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Amidst the Ashes by TheHeirOfSlytherin
Chapter 8: Revelations Where it Started
Theo waited for the sun to set from the dirty window, watching the day disappear and the night take charge. He glanced up to the bright, full moon and smiled sadly.
"This is for you, David. This time, I'll make him pay."
He turned his head from the moon back to the street; somehow he knew Theo had done exactly the same. The man was quick and clever, yes, but still predictable. This was what Theo was waiting for, what everything was leading to. He knew that now.
He hoped Harry Potter was worth it.
Leaning against the dining room table, Harry watched the clock, waiting for it to reach nine thirty. He wanted to be ready for ten, no earlier, no later. It would be exactly ten years after the accident, ten years since he had been there last. It seemed almost poetic in a way, to reawaken the old wounds in this way, to go back to the start. It seemed fate had dealt him this hand.
And who was Harry to mess with fate?
The seconds dragged on, ticking slowly, painfully, until the hand finally moved to the six. Harry pushed himself away from the desk and made his way out of the house. He knew exactly what he was going to do, what to say. He'd got the message, but this was his game now, and he would know that. Harry didn't want to play anymore. For the past three days he had been planning this, ever since the night in the hospital and finding the file.
Harry knew the truth, he knew the lies and he knew the end result.
He Apparated outside of the venue; an old night club Harry had bought years ago for these Halloween parties. Ginny and Hermione had proposed the idea as a way for family and friends to take one night out of their busy lives and get together, just to have some fun. And it had been a success for the first three years, even Harry agreed, but it never felt the same after the fire.
Teddy had chosen the night for the annual party; he chose Halloween because it was his favorite holiday. He loved to dress up, eat sweets and scare people. He'd chosen the building because it had been rundown and abandoned when they found it; he thought it was perfect. It was because of Teddy that Ginny had wanted to keep the party going, on the same night in the same venue. When they planned, she always said it was his night, and it was his remembrance to his family. It didn't take Harry long to figure out that was her reason for being so angry at him for choosing not to attend; he wasn’t there for Teddy.
But to go would have meant accepting he was gone and Harry had never truly done that. Something had always held him back, in his gut, his instincts. Now he knew why.
With that in mind, Harry pulled open the door and immediately felt the ghosts that made up his nightmares hit him. The music was loud, but not overly so; he could still hear his friends and family and everyone else who had started to come over the years laughing and joking. No one noticed he'd even entered the room.
He pushed his way past, not bothering to give an apology; he had something more important on his mind. One by one, the room's occupants began to notice and they slowed and stopped and pointed until they had formed a circle with Harry in between, a path set out in front of him.
"Daddy!" Lily pushed her way passed and wrapped her arms around his waist, the wings of her green fairy costume stuck out in odd angles and her red hair falling loose from her tight pigtails. "I knew you would come, Dad. Mum said you wouldn't, but I knew you would."
"Yeah, I came. Didn't have time for a costume, though." He removed her hands from his body gently. "I need you to go back to your mum." Lily frowned. "Please, sweetheart."
Lily nodded, pretending she understood, or maybe she really did; Harry wouldn't be surprised, nothing could surprise him now. Harry continued to walk until he was in the middle of the room, in the middle of circle, and glanced up to the balcony above, where maintenance went to fix the lights for the stage. He heard Ginny murmur to their children and assumed it was her making her way over to him.
"Harry, what the hell is going on?" she demanded. "You show up for the first time in ten years and -"
Harry held up a hand, silencing her, never tearing his eyes away from the balcony. "You remember just after the accident, I said Teddy couldn't be dead, that I'd feel it."
"I was right." Harry dropped his hand. "Theodore!"
Ginny shook her head and grabbed his shoulder. "No, Harry. Teddy is gone. He died in the fire ten years ago."
"No, he didn't."
"No, I didn't." Ginny followed Harry's gaze above and gasped, her hand to her mouth, when she saw a figure step out of the shadows. He grasped the bars tightly and stared at his godfather down below. "Or maybe I did and this is just some cruel joke. You never can be sure of what you're actually seeing. This past month is proof of that, right Harry?"
Ron stepped forward just a little. "Harry, what does he mean?" he asked quietly, barely able to believe what he was saying.
"You impersonated David," Harry called.
"You wrote the first two messages."
"You know who murdered those people and you know why David is -"
Harry stopped himself, still unable to say it, unable to even think it. Teddy moved closer. "Yes. I know why my friend is dead." The light shone on the man's face and Harry could make out his red eyes, still visibly showing that he'd been crying. "My friend. He was supposed to stay in France and wait for my call."
"He knew?" Harry asked. "He knew you were alive? That you were here?" Teddy nodded. "For how long? How long, Theodore?" he yelled.
"A couple of months," Teddy answered slowly. "I made him promise not to tell, but he wanted to so badly. He worked with you for years, you were his mentor in training and his partner after; he saw what the fire had done to you and he wanted to tell you. He noticed your problems and he made me promise to fix it." Teddy's eyes flashed to Ginny for a second.
"What does he mean, Harry?"
Harry stared at Teddy; he wanted to continue talking about the case, he wanted all of his answers, but he could see that desperate determination in his godson's eyes and he knew what he wanted, what he was saying. Do it for David. So Harry faced his wife. "He means that... I don't want a divorce. I never wanted to lose you, and I'm so sorry I let this get in the way. I just couldn't handle it, any of it, I'd lost too many people already, and Ted," he glanced upwards for a second, "he was just a boy."
Harry couldn't continue to speak. He was so used to keeping everything locked up inside. But Ginny knew him well enough to figure out everything he still tried to say, and she pulled him to her, wrapping her arms around him. "I love you, Harry, and I'm sorry. It just hurt too much."
"I know." Harry returned her embrace, not wanting to let go now that he had her back, and it wasn't long before Lily joined, followed by the boys.
"Look at that," Teddy called out. "One, big, happy family."
Harry only moved back a fraction, his arm still wrapped around the boys and his wife, while his left hand rested on his daughter's shoulder, who clung to his waist. "A family you were a part of. What happened to you?"
"Now is not the time, Harry," Teddy pointed out. "Tick tock, remember."
Teddy glanced behind his godfather, his family, and Harry turned to see Ron make his way over cautiously. "If Teddy has been alive all this time and Teddy is the one who left the messages, does that mean -"
"I didn't do it!" The man yelled at him, his anger growing as he listened to Ron and what he was implying.
Harry removed his hand from his daughter to hold it up in a sort of surrender, stopping either man from speaking. "I know you didn't."
Teddy looked almost relieved by Harry's words, made visible by the light; he seemed to relax a little. "You found my file." It wasn't a question, but Harry nodded anyway, wanting his godson, his son, to have that reassurance. "I knew you would."
"But I don't know where you want me to look next," Harry admitted. "I need you to come down so you can help me. I need you to come home. I can't play this game anymore, Ted. Come home."
Teddy controlled his quiet sobbing, letting the tears run in hope that he would stop crying, and stared down at only family he had ever known, besides his grandmother; to Ginny, who would make him brownies when he was sick and cookies when he was sad, because it had to be different; to James' small smile and the recognition in Albus' eyes that told him they remembered him; to the confusion on Lily's face, who no longer knew who he was; to the strong desire Harry revealed in his eyes that screamed at him to talk about what happened, that he needed to know, that he needed to come back home. He missed home.
He stopped suddenly; something wasn't right. His nostrils flared automatically and he turned behind him. He recognized that smell, that heat, and that night came back. "He's here."
He heard Harry's call, Ginny's following soon after, and he turned back to the railings. "Get out. Leave. Go. Now!"
"Harry." Confused, desperately wanting answers, any answer, and the man turned to his best friend. He followed Ron's gaze, his finger, which was pointed in front of them, and stared in horror.
"Gin, take the kids and get out," Harry whispered as he watched the newly formed flames begin to rise and spread. He pushed his family back as the rest of the crowd left for the exit. "Run!"
Harry looked up at the balcony one last time and his heart plummeted when he saw that Teddy had disappeared. "Harry!"
Harry followed his wife's voice, unable to accept that he had lost Teddy once again, and stepped outside, turning to watch the flames, the sound of sirens in the distance. Feeling someone stand beside him, he turned slowly, his relief apparent when he realized it was Albus. He wiped away the tears that formed in his youngest son's usually bright green eyes and asked where the others where. Albus pointed behind him, to where James, Lily and Ginny stood, Ron, Hermione and their two children beside him. "I don't like Halloween anymore, Dad," Albus whispered, shaking.
Harry held him close, his eyes scanning the crowd, trying to focus on one person. But he was nowhere to be found. "Me neither."
A/N: This was supposed to be posted on Thursday, but, unfortunately, I was sick and tired and I fell asleep. But look out for next Thursday, hopefully I'll be able to post the next chapter then. :)
Hope you liked this chapter and it's answered a few questions...