Chapter 17 : Uprising
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“As an Auror you trained to be adaptable,” Rudolf informed us, pacing down the line of trainees, “You will be trained how to disarm, fight and even kill criminals when necessary. You will learn not only how to contain your emotions but how to stop your natural instincts of fear or remorse. You are machines. On the job you are hunting. You are ruthless. You will see things that will alter your sense of humanity. Most of you are not strong enough to handle it. Today we will be testing you,” He sighed and clenched his jaw, “Today is the day we weed out those of you who are truly built and meant to carry out the duty and privilege of serving the wizarding community. I won’t lie. This won’t be easy. What we are doing is cruel but it is for your own safety. If you can’t deal with the procedure we are about to conduct on you than you cannot possibly come to grips with the pressure that comes with being an Auror.”
He gave us a stern look before focusing on me. “Paxton…Since you are the only female left you are first.”
I can’t say I wasn’t scared but I was ready. Lorenzo sent me a reassuring look before I went over to stand next to Rudolf. A moment of silence echoed through the room before he sighed again.
“Paxton if you can’t handle it say something immediately, understand?”
Rudolf looked disappointed. He thought I was too weak for this. “Imperio!”
I instantly felt...relieved. All of my baggage was gone. I felt no responsibility, like I could do anything without any consequences. Then I heard Rudolf’s calm deep voice in my head, ‘Crawl like a snail.’ I moved half an inch before I stopped myself. Why would I do that? Again Rudolf’s voice sounded in my ears, ‘Bark like a dog.’ Yet again I started to do as he asked when I stopped myself. Why would I do that? I’m not a dog. I glanced upward and saw him starring at me stunned.
I furrowed my eyebrows, “What?”
He shook his head, “Next test…This one will hurt.”
I prepared myself for round two. It didn’t take long for the pain to come. My bones were blazing and I felt my eyes whelp up with tears of pain as my body shook like it was being electrified but I did not scream. I wanted to scream more than I could ever explain. My body wanted me to beg him to stop, to plead with him but I couldn’t. The resolve inside me started out as liquid but slowly became solid and eventually began to fight it off. I seized every fiber of hatred I held inside me and used it. Rudolf’s voice was in my head again this time he sounded cold and heartless, ‘It would be easier to give up. You are weak and defenseless.’ Sharply my eyes snapped open and I rose from my kneeling position to where I was standing. He no longer looked astounded. Now he looked enraged.
“Legilimens!” He whispered fiercely.
I saw me at age eleven heading on the boat to Hogwarts. I saw me kissing a boy blindfolded at age nine at a pureblood birthday party. I saw Lestrange coming towards me to hit me and a surge of anger pulsed through me. I couldn’t let Rudolf see that. To see me unable to defend myself. I concentrated on black, seeing just black and he moved on to a new memory. A more horrific memory. My father spoke and I shut the door of his den. I didn’t have a lot of time soon my father would attack me. I decided to go for white instead. Light would protect me from this. A bright all consuming white filled my mind, blinding the memories. It took all of my energy but I woke. I was on the floor and I was sweating profusely but I wasn’t in pain anymore. I hesitated for a moment. I focused on steading myself. Lorenzo walked over and gave me a hand up. His grin was contagious.
“You did great Paxton,” He whispered in my ear.
I glanced over and saw Rudolf seething. A sense of pride built up in me like nothing I’d ever felt before. I wasn’t weak. I was capable of fighting back. I just never knew it.
Waiting was awful. Not only did I have no idea how I did I had to wait with 30 other people in a tiny cramped -supposedly neutral- grey room. I leaned forward in my chair, digging my elbows into my armrests as I bit my lip. Lorenzo looked at me from across the room but I paid him no attention. I knew I looked like a drug addict, fidgeting all the time, starring at the door but I was worried. Lorenzo had five sisters, he could stay with any of them and become a Ministry official like his father. His next life path wasn’t brain surgery. I literally had nothing if this didn’t pan out. Where was I going to go? I lived in a barely hospitable room above an old muggle man for 100 pounds a month, the life of luxury. I had nothing to fall back on. This was it. Yeah I always had the brains but it didn’t matter. This was the one thing my family didn’t have the power to blacklist me from. This was everything. If I lost this…I didn’t know what i'd do.
I searched for the source of the voice and was surprised to find Moody addressing me. He supervised a few of our training sessions but he was known for not getting involved in who was selected. Rising from my chair, I rubbed my sore elbows before following Moody into his office and shoving my hands into my pocket. What would he say?
“Sit,” He ordered in his usual blunt manner before walking to the back of his desk.
I didn’t say anything. I waited for him. After ten minutes of silence it was apparent he wanted me to speak first. I took a deep breath.
He let out a grunt of relief, “Good. I thought you were going to be a chicken. Never be too afraid to speak first.”
I wasn’t. I was trying to be polite but I didn’t say that. “Yes sir.”
“You passed but it won’t be easy."
I was confused. Was he serious? “I …passed?” My voice cracked with anxiety at the end.
“Don’t sound so surprised. You were the only one to immediately fight of the Imperio and not scream under the influence of the Cruciatus Curse.”
I was stunned. No one else had been able to do that? “Really?”
He pulled out my file, “You are fluent in English, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Dutch, Italian, Polish. And can understand Portuguese, Swedish and Hungarian correct?”
I nodded. “I have a photographic memory.”
“You passed everything,” Moody closed my file and scratched the side of his neck, “Rudolf wanted to hold you back and have you take your tests again. So you would get better at wandless hand to hand to combat,” He darkly rolled his eyes, “I told him to shove it. That isn’t your strongest area but you are decent enough to pass.”
“I will however have you training minute you aren’t following me around. Rudolf has it out for you. He thinks you’re too weak. When you proved him wrong he didn’t like it but he is right. You do need some extra work. So you better get used to long hours.”
He gave me a careful once over. “I usually don’t take on post trainees but I started complaining at the stock of Auror’s they were sending through….”
“So they made you take one on?”
“Oh no.” He shook his head gruffly, “I’ve done my dues but I was forced to supervise your training sessions to see where there could be improvement…I don’t think they test you lot long enough and I don’t give a damn who knows it. There’s a war but I don’t reckon that means we should lower our standards and send out unqualified idiots…” Moody took a swig from his emerald flask, “But you have real potential I haven’t seen in years.”
I glanced at him amazed.
“Don’t get cocky though. None of the other trainees know exactly what was done to you. They only know how they themselves were tested. So If I hear you bragging-“
“Trust me, “I interrupted bluntly, “I won’t.”
“Alright,” He twisted his mouth to the side making his scars stand out in the candlelight. Moody stood and shoved his hand out for me to shake. “Welcome Paxton.”
Benji ran. He couldn’t apparate on Hogwarts property and the closest fireplace he could floo to was McGonagall’s. Sweat ran down his neck slowly as he raced up the final staircase. He busted through the door.
“Dumbledore! Sorry to bother you-!”
Dumbledore raised his hand. “I know. Juliette and Sirius have been caught in a trap. Remus sent me an owl.”
“Amy Brown gave us false Intel. She’s a Death Eater.”
“I know this as well.”
Benji stood in the doorway stupidly. Of course he did. “Well…Ah.”
“Could you do me a favor and send for Alastor?”
“Moody? Yeah…That I can manage.” He muttered under his breath before shutting the door.
Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore sighed forlornly before taking off his half-moon spectacles and rubbing the sides of his nose. Within minutes Moody arrived promptly.
“You rang Albus?”
"Juliette’s been captured.”
Moody’s face tightened. “How long?”
“A few hours.”
“What can I do?”
Dumbledore face hardened. “My source says they haven’t been tortured yet but within the hour they should be. I can’t get a team in there. It would be a suicide mission. I need you to alert her family and if we don’t hear anything …tell the Ministry whatever you think is best.”
Moody gave him a curt nod before speaking, “She doesn’t have any family.”
Dumbledore considered this. “I think she is in contact with her brother.”
“I’ll let him now,” Moody frowned.
“I’m sorry Alastor…”
“She’s not dead yet Albus…” Moody moved for the door, “This is my fault. I suggested you take her on…" His face sagged then turned prideful as he pictured her face. "If they do get her she’ll take as many of them down with her as she can though…”
He smiled sadly at that, “I’m sure she will Alastor.”
There are two things a person like me could do when faced with a stressed situation like this. Break down, accept defeat and just acknowledge that nothing they could do would do anything….Or laugh. I choose the later. My exhaustion, my pain, my fear, everything that weighed me down faded as I just let out this quiet hallow little chuckle. After awhile I became delirious from laughing for so long. It all seemed…funny.
Amy Brown came over to me and kneeled down to my level. “What’s so funny?”
I wouldn’t have answered her seriously anyway but I was too caught up in my own amusement to respond. She kicked me –supposedly- hard in my stomach but I started laughing harder. This seemed to infuriate her further. This stick thin brunette tried desperately to express her hatred by hitting me harder but it just made me laugh harder. Amy snatched her wand out of her pocket but I was too quick for her. I head butted her, took her wand and turned it against her. It was hard to stand, my legs were shaky but I ignored it. All the shadows started moving closer. I didn’t acknowledge them. I went to her and decked her in the face.
“If you’re going to hit someone,” I told her as she wailed on the floor in pain, “Hit them.”
I threw her wand to Renee or the Renee double or whatever the hell she was and crossed my arms. Bellatrix walked over, magically tied my hands behind my back before giving Amy a look of utter disgust and throwing her out of the room. She then knocked me back down to my knees and pulled a chair from across the room over to sit in.
“Here’s the deal Paxton. We are going to kill you.” She sighed dropping into her seat, “You knew this.”
“The matter if your precious ‘husband’ makes it is all up to you.”
“Are we really in this scenario?” I asked her with a fake coy groan. “You smack him around I don’t do anything we both die…It’s more predictable than Renee over there…”
‘Renee’ looked like I had thwarted her dignity somehow. “Excuse me?”
“Oh I’ll get you later.” I smiled at her sweetly before turning back to Bellatrix, “But really Bella aren’t we over this? Why don’t just admit it? I won’t tell you. Just kill me.”
She sighed with a big fake smile, much like the one on my face. “I would dearest Juliette but the Dark Lord himself is going to be doing the questioning and…” She inhaled harshly, “He tends to be more persuasive than I…”
“I can’t imagine how,” I mused aloud, “Well while we wait for satan why don’t we all catch up?!” I asked her raising my voice at the end. “You know. You share what new deceitful bitchy malevolent things you’ve been up to and I'll tell you how much I’ve missed you in our time a part...Whatdda say?”
She grinned menacingly at that. “I would love to but he should be here soon…speaking of which.”
The joking banter died as I felt my body shake again. This time it wasn’t from a cold. It was from a new presence that had slipped into the room. All of the people who were in the room slowly exited the room as if silently ordered to do so. My eyes snapped shut as I immediately closed my mind. He wouldn’t get into my head. Torture me yes, control me, fuck no. All the pain from my body came roaring back as I concentrated on sealing my mind from him. When I opened my eyes they all were gone and my lip was bleeding from the pressure I had unknowing applied with my teeth.
“Ms. Paxton,” He spoke coolly, “Pleasure.”
“Wish I could say the same,” I forced myself to look at him, “Voldemort.”
I had the strong urge to throw up. I was standing in front of a raging mass murder. All of my bullshit wouldn’t save me. I couldn’t just out think him. He wasn’t another enemy. I kept a firm gaze on him. His very pale skin, chalk-white, skull-like face, skeletally thin body and long, thin hands were vivid. The only tangible thought in my mind was how I wish Dumbledore would appear with a glass of orange juice.
“Ms. Paxton…Do you mind if I call you Juliette?”
I didn’t reply.
“I’ll take that as a yes.” He smiled. It was disturbingly sinister with his face so distorted and inhuman to see him attempt a human action. “I must formally ask you to join the Death Eater’s. Your charisma will be well rewarded and you will no longer have to worry about the welfare of your family. We will keep them safe.”
I raised my eyebrows as he violently but silently attempted to penetrate my mind. “My allegiance is and will always be with the Order and Dumbledore.”
His distinctive snake face became suddenly darker, whether it was because I spoke of Dumbledore or because he was having difficulty breaking into my mind I didn’t know but I knew there was a reason for it. There was no more speaking. He just stared into my eyes for a few moments. His expression was crazed and I had to fight every impulse to look away. I couldn’t let him win. I would let him kill me and make a coward out of me.
“Impressive,” He decided finally breaking the silence and standing up from his chair. “I see you are skilled at Occlumency.”
I heard a door open behind him and watched as Bellatrix gave me one last sneer, handed him his wand and left with a flash of her hair.
I starred at his wand and my breath began to shiver.
He smiled at me again. “Well I’m sorry you feel the way you do but I do have some questions and you will answer them.”
His voice made me think of death. How easily he could and would kill me but I wouldn’t give in. After that first question I didn’t answer. The pain I experienced was by far the worst pain i'd ever physically felt in my life. My body fell to the ground and convulsed as an electric circuit of fire racketed through my bones. He asked question after question and it ended the same. After the seventh crucio I saw nothing but darkness. My eyes wouldn’t open. It hurt too much. Everything ached and felt like everything was broken. I definitely had at least two broken ribs. My throat was dry and I heard someone breathing. I wanted to know who.
“Hold on,” A voice reassured me quietly but I hesitated to trust it. It was a female’s voice and not one I recognized. I didn’t know whether I should take that as a good or bad sign.
When I had the strength to open my eyes I found a large needle in my chest and a seventeen year old girl administrating it to me. Weakly I tried to stop her but even my strongest attempts were so feeble she didn’t notice that I was even awake. When she did she offered me a reluctant smile.
“I’m putting adrenaline into you. I’ll explain everything later. All you need to know is we have limited time before they are going to kill your husband and we don’t have any time to waste.”
I glanced at her for a moment. She was shorter than me but around the same stature. She had tan skin, swept back ink black hair and piercing grey eyes. Why would I trust her? She sensed this question and gave me a sigh.
“Just trust me.”
I nodded and she pulled out the needle.
I can’t explain why I trusted her. Just that it was in her face. Something was there, a type of honesty that I believed. She put out her hand and I had no choice but to take it. When she pulled me to my feet I felt the adrenaline kick in hard. My vision had returned crystal clear, all of my pains faded and I focused. I needed a wand.
“How did you get in here?"
She shook her head and gave me her wand. “It doesn’t matter. We don’t have time. Take my wand. He’s in the second room from the left. I don’t know what state he’s in...”
“…Thank you…” I whispered to her unsurely.
She raised her eyebrows with a Dumbledore like knowing, “Believe me you owe me nothing.”
She vanished down the hall, wandless while I went for Sirius. I couldn’t think of anything else. I broke open the door to find Bellatrix torturing what was left of him.
“Expelliarmus!” I shouted violently sending her wand flying across the room. Her eyes blazed into mine as I starred at her with overwhelming hatred. No more games. No more jokes. I was done. “Incarcerous!”
Tight ropes snarled around her. I mumbled another spell leaving her glued to the ceiling. I wanted to hall her ass in jail. To bring her back to the ministry myself and have the satisfaction of seeing her locked up like the animal she was but I didn’t have the time. Sirius was paler than I’d ever seen him. He looked like he'd spent the past few hours having the energy sucked out of him. There were cuts and bruises all over him, his clothes ragged and ripped. I took off his chains with my hands and kissed every surface of his face. He let out a shallow breath and I knew he was still in there. Beaten and broken but still breathing.
“Ferula,” I sighed covering his gashes with bandages. “Can you stand?”
I saw his stubbornness shine through as shook and fought to stand on his own. I grabbed his middle section and helped him. This killed his pride but even he knew he needed my help. We went to the door and I heard footsteps. I pulled out my wand and put him against a wall. I dueled three Death Eaters and sent them all flying with a single spell before going back for Sirius. We went as fast as we could. Everything became a blur from moving so rapidly. When we got to the apparation point he was so drained all his weight was on me. I held him, tearfully and apparated to St. Mungos.
Not as much action as i would have liked but she had limited time. THANK YOU FOR READING! PLEASE REVIEW! Everything (the confusion and random things) will come together in the next two chapters so if you're like WHAT THE HELL? It will make sense soon. Oh and would someone please make me a cool banner? I keep trying to make one but it's not good enough...HELP!
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