“Did you see Sirius Black when he broke in the other night?” Luna asked as she packed up her books.
“No,” Remus replied, wishing that she'd ask about her mother again and not Sirius Black. Talking about him was just too painful. “He fled before the search began, I think.”
“I heard he broke in to kill Harry Potter except he found Ron Weasley instead,” Luna continued. “I know Ron's sister, Ginny. She's nice.”
“No one knows for sure what Black is after,” Remus said, hoping that would squash any rumors that Sirius was after Harry, even though that was true. Remus didn't want word spreading. Although if Luna was the one spreading the word, he doubted many people would believe it.
“I suspect he is after Harry Potter,” Luna said as she stuck her wand behind her ear. “After all, he was a Death Eater. I think Harry could hold his own, though, don't you?”
Remus smiled. “Yes, I suppose he probably could. Now, Luna, if you don't mind, I think we'll skip the stories today. I'm feeling a bit under the weather.”
“Oh, all right,” Luna said as she picked up her bag. “I hope you feel better soon. Dad says that dirigible plum juice will cure just about everything. You might want to try it.” Luna smiled once more and then skipped out of the classroom.
Remus chuckled to himself after she left. If only dirigible plum juice could solve what was ailing him. His life would certainly be easier if it could.
It was well past midnight and the Hospital Wing was buzzing with activity. Remus sat stiffly in bed, trying to ignore his still aching back and the healing burn on his left arm. Sirius and Peter sat on the end of his bed, neither saying a word. Alice paced in front of them, her arm in a sling. Professor Sprout was laying in the bed next to Remus, unconscious, and Professor Slughorn lay in the bed next to her, his leg bandaged. The remaining professors were whispering quietly to themselves on the other side of the room.
The door to the ward burst open and James and Lily came rushing in. They first spoke with Professor Dumbledore and then joined Remus, Sirius, Peter, and Alice. Both were ghostly white and Lily looked like she'd been crying. She burst out crying again when she saw Remus laying in bed and rushed to give him a bone-crushing hug before burying her face in James's chest.
“I'm fine,” Remus said before James could ask. “Got hit with the Cruciatus Curse and got a nasty burn on my arm, but Madam Pomfrey says it'll be gone by tomorrow. Honestly, I got off easy.”
“We all did,” Sirius said. “It was awful. The entire village burned.”
“Dumbledore said there's been ten fatalities so far and dozens of people are in St. Mungo's,” James said quietly. “We just had a meeting with the prefects who are going to tell everyone what happened.”
“I shouldn't have let you leave!” Lily exclaimed, breaking away from James. “If I'd just made you stay you wouldn't be hurt.”
“Lily, I swear it, I'm fine,” Remus assured her.
“They needed all the help they could get,” Sirius said. “I managed to knock out five Death Eaters and get a bunch of people to safety. We were needed. Even Peter got in a few good shots.”
“It's true,” Peter said. “I'm not as bad as I thought I was.”
“Listen,” Remus said, lowering his voice. “I know who's in charge, who's the head Death Eater or whatever.” Remus quickly explained the duel between Dumbledore and Voldemort and the conversation he'd overheard.
“They know each other?” Sirius asked.
“They know each other well,” Remus clarified. “More than just casual acquaintances.”
“What did he look like?” James asked.
“It was too dark to tell,” Remus said. “Younger than Dumbledore, but not someone who just graduated, either.”
“Well that's a pretty large range,” Sirius replied. “Dumbledore isn't exactly young.”
“And yet age is no mark on one's ability to fight.”
Sirius jumped and the group realized that Dumbledore had strolled over. He didn't seem at all upset by Sirius's comment, instead seeming rather amused by it.
“I gather you overheard my conversation with Tom,” Dumbledore said darkly, staring at Remus with his piercing blue eyes.
“Professor, we're sorry about sneaking out-” Alice began.
Dumbledore waved his hand at them. “I am not upset. Granted you did blatantly ignore my request to stay inside the castle, but I understand your desire to fight. Given that you are all of age I do not feel it is my duty to prevent you from defending your fellow witches and wizards. On the contrary, I see it as rather noble.
“Enough about your rule breaking. Onto other matters. Remus, I trust you overheard the entirety of my conversation?”
“Er, yes, Professor,” Remus muttered. Despite the fact that they weren't in trouble for joining the fight, Remus wasn't sure he was supposed to have overheard that conversation.
Dumbledore nodded. “As always, I do not feel it is in anyone's best interest to deny you information about what is going on. The man you saw me duel with is a man by the name of Tom Riddle. I first met Tom Riddle when he was eleven years old, having suffered an awful first eleven years of his life, and I brought him to Hogwarts. I taught him and watched him grow up and I feared what he would grow into and now my fears have been proven correct.
“As you heard, Tom has relinquished his given name, and I suspect that is because it is too common, too ordinary, too Muggle-esque, for his liking, and now goes by the name of Lord Voldemort. His followers are the Death Eaters and he is in charge and has been for some time. Why he chose today of all days to make his true identity known to me, I have no idea. I suspected Tom of being behind this group for some time now. Knowing his identity will only serve to help us in the future.
“Now, given the time I think it best we all turn in. Remus, Madam Pomfrey has informed me that she wish you spend the night here. The rest of you may return to Gryffindor. James, Lily, Remus, I will be holding a prefect meeting in the near future to discuss what this attack means for Hogwarts, although this meeting will not take place tomorrow, for I will be spending most of the day at the Ministry. I bid you all good night and I thank you for what you did tonight, despite the fact that you broke about six rules doing so.”
With a slight nod of his head, Dumbledore turned and strode away, pausing to say something to Professor McGonagall and then Madam Pomfrey, before leaving the ward.
“He just gets weirder,” Sirius said.
“What does all that mean?” Remus asked. “It's like he wanted us to think he was telling us everything but he really just got me even more curious. What was it about this Tom Riddle bloke that made him think he was suspicious?”
“I suspect we may find that out at the prefect meeting,” James said.
“Or not,” Remus said. “He is Dumbledore, after all. He's very mysterious.”
“Off to bed, the lot of you!” Madam Pomfrey said as she bustled over with another potion for Remus to take. “I think it's safe to say we all need a good night's rest.”
Sirius, James, Lily, Peter, and Alice all said good night to Remus and then left the ward. The remaining professors (except Sprout and Slughorn) said good night to Madam Pomfrey and left as well, whispering amongst themselves on their way out the door. Remus took his potion and closed his eyes, relishing in the fact that the potion had been Dreamless Sleep; at least now he'd be able to have a good night's sleep that wouldn't be plagued by nightmares about the battle he'd just been in.
Madam Pomfrey let Remus leave shortly after he woke up the next day, which wound up being early afternoon, although she did conjure another cane and made him promise not to lose it as he had the previous one. Remus felt much better after having slept a good ten hours, with the only remaining evidence of his injuries being a slight scar on his arm and a general achy feeling. Madam Pomfrey told him to take it easy that day, but seemed to sense that he needed to be with his friends.
Yet, after leaving the Hospital Wing, Remus found himself not going to Gryffindor tower, but wandering the castle instead. Figuring that his friends wouldn't come looking for him until dinner, he decided he had a few hours to himself.
Remus could not get the dead little girl's face out of his head, as hard as he tried. She was there constantly, her blue eyes wide open in shock, staring at him through his own head. It left him with a very unsettling feeling, and he wished more than anything that he hadn't seen her, hadn't seen any of the dead bodies he'd seen last night. But the little girl's was the only one that stuck with him, the only one that gave him a feeling that was more than just sad, more than just grief for someone he didn't know. She made him want to scream, made him want to burst into tears and cry about the injustice of the world. She couldn't have been more than eight and her life was over, before it really started.
Remus walked around for hours, not going anywhere in particular, thinking about what he'd seen and what he'd experienced the previous night. He walked until his leg ached and kept going, not wanting to stop. He hardly saw anyone and the few people he did encounter he ignored, not wanting to talk to anyone, friend or acquaintance.
It wasn't until dinner that Remus finally felt ready to face his friends again. He walked slowly to the Great Hall and by the time he arrived, his friends were already there, plates filled with food that they weren't eating.
“Hey, Moony,” Sirius greeted him as he sat down. “Madam Pomfrey let you leave?”
Remus nodded, not elaborating upon when she let him leave. James tossed a copy of the Prophet onto his plate without saying a word and Remus picked it up, unfolding it to see the entire article about the battle that emblazoned the front page.
A deadly battle erupted in Hogsmeade,
Scotland last night, and the attack
has been linked to the Death Eater
attacks that have plagued wizarding
Britain for the past few years.
Last night's attack marks the deadliest
attack yet, with dozens of Death Eaters
storming the village, burning buildings,
and dueling with villagers, Aurors,
Hogwarts professors, and even a few
seventh year students. Eleven are
reported dead, their names can be
found on page five, and dozens of
others are injured, including two
Hogwarts professors, three Aurors, and
numerous Hogsmeade residents.
The leader of the Death Eaters was also
present during the attack, announcing
his presence and identity for the first
time since the deadly attacks began.
He revealed himself to Hogwarts Headmaster,
Albus Dumbledore, with whom he dueled
with prior to making his announcement.
Dumbledore has revealed his name to us as
'Lord Voldemort,' but no other information
is being released on his identity at
Anyone with information on this attack
and others are asked to send it via owl
to the Auror department, Ministry of
Magic, London, England.
Without looking up from the paper Remus turned to page five, his heart speeding up as he did so. The little girl's name would be listed, along with the other ten people murdered in this viscous attack. Remus stopped when he reached the page and there they were. Eleven names listed, with ages. The third name was her, the little girl. It had to be. Hers was the only name tied with an age under the age of 20.
Mary Osborne, age 8
Remus dropped the paper onto his plate and continued staring at it. There it was, her name. He now knew who she was, who the little girl whose body he carried to the side of the road was. Mary Osborne, only eight.
“Remus, are you okay?” Lily asked.
“Not really,” Remus answered. “Last night I saw this little girl, dead on the street. Her name's here. Mary Osborne.”
“Oh my God, Remus,” Lily said. “That's awful.”
“She was only eight,” Remus said.
Sirius slammed his fist down on the table, startling a few second years sitting on his other side. “This is why we need to fight. Eight years old? It's so pointless, all of this. Voldemort and his Death Eaters.”
One of the second years whimpered upon hearing Voldemort's name. Sirius glared at him and then continued ranting. “She probably just got in the way of someone's duel and wound up dead. It's not right.”
“Padfoot,” James said quietly. “He'll be stopped. They all will. We'll become Aurors and we'll stop them.”
“It won't be soon enough,” Sirius muttered. “I'm going back to the common room. I'll see you later.”
“Want me to-” James began.
“No.” Sirius shook his head. “Finish eating. I'm fine.” He got up and stormed out of the room, glaring at the Slytherin table as he went.
“I think he takes it a bit personally,” James said after Sirius was gone. “With his family and all....”
“Do they really all support what's happening?” Lily asked hesitantly.
James nodded. “It's part of the reason why he left and came to live with me. His parents won't join in on it or become Death Eaters because they're too dignified to do the dirty work, but they're all in support. Two of his cousins are married to Death Eaters and I guarantee his brother's going to become one once he's done with school. Just don't mention that to Sirius because he'll deny it.”
“Wow,” Lily said. “I can't even imagine....”
James and Lily continued to discuss Sirius's family while Peter and Alice listened silently. Remus folded up the Prophet and tucked it into his robes, leaving his plate empty. He scooped some steak and kidney pie onto it but merely moved it around with his fork instead of eating it; after reading that article he just wasn't hungry.
Dumbledore didn't call James, Lily, and the prefects to his study for the promised meeting until Friday night, the night before the Gryffindor-Slytherin Quidditch match. In fact, Dumbledore hadn't shown up at a single meal until that night, causing Remus to assume he'd been at the Ministry since early morning on November first. It was a testament to James's desire to fight Voldemort and the Death Eaters that he quietly canceled practice that night, with no explanation to the team, and no complaint.
After assuring Sirius, Peter, and Alice that they'd tell them everything after the meeting, Remus, James, and Lily walked silently to Dumbledore's study. Lily gave the password and the three ascended the circular staircase to find that the room was empty except for Dumbledore and Fawkes, the phoenix. Remus glanced at his watch and saw that they were two minutes late. Where was everyone else?
“Ah, Remus, James, Lily, come in,” Dumbledore said as he gestured to a few squashy armchairs that sat in front of his desk.
Remus looked at James, who shrugged, and the three sat down in the armchairs while Dumbledore took the high back chair behind his desk.
“Don't worry, you haven't missed the meeting,” Dumbledore began. “I simply told you to arrive fifteen minutes before the others as I have a matter to discuss with the three of you first.”
Remus was confused since he would've thought only James and Lily would be privy to a private meeting with Dumbledore, without the other prefects. But he had learned over the years to never question Dumbledore.
“Remus, you fought valiantly last night, as did Mr. Black, Mr. Pettigrew, and Miss Bramley,” Dumbledore began. “James, Lily, you did a wonderful job of guarding the castle. I've no doubt that had it been under attack, you would have kept everyone safe.
“James, Lily, I understand you have both applied to the Auror Academy. Remus, there is no doubt in my mind that were things a little different-”
“Sir,” Remus began, knowing where Dumbledore was going with this.
“Remus,” Dumbledore said. “I know you would apply if you could.”
Remus thought about it. Truthfully, he probably would have. He nodded, and Dumbledore smiled.
“Anyway, back to what I was saying,” he continued. “You three, along with Mr. Black, Miss Bramley, and even Mr. Pettigrew are some of the most promising seventh years I've had the privilege of teaching in a very long time. In these dark times the other students need role models to look up to.”
Remus doubted very much that he would make a good role model, considering he was currently going nowhere with his life after Hogwarts.
“More than that I worry about the safety of the students, especially when the weather is nice and they are roaming the grounds or going to Hogsmeade. I have no intention of canceling Hogsmeade visits in light of recent events. The village will be good as new by the time the next visit arrives and I do not wish to deprive students of that privilege.
“However, I would like to employ you three, as well as Mr. Black, Miss Bramley, and Mr. Pettigrew to help patrol the grounds on weekends when the weather is nice and Hogsmeade during Hogsmeade visits. Obviously I will have the teachers do the same, but the more people available to help the better. I am asking the six of you and the six of you only, because I trust you and because you are of age.
“Think about it. Please pass the message on to Mr. Black, Miss Bramley, and Mr. Pettigrew. You never know, if you enjoy this and are successful, something similar may be awaiting you after you graduate.”
“I'm in,” James said immediately.
“Take a few days, James,” Dumbledore said. “And now, if I'm not mistaken, the rest of the prefects are arriving.”
Without another word, Dumbledore rose from his chair and went to open the door for the rest of the prefects. Remus turned to James and Lily and shrugged. He wasn't sure what he made of Dumbledore's offer and needed a few days to decide, unlike James. But right now he didn't have time to think about it because the room was crowded with the rest of the prefects, including Addy.
She smiled at him from across the room, where she stood next to a spindly table with a bunch of metal instruments on it. Remus smiled back, feeling his cheeks reddening as he did so. He was happy when Dumbledore began to speak, giving him an excuse to turn away.
“I wish to thank you all for your help on Halloween night,” Dumbledore began. “You performed your duties admirably and Hogwarts suffered no fatalities, thanks to your excellent work. I also wish to explain what happened that night, in more depth than the Prophet did.
“I dueled with Lord Voldemort, without knowing it was him, on Halloween night. He revealed himself to me that night and I recognized him as a Hogwarts student from many years ago. I taught him myself; I brought him to Hogwarts myself.
“Lord Voldemort's revelation of himself to myself has only served to help in our fight against him. Knowing what I know about this man will help us to defeat him and while I am not telling you more, be assured that I am using all of the information I have to help bring him and his Death Eaters down.
“What I need from all of you is to continue doing what you are doing. Remain vigilant and take your patrols seriously. Report all suspicious behavior to James, Lily, myself, or another professor. I fear more attacks on the scale of the one on Halloween night, as well as smaller attacks and disappearances, like we've seen during the past few years. Now that Lord Voldemort is out in the open, I fear the attacks will increase. Remain vigilant, but remain united. Only if we remain united can we defeat the dark forces that seek to destroy us.
“That is all I have for you tonight. I wish you all a good night and hope to see you out on the Quidditch pitch tomorrow, supporting either Gryffindor or Slytherin.”
Dumbledore did not say another word, and returned to the seat behind his desk while the prefects filed out. Remus stood and followed James and Lily out of the study, none of them saying a word until they reached the corridor below.
“Dumbledore's scared,” James said quietly. “I can tell.”
Remus nodded. “He is. I've never seen him like this.”
“And if Dumbledore's scared, well, then there's a good reason to be scared,” Lily said, her voice wavering. A/N: Thanks so much for all the lovely reviews!