Chapter 9 : Dreadful Direction
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The familiar empty room.
He was back.
Voices were heard outside, and James felt a panic begin to rise in him like never before. This wasn't like the time he was here before, there was so much more at stake now.
"Remus, find her if you can. Please, just find her and go," James pleaded in whispers. He'd feel so much better knowing that Lily and Remus were out of this place safely.
The door opened, and two Death Eaters entered. James felt Remus place a hand on his shoulder, and the Death Eaters then apparently felt him move out of the room.
"What was that?" a male voice that James didn't recognize asked.
"Nothing, and even if it were something, that wouldn't matter; he's here, just as the Dark Lord said," another answered.
The second voice James did recognize, but he had never seen nor heard of Avery in this place before. James had thought it was only for Voldemort's most trusted, but he guessed that with Voldemort's recent "return", he had told more of his followers of this place, where ever it was. It would make sense, him preparing for James to bring back half the Order, and to keep Lily from getting out, at least alive...
James pushed that thought out of his mind. Voldemort needed lily to ensure James's return. He couldn't kill her. But now that James was back... No, she was alive. She had to be.
Back at Grimmauld Place, Sirius and Jasmine were starting to panic, which wasn't something they did easy or often.
Their godson was lying on the couch. He was drenched in sweat, and running a high fever, but shivering uncontrollably, freezing and so covered in blankets. The arm that had been cut was magically held in the air, in hopes that the bleeding would slow. The cousins had seen Harry cut his arm, and there was no way he cut deep enough for it to have resulted in that much blood loss. It was as if his entire arm had been sliced off, and that meant only one thing: The dagger had been cursed. That much had been previously known, but it was worse than originally thought, there was absolutely nothing that would make the oozing blood stop or even slow; they had wrapped Harry's arm in bandages as tightly as possible without breaking the bones, and used the most powerful healing spells they knew, but their efforts had been futile. They couldn't give up though, Harry was their godson.
"Sirius, get Molly!" Jasmine finally ordered in desperation.
"Molly Weasley, maybe she knows something we don't. Sirius, please," she begged, not wanting to leave Harry to get the woman herself.
Sirius nodded, and quickly wiped Harry's bangs, plastered by sweat to his forehead, off his face, then left the room in search for Mrs. Weasley.
Not a moment later, Molly came running into the room with Sirius and Tonks at her heels. Ron, Hermione, Ginny, Fred, and George were close behind them. Upon seeing Harry bleeding and shivering violently, Fred and George were rendered speechless, Ron paled considerably, Ginny looked close to passing out, and Hermione screamed. Tonks then took it upon herself to usher the Weasley children and Hermione out of the room.
On Molly's orders, Jasmine tore apart the medicine cabinet and found a vile of Blood Replenishing Potion - half empty. Cursing under her breath for finding only so little of the potion that would help keep Harry alive, she full out ran back to they study to give what little potion she did find to Molly. The witch immediately forced the contents down Harry's throat, making sure not to spill a drop.
Silent tears spilled down Jasmine's face, and Sirius seemed close to crying himself as he looked at his godson's deathly pale face.
"I'm going to try Dumbledore," Sirius said in a low, hoarse, toneless voice that was not his own. They had tried contacting Dumbledore not long ago, but he had been unreachable.
"And get more Blood Replenishing Potion," Molly muttered distractedly, trying her hardest to keep the boy who was like a son to her alive with the help of the witch she had previously never gotten along with.
The minute Sirius set foot outside the study door - everyone had silently agreed it would be best not to move Harry - he was bombarded with questions and a blur of red. Ginny was silently crying, sitting still as stone, Hermione looked close to hyperventilating, Ron had been sick (he went to the bathroom when he felt it coming), and Tonks was either unwilling or unable to change her hair from mousy brown to its usual bubblegum pink.
Except for Ginny, they all rushed to Sirius, making demands to know what was going on, but Sirius ignored their question and continued on his way to the kitchen fireplace to try again to reach the Headmaster. "Find Blood Replenishing Potion," was all Sirius said to Tonks, actually, all he said period.
Remus made his way through the labyrinth of Voldemort's hideout, mentally cursing it all. Every corridor looked the same as the last, and offered his nose the same repulsive smell of metallic blood. He held his nose to keep from gagging, but wasn't sure how much longer he could go without spilling the contents of his stomach all over the place.
He checked in every door he came across that he could see into without opening for Lily, and listened for breathing behind the ones he couldn't. He didn't dare try to open any though, it wouldn't do well to alert Voldemort and his Death Eaters what he and James were trying to pull.
Remus almost smiled, it reminded him of some of the more absurd pranks the Marauders had pulled at Hogwarts, like bewitching the enchanted sky-ceiling of the Great Hall to rain on the Slytherins, only this time, it wasn't for laughs and the price of getting caught was a lot higher than a few weeks of detention.
Although he hadn't been walking that long - thirty minutes, not even - Remus had to admit that he was lost. He had no idea how to get around in this place, and there was no one in it able and willing to help him. The worst part, Remus felt though, was that he hadn't found Lily. James and Lily were two of the best friends he'd ever had, and he couldn't let them down; they had been there for him in the past, and Remus wanted to be there for them now. And Harry, he just couldn't let Harry down. He had to keep looking, but he had no idea where to even go from where he was.
Death Eaters restrained James, his bruised form panting heavily, as Lord Voldemort entered the room. The five or so Death Eaters also in the room had been granted permission to "keep Potter occupied" until their master got to the room. That meant torture, and Voldemort had taken his time getting there.
"Ah, James, we meet again," the snake-like creature said with condescension, the malicious glint in his red eyes emphasizing James's helplessness of the situation he was in.
James wasn't going to mix words. "Where's my wife, you fucking bastard?!"
"Language, Potter, language," Voldemort said with amusement, clearly expressing his entertainment at hearing James's words that held threats he could never carry out.
"Let her go!" James roared.
"Why?" Voldemort asked, not at all taken aback by James's outburst.
James's only response was to struggle against those restraining him, causing the robed evil standing before him to laugh at his attempt to get free.
"Quite a temper, James. I suppose that's where your sorry excuse for a son got his?"
"Don't you dare talk about Harry, you--"
"And why is that? Out of respect for the dead, James?"
James's eyes shot open and he ceased his struggle. "He... he's not..."
"Not yet, perhaps, but in a matter of time, I can assure you, he will be."
James listened in dumb disbelief. Harry couldn't be dead, not his son Harry, not after everything that had happened. Harry was alive, not dying, not now. He couldn't- he couldn't be. He had not lost his son again! But... no.
Voldemort picked up the snake dagger, and turned to James. "I am so grateful that you returned this to me, James. And you don't even know what this is, do you?"
It was impossible to tell if James was taking in one word of what Voldemort said, but the Dark Lord either took no notice that the conversation had become one-sided or he just didn't care, probably the latter.
Voldemort chuckled and answered his own question. "No, of course you don't," he said, tucking the dagger into his robes. "The blade holds a mighty curse, as I'm sure dear Harry is by now well aware of. The wound will rival that of a basilisk bite; even if it is not poisonous, it will not heal until the victim is dead. Not even Phoenix tears will help," Voldemort said with a sneer to James's lost look of helplessness for the danger his only child was in. "But not... What to do with you?" Voldemort started pacing in front of James, pondering.
"My Lord, you could Mark him, my Lord," one Death Eater dared to speak up.
"Yes," Voldemort said slowly, considering the suggestion, obviously pleased with it because he didn't punish the Death Eater who dared to speak out of line. "Yes, I could." His eyes lit up with a grin of evil. "But..." He approached James and pulled out the dagger, still stained with Harry's blood. "That seems too good for you, doesn't it, James?" He rubbed the horrible blade against James's cheek, smearing Harry's blood onto his father's face.
James jerked his head away, disgusted, causing Voldemort to chuckle once more.
"Of course it is," Voldemort said, turning away. He fingered the blade fondly, the blade that rid him of the greatest nuisance in his path. "Now James, the curse of the dagger works only twice, and, almost regrettably, your precious son was its second victim, but that doesn't mean this charming artifact has lost its use and potential, does it?" he asked, with his back to James and the Death Eaters.
James stayed silent, not knowing what the sick monster in front of him was planning on next.
"Remove his shirt," Voldemort ordered.
The Death Eaters did as they were told, and Voldemort turned and took a moment to take a satisfied look at the ugly bruises forming on James's skin.
He took a step towards James, his smile and red eyes showing traces of nothing but evil, and began to carve the Dark Mark into James's chest, with the same blade he claimed took the life of his son.
A/N: So what'd you think?
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