Chapter 10 : Attacks
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Remus cleaned the tea cups with a wave of his wand and thought about Harry Potter. It was strange seeing him at age thirteen when he hadn't seen him since he was one, and there was so much of James and Lily in him that it made Remus think back to when his two friends were still alive. Having tea with Harry brought back so many memories, both good and bad. As much as seeing Harry reminded him of James and Lily, it also reminded him of Sirius.
A knock on the door jolted Remus out of his thoughts and he dropped on of the teacups he was putting away. “Come in!” he shouted as he repaired the cup.
The door creaked open and Luna Lovegood walked inside, gazing around his study with wide eyes as she did so. “This office is much nicer now that it's yours and not Professor Lockhart's.”
Remus chuckled. “I'm glad you think so. How are you, Miss Lovegood?”
“Good,” Luna replied. “I saw Harry Potter leaving here a few minutes ago.”
“Yes,” Remus said. “We had tea. Would you care for some?”
“Sure,” Luna said. “My dad says tea is helpful for both the mind and soul.”
“I agree,” Remus said as he took down the two teacups once more. He put a tea bag in each, filled them with boiling water, and set a cup of sugar and little jug of cream on his desk.
“Do you know much about Sirius Black?” Luna asked as she put two heaping spoonfuls of sugar into her tea.
Remus startled and opened and closed his mouth a few times before answering. Usually Luna only asked about her mother and she certainly never asked about Sirius. But she had no way of knowing Remus's relationship with Sirius. “I know of him, yes. Terrible thing he did, all those years ago.”
“Dad told me he went to school with Sirius Black but didn't know him well. That means you went to school with him, too, right?”
“Well, yes,” Remus said. “But I haven't spoken with him in years.”
Luna nodded and sipped her tea. “So what happened after you and my mum went to Hogsmeade together?”
“Does the sky look darker than normal to you?” Sirius asked as the four boys made their way back up to the castle after Care of Magical Creatures.
Remus glanced up and saw that huge, nearly black clouds were rolling in. The temperature had also dropped and the wind had picked up since the beginning of class. “A bit,” Remus agreed. “But it's Halloween, so it fits.”
“Spooky,” Peter said.
“We're going to get a storm,” James said. “Hopefully it'll stop by tomorrow. Quidditch practice.”
“You'd practice in a storm,” Sirius said.
“Of course, but then the team would hate me,” James pointed out. “And that's bad for team spirit, especially since the first match is on Saturday.”
Remus took one more look at the darkening sky before they entered the castle. He saw lightning in the distance and noticed that the mountains were growing foggy. It wouldn't be long now before the storm started.
Halloween had always been one of Remus's favorite holidays and going to Hogwarts only increased his love of it. He grinned to himself as he walked into the Great Hall for the Halloween feast to see that Hagrid had made it as spooky as ever with live bats, large pumpkins, fake skeletons that moved, and fake spiders that crawled everywhere. The students were chattering loudly, already digging into the huge spread that covered every table.
Remus, James, Sirius, and Peter made their way through the crowd and located four seats together at the Gryffindor table and loaded up their plates just as the Hogwarts ghosts began to sing. Peeves had even joined in and sang his own made-up lyrics that were far more crude than the actual lyrics. The Bloody Baron shot death glares at him as he did so, but Peeves didn't seem bothered by this, which was odd.
“The Grey Lady isn't even singing,” James pointed out in between bites of food.
“I think she's too miserable to sing,” Lily said. “Honestly, I feel bad for her. I wonder what happened to make her so sad.”
“Yeah, she's not like Myrtle,” Sirius said. “Everyone knows why Myrtle's upset.”
“I don't see her up there with the rest of the ghosts,” Remus commented.
“She's probably flooding the bathroom again,” Sirius said, grabbing another chunk of chicken from the platter in front of him.
“Don't make fun of Myrtle,” Lily scolded.
Sirius shrugged. “Sorry, didn't know you were that close.”
“We're not,” Lily said flatly. “It's just a matter of being nice.”
“Did you hear that?” Remus asked suddenly. He set down his fork and strained to listen. He could've sworn he heard something that sounded a bit like thunder, but almost like an explosion at the same time.
“Hear what?” Peter asked. “I didn't hear anything.” The rest of the group shook their heads.
“Guess I was hearing things,” Remus muttered and went back to his dinner. But as soon as he took a bite of chicken, he heard it again. A loud, exploding noise. “There it is again.”
“I think you're going crazy, Moony,” Sirius said. “I mean more than you-”
Suddenly there was a very audible boom that shook the castle and this time it wasn't just Remus who heard it. The ghosts stopped singing and a few of the younger students started screaming, resulting in mass chaos throughout the room. The explosions continued and the castle shook and goblets spilled.
“Told you I wasn't hearing things!” Remus shouted over the screaming.
“What the hell is going on?” Sirius exclaimed.
“This is not good, this is so not good,” Lily muttered. She had turned pale white and James put a protective arm around her shoulder.
“What the bloody hell...” Peter whispered.
Remus looked up at the ceiling to see if it was perhaps just a loud storm since the sky had looked awfully cloudy earlier, but the ceiling was still just cloudy. There was no rain and no fake lightning. Yet when he glanced out the windows, he saw what looked like lightning. Or curses. Curses. Remus's heart dropped into his stomach.
“You don't think-” James started.
“That this is another Death Eater attack?” Remus finished.
“But they wouldn't attack Hogwarts, would they?” Sirius asked. “That would just be stupid. Dumbledore's here.”
“They are stupid,” Alice said.
“Quiet!” Dumbledore shouted over the crowd. “Silence!”
The students quieted immediately, the only noise in the room stemming from a few scared first years who were crying, and whatever explosions were taking place outside.
“Prefects, please lead your houses back to your common rooms and stay there until further notice. No one is to leave their common room without instruction from a teacher,” Dumbledore instructed. “Professors, Head Boy, Head Girl, please meet me in the left antechamber.”
Dumbledore seemed remarkably calm, Remus noticed. Rather than panicking, he merely seemed intrigued by the events taking place outside. He remained standing while the students began to move, clearly waiting until everyone left before going to the antechamber.
James and Lily immediately took off for the staff table while Remus and the other Gryffindor prefects rounded up the younger students and led them to the common room. Sirius, Peter, and Alice walked alongside Remus, and Remus was grateful. Alice seemed particularly good at calming the nerves of a few first years, which was something Remus himself was not very good at. The four didn't speak about what was going on, not wanting to scare the younger students more than they had to.
It was much easier to herd students when the Ravenclaws broke from the pack at their own tower and it was just Gryffindors left in the corridor. Remus was relieved when they finally made it to Gryffindor tower, only to find a very nervous looking Fat Lady twitching in her portrait.
“What's going on?” she demanded.
“No one knows,” Remus said. “Legumes.”
“Scary...” she replied as she swung herself open, shaking her head as she did so.
Remus stood by the portrait hole while everyone piled inside and gathered in small groups throughout the common room. Sirius, Peter, and Alice remained at his side, and the other prefects joined him as they entered. With James and Lily gone it was clear that he was in charge. It was quite unsettling to realize that since he'd never really been in charge of anything, even as a prefect. Lily was usually there for taking charge of things.
“Er...” Remus cleared his throat. “Um, can everyone be quiet?”
“Shut up!” Sirius shouted.
Remus glared at him and he shrugged. Well, Sirius had certainly been effective. The common room was now quiet. “Um, I don't know anymore about what's happening than you do, so please remain here until further notice, like Dumbledore said. There's no need to panic. We've got Dumbledore and Hogwarts is the safest place in wizarding Britain.”
Once the students seemed sure that Remus was done speaking the conversation grew loud again. Remus breathed a deep sigh of relief and lowered himself onto the floor. His friends sank down on either side of him and the other prefects left to join their own friends.
“What do you think's happening?” Alice asked.
“I have a vague idea,” Remus said darkly. He glanced around to see if any of the younger students were listening, but they didn't seem to be. “I think Hogsmeade is under attack.”
Alice took a sharp breath. “That's horrible.”
“I agree with Moony,” Sirius said. Peter nodded.
“What do we do?” Alice asked. “What can we do?”
“Well, I'm not going to sit here and just wait to find out,” Sirius said adamantly. “If Hogmseade is under attack then I'm going to fight. This is our chance. Once we're Aurors, this is what we're going to do and I don't see why we have to wait. They're going to need people down there because I'm sure there's loads of Death Eaters-”
“Sirius, pardon the pun, but are you serious?” Remus asked.
“Yeah, that's what you'll be if you go down there! You're not an Auror yet.”
“I've got top marks in Defense Against the Dark Arts. These are Dark Arts and this is the time to use those skills. I'm going no matter what, so the only question is, will you join me?”
Remus didn't say anything. His first instinct was 'no' of course. There were a million reasons why he shouldn't go join in on whatever was happening at Hogsmeade. His leg, the fact that as a prefect he should be setting an example and following Dumbledore's orders, they'd be breaking five school rules, and he was somehow in charge in Gryffindor tower. But at the same time, Sirius had a point. Despite the fact that he wasn't going to be an Auror, Remus wanted to do something to help fight whatever it was that was out there and this was his chance.
“You're good at Defense, Moony,” Sirius said quietly. “Patronuses aside, you're good. Your marks are better than mine or James's. They need you down there.”
“Fine,” Remus said. “I'll go. What about you, Peter? Alice?”
“Sirius is right. I'm going,” Alice said immediately.
“I don't know. I'm not very good at Defense,” Peter said.
“You're a Gryffindor, Peter,” Sirius said. “Remember that.”
Peter sighed. “All right, I'm in.”
“Excellent,” Sirius said as he stood up. He held out his hand to Remus and Remus took it, letting his friend pull him up to his feet. Alice and Peter joined them. “We shouldn't have any problems leaving the castle since everyone is supposed to be in their common rooms.”
“What about the professors?” Peter asked.
“If Hogsmeade is being attacked, I guarantee most of them are out there fighting,” Sirius said. “They probably left James and Lily in charge and they certainly won't stop us.”
Alice looked skeptical, but Remus nodded his head in agreement. “Let's go,” he said.
Sirius led the way and none of their fellow classmates seemed to notice their departure, which Remus was happy about. He still wasn't sure he was doing the right thing by leaving but figured there were four other prefects there to watch over things.
The castle was deserted as they ran through the corridors. Remus had a bit of trouble with the whole concept of running but managed to only be a few feet behind his friends at all times. They passed no one but the Grey Lady on their way down to the Entrance Hall, but once they reached the grand staircase they noticed James and Lily were indeed guarding the doors.
“Are you two in charge?” Sirius asked as they reached James and Lily.
“Yeah,” Lily said. “What's going on? Are the Gryffindors okay?”
“They're fine,” Remus said. “Are the teachers all fighting? What's going on? Is Hogsmeade under attack?”
James nodded. “Death Eaters. Loads of them. The Ministry sent Aurors but they're outnumbered and people who live in Hogsmeade are too scared to help. I mean, a few are helping but a lot are just holed up in their houses. Can't say I blame them.”
“We're going to help,” Sirius said.
“I'm not going to stop you,” James said quietly. “I wish I could go but if any of those Death Eaters make it past the wards it's up to Lily and I to stop them.”
“I don't know about this,” Lily said. “They could get in trouble. They could be killed.”
“Lil,” James said, putting a hand on her arm. “Let them go.”
Lily sighed and took a step back. “Good luck,” she said and James nodded.
Sirius opened the castle doors and led the group outside. They set off for Hogsmeade and Remus watched the sky as they went. It was dark like before but Remus knew now that the clouds that rolled in earlier were not storm clouds. They were clouds signaling the start of a huge battle, darkness brought by Dark Magic, not by the weather. There was an eery glow above Hogsmeade, like the entire village was on fire, and the loud, explosive booms were much more audible now. They were frequent, too. But worse than that, Remus was now able to hear the screaming, the screaming that signified pure terror in the minds of the Hogsmeade villagers.
“Wands out,” Remus said as he drew his own wand. He held it out in front of him and braced himself for what they were about to enter. This was it. It was their chance to fight.
Hogsmeade was in mass chaos; that much was apparent as soon as Remus and the others arrived. People were fleeing everywhere, running through the streets and throwing curses and hexes everywhere, not looking to see if they made contact. Honeyduke's was burning, as were the post office and a number of houses. Owls were flying out of the post office and Remus hoped none of them had succumbed to the fire.
Sirius didn't take any time to survey his surroundings before running down the street, his wand out. Alice shook her head slightly and then followed quickly after Sirius. Remus and Peter exchanged a glance, as if silently agreeing to take stock of the situation before running headlong into it. Remus grabbed hold of Peter's robes and pulled him over to a nearby tree, which they hid behind.
It soon became apparent that the Death Eaters were all dressed similarly in jet black robes and silver masks. They were the ones causing all the terror and seeming to take joy in all the chaos they were creating. Remus counted no fewer than ten of them in this section of the village alone and it only took a few of them throwing curses around before he decided that it was time to jump in. Peter lingered a bit longer and Remus soon lost track of him.
Remus knew he was at a disadvantage with his leg still not being one-hundred percent, but decided that he'd be better off limping around than using the cane. He discarded it in the alley next to the Three Broomsticks, knowing that he'd never see it again. He held his wand higher and took off down the street.
It didn't take him long to realize that he was useless in a one-on-one duel with a Death Eater. He found one attempting to set another house on fire and got into it with him for a few minutes, but he just wasn't quick enough on his feet to dodge all the hexes that were shot at him. After receiving a rather nasty burn on his left arm, he Disapparated and reappeared back near the Three Broomsticks. There he saw a Death Eater in combat with two villagers, neither of whom seemed to know how to duel. Remus crouched behind a garbage bin and sent a jelly-legs curse at the Death Eater, hitting him square in the back. The Death Eater fell over, giving the two villagers time to escape. This was it, he thought. This was what he needed to do.
Remus hurried down the alley and ran alongside the backs of the buildings, sending more hexes at the backs of Death Eaters who didn't think to look behind them. While doing so, he saw quite a few Aurors and realized that he could most definitely see James and Sirius becoming trainee Aurors the following year.
Time seemed to pass by strangely during the battle. Remus had no idea whether five minutes or two hours had passed, but the Death Eaters didn't seem to be relinquishing their hold on the village. Remus wound up near the Shrieking Shack and spent a few minutes hiding behind it while sending hexes toward a pair of Death Eaters dueling with Professor Flitwick. Once they Disapparated Remus made his way down the front lawn of the Shack, set on helping another two villagers who were across the street. On his way there he tripped over something and landed on his stomach.
“Dammit,” he muttered, picking himself back up and thanking God he didn't drop his wand.
When he turned to see what he'd tripped over, the sight made him want to vomit. It was a body and not the body of a Death Eater. It was the body of a little girl, probably no more than eight. There were no visible marks on her, which meant she'd probably succumbed to the Killing Curse. Remus swallowed hard and picked her up, carrying her to the side of the road, and depositing her in patch of flowers. He wondered where her parents were, but wasn't able to think about locating them because he was then hit by a stray curse.
It got him square in the back and sent pain as bad as a transformation coursing through his body. He fell over and squeezed his eyes shut, waiting for it to dissipate. It took a few minutes, but soon all that was left was a dull throbbing in his back. Luckily it had merely been a stray curse, probably the Cruciatus Curse, but none of the Death Eaters seemed to notice him.
Remus ran as quickly as he could to the nearest alley and crouched behind another garbage bin. Two duelers soon appeared in front of the alley and Remus poised to help from his hiding spot. The two men turned and Remus noticed familiar purple robes and a long, white beard. Dumbledore. This Death Eater was fighting Dumbledore, and the Death Eater wouldn't stand a chance.
Watching Dumbledore duel was incredibly mesmerizing. He seemed to move more fluidly than a person should and somehow all his hexes managed to hit their intended target. However, this particular Death Eater was very skilled as well. His hexes hit Dumbledore more often than not and it was clear that he was passionate about the duel. Curse after curse flew in all directions; the two men were lit with red, green, purple, blue, and yellow light. Neither of them faltered and neither seemed injured.
Suddenly, the Death Eater stopped. He seemed to freeze, not from one of Dumbledore's curses, but from his own accord. Dumbledore stopped as well and the two men stood facing each other. Remus held his breath.
The Death Eater removed his mask, and while it was too dark for Remus to make out his facial features, Dumbledore seemed to do a double-take. Clearly he recognized this particular Death Eater. Maybe it was Lucius Malfoy, Remus thought.
“Tom,” Dumbledore said quietly. “My suspicions were right.”
“I go by Lord Voldemort now. And I never doubted your intelligence, Dumbledore,” the man called Tom said. “I was merely waiting for the right time to reveal myself to you.”
“I will always call you by your given name. Only a coward lets others do his dirty work while he stays safely behind the lines,” Dumbledore said.
“On the contrary, Dumbledore,” Tom said, “I've been far from the sidelines.”
“That depends upon one's definition of 'sideline,'” Dumbledore replied. “There is still time to change, Tom, time to turn yourself around.”
Tom let out a cold laugh. “I no longer seek what I previously sought. I aspire to bigger, better things. All the rumors, all you've suspected, it's all true, Dumbledore. Let tonight be a lesson to you, a lesson to all who follow you blindly.”
“I do not have followers, Tom,” Dumbledore said.
“That depends upon one's definition of 'follower,'” Tom said. “Until we meet again, Dumbledore.”
The man held up his wand and for a moment Remus thought he was going to kill Dumbledore, but instead he pressed the tip to his forearm and let out a maniacal laugh. Then he Disapparated with a crack and subsequent cracks followed, as if dozens had also Disapparated at that exact same moment. Then, Hogsmeade was quiet.
A/N: Please review! I'd love to know what everyone thinks of this so far.
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