Chapter 15 : For The Ones You Love
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Author's Note: Hey everyone! Sorry it's taken me so long to update, I've been really busy with school and my other writing. Sorry about that! But thanks for the reviews, and I hope you like this next chapter! And at this point in the story, Emily's about 34 weeks pregnant. Just so you know.
"I made you breakfast," a voice said sweetly, waking me up. When I opened my eyes, Harry was sitting on the very edge of the sofa bed, holding a tray of breakfast for me. Pancakes with berries on top, syrup, orange juice...damn, he made it hard to stay angry at him.
I pulled myself into a sitting position and looked at him expectantly. "I'm really sorry about last night," he said. "It'll never happen again, I swear."
"You have no idea how worried I was," I told him quietly. "I couldn't stop thinking that they had gotten you, that the footprints belonged to your kidnapper's. Do you know what that's like?"
"Yeah, I do," he said just as quietly. I then realized that he knew exactly how it felt to think/know that someone he loved had been kidnapped, as it had happened to me just last year. "I'm sorry I made you go through that."
When I saw a sleeping bag and a pillow on the floor by the fire, I realized that he had actually slept on the floor last night. I smiled a little. "S'okay. I forgive you." I gave him a little kiss on the cheek. "Besides, how can I stay angry at you when you make me breakfast in bed?"
He grinned. "I was hoping that it would have that effect."
I hit him playfully before I started to eat. In that moment, I knew that getting married to Harry was the right choice. You want to know why? Because he could cook. And he could cook very well.
What? My mom always said I should marry someone who could cook.
When I was finished, Harry took the dishes right away and started washing them, making me smile. He was really sucking up to make sure I wasn't even the slight bit angry at him. It was times like this when I couldn't get over how cute he was.
I went into the bathroom and brushed my teeth and hair, pulling my hair back into a ponytail and throwing on some really warm sweatpants and a thermal long-sleeved shirt that had to bed enlarged to fit over my stomach. I sighed a little.
I waddled back out to the table, grabbing my glasses and my book as I went so I could just read. It was a good way to keep my mind off of everything that was happening. I slipped my glasses over my eyes and thought about my aunt before I opened the book. It opened to what seemed like a story, all from her point-of-view about her life. It was really interesting to read about, especially to see some of the pictures that accompanied it.
"Good morning," Ron said happily, sitting down at the table across from me. I bookmarked the part I was at and closed the book.
"Morning," I replied, resting my hands on my stomach.
"You know, I meant to say something last night, but you've gotten huge!" Ron exclaimed.
"No, it's a good thing. You look really good, like you're shining or something," Ron said. "But a lot bigger than the last time I saw you."
"That's what happens when there's a little person growing inside of you," I said and he grinned. "Wanna feel the baby kicking?"
His eyes widened. "Seriously?"
"Yeah, of course," I said. Ron came over to where I was sitting and I put one of his hands on my stomach just as the baby kicked. He was super surprised, then started going on about how cool that was, making me laugh all over again. It was no wonder why Harry and Ron were best friends.
When he got over the excitement of that, and Harry had gotten his own dose of the baby kicking, Harry started to tell Ron what had happened since he left, including the full story of what happened at Godric's Hollow, and then Ron started filling the two of us in on what he had discovered about the Wizarding world while he was away.
"...and how did you find out about the Taboo?" he asked after explaining the many desperate attempts of Muggleborns to evade the Ministry.
"The what?" Harry asked.
"You three have stopped saying You-Know-Who's name!"
"Oh, yeah, well it's just a bad habit we've slipped into," Harry said. "But I haven't got a problem calling him V -"
"NO!" Ron roared, making Harry jump a few feet and making Hermione scowl over at us from where she was reading her book at the tent entrance. "Sorry," Ron said, helping Harry back to his feet, "but that name's been jinxed, Harry, that's how they track people! Using his name breaks protective enchantments, it causes some kind of magical disturbance - it's how they found us in Tottenham Court Road!"
"Because we used his name?"
"It makes sense," I deducted. "Only the people who were really serious about standing up to him, like Dumbledore and ourselves, who even dared to use it to begin with. Now that they've put a Taboo on it, anyone who says it is traceable - it's a quick and easy way to find Order members."
"They nearly got Kingsley -" Ron added.
"You're kidding!" Harry interrupted.
"Yeah, a bunch of Death Eaters cornered him; Bill said he fought his way out. He's on the run now just like us." Ron scratched his chin thoughtfully with the end of his wand. "You don't reckon it was Kingsley who sent the doe?"
"Kingsley's Patronus is a lynx," I said. "We saw it at the wedding, remember?"
Everyone went about doing their own things, making sure they were all in the tent when darkness fell. Harry took the first watch, sitting in the entrance and still trying to get used to the blackthorn wand. Hermione was lying on her bunk reading, the same activity I was doing, while Ron had taken out a small wooden wireless radio out of his backpack and started fiddling with it.
"There's this one program," Ron told Harry in a low voice, "that tells the news like it really is. All the others are on You-Know-Who's side and are following the Ministry line, but this one...you wait till you hear it, it's great. Only they can't do it every night, they have to keep changing locations in case they're raided and you need a password to tune in...trouble is, I missed the last one..." He drummed on the top of the radio with his wand and muttered random words under his breath, all to do with the Order and the good side.
Ron kept glancing at Hermione to make sure he wasn't annoying her, but when she climbed down from her bunk, he stopped right away. "If it's annoying you, I'll stop," he told her nervously. She ignored him.
"We need to talk," she said, holding the copy of 'The Life and Lies of Albus Dumbledore'.
"What?" Harry asked.
"I want to go see Xenophilius Lovegood."
Harry stared at her. "Sorry?"
"Xenophilius Lovegood, Luna's father. I want to go and talk to him."
"Er - why?"
Hermione took a deep breath, as though she were bracing herself and said, "It’s the mark, the mark in Beedle the Bard. Look at this!" She handed the book to Harry and added, "Look at the signature, Harry."
Ron tried to say something but Hermione shut him up with just a look. "It keeps popping up, doesn't it?"
"It was on one of the graves at Godric's Hollow - Ignotus Peverell's," I told them. "And the dates on that headstone were long before Grindelwald's time."
Hermione nodded fervently. "And now this! We can't just ask Dumbledore or Grindelwald what it means - I don't even know whether Grindelwald's still alive - but we can ask Mr. Lovegood. He was wearing the symbol at the wedding. I'm sure this is important, Harry!"
Harry didn't answer right away, but when he did, he said, "Hermione, we don't need another Godric's Hollow. We talked ourselves into going there, and -"
"But it keeps appearing, Harry! Dumbledore left me 'The Tales of Beedle the Bard', how do you know we're not supposed to find out about the sign?"
"Here we go again!" Harry sounded exasperated. "We keep trying to convince ourselves that Dumbledore left us secret signs and clues -"
"The Deluminator turned out to be pretty useful," Ron added in. "I think Hermione's right, I think we ought to go and see Lovegood." Harry threw him a dark look. "It won't be like Godric's Hollow. Lovegood's on your side, Harry, The Quibbler's been for you all along, it keeps telling everyone they've got to help you!"
"I'm sure this is important!" Hermione said earnestly.
"But don't you think if it was, Dumbledore would have told me about it before he died?"
"No," I said right away. Everyone looked at me strangely. "Dumbledore left a lot of things unanswered when he died, but he left the answers there for people to find. This was something he wanted you to find out for yourself," I told him.
"It makes sense," Ron agreed.
"I think we should go," I added. "It's not just a coincidence that there's a symbol that links Dumbledore, Grindelwald, and Godric's Hollow."
"I think we should vote on it," Ron said. "Those in favor of going to see Lovegood -" His hand flew into the air before Hermione's. Her lips quivered suspiciously as she raised her own. I put my hand in the air too. "Outvoted, Harry, sorry," Ron said, clapping Harry on the back good-naturedly.
"Fine," Harry said, "Only once we've seen Lovegood, let's try and look for some more Horcruxes, shall we? Where do the Lovegood's live, anyway? Do any of you know?"
"In Ottery St. Catchpole by Ron's house," I said immediately. "Trust me, you'll know which house it is when you see it."
We Disapparated to Ottery St. Catchpole the next morning and we immediately saw the Lovegood's house, a cylindrical building that resembled a giant chess rook. Ron was the first up the hill because of his long legs, and Harry and Hermione came up close behind him, panting and clutching their sides. I was barely halfway up when I said, "Screw this" and Apparated to the top. I had the glamour charm on my stomach once again to keep it hidden, but I could still feel the extra weight which made it a lot harder for me to walk such distances.
"It's definitely theirs," Ron said. "Look." There were three signs, one advertising that Xenophilius was the editor of the Quibbler, another advertising pick-your-own mistletoe, and another warning people to keep off the dirigible plums, whatever those were.
When we got to the front step, Harry took off his Invisibility Cloak when we reminded him that Lovegood would want to see him, not us. I stored it in my bag, which was shrunken and hidden around my scarf-covered neck.
Harry used the eagle-shaped knocker and rapped three times on the door. Only a few seconds had passed when Xenophilius opened the door, barefoot and wearing a stained nightshirt. His long white hair looked dirty and unkempt, making him look like the epitome of dapper at Bill and Fleur's wedding.
"What? What is it? Who are you? What do you want?" he demanded in a high-pitched voice before his eyes landed on Harry.
"Hello Mr. Lovegood," Harry said, holding out his hand in greeting, "I'm Harry, Harry Potter." Xenophilius did not take Harry's hand, but rather took the opportunity to stare at his scar. "Would it be alright if we came in? There's something we'd like to ask you about."
"I - I'm not sure that's advisable," Xenophilius said, casting a cautious look at his garden. "Rather a shock...my word...I...I'm afraid I don't really think I ought to -"
"It won't take long," Harry said, his voice giving away his disappointment at his less-than-warm welcome.
"I - oh, alright then. Come in, quickly, quickly!"
We had barely walked in the door before he slammed it shut behind us. We were standing in the weirdest kitchen I had ever seen, with everything curved to fit the perfectly circular walls. In the middle of the floor was a wrought iron spiral staircase that led to the upper levels.
"You had better come up," Xenophilius said, still looking extremely uncomfortable.
He led us into what seemed to be a combination of a living room and workplace, and as such, it was more cluttered than the kitchen. It actually looked a bit like the Room of Requirement when it turned into the room of lost objects. There were piles of books and paper on every surface.
Luna was not there. I knew that from the moment I walked across the threshold. My defenses were working overtime, looking for any immediate threats to abolish. Technically, Xenophilius was that threat, but I couldn't treat him as one until Harry had gotten the answers he wanted.
I just had to worry about not acting like I was pregnant, and not holding my stomach like I was so accustomed to. It had been a unanimous decision that no one outside the Order of the Phoenix should know about the pregnancy, just in case. In most cases, I knew that was going to end up as the safest option anyways.
"Why have you come here?" he asked.
Before anyone could respond, Hermione let out a small cry of shock. She started freaking out about the Erumpent Horn that was hanging on his wall that he thought was the horn of a Crumple-Horned Snorkack before he changed the subject, addressing Harry once more about why we all came there.
"We need some help," Harry said, giving Hermione a look that told her to shut up.
"Ah," Xenophilius said, "help, hmm..." His good eye moved back to Harry's scar. "Yes. The thing is...helping Harry Potter...rather dangerous..."
"Aren't you the one who keeps telling everyone it's their first duty to help Harry?" Ron asked. "In that magazine of yours?"
Xenophilius glanced behind him at the printing press, which was banging and clattering beneath a tablecloth.
"Er - yes, I have expressed that view. However -"
"That's for everyone else to do, not you personally?" Ron asked. Mr. Lovegood did not answer. I could tell he was undergoing a very painful internal struggle.
"Where's Luna?" I asked. "Why don't we see what she thinks?"
Xenophilius gulped and said, "Luna is down at the stream, fishing for Freshwater Plimpies. She...she will like to see you. I'll go and call her and then - yes, very well. I shall try to help you."
He disappeared down the spiral staircase and I heard the front door open and close. The others started going on about what a coward he was. "He's worried about what will happen to Luna. She's the only family he's got," I said. "You guys have to realize that a lot of people will do whatever it takes to protect themselves and their loved ones."
"It's still cowardly," Ron said.
"Not really," I said. "We've all done the same thing with our own families."
That really got them thinking. Xenophilius came back into the room with a tray of tea and said, "Luna is down beyond Bottom Bridge. She is most excited that you are all here. She ought not to be long - she has caught nearly enough Plimpies to make soup for all of us. Do sit down and help yourselves to sugar. Now," he said, crossing his legs one over the other, "how may I help you, Mr. Potter?"
"Well," Harry started, glancing at Hermione who nodded encouragingly, "it's about that symbol you were wearing around your neck at Bill and Fleur's wedding, Mr. Lovegood. We wondered what it meant."
Xenophilius' eyebrows shot up, almost disappearing in his eyebrows. "Are you referring to the sign of the Deathly Hallows?"
Next time on "The Final Stand"
"Interesting," Xenophilius said, now examining me. "It doesn't surprise me that you would know, Miss Williams. My Luna has told me many things about you, including your ability to know what most others don't."
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