Chapter 19 : The Leaky Cauldron
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The intensity of the truth pressed on me for the next few days. Whenever I looked at Lily, I saw Edwin’s face and I mentally slapped myself for not realising earlier who he really was. I wondered how Harry would feel if he found out he had a brother...I wondered how Edwin would feel if he knew Harry Potter was his half brother. And for the first time ever, I felt sorry for Snape because the love of his life was still alive, yet she couldn’t let him know.
Lily acted more or less as if she never told me anything. She managed to smile again, as if by telling me she softened the burden upon her shoulders, yet I didn’t feel any better. If anything, I felt worse because I was in the middle of all these problems...I was the only one who knew the entire truth on either side. Harry was living next to a world where he should have belonged, clueless of its existence and I knew secrets that would change Snape and Edwin’s life forever, yet I could not tell them anything. And on top of everything else I was pregnant and alone.
The buried past was making its way back to the surface through me, as if I was an open door and I couldn’t do anything to stop it and I had a vague idea who everyone would blame if they found out Lily was alive. Well...I knew how much Harry would hate me for going out with him and not telling him that his mother was alive. And I was afraid that Lily might also hate me if she found out I knew her eldest son was alive and I never told her.
I needed a break from everything....the four walls of my room were making me go crazy and I felt like a trapped mouse in a cage. I wondered how poor Edwin must have felt being trapped in that painting for all those years...did he feel alone and small? Forgotten by the world and forgotten by his dad? Missing the love of a mother he believes dead, just like the half brother he knows not of.
I lay down on my bed and stared at the ceiling for a while. I missed Hogwarts and being normal. I even missed going to Snape’s lessons. It was better than just being trapped in Lily’s house with an elephant that no one mentioned of. I closed my eyes and thought of Jack. I had not seen Jack in so long and I missed him...missed the fact that he was a reminder of my old life. I wished I could visit him, but I knew that would be dangerous...Dumbledore had hinted that it was not a good idea to leave the house much. So I tried to accept that, I really did, but as the days passed so did my nerves. Two weeks later I was on the verge of a mental breakdown. I thought it must have been my growing belly, but I could not stand being in the house and being with Lily, because she was acting as if everything was green and dandy.
And it wasn’t. It really wasn’t.
I missed Edwin terribly and as the clock ticked, I wondered more and more whether he knew about the baby that grew bigger and bigger each day inside me. It was almost impossible to hide the fact that I was newly pregnant...you could no longer say I was just a little bit bigger in that certain part—no, this was certainly a bump. A bored bump, which was desperate to get out of the house and meet his or her dad. Merlin, that sounded so strange.
I was horrified of reading the Daily Prophet and finding out that other muggles died, just like my father. I was horrified to hear the rumours about more and more Death Eater control inside of Hogwarts despite Dumbledore’s omnipresence there and I was extremely scared for the friends I once had. Did they worry about me? Did Dumbledore offer any sort of explanation for my prolonged absence, or was it just a “hope you don’t notice thing”?
These questions grew as the four walls of my room became smaller and smaller. I felt like I did not exist even though it was the moment when I should have felt more alive than ever. I felt like I did not have a purpose in the world when I should feel like the world was evolving around me. I was having a baby, for Merlin’s sake and I was depressed! That was not how I imagined things...well having a baby at 18 was not something I imagined either. My maturity level was still screaming “15!” every time I looked into the mirror at my pale/yellow face for not seeing fresh air. My eyes seemed blank...blue and blank and my hair was growing longer at a faster pace, and it was uncontrollable! This had to stop! I mean the boredom and feeling of uselessness, not the bad hair days. Though it would be nice if they stopped too.
And so the ending began. I decided I had a choice, unlike Lily Potter and Harry Potter and maybe Dumbledore should not take me for some kind of sacrifice, because I was not prepared to be one. Lily may want to give her life for Harry, but I was not ready to waste my life and my baby’s life for some boy with a scar on his forehead who can’t decide whether he wants to be with me or not. Well...actually i ditched him, so maybe I shouldn’t feel that way. But I did. I was pregnant so I was allowed. Right? And I needed the only person who didn’t take me for some kind of idiot...a man, not a boy. A man trapped in a painting which was no longer in Hogwarts.
I didn’t pack too much with me...just a few clothes and sanitary objects. And paper for letters in case everything goes wrong. I had to be able to carry that bag when I grew bigger...in case I did not find Edwin soon enough. I needed money too. Not too much money, but enough to support three people for while...because Edwin probably did not have any.
I had a choice. The “elopement” which was about to occur between myself, my baby and an Edwin who had no idea of what I was about to do, yet, was probably the most reckless thing I had ever done. But I didn’t care. I was past the point of no return and I was not going to end up entangled in the order of the Phoenix’s webs like my poor mother was. It may be a dangerous journey, but I had to take that risk. For the first time in my life, I had to take my future in my own hands and stop allowing people, no matter how nice they seemed, to make decisions for me.
As soon as the clock struck twelve am in the night I disapparated out of the house and made my way into the unknown, wand close at hand. I left Lily a brief note saying I will not be back for a while and not to worry, even though I knew she would. And I walked for a while until I did not recognise the surroundings. This was a bad beginning. I could not spend the night wandering around, until morning came about...with Death Eaters everywhere in the UK I kept turning my head around every five minutes.
But then in hit me. I couldn’t just go away towards a future I did not know, without seeing Jack. But if I went to see Jack...maybe someone will track me down and I would put everyone in danger. It was not safe to go and see Jack now. But it wouldn’t hurt being a little closer to him. So I decided to apparate to London...to spend the night at Leaky Cauldron, under a different name. I wasn’t Harry Potter, or his girlfriend, and all mostly everyone I had the chance to bump into was at Hogwarts.
It was just as I had suspected. The candle lights were dim and the chairs were already on the table, while some old men were looking suspiciously around the venue before going back to their conversations. Posters on the old, spider web decorated walls, of muggle people killed or people missing were looking at you as you walked past and in one corner the “MISSING-SUPECTED OF DEATH EATER ABDUCTION” poster with Ron’s face was still there. I wasn’t sure of how many people found out about Ron’s real involvement with the Death Eaters, but I suspected Mr and Mrs Weasly would probably want to keep it hidden; still hoping it was not true. I placed my hood on and headed towards the counter as a bell levitated itself into the air and shouted for Tom. Within minutes the tired and wrinkled face of Tom appeared in the dim light. He gave me a small look and then took out a thick book and a quill.
“Name please.” He said in a deep and tired voice. It was not usual for the Leaky Cauldron to care of the people who came in. But the Ministry of Magic made a new piece of legislation aimed at the protection of the general public, both within our world and their world, which forced all public venues who rented rooms to ask for the names on the people who come in. But everyone knew it was like asking the murdered if he killed the victim or the liar if he told a lie. It was just a useless attempt at making witches and wizards believe that the Ministry “had it in control”.
“Emma...Law.” I said in a believable voice, but Tom seemed just too bored, or sad or he simply didn’t care anymore who came in the venue as long as it all stayed quiet.
“Room 457.” He said and handed me a big, metal key with a piece of parchment attached to it with the key number.
“Thanks.” I said after handing him a few gold Galleon coins Tom replied with a grunt before going in the back.
I made my way towards the stairs, where the light was even dimmer than in the main room, perhaps to hide the dark deeds of people whose faces were hidden by the shadows of the walls. I walked up another set of stairs, huffing and puffing and quite hungry, but then I stopped dead and instinctively stuck my back to a dark corner of a wall, for the voice I heard was enough to make my legs wobble and my heart to beat like the wings of a Snitch.
“....one more time, and you will tell me the truth.”
“NO.....please...I’m sorry...I tol-dd---ARRGHHHH----“
“Silencio!” whispered the hissy voice of Lucius Malfoy.
After he took the Crucio curse off his female victim, whose voice sounded familiar, he seemed to walk into the room and close the door behind him, while the woman inside seemed to run to the other side of the room and fall over something.
I quickly made my way to my room, which was just a little further down on the other side of the corridor and shut the door with my wand, still breathing heavily. Lucius Malfoy...the man who killed my mother was at the Leaky Cauldron torturing someone I had the feeling I knew. Lucius Malfoy, who tortured me for hours, was just a few feet away from me. I lay down on the bed as a candle lit itself on...and hugged my belly with my arms, trying to control my shaking. There was only one man who enjoyed torturing people for hours without growing tired or depressed and he was the man I feared the most. I would much rather be at the hand of The Dark Lord rather than Lucius Malfoy and I couldn’t believe I had run into him on my first day of being by myself.
But my thoughts were interrupted by a door opening and then closing, and some heavy footsteps walking towards my end of the corridor. I froze. My muscles were paralysed and I could not breathe until the steps faded out. I stood awake, listening for any sound for a long time, just to make sure he was not spending the night at the Leaky Cauldron, or at least not on my corridor. But I heard no door opening and then closing and the silence outside soon overcame my brain and allowed my muscles to relax into that sort of sleep where you know nothing of no one and of yourself.
I had strange dreams that night. In one of them I was running along a dark corridor, holding a crying baby in my arms, as loud footsteps were walking slowly towards me. And the faster I ran, the closer he seemed to be to me. I woke up before he caught up with me, yet when I fell asleep again I was running after Edwin and shouting his name, but he couldn’t hear me. He kept walking faster and faster and I was slowing down as my belly was growing bigger and bigger.
I woke up the next morning by a vast amount of vile in my throat, which made me run to the bathroom. Morning sickness was horrible and I hated it, especially when I had to go out, because I felt like my head was on a different planet. I returned to bed and placed the covers over my body. My thoughts were running wild...after a night full of strange dreams. I was trying to remember whether the baby I had in my arms in the dream was a boy or a girl, but the more I thought of it, the blurrier the face was.
Soon enough, my thoughts were interrupted by my stomach rumbling. I groaned and got out of bed. I looked at my appearance in the mirror and groaned once more. I looked a mess...I felt asleep with my clothes on the previous night and I looks as if my clothes had been tossed at the bottom of a full bag and left there for years. But thankfully I found a new pair of jeans and a jumper in my bag, which I put on after having a warm shower—my room was freezing. I also enlarged the jumper before putting it on, in order to hide the fact that I was pregnant. My hair looked wild and I tried numerous spells to tame it down but nothing seemed to work. In the end, I gave up trying and just placed it into a messy bun which turned up to look pretty good.
I placed my wand securely down my sleeve and made my way out of my room. The corridor was as dark as the previous night and as I started walking, a sense of foreboding came over me, making the little hairs on my arm stand up, just like when a ghost comes in the room and says hello. My eyes seemed to stop on the neighbouring door where I heard Lucius Malfoy last night. But the door was not closed. It was slightly open and as I walked down the corridor, my curiosity grew. Okay...not my curiosity, my sense of stupidity grew. There’s a truth universally acknowledged by everyone that in fact, what has been called the Gryffindor bravery is the Gryffindor stupidity! No wonder I was placed in Gryffindor...my curiosity/stupidity made me open the door a little more and pop my head through.
The room was still lit by candles and the curtains were drawn over the windows. I could not see anyone sprawled on the floor or any blood on the walls, which made me even more curious, so I just walked in, towards the bed, which looked as if someone struggled in it for life. I wondered if it was true what they were saying about Lucius....despite the fact that he was “happily married” he raped those he made victims. But I often wondered...what if the person was what he considered a “filthy mudblood?”
My eyes wandered around the room for any clues that the person which seemed so familiar before was still in there. But there seemed to be nothing. I avoided using magic in case someone might track me down. I even went to the bathroom and looked inside, but everything was left undisturbed, except for some towels on the floor. I decided to get out of there...there was a feeling of uneasiness around the room which made me have goose bumps, but before I started walking towards the door I heard the most dreadful voice I could ever hear, echoing down the corridor, coming towards the room. I panicked and mentally beat myself up for being so stupid. There was no way I could get out of there before Lucius Malfoy saw me. I had to hide. I started hyperventilating and looking around the room helplessly for a hiding place. His footsteps and voice were becoming clearer as he was approaching the half opened door. I ran towards the bed and hid under it, trying to steady my breathing. But when he came in I had to hold it, because it would have given me away. And he was not alone.
I could see from under the bed, some female heels walking up and down, as if inspecting the room. And then she laughed as she threw herself on the bed. No one could ever mistake that laugh...no one that knew Bellatrix Lestrange anyway. I could see Lucius’ cane accompanying him as was walking towards the bathroom door, which I had left open. He seemed to go in for a moment, as if to check is everyone was there, but then he came back out and closed it with a touch of his cane.
“Nic job, Lucius...you left it clean.” She said in her mental, wicked voice as he crossed her legs. Lucius feet approached the bed and I closed my eyes for a moment, out of sheer fear.
“Of course.” He said in his aristocratic voice and placed his cane near the wall.
“I thought you said she left it here.” Said Bellatrix and seemed to look for something in the bed’s covers.
“I did.” He said and seemed to be looking around as well for something.
I opened my eyes and looked around the dusty floor and I had to hold my breath away in order to not hyperventilate. About three centimetres away from me, was a wand. The victim’s wand. They were looking for the wand which was right next to me. Holy crap!
I wondered whether they could hear my heart beat. I wondered if they could sense my presence. They would kill me if they found me. My baby would die to. I could feel the tears forming in my eyes and I tried to encourage myself that they would just call the wand, instead of doing in the muggle way and popping their heads under the bed.
“Hurry up Lucius, we have to meet Cissy at the bank.” Snapped Bellatrix and stood up going towards the window, her heels making me want to scream.
Lucius did not reply. He went towards his cane and took out his wand in a swift movement. “Accio wand!”
The wand from under the bed trembled slightly, and then flew out from under the bed into Lucius’ firm grip as I felt my heart gaining its normal pace. But then I felt something I had never felt before, like some butterfly wings spreading in my belly, followed by a small kick. I let out a small gasp which made Lucius and Bellatrix stop talking.
“What was that?” asked Bellatrix.
“I didn’t hear anything.” Said Lucius.
“No, no...it came from under there.” She said and I had the feeling that she was pointing to the bed. I placed my hands protectively over my belly, as my baby kicked again. Great...first kick under a bed surrounded by Death Eaters. Just bloody great.
“We don’t have time for this!” snapped Lucius. “It must have been a rodent.”
Bellatrix didn’t say anything, but she approached the bed and I held my breath again, praying that she will not look under the bed.
Lucius walked over to the door, opening it with the cane. “Are you coming, or do you plan to torture rodents for the rest of the day?” asked Lucius in a snappy voice.
“Keep you trousers on, Luce, I’m coming!” said Bellatrix, the followed Lucius out of the door, but before she closed it, she pointed her wand towards the bed and said: “Accio rodent!”
I froze on the floor, as a small mouse was dragged by the spell from under a piece of weak floor board and squeaking, flew in Bellatrix’s grip. “There’s the little bugger.” She laughed and the little mouse squeaked harder as she squeezed its little body. And just like that, there was not another squeak as the mouse feel on the floor dead.
Bellatrix walked out of the room, following Lucius. I breathed again and lay there for a while, under the bed, just breathing and holding my belly. My baby kicked for the first time and despite the situation and the fact that I almost died, I found the strength to smile to myself.
A/N Here is chapter 19. I appreciate all the feedback given until now. Please feel free to review and thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed reading and by the way, I know this is a little late, but happy Easter to those of you who celebrated Easter.
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