Chapter 59 : Chapter 59
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Dumbledore waved his wand and frowed. There were two magical traces in the Cellar, from Portkeys. Unfortunately, he had no way of knowing whether the Portkeys had been used to come or go. ‘I have no doubt of that,’ he told the confused blonde.
‘So they’ve escaped?’
‘Left is more likely. Perhaps they Death Eaters who realised they couldn’t get out and fled before they were discovered.’
‘But that would mean they - Lily and the boys – they’re dead,’ Dorcas said slowly. Dumbledore nodded, tears prickling his eyes. To lose one member was hard enough, especially since he himself had hand-picked each one, but to lose four in a night, to lose four students... part of him just wanted to sit down and grieve for the lives that had been extinguished. The other part refused to believe it, despite the overwhelming evidence. ‘We-we should tell the others,’ she said woodenly.
Dumbledore sighed heavily, feeling old. He’d been feeling that way a lot recently, especially when he spent time around the Order and saw how the war had forced people to grow up.
‘Professor Dumbledore! Sir! Professor!’ Benjy came running down the stairs from the foyer looking excited and worried at the same time. Dumbledore’s mind flashed through all the things that could make Benjy look that way. Most of them were negative and involved Death Eaters. ‘All the Apparition wards are down outside – Voldemort and his followers have gone!’ Dumbledore stared, not quite able to believe what he was hearing. ‘And we’ve got them, sir, Evans and Black. Lupin and Potter did it, or, at least we think they did,’ he said, skidding to a halt. ‘Mad-Eye’s got them under control upstairs in case they’re not who they look like but-’
‘Lead me to them,’ Dumbledore said, holding up his hand to stop Benjy’s torrential speech.
‘They’re in the foyer,’ Benjy said. Dumbledore gestured to a hopeful Dorcas and the three made their way upstairs, down a long, winding corridor, through the dining room and into the foyer. ‘There, sir.’
Alastor, Peter and the twins were sitting around four rope-bound people. James and Lily were almost unrecognisable under all the mud, dust and sweat, while Remus and Sirius were marginally better, though still rather dirty. ‘They’re Silenced,’ Alastor said. Remus nodded, looking irritated but resigned. James looked frustrated and kept mouthing something to Sirius, over and over, though Sirius didn’t seem able to understand. The boy was alternating between looking at James, frowning, and scowling at Moody and the rest of the Order.
‘Finite Incantatem,’ Dumbledore murmured.
‘Engaged,’ James said and then looked shocked and embarrassed that he’d said anything. Remus looked confused, Lily beamed and Sirius shouted something that no one actually heard, since he was still under the spell. He squirmed against the ropes binding him, and when they failed to yield, he tipped himself over into James, who laughed and bumped him back.
‘Are you James Potter?’ Dumbldore asked, feeling a strong sense of déjà vu.
‘Of course I am,’ James said, knocking into Sirius again.
‘Can anything you say prove that?’
‘Ask me anything,’ James said, shrugging. He leaned forward and Sirius overbalanced and toppled over. He hit the ground with a soundless yelp. James sniggered, as did Remus. Lily managed to keep a straight face, though it seemed to take some effort.
‘Mr Pettigrew, I’ll ask that you verify any of James’ answers that you are able to.’ Peter nodded, looking terrified. ‘I don’t expect you’ll be much help with this one, however.’ Dumbledore turned back to James who met his stare confidently. ‘How did you get back in?’
‘Well, Remus and Sirius came back first, by Portkey-ing into the Cellar. Lily and I joined them ten or so minutes later and since I’m a Potter, I opened the door and we came out here where we were jumped on and forced into submission by the majority of the Order.’ Alastor chuckled despite himself. If Dumbledore didn’t know better, he’d say the grizzled Auror was fond of James Potter. James looked up at the noise. Alastor instantly reverted to his impassive expression. ‘I’d like to apologise, sir, for what I did,’ James said sincerely. Alastor nodded.
Dumbledore made a mental note of this; James – if it was really him – knew what he’d done to go after his friends and regretted its necessity. ‘What is it that you did to enable you to leave?’ Dumbledore asked.
‘I forced the fulfilment of a Life-Debt,’ James said, clearly waiting to be berated.
‘Do you remember the day I told you about Life-Debts?’
James nodded. Dumbledore stared at him. James seemed to think for a moment and then laughed. ‘I blew up one of your little silver things. The one that registered emotional charge in a room.’
‘This is James Potter,’ Dumbledore said, chuckling at the memory. He unbound James who stood up, stretching and took his wand from Fabian, who was grinning ear-to ear.
‘Are you hurt, Potter?’ Alastor asked gruffly, clapping him on the back.
‘No, sir. I’ve never been better actually.’ He winked at Lily and Sirius. From the huge smile on his face, Dumbledore could well believe it, which was odd, given he’d obviously just invaded a Death Eater camp and possibly fought Voldemort himself. James hugged Peter and turned back to Dumbledore. ‘Can we hurry up and untie the others? I’m exhausted, but I want this over before I sleep.’
‘Do you have a question that will certify your companions’ identities?’
‘That’s definitely Lily,’ James said, nodding at the Head Girl. ‘We came back together. But all right. Finite Incantatem. What video did we watch at your house?’
‘Bambi,’ Lily answered.
James grinned. ‘It’s her, sir, I swear.’ Dumbledore nodded and released Lily’s bindings. She flung herself at James, hugging him and then she was dragged over to the healing area by Dorcas and Emmeline. James watched her out of the corner of his eye and then turned back to his two bound friends. ‘I’m sorry, Moony, but can we do Sirius next; he looks like he’s about to burst.’ Remus shrugged. ‘May I?’ Dumbledore nodded his consent. ‘Finite Incantatem.’
‘Finally!’ Sirius said loudly. Everyone in the Order chuckled, including Dumbledore, who was certain that this boy way indeed Sirius Black. The shaggy haired boy glared at Alastor. ‘James says “Hey, Padfoot, guess what, I’m-” and you fucking Silenced him!’ Gideon kicked him gently, obviously a reprimand for language. Sirius scowled up at Alastor. ‘Why in the name of Merlin’s fuzzy white beard couldn’t you have waited a second longer so that I could hear what he had to say?! And you!’ he shouted, turning back to James who looked like a deer caught in the headlights. ‘Let me out of these Godric-damned ropes!’
‘No, I think you’ll have to stay there,’ James said thoughtfully. Sirius made a peculiar growling sound.
‘Sirius,’ Lily scolded, returning to James’ side.
‘How’s the wrist?’ both boys asked.
‘Fixed,’ she said with a smile. James wrapped an arm around her shoulder and the couple turned back to Sirius, who was struggling against his bonds.
‘Let me go!’ Sirius begged.
‘You’ll have to answer the question,’ Lily said, grinning up at James.
‘I bloody well don’t! If I have to wait another damn second to give the two of you a hug, I’m going to-’ Sirius’ bonds fell to the ground, though no one in the room had moved. Alastor raised his wand but Dumbledore held up a hand. Lily and James had a moment to look shocked before they were tackled by their recently-escaped best friend. Dumbledore chuckled as the three of them crashed to the floor. Remus laughed silently.
‘It’s definitely him,’ James said, his voice sounding muffled. The air in the foyer tingled with raw power. Everyone drew their wands except for James who looked at Sirius quizzically. ‘Was that you?’ James asked. Sirius nodded, beaming.
‘What in Merlin’s-’ Remus began as the Silencing Charm failed and his ropes loosened. He stood and was dragged across the floor to where Sirius and James were. Peter, who was standing by Dumbledore was also dragged into the hug.
‘Has something happened?’ Dumbledore asked, feeling for the thousandth time that night – or morning, really – that he was missing something.
‘I’m going to be a godfather,’ Sirius said happily.
‘Pardon?’ Dumbledore asked, blinking in disbelief.
The twins exchanged grins, Emmeline and Dorcas giggled and the rest of the men in the Order looked stunned. Remus was blinking uncontrollably his eyes flicking from Lily to James, Peter was blushing and staring at the ground and James and Lily had turned bright red, turned to Sirius and shouted ‘What?!’
‘We’re getting married, Padfoot,’ James said, ‘not...er...’ Lily nodded emphatically.
‘I know that,’ Sirius sniffed. ‘I never said otherwise.’ He brandished his finger at the Order, clicking his tongue. ‘Shame on you all for jumping to naughty conclusions. I'll be a godfather eventually, of that I have no doubt, but no time soon, you dirty people.’
‘You... er... you aren’t...’ Dorcas asked Lily, who shook her head, eyes wide.
‘Naughty naughty,’ Sirius said again, for emphasis, his eyes glinting wickedly.
Dumbledore chuckled, breaking the tension. ‘Congratulations, James, Lily.’
‘Thank you, sir,’ James said, grinning as he and Lily were pulled into a tight hug by Remus.
After everyone had added their congratulations, Dumbledore sat the four down in the corner of the foyer. Peter sat with them, seeming unwilling to stray too far. ‘I know you’re tired,’ he said, forestalling James’ yawned protest, ‘but, if you are able, I’d like to know what happened tonight while the details are still fresh in your minds.’
Lily, Remus and Sirius glanced at James – he had always been the unofficial leader, but he seemed even more so after the night’s events – and he nodded. Remus launched into an explanation about he and James making Portkeys and disguising themselves – they were a little vague on details at that part, though Dumbledore didn’t press the matter, finding the camp and then splitting up to search out Lily and Sirius. Sirius explained events from his and Lily’s capture onwards, until he was Stunned. James seemed content to listen and add the occasional detail. Lily filled in the rest; her letting go of the Portkey to help James, Voldemort’s arrival and the resulting duel, James’ proposal and, finally, their escape.
‘Remarkable,’ Dumbledore said when Lily finished. ‘And the fact that the four of you made it away relatively unscathed is nothing short of incredible. You’ve displayed the attributes that we on the side of the light hold most dear; loyalty, intelligence and above all, bravery. I couldn’t be more proud.’ He intended to find a way to give them House Points once they got back to school, if he could manage it. The boys all grinned at each other and Lily beamed. ‘I have one question though,’ he said, ‘before I leave you to your well earned rest.’
‘Did you truly Disarm Lord Voldemort?’
‘Yes, sir,’ Lily said.
Dumbledore smiled. ‘What do you know about wandlore?’
‘Not much,’ Lily admitted. The others were looking confused too.
‘I will explain it in more detail tomorrow, then, because I know you’re too tired to understand anything properly tonight,’ he said chuckling. ‘What I will say now, though, is that you’ve quite possibly swayed the allegiance of Voldemort’s wand and in doing so, made a powerful enemy of its previous master.’
‘We'll deal with that tomorrow,’ James said, his eyes falling shut.
‘Sounds good to me,’ Sirius mumbled. Remus nodded, already half-asleep. Peter, who was asleep, said nothing for obvious reasons.
‘Do you mind if we sleep now?’ Lily asked, clearly fighting to stay awake.
‘Not at all,’ Dumbledore said standing. The five didn’t even move; Lily stayed where she was, propped up against the wall, pressed between Remus and James, who was leaning on Sirius, who had Peter curled up next to him.
Dumbledore smiled and made his way over the sleeping forms of Gideon, Fabian and Dorcas to the fireplace. 'Hogwarts,' he said quietly, stepping into the flames.
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