Chapter 3 : Home and Headquarters
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Lucia remained motionless in the dark alleyway as she weighed her options. Killing him outright was out of the question—she could never find the hate to cast a strong enough Avada Kedavra, and especially not in front of the boy who had led her here and had counted on her to help. She could leave Malfoy to die with no one the worse off for her decision. But despite her mind telling her that he probably deserved a fate worse than death anyway, her heart would not let her commit such an act of indirect murder. After suffering so much from the death of her father, Lucia could not allow herself with a clear conscience to cause such grief to Malfoy’s loved ones, wherever and whomever they were.
If she did help Malfoy, though, what was she going to do with him afterwards? Would she turn him in to the Ministry? With so much bureaucracy and corruption plaguing every department, and with the high-ranking status of the Malfoy family, she highly doubted that he would receive the justice he deserved. Hand him over to the Order? Lucia had heard Harry and the others swear ruthless vengeance on Malfoy, Snape, and the other Death Eaters directly involved in Dumbledore’s demise. She knew the Order had a point, but she could not accept this kind of vigilante action as justice. Deep inside, Lucia knew that she would not be able to turn in this injured wizard without some sense of guilt.
“Will he be alright?” The boy’s question interrupted her train of thought. He was staring up at her fearfully. No doubt, she thought, he had been frightened by the blood and had run for help—straight into the clutches of a Death Eater, of all people.
Lucia knelt next to Malfoy without responding. His face was blood-spattered and contorted in pain—or was it with some other emotion? She could not say. His breathing was rather shallow, but it could have been worse. She would have to take him someplace else before she could judge how serious his injuries were. “Yes,” she finally answered the boy without taking her eyes off Malfoy’s face. “I’ll need to move him out of here first, though—would you take off your shoe for me, please?”
The boy gaped at her before complying, taking off one mud-spattered brogue and handing it to her. Lucia accepted it and closed her eyes. She did not want to try to triple-Apparate with one injured and one under-aged person, but thankfully she knew how to create a Portkey. “Portus!”
The shoe shone a bright blue; and Lucia knew that after another minute passed, the Portkey would transport them to her flat. The boy glanced at his shoe, wide-eyed, before turning to her. “Where are we going now?” he asked.
“My flat. I can take care of Mal—your uncle better there.” Lucia reached for Malfoy’s wand hand, hesitated for a brief moment, and pocketed his wand before moving his limp hand on top of the Portkey. It wouldn’t do, she decided, if he woke up and panicked while he was still armed. The boy was already holding onto the Portkey for dear life, and Lucia closed her eyes while she counted down the remaining seconds in her head.
The familiar jerk from behind her navel and a spinning sensation told Lucia that the Portkey had started its journey. She kept her eyes closed until she felt her feet hit solid ground with a soft thud. She opened her eyes to find herself in the familiar warmth of her living room, the fireplace still crackling as merrily as she had left it. The only difference was that a strange boy and a bloodied Malfoy were now piled up on the floor before the hearth. The boy picked himself off the ground as Lucia raised her wand. “Wingardium Leviosa!”
Malfoy floated off the floor and hovered just below eye-level, his robes dragging on the floor below him. Lucia maneuvered him out of the room and into the hallway. She paused, her eyes flicking between three doors in the wall across the way from the living room and kitchen. Her father’s bedroom remained as it had been when she had arrived home from Hogwarts, and she was still reluctant to go into it. Her bedroom—well, she definitely did not want Malfoy in there. She steered Malfoy towards the last door, the spare bedroom.
The door opened before her as she led Malfoy’s floating body into the room and rested him on the bed next to the door. He groaned softly as his head shifted onto the pillow. Lucia couldn’t help but notice how pitiful, how helpless he looked now. She sighed and shook her head, clearing her thoughts, before waving her wand over Malfoy. A green ribbon leapt from the end of the stick, curling and weaving itself into shimmering words in the air over Malfoy’s chest.
Lucia whistled under her breath as she read what the Instant Diagnosis Charm had to offer. Malfoy had gone through a lot, it seemed. Three broken ribs from a Bone-Breaking Curse, several Cruciati, quite a few Sectumsempras, and—her heart jumped into her throat as she read this—the shock of a grazing Avada Kedavra. What the hell had Malfoy gotten himself into this time? she wondered.
Lucia stared at the words for another moment before flicking them away with her wand. With another wave, she ripped Malfoy’s robes down the front and flipped them back to reveal his bloodied, bruised chest. She gasped at the sight of five long gashes crisscrossing his front, some still bleeding slightly. This didn’t look good at all.
Quickly, she set to work. Placing her wand tip on the first of Malfoy’s wounds, she began to murmur the singsong incantation for the most powerful and useful of healing spells. She continued chanting as the gashes slowly knit themselves together into healed flesh. She had watched her father perform this charm so many times on patients and friends, but she never got over the joy she felt of watching the body heal itself with a little help from magic.
When he was finally healed of his cuts, Lucia stopped the incantation and moved on to the broken bones, just visible by the bruises they had caused. A simple Bonesetter Charm did the trick, and Lucia was confident now that he would recover after a few days of rest. She cleaned off the blood with a wave, and she conjured a red and blue blanket out of the air and draped it over an unmoving Malfoy. She snorted quietly when she imagined his reaction to waking up beneath a blanket of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw house colors.
Finished, Lucia checked her watch. It was nearly eight in the evening, over two hours since the summons. She had probably better head over to Grimmauld Place now, before her friends began to wonder where she was. She removed Malfoy’s wand from her pocket and placed it on the bedside table. Then she left the room, closing the door softly behind her; she would check up on Malfoy and give him some healing potions when she got back.
Back in the living room, the boy had put his shoe on again and was now sitting before the fire, staring into the flames much as Lucia had been when she had received her summons such a short time ago. And yet, how much has happened since then! she thought. His clothes may have been dirty, but she noticed that they were certainly of very high quality. He looked very much sad and alone; and Lucia wondered, with a sharp pang of sympathy, how much he had gone through with his uncle that day. “What is your name, dear?” Lucia asked gently as she entered the room.
The boy turned to face her while she strode over to the coffee table and bent over a small wooden box sitting there. He answered her question slowly. “I’m Asher. Asher Fenwick. Will my uncle be all right?”
“Yes, he’ll be fine,” she replied, standing straight now with a handful of Floo Powder. It was touching to see how much Asher cared for his uncle—enough to roam the dangerous streets of Knockturn Alley to find help for him. “I’m sorry, I have to go somewhere right now—I’ll be back in a little while. Please, make yourself at home. You can get something to eat in the kitchen, if you want.”
Asher nodded, and he wriggled back from the fireplace as Lucia threw in the Floo Powder. The flames turned green, and she stepped in with a final wave to the boy. “Twelve Grimmauld Place!”
The Order of the Phoenix was all of a flutter when Lucia stepped out of the fireplace at Order Headquarters. The house had been converted into a partial hospital. People were running up and down the staircase leading to the bedrooms, all carrying healing supplies or trays of food to/from the patients upstairs. Lucia had just stepped out of the living room fireplace when she was accosted by a frantic Molly Weasley. It was too late when Lucia realized that her hands were still covered in Malfoy’s blood.
Mrs. Weasley’s eyes grew rounder than dinner plates as she took in Lucia’s blood-stained hands. “L-Lucia, dear,” she stammered. “W-we were just about to go l-looking for you, and—darling, whatever happened to you?!”
“It—it’s not as bad as it looks, Mrs. Weasley,” Lucia tried to calm the witch down. “I ran into an injured wizard, and I had to take care of him before I came here. I’m not hurt or anything.” This was no lie, not by any means; but there was no way in hell that Lucia was going to tell Mrs. Weasley, or anyone else for that matter, whom it was exactly that Lucia was taking care of. “Did I miss much?”
Mrs. Weasley sighed and shook her head. She looked extremely frazzled after the day’s events; her red hair flew wildly about in a bird’s nest. “No, nothing much,” she said wearily. “I think Remus wanted to see you, though. He’s up the stairs, first bedroom on the left. I’ve got to fetch some Pain-Killing Potion now—but do take care of yourself, Lucia!”
“I will, Mrs. Weasley,” Lucia called after Mrs. Weasley’s retreating figure. Lucia took a moment to clean herself off with a quick “Scourgify!” before heading for the staircase. At the foot of the stairs, she nearly collided into one of her closest friends, Ginny Weasley. The redhead was balancing a tray loaded with dirty dishes as she minced down the steps carefully and didn’t see Lucia until it was nearly too late.
“Lucia, you’re back!” Ginny cried in surprise. “Everyone’s been wondering about you. Where’ve you been?”
“I had to go home. Long story.” Lucia shrugged. “When did the others get back?”
“Around an hour ago,” Ginny replied, then tossed her head back and laughed. Her tray trembled dangerously. “Sorry,” she continued. “I was just thinking about Fred and George. They came back first, and they were showing me this new hex that they learned—it turns a person into a half-animal for a week, and it won’t heal unless it wears itself out. They said that You-Know-Who would have a lot of Humanimals in his ranks for the next few days.” She laughed again.
“I did see them doing something like that,” Lucia sighed and shook her head. “I was just glad they weren’t aiming at me. Well, I heard from your mum that Professor Lupin was looking for me…”
Ginny nodded vigorously and shifted the tray in her arms. “Yeah, he was, and so were the others,” she said, emphasizing the last word. Lucia could guess who those ‘others’ were. “It sounded like something important, too… I guess I’ll see you around, then.” And she continued her way into the kitchen.
Lucia climbed the rickety wooden staircase and found the closed door of Lupin’s room just as Mrs. Weasley had directed. Animated voices could be heard from inside. The voices stopped abruptly when Lucia tapped lightly on the door, and Lupin called out from within, “Enter!”
Lucia pushed the door open slowly. Lupin was sitting up in bed, a sling wrapped around his right arm. The Golden Trio sat around him in a half-circle: Ron on a wooden chair, Hermione on the floor, and Harry on a puffy armchair next to the bed. Hermione was in the middle of tending to Ron, who had a nasty-looking cut on his temple. They all stared at Lucia as she entered; she sensed that they had been discussing her, from the guilty looks on the Trio’s faces.
“Why, Lucia,” Hermione began, concern crossing her face. “We were just wondering where you’ve been—”
“My apologies to everyone.” Lucia cut her off. “I had to go home; some—erm—urgent business came up that I had to take care of.” She mentally squirmed at the thought of the Trio’s reaction to her houseguests, should they ever find out. “I hope everything turned out fine?”
“Well, yes, pretty much,” Lupin jumped in now. “Diagon Alley was not taken by Voldemort, at least. I think everyone suffered some minor injuries—I got a broken arm, courtesy of one of the Lestrange brothers—but we’ll live. And although we didn’t get all the Death Eaters, most of them are in our custody for further interrogation.”
Harry shifted in his chair. “We sure missed some big prizes, though,” he muttered. “Imagine the stupidity of Snape being there, the greasy git!”
“Snape was there??” Ron asked incredulously. “Has he finally gone nutters, or what? Why is he even out of his house after what he did?”
Lucia cringed inwardly at the mention of the Potions Master. “Harry, I’m sorry. I –I should’ve gotten him or something—” But Harry held up his hand for her to stop.
“S’not your fault, Lucia,” he sighed. “Don’t be too hard on yourself. In fact, I should be the one thanking you. If you hadn’t been there, I mightn’t even be here right now.”
Lupin, Hermione, and Ron exchanged strange looks with each other. Apparently, Harry hadn’t told them about his encounter with Snape. “Harry, mate,” Ron said uncertainly. “What are we missing here?”
Harry briefly explained what had happened between himself, Snape, and Lucia. By the end of it, Lupin was looking at Lucia appraisingly while Hermione and Ron were ogling her in shock. “You—you actually put yourself as a body shield in front of Harry?” Hermione gasped. “But—but that was immensely dangerous!”
Lucia shrugged. “I wasn’t really thinking at the time. I just—reacted. But Snape seemed reluctant to kill either of us. It was rather odd.”
Ron turned to Harry and winced at the pain from his wound. “So, that’s why you wanted her to join us,” he said in surprise. “I was wondering why you were so eager to tell her about—ow, what, Hermione?” Hermione had just whacked him in the shins and was motioning for him to shush.
Lucia saw Ron’s cut as he spoke to Harry, and she walked over to him quickly. Before anyone could stop her, she placed her wand on his temple and began to chant. The wound disappeared within seconds, and Lucia put her wand away to find everyone staring at her again. “Father taught me how to do it,” she said simply, her voice catching slightly on the first word.
Ron held his hand to his head, looking amazed to find himself healed. Lupin nodded slowly, as if he now realized some great truth. “Yes, she would be quite useful,” he muttered to Harry, and the young man nodded his agreement.
Lucia was by now seriously puzzled by their guarded interchange. “What am I missing here?” she echoed Ron, looking from one face to another in confusion.
There was a long silence. The members of the Golden Trio avoided looking at her directly while Lupin’s eyes bored into her—a very awkward situation indeed. Finally, Harry spoke. “There are two secrets about Voldemort which were known only to Professor Dumbledore, Professor Lupin here, Hermione, Ron, and I. One of them is the prophecy, and the other is the Horcruxes. I wanted to let you in on both of these secrets, but—”
“No offense, Lucia, but we just weren’t sure if you were to be trusted,” Lupin interjected. Lucia felt her stomach churn again; Malfoy’s face had just floated in front of her mind’s eye. “I think, though,” Lupin continued, “with your display of abilities and courage, we are all very comfortable now with your induction into our little ‘Kill Voldemort Forever’ club.” He chuckled, and the atmosphere in the room relaxed.
Harry started out by explaining to Lucia the prophecy, repeating it to her in its entirety. The realization that Harry was indeed the key to ridding the world of Voldemort, and that a single slip-up could cost the Light’s victory forever, made her feel dizzy. What a burden Harry had on his shoulders! She plopped onto a chair next to the door as if she couldn’t take any more, and Hermione cast her a sympathetic glance. “I know—it’s rather shocking, isn’t it?” she said. “But just wait until you hear the rest. It gets even better.”
As Harry described the Horcruxes and the process of making one, Lucia felt the blood drain from her face. Here was some of the darkest magic imaginable, being used by the darkest wizard in Britain’s history to make himself immortal. It was truly frightening—and Lucia had thought that the Inferi could cause her enough nightmares. She was a Ravenclaw, after all, and her mind was a good deal stronger than her stomach normally was.
“…and this is where you come in, Lucia,” Harry finished. He rose from his seat; there was an eager gleam in his eyes as he spoke. “We’re searching for all the Horcruxes to destroy them, so that I’ll be able to kill Voldemort for good when the time comes. Professor Lupin was to join us, but he won’t be able to do this for a while with his injury. So, I was wondering. . .” He paused. “We were wondering if you’d be willing to help us on our search.”
Lucia waited for her voice to come back to her before replying. “I would be most honored to help you,” she said with emotion, “not just as a sworn enemy of Voldemort, but also as a good friend and comrade of all of you. I will do my best to live up to the trust you’ve placed on me.”
“We’re sure you will, Lucia,” Lupin said warmly. “Harry, Ron, Hermione, I think it’s settled, then. Would you three leave us for a moment? I’d like to speak to Lucia in private.”
The Trio exchanged looks, but they left anyway. Hermione gave Lucia a friendly smile as she passed. Once Ron had closed the door, Lupin turned to look at Lucia. There was a certain sadness in his eyes as he spoke. “Lucia,” he said gently. “I would like to give you my consolations. Henry was a good friend of mine, and we all miss him as much as you do. Tell me, are you all right?”
Lucia stiffened at the sound her father’s name. There was a long pause before she could answer. “It’s been—really hard without Father,” she said slowly. “But—I’ve managed as best I can, I suppose. The pain isn’t as strong as it used to be, and today’s battle helped clear my mind a lot. I just hope—” She hesitated before adding bitterly, “—I just hope I’ll be the one to make that Lestrange woman pay for Father’s death.”
“You might have to fight with Harry on that,” Lupin replied dryly, “as he’s sworn to kill her already, after what she did to Sirius. But, Lucia,” his tone changed into that of a concerned parent. “I want you to promise me that you won’t become obsessed with vengeance. Revenge often makes a person worse off after than before. Henry would have wanted you to live a good life without bitterness, remember that. And if you need anything, or if you just want to talk things out, I’ll be here to help.”
Lucia nodded, a lump growing in her throat. “I promise,” was her quiet response. “And thank you.”
Lupin closed his eyes and leaned back into his pillows. “Take care of yourself, Lucia,” he yawned. “I think Harry wants to start his search in Godric’s Hollow the day after tomorrow, so keep your ears open. Good night.”
“Good night, Professor,” Lucia murmured, and she tiptoed out of his bedroom as softly as she could. It was time for her to go home. It had been a long day already; and little did she know that it was just about to get longer.
A/N: Yahoo! Initially, this was two separate chapters--but I smooshed them together because they were both kind of short. Sorry for the lack of action; don't worry, it'll get better soon! Thank you for reading! And please review!! RN
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