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Chapter 25: Chapter 25
When I woke up the first thing that caught my attention was the cold. Grimmauld Place was always drafty but nothing like this. I was still huddled against the bedroom wall. The house was so silent, it must have been very early in the morning. I sat there in the pitch black trying to think of anything but Snape’s parting words. They wouldn’t go away though, ‘it will be your fault,’ kept ringing in my ears.
“No,” I finally said aloud, “not this time.”
I wasn’t going to get anybody else hurt. I especially wasn’t going to get Fred hurt. I would go back to Hogwarts, I’d make it look like I was in the Forbidden Forest or Hogsmeade or anywhere else believable.
I rose up and opened the door to the hallway. As quietly as possible, I walked down the stairs wondering how long it would take to open the outside door. Would Black know I was opening the door? How much time would I have?
I was too caught up in my thoughts to notice the significant change to the door until I was right in front of it. This was not the door that had been here before. This door was much more looming. There were braces every six inches along with thick chains, like something you would see in a castle. I guessed this new door was less about keeping things out and more about keeping things in – keeping me in.
“Leaving?” a voice behind me whispered. I whipped around and found Black half hidden in the shadows.
“Yes,” I answered when my surprise wore off.
“You have a habit of doing that.”
“Why does that matter to you? It’s not like you want me here.”
“No, I don’t,” he agreed. “I’ve been telling Dumbledore that since you showed up.”
“Then open the door and I’ll be gone. Consider it an early Christmas gift.”
“I can’t do that,” he said, taking a step towards me.
“Why not? It’s what you want, isn’t it?”
“You’d just crawl back.”
“No, I –”
“They’re good people, the Weasleys are, along with the other members of the Order. Their lives shouldn’t depend on your ability to keep it together. They shouldn’t have to worry that at any moment you could snap and sell each and every one of them to Voldemort.”
“I would never –”
“Maybe not on purpose,” Black conceded, “but you’re not exactly stable, are you?”
“I don’t have any intention of coming back,” I promised.
“Unfortunately your word doesn’t amount to very much.”
“Then what do you want?” I asked, beginning to feel desperate.
“What I want above anything else is to keep Harry safe. I will do whatever it takes to protect him.”
“I-I don’t understand what you mean,” I confessed.
“Who do you think matters more? Not just to me, but to the Order as a whole? To the Weasleys? To the wizarding community? To the world? Look at what Harry’s done. Do you think you can even compare? You’re a Lestrange, nothing but a Death Eater’s kid. That’s all you’ve ever been and that’s all you’ll ever amount to. Harry comes first.”
“You think I don’t know that?” I whispered furiously. “You think this is new information to me? Because it’s not.”
“Good. Then you’ll understand why.”
“Why what?” I asked sharply.
“Why I would go so far to protect Harry. To protect the Order.”
“What are you talking about?” I wasn’t so sure I wanted to know.
Black looked back at the kitchen door before facing me again. He took a couple of steps towards me before whispering, “It’ll be easier if you don’t fight.” Then he went up the stairs without another glance at me.
Feeling very confused, I watched him go. What did he mean? I stared at the kitchen door before my eyes drifted to the crack under the door. There was no light and now that Black had disappeared, the house was completely silent again. My curiosity got the better of me and I tiptoed to the kitchen, carefully opening the door. A single lantern sat on the table, it was lit but the flame was so low it barely lit up a small circle around it, let alone the entire kitchen.
I was freezing and rubbed my arms as I moved towards the lantern. It was at the end of the table nearest to me. I reached out to turn it up, making more of the kitchen visible. It also showed me I wasn’t alone.
I barely had time to gasp in shock before several arms wrapped around me and slammed my head and chest onto the table. As much as my shoulder hurt, I wasn’t going down without a fight. I started fighting against my captors, kicking when I could, but the more I fought back the tighter their grasp became until I could hardly move at all. Without any other option, I started to shout.
“Help! Somebody help! HELP!”
“There’s no one to hear you,” the Dark Lord said, sounding amused as he sat at the opposite end of the table. “Well,” he added, smirking, “except Black. But I don’t believe he’s inclined to assist you.” The truth began to sink in. “Oh yes, it was Black who gave you to me.” No, no that couldn’t be, even if Black hated me, he would never let the Dark Lord anywhere near Harry. “You’re wondering where the others are? Black was very particular with that. Of course he didn’t trust me anywhere near them. He sent them all away before I was permitted near his house. It was part of our deal.”
“Deal?” I questioned. This made the Dark Lord’s smirk wider.
“Black proposed it. Quite the surprise, I must admit. I can’t imagine what you must have done for him to think so little of you. He agreed to give me you along with all of the information he had about you and in exchange I would never lay a wand on Harry Potter again.”
“You’re going to stop hunting Harry?” I asked skeptically. Something about my question seemed to make the Dark Lord look…smug. “You’ve already thought of a way around it,” I guessed.
“A rather large oversight by Black. While I may not be able to attack Potter, I have many loyal servants who will,” he said with a small laugh. “Enough about Black and Potter, I’m far more interested in you.”
“Wasting your time,” I muttered.
“I very much doubt that. I’ve heard such things about you, especially your extraordinary gift.” No, surely Black hadn’t told him about – “You’re too valuable to be left with Dumbledore, not when you can peer into the minds of my Death Eaters.” In a surge of rage at Black, I once again struggled to break free only to have my shoulder shoved painfully against the table. “Angry at him? Furious?” the Dark Lord asked almost excitedly. “Do you wish to hurt him? Make him suffer? Torture him?”
“Only after I punch you,” I said through gritted teeth.
“So full of hatred,” the Dark Lord said, rising from his seat. “You have so much potential. Join me.”
“I’ll pass,” I replied sarcastically.
“You have so much power and the desire to use it,” he stated, slowly walking towards me and the Death Eaters who were keeping me down. “I can help you. I can teach you things you’ve never dreamed of. You could do remarkable things if only you let me show you. You would be my most trusted servant, more than even your parents.” I stopped struggling. The Death Eaters had my head against the table so the Dark Lord had to bend down towards me to look me in the eye. He looked pleased, but only for a moment because the next second I spit in his face.
“Go to hell,” I told him. One of the Death Eaters bashed my head against the table, making me see stars. It had been worth it though, to see that look of fury on the Dark Lord’s face.
“Too proud,” he said spitefully. “Too ashamed to give in to your deepest desires.”
“I would rather die – rather be tortured to death – than ever consider joining you,” I said fiercely. “You’re wasting your time. I will never bow down to you. I will never call you my master.”
“Gryffindor stubbornness,” he jeered.
“Something like that,” I replied defiantly.
“You will pledge yourself to me.”
“Don’t count on it.”
“Deny it all you want, but you and I both know you will join me, if only to save him.” A lump raised in my throat – Fred. “I know all about him. How much he means to you, how much you love him,” the Dark Lord mocked.
“I’ll kill you,” I promised. “You come anywhere near him and I swear I’ll kill you.”
“But can you get to me before I get to him?” the Dark Lord taunted. “Perhaps here or at Hogwarts he would have been safe, alas you and I both know where he will be most vulnerable. Where he will be unprotected. Where I can take him before they realize what’s happening.” The trip to St. Mungo’s on Christmas. “The others will be so concerned about Harry Potter, they might not even notice who’s missing. After that, that’s when the real fun begins.”
“I won’t let you.”
“How are you going to stop me?” he asked with a laugh. “Even if you manage to escape, they won’t believe you. They don’t trust you. You’re rash, you’re irresponsible, you’re paranoid, you’re unstable, you’re sick. No matter what you tell them, it won’t stop me.”
I knew he was right, no one would believe me. Snape, one of the very few supporters I had, hadn’t believed me when I told him something was being planned. Harry would be with them on Christmas, they would be more worried about guarding him of course. Fred would be left to defend himself, not realizing he was the main target.
“After I have him,” the Dark Lord continued, “I think the next logical step would be to free your parents. Your father will be assigned as a guard so that you can always have a front row seat to what comes next. Your mother, well you can imagine what she’ll do to him. How long do you think he’ll last before he ends up like the Longbottoms?” My rage boiled over and I fought to free myself. The Dark Lord laughed as his Death Eaters held me in place.
“Will he put up a fight or just accept his fate? Will he call out for you? Maybe for his family instead. How much are they going to hate you when they realize this was all because of you? You are the one to blame. You are the reason they lost him. That it was your fault.” I could see the giant crimson letters again. I was holding Fred and this time it was real, I didn’t get to wake up. “I will have every single Death Eater in my possession torture him. I will make sure it stretches out for weeks, for months.”
“No,” I whispered, tears beginning to fall.
“And every time they will push him to the edge and every time he will beg for death.”
“But he’ll never get it. Death is too easy. Death would be the merciful thing to do. He is going to suffer more than any other person alive. He is going to feel each and every curse. I want you to experience it too, seeing his pain and despair battling the excitement and joy from torturing him. I want you to see it in his eyes when he realizes there is no escape.” I was fully crying by now because I could vividly imagine what it would be like. I’d seen the Longbottoms suffer for hours and now their faces were replaced by Fred’s. “When the time finally comes, I want you to witness the exact moment where the boy you love becomes nothing more than an empty shell. You are going to watch him lose everything. His eyes are going to glaze over and you’ll know he’ll never recognize you again. You’ll never hear his laugh, never feel his arms wrap around you, never taste his lips again because he’ll be gone. He’ll be nothing.”
“Please stop,” I pleaded.
“You knew this was coming. Defiance always comes with a price.” It was supposed to be me. I was the one who should be tortured. Fred shouldn’t have to suffer because of me. “You were naïve to think you could save them all when you can’t even help one. How does it feel to know that after so many years, you’re still as useless as you’ve always been? Does it break your heart? Does it feel like your whole world is crashing down? Answer me.”
“Yes,” I admitted.
“Do you wish you could stop it? That you could take his place?”
“How far are you willing to go? What would you do to save him?”
“Anything,” I answered instantly.
There was a soft thud on the table and I saw a small knife the Dark Lord had dropped in front of me. Next the Death Eaters released me, stepping back into the shadows. The Dark Lord bent down and whispered four words into my ear.
“Prove it to me.”
A/N: *hides from all the Sirius fans out there*
Next up there’s going to be a lot from other people’s pov, I’ll be sure to mention it so you’re not confused. Be sure to tell me what you thought of the chapter, do we all hate Sirius now?