to ask what a "television" is, but he keeps going. "As for the other Horcruxes, he can't feel them directly--or couldn't, rather. But he definitely knows something's wrong. Something disastrous for him."
You've never seen the Boy Who Lived so shaken. "He's feeling the beginnings of desperation," he says in a low voice.
"He's planning something awful, isn't he?" You feel your eyes brimming with tears. This is all really too much for you.
Harry just shakes his head. "I dunno. Probably."
"Like for London." He raises a brow, prompting you to continue. "Think about it, Harry. The snake. Hiding in plain sight among the Muggles in Britain's capital city.
"He's about to do something here. Something to the Muggle population. Something so big that, despite the presence of this new Rebellion, he actually risks sending his snake--part of his own soul--to scout ahead for what can only be some great, terrible master plan."
At this, he literally has to sit down, prompting Ron Weasley to come over and check on him. "You alright, Harry? Oh, hey there Padma," he greets upon seeing you too. "What's up?"
"Hi." You barely notice him. "Harry, I know we're supposed to be focused on rescuing old allies and seeking out key Death Eaters. But this could be big. Let Parvati, Lavender, and myself go to investigate it. We'll make sure we won't get in over our heads."
He raises his gaze to yours, his green eyes intense behind his glasses. "Go see what you can uncover, Padma. But please, promise me you won't take on more than you can handle. As soon as you learn something, just report back. And if you find things getting too dangerous, then by all means get help--or get out of there.
"This could be bigger than just you three. If what you're suggesting is true, it could be bigger than all of us."
You nod your head. "Of course. You have my word. Thanks, Harry."
Making your way back to the others, Parvati has immediately sensed your inner turmoil. "What is it?" she asks, her voice marked with urgency.
"I believe we have our mission assignment," you say, forcing a weak smile. "Parvati, Lavender, I think we'll need some Muggle clothes for this one. We're going to have to blend in."
A beam of moonlight illuminates the derelict storefronts as the three of you step out of the shop into the streets of Diagon Alley. Cormac McLaggen and Ginny have just Disapparated away with the Muggle girl Everdeen not long ago.
You and Parvati look each other's outfits over. Being twins, you think to get away with nearly identical ensembles. You both wear a soft but otherwise tastefully plain dark-colored top. It's short-sleeved but combined with a light-colored jacket to account for London's sometimes temperamental weather (the jackets are also convenient for storing your wands). Similarly light-colored and form-fitting slacks adorn your legs, and both of you are wearing soft-soled black slip-on shoes (no socks), useful both for stealth and for being little trouble to run in if it comes to it.
Then you both turn your gaze to Lavender, who has taken a decidedly different approach. She's got on bright orange "Converse" shoes, clashing pink socks, black skintight leggings, a T-shirt just as black but covered with polka dots of seemingly every color, plus a neon pink jacket. She rounds out her ensemble with plastic, blue-rimmed glasses and a headband with a frilly bow attached to its right side. "Alright, we ready to go then?" she says cheerily.
You and Parvati exchange a knowing look.
"What?" Lavender asks.
"Erm, Lavender," Parvati begins, "the point was to blend in."
She stands confidently. "Oh, I know that. This is how Muggles dress, isn't it?"
"Well, ten years ago perhaps?" you offer, trying to be helpful.
Lavender's hands are on her hips, but any response she's forming is suddenly cut off.
For just then, the door to the Weasleys' shop opens again, and your group abruptly quiets down when you see the Slytherin so-called "Careers" emerge: Draco Malfoy, flanked on either side by Gregory Goyle and Pansy Parkinson.
Though the three of them were deep in conversation a moment ago about where to begin their assignment, they hush at the same time your group does, each studying the other as they pass (raising eyebrows at Lavender in particular and her colorful outfit). Even though the Slytherins are by now an established and proven part of the Rebellion against He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, it seems that there will always be a small level of antipathy, that little bit of distrust and misgiving over past grievances between them and the other former Tributes.
But none of those things concern you. Just before he would've made eye contact with you, your eyes dart to the ground to avoid Malfoy's. Instead, in your mind you can still see the face of his dead mother, eyes bereft of life. You likewise see the wild fury in his father's eyes, turned to meek subjugation with one incantation of a Death Eater's Imperius Curse.
Your body begins to tremble ever so slightly, and you hope that none of them notice. For you were there when it happened. You were the only one who was there to witness it. In the Forbidden Forest. The day before the Games. The elder Malfoys standing up to the Death Eaters, demanding the release of their son from the deadly Games. And they both reaped the consequences.
You risk a glance back up. Malfoy and his cronies are moving down the street away from your group, now resuming their discussion. Parkinson looks back, seemingly right at you, but then returns her gaze straight ahead, joining in their conversation.
You don't like this. Draco Malfoy really should know. He has a right to know what happened to his parents that terrible day. But is that really such a good idea right before they embark on a no-doubt important and dangerous quest of their own?
You feel Parvati's hand warm on your shoulder, and you realize you're still shaking. "Padma, what's wrong?" The Slytherins are getting farther away now, so you'd better hurry up and decide.
A.) Tell Malfoy?
B.) Leave it be?