Chapter 9 : Born To Those Who Thrice Defied Him
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Born to Those Who Thrice Defied Him
The floorboards creaked loudly as an exhausted Harry made his way downstairs.
He had yet again tried, and failed to fall asleep in his new home. Visions of Voldemort torturing Megan, and Mundungus lying in a hospital bed had been added to his already impressive compilation of disturbing thoughts, which were continuously swimming past his eyes.
His parents, Kreacher, Cedric, Bellatrix, Sirius…it was all just a continuous slide show that was steadily driving him insane.
He squeezed his eyes shut and shook his head violently in an attempt to regain control of his mind as he crept down the stairs; bracing himself for the shrieks of Mrs Black with every step. He was already halfway down when he remembered that the portrait had been removed the previous day, and it was only then that Harry stopped to marvel at what he had achieved in that moment of madness.
He hadn’t had much time to dwell on it, with everything else that had gone on in the space of the last two days.
What was that spell he had performed anyway? He thought to himself.
The only thing he could remember was some sort of black cloud bursting fourth from his wand tip, and he got the nasty suspicion that he had used some form of dark magic for the second time in his life.
‘Who cares?’ He thought, savagely as he remembered whom he had been aiming at. He really wouldn’t have cared less whether it was dark magic or not, had the curse had hit its target.
Kreacher deserved to die for what he had done and Harry would have happily taken up the job any day. But if he wasn’t allowed to do so, there was no way that he would allow Kreacher to stay in Sirius’ house.
He gripped the nobly old socks that he had removed from his trunk moments earlier, and slowly tiptoed toward the kitchen, taking long, calming breaths. It was going to take all his self-control to keep himself from murdering Kreacher when he saw him and he knew it.
He was only halfway down the passageway however, when the drawing room door creaked slowly open.
Harry raised his hand and his wand immediately flew out of his pocket to meet it.
“Whozair?” He whispered, sinking into his duelling stance and pointing his wand at the door.
“Woah! Easy Harry it’s only me.” Lupin said with his hands raised.
Harry sighed in relief and lowered his wand.
“Good to see someone’s got their guard up.” Lupin said with a smile. “Mad-Eye would be pleased I’m sure.”
“Yeah I bet he would.” Harry said through gritted teeth. He was thoroughly annoyed that Lupin had yet again, prevented him from getting to Kreacher.
“What are you doing sneaking around the house at this time of night anyway?” Lupin asked.
Harry shrugged and quickly tried to hide the old sock behind his back.
“Nothing really, just couldn’t sleep,” He replied.
Lupin stared at him suspiciously.
“Er…you?” Harry asked quickly, trying to divert Lupin’s suspicions.
“Same, I suppose.” He replied. But Harry noticed that he didn’t look him in the eye when he said this. It was now his turn to be suspicious.
Lupin smiled gently at Harry’s expression.
“Why don’t you come and sit down with me?” Lupin said, holding the door open for Harry to pass. “I was just making some tea actually…”
Harry quickly stuffed the sock into his back pocket before entering the room.
Evidently, the summer improvements to Grimmauld place hadn’t stretched to the drawing room. Bar a new set of velvet curtains, it looked almost as shabby as it had done the previous summer.
Harry looked over to the tapestry bearing the Black family tree and was immediately flooded with memories of Sirius.
‘I used to be there…’ Harry could remember him saying.‘My dear old mother blasted me off after I ran away from home…’ Harry smiled at the fond memories of his godfather. He pictured Sirius: miming his mother blasting a hole in the tapestry with her wand and laughing bitterly.
“Here you go Harry,” Lupin said handing him a mug of steaming hot tea. He twiddled his wand and a plate of biscuits appeared on the coffee table, next to the copper kettle that Harry hadn’t noticed when he’d entered.
The two of them sat there for a while sipping their tea in silence.
“So…how’re you coping?” Lupin asked, finally breaking the ice.
Harry shrugged in reply; his face expression was answer enough.
Lupin nodded in understanding and the two of them fell into silence once more.
“Why are you really up Professor Lupin?” Harry asked, knowing there was more of a reason behind it than simply being tired.
“Please Harry, do call me Remus.” Lupin asked politely. “I am no longer your teacher.”
“Apology accepted.” He replied with a wry smile.
“Well?” Harry asked, staring the one remaining marauder dead in the eye.
Lupin sighed and looked straight back at Harry. “Well, it’s a number of things really.” He admitted. “The full moon is due next week…I should be resting really, but I’m…I just.” Lupin sighed deeply. “I haven’t found it easy to sleep here since Sirius died…things just aren’t the same without him around. The house just doesn’t seem – right – you know?”
Harry gulped, and looked away from Lupin. He knew exactly what he meant.
The two of them didn’t speak for a brief moment; Lupin had a very far away expression upon his face.
“Life…” He started, still looking deep in thought. “They say that everyone is put here for a reason…placed upon the earth to fulfil their one purpose before they are taken back after they have achieved it. Yet…I am still searching for the reason as to why I am still here…why I am still alive when all of my friends have passed on…” Lupin sighed again. “Sometimes – I don’t know why I even go on living…why I don’t just end it – right here – right now…”
Harry’s head snapped back to his dad’s best friend. He’d never heard Lupin sound so down before. But he didn’t say anything, and instead allowed him to carry on.
“Everyday is just an incredible struggle. I can’t get a job because of what I am, every time I leave the house I never know whether I’ll be coming back again.” Lupin sighed. “The Order has been running for just over a year and yet three members have already suffered the consequences. Sirius is gone; we nearly lost Arthur last year…and now Mundungus … Everyday I wake up wondering who it’s going to be next. Dumbledore, Tonks or even you perhaps.”
At this point Lupin stared at Harry with great sadness in his grey eyes.
“I don’t think you can imagine just how worried I was when Percy sent you on that Portkey Harry. Why you’re the only one I have left…” He said with a feeble smile “…the only remnant of my late friends that is more than just a memory.”
Harry gulped down a bubble of fresh guilt. How was Lupin going to cope when Voldemort eventually took his life as well? Then he would definitely have nothing left.
“…Of course everyone knows that there comes a stage in your life when the people around you all start to die.” Lupin continued. “…I just never imagined that that stage would come so quickly, you know?”
Lupin’s voice remained at a level tone. Though Harry knew his heart was burning inside.
He tried to put himself in Lupin’s shoes: His life had been difficult enough because of his condition. It must have been almost impossible for him to find friends that would accept him for what he was. And then Sirius, James, Lilly and Peter came along, and he was forced to watch as the only true friends he’d ever had, died one-by-one around him. Putting him back where he started at the beginning: a werewolf, and all alone.
Harry tried to think how he would cope if Ron and Hermione were to die, just the thought alone was painful enough.
“Anyway. That’s enough about how I’m feeling.” Lupin said interrupting Harry’s thoughts. “What about you Harry? I take it Sirius’ isn’t the only person on your mind?”
Harry knew he was talking about the McFadden’s.
“What if something Happens to them Prof- Remus? I can’t believe that Dumbledore would just give them over to Voldemort like that.”
Lupin sighed again.
“He was only doing what he thought was right Harry-:”
“But it’s not right though! Anyone can see that.” Harry said, trying to keep his voice down. It wasn’t Lupin he was angry with after all.
“Look Harry. Perhaps Dumbledore does make the wrong decisions at times but-:”
“So you agree he was wrong to send them back then?” Harry asked. He was desperate for someone to agree with him.
“I didn’t say that Harry.” Lupin informed. “I’m just saying that it’s not easy being a leader, with people constantly looking up to you for answers; hoping you’ll be the solution to all their problems.
“Dumbledore might make decisions that we do not all agree on at times, but what you have to remember is that he tries his best Harry. And considering the effort he went through to save your life the other day I for one would have thought you’d show him some more respect.”
Harry immediately stopped his protests and felt quite ashamed of himself.
Lupin simply took another sip of tea.
‘If Dumbledore hadn’t come to save you in Peru, you would have been dead for sure, and that’s a fact,’ Spoke a voice in the corner of Harry’s mind.
Lupin continued to sip his tea; leaving Harry to feel ashamed of himself for a while.
It was just then that he fully understood what Sirius had meant when he’d said that Lupin had always made he and James feel bad about their actions.
“Professor -” Harry started; a question he’d wanted to ask for some time suddenly popping into his head.
Lupin raised his eyes at Harry warningly.
“Remus,” Harry corrected. “How did my parents defy Voldemort?” he asked, voicing for the first time, something he had been wondering ever since he’d heard the prophecy.
Remus choked on his tea.
“What was that?” He asked, though Harry was sure that he had heard him the first time.
“Er…I just know that they escaped him three times, that’s all.” He shrugged, realising with a shock that Lupin didn’t know about the prophecy. Or at least he didn’t think that Harry knew about it.
Lupin stared at Harry very suspiciously this time.
“Is there something you want to tell me Harry?” He asked curiously.
Harry shook his head.
“I was just wondering.”
Lupin was still looking at him sceptically.
“Well…let’s see.” He said thinking back. “Well I remember the first time very well. It happened in our seventh year. Voldemort’s reputation was starting to grow around most parts of England; though he was nowhere near as widely known as he is now. It was a Sunday when it happened. Lilly and James were going on their first real date that night. And by ‘real’ I mean the first time that it would be just the two of them. James had been going on about it all week. He was driving me and Sirius up the wall to tell you the truth.”
Lupin smiled reminiscently.
“Where were they going?” Harry asked, eagerly.
“None of us new really. Lily wouldn’t tell any of us. It was supposed to be her treat for James. I think she just enjoyed watching him suffer. We all did actually.”
Lupin’s words faded off into nothingness. He had a far away expression on his face.
“Well, what happened?” Harry asked. He felt a little bit bad for pulling Lupin away from his happy memories but he was desperate to hear more.
Lupin blinked several times.
“Sorry,” He said apologetically. “Er…where was I? Oh yes…So Lily and James went off that night…they took their brooms so it must have been pretty far. Sirius and me stayed up waiting of course, despite the fact that we had classes the next morning. Something I continually pointed out to him.”
“My mum went out on a school night?” Harry asked in surprise. “I always thought of her as more of a Hermione type.”
“You’d be right in thinking so.” He informed. “Though I doubt anyone can rival Hermione’s love for books…I suppose James must have rubbed off on her a bit...”
Harry smiled at Lupin. It was always painful to hear stories about his parents but at the same time it always bought a smile to his face.
“I’d never seen James as excited as he was that day, if I hadn’t known any better id’ve thought he’d been taking some illegal substance. Love really does do strange things to people…”
Harry stopped for a moment and considered Lupin’s expression, which had momentarily saddened. He wasn’t quite sure whom Lupin was referring to: himself or James.
“…It was a completely different James that returned to Hogwarts however. Somehow, Peter found out where they were going.” Lupin continued; an ugly look upon his face. “Voldemort was waiting for them when they arrived. He didn’t have anyone with him. He used to do most of his dirty work himself in those days.
That was the first time that James had been involved in a real duel. I’d never seen him as scared as when he got back. According to him, Lily had been too scared to defend herself and as a result James was forced to try to keep her safe, aswell as focusing on duelling with a very powerful dark wizard.”
“W-what happened to Voldemort?” Harry asked, sitting up in his seat.
“Well, James said he was still unconscious when he and Lily left. They didn’t have time to report him to the ministry as the death eaters began to appear.”
Harry was absolutely stunned.
“My – my father duelled with Voldemort? He duelled with Voldemort…and – and won?”
Lupin nodded; his eyes full of pride.
“When people say your father was a great wizard Harry, I don’t think you realise just how great. Though Voldemort was nowhere near as powerful as he became.”
Harry couldn’t care less. His father…he couldn’t believe it, his father had actually beaten Voldemort. Perhaps there was hope for him after all.
He felt a large grin materialising upon his face for a moment as he tried to envisage his father duelling against the younger version of Voldemort, Tom Riddle.
“Though Voldemort wasn’t about to forget about that in a hurry Harry.” Lupin continued. “Only a matter of days after the duel, reports of more and more killing were seen. Dark marks began to appear all over the country. That’s when everyone really began to sit up and take notice.
Dumbledore set up the order soon after, but no sooner had he done this, your parents came face to face with Voldemort yet again.”
Harry’s body immediately tensed up once more.
“Voldemort started playing games with authority. He began to leave clues about where his next assault would take place but ensured that the ministry only got them once it was too late. Little did he know that our inside sources were recording his movements.
“News of his next attack reached the order. It was Frank and Alice.”
“Neville’s parents?” Harry gasped
“But by the time we found out, it was far too late…well according to Dumbledore that is.”
“What d’you mean?” Harry asked with a furrowed brow.
“Well by the time the news reached us, the attack had already begun. Dumbledore was confident enough that the Longbottom’s would come out alive, and felt no need to expose any more Order members to the danger.”
Harry struggled not to open his mouth in protest. This was a clear example of Dumbledore’s incompetence as a leader. How could he have left the Longbottom’s to duel Voldemort and his death eaters when he had a room full of order members, who would all have willingly gone to their aid?
“He must have had his reasons Harry.” Lupin said, obviously reading his expression. “Alice and Frank were both extremely talented witches and Wizards. If Dumbledore didn’t believe they could defend themselves I’m sure he would’ve done something about it.”
Harry simply shrugged. He still wasn’t convinced.
“Well if it’s any consolation, Lily took the same stance on the matter as you Harry.” Lupin informed. “She and Alice had been best friends since their second year at Hogwarts and she simply refused to sit back whilst Voldemort attacked her and her husband. She left before anyone had the chance to stop her. James immediately followed and the rest of the order went straight after them. But as soon as we got there it became clear that Dumbledore was right. Alice and Frank had already escaped. When Lily and James arrived it was to find only Voldemort and his followers in the house. He immediately barricaded them in with a number of locking spells and anti-disapparition charms when he saw the rest of the Order arriving. They were trapped, and easily outnumbered five to one.”
Harry was sitting up in the sofa again his eyes locked on Lupin like a cat. How did his parents get out of this one?
“That was when Dumbledore stepped in.” Lupin said, with great pride. “He immediately blew half the house away with a tremendously powerful curse, breaking all Voldemort’s charms in the process. It was just in time as well. Voldemort had been about to deliver the final blow to James, but he immediately had to flee when he saw Dumbledore approaching.”
Harry sighed with relief. Although he already knew his parents hadn’t died on that occasion, it still didn’t stop him feeling tense as Lupin told the story. It was almost as though he could see the scene flashing before his eyes.
“James was in a bad state,” Lupin continued. “It took him almost two full months to recover, at St Mungo’s.”
“What about my mum?” Harry asked. “Was she Ok?”
Lupin stopped to think.
“Funnily enough Lily came out unscathed, which was quite odd when you think about it. She was more emotionally damaged than anything else. Dumbledore decided it best that she and James take a break from Order duty for a while after that. It was clear that Voldemort had it in for James and Dumbledore didn’t want to risk the two of them coming face to face again.
“Neither Lily nor James was happy about this of course. They didn’t want to stay stuck in the house whilst their friends were out risking their lives for the cause. They had countless arguments with Dumbledore on the issue but he stood firm by his decision; much to the annoyance of your father.” Lupin said with a slight smile. “Matters were made even worse when Lily became pregnant with you of course.”
“Why would that make a difference?” Harry asked quizzically.
“Well, you know how women get when it comes to babies Harry. Lily was so excited about it. She wanted to go out and buy everything for you, no matter what Dumbledore said. She managed to persuade James to take her out shopping for the evening.” Lupin sighed again “…and that brings us to the third and final escape.”
Harry’s eyes slowly widened as realisation struck.
“Diagon Alley,” He whispered, cutting Lupin out before he even had the chance to open his mouth. His eyes were wide with shock “They were out buying baby clothes in Diagon Alley when – when Voldemort ambushed them.”
Lupin fixed Harry with a very troubled expression this time.
“How did you know that?” He asked him, in an almost scared voice.
“Just – just something Mrs Figg said.” Harry replied, still in a state of disbelief.
It was his parents whom Mrs Figg had been talking about. It was because of his parents that her mother had been murdered. She had died trying to help them. And what was worse, it was all in vain. His parents had still been murdered anyway.
Guilt cascaded over Harry’s body as he thought about everyone else that had died that day. He had been responsible for deaths even before he was born. If only his mother hadn’t become pregnant with him then none of this would have happened. All those people needn’t have died. But at the same time he couldn’t help but think his mother had been a little bit reckless. Every attack on his parents seemed to have stemmed from her actions. Why hadn’t she just listened to Dumbledore and stayed in the house?
“W-what happened after that?” Harry asked Lupin in a croaky voice.
“Well…” Lupin started hesitantly, still eyeing Harry with concern “Lily and James were devastated of course. Lily didn’t take it very well at all. Both she and James were dying with the guilt of what they had caused, but your mother’s emotions seemed to have gone beyond depression. She kept continually going on about how it was all her fault and she should never have left the house. Everyone became extremely worried about her. Even Alice’s cheering charms weren’t having an affect.
“It was that same day that Dumbledore, placed she and James under the Fidelius charm. He had just got back from a job interview regarding the position of divination teacher, and he informed us that he had uncovered some disturbing news. He insisted that Lily and James were to be hidden immediately, as well as Alice and Frank.”
Lupin stared Harry in his eyes.
“Did – did he tell you what it was that he’d heard?” Harry asked nervously.
He held his breath as he awaited Lupin’s answer. That must have been the same day that Professor Trelawney had informed Dumbledore of the prophecy. Was it possible that Lupin actually did know about it?
Lupin considered Harry for a little while longer before eventually shaking his head.
“Until this day I still do not know the exact reason why Dumbledore decided they needed to go into hiding. I suppose the reason for Lily and James was that Voldemort clearly seemed to be after them. As for Alice and Frank, I’m still as bewildered as the next person.”
Harry gave a mental sigh of relief. At least Lupin didn’t know about the prophecy. He doubted whether even someone as strong as he was, would be able to cope if he knew what Harry was up against.
Harry wasn’t sure whether Lupin knew it or not. But that little reminiscence had provided him with a wealth of invaluable information. So Voldemort had been after Harry’s parents even before he’d heard the prophecy. Perhaps that explained why he’d chosen to go after Harry rather than Neville when he finally did hear it. But why was he so determined to kill his father in the first place?
The loud groaning of floorboards prevented the impending silence.
Evidently, the other residents of Grimmauld place had awoken and were now roaming around upstairs.
“Good lord is that the time?” Lupin exclaimed, looking down at his watch.
Neither he, nor Harry had taken much notice of the sun, which had been steadily rising as they spoke. It was almost nine in the morning.
“You’d better go and get ready Harry.” Lupin suggested. “Molly won’t be very happy if you miss the train.”
Harry nodded and pushed himself up from the moth-eaten sofa. When he reached the door Lupin stopped him however.
“And Harry...” He called after him, “I know you’re emotions might be blinding you from your better judgement right now. But please, think about it before deciding the fate of Kreacher. Releasing him now could do the order more harm than good...”
Harry didn’t even attempt to deny that he was considering handing Kreacher the knobbly socks, now in his back pocket. In the two years that he’d known Lupin he’d learnt that he was a very observant person. He’d probably known what Harry was planning to do, as soon as he’d spotted him sneaking down the stairs.
Harry simply turned and headed toward the stairs, feeling extremely frustrated and annoyed. All sympathy he had felt for Lupin earlier disappeared at once.
Was he allowed to do anything without someone interfering? He asked himself angrily as he stomped up the stairs. Why was everyone acting as though Kreacher had done nothing wrong? Wasn’t him being responsible for the death of an order member harm enough? How could he possibly do any more damage than he already had?
Harry felt the sudden urge to punch something out of frustration but someone beat him to it.
It turned out that Harry wasn’t the only person of Grimmauld Place that was annoyed.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
Harry looked up when he reached the top of the staircase to find Ron practically attempting to break the bathroom door down with his fists.
“Hermione!” He shouted, his ears red with frustration. “Hermione come on!”
He turned to look at Harry when he heard him approaching.
“She’s been in there for about an hour!” He said as a form of greeting. “No one takes that long to have a bloody shower do they? Hermione, hurry up!”
“What’s all this racket for?” Mrs Weasley demanded, coming up the stairs behind Harry.
“It’s Hermione,” Ron whinged. “She’s been in the bathroom for ages! We’re gonna miss the train at this rate.”
“Go and use the one downstairs then Ron,” Mrs Weasley suggested. “And stop making so much noise!”
“Can’t, Ginny’s in there…I mean honestly, what on earth can they be doing that takes so bloody long?” He asked Harry who shook his head and shrugged.
“They’re girls, Ron,” Mrs Weasley informed her son in a patronising voice as though this were the obvious explanation.
“So! What’s that got to do with anything?” Ron backfired. “Hermione never used to take this long before. Are you telling me she’s only just become a girl over the summer?”
“Don’t be silly.” Mrs Weasley said. “She’s just…well…changing. She and Ginny aren’t the same little girls they used to be you know…they’re growing up.”
Mrs Weasley looked at Harry, who completely understood her meaning. Ron on the other hand, looked thoroughly confused.
“Now will you stop making such a racket and get ready for school!” Mrs Weasley ordered. “I’m sure there are other things you two could be doing whilst you wait. Your trunk was a mess last night Ron and I refuse to sort it out for you this time.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Ron said, waving away his mother’s comments and promptly returning to battering the door. Harry smiled at Mrs Weasley who returned it, before rolling her eyes at her son and heading back toward the kitchen.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
“Hermione hurry up! You’re going to make us la -:”
Just as Ron pulled his fist back to strike the door once more, it swung open and a rather disgruntled looking Hogwarts prefect with dripping wet, curly hair appeared in the doorway wearing nothing but a towel, which was wrapped tightly around her body.
Hermione’s face was screwed up in annoyance.
“There! Are you happy now?” She asked Ron angrily. “Why must you insist on being so childish all the time Ron? For Merlin’s sake I’m sure you don’t need the bathroom that badly.”
Ron didn’t reply to Hermione. In fact he didn’t do anything. For a moment, it looked as though he’d been placed under a full body-bind curse. He was standing there stiff as a statue, gaping at her with his mouth slightly open.
“I – I…er,” Was all he could manage to splutter.
Hermione noticed Ron’s eyes scrutinizing her figure and immediately went scarlet. Even Harry had to admit that there had been a massive change in her shape: the towel was wrapped very tightly around her, revealing a much curvier Hermione, with noticeably wider hips than Harry could remember. Though he wasn’t gaping at her the way Ron was.
Hermione quickly scurried off to her room, her face resembling a beetroot.
Ron followed her progression with the same dumbfounded expression upon his face.
Harry slowly shook his head smiling.
“Cheers Ron.” He said, clipping his best friend behind the ear as he darted past him into the bathroom and locked the door.
A/N Well there you go! Only one more left! Cries into handkerchief! Please still leave a review though. I beg you! Even if you look up and think “Oh he’s got enough reviews already,” Please don’t be afraid to add another. One can never have too many reviewsess! A/N