Chapter 9 : Chapter 9: Her Choice
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Lianna sat alone in her room, holding a picture. She looked at the smiling faces looking up at her as the group of friends moved about the photo. The good old times… she thought.
“Hey,” said a gentle, familiar voice.
Lianna turned to see Remus Lupin standing at the doorway with a worried look about his face. She had not even heard the door open; perhaps she was too deep in thought to notice. Lianna looked at Remus and attempted to smile at her godfather, but her lips did not cooperate with her brain. Instead of a smile, her mouth contorted into an awkward smirk.
“It’s alright darling,” said Remus, chuckling slightly. “You needn’t smile or anything, besides you look quite scary in the attempt.”
At that, Lianna did smile, a true, genuine smile. Remus walked over to her and sat down. Lianna then placed her head on Remus’s shoulder as he wrapped his arm around her. A perfect fit to an imperfect pair. They took comfort in each other’s presence because in that empty room, they did not have to pretend. They could be normal. No walls and no insecurities.
“I wish I can take you away from all of this,” whispered Remus.
“Me too but even when I was a child I couldn’t escape this sense of duty and responsibility that was engraved in me before I was even born. We both tried to escape it all, but instead we were separated from one another— by choice, I know, and for each other’s well being— but you were the only link to my ‘life’… you were the only god-parent that mattered,” said Lianna somewhat bitterly.
“She cares about you—”
“She sure has a fucked up way of showing it.”
Lianna looked deep into the dark blue eyes of her godfather. She could still see the pain in his eyes and the thin glimmer of hope. Or was it love?
“You still care about her…” Remus looked at the young girl carefully. She wasn’t asking. She had made a simple statement from a simple observation that made Remus somewhat cautious in his response.
“I’ll always care about her… One cannot simply forget an individual you are still somewhat connected to, even though she chooses to forget it herself. She made her choice and I chose you.”
Lianna smiled. Remus always knew what to say to make her calm down.
“I didn’t mean what I said the other night—”
“Now I know nothing of what you speak of,” said Remus thoughtfully. He understood. He always understands, though he isn’t so understanding when it comes to himself.
“She means, Moony, when she baffled us both when she mentioned that we were unfit to understand her because all we ever do is worry.”
Sirius Black strolled into the room, jokingly pointing a naughty finger at Lianna who in turn flicked it away. She laughed, a jovial laugh that hadn’t been able to escape her mouth for weeks. Lianna hadn’t felt so at home in months, but with Remus and Sirius she seemed to have found her bearings once more.
“I’m sorry,” she said gently to the two men who were the only family she technically had.
“Apology accepted,” replied Remus happily. Then the two looked up at Sirius both expecting him to also respond adequately.
“Well… you did save my life,” smirked Sirius, gently tapping Lianna’s nose. She smiled and got up to hug the infamous criminal.
“I had to return the favor,” came the muffled response of Lianna as she buried her face in his chest.
“Alright, you lot. Time for supper,” said Mrs. Weasley through the door of one of the dreary rooms in Grimmauld Place. The group of Hogwarts students leaped up eagerly from cleaning room number one of the many rooms in the Black house.
“Thank Merlin! I’m starving!” cried Ron while stretching his arms in the air.
“For heaven’s sake, Ronald! You’ve only been in here for a couple of hours and lunch wasn’t too long ago!”
Everyone filed out of the gloomy room and headed down to the kitchen quietly so not to awaken Mrs. Black’s portrait. When they had arrived in the kitchen, Sirius, Lupin, Bill and Mr. Weasley were talking exasperatedly to one another. Apparently they had been talking about Harry because as soon as they saw the young lad, they beckoned him over while everyone else settled themselves on the table.
“Harry,” started Mr. Weasley, “You’re meeting about your use of magic will be held by the end of the week, but not to worry, you are not expelled.”
Harry breathed in a sigh of relief.
“But there is still the slight problem of a… trial.”
“Trial?! But I—” said a now bewildered Harry.
“Don’t worry, Harry. Dumbledore is on it. You should be fine,” said Bill quickly, seeing Harry’s panic.
“Then why do you lot look so worried? Isn’t Dumbledore on the offs with the Ministry?”
“He is, but just because he is being discredited by the Ministry and the Prophet doesn’t mean everyone believes the codswallop presented,” conveyed Remus. “It’s not you or Dumbledore we’re concerned about.”
Lupin set his sights on an annoyed Sirius.
“He’s my godson, Remus! I should be there to support him! James would want me to! Besides, if it was Lianna you would do the same!”
“Yes, but I am not a criminal on the run, Sirius!”
“No, you’re just a werewolf in hiding! And I am a falsely convicted criminal on the run thank you very much!”
“This is absurd! Sirius, you will get caught!!”
“No one will be able to recognize me as Snuffles!”
“Oh no, of course not. Harry will just have a huge black dog following him into the Ministry.”
“Arthur will be accompanying us—”
“Sirius, think about your safety! And Harry’s,” cut in Bill hastily.
“But I will use extreme caution—”
“No,” said Harry gently, but firmly. “I don’t want to risk you getting caught Sirius. Please. Just stay here.”
Sirius sighed heavily. He had lost. “Alright.”
“Blimey Sirius! If we’d known you just needed Harry’s say so we wouldn’t have been arguing about this for the last hour!” giggled Mr. Weasley, making everyone chuckle. Even Sirius couldn’t suppress a chuckle, although Harry could tell he was disappointed. Sirius had been just as frustrated with everything as Harry was; the only difference was that Harry was not a convicted criminal. Sirius was trapped, trapped like the prisoner that he was never meant to be. His only outlet was to do everything for his godson, but even that was too risky and Harry could not bear to lose him. Harry placed a comforting hand on Sirius’ shoulder, while apologizing with his emerald eyes. Sirius smiled appreciatively, lightly tapping Harry’s hand.
By that point, dinner was prepared and laid out for everyone. Chatter erupted with Fred and George whispering about Weasley Wizard Wheezes, Ginny and Hermione giggling at something, while everyone else started up a conversation about Quidditch. Mrs. Weasley on the other hand hovered about the room, continuing to prepare more food and keeping a close watch on everyone, especially Fred and George.
“I’m off, darling,” said Mr. Weasley after finishing his meal. He walked over to his wife, kissed her sweetly on the cheek, and strolled out of Grimmauld Place.
After his departure, Mrs. Weasley stared at the kitchen door seemingly frozen. Worry was etched all over her face, but then again that look of endless anxiety had not left her face since the Dark Lord had returned. And who could blame Mrs. Weasley? Everyone was constantly in peril and yet the world still did not know of the Dark Lord’s return. People were slowly disappearing and the Ministry of Magic was slowly being infiltrated. Danger and gloom was ever-present, yet the Ministry thought it best to discredit Dumbledore and paint Harry Potter as a loony rather than prevent the impending doom of Lord Voldemort.
“Mum?” said Ginny gently.
Mrs. Weasley snapped out of her daze and turned to her only daughter.
“Yes, dear. What is it?”
“Umm… you’re making the soup boil over.” Ginny pointed to the large pot of soup. It was bubbling immensely, making the fire beneath cackle from the splatters of liquid.
“Oh dear,” cried Mrs. Weasley.
Bill, seeing his mother’s distress, immediately got up to help clean up the mess and helped her cook the rest of the food, whispering quietly to one another. At that moment, Mad-Eye limped through the door with Tonks following behind.
“Hullo everyone!” announced Tonks as she walked in. Everyone responded with their own greetings while Mad-Eye just grunted his. He limped over to the table and smacked the Daily Prophet on the table.
“They’ve removed Dumbledore from the Wizengamot. Those cots have successfully taken away all his honors. Blithering idiots!” growled Moody vehemently. “And they’re continuing to destroy Harry’s own credibility in the press. The Ministry is defiling the truth on all sides and still more people are disappearing everyday!”
“They’ve also lost control over dementors according to Harry,” relayed a disgusted Sirius, throwing aside another copy of the paper.
“This is going to make your trial somewhat difficult, Harry,” said Bill through knitted eyebrows.
“But, don’t’ worry, Harry. Dumbledore is still very influential despite the Minister’s efforts to label him a loon. Everything will be alright,” said Remus comfortingly.
Harry smiled a grateful smile, but everyone could tell that he was afraid he would never be able to return to Hogwarts, let alone be able to do magic ever again.
This is what I get for playing hero… again… And to Dudley no less! Harry thought. Damn you Dudley…
“It’ll be alright, Harry. You’ll come back successful after your trial and then we’ll be set to go back to Hogwarts in a couple of weeks,” consoled Hermione as she held his hand.
“Don’t sweat it, mate. Everything will be fine,” added Ron.
Nods of agreement circled around the room, yet everyone remained silent. A pin drop could have been heard, if Mrs. Weasley hadn’t brought out more food thus allowing everyone to do something other than stare at one another. Soon conversations broke out. Tonks began entertaining the Hogwarts students while the Order talked in whispers. Then suddenly a soft “ahem” came from the door and everyone turned to look. To their surprise, Lianna Stevens was standing there quietly observing the family atmosphere in the kitchen.
Lianna’s demeanor was no longer harsh and warrior-like compared to the last time she showed face. There was something different, something softer about her, almost vulnerable. She had a nervous hand on a necklace that Harry witnessed magically appear as Lianna slept.
“Send word to Dumbledore. We all need to talk,” remarked Lianna with purpose. “I’m— I’m not going anywhere. I’m right where I need to be.”
With those words, Lianna looked directly into Harry’s emerald eyes, knowing full well that it was all for him. Harry, on the other hand, didn’t feel the relief that he thought or should feel. Instead, he felt a heavy knot fall in the pit of his stomach. He should feel grateful. Relieved. Happy, even. But all he could feel was worry and anxiety. Hermione and Ron were always his willing partners in crime even though he would give anything for their safety and protection. And now there were officially three more individuals to join their little group, to help provide more assurance and protection. So why the apprehension?
“I guess it officially starts here,” whispered Hermione, who despite her confidence in their abilities was also concerned.
But regardless of the fear and the anxiety, her words said it all. The war against Voldemort began with the Order on the eve of his return, but the individual war between Harry and Lord Voldemort just became frighteningly more evident and real to all, especially the Golden Trio.
“Alright,” said Mad-Eye. “We’ll let Dumbledore know.”
Sirius got up from his seat and whispered something in Lianna’s ear as he embraced her tightly. Remus looked at the pair, half-proud, half-scared out of his mind, but he knew that it was her decision, her choice.
So it begins, he thought. Knowing full well that Lianna was never going to back down now, Remus Lupin smiled his proudest smile at the brightest light in his life.
I Hope You Enjoy! Super short, I know. but the next chapter is coming as soon as this is validated!! :)