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Chapter 4 : The arrest
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Amazing CI by 365daysdone@TDA!
My mother once advised me to be careful not to fall for someone who would be able to break my heart one day. I was still very young at the time, but I remember her telling me to guard my heart charily and keep it a safe distance away from anyone with the ability to break it. But how was I to do that when the only ones with the power to break my heart were the ones who lived in it?
But when I met her, I started to understand what my mother had told me. I knew that she was right for me, because she would never hurt me. And she didn’t. She helped me guard my heart, and she treated it with tenderness, she cared for it like a mother cares for her child.
That was until that moment of that morning, when the words still hang in the air – that heartrending, cruel moment – when she turned around and looked at me.
There was a hint, a subtle trace, of fear in her eyes.
Summer was gone. The morning sun wasn’t warm on Teddy’s skin when he stepped outside, the lawn had lost its rich green colour, and the flowers didn’t stand quite as tall as they once had. The signs were small, but he noticed them: autumn was on its way. The realization made him sad – he loved the summers in Great Britain, but they had a way of rushing by so quickly that he barely had time to enjoy them.
Teddy glanced over his shoulder. Victoire was watching him through the kitchen window. She held Remus in her arms, and they both waved at him, smiling lovingly. Teddy felt horrible as he waved back. He felt like he was betraying them – normally he would have used the Floo Network to get to Dominique and Ben’s house, but he couldn’t. If he did, Vic and Remus would know where he was going, and Teddy had promised Bill that no one would know what he was up to until he was done. As a result, walking outside and apparating felt just like lying.
He tore his eyes away from his wife and son, turned away from their house while closing his eyes, and raised his wand. Within a few seconds, he had appeared out of thin air in front of another house. This one was bigger than theirs – it was painted in a dark grey tone, and it rose grandly from the open field that was Dominique and Ben’s ample garden. He had never actually done the maths, but Teddy suspected that it was about five times bigger than his and Victoire’s.
This was the house that had made Dominique slam their door open, rush in and cry with joy, because she had found her dream home. This was the house that Ben Howells had spent days and night to fix up in time, so that they would be able to move in directly after their wedding. This was the house that Teddy had helped them move into – he had hung paintings on the wall, assembled furniture and levitated heavy moving boxes up to the second floor. And here he was now, in front of that same house, ready to kick in the door and drag one of his best friends out of there, forcibly if necessary.
Instead of getting down to business, Teddy remained standing in front of the house, staring up at it as his mind wandered off. Suddenly, he found himself standing in front of the Shell Cottage instead, waiting alongside Victoire, Bill, Fleur and Louis to meet Dominique’s new boyfriend for the very first time. It was a cold day in the middle of November, and everyone shivered as the chilly winds blew in from the ocean and straight through their cloaks and scarves.
“I hope he’s better than that last bloke she brought home”, Louis said as he pulled his finger through his thick, blond hair. “He was a disaster. Do you remember what you said about him the first time you met him, Dad?”
“Yes”, his father answered, trying to hold back a grin. “But I don’t think you should repeat that in front of your mother!”
Fleur frowned. “You’d better behave yourself today, Bill”, she warned him.
Bill looked offended. “When do I not behave myself, honey? Teddy, back me up here, will you?”
Teddy, who was standing behind Victoire with his arms wrapped around her waist and his chin resting on the top of her head, chuckled and shrugged at his father-in-law. “I’m sorry, Bill”, he said. “But you can be quite intimidating when it comes to your children. Hell, I was terrified to pick Vicky up for our first date, and I’ve known you my whole life! I can’t imagine what the poor guy is thinking right now.”
Bill smiled, as if Teddy had just given him a compliment, and Fleur opened her mouth to say something again when a loud pop! announced that they were no longer alone. Teddy lifted his head. Dominique was walking in their direction, hand in hand with a tall, muscular man. He had short, dark brown hair and wore Muggle clothes – a pair of jeans and a plain shirt. He smiled confidently as he waved at them, and Teddy couldn’t help but be impressed. He didn’t seem scared at all.
“Hello!” Dominique said lightly. “Ben, this is my family. Everyone, meet Ben Howells! My father, Bill…”
“A pleasure to meet you, sir.”
“… And my mum, Fleur. And this little fellow is my baby brother, Louis.”
“Baby? Really?” said Louis unhappily. “Don’t listen to her, Ben, I’m actually 21 years old.”
“And these dimwits”, Dominique continued teasingly, “are my big sister and her husband – Victoire and Teddy.”
“Don’t mind her”, Victoire said as she shook Ben’s hand. “You know her, right? She’s quite dim herself, to be honest, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about!”
“And in case you were wondering”, Dominique said with a sugary smile, “Vicky isn’t really that fat. She’s just pregnant, that’s all.”
“Girls”, Fleur interrupted. “There’s no need to be mean to each other. Why don’t we step inside? It’s freezing out here, and I’ve just put on some tea that will warm us up.”
“Congratulations on the baby”, Ben told Victoire and Teddy, who beamed at him. “And tea sounds lovely, Mrs Weasley. It’s like you’ve read my mind.”
From that moment, Dominique’s family had loved her new boyfriend. A few weeks later he’d come with them to celebrate their cousin Molly’s birthday at the Burrow, and he had been accepted into the Weasley clan without hesitation. Of course, James and Freddie had had their doubts about him when they had discovered his lack of Quidditch talent, but he had solved the problem by offering to be the referee. As he passed them by on his way towards the Quidditch pitch in the back of the garden, Teddy had heard Rose lean in towards Dominique and whisper:
“Husband material, without a doubt.”
Dominique had snorted at this. “Just because you got married at eighteen, it doesn’t mean that everyone’s relationships are as serious as yours and Scorpius’.”
“Just wait and see”, Rose said and grinned. “I’m usually right about these things, you know.”
Teddy woke up from his thoughts. He had reached Ben and Dom’s front door, and without hesitating any further, he lifted his hand and knocked on it twice. It took a few minutes before it was flung open, and a brown-haired man dressed in nothing but a pair of boxers stuck his head out with a surprised smile on his face.
“Teddy!” Ben said. “Always a pleasure.”
“Well, don’t bite your arm off”, Teddy told him. “I’m not here to…”
He was interrupted when a woman pushed Ben aside and stood in the doorway with her arms crossed over her chest. Dominique’s reaction wasn’t quite as joyful as her husband’s had been. “Blimey, Teddy. What in the name of Merlin are you doing here at 7 a.m.? Shouldn’t you be at work, anyway?”
Teddy hesitated for a moment before he answered. “Actually, this is work. I didn’t stop by to just say good morning. I’m on a mission.”
“A mission that brings you to my house?” Dominique furrowed her eyebrows. “Can’t it wait until decent hours?”
Ben laughed at this as he put his arm around his wife’s shoulder.
“Don’t take it personally, mate”, he told Teddy. “You know that she’s a joy in the morning before she’s had her tea, right?”
Teddy neither laughed nor responded. Instead, he took a step inside, closed the door behind him and turned to his sister- and brother-in-law with a serious look on his face.
“Wow”, Dominique said. “And you think I’m grumpy in the morning. Just look at that face, Ben!”
“I know, it’s like he-“
“Listen”, Teddy interrupted. “Can we just sit down? There’s something I must explain to you.”
The smile faded from Dominique’s face as her eyes met his. “It’s not… I mean, is everyone okay? It’s not Uncle Harry, is it? Has something happened to him?”
“No, everyone is fine”, Teddy said quickly. Except for you, he thought to himself, and maybe except for me too. Because I’m about to arrest your husband, since he may or may not murder you somewhere in the near future.
After turning down Dom’s offer to have breakfast with them, he joined them at the kitchen table. It was like torture, watching them prepare their sandwiches and pour oatmeal onto their plates, as if it was just another day. Teddy wondered if they would ever be able to forgive him for what he was about to do to them.
“Spill it”, Dominique exhorted. “We’re dying to know what’s going on.”
Teddy didn’t know if she was being sarcastic or not, but he decided that it didn’t really matter. She was right – he just had to get it over with. He could try to delay it for as long as possible, but there was no point. He’d still have to do it.
“I have come here”, he began, without meeting their eyes, “to arrest you.”
Dominique spat out her pumpkin juice. “To arrest us? For what?”
Teddy lifted his head. “No”, he said. “Not you.”
His eyes flew over to Ben, who had stopped in the middle of the movement. He was balancing a spoon full of oatmeal in the air, and his eyes, which were fixed on Teddy, were widened in shock.
“Me? What have I done wrong?”
“Look”, Teddy said. “I know this is going to sound like madness to you, but you have to hear me out. This is about Barrett. You know who he is, don’t you?”
“Everyone in this country knows who he is”, Dom said harshly. “The Daily Prophet are obsessed with him, you’d have to be illiterate not to know of him.”
There was a rough tone in her voice, as if she was struggling not to pull out her wand and hex him, or at least yell something inappropriately mean at him. Teddy gulped. She was only going to get angrier when he explained what was really going on.
“He felt like he had to do something drastic in order to ensure his job”, he continued. “So he hired a Seer. To predict future crimes…”
Ben furrowed his eyebrows – he still had no idea what Teddy was talking about. Dominique, on the other hand, pushed her chair back and rose to her feet with a furious look on her face.
“You can’t be serious, Teddy. You’re here to arrest him”, she flung out her arm towards her husband, “because of what some crazy old lady tells you she saw in a crystal ball?”
And then it dawned upon Ben, whose eyes were now so widened that they looked like they were going to come out of their sockets. He shook his head vigorously, and he didn’t seem to able to decide on whether he should go over and punch Teddy in the face, or if he should leap towards the back door and run. Teddy opened his mouth again.
“Listen”, he said. “I know it sounds absolutely insane, but you have to come with me. We’ll work it out somehow, but first, you have to come with me to the Ministry.”
“Teddy”, Dominique began, but Teddy interrupted her.
“I have to do it”, he insisted. “It’s my job, and I have to bring you there.”
“Well, here’s a suggestion”, Ben answered. “Go back to that boss of yours and tell him you botched it up, and I got away. I can go into hiding for a couple of days while you straighten things out…”
“I can’t do that. This is not just about my boss, Ben. I have to do it, because…”
But he couldn’t bring himself to continue. Dominique’s eyes narrowed as she sat back down, leaned over the table and grabbed Teddy’s arm.
“What is it?” she asked. “The crime. What is it that you think he’s going to do?”
Teddy took a deep breath. It had come. The moment that he had been dreading had come, and there was no way to escape from it. He had no choice but to look into their eyes and just tell them.
“Murder. She saw him murdering you, Dom.”
For a fraction of a second, Teddy could have sworn that his sister-in-law looked terrified. But before he could take a second look at her face, her expression changed from fear to fury, and she pulled out her wand and pointed it straight at Teddy’s chest.
“You’re barmy. You’re completely mad, Teddy. You’re not allowed to come into my house and accuse my husband of something so utterly mental, do you hear me? I think you should leave now.”
Teddy held up his hands. “Dom, just listen…”
“Calm down”, said Ben quietly. “You don’t want to give him a reason to arrest you too, do you?”
Dominique breathed heavily when she lowered her hand. “I won’t give you the satisfaction”, she told Teddy. “But you are barmy if you think that Ben would ever hurt me. You know him – I know him.”
“Dom”, Teddy said. “I’m not saying that I believe it. But I made a promise, and I have to take you with me, Ben. You can either come willingly, or I’ll duel you. The choice is yours.”
“So you made a promise to Barrett”, Dominique said. “We all agree that he can go to hell, right? Refuse to do it!”
“I can’t”, Teddy said. “This isn’t about Barrett, Dom, it’s about your dad. He made me promise to do it.”
A few seconds of dead silence followed. Then, Dom pushed back her chair again, stood up and started pacing through the room while cursing in French – a trait that all of Fleur’s children had inherited. Ben, who had frozen in the middle of a movement, seemed speechless. Teddy stood up.
“I know that this whole thing is absurd”, he said. “But it’s not like they can throw you in Azkaban for this, Ben. I’ve already talked to Uncle Harry, and he’s at the Ministry today to talk to some people about Barrett and his madness. I just need you to come with me now, while we get this thing sorted out. You’ll probably be free to go by tomorrow, but you have to cooperate…”
“Okay”, Ben said. “I’ll go with you.”
A few minutes later, after having convinced Dominique that it was the best solution for the time being, Ben and Teddy left the Howells property to apparate to the Ministry of Magic. Teddy could feel Ben stiffen when he grabbed his arm and lead him to the elevator and then through the corridors of the Auror Department. They stopped outside the Head Office, and the door was burst open before Teddy had even knocked on it.
An old woman was standing on the other side of the door. Wisps of long, white hair covered parts of her pale, wrinkled face, and she winced at the two men waiting outside the office. She gasped for air as she took a few steps back and pressed her body against the opposite wall. Then, she raised a shaky finger and pointed it at Ben while hissing:
“It’s him. That’s the one!”
Walt Barrett smiled contently from where he sat at his desk in the middle of the room. “Well done, Maiandra”, he said. “You may leave now. Lupin, bring him inside.”
The old woman, Maiandra, held her breath as Teddy and Ben passed her by. As soon as she was out of their reach, she exhaled and hurried through the room as quickly as her unsteady knees allowed. When she closed the door behind her, both Teddy and Ben turned their attention to the middle-aged man sitting behind the desk, still with a smirk on his face.
“Well done, Lupin”, he said. “Ben Howells… I assume that Lupin here has filled you in on our little… situation?”
Ben clenched his jaws together. “Yes.”
“I see that you didn’t need to chain him, Lupin. Good. I prefer a criminal who comes willingly – it proves that he knows he deserves what he’s getting.”
Ben opened his mouth, but Teddy coughed loudly and shot him a dark look. Don’t.
“Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to talk today”, Barrett continued. “Lupin, go lock him up. I want you to hand in your report before you go home this afternoon. Howells… we’ll see each other again tomorrow.”
When Teddy and Ben left the office, Ben looked like he was going to explode. “I swear, if they hadn’t confiscated my wand when we came here…”
Teddy hushed. “Don’t say anything that they can use against you, Ben. You never know who’s listening. Look, I’m going to take you to the gaol. I’ll talk to Harry tonight, and then I’ll see you tomorrow. Okay?”
Ben turned his head and looked at him. His grey eyes were empty when he nodded. “Whatever you say, Teddy.”
Hours later, when the sun was setting and Teddy had returned home, his head was aching. He wanted to go back to work and release Ben straight away, but he had to make sure that Dominique was safe from him. On the other hand, he also had to make sure that Ben was safe from Barrett. It seemed like there was no right thing to do in this matter.
He looked up. Victoire had entered the living room. She looked as beautiful as ever, with her long, silver blonde hair in a ponytail and dressed in a simple, white top and jeans.
“I just put Remus down”, she said. “I think he’d like to say goodnight to his father too.”
Teddy folded the letter he had been reading, put it in its envelope and stood up to go over to Remus’ room. On his way past Victoire, he hesitated. He hadn’t been able to bring himself to tell her about Ben or Dominique or what he had been doing that day, and he felt a twinge of guilt inside when she smiled warmly at him. He opened his mouth to say something, but she beat him to it.
“Go on”, she said. “Before he falls asleep.”
The only source of light in Remus’ bedroom was his night lamp, which was in the shape of a dragon. Remus loved it – he had named it Tonks, and lately he had refused to go to sleep unless Teddy or Victoire told him a story about it. Teddy loved it too. It shifted colours every night – this night it was turquoise – and it reminded him of his mother in more than one way. It had been Harry and Ginny’s gift to them on the day Remus was born.
Remus’ voice was so tiny, so light. Teddy walked over to his bed, knelt down beside it and placed a kiss on his son’s forehead. Remus opened his big, blue eyes and smiled at him.
“Do you know what Tonks did tonight?” he whispered.
“No, buddy, I don’t.”
“He was at Hogwarts”, said Remus excitedly. “It was a big contest, and Uncle Harry had to fight Tonks to win! But they didn’t get hurt!”
“Good”, Teddy said and smiled. “You can tell me more about it in the morning. It’s getting late, and you’ve got to go to sleep.”
“Okay, Daddy”, Remus said. He stretched his neck and placed a kiss on Teddy’s cheek. “Goodnight.”
“Goodnight. Sweet dreams.”
Teddy rose to his feet. When he reached the door, he stopped and turned around to look at his little boy, who had curled up under his blanket and was peeking at his dad through his eyelids.
“I mean it”, Teddy warned him. “You have to go to sleep.”
Remus closed his eyes. Teddy leaned against the doorjamb and sighed. He understood where Bill was coming from. Suddenly, he was sure that he had done the right thing. How could he have done anything else than what Bill asked of him, when it could have been Remus instead of Dominique? Yes, he thought as he closed the door to Remus’ bedroom. This was the only right thing to do.
A/N: If you'd take a minute and leave a review, I would really appreciate it! I'd love to know what you think about this story!
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