Chapter 21 : The Bond of Generations
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Meanwhile, for the Marauders, the time passed quickly. Christmas came and went, noted that it was the best Christmas Harry ever had. The New Year rang in and things seemed to be turning up. Harry was practicing Occlumency fiercely, starting to master it quickly with the help of both Remus and Sirius. Lord Voldemort’s activity seemed to slow down, since the Diggory attack; there was no reported deaths wizard and muggle a like.
It was January when an urgent Order of the Phoenix meeting was called; Sirius and Remus quickly rushed Harry to Hogwarts so that they could attend. Sirius dropped Harry off in the Room of Requirements with the Weasley children and Cedric Diggory, who sat by himself at the end of the room.
“Harry!” Ron greeted his friend enthusiastically, since the two had not seen each other for a little over a month.
“Ron!” Harry exclaimed with a smile spreading across his face.
“Hey, be good. Stay here... I’ll be back in an hour or so.” Sirius fondly kissed Harry on the top of the head.
“Bye, Padfoot.” Harry bid him a goodbye as Sirius left the room.
“Wonder who that kid is...” Ron whispered towards Harry, while pointing at Cedric.
“Dunno about you, but he sure looks like he could do for a few jokes.” Fred came up behind them.
“Or a few laughs.” George added, slinging an arm around Ron.
“Don’t you dare hurt him.” Percy stepped up behind the small group.
“What makes you think we’re going to hurt him? We just want him to cheer up a bit.” George snapped back.
“Your so called ‘cheering up’ consists of hurting people in more ways then one.” Percy replied, looking slightly disgusted.
“You’re such a git, Perc.” Fred said seriously.
“Come on.” George pulled his twin brother towards the small boy.
“Come on, Harry.” Ron grabbed his best friend and pulled him after the twins.
“Wait for me!” Ginny cried as Percy grasped her arm and held her back.
“Don’t...” Percy told her sternly.
“Lemme go!” Ginny whined, looking over at her other brothers.
“Fine.” Percy let go and Ginny ran after the boys.
“Hey!” Fred greeted the small boy.
“I’m George Weasley.” George greeted himself. “And that’s Fred, my twin. That’s my ickle brother, Ronniekins-”
“George!” Ron protested.
“That’s my little sister Ginny and my stuck-up brother Percy. And that’s Ronniekin’s best mate, Harry Potter.”
The boy’s head snapped up at the mention of Harry’s name. His eyes wandered directly to Harry’s forehead, searching for the famous scar. Unconsciously, Harry flattened his bangs on his forehead. It was an action that came easily to him ever since joining the Wizarding World and having people gawk at him for something he doesn’t even remember.
“What’s your name?” Fred asked politely.
“Cedric... Cedric Diggory.” The boy said in a soft voice, his gaze never leaving Harry.
The name immediately clicked in his mind. He remembered his dream... of the woman screaming. He remembered how Padfoot explained to him about the Diggory family and how he had saved Amos Diggory and in one way or another his son, Cedric, too. Harry’s expression drew sad as he looked at the boy in front of him, a whoosh of guilt coming over him. As if there was now a huge rock in the pit of his stomach.
“You could do some cheering up.” George spoke up.
“And we’re just the people to do it.” Fred added.
“Ever wondered if ghosts could be flushed down the toilet?” George asked, an evil glint in his eyes.
“I would like to thank you all for coming today.”
Dumbledore stood at the head of an oval table, addressing the old and new members of the Order of the Phoenix. It seemed as though Dumbledore’s most trusted members sat closest to him, while the others sat at the end of the table. Snape, who usually sat a seat or two away from Dumbledore, was oddly at the other end of the table. Sirius, who sat next to Dumbledore, noted this bit of information, but kept it to himself. He mentally reminded himself to tell Remus once the meeting was over.
“It has been about a month since Lord Voldemort has made any attacks... until last night. He attacked a muggle family, the O’Briens, in Dublin, Ireland. It is to my great disappointment to inform all of you that they are all dead. After suffering Avada Kedavra, the house was burnt to a crisp. The Dark Mark was lingering over the house...” Dumbledore tried off, passing out a stack of pictures of a small town house.
“That wasn’t his only attack last night.” Alastor Moody spoke up, standing up next to Dumbledore.
“What happened, Mad-Eye? Did da Death Eaters come to uh... visit ya?” Mundungus wiggled his eyebrows playfully.
“No, you dolt! How stupid and inconsiderate can you be?” Moody growled at him. “Drunk again, I expect or maybe you just smoked out all of your brains.”
“Now you listen here, Maddie!” Mundungus stood up, swaying slightly to one side.
“What are you going to do? Lick me to death, eh?” Moody stood up too, anger flashing in his eyes.
“Enough!” Dumbledore interrupted loudly to stop the fighting.
“He just insulted me integrity!” Mundungus protested.
“Oh, yes, since criminals are so trustworthy.” Severus Snape spoke up, who was seated across from him.
“And Death Eaters are?” Sirius spoke up, glaring at Snape.
“Look who’s talking, Murderer.” Snape shot back, meeting Sirius’s gaze.
“That is enough!” Dumbledore stood up, pounding his right fist on the table. “Sirius. Severus. Are we not grown adults?”
“He started it!” Sirius pointed towards Snape, an evil glint in his eyes.
“How grown up of you, Black.” Snape snarled sarcastically. “Just like you always were.”
“Enough, Severus.” Dumbledore glared at Snape, a look of hurt in his normally twinkling eyes.
“Alastor, who else was attacked last night?” Andromeda Tonks asked, glaring at her younger cousin to be quiet.
“The Longbottoms were attacked.” Moody said in his usual gruff voice.
“They’re not...” Hestia Jones choked on her own words, small tears already burning her eyes.
“No, they didn’t have the chance to. Anna was actually on her way to pick up her grandson, Neville, from his uncle’s house. She barely just got out of the house when it was sent up into flames.” Moody explained, glancing over at Snape as he did so.
“Alastor and I believe that they meant to kill the Longbottoms off, since they tortured Frank and Alice into insanity.” Dumbledore stopped briefly to look around the table, “It is my belief that it was the Lestrange family that did that particular attack.”
“Then again it doesn’t really matter. All that matters is that their lives were put into jeopardy.” Moody added on.
“Are they going under the Fidelius Charm?” Remus asked, speaking up for the first time.
“I don’t know what I’m going to do... they are staying in the castle for the time being.”
“I have to go...” Moody stood up, glancing again at Snape. “Black, can we talk?”
“Err... sure.” Sirius got up slowly from his chair, glancing over at Remus who looked just as puzzled as he was.
Moody briskly walked past the Order members, who were watching Moody intensely. Sirius gave a small shrug, and he then followed Moody out of the small office. The two made their way silently down the hallways, their shoes squeaking and clicking on the stone floors. After what seemed like forever, Moody stopped and turned around to face Sirius.
“I always found it hard to believe that you turned traitor to our side. I always thought you were a horrible kid, but you had good potential... you just needed to apply yourself. You just needed to believe that you could amount to something other then being a girl-chasing bachelor. Then when you were convicted, I felt like I wasted all my time on a lost cause. Then you come out innocent, rotting in that hellhole for five years and I... I knew that I hadn’t wasted my time on you. I knew that you were just a lost kid grieving over your best friend’s death. Now I see you with that Potter kid... I see how happy you are to be helping that kid out in the world. I see that you actually care about someone so much you would risk your life for him and I’m in shock. I never thought you would change... I never thought you would give up on having a different girl every week.” Moody paused, collecting his thoughts before continuing, “I see that you have a purpose here... that you did amount. You care more for that boy then anybody else in the whole world. That’s why I’m asking for your help... because I know you feel it, too. I know you think it, too.”
Sirius stood there staring at the man who had taught him to become an Auror in his youth. The man who yelled constant vigilance over and over again until it was engraved into your mind. He just stood there, telling Sirius everything he ever wanted to hear. That he was a good godfather and that he did amount to something. That he was a good person who would do anything for his loved ones. However, this wasn’t Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody. He was never one for mushy stuff, much for family values, but he stood there congratulating Sirius on a job well done... maybe even feeling pity for his wrongful imprisonment.
“I feel what?” Sirius asked, forgetting about all the fatherly things Moody had said to me.
“Open up your eyes! Who is the one person in the Order you hate more then anyone?” Moody let those thoughts linger in the younger wizard’s mind.
“Snivellus...” Sirius trailed off, pure hatred in his voice.
“You have to be quiet.” Fred whispered to the small group behind him.
“Peeves won’t be as easy to get. We got him in the toilet before, so something tells me that he won’t be so gullible.” George added onto his twin’s speech.
The two twins led the group down the hallway of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Right behind them was Cedric Diggory, a small smile of excitement on his face. Behind him were Ron and Harry, who were creeping along behind the older wizards. The back end of the little group was Ginny, who was giggling profusely.
The three reached a bathroom on the second floor, no doubt the girl’s bathroom. Ron looked slightly appalled by the idea of going in there, but went anyways. He looked around the room grossed out, muttering things to Harry about how it was for girls and not guys. Harry looked slightly amused by the reaction and vaguely interested to be in a girl’s bathroom. Fred and George started to open the stalls, as if looking for someone. Cedric sat down on the floor, looking somewhat uncomfortable. Ginny followed her twin brothers with curiosity.
“Where is she?” Fred hissed under his breath.
“Who are you looking for?” Cedric asked in a small voice.
“Maybe she went into another bathroom.” George suggested, shrugging slightly.
“What are you talking about?” Ron asked.
“AHH! Naughty! Naughty!” Peeves glided through the wall of the bathroom.
“Peeves! The very ghost we were looking for!” Fred grinned widely.
“Our comrade!” George added.
“What are you doing here? Making mischief?” Peeves twirled in the air, watching the children.
“Mum and Dad are here... meeting with Dumbledore.” Fred supplied.
“You’ve been a bad!” Peeves, oddly enough, blew bubbles in his mouth.
“No... You-Know-Who’s been bad.” George said irritated.
“You don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.” Peeves pulled his lips back into a grin.
“How so, Peeves?” Fred questioned.
“You can’t get me today, Reddie!” Peeves said in a sing son voice.
“Really?” George stepped forward.
“Just wait, you little nasty.” Peeves whirled around again and zoomed around the room, and then out of the room by the wall.
“Something tells me that Peeves isn’t himself today.” Fred frowned.
“Yeah... something’s up.” George added. “He didn’t even try to torture us.”
“What do you reckon?” Ron whispered to Harry.
“Padfoot said that Peeves never gave up a chance to prank or get someone into trouble at this school.” Harry whispered back, looking at the twins.
“Maybe we should go see what’s up.” Fred walked towards the door, George following him.
“Let’s go, you lot!” George called out.
“So tell me why we are doing this again?”
Sirius and Moody were in Snape’s office, looking through everything that they could get their hands on. There were papers and potions everywhere and everything was in disarray. Moody growled under his breath, looking up at Sirius with his magical eye. Sirius laid down a file in his hands gently onto the desk.
“I told you, Black, I think Snape was at one of those raids last night. I’m willing to bet anything that he was at the O’Briens! I’m also willing to bet that Snape was at the Diggorys’ house the night Carmel Diggory died! Don’t you see? He’s playing us all for fools. He’s saying he changed, but did he really?” Moody’s voice was misty and full of anger.
“I thought I was the only one to believe that Snape wasn’t as loyal as he lets on.” Sirius’s jaw tightened unconsciously. “Remus kept telling me that it was all in my mind. Told me that Snape was on our side, but I was letting boyhood grudges decide how I viewed him. There are no coincidences... I learned that much from you.”
“We just need to find something... anything...” Moody trailed off, looking through some more papers.
“We aren’t going to find anything... Snape is going to carefully cover up his tracks. If he wants Dumbledore and the Order to believe that he his loyal to the Light Side then he isn’t going to leave us clues wide out in the open.”
“Black, he would put it in the very place that we would think, because we wouldn’t think about even looking there because it would be the most obvious place.”
“That just made no sense.” Sirius smirked.
“The meeting is over with in five minutes, you should get back.” Moody growled, waving his wand so that everything would go back in its place.
“Wait, Dumbledore told you to do this? Dumbledore suspects him?” Sirius asked, his mouth slightly hanging open.
“Yeah, he does suspect Snape. Didn’t he ever tell you that Snape told him he killed Arabella Figg?” Moody watched Sirius with his magical eye.
“What?” Sirius asked in shock, his composure slowly disintegrating.
“Yeah, said that he had to prove it to the Dark Lord that he was on their side. Was pleading to Dumbledore that he didn’t mean it. Ever since then Dumbledore has been careful around Snape... watching his every move.” Moody explained.
“I don’t believe it. That two-faced, greasy son-of-a-bitch!” Sirius roared with anger.
“Black... don’t do anything rash. Potter needs you.” Moody forewarned him. “I know how you feel about revenge.”
“Where did they go?” Ron asked as him and Harry wandered around the hallways of Hogwarts.
“Dunno.” Harry answered simply, looking around at the moving portraits on the wall.
“Gran, I wanna go home... I left Trevor there!” a boy and his grandmother turned the corner and towards the direction that Ron and Harry were standing.
“We can’t go home, Neville! How many times do I have to tell you?” the older woman snapped.
“Is fine.” Harry could tell that the woman was lying.
She stopped when she saw Harry and Ron in the hallway. She immediately looked at Harry with recognition, the same way Sirius and Remus first looked at him. Her eyes drifted it his forehead, a small frown forming on her lips as she did so. She then looked at Ron vaguely, taking in his features. She then spoke, “What are you two doing here?”
“Waiting for our parents.” Ron offered.
“Where are your parents?” the woman questioned.
“In a meeting with Dumbledore.” Ron replied lamely.
“About what?” the old woman was curious.
The two boys turned around to see Sirius walking towards them, a sour look on his face. He looked angry, but he forced a smile towards the two boys. He then looked up and saw elderly Mrs. Longbottom and a mixed look crossed his face. He didn’t know exactly how he felt seeing the mother of an old friend who was currently insane.
“Mr. Black, I heard you were about.” The woman said bitterly, surveying Sirius with interest.
“Mrs. Longbottom, how are you doing?” Sirius asked as he reached the small group, kneeling down to pull his godson close to him.
“As well as could be expected. I hear You-Know-Who is back, even though Fudge has mixed feelings about it.”
“Mixed is an understatement.” Sirius said resentfully.
“It seems that every other week there’s a new story in the Daily Prophet, either saying one thing or another.” She continued, reaching down to her side and brushing Neville’s hair.
“I don’t bother reading that anymore... it just seems to piss me off.”
“Right... as it does to me at times. There was a very nice dedication to Frank and Alice though. I still have it if you would like to see it... since you were locked up in Azkaban for all those years, I doubt that you got a chance to read any of it.”
“Yeah... right... no, they didn’t like to give us too much, you know.”
Sirius stood up, reaching a hand out for Harry to take. He had enough of this, and couldn’t stand there and talk pleasantly with this woman. He bid a goodbye to her and led Harry and Ron away. The two could tell that someone was wrong, but they didn’t dare ask what it was. After walking a couple minutes, the two made their way outside of the huge gargoyle that led up to Dumbledore’s office. Outside of the office stood half of the Weasleys, Amos Diggory, and Remus, who were making small talk with each other.
“Where have you been?” Molly exclaimed, rushing over towards Ron.
“Mum, me and Harry were out exploring!” Ron protested, after being swooped up in his mother’s arms.
“Where are Fred and George?” Arthur asked, breaking off his conversation with Remus.
“Didn’t see them.” Sirius replied, “They are probably still out there causing trouble.”
“I’ve never seen anyone like them before!” Molly said in a tired voice, “They are always getting into so much trouble.”
“That was great!” Fred's voice rang throughout the hallways.
“I can’t believe he actually fell for it!” Cedric exclaimed.
“It was brilliant... absolutely brilliant!” George then shouted.
Fred, George, and Cedric all turned around the corner with huge smiles on their faces, each covered in layers of dirt. Amos and Molly looked relieved as they saw the three. Cedric turned towards his father and gave him a sheepish smile, trying to rub off some of the dirt on his face.
“What happened?” Amos asked, glad to see his son smile for the first time in a month.
“Erm...” Cedric turned to his newfound friends.
“We were just playing with Peeves...” Fred answered earnestly.
“Peeves?” Molly asked in disbelief.
“Yeah... we kinda had a little row with him.” George supplied, a grin flashing on his face.
“You what?” Molly asked in disbelief.
“And we kinda pranked him good.” Fred smiled widely.
“Poor Peeves will never be the same.” George added.
“And we miss all the fun stuff!” Ron exclaimed, slightly whining.
“’Tis true, Little Brother. ‘Tis true.” Fred laid a hand on Ron’s shoulder.
“Remus... we need to talk, okay?” Sirius whispered towards his friend as everyone chattered.
“About what?” Remus whispered back.
“Just wait...” Sirius said in a low voice. “You won’t believe what you’ll hear.”
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