Chapter 15 : Revelations
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James bounded through the door of a little cottage. There was a woman’s voice screaming inside.
“Lily! Where are you?” James screamed back.
Harry felt hairs standing up on the back of his neck and was beginning to feel a little nauseous. There was furniture crashing about in the next room, and his mother continued to shout.
“Tell me where they are,” issued a hissing voice.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” she cried.
Harry’s blood ran cold. Voldemort was in the house.
His mother’s screaming echoed in his ears, and he almost couldn’t stand it, and neither could James.
James tore through the bedroom door, and Harry was right behind him. He gasped when he witnessed the scene before him. The room was completely in shambles, like it had been ransacked. A bedside table lie splintered on the floor. His mother was backed into a corner, staring at an armed Voldemort with horror and disbelief. At James’ entrance, he whipped around, and the torturing spell was broken. Lily fell into a heap and was propped up against the wall, panting and nearly unconscious.
He was just as repulsive as Harry remembered. He still carried the same snake-like appearance, but he seemed slightly more human. He was not, however, any less horrifying than he had ever been. He said nothing; he merely sneered at James and raised his wand. He was too quick for him though, and quickly whipped out his own.
“Lily! Run!” James shouted as he prepared to duel.
Within seconds, a group of people walked right through Harry, among them Remus, Sirius, Dumbledore, and a much younger-looking Mad Eye Moody. There were about ten people in all, and Voldemort was horribly outnumbered. He Disapparated in the blink of an eye.
Everyone turned their attention to Lily. She had passed out.
About an hour later, James, Remus, Sirius, and Dumbledore sat outside of a room on the fourth floor. A Healer and a nurse came out of the room.
“Is she ok?” James sputtered.
“She will be fine. I’m prescribing a potion to soothe her nerves. She should be able to go home tonight, but we do need to keep her for the next few hours to assure that she’s completely stable. Someone from the Ministry should be here in a bit.”
“Someone from the Ministry, why?”
“The Cruciatus Curse is illegal. I’m required by law to report any incidences of it.”
“Can I see her?”
“Of course. A nurse will be back in about thirty minutes to check on her.
The group walked inside and Harry was feeling desperate to see that she was alright. She was nearly dozing quietly as James sat down on the bed. She was awake in an instant and began screaming right in his ear.
“James Harry Potter! What the bloody hell was that?” she roared.
“Now is not the time Mrs. Potter,” Dumbledore said quietly.
“He should make time. I’m about to have a bath and a man, a creature, walks into the house and demands to know where you and your Order are! What am I supposed to do besides yell at you? Are you involved in criminal activity? What have you been doing with your nights James? I deserve to know!”
“Look, I’ve tried to talk about it to you but they wanted to bring you in on it. I didn’t want that for you. I had no idea this would happen.”
“I was tortured James!”
They continued to bicker back and forth until Lily looked at the people standing by the door to her room and began to question them. Harry looked around to the group of men standing there. Sirius looked anxious, Remus appeared faint, and Dumbledore wore a countenance of stern reserve.
“I would like to talk to your wife alone Mr. Potter,” he interrupted calmly.
No one else needed to be told twice to leave, and they did so quietly. James was still crouched on the floor next to Lily, and just stared at him.
“I don’t think I can do this anymore. I accepted this when I was still in school, before I had someone else to think about. I can’t do this anymore.”
“Please, I need a conference alone with Mrs. Potter. Wait until then to make a decision.”
James stood up squeezing his wife’s hand tightly before he left.
“I’m so sorry Lily,” he said looking back to her before exiting the room and shutting the door.
Harry had a difficult time wondering whether to follow his father or his mother, but he was curious what Dumbledore would have to say. He remained in the room. Dumbledore examined the room carefully, checking the door and allowing his fingers to trace the walls. She said nothing.
“May I call you Lily? I was so accustomed to referring to Miss Evans, and Mrs. Potter is quite new and unusual to me,” he winked, trying to make light conversation.
“Sure, call me whatever.”
“I am very sorry you were caught up in this Lily,” he said slowly.
“Caught up in what?” she exclaimed, completely exasperated.
“Do you subscribe to the Daily Prophet?”
“Of course I do, why?”
“Did you happen to read it this morning?”
“Did you happen to notice the front page?”
“How could I miss it?
“Then it should be apparent that there is clearly something very wrong. There is a silent war being fought, Lily. Much of the wizarding world is not aware, but with every murder, with every disappearance, the war comes closer to a boiling point.”
“I called together a group of people whom I trust very much. This war cannot be allowed to continue. I would have liked to have you in the Order, but James insisted you wanted no part of it. I was under the impression that he had informed you of his situation.”
“He never told me anything,” Lily spurted out, suddenly coming back to life. “Nothing, I asked him so many times what it was that he did at night but he always had an excuse. I almost thought for a little while that he was seeing someone else. But I’m the one-”
She stopped and stared off into space, closing her eyes and putting her hand to her mouth.
“I believe he withheld information about the Order of the Phoenix from you to keep you safe. But now perhaps he sees there is never a guarantee of that. It was not his choice to make for you, but yours. Will you join us Lily?”
“Join what? The Phoenix Order?” She withdrew her hands from her face and stared at him. “A man just walked into my house and tried to torture information out of me that I didn’t have. I don’t think I’m cut out for whatever it is that you do.”
“Did you know Benjy Fenwick?”
“I did. He went to school with me. He graduated two years ahead of me, but he was always friendly. I was so sorry to hear that he was killed in an automobile accident.”
“It was no accident Lily, he was murdered.”
She became silent, barely breathing, staring at him with her mouth open.
“You’re asking me to join a secret society dedicated to fighting a war I didn’t even know was going on,” she stammered. “This is unbelievable.”
“You deserve an explanation. The Daily Prophet and other news sources do not have one as of yet, though I don’t imagine it will be long before they put pieces together and the Department of Magical Law Enforcement begins talking.”
“Thank you, I would like an explanation, which is a lot more than I’ve gotten out of my husband lately,” she replied icily.
“It began with a student named Tom Riddle. He was at Hogwarts some years ago when I taught Transfiguration. I never met another student quite like him. After he graduated, he immersed himself in the Dark Arts, traveling the world over to learn more about Dark Magic than anyone could ever know.”
“What about the man the papers call Voldemort? Who is he?”
“He is one and the same as Tom Riddle. When he appeared back in England a few years ago, he adopted the title Lord Voldemort. He is capable of vicious things Lily. The papers don’t even give half the grisly accounts of the atrocities he has already committed.”
“But why? What is it that he wants?”
“A pureblooded society. He loathes Muggles and people without a pure bloodline.”
“Yes, like you.”
“What about the Ministry? Why don’t they put a stop to it?”
“There are many people within the Ministry itself who have already sworn allegiance to him. Prosecution of Lord Voldemort and his followers becomes exceedingly difficult when men are assigned to track down their allies, and in some cases even themselves. Bureaucracy is a slow machine. The Ministry is currently conducting an internal investigation to discover the identities of those involved, but I suspect it will lead to nothing, which is why I have assembled the Order of the Phoenix.”
“And what will happen if he gains more power and begins to win this covert war? What then?”
“Then the magical world will likely be split in two: those who support him and those who do not. He has many great friends and allegiances with werewolf societies, giants, and other like creatures that are equally dangerous. The world as you know it, should he assume power, will not be a place where you will survive long.”
“Then I don’t see that I have any other choice, do I?”
“There is always a choice.”
“I don’t think so.”
“Then I shall see you tomorrow at seven o’clock at the Shrieking Shack. There will be a meeting there until we find a more acceptable headquarters.”
Just as he uttered the words, a nurse came in and he politely excused himself. Harry followed him out of the room and into the hallway. Aside from Sirius, Remus, and James sitting on a small bench just outside the room, the corridor was completely empty.
“I can’t do this anymore,” James said firmly as he stood up.
“We’re still in Sir,” Sirius said, rising as well.
Remus chose to keep his seat.
“Well, your wife has agreed to join,” Dumbledore said.
“I didn’t want to bring her into this. I didn’t want her in any danger.”
“By her association with you she was in danger. And even if you leave now, your affiliation is still apparently known to Voldemort. She is far safer as an informed member of the Order than she was. I urge you to reconsider.”
James sat back down and Sirius followed suit. Shall I expect you tomorrow?
“I don’t see that I have a choice,” he answered bluntly.
“That’s exactly what your wife said,” he replied. “These are dangerous times we live in Mr. Potter, whether anyone wants it or not. I’m delighted that you have changed your mind.”
No one said anything for a little while. Dumbledore excused himself, pleading a meeting that he was already late for, leaving the three men and an invisible Harry to wait for Lily’s release. Harry began to wonder when this memory would be over. It seemed like it had lasted for hours, and he was exhausted.
“I’ve got to go Prongs,” Sirius said at long last. “I’ve got to meet Roland Kegg tomorrow to go over his books.”
“Who would have ever thought you’d be an accountant?” James said, almost laughing.
“I have to make a living you know. I’m not like you with a huge lot of family money supporting me,” he replied dryly.
“Maybe you would if you’d hate Muggles a little more and stop dishonoring the family name,” James said sarcastically.
“Yeah, whatever. I’ll see you tomorrow night. I hope Lily’s ok.”
James and Remus sat there in uncomfortable silence. Harry took a seat where Remus had been sitting and was on the verge of falling asleep. After about ten minutes, Remus got up and explained that he wanted to go home and get some sleep.
James sat there alone, by himself, and Harry watched him anxiously rub his forehead. After what seemed like an eternity, the nurse came out.
“Can I see her?”
“She’s actually getting dressed and she’ll be on her way out.”
“You’re a lucky man Mr. Potter,” she winked.
Lily came out and he scooped her up into a big hug. She seemed almost in a daze.
“Are you feeling alright?”
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