Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter.
Albus Dumbledore sat at his desk, staring at the reports covering the top. There were notes of Death Eater movements, recruiting for the order (which was not going well for them at all), and of course, the different missions he assigned the members of the resistance. In all, the Light was losing.
So many things have gone wrong, he thought. Where did I misjudge? Where did I make that fatal miscalculation?
His mind flashed back over the last year. The trial of century of the former Boy-Who-Lived, now Boy-Who-Murdered, was, without doubt, the darkest point. The knowledge that one who was thought to be Light Incarnate committed such heinous crimes stunned the defenders. For several months after Potter's execution, there was no activity in the Fight against Voldemort, save a few missions he, himself, did. No one else, it had appeared, wanted to become the next Idol/Icon in the war, and because of that, Voldemort had reigned essentially unopposed, able to extend his influence dramatically beyond what it once was.
The Order of the Phoenix was still trying to recruit others to join. However, after the betrayal, new recruits could only be recommended by two unrelated or uninvolved members. The few remaining strong fighters were almost constantly attacking, or being attacked by, Death Eaters.
Whenever they captured anyone with the Dark Mark, they were turned into the Ministry, and within a couple of days, the Death Eaters were back out on the streets causing problems once more. What was more disturbing was, according to the latest information, witches and wizards were still joining Voldemort.
We have lost, Dumbledore reminded himself. No matter what we try, no matter how much we want it, we cannot win. The prophecy is concrete.
He was still surprised with the Minister's sentence. As head of Wizengamot, Dumbledore knew the sentence should've been declared as “Life in Azkaban, without the possibility of parole or release,” but using an ancient law, not to mention some bribes, Fudge had the young man executed. It had destroyed Albus’s entire plan.
He had intended for Potter to learn how to fight, Muggle style, while staying in Azkaban, then force the Final Battle to occur where he could control the outcome, and make sure Voldemort did not leave alive. But, by eliminating the Boy-Who-Murdered, all Fudge had done was to make Voldemort immortal, and hand him the Wizarding world on a silver platter. Because Potter was not killed by Riddle, nor had killed the Dark Lord himself, he did not fulfill the prophecy. And so, Voldemort was now as close to being a god as anyone could be, for the only one who could destroy him was gone.
He was truly lost on how they had any chance of survival.
The door slamming open did not startle the old man, but the shouting that came right after made him jump.
“Albus! Death Eater attack in Diagon Alley!” Remus Lupin cried as he ran into the room. “Dora contacted me after she couldn’t get a hold of you.”
Dumbledore stood up and motioned to Remus to come closer. “Fawkes will take us there.”
The phoenix in question gave a hard look at the Headmaster, almost shaking his head, before taking off to allow them to grab his tail feathers. The relationship between the two companions had been strained ever since the Order’s leader had Potter arrested and refused to believe in his innocence.
At the time, Dumbledore thought it was because the bird detested what the young boy had done, but as time went by and Fawkes’ attitude did not change, Albus wasn’t so sure. There were even times where the phoenix refused to help him, as if he blamed the Headmaster for the loss of the war.
It was a very unnerving feeling, for he had been firmly encamped in the Light, and now the creature that represented all that was good acted like he had done something terribly wrong.
Could he have made a mistake after all?
The shopping area was completely deserted and silent when the flash of light echoed in the alleyway, telling of the arrival of the two men. They had their wands out, ready to do battle, but both nearly dropped them when they didn’t find the battle they were expecting. Indeed, this was as far from it as they could’ve believed possible.
The Death Eater force of over fifty was laid out, all clearly dead. The white masks had been removed, along with the sleeves of their cloaks and shirts, showing to all the Dark Mark burned into their skin. The men recognized several of the dead: Rookwood, the Brothers Lestrange, Seniors Crabbe and Goyle. It was a force both would have struggled against, even together with help.
Stretched out above them, hooked onto nothing in blatant disregard for the impossibility of such action, was a sign proudly proclaiming, “THIS DEATH EATER ANNILATION HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO YOU BY THE GHOSTS OF THE MARAUDERS.”
Dumbledore’s jaw dropped as Remus collapsed onto the pavement. This was nothing like either one had expected, certainly not what they had feared. Both were at an utter loss for words, just staring at the message telling the world someone else out there was fighting back against the encroaching darkness.
“Wha-what do we do, now?” Lupin finally muttered.
Dumbledore shook his head, and motioned for the man to follow. “We should see what the others have found out and are planning.”
So, with one glance back at the banner waving merrily in the wind, the two professors Disapparated to Grimmauld Place, hoping the Order had more information.
The ‘meeting’ was in complete chaos. Members were shouting back and forth, one at another, all trying to get their voices heard, so that no one could follow what was being said, argued or even discussed. The most vocal members were yelling at each other, while some figured to just wait it out, and were leaning against the walls of the room, watching all the commotion.
The two men took one look at each other and sighed before the Headmaster gripped his wand and silenced them.
“Now, can we please have order? I understand many disturbing events have occurred, and I would like to hear all the details before anything is decided.”
The room eventually organized itself as people sat down and looked to the older man to direct the flow of information.
Dumbledore took a deep breath to still his still frayed nerves and started the actual meeting.
“Earlier today, Remus and I went to what we thought was another attack in Diagon Alley and were surprised to find the perpetrators had already been dealt with.”
“What do you mean by that, Albus?” Molly Weasley asked.
Her face was withdrawn, showing the struggle she had had to deal with for the past year or so. She had never recovered from the loss of her two youngest, and to the surprise of others, she threw herself into the Order, making sure that, as she said, ‘No one else will have to deal with their children being murdered by their best friend.’
“They were dead, masks and sleeves removed to prove identity and loyalty,” Remus responded, thinking the Order’s leader might not have wanted it revealed. He felt the others needed to know.
The gasps of shock echoed as all turned to see Dumbledore nod in agreement.
“So, someone is still daring to fight the Death Eaters,” Fred commented.
“It’s more than what we’ve been doing,” George added.
“It might be, but I don’t think that’s all that has happened,” Dumbledore cautioned. “Alastor, do you have anything more?”
“Aye,” the gruff man responded. “The Ministry knows of four other attacks, all against the Death Eaters, and all left exactly like you described – except for a banner claiming ownership for the attacks.”
“’oo could it be?” Fleur’s accent broke through the surprised silence. “Aren’t we ze only ones fighting ze Dark Lord?”
“Apparently not, lass. Four individuals or groups have claimed responsibility.” He turned to look at Lupin. “They also claim to be Marauders.”
Remus was surprised. “Marauders? Who?”
“WildFire, CelestialFury, EagleEye, and Lionheart.”
The first name sparked a memory, but he immediately discounted it. It was too early, right? And, he wasn’t even certain it would work.
“Never heard of them. As you know, there are only two Marauders left, and one is a deceiving rat.”
“That may be,” Albus replied, “but, why then do they tie themselves to the name?” He shook his head. “I’m afraid that will be a mystery for some time.”
The other order members nodded, understanding what he wasn’t saying. They did not have the time to search out the answer, not while fighting Voldemort and hiding from the Ministry at the same time.
They moved onto other, rather mundane information, mostly confirming rumors and discounting superstition. As before, whenever they got to this part of the meeting, members slowly left in ones, twos, and on a few occasions, in groups. When everything was presented, the only remaining people were Dumbledore and the ‘Order Council’ as it had come to be called: McGonagall, Snape, The Weasley Family, Fleur, Lupin, and Tonks. They were the ones who advised the Headmaster as what the Order should accomplish.
They were gathered around a semi-circular table so all could see each other, though some purposely avoided the eyes of certain members. Even among the Council, there was an air of distrust. It was worse with the Order members themselves.
Remus sat off to one side of the table, not really looking at the Weasley Family. He knew they had not forgiven him for trying to help Harry during the trial. He could understand their feelings of betrayal towards the young man, he might have even felt the same, if he did not know what had really happened, but still was disheartened that they refused to work with anyone who supported the former Boy-Who-Lived. It made it hard for both himself and Tonks.
He wanted to help them through this difficult time, to let them know their children were not dead, just unavailable for the next 4 years, but the theory that sparked the façade was never tested. It might not even be true – he could have really led all four youths to their deaths, and he had to deal with the fear almost every night. He refused to put that upon them as well… not to mention, he doubted they would listen to him in the first place - especially since he had no proof to offer them.
“I believe that concludes everything for tonight,” Dumbledore said, interrupting Lupin’s thoughts.
They all nodded and quietly walked out, Tonks taking Remus’s hand when she noticed the looks the Weasley Matriarch was once again giving the man. He squeezed it in thanks, letting her know his feelings about her silent support.
They Apparated to his cottage and entered the living room. It was the one place he still owned from his times with the other Marauders. His parents had given it to him as a graduation gift, and quite often Sirius or Peter would crash there for a night. Now, it was the only place he felt comfortable to live in, since Grimmauld Place just reminded him too much of Sirius, and the Weasleys were there more often than not.
“Those names meant something to you,” Tonks said after he closed the door to the outside. “Do you want to talk about it?”
Remus shook his head. “I only slightly recognize the first one. It reminds me of a nickname I’d heard before… a long time before, actually.”
Tonks gently pushed him down onto the only couch and sat in his lap, facing him. “Tell me?” she requested softly.
Remus sighed. “It was what James used to call Lily whenever she got angry; said her hair reminded him of a flame.”
“It does,” a voice called out behind them. “Though I think Ginny’s is closer to a living fire.”
Tonks screeched and fell off her boyfriend. She nearly tripped over her feet as she pulled her wand out, prepared to face the danger.
Remus, on the other hand, froze in place, his eyes nearly bugging out in surprise. That voice! It…it can’t be! It’s only been one year... He turned his head to look at the intruders and saw four people leaning against the wall. The two women were being hugged from behind by the men, and all looked completely content, not afraid in the least.
“Who are you?” Tonks demanded. “Tell me now, before I decide to shoot first.”
The raven haired man laughed. “Still wound up tight, Nymphadora? And I thought Remus would’ve helped you with the tension.”
“Who are you?” she nearly growled.
“Oh, come on. I know I look older, but surely you can’t have forgotten us after only one year!”
Remus blinked, his mind connecting the dots, but not believing it.
“Who?” Tonks asked, confused.
“Really, Tonks,” the redheaded female replied. “After that summer where you and I talked about nothing but thick-headed boys, one would think you would remember me. After all, you’re the one who gave me the needed advice to finally get the one I wanted.”
Tonks frowned, knowing what she was talking about. “How do you know about that? The only other person who was there is dead.”
The four newcomers blinked in surprise, before the raven haired man spoke again. “You never told her?” he asked, surprised.
Remus realized his thoughts were correct, no matter how far-fetched they seemed. Shaking his head, he replied, “I couldn’t. There was a chance we were wrong, and I didn’t want her to live with that burden.”
The other man nodded. “Understandable. So, I guess I’ll do the introductions.” He turned slightly, releasing the red-haired woman, and stepped back, so he was between the two groups. “Nymphadora Tonks, let me re-introduce to you to Ginevra Weasley, Ronald Weasley, and Hermione Granger.”
Tonks’s mouth dropped.
“Oh, don’t forget yourself,” Ginny added with a slight giggle.
He nodded. “Of course. I am Harry Potter,” he amended, bowing.
Remus looked at her, laughed and stood up. “I’m glad to see you four again. Though, why are you so much older?”
“We spent the entire five years there,” Hermione responded, moving to hug the graying man first. “It turns out, we aged faster there.”
Remus nodded, and proceeded to hug everyone else; taking a bit longer on Harry, relieved the son of his best friend was still alive.
“We’ve got things to tell you, but it has to wait. We need to know what’s going on with the war: Voldemort, the Ministry, and the Order,” Harry told him as they woke Tonks up and sat down in a circle; the women had conjured chairs for them and their significant others.
Remus started explaining. “Well, the past year has been a mess…”
Albus Dumbledore stared at the silver bowl in front of him, his mind still going over the memories he had viewed. No matter how many times he watched them, he simply could not find any clues about the mysterious people who had struck such a devastating blow to Riddle’s forces: no blood, no sign of a battle, nothing. It was as if they had Apparated in, surprised the Death Eaters, and took them out before they had a chance to fight back.
But who was that powerful? He would have problems doing so, himself, with just one group. But four?
Dumbledore gave a tiny shudder. Anyone that powerful has the potential to drastically change the war. He was worried, because he did not know what side they were on. If Tom manages to convince them it would be better to join him, we would lose almost immediately.
It had happened before. For many years, Augustus Rookwood had stood against Voldemort, and showed it publicly. That was what surprised many when the Ministry finally uncovered his treasonous acts. Dumbledore was not certain when the man had changed sides, but he knew it was something Tom had offered. Threats did not work against him, because of his work as an Unspeakable. He had no family, no life outside his work. All Albus could believe happened was Riddle offered him more power or prestige.
He did not know what he would do, if the worst was to happen. He was running on the hope Fate would provide another way for Tom to be defeated. He could not believe the situation could be manipulated in such a way as to leave a man immortal; yet, at the same time, everything he knew about prophecies said this was the case.
For once, he hoped he was wrong.
The four travelers sat in silence as Remus finished explaining the situation. They knew it was going to be bad – Riddle had no one to oppose him who had the chance of defeating him. No one knew what magical processes he had completed to survive the thirteen years and make a new body.
“Remus,” Hermione spoke up. “At the moment, do you think the Order has a chance of defeating him?”
Lupin shook his head. “No. All Albus seems to do is try to fix one problem, after it occurs, before the next one shows up. With the Order only responding to him, Voldemort has had complete reign to do as he wishes. The only reason he hasn’t taken over the Ministry completely, is because there’s enough members with seats on Wizengamot to stop the worst laws from passing. Barely.”
It’s time to change that, Harry thought, smirking.
“Out of the 42 seats on Wizengamot, how many does Dumbledore control, directly or indirectly?” she continued.
“From what I understand, 19 are sided with Dumbledore, 20 are sided with Voldemort, and three have no heirs of age, or do not care to vote.”
“Is he using the seats of Potter or Black?” Harry asked.
Lupin shook his head. “He tried, but Wizengamot tried to strike your chair, and Sirius’s, from their ranks after your sentencing. Luckily, Dumbledore stopped it, though he had to sacrifice the control of the seats. In the end, the Wizengamot ruled, and I quote, ‘The seats of Potter, Black, and Peverell shall remain empty, until such a time comes when a magical heir can be found and proven to have no intention of going against the legal Sovereign Power.’”
Hermione looked at Harry, surprised to see a grin sliding across his face. “Harry?” she questioned. “Why are you happy? With that law, you can’t claim your birthright.”
Harry chuckled. “Remember the History of Magical Britain discussion Sirius made us have? Remember the beginning?”
“I remember. But how does that hel…” She trailed off, as her mind made the connection Harry was implying. “Oh, they just did themselves in, didn’t they?”
“Okay. That’s settled.” She turned to look at Remus again. “Can you get Dumbledore to allow us to join the Order? You said they had been trying to recruit extensively, but were having a hard time.”
Tonks finally chimed in. “We can, but it will take both of us, and most likely some time. And the only reason we can is because no one knows we’re involved.”
“We can’t really afford to have that much time lost,” Ron said, frowning. “We can’t let the Ministry, Riddle, or Dumbledore and the Order know what’s really going on before we’re ready. Because of that, we are on a somewhat restrictive timetable.”
“We understand,” Lupin replied. “However, everyone has been more cautious about allowing new members into the Order ever since we had two unknown Death Eaters try to join. We were lucky enough to be having their first meeting at Hogwarts and Fleur recognized one before the meeting began. We had to Obliviate them quickly and set it up as if they had not passed the requirements. Now, all newcomers must be recommended by two members, and pass an allegiance test.”
“What allegiance test?” Ron asked.
“They have to show they are working against Voldemort and his supporters. The exact details are kept a secret. It changes every time, so the Death Eaters can’t predict what it is, and prepare for it.”
“Can we request for Fawkes to be our test? He’ll show we are aligned with the light and have every intention of stopping Tom, without giving any other necessary information away,” Ginny added.
Remus nodded. “It should be doable. I don’t think we’ve had a newcomer ask for a phoenix. They usually ask for a Truth Stone, or Veritaserum. However, both have counters, though Veritaserum is harder to get and to test for.”
“Try to set up a meeting with Dumbledore tomorrow. We want to join as soon as possible. This way, we can change how the Order goes about trying to find out who we are.”
It took Remus and Tonks another two days, talking extensively with Dumbledore, before they could get the travelers permission to join the Order. The testing was to be done at Hogwarts itself, with the Headmaster, McGonagall, and Kingsley present.
The four travelers trudged up the path towards the castle, not speaking. They knew Dumbledore was most likely eavesdropping on them, in hopes to gain more information from them. They did not want to give anything away before everything was in place as they wanted.
As they approached, the doors opened to show Professor McGonagall and Shacklebolt. They greeted the newcomers, but the four of them could feel the uneasiness of the two adults. They walked in silence to the gargoyle blocking the entrance to the Headmaster’s Office.
“Whatchamacallit,” Minerva intoned. The statue moved aside, revealing the staircase.
They moved on to the rotating stone.
“A Muggle candy?” Hermione asked, surprised. She thought he would stay with the magical world.
“Yes. Albus does have a fascination with sweets.”
They reached the top, and just as McGonagall was about to knock, they heard Dumbledore tell them to enter. She opened the door and everyone filed in, with Kingsley being the last one. They weren’t surprised to see Remus and Tonks already there, waiting for them.
“I have come to understand you want to join the Order,” Albus said without preamble. “I have to ask – Why?”
“We all have lost someone in this war. We want it to end, quickly, before any more are lost to the monster,” Harry replied.
“Very well. Before we allow you to join, we must have proof of your re-”
Before he finished speaking, there was a flash of fire and melodic sound, and Fawkes appeared in the office, his tone more cheerful than any of the current members had heard in a year. The Phoenix took one look at the gathered four before letting loose what could only be described as a sound of pure joy, and landed on Harry’s shoulder, rubbing his head against the man’s cheek.
Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Shacklebolt were completely shocked to see the creature so taken with the newcomer that he was crooning to the man, and making a sound that sounded ridiculously close to a purr when Harry petted his head. The two reminded Albus how the phoenix would react with another boy, before his betrayal.
“Does this prove our intentions?” the man asked. “We will not betray the Order to Tom, or the Ministry. We will do everything we can to bring down the self-styled Dark Lord and his followers.”
Dumbledore nodded absently. He had not expected this outcome, even when Remus had informed him of their request to be tested by Fawkes.
“What are your names?” McGonagall questioned.
The man stood up, Fawkes still on his shoulder. “These are my close friends, Mark and Ashley Previtt, and this is my wife, Christy Evans. I am John Evans.”
“Per chance, are you related to the Muggle Evans Family?” Albus wondered.
“We are.” Christy’s face told the others that that was all they were going to say on that matter.
“Very well. The next meeting will be tomorrow evening. Remus and Tonks will take you to the building we hold them in. Here, read this before leaving.”
The Head master gave them a piece of paper saying, “The headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix is at 12 Grimmauld Place, London”.
The four quickly read it and nodded to the older man, before taking their leave, Remus and Tonks going with them.
Once they were alone, Albus charmed the room against intrusion, and turned to his fellow freedom fighters.
“What do you think of them?”
“They are aligned to the light, I’ll give them that,” Kingsley responded. “But there’s something… strange about them. As if they aren’t who they say they are.”
McGonagall nodded. “While Fawkes approved of them, and verified they won’t betray the Order, I’m still uneasy about them. I just don’t know why.”
“Very well, we will have to keep an eye on them. I feel the same; as if they have a big secret they are keeping from us – one that could drastically change how we view them. Did either of you catch the slight distraction charm they wore?” Two confused stairs were his answer. “All four had a small notice-me-not charm on their faces. As if they didn’t want us to take too close of a look, and remember. I would have denied them admission to the Order. However, for Fawkes appearing and being so… excited to see them…” He was not certain if that was the right word, but it would have to suffice. He could think of no other.
“Could they have bewitched Fawkes?” Kingsley asked.
“Impossible. Phoenixes are immune to most magic, and there are no ways of controlling a phoenix. Especially to get that kind of reaction.”
“So, they were being truthful, but were hiding something? We will have to watch very closely.”
Over the next few days, the four travelers were becoming somewhat uncomfortable with the situation. It was not Remus or Tonks who made them nervous, but the damage caused in the rest of magical Britain and the Muggle world. Voldemort was still attacking seemingly random targets, but the six of them, as well as most of the ‘Executive Branch’ of the Order, noticed they were much more cautious.
With good cause, it turned out, as the young adults had personally stopped several more attacks, always dealing with them before anyone else appeared, and removing both masks and sleeves, to display the Dark Mark. Those who were lucky enough to see them take down the Death Eaters described it as a short battle, where the lone attacker demolished the opposition, without receiving any sort of injury.
As they wore masking charms and cloaks with hoods up, no one got a clear picture of what they looked like. If the reports were to be believed, it was either one person, as tall as Hagrid, blasting the ground with one spell that took them out, or three males and a female, who danced around their opponents, or forty different witches and wizards who decided to stand up to the tyranny. Each report contradicted the others and tried to make it seem as if they were the sole authority. The Daily Prophet was having a field day, blasting the “vigilantes,” claiming they were trying to usurp the Ministry’s authority. Rita Skeeter was especially vicious, going out of her way to release an article every day to tear at them.
Harry and the others did not care what the newspaper was printing. They knew Fudge was controlling it, just as he had back in Harry’s fifth year, and they would take care of it once the threat of Riddle was gone. At the moment, they would sit together to read the latest in her ‘damning’ stories, and laugh at all the mistakes she made.
Not everything was humorous, unfortunately. Several families of the students they had attended Hogwarts were attacked, and a few students did not survive. Others were left orphans. The four tried their best to stop all the attacks they could, but there were too many for them to fight against effectively. According to Remus, Riddle still had over 1000 Death Eaters, most of them cannon fodder, under the Imperius.
The Imperiused Death Eaters were controlled directly by Voldemort, and no matter what the four companions tried, they could not be broken free. Both girls had spent hours crying in the arms of the guys after they had to kill one they considered an innocent victim in the war, because that poor victim was going to kill another innocent bystander in the fight. Harry and Ron were also depressed by the situation. All four understood there were going to be victims in the war that had nothing to do with either side; they would do all they could to protect them, but they were not going to risk their own lives. As sad as it sounded, at the moment, their own lives were more important, because they were actually able to do something against the rising darkness. It was a heavy burden to carry, and several times, each wondered if they would crack under the pressure.
The next meeting of The Order of the Phoenix could not come soon enough, and by the time everyone had gathered at Grimmauld Place, there were more members there than had been in the past several months.
“I’m pleased to see everyone was able to make it today,” Dumbledore told the gathered group. “These are trying times, and the more information we share, the better our chances are at stopping Tom.”
“Does anyone know who the vigilantes are?” Emmeline Vance questioned.
The rumors of someone successfully fighting against the Death Eaters had attracted more attention than the four ‘students’ had imagined, and the full Order had shown up to hear what was really going on.
All over the room, heads shook and people muttered ‘no’. Only Harry and his three friends stayed silent on the matter, wondering what the other members thought of their actions.
“They have successfully stopped over 20 attacks so far,” Kingsley added.
“But they are killing them!” Molly protested. “Who gives them that right?”
“Would you rather they just leave them for the Aurors to gather up and then be released in a few days to harm others again?” Tonks rebuked. “There might be some who are Imperiused among the Death Eaters, but I believe they are doing more good than harm. If you look at the track record, the attacks have dropped by over 50% since they started striking back!”
“Be that as it may,” Albus interrupted. “They are still taking lives. We are not gods. We do not have that right.”
Most of the members nodded in agreement.
“So, you are telling us we will never win then?” Remus spoke up. “We trap them; they are arrested; three days later, they are free again, to cause just as much harm as before, with no punishment. Meanwhile, in every battle, we have members who are injured, or killed. We are not growing, they are.”
“We will find a way to stop them. Just be patient a little bit longer.”
“How much longer? A week? A year? Ten years? When we’ve lost half of our members? Or when everyone here is dead?”
“Your words are not helping, wolf,” Snape sneered. “We are here to follow Dumbledore’s orders. He is the leader of this ragtag group of misfits. Not you. Not Potter either. You do remember how that turned out, don’t you?”
Angry muttering ran through the group at Harry’s name. It was still a very dark spot for the order. The hero they had been protecting, the boy they believed would save them from the tyranny of the Dark Lord, had turned against them, and destroyed their belief in the possibility of winning for several months. They were still just barely starting to recover enough to fight the Death Eaters on even ground. The morale of the Order was a delicate item to balance since his execution.
“I have one question for you,” Christy Evans said.
“Ah, one of our new members,” Dumbledore replied. “Everyone, I would like you to meet John and Christy Evans, and Mark and Ashley Previtt.” He motioned to the four newcomers. “They recently passed the test to join. Fawkes himself approved their membership.”
He added the last bit to give the other members more confidence in their selection. The four of them were the first new members since Fleur had discovered the near fatal mistake with the Death Eaters.
Christy nodded in thanks to Dumbledore. “I know who you believe us to be related to. It is true. But I wonder, what was Harry Potter’s motive for killing his friends?”
The other adults stared at them in surprise. They were asking questions about the trial now? After a year had passed?
“I’ve kept up with everything that went on with the trial, and not ONCE did anyone ever ask, ‘What did Harry Potter get out of killing his friends?’ Everyone just assumed he did, based on what was shown to them. So, I ask you: What was his motive, to turn his back on the ones that he’d tried to protect for years before.”
“Power, of course,” Snape drawled. “Potter always was trying to get more power. He always had to be the center of attention.”
“And if that is true,” Christy countered. “Then why, when attention wasn’t called to him, he did not purposely go out to get more?”
“You don’t know what you are talking about. Potter did anything he could to get more. Just look at the whole incident with the Tournament.”
“From what I’ve been told, he did not enter himself into that. Neither did he ask for the ramifications from it. He did his best to survive.”
“As entertaining as it is to engage in a debate with you, what is your purpose in asking this?”
“My ‘nephew’ is a good man. He never tried to hurt another when he could avoid it, except those who made it known to him they were going to hurt him or those he associated with. So, why was this never brought up in the trial? Everyone talked about the things that were printed in the Daily Prophet, but everyone here should know they never printed anything correct about Harry Potter.”
“And why did you not say anything, if you believed in him?” Snape snapped. “You had ample time to come to London to ask to be a witness.”
“Unfortunately, at the time, I was indisposed. Under no circumstances could I have come to that farce of a trial. It is only now, that I have a chance to ask some of the questions that have been bugging me from the beginning.”
Everyone could hear the regret and anger in her voice as she talked about the event. However, no one could understand why she was so focused on it.
“Then you should just keep your mouth shut, and let the real fighters decide what to do now.”
“Severus!” Albus exclaimed, anger tinting his voice. “That is enough!” He turned to face Christy and the other travelers. “While I do not agree with Severus’s sentiment about our actions, I have to ask why you are bringing it up now, when there is nothing we can do about it anymore.”
“I am trying to clear a good man’s name. I am surprised you are not trying to do the same, after the mistakes you made with Sirius Black.”
She and the three others stood up and started walking toward the door.
“Everyone here is among those who knew Harry Potter the best, outside of his classmates and friends, and yet only one of you even tried to do anything during the trial. It saddens me that you could think so little of a boy who tried his best to help everyone who needed it. If this is what the fighters of Voldemort's opposition are like, then we will take up this fight on our own. You are no better than that self-serving lunatic.”
“Potter killed my babies!” Molly Weasley shouted. She could no longer hold it in, hearing all the events that haunted her to this day again.
“I highly doubt he did,” Mark responded, gripping Ashley’s hand. “From everything I’ve heard and read about him, he always tried to keep them out of danger. Why would he kill them, then?”
“You all should be ashamed of yourselves,” Ashley added. “All these points are something you should have brought up in the trial, instead of just letting the prosecution run wild. I hope you all have a hard time sleeping at night, remembering how you condemned an innocent man to death.”
Without another word, they walked out the door, leaving a stricken group behind them.
After several minutes, Molly finally whispered, “It’s lies, isn’t it? He killed them, right?”
“I don’t know,” Arthur Weasley replied, holding his wife to him. “I really don’t know.”
Nothing else was said as they listened to the tears of a mother who wept for her lost children, and one who might not have been as guilty as they had believed.
A/N: I know several of you are going to wonder why Ginny, Ron, and Hermione are reacting so harshly to everyone else about the trial. Be assured, it will be explained in the next chapter.
I apologize about the long wait (over a year and a half!). I started working on my Bachelor’s Degree and am working full time as well, so free time isn’t something I have a lot of right now. However, I think I finally have found a way to get more time to write. Hopefully, the next chapter won’t take as long.
I want to thank my beta, MinistryMalcontent, for his help. Without it, Fate’s Irony would not be nearly what it is.