Chapter 9 : Once More, With Feeling
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Talk to the man with the reasons why.
Let me know what you find.
When Lord Voldemort came back into power, the Dementors of Azkaban joined his side. Minister Kingsley Shacklebolt ordered the Dementors be removed from Azkaban, never to be used for government purposes again. I guess he never assumed that one day the Ministry would fall under Auxilry’s influence. She dreams of ruling the world, and she’s coming pretty damn close, but the wizarding world isn’t enough for her; she needs the Muggle world, too. Lord Voldemort wasn’t successful because people knew who he was. Auxilry stays hidden. She wants to rule the world, but be invisible doing it, so I was her mouthpiece. I told everyone what to do, and I killed people to her bidding. Together, we were unbeatable. She uses her brainwashed forces to influence those around her. Auxilry is even inside the head of Ryne Magiuss, the Minister himself. She uses her Seeing Orb to control the minds of those she desires, slowly torturing them until they give in enough to give her total control. That’s what she did with me. I was fifteen years old, and Ted Remus Lupin was the light of my life. He loved me, despite how I looked with those horrible scars on my face and body. I wouldn’t give in to her, but I couldn’t fight her off. She told me if I tried to stay away from her, she’d have my Teddy killed. So I continued doing what she asked of me. However, I was still sane and in control of myself, so she began to torture me with visions of Ted begin mauled and torn apart. I would see his face, bloodied and dying, in my sleep every night. And I would see him in the mirror each day. I became angry with myself. I knew that if I hadn’t have been so stuck on getting my sister and I adopted this wouldn’t have happened. I became short tempered with Ted, yet he was so kind. When I would be in an angry rage he’d pull me into his arms and talk softly until the animal in my head calmed down. He understood, even when I couldn’t tell him anything; he guessed something wasn’t right.
After being tortured each day, both physically and emotionally, Auxilry told me to end it with him, break up with Ted and break his heart, or he would die. I loved him, and I knew Auxilry had the resources available to hunt him down should I disobey her command. So I did it. I broke his heart. His Metamorphmagism stopped working, and his eyes always seemed red. I could never forgive myself, especially when Victoire snuck in, seeing that I was no longer competition. Now she’s married to him, and he can hold her hand at night. I still see him dying in my dreams. I wish I could take back everything, I wish I hadn’t been so stupid.
But here I am, in a boat on the way to Azkaban, and the Dementors are whispering my regrets to me over and over. I see him crying, screaming, dying, and I wish I was dead. She’s won, and I’ve lost. I’ve lost so much. Ted was the reason I fought – and gave up. I wish I could tell him I’m sorry. I wish I could take everything back. What is my legacy, if I failed? What am I leaving when I’m done here?
I inhale through my mouth and fight back the horrible memories. The boat propels towards the prison, and I am positioned in the boat so I watch the shore as it disappears into the fog. All this hurt, I’ve learned to answer it well, I’ve covered it up with reasoning and promises to improve myself. But now Azkaban and the Dementors have me, and nobody is coming to save me from myself.
Tip the boat.
What? The words form in my mind, through the fog of pain. I can’t quite understand it. The words are muffled among screams and cries of pain, the faces contorted as I shoot them down with my wand. I relive it, over and over. The men, women and children I killed.
Tip the boat. I hear it again, see it again. It is like the words have taken a white, wispy form. They fight through the fog around the boat. I must be hallucinating. The form is visible among the pain. I see it through Victoire’s white dress at the wedding. I see it in the couch I woke up on earlier this morning.
Raven, tip the boat.
I squint before realizing I’m not hallucinating at all. A large dog shaped Patronus is fighting back the Dementors, and repeating a message in a voice that I know all too well. My heart skips a beat. I close my eyes and try to fight the memories back, focusing on the words.
Tip the boat. It clicks in my head, and I briefly worry about drowning, considering I’m still tied to the boat. But I know that Patronus, and I know that voice. Even if I do die…well, it wouldn’t be bad.
I rock hard to the side and I feel myself hover for just a second at an angle before the cold water rushes around my head and into my ears and nose. All I see is coldness and darkness and a lack of oxygen.
Something warm curls around my wrists before I fall free, sinking into the water. My lungs hurt and I’m about to gasp for air when someone lifts me by the waist and shoves me up against the cold air. I inhale sharply before pulled down into the water, my eyes squeezed shut. The seawater burns and I’m afraid of what I’ll see, or more like what I won’t see. Everything seems to be spinning, even in the dark, and I feel my hair flow past my face as I’m propelled by the invisible force through the water.
I can’t tell what is happening above water, or even in the water. All I know is everything seems a bit funny, like its darkening in the dark. We’ve been swimming for a little bit, darting up and down as it would seem from the way my hair travels.
My mouth opens involuntarily for air and I inhale the salt water. It burns and everything becomes a bit lighter. I go to cough and only inhale more water. I claw at the arm holding me, desperate, before everything slowly disappears.
I see darkness, and I don’t know where I am or what that noise is, but my chest hurts and I feel like I’m leaking.
Something very hard pushes on my chest again and I feel water come out of my mouth and nose simultaneously.
“What are you doing? You’re making her throw up!” The voice sounds distorted, but the words seem clear enough.
“Back off, it’s a Muggle thing. Unless you’d rather she die!” Definitely a man’s voice. Another sharp pain on my chest and I cough and inhale. My throat feels like I swallowed a knife, and my nose burns.
“Raven?” The voice becomes clearer and I open my eyes. I see muted colors, and some kind of horrible whiteness. Everything hurts.
“Raven, are you okay?” A warm hand is pressed to my cheek. I try to say something, but all I hear is a sound comparable to an animal dying. Everything begins to refocus, and I begin to see the colors a bit more.
“Thank Merlin. I thought you killed her!” That’s Celestine’s voice.
“What else was I supposed to do? Oh, Raven, I’m so glad you’re okay. I thought I lost you forever.” Ted’s face focuses over me. His face seems worried, and it takes me a moment to realize I’m looking at the real Teddy, not the Metamorphmagus one. His sandy brown hair is falling into his face, and he looks tired. Off to the side Celestine is holding her wand, a light shining on the end. I’m lying on the edge of the beach and the forest, the dark trees outlined against the starry sky. The Dementors are far away now and the roaring memories seem faint. I remember the wedding, the hurt. Did Ted save me? Why is he here?
“Ugh.” I say. I swallow hard and try to speak again. “What about Victoire?”
He gives me a long, sad look. “I’m sorry Raven…I could have prevented this. I just didn’t know what to do. I left her after she had you arrested. I’m so sorry.” He leans in and kisses me on the cheek. Everything becomes a bit fuzzy again. I feel angry, dizzy, and hurt. Nothing seems right in place, and Ted feels like a dream. He shouldn’t even be here.
“I hate you.” That’s all I get out before everything goes black again.
Oh, this pillow is so soft. And it smells like cinnamon and boy-sweat, a smell oddly familiar to me. I nuzzle my face into the sheet and pull it tighter around me before hearing a deep chuckle.
I open my eyes and take in my surroundings. The bed is a deep reddish brown, covered with an old quilt. On the walls of the room are pictures, but not just any pictures. I see faces of a young girl with black hair kissing and hugging on a boy with the bluest eyes anyone would have ever seen. Did he leave those pictures up there after all this time?
I haven’t been in this room for years. There is an old wardrobe, where I remember hiding when Andromeda didn’t want me in her house, complaining that I was a filthy werewolf, notwithstanding that her own daughter married one. The walls are covered with worn blue striped wallpaper which is peeling in places, and the wooden floors have scratches on them, slightly dull. I slowly pull my eyes towards the faded green armchair next to a bed, where an older version of the boy in the pictures is sitting.
“Do you still hate me?” He smiles gently and reaches over, stroking a piece of black hair behind my ear.
“No, I couldn’t hate you.” My voice is hoarse. He nods.
“I know. I’m sorry. I just felt like I couldn’t move...” He shakes his head. “I knew I had to choose, but I was feeling a thousand different things at once.” He takes my hand.
“You were my best friend. You are my best friend, and I love you…I couldn’t just let them take you. I thought they’d have your soul sucked out…I don’t know why I was going to marry her, I don’t love her, but I do love you. We’ve talked about it for years; I guess I just didn’t expect you coming back into my life.”
One of the things I loved about Teddy growing up was his quiet nature. Unassuming Teddy. He was shy and gentle. I don’t know what ever attracted him to me, but he was. Even now, I see the boy that I fell in love with at such a young age. “I love you too.”
He leans onto the bed and presses his lips against mine. My hands pull out from under the sheets and wrap in his hair, the same cotton candy blue like I remember. He pulls away and grins like a little kid, before climbing on the bed, nearly on top of me. He is someone I can always forgive easily. I can never say no to those eyes.
“Kiss me once more, with feeling.” I command, grinning as he pushes my mouth open and kisses me roughly, our chests pressed together.
I wake up next to him just as the sun begins to turn his room orange as it set. Only yesterday I was on my way to Azkaban, and now I am lying naked in bed with the man who I almost lost forever yesterday. Ted sighs into the pillow next to me, his hair shifting through every color of the rainbow as he sleeps. Today Celestine has called a meeting for the Order of the Phoenix. I wonder if Victoire will be there, and what she will do when she sees me with her ex-lover.
I lean over and press my nose to his head, smelling his hair. A strong scent of dog washes over me, and I remember the Patronus I saw just before I tipped the boat. A large dog, Ted’s Patronus. It was also his Animagus form. I still remember when we became Animagi like it was only yesterdays.
I had been in the library after hours under Ted’s inherited Invisibility cloak. I had just stumbled into the Restricted section when I saw the book. It was very old, the pages brown and the cover appeared as though several animals of different kind had bitten, attacked and trampled all over it. My interest was sparked and I pulled it off the shelf, where I carefully opened to the title page. Almost all of the words had been worn off, except one labeled Animagus. I had heard about these in my Defense against the Dark Arts class, so I began to read. I would steal this book and wake up Ted, where I would tell him all I knew. I knew that there were only eleven known Animagi in the world, four of which unregistered, unknown until their death, but I hadn’t known why so few until I began to read the book. The spell would supposedly take years to master, but I was up to the test.
Every other day we’d sneak off to the Room of Requirement, which provided cushions and reading light for us. We were only third years, but we spent hours and hours each night locked up in that room, determined to master the spell.
We were in our Fourth Year when it happened, something went right, and something clicked inside of us. I remember the room spinning, and becoming so small and so large all at once. The world became white and black at the same time, until I looked up into the eyes of a rather large shaggy dog, with sandy hair and eyes that were deep and blue. He barked at me, and I cawed back. We were so young, but had already set a record in the wizarding world. I should have paid more attention the first time I heard about the prophecy.
A time of great darkness approaches, when the Evanescent One will use a weapon of power against the world. The Raven will be separated from the Hound for ten years, and ten years of terror will crumble to war. The Rebellion approaches and all must choose a side, or fall to the abyss of those who don’t.
The prophecy was given by the Divination teacher to my Professor while I was present for detention. I just thought the lady was going mad, so I didn’t think anything of it.
After I would be mauled in my Fifth year by a werewolf, I would be informed off-handedly of a previous prophecy given at my birth by my sister. She never thought it was about me, but I would eventually learn otherwise. I didn’t think the Raven was I, or perhaps that the Hound was indeed my lover, but one day I would see past my ignorance. I would eventually learn that this was indeed my destiny. However, that is the past. I’m not aware of any new prophecies, but I am aware of the increased movement coming from the body lying next to me.
“Good evening, love.” I say softly into Teddy’s hair. He shifts a bit under the sheets and grunts in response. The sun has just slipped behind the hills and at last the window is dark. While I am quite open to daily shagging, I’m not sure I really want sleeping during the day to become a habit.
“Good evening.” His face peeks up at me, the tired lines around his eyes crinkling into a smile.
I pat him on the head. “There’s a meeting tonight for the Order. Apparently I’m invited; an owl brought a post while you were sleeping. Let’s just hope Victoire isn’t invited.”
Teddy rolls his eyes at me. “She’s not as bad as you think.”
“She tried to have me thrown in Azkaban!” I complain, glaring at him.
“…Yeah,” He eventually concedes, nodding slowly. “She will probably be there though, just saying. It must have something to do with the Fire-Eaters if you were invited, too.”
I give him a long glance. “The Minister has passed a law requiring all werewolves and werewolf descendents to register with the Ministry.”
Ted sits up in bed. “What? That’s ridiculous! What for?”
I shrug. “The Ministry wants to keep tabs on all of them, I suppose. Another ploy of Auxilry’s. I would bet the good side of my face that she wants to have them all converted, and by requiring them to join a special registry she’s doing just that.”
“That includes me.”
“I know.” I frown, stroking his hair. “I wouldn’t let you go and register even if you wanted to. The entire Ministry is under her control, you know.”
“I thought it was just a few departments.”
“She has friends in high places.”
Ted doesn’t respond but instead throws off the covers and gets out of bed, his hair poking up in unusual ways. I stare for a moment at his bare bottom.
Ted grabs his underwear off the floor. “We best get ready, we wouldn’t want to be late.”
Twelve Grimmauld Place is very quite when we enter, with only hushed whispers. No doubt they’re talking about us right now. It was quite a show as I bore my soul to Ted and he stared back, just later to have him fervently deny his love for Victoire and rush out of the room. I wonder briefly what Celestine thought of the whole ordeal.
Ted walks through the narrow hallway with me behind him. He’s wearing an off-white trench coat. I think it is very flattering for his male figure.
The door to the kitchen is ajar, and Teddy pushes it open, slipping into the light where the Order is gathered. I follow right behind him. Seated at the table are all of the older and younger members of the Order – with Victoire among them.
“Well, isn’t that a surprise. Look what the dog dropped in – Ted Lupin and his husband-stealing pig of a girlfriend.”
A/N: Thanks for reading! The song at the top is Come In With The Rain by Taylor Swift. Sorry this was such a flashback chapter. Coming up soon you will start to see chapters for a new story, Heartborne, which is the prequel to this one. It is my Camp NaNoWriMo novel, so keep an eye out. R&R, as always :)