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Chapter 71 - Offence

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Harry waited with Draco under his invisibility cloak, watching as more and more Death Eaters answered the call of their master and arrived outside Hogwarts grounds. It should have been funny how obvious they were being about staying away from the Forbidden forest.

Mundungus was acting as the normal look out, but he was unaware Harry and Draco were there. There were only a few who knew the precise details of the plan, it was safer that way.

[Can you reach them?] Draco asked silently.

[Yes,] he replied as he lowered his barriers to what was probably a dangerous level.

Thanks to Snape's sacrifice in letting him practice, he knew exactly what he was looking for. He could locate the darkness in each of Voldemort's followers even from a distance. It was a shame the wards could not keep out the Death Eaters as easily as they could stop them Apparating in.

[Next,] was all Harry said as he held the feeling of evil in his mind.

The anti-Transferring ward had been dropped and Draco used the perception Harry had given him to move them to the second observation point. With Harry focused on his task, Draco was acting as their transport.

Just touching the connection Voldemort had with his followers made Harry feel soiled, but he had no choice. There were four vantage points in the grounds of Hogwarts and they used each one. At each Harry surveyed the creeping attackers, finding each man and woman and the mark they carried. The more he mentally touched, the more the scar on his forehead ached until it felt as if his head was almost splitting in two.

[Time to reel them in,] he said, doing his best to shield Draco from the pain he was feeling.

Draco did not reply, simply giving his silent support and Transferring them to where the trap was laid. They had chosen a spot bordered on both sides by parts of the castle with perfect hiding places for all the defenders.

Harry held the invisibility cloak close around both him and Draco as they appeared in the trap. This was key to whether Hogwarts would be in danger of being overrun and he knew it, but he refused to let himself dwell on that. He had a job to do and he focused on the specifics rather than the consequences. Nothing could disturb his concentration.

[I've got you,] Draco told him. [Just do what you have to do.]

Draco's arms were round him and his soulmate was in his mind. This was it, the day they had been planning for, and he was about to begin it for real.

He dropped his barriers completely, relying on Draco's firm presence to protect him, and reached for the Dark Marks. It wasn't a sophisticated spell, more a matter of focusing, balling up every shred of hatred he could find in his being, and screaming, "come to me" with his mind.

The reflection of Voldemort that came back at him made his knees go weak, but Draco held him up. He didn't need to check to see if it had worked; he could feel it had.

[They're coming,] he said.

* * *

Of course the Death Eaters couldn't Apparate to their Lord's side as they had during the TriWizard Tournament. However, they did come running. They streamed into the area, black robes flying around them and masks firmly in place.

For once Draco was thankful for the Death Eaters' fanatical loyalty to Voldemort, because not a one of them seemed to have questioned the summons. It had to have been a huge change in their plan. Yet they came like good little soldiers, so conditioned to obey were they.

Draco held Harry close and watched Voldemort's minions come round the corner and look around for their Lord. Masked faces scanned this way and that and Draco saw the moment confusion set in. That was when he Transferred himself and Harry to a vantage point above the chosen battle ground.

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