Oh, no. I guess that was earlier. Now, he's been frozen by a hex, cornered by a murderer, and--after something barrels out of the dark at them--Side-Along Apparated off to God knows where. Right. There was that.
Table of Contents and Summary So Far
The pinched, airless world of mid-Apparation released them, and Teddy felt himself slip out of Cresswell's grasp. They were in an old stone building, with gaps in the walls. Cresswell yowled, and Teddy saw that something large and brown and black was hanging from his arm: a raccoon. Blood was flowing from his wrist.
Teddy saw what would happen only a second before it did, only long enough to yell "Mask!" before Cresswell flung out his arm, dislodging his attacker violently against the wall.
The raccoon fell, and as it did, it lost its shape, grew bigger, became Donzo McCormack. His nose was bleeding and his arm seemed to be at a strange angle, but he drew his wand, pointed it at Teddy and yelled, "Finite Incantatem!" before collapsing onto the floor.
Teddy felt the strength rush back into his arms and legs. Cresswell raised his wand.
Teddy didn't think about it--he transformed, pulling himself up as he did, the world breaking into the sharp, non-Euclidean lines of hawk-sight. He flew at Cresswell, striking out with his talons, grabbing for the wand. It clattered away as Cresswell beat at him blindly, and he grabbed it, flew to a gap in the wall, and tossed it out.
He flew back inside, transforming again as he came close enough to the ground to land nearly on top of Sam Cresswell, knocking him flat.
"You're not Malfoy!"
"Yeah, that was getting old," Teddy said.
Cresswell's arm flashed out like a snake, and Teddy felt something sharp slash across his arm. His hand opened in reflex, and Cygnus Black's wand skittered away. Cresswell stomped on it, shattering it. He ran over to Donzo and stomped on his hand, and Teddy heard both bone and wood crack. Donzo screamed.
Donzo managed to flail his arm out, flipping Cresswell backward. Teddy registered the knife in Cresswell's hand in time to stop it from coming down in a brutal, killing arc, but he couldn't break the murderer's grip on it. Whatever else Cresswell was, he was madly strong, and it took all of Teddy's natural strength to hold onto him.
Cresswell pushed him toward the far wall, where Teddy could see that there were shackles welded to the stone.
"Is this where you killed them?"
"It's where they killed my father!" He laughed wildly. "Don't you recognize it? It's in your family. The old Tonks household. Your grandfather's grandfather built it. I've hidden it, with spells even Potter doesn't know about it. Your grandfather brought them here to be safe from the damned Death Eaters, and you... you come here in the face of one of them. I guess your pure-blood side won out." He grinned a scimitar. "But maybe we can clear all that out of you. See if you have enough of your grandfather's blood to keep breathing when I've drained out the rest." He leaned closer. "And then, while your godfather is distracted by your corpse, I'll pay a visit to the real Malfoys. And whoever happens to be in the house with them."
Teddy went cold. Granny had been at the Malfoys nearly every time he'd gone, nursing Narcissa back to health and trying to rebuild a long-severed tie.
"The quislings will catch me," Cresswell went on. "I know that. But I can do a lot of justice before they do."
Teddy shoved back with all of his remaining strength. The gash in his arm where Cresswell had already cut him was draining his energy more than Cresswell's was being drained by Donzo's bite, but the floor was uneven, and Cresswell teetered on the edge of a plank and fell backward, nearly on top of Donzo. The knife hit the wall and clattered away.
"Donzo," Teddy said. "Can you hear me?"
"Yeah..." His voice was weak with shock. "I can..."
"Can you reach the buttons on my cloak?"
"Just grab one. Pull. Hard."
Cresswell tried to throw Teddy off, but Teddy held on grimly.
Donzo's good hand came up, and Teddy felt it weakly snag on a button. He jerked to one side, and the button tugged, just a little bit, before it slid from beneath Donzo's finger's.
There was a series of pops, and a swirl of red cloth. Ruthless jabbed her wand forward, and Cresswell flew back against the wall.
"What's this? How...?"
"Your damned concealing spells can be broken from inside," she said, and the shackles he'd used on his victims flew up and bound him.
Teddy felt a hand on his arm, then a bandage wound itself around his cut. Uncle Harry crouched beside him. "We got to the alley fast enough to see you disappear. I thought--"
"I'm all right," Teddy said, and pointed. "But Donzo..."
"We're taking you both to St. Mungo's. Ron?"
Ron appeared at his side. "You want me to process this piece of rubbish?"
"You, Williams, Goldstein. No less than three on him until he's locked up."
"What about me?" Ruthless asked.
"Help me take statements."
"Ruth, that's an order."
From his place shackled to the wall, Cresswell shouted, "They're illegal Animagi, both of them!"
"We'll see to it that they pay a hefty fine," Ruthless said dryly.
"You won't do a thing, you whore, and you know it. Hell, you'll probably have them transform just so you can--"
She jabbed her wand at him, and he fell mercifully silent. Ron and the other two Aurors Uncle Harry had assigned pulled the chains from the wall, and a moment later, they were gone.
There was another pop, and Granny appeared, carrying her Healer's bag. She looked around, wide-eyed. "This place... how could I forget... Ted died here..."
"It's a spell Sam invented," Ruthless said bitterly. "Partly a distraction spell, partly a concealing spell--it makes a place invisible to the memory. Concealing things was his specialty."
"Granny," Teddy said. "Donzo. His hand."
"We have to get them to St. Mungo's," Uncle Harry repeated.
"I'm Healing the breaks before we move him," Granny told him, kneeling down. "Don't worry, Don. I know this is your chord hand. I won't let it get jostled anymore, and we'll get it Healed."
Donzo passed out when she touched it to reset the bones. She managed to get the major breaks Healed, examined her work, then decided he could be--carefully--moved. She took him by Side-Along Apparition.
Uncle Harry frowned. "Is this it?" He looked to Teddy. "You didn't think he was alone."
"He was the only one here."
"Where are his brother and his mother?"
Teddy blinked. "I don't know."
Ruthless glared at the knife on the floor. "Someone's looking after them for him. Somewhere else. Someone who knew what he'd done and didn't care."
Uncle Harry nodded. "We should get to St. Mungo's," he said, and Disapparated. Teddy and Ruthless followed.
Maurice was at the hospital already when they got there. His face was white as he looked on at the team of Healers working on the finer points of Donzo's hand--the muscles and ligaments and whatever else was in there to have been shredded by the sharply broken bones. He glanced at Teddy, Ruthless, and Uncle Harry as they came around. "It wasn't meant to go like this," he said.
"They'll get him Healed," Ruthless promised.
"If he hadn't come, Cresswell would have killed me," Teddy said.
"And on that note," Ruthless told him, "I think I'd best do my job and get your statement."
Teddy spent the next ten minutes telling her what had happened after Sam had pulled them all away from Knockturn Alley. It seemed longer in the re-telling than it had happening.
She nodded, transcribed his answer, and had him sign the statement. "I'll wait for McCormack's." She ground her teeth. "I thought that might be him in the alley. I haven't seen a lot of striped-tail cats. I should have just brought him into it."
Teddy shook his head. "He wouldn't have let you. Cresswell was obviously watching the shop. He'd have noticed you having a conversation with a raccoon, I think, and then he'd have lost the element of surprise, and we'd both be dead."
Abruptly, Ruthless put her hands to her face and began to sob. She didn't cry often, and didn't do it gracefully. It came out in huge, braying howls.
Teddy put his arms around her. "It's all right."
"I could've killed you both."
"Cresswell could have."
"It was my idea! And I should have known before and I should have stopped him and I should have stabbed him in his sleep..."
Teddy held her and patted her hair while she cried.
It finally faded off to hitching breaths, and she pulled away. "Sorry, I--"
"It's all right," Teddy said.
Teddy looked up over Ruthless's curls. Donzo, Uncle Harry, Maurice, Granny, and Aunt Narcissa were all gathered. Donzo's hand was enmeshed in a stabilizing spell.
"Er," Teddy said. "I think I lost the wand."
Aunt Narcissa nodded. "Then I'm very glad it wasn't your mother's you were carrying."
"You're not to let him play the guitar for three weeks," Maurice said, looking at Donzo's hand. "If he does, he might not play again at all."
Ruthless wiped her face vicious and turned around. "Sorry, McCormack. I--"
"I had absolutely no one's go ahead," Donzo said. "I just rode Dapple off school grounds and made some guesses."
"I'm glad you did," Teddy said. "Though we may have to face the terrible, unheard of consequences of our illegal magic."
Uncle Harry rolled his eyes. "Yes, I think we can let the Animagus bit go. I'll arrange something--"
"No," Granny said.
Teddy looked up. She, Aunt Narcissa, and Maurice all looked horrified. "What is it?" he asked.
"Whatever youd normally do," she said to Uncle Harry, "do it. It can't be that horrible."
"Well, it's a fairly large fine, or two weeks in Azkaban, which is ridiculous, but every time I try to change it, they accuse me of playing favorite about which crimes matter, and--"
"Teddy has money, and so do I. We'll pay the fine."
"Harry, think. This isn't over. You can't bend the rules right now." She shook her head at the uncomprehending stares she was getting. "The trial, Harry. There's going to be a trial, and Cresswell is going to turn it into a three ring circus. Don't provide him with an extra act."