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Chapter 12 : The Encounter
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Hermione soon came back to find Fred and I nicely dressed. Thank goodness I was a witch because I wouldn’t have been able to deal with people staring at my scars. If I weren’t a witch, then none of this would’ve happened in the first place. But that was I. Hermione grinned in amusement at seeing me in the dress. I smiled back at her just to make her happier. Also just trying to make me feel happier.
“You look very nice, both of you.”
I looked up at Fred, watching him act as if he didn’t agree with her, but he did. He hated wearing suits, but when he did, he was mighty fine. I took his hand as we walked through the many empty corridors of Hogwarts. I tried to hide in the arms of my beau; he didn’t mind it at all. I sighed as we had reached the big wooden doors, which led to the Great Hall. The entryway opened and everyone stared at the three of us. No tables were placed on the ground; just some of the students and faculty members were there. It made me feel a little uneasy, but not completely sick.
“Ah, Miss Granger. I see you have brought Miss Malfoy and, oh, Mr. Weasley. I thought we were going to have two extra students here. Thankfully, we haven’t set the table yet,” Dumbledore basically announced to the whole room, but only really talking to me. He was looking at me from all the way across the room. “Please, have a good time.”
The chatter of the students and the staff continued as Fred and I walked around the students. Many students—and I mean many—came up to him and told him how much they loved his store. And if I knew my boyfriend, he would have some inventory in his pockets. I let go of his arm and left him to his little fans. He was concerned at first, but when I assured him, he started his usual performance. It was like putting on a play to him. He loved it and I wanted him to enjoy it. I looked around the small crowd of pupils and tried to pick out my brother or Ron. But one of them found me.
A hand gripped around my wrist and turned me to his face. There stood Harry Potter, the Boy Who Lived. I looked at him and looked for permanent scars. But none were visible. I sighed a sigh of relief. But he didn’t look happy or mad, so I was pretty confused. He didn’t say anything but his eyes had an expression that was waiting to get out. But then I thought to myself, of course he was invited. He was taken under Dumbledore’s wing.
“Victoria, we have to talk, privately.”
I didn’t say anything, but nodded. He pulled me away from the crowd and I was waiting for my brother to talk down to me, to yell at me for keeping a secret from him. But he didn’t say that. Instead he said, “Are you okay?”
“What?” I was left befuddled.
“Are you okay with the transforming last night and all? I was so worried when I heard you spine crack and I tried to run. But I couldn’t wrap my mind around the action. I’m sorry for just watching you in the corner of the Shrieking Shack. I’m a really sorry for following you—” he said quickly.
“—Harry! Stop, I thought you were going to hate me for not telling you my “furry little problem”. That’s something that I quipped from Professor Lupin. That’s why I call him Remus. He found out before he came to Hogwarts and he favored me. That’s all. I am so out of it.”
Harry then soon embraced me. I had no idea why because I would’ve thrown myself out of my sight if I had figured out a secret like this was kept from me. I don’t know if that made any sense, but the idea was clear. I tried to keep the tears in my eyes to stay there. I wrapped my arms around him and breathed deeply. I muttered something that I didn’t want him to hear but it helped me a whole lot. I shut my eyes, trying to forget where I was. But I being pulled away from Harry soon interrupted it. I would’ve been a whole lot angrier if it hadn’t been Fred. But apparently he didn’t really pull us apart; Harry jolted away from me as soon as he saw my boyfriend.
“It’s time to eat.”
“Great. Victoria, would you like to sit next to me?”
“Oh, I’m sorry, Harry. I already promised Hermione that I’d sit with her. And I don’t feel comfortable sitting without Fred, especially since last night.”
“Oh it’s fine. I understand. I’ll see you when we get out of here,” he whispered as he winked subtly at me. I smiled as I took Fred’s hand.
The tables had been floating midair and it seemed like they were just waiting for Dumbledore’s command to come down. Once they did, everyone sat. Four different tables, one was for each house. I sat with my fellow Gryffindors and stared at my empty plate as many of the students continued their conversations from before. Fred leaned closer to me. I had felt happy in that moment.
“See, aren’t you glad you came?”
“Shut up you, big dolt. Like you ever want to be in a suit at a fancy dinner party. I don’t understand why you even wanted to come here.”
I thought he’d have a witty comeback or a snappy retort, but all he did was smile and kiss me on the cheek before eating. I scoffed in relief. I didn’t want to fight there and I knew he didn’t want to fight.
“So, Hermione, I understand that Ronald and Lavender Brown are seeing each other,” I whispered to my side.
She stopped. But I knew she didn’t want everyone else to notice this. I took a sip of my water and looked over to her. She didn’t seem happy or sad but I knew how she’d react to this news. Actually, it hadn’t happened yet, but I knew it was going to. I had known Lavender for a while, but what I didn’t know was that I gave her information to get him to fall for her. And of course, she’d use it to her advantage.
“It hasn’t happened yet.” She looked at Ron from across the large circular table. He was stuffing his face, as usual. I laughed at him and glanced over to her again. She smiled lightly but tried to hide it.
“But you know I’m right.”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Fine. We won’t talk about it. Well, what do you want to talk about?”
“Anything but that, Victoria. Besides, this is a happy occasion. And that is not happy news. How is your family doing?”
“You don’t care about Draco. Hermione,” I stared at her until she looked back at me. “I know you don’t like or care for my family.”
“That’s not who I was talking about,” she said seriously. Her eyes then led to Harry, who was conversing with Dean Thomas, who was sitting next to Ginny. I could tell he was having a good time. With everything that was going on, I hoped he was enjoying himself. I could feel my face falling and lost eye contact with Hermione. Placing a hand to my neck made me feel how cold I really was.
“Do you know what happened last night?”
“What?” She asked as she was finishing her conversation with the person on the opposite side of her.
“Hermione,” I said quickly. “Do you know what happened last night?”
“I can’t say I do.”
“Love, are you okay?” Fred interjected.
“Victoria, what happened last night?”
I couldn’t hear them anymore. All I could feel is someone going into my mind. Someone was going through my memories. It felt like brain surgery was going on while I was awake; I could feel someone actually picking my brain. I just couldn’t scream. Flashbacks of my family, home, and friends came rushing through my mind. Some of them only lasted seconds, but the ones that had included Tom, Harry, and I lasted for the longest time. But if there was thing I remember, I recall crying. At least I felt the tears going down my face. Then something had come in my mind that hadn’t been there before.
It was of Remus. He was at home, recovering from the transformation. He was in his usual place, which was at his house with Tonks. I could only see the back of him, which faced me. He house wasn’t all that big, but it was pretty awesome about it was that he and Tonks fixed it up really well. I scrutinized more and saw him with more bandages than usual. My eyes widened when I saw that he wasn’t moving or breathing. Out of nowhere, I was then on the other side of him. His face had the most vacant expression on but it also looked sort of sad at the same time. I could feel even more tears go down my face.
He wasn’t even moving an inch. I saw something etched in the back of the fireplace. I couldn’t exactly make it out, but it was vaguely familiar. I looked back at Remus and saw something soaking through his shirt. It looked like a maroon blotch from underneath his shirt. Then I knew what it was. It was blood…seeping into his clothes. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t do anything. He was dead; that I knew. I just didn’t want to believe it.
I could feel myself coming back to reality. I didn’t jump out of my seat and go to Remus’ house. What did I do? I just excused myself from my seat and hurried out up to my room. The looks from my fellow Gryffindors weren’t helping me sneak out of Hogwarts. Especially on a night like that because Dumbledore was strict about me—personally me—going to see a certain someone. But he knew the circumstances before I knew myself. So I trusted him with almost everything. I packed my handbag with every single type of medical supplies I could find in my trolley. I got so much gauze; I couldn’t get everything I wanted. I also packed alcohol and some matches to cauterize any wounds Remus or I got. I didn’t give myself time to change.
As I was about to leave, I saw Harry standing in the doorway. He had bloodshot eyes; probably like myself. He looked better than I did anyway. I was caught off guard. If I didn’t leave then, Remus would’ve died for sure. I had to get out of there and to Dumbledore’s office.
“Where are you going?”
“I have someone to meet. I completely forgot. You know, with everything that happened last night. My mind is just a bit foggy. If I don’t go now, something bad is going to happen. I have to go.”
I walked to him and he moved over, reluctantly. I looked back at him, but said nothing. I started to run down the stairs and through the corridors to Dumbledore’s office. Once there, I looked for a fireplace. I had to get out of Hogwarts and fast. I had finally found one when someone spoke.
“Going somewhere, Victoria?”
I turned around and there was Albus Dumbledore. He didn’t look disappointed like I thought he would. He looked pretty joyous and excited that he caught me. I walked a little toward him to present myself. I looked back at the fireplace and saw the floo powder sitting in a cup on the mantle. Just a few steps and I could’ve been at Remus’ place.
“You know where I’m going. If he’s dead—”
“—I know where you must go. But I want you to be cautious. Harry is apart of your life now. You must be careful, aware of what you can do. You should go.”
“I know what you mean, Albus. And I thank you for everything. I will be back soon. I assure you.”
I took a handful of floo powder and threw it into the fireplace, quietly murmuring my destination. Then green flames enclosed around me. But as soon as I had gotten in the fireplace, I was there. I was in Remus’ home. I was on the first floor and Remus’ library was on the second. I carefully stepped outside of the small fireplace and started to walk through the hall.
I looked at all of the pictures that were hung on the walls. Pictures—moving pictures—of Harry and my parents. Don’t get so emotional. Remus’ life is at stake I kept telling myself that. Besides, I knew where he kept the photos of me; they’re hidden. I tried to breathe more quietly, but somehow I couldn’t control myself. Then I reached the stairs. I analyzed what I was going to do. Remus’ stairs were as squeaky as they could be. And if anyone were in the house, they’d hear me from miles away.
I took a quick breath and grasped the handrail. I almost screamed; it was so cold. I silenced myself and started walking up the stairs. Creeeeaaaakkk. Well, that just made me even more anxious. I walked up some more stairs, no sound coming from any others. When I reached the top, I looked both to the left and right and saw a distant light flickering all the way down the hall. I widened my eyes and leapt from the staircase. With every step I took, I could feel my confidence growing because if I were right—even though I hoped not—I wouldn’t have to be scared. But when I reached the door, all I could think about was Remus and if he were okay.
I walked through the doorway to see the library exactly how I saw it in my “vision”. There was a person in the chair, but I wasn’t so sure if that was Remus anymore. I always had that feeling, but I could feel it now creeping to the surface. I reached into my bag and gripped my wand. I walked about a centimeter every minute, hoping to guess who the mystery person was. But then it spoke.
“You’re looking very pretty tonight, Victoria,” his voice said coldly, but I could tell some warmth in it. He always said that I was good at that.
“Thank you. You weren’t always the one for compliments.”
“But you, my dear, are a special exception. You usually know when I create illusions in your head.”
“You know he is one of the only people I would do this for.”
“Yes. But I just want what’s best for you. I thought you would be able to fight this specific illusion off. Victoria.” He turned around and looked into my eyes. “I know what you’re capable of.”
I looked at him. He seemed stronger yet weaker at the same time. I just couldn’t believe he would take pity on me when I wasn’t even a year old, but that’s something I couldn’t just ignore. Even if he had done the things he’d done. He was my guardian and I both hated and loved him for it. I avoided eye contact and just listened to what he had to say.
I looked into his eyes—those eyes.
“I don’t want you messing with my head anymore, Tom. So please, don’t.” I could feel the tears forming and falling down my face. “And get out of here. I don’t think Lupin or Nymphadora are going to be happy if they found you—out of all people—here.”
“I will do what you say, Victoria. I hope to see you soon—on happier occasions.”
“Yes, Tom. Now please go.”
And like that, he was gone. I could take a sigh of relief. Lord Voldemort had once again left me vulnerable.
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