Chapter 4 : The Taboo
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There were also strange rumours flying around and Cornelius Fudge’s body had been found in his house with the Dark Mark set aloft. They still had no idea about what had happened to his family. There were no traces of them. They also found Ludo Bagman’s body in a wood though they were unsure whether it was the Death Eaters or the Goblins who had gotten to him in the end.
They were also finding the bodies of Muggle-borns that had been on the run. Lupin knew it was impossible to evade Death Eaters forever. With each passing day Tonks half expected him to come home and tell her that they had found her father’s body.
On a lighter note though, the Potterwatch broadcasts had really taken off. They seemed to be very popular with the wizarding community. They had decided to take a leaf out of Slughorn’s book and move from empty Muggle house to empty Muggle house making their broadcasts. This turned out to be working quite effectively as they had been on the air nearly two months now and the Death Eaters still hadn’t caught them, although there had been a few close shaves.
As it also turned out, the Order had a clear enough picture on what the Death Eaters were up to. Aberforth had proved to be a very valuable asset. He owned the Hog’s Head pub in Hogsmeade, and as he so often reminded them, if you give Death Eaters enough Firewhiskey they would tell you anything you wanted to know.
There was still no sign of Harry, Ron and Hermione. Lupin was confident that they were still alive. but it would just be reassuring to see some small sign of them. He also wondered if they had been listening to Potterwatch. Did they even have a wireless with them? He was going to all this trouble to let Harry know everyone was behind him, and he found it immensely frustrating not knowing if Harry had received this message.
The weather was getting increasingly colder as winter had now set in. Lupin awoke one morning to find a soft blanket of snow across the landscape. Both him and Tonks were living with Andromeda now. They couldn’t leave her by herself when there was not a minute when she was not worrying about Ted.
One chilly evening, early in December, the Order had received intelligence that the Dark Mark had been set over a Muggle house, not far from where Andromeda lived. Lupin and Tonks had both agreed to go and check it out.
The two of them walked side by side, shivering in the cold. Flakes of snow flecked Lupin’s hair making it seem even greyer. HTe bitter wind burned his cheeks and made his eyes water. He wrapped his cloak around himself trying to keep out the chill.
Their destination was a house in a remote area of the countryside. They had apparated about half a mile from it and they could already see the aluminous Dark Mark floating in the sky. It was a colossal skull composed of what appeared to be hundreds of emerald stars, with a giant snake protruding out of its mouth, like a tongue. It was an ominous sign that meant only one thing – death. It was Voldemort’s mark, the mark his Death Eaters cast into the sky whenever they had killed.
Tonks shivered at the sight of it and gripped his hand tightly. They both walked through the snow towards the house in silence, both were terrified of what they would find inside.
Lupin would have to put his foot down after this one, this would be Tonks’s last mission for the Order. The baby was due in a few short months and she should be at home resting. However, it was not in Tonks’s nature to stay behind while everyone else was out fighting. After all, she was an Auror and longed to be at the heart of all the action. But things were changing, and she would just have to accept that, from now on, she must remain behind, where it was safe.
The snow in front of the house was smooth and undisturbed. Lupin opened the gate and it creaked. The sound nearly made him jump, as if it was a warning telling them not to enter. But the mark had been floating above the house for hours now and it was unlike Death Eaters to linger after they had killed, unless this was a set up, a trap.
Lupin stretched out his hand about to pull down on the door handle when Tonks stopped him. She took out her wand and whispered, “Homenum revelio.”
“That was good thinking,” said Lupin, impressed.
“Well, there’s no one in there Remus, no one that’s alive anyway,” she replied her voice trembling slightly.
Lupin pulled down on the door handle, it was locked.
“Alohomora,” he murmured and the door clicked open.
Both raised their wands. There may not be any humans in this place but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t other nasty surprises waiting for them.
The two stood there for a moment, wands pointed into the empty hallway. Lupin stepped in first and Tonks followed closely behind him. He walked down the hall the floorboards creaking in the silence.
He peered into the sitting room. It was a scene of pure chaos. Furniture lay in bits on the floor, pages from various books lay scattered amongst the debris, the chandelier stood in pieces on the ground, photographs were broken and ornaments were smashed.
Lupin stepped tentatively into the room, wand still raised but he was only met by silence. He peered behind the over turned sofa and what he saw next made his blood run cold. He immediately turned to Tonks, he did not want her to see this.
“Dora? Will you go and check upstairs?” he asked trying to hide how he felt about what he had just seen. She nodded and left the room and he turned back to the scene behind the sofa.
Three bodies lay there, one was of a fully-grown man and the other two were small children, a boy and a girl, both couldn’t have been more than three or four years old. This was not right, these people were Muggles. They posed no threat. They couldn’t even fight back. They had been killed for fun as if this whole thing was a game but life was no game, Death Eaters had no right to do things like this.
He could not bear to look at the two children.They were innocent and pure, and had only been on this earth about four years, if even. They were too young to die. It was cruel to take their lives away. How could someone live with themselves after doing such a thing? How was it that their souls were not torn apart after they had killed something so innocent and defenceless? But that was the way of this dark cruel world now.
The three lay there as if they were sleeping, after all the Avada Kedavra curse left no traces. Lupin’s eyes burned as he noticed that the two children were holding hands. He only hoped that they didn’t suffer. They say that Avada Kedavra killed instantly but how long was an instant when it was your last? Did the two children have to endure the sight of their father dying before the Death Eaters proceeded to them?
He stared down at the three bodies wishing that some spell existed that could bring them back but there was no magic that could reawaken the dead.
“I’ve checked upstairs Remus and everything seems fine. There are no signs of a fight or anything.”
Tonks had just entered the room. Lupin got to his feet. “Dora, please wait in the hall, I don’t want you to see…”
Lupin couldn’t look at Tonks, the expression on her face upset him. Her eyes fell on the three bodies and she trembled as tears trickled down her face. He wrapped his arms around her, trying to comfort her.
“It’s -” Tonks sobbed, “It’s -” But she couldn’t find the words, no words existed that could describe a scene like this.
“I know,” replied Lupin, his voice too, shaking.
He had to get her out of here. There was nothing more they could do. They would make a call to the Muggle police from the village, so the bodies would be found and they would not left there lying amongst the shattered debris of their former lives.
They both walked into the hall and Lupin pointed his wand at the ceiling, removing the Dark Mark. He then cast the homenum revelio spell before they opened the front door. It told them there was not another human being around for miles.
He took another look back at the sitting room, wishing he could have done more, wishing he could have saved them.
“Why is it always children?” asked Tonks quietly. She was no longer crying.
“Because they can’t fight back,” he replied.
The Death Eaters were cowards, always attacking those that couldn’t defend themselves. They would never pick a fight with some one unless they out numbered them twenty to one. Lupin was convinced that Death Eaters had no souls; anyone that could kill a child couldn’t be human.
“Things like this shouldn’t be allowed to happen,” said Tonks.
“I know,” replied Lupin, shivering at the thought of his own child being born into a world like his one. “But they are happening and that’s why we are fighting, to create a world in which things like this will never happen again." A world where our child can live a happier life, Lupin thought firmly. "We will win in the end but the price we will have paid will be very high, too many innocent lives will have been lost. But we must keep fighting ‘til the very end and all those good people will not have died in vein and all this will just be a memory, just a bad dream, as will Voldemort himself, when he finally falls.”
The instant Lupin finished that sentence there was a loud crack and about six hooded figures apparated into the hallway, all six pointing wands directly at them.
Lupin jumped in front of his wife, shielding her from the Death Eaters that had just materialised into the room. Why had he been so stupid and put his wand back in his pocket?
“Don’t move!” barked the nearest hooded figure. “So you think you’re pretty brave, do you? Saying the Dark Lord’s name? Well it’s going to be the last thing you ever do say.”
Lupin knew he had less than two seconds. He had, of course, preformed wandless magic before, but this would not be as simple as conjuring up flames on the Hogwarts Express, no this would have to be something much bigger. He focused harder than he had ever done in his life on the ceiling above them and in less than an instant it caved in. Lupin felt a horrible pain swell inside his chest, draining him of all the energy and will he possessed. He pressed Tonks against the wall protecting her from the falling rubble. He fought off unconsciousness so hard, it was crucial that he stayed awake. Tonks was in danger. He fought off unconsciousness so hard, it was crucial that he stayed awake. Tonks was in danger.
He grabbed her hand tightly, turned on the spot and disapparated.
Sight and sound were extinguished as darkness pressed upon them now. He could feel Tonks’s hand in his. He focused on that and only that, fighting not to slip away into sleep. They were being squeezed between time and space itself, away from the house, away from the Death Eaters and away from danger.
Lupin felt his chest expand as he fell down onto the cold soft snow. He saw the familiar door of Andromeda’s house and then it slipped out of focus. He had no strength left in him now, he began to feel dizzy as he let himself slip off into the darkness.
Lupin could hear voices but he couldn’t register what they were saying. His brain seemed to be water logged, working a lot slower as he slipped in and out of consciousness. Every muscle in his body was screaming at him, aching in pain. His head was swimming and his heart pounded rapidly in his chest.
He tried to open his eyes but they felt like lead. Slowly, but surely, he managed to blink them open, but all he could see was blurred shapes. Then he heard some one call his name as the room came slowly into focus.
“Wotcher Remus,” said Tonks, clearly she was relieved to see that he had come round.
Lupin blinked and looked around waiting for his brain to catch up with the rest of him. He wasn’t surprised to see that he was lying in a bed with sunlight flooding the room.
“Are you alright?” he asked weakly.
“Me? Yes, I’m fine, thanks to you,” she replied smiling.
“What happened? I don’t really remember much,” he asked, his voice growing stronger.
“We were ambushed by Death Eaters,” explained Tonks but Lupin had remembered that much. “They had us cornered. I honestly saw no way out of it. Everything happened so fast. The nearest one moved his wand about to perform the Killing Curse when the ceiling caved in and you grabbed my hand and before I knew it we were here and then you collapsed into the snow.”
Relief spread through him now. They had been very lucky, both of them had made it out of there alive and although he felt dreadful now, Lupin didn’t care, as long as Tonks was safe, nothing else mattered.
“How are you feeling?” asked Tonks concerned.
“I’ll live,” he replied trying to smile. He then made an attempt at sitting up but his body wouldn’t let him, it was too drained.
“You get some rest now Remus,” said Tonks, “get your strength back and we can talk later.”
Within about ten seconds Lupin had found himself getting drowsy and then drifted off to sleep.
He awoke late the next day, feeling hungry but other than that he appeared to be on the mend. He looked around the room. It was full of dull light, clearly it was a very dark and cloudy day. He took his time getting out of bed as his whole body had gone stiff. He went into the bathroom and examined his reflection in the mirror. He looked a lot worse than he actually felt.
Slowly he left the room and went downstairs into the kitchen to find Kingsley and Tonks sitting at the kitchen table.
“Wotcher Remus,” said Tonks happily.
Kingsley smiled and greeted him too. Lupin had no idea what day it was or how long he had bee out cold. He sat down beside Tonks and Kingsley got up to fetch him a cup of tea.
“What day is it?” Lupin asked.
“Wednesday,” answered Tonks, “you were out for nearly three days. I must admit you had everyone worried.”
Lupin felt guilty. He didn’t want anyone worrying over him unnecessarily, everyone had enough on their plates already.
“So,” said Kingsley handing him a cup of tea, “what happened?”
Lupin tried his best to explain but most of it seemed like a blur.
“You made the ceiling fall in?” asked Tonks.
“I had a feeling you did.”
“Without a wand?” asked Kingsley, impressed.
“I have been able to perform wandless magic before but usually it’s just a real simple basic spell. But this time I knew I had to do something big. It took an awful lot out of me to cause the ceiling to cave in; I could barely stay awake afterwards.” Lupin explained.
“What worries me,” said Kingsley, “is how the Death Eaters knew you were there.”
Lupin had been thinking about this too. The whole thing didn’t seem to have been a trap. It was too unorganised. If it had been a trap the Death Eaters would have made sure that they couldn’t have apparated out of the place. Also he was under the impression that they didn’t know who he and Tonks were. It was worrying just like the incident at Tottenham Court and how the Death Eaters had found Harry so quickly.
“I don’t think it was a trap,” said Lupin.
“I know what you mean,” agreed Tonks, “the Death Eaters didn’t seem prepared at all, if they had known that members of the Order were coming, they would have made sure that there was no way that we could’ve escaped.”
Lupin forced himself to remember every detail of what had happened. He had found the bodies and then sent Tonks upstairs. She came back down a few minutes later saying that everything was clear. Then he and Tonks were talking. He tried to remember every word both of them had said.
After that what did he do? He removed the Dark Mark. Could that have been it? No, they would have gotten into the house a lot quicker if that had been the sign. He and Tonks had been talking for a few minutes after he had removed the Mark…
He strained his mind trying desperately to remember. He had talked to Tonks after he had removed the Mark and then the Death Eaters had appeared the second he had finished talking. One of them had spoke, he distinctively remembered that one of the Death Eaters had said something.
“So you think you’re pretty brave, do you? Saying the Dark Lord’s name?”
That was right, one of the last words he had said had been Voldemort’s name. The more he thought about it the more it seemed to make sense. Harry always used Voldemort’s name, didn’t he? And then the reason why the Death Eaters had been able to find them so quickly came to him.
“You know what?” said Lupin slowly, “I think they have put a Taboo on You-Know-Who’s name.”
Any quotes/references you recognise are all JK Rowling!
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