Chapter 23 : Personal
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“I've been thinking about your boggart,” Remus said as Luna walked into his study the first Saturday in April.
“I'm not afraid of the dark,” Luna insisted. “I swear.”
Remus smiled. “Luna, it's okay. I don't think you're afraid of the dark, exactly.”
“Then why is my boggart the dark?” she asked, sitting down in the chair next to his desk.
“I think you're afraid of the dark, but metaphorically,” Remus said. “The dark symbolizes the unknown and I think that's what you're afraid of.”
“The unknown?” Luna repeated.
“Yes,” Remus confirmed. “Since boggarts are physical beings, it is difficult for them to become a fear that is not physical, such as the unknown. If a person fears spiders, for example, a boggart would simply become a spider. But the unknown, how exactly would a boggart become that?”
Luna frowned. “I suppose that makes sense. But the unknown fascinates me. Dad and I love discovering new magical creatures.”
Remus smiled. “Not that kind of unknown. More like the unknown in the future.”
“I guess,” Luna said. “Can I fight the boggart again? I think it'll be easier now that I know what it'll be.”
“Yes. Do you have an idea of what you can do to make the boggart amusing?”
“I do,” Luna said as she drew her wand and stood up.
Remus stood and walked to the trunk. With a nod at Luna he wrenched the trunk open and the room plunged into darkness, just as it had the last time. This time, there was no screaming.
“Riddikulus!” Luna shouted. The darkness immediately dissipated, only to be replaced by bright lights of all different colors. They were beautiful, but not at all funny. Luna grinned, looking up at the lights.
Remus smiled and stepped in front of Luna. The colors disappeared and the boggart turned into the familiar white orb, floating in the air. Remus shuddered, and raised his own wand.
“Riddikulus!” he exclaimed. The moon turned into a balloon and popped, falling back into the trunk. Remus slammed the trunk shut and turned to Luna. “Much better.”
“It wasn't funny,” Luna said. “But I liked the idea of the lights.”
“Well, it worked very well,” Remus told her.
“Was your boggart a full moon?” Luna asked, her brows furrowing. “Why?”
Remus considered this. None of his third years had figured out that his boggart was an actual moon, and if they had, they hadn't paid it much attention. He should've known Luna would. “My boggart, much like yours, is metaphorical,” he said.
“Have you figured out what it means?”
Remus smiled. “Some things are better left as mysteries.”
Remus was pleasantly surprised at how normal things were after his talk with Addy the day after the full moon. He was expecting things to be slightly awkward, with Addy not quite sure she was okay with Remus not telling her exactly what was wrong, but they weren't awkward at all. In fact, his relationship with Addy was just like it had been before she confronted him. They studied together almost every night and spent most of their weekends together, except for the time spent on prefect patrols and patrols for Dumbledore.
When Remus wasn't with Addy he was with James, Sirius, and Peter. All four boys were feeling mounting pressure for their N.E.W.T.s, which meant all their time together was spent studying. They rarely saw Lily and Alice, since both girls insisted that the boys (namely James and Sirius) were distractions.
“Check it out,” James said as they sat in the common room, attempting to study. He picked up a handful of pamphlets that had been buried under his books. “Career pamphlets.”
Sirius laughed, picking one up. “Have you got what it takes to train security trolls, Prongs?”
“And do you think you can guard Gringotts, Padfoot?”
“That would be a waste of my many talents.”
Remus rolled his eyes and scribbled a few notes onto his essay.
“Weird, isn't it?” James mused, leafing through one of the pamphlets. “Two years ago we were trying to figure out our lives.”
“Some of us still are,” Remus pointed out.
“That tutoring thing will work, Moony,” James said. “You've just got to be more positive.”
“I'll be positive when and if it happens,” Remus said.
“Fifth year,” Peter mused. “It seems like so long ago. Back before there were so many attacks and long before You-Know-Who announced himself.”
“Would you two still be joining the Auror Academy if it weren't for Voldemort?” Remus asked.
James and Sirius exchanged glances. Neither of them had voiced desires to become Aurors until fourth year, when the very first few attacks took place.
“I think I would,” Sirius said. “If only just to piss my parents off.”
“Same,” James agreed. “Except it wouldn't piss my parents off.”
“Do your parents know you're becoming an Auror?” Remus asked Sirius.
“I don't think so. I haven't told them. They'll find out when I arrest one of my cousins' idiotic husbands. That's the dream. Arresting Lucius Malfoy or one of the Lestranges. Or Snape.”
Or Regulus, Remus thought, but kept it to himself. If Sirius hadn't thought of that yet, Remus certainly didn't want to be the one to point it out.
“Hey,” Lily said as she squeezed through the crowd, followed by Alice. She greeted James with a quick kiss and then pulled up a chair.
“Done studying?” James asked.
“For now,” Lily said, turning to Remus. “Addy wanted me to ask if you'd meet her in the library.”
Remus nodded and began to pack up his things. It was slightly inconvenient that Addy was in Ravenclaw. Whenever he was in his common room or she was in hers, they had to find other people to find each other. He told his friends he'd see them later and then left for the library.
Addy was waiting for him just outside the door. Clearly she didn't want to study. In fact, she looked a bit apprehensive. Remus gave her a kiss and she gestured for him to follow.
They walked for a few minutes before Addy said anything. “Remus, how did you decide what you wanted to do with your life?”
On the list of things Remus had thought might have been on Addy's mind, that was not one of them. “Er...” He couldn't exactly tell her that his list of possible careers was impossibly short.
Addy didn't seem to pay attention to his stammering. “There are career pamphlets all over the common room and we're supposed to have career advice with Flitwick next week. I don't know what to do. I don't want to decide my life right now.”
“You don't have to,” Remus assured her. “I didn't figure out what I wanted to do until a few weeks ago.”
“But everyone I know already knows what they're going to do,” Addy said.
“Or so they say. Things change, Addy. Look at Lily. She thought she had everything figured out and now she's got a completely different plan.”
“But I don't even have one plan.”
“What do you like to do?” Remus asked. “Think about that and then see if you can make a career of it.”
They continued walking while Addy thought. “I guess I like experimenting. Spells, potions, that sort of thing. Not that I'm any good at potions.”
“So brewer is off the list?”
Addy laughed. “Very much.”
“You can get into research, if you want,” Remus explained. “Charms research or something. I bet Flitwick would know a lot about that.”
“Maybe,” Addy said. “But how did you decide? Your tutoring thing. How did you even come up with that? There weren't any pamphlets on that.”
“McGonagall and Banks suggested it,” Remus said. “Remember what I told you last month? About the illness I've got and how I can't be an Auror because of it? I also can't do most of the careers that the teachers suggest.”
“But that's not right,” Addy said.
Remus shrugged. “Not really, but it's the truth and I've got to live with it. Anyway, what I really always wanted to do was teach. But there aren't exactly many openings for teachers at Hogwarts-”
“Except for Defense Against the Dark Arts positions,” Addy said with a chuckle. “But don't do that, because I don't want you to die.”
Never mind the fact that he'd never get hired for that, Remus thought. “I won't. And we haven't had one die in about five years.”
“Still, it's too risky,” Addy said. “So you're going to tutor kids?”
Remus nodded. “I'm going to try, anyway.”
“I never had a tutor. I went to Muggle school.”
“My mum taught me. But Sirius and James both had tutors.”
“You must think I'm insane,” Addy said, “freaking out about this now when I've got two years of Hogwarts left.”
Remus smiled, more to himself than to Addy. He still remembered the sleepless nights in April in fifth year, trying to figure out his own life and what to tell McGonagall during his career advice. “I don't think you're insane.”
“I think I will ask Flitwick about charms research. That's a really good idea.”
“You'd be good at it,” Remus replied. “You'd be good at anything.”
“So would you, Remus,” Addy said quietly. “I wish you could do anything.”
“Me, too,” Remus said.
“Do you think it's possible to study too much?” Sirius asked.
Remus, James, Sirius, Peter, Lily, and Alice were the only remaining people in the common room. It was nearly one in the morning on a Tuesday night and the six of them had been studying all evening, and now well into the night. But no one had made any move to go to bed.
“Yes,” Lily said. “But I don't think you're in danger of reaching that point.”
“I feel like my brain is leaking out of my ears,” Sirius muttered. “Do you think we're going to have to study a lot in the Auror Academy?”
Alice burst out laughing. “Are you kidding? Of course we are. Frank says that N.E.W.T.s are a joke compared to what we'll have to learn next year.”
Sirius groaned. “And we thought O.W.L.s were hard.”
Remus heard a tapping at the window and turned around to see what it was. An owl was perched just outside, a letter clasped in its beak. “Are any of you expecting any post?” he asked as he opened the window.
“Nope,” Sirius said as the owl flew inside.
“That's my mum's owl,” Peter said, setting down his quill.
The owl landed on top of Peter's Charms book and dropped the letter. Peter gave the owl a quick pat on the head and then opened the envelope. His eyes scanned the page and his face became progressively more pale as he did so, until he finally dropped the letter.
Peter's eyes were huge. He pushed away from the table, spilling his bottle of ink as he did so, and ran up to the dormitory.
Remus swallowed hard and picked up the letter while Alice cleaned up the ink. Nobody said a word as Remus read it to himself. Sirius and James peered over his shoulders as he read. The ink was smudged with what looked like tears.
Your father never came home from work
yesterday. I didn't tell you then
because I didn't want to worry you, but
now I've received word. He's been
captured by You-Know-Who and his
followers. They took Dad and one other
wizard from the Prophet.
I don't want to worry you, but I wanted
to tell you. Stay in school. I don't
want you to sacrifice your studies.
“Holy shit,” Sirius whispered.
“What is it?” Lily asked anxiously.
“His dad's been kidnapped by Voldemort,” Remus said quietly.
The door leading to the dormitories opened and Peter stood in the doorway, his entire body trembling. He had an overnight bag hanging off his left shoulder and he was wearing his cloak.
“I'm leaving,” he said. “I'm going home.”
“Peter,” Remus said, getting up.
“You read the letter,” Peter said. “I don't want you to tell me I shouldn't go because I have to. I can't sit here in school and do nothing. Now this is personal.”
“We're not going to tell you that,” James said, rising. “We're going straight to Dumbledore. He'll want to know about this, if he doesn't already.”
Sirius closed his book and picked the letter up off the table. “C'mon. We'll go tell him now. It doesn't matter if it's the middle of the night.”
“It's past curfew,” Peter began. “I don't want you getting in trouble.”
“I'm Head Boy, Pete,” James said. “None of us are getting in trouble.”
Remus, James, and Sirius flanked Peter as they left the common room and walked to Dumbledore's study. No one said a word, because there was nothing to say. Nothing any of them could say would bring find Peter's dad and bring him home, alive and safe. Peter was right. This was now personal.
James gave the password to the stone gargoyle guarding Dumbledore's study and the four boys rode the circular staircase until they reached the top. Remus was unsurprised to hear voices coming from the study and had a weird feeling that Dumbledore already knew about Peter's father.
The door opened before any of them knocked. A man with a very scarred face and a very strange looking eye answered. He glared at them and blocked their entrance.
“It's fine, Mad-Eye,” Dumbledore said from somewhere in the study. “I've been expecting them.”
Mad-Eye, Remus thought. That was an appropriate nickname. Mad-Eye stepped aside and Remus noticed that he walked with a very noticeable limp, one even more obvious than Remus's own.
“They're students, Albus,” Mad-Eye grumbled.
“Yes, they're the same students I've entrusted with guarding the castle and Hogsmeade,” Dumbledore explained. “And this one-” Dumbledore strode over to the group and gestured to Peter “-is Thomas Pettigrew's son.”
“Oh,” Mad-Eye muttered. He turned to Sirius, who'd been the last to step in. “I see. Two Auror hopefuls, as well. I remember you. You're the Black who's turned your back on your family.”
“Yes, sir,” Sirius said.
Realization suddenly dawned on Remus. This was Alastor “Mad-Eye” Moody, the Head of the Auror Department.
“Peter,” Dumbledore said quietly. “I assume your mother has told you?”
Peter nodded. Remus glanced at him. It looked like he was trying very hard not to cry.
“I want to assure you that we are doing everything we can to locate your father and his coworker,” Dumbledore said. “Mad-Eye is in charge of the search and there is no one better qualified for the task.”
“Constant vigilance,” Mad-Eye said gruffly. “We'll find him.”
“But why?” Peter asked, sitting down in the nearest chair and putting his head in his hands. He rubbed his face and then looked up again. “Why my dad? He's not even fighting against You-Know-Who.”
Dumbledore strode over to Peter and sat down next to him. “Peter, your father may not be actively fighting against Lord Voldemort, but he is most certainly fighting against him-”
“Your father is not physically fighting Voldemort. He does not fight like Alastor does or any of the other Aurors, but he does fight. Your father, as a fact checker for the Daily Prophet, works to make sure the paper tells an accurate story of what is facing our world.
“Lord Voldemort's campaign runs on fear. He hopes that through fear he will be able to convince people that his way is the right way, when it is far from it. Fear stems from ignorance, especially in the case of what is happening right now. Your father works to make sure the wizarding world is informed, and correctly informed at that. Most of the public gets their information from the Prophet, so in essence, your father is shaping the way the public views Voldemort and what they think. It's a very powerful position. Voldemort recognizes this and by kidnapping your father he is hoping to stop the truth from being published. He fears what your father will discover.”
Peter nodded. “But it's still not fair.”
Dumbledore sighed. “No, it's far from fair.”
“I'm going home,” Peter said, standing up. “I don't care that my mum doesn't want me home.”
“For one week, Peter,” Dumbledore said quietly. “You may go home for one week. I understand the need to be with your mother. But after that I expect you back here. Your father will not benefit from you failing your N.E.W.T.s.”
Peter nodded and accepted the Floo Powder Dumbledore offered him. Without a glance back at Remus, Sirius, and James, Peter stepped into the fire and disappeared in a flash of green.
“You three ought to get back to Gryffindor,” Dumbledore said after the flames died down. “If you hear anything else about Mr. Pettigrew or anything at all, please tell me immediately.”
The boys nodded and left the study. They didn't speak until they returned to the common room, where Lily and Alice were waiting. James told them what happened and then all five of them went to bed.
Remus laid awake for hours thinking about Peter and his dad. Suddenly the war, which had seemed grave before, seemed even more grave now. It was affecting them all personally. No longer were the people kidnapped and killed mere names on a page. This was Peter's father. Peter, the boy Remus had known since they were eleven. And the worst part was that there was absolutely nothing Remus could do to help him.
By the end of breakfast the following day the entire castle knew that Peter's dad had been kidnapped by Death Eaters. Remus was very glad that Peter had elected to go home since every single student was talking about it and more than just a few asked Remus, Sirius, and James for extra information, which none of them had.
The disappearance had been given a front page article in the Prophet, which was no surprise. Anything related to Voldemort was usually given front page status, and this time Daily Prophet employees were the ones to disappear. Remus read James's copy of the paper over breakfast, but he found he had little appetite.
DAILY PROPHET FACT CHECKERS KIDNAPPED
Two Daily Prophet employees disappeared
late Wednesday night. The disappearances
were confirmed as Death Eater kidnappings
Thursday afternoon, when Chief Editor of
the Prophet, Bertrand Michaels received a
ransom note, allegedly from You-Know-Who
The employees, Thomas Pettigrew and Eli
Rosenburg are the Prophet's only two fact
checkers. They work behind the scenes to
make sure that every article is factual,
prior to printing.
Head Auror Alastor Moody wishes to
ensure the public that he and his entire
department are doing all they can to ensure
the safe return of Pettigrew and Rosenburg.
Moody also reminds the public to maintain
Prior to this kidnapping, none of You-Know-
Who's killings and kidanppings have resulted
in direct contact from You-know-Who himself.
While the Auror Department is not releasing
the ransom note, they have confirmed that
by capturing two fact checkers, You-know-Who
is making a statement against public knowledge
of the truth.
“Just like Dumbledore said,” Remus muttered, after setting the paper down.
“Nothing gets past him,” James added, glancing up at the staff table. “Bet he'll be gone until Wormtail's dad is found.”
“Do you think they'll find him?” Remus asked quietly. “They haven't found any of the other people who have disappeared. At least not while they've been alive.”
“I don't know. But this is the first time Voldemort has sent a ransom note.”
“I wonder what he wants,” Sirius said. “They didn't put that in the Prophet.”
“They won't,” James said. “It'll be classified, like the rest of the note.”
Remus nodded, but didn't say anything. Neither did Sirius. None of them had to say anything because they were all thinking the same thing. Despite James's pointing out that this disappearance was different from the others, things looked grim for Peter's dad.
A/N: Thanks for all the lovely reviews! It's nearly November, which means it's time for NaNoWriMo! I'll be participating this year, which means I won't be writing much fanfic in the next month, but I have all the chapters of this written, so I'll still be updating.
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