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Chapter 25 : A Walk in the World
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The killing curse flames spat them out into a small bare room. The dusty walls and the worn wooden floors looked oddly familiar, although Dubhán couldn't say he had been here before. There were no chairs, no trinkets to occupy the shelves. There was a set of books on a tiny table. Basics of Healing, Warding Oneself, How to Apply a Quick Glamour, and an old worn puzzle book. He frowned. Through the next door he could spy a cot with dingy blankets.
"What's your plan, Harry?" Hermione asked, saving Dubhán from needing to ask Potter the same. He could sense that Potter wasn't exactly pleased with him.
"Can you tell my wife that we're both alive?" He asked, his back still turned on them all, his wand being tucked meticulously back into it's holster. Dubhán was sharply aware of the wand that he lacked.
"Yeah, sure Harry," Hermione said quietly. She came up behind him to lay a hand on his shoulder. Dubhán watched, almost as perplexed by comfort as he was by love, except he thought if he watched enough, he might actually be able to to get good at comforting. "We can still fix this, Harry. We can play this card - I'll come talk to you tonight. Where shall I tell Alex you've gone?"
"For a walk," Harry said. Dubhán knew they had been speaking about him - speaking as if he had messed this whole thing up when he had won this thing for them.
He felt anger and humiliation burn in his stomach.
"Alright," she said, and she turned and left through the green flames.
Now he was alone with Potter.
"Zip your coat up, Devlin," Potter said, his voice too-soft, a sigh at the edge of the utterance. Dubhán did not move. Potter had been withdrawing his wand and Dubhán had eyes only for the magic stick.
Finally, Potter turned around. He looked him over and his face flushed with fluster.
"Devlin - all I asked was you-" and then Potter's eyes came down to his own wand, in his hands, held firmly between his fingers, and those green eyes rose sharply to his face once more, the fluster gone and something Dubhán thought was a soft sort of apprehensive horror there instead. Dubhán did not understand. His eyes flickered back to the wand.
"Devlin..." He said, his brow furrowing. "I wasn't - please tell me - never mind - don't tell me." He ran a hand through his hair. Dubhán's eyes stayed on the wand. When a man acted strangely, that's where ones eyes belonged - on their wand. On the thing that could hurt you. On the danger.
"We're going for a walk," Potter said finally, as if convincing himself to a course of action. "I'm putting a tracking and restriction charm on you. That's all my wand is going to do. Then I'll tuck it away."
How odd. Was Potter trying to calm him? Sometimes Dubhán was plainly and painfully surprised by how easily Potter read him. Sometimes it made Dubhán realize how awkwardly he behaved out here. In the camp he had felt perfectly normal.
No sooner had Potter said the words than had the charms been cast. Dubhán's skin prickled. His scalp itched - just for a moment - and then all the odd sensations were gone.
"Zip your coat up - it's cold outside."
Dubhán did as he was told. He did not have a wand. Potter eyed him oddly and Dubhán thought there was no real pleasing this man - if he didn't move the man saw his worry, if he did as he was told the man looked as if he shouldn't have reacted so readily.
"Where are we walking?" Dubhán ventured to ask, trying to gauge Potter's anger with him. He did not feel badly for what he had done - he had come out of it triumphant. Nevertheless, Potter had the wand and he did not.
"I donno," Potter said. "Just a walk. We've never done that before. Not even when you were small."
Potter cast his hands into his pockets and opened the front door of the house. Except, it wasn't a front door at all. The door led into a hallway and the hallway led into many more doors, each the same color as the one they had exited. Dubhán held his questions. Potter led them to a pair of shiny metal doors and Dubhán thought that they would be the front doors that led into the fresh outdoor air, but instead they slid open, almost silently, to show a small room that couldn't fit more than three men across the back.
Dubhán eyed the space nervously. There were no other doors. It seemed like a cage. Potter was holding the door open for him, looking expectant. Dubhán did not move. If he moved, he would enter first. If he entered first, there was a possibility (silly as it seemed when he thought of Potter's usual 'I love you' mantra) that Potter wouldn't enter but would lock him in there. He had been locked in small spaces before.
"Never seen an elevator before, huh?" Potter wagered, nodding to himself. He stepped in, his hand still on the door. "Well, come on. It's like muggle magic."
Dubhán stepped inside, but only because Potter was there first. The great thick metal doors closed behind him and he turned to face them. He could see himself in them. He could see himself everywhere in the small room since it was lined with mirrors. Potter was busy pressing a circular shape that lit up under his finger.
"Relax," Potter said, and Dubhán might have, if the cage hadn't given a jerk the next moment. "It's going down," Potter said to him - soothing.
"It is what?" He finally asked. "How is it going down? Are we falling?" There was a disconcerting pressure by his ears, a slight sound that made him sure they were - slowly but surely - falling.
"We're on a rope, we won't fall. I don't really understand completely how it works-"
"You're in a cage that is falling and you don't completely understand why we're not going to die?"
Potter smiled. A moment later the metal doors opened. Dubhán jumped out and nothing Potter said about it being the wrong floor - despite the awkward stares of two girls waiting on the floor - could get him back inside.
"Fine, it's only two flights. We'll use the stairs."
Dubhán nodded in approval. The girls giggled as the doors closed on them. Foolish, Dubhán thought.
It took them a short bit to get down the stairs and then Potter pushed open a large metal door and finally, Dubhán could see outside. It was through a long pane of glass, but he could see it and that made sense to him. He stepped onto the carpet. Potter headed to the front door - the true one obviously - and Dubhán followed.
It was raining outside. Dubhán did not mind. The rain was freezing and despite his shrug, Potter put a water repelling charm on him. Dubhán sort of missed the bite of the freezing rain, but did not say a word to the wanded man.
The streets were crowded and Dubhán had to duck more than a couple poorly held umbrellas. Not that he knew what they were called until Potter told him. There were cars on every inch of the road. Dubhán had only ever seen a couple in his time with Voldemort, but he knew the word and the shape from before. Like the white of muggle paper, or the idea of a muggle gun - there were things that had stuck with him.
"This way," Potter said, and gave him a little tug. They turned the corner. Buildings rose high above him. He wondered if this was what Hogwarts was like - tall and imposing. His feet carved a pattern on the rough stone beneath him and he marveled at it all. He had grown up surrounded by tents and wizarding space charms, lavish on the inside, plain on the outside. He was hit in the moment by how big the world really was.
Noises and movements and chaos and cacophony reigned around him. He gave a pause in his footing. The unpredictableness of it hit him. Suddenly it wasn't all marvelous. He was reminded of that day, when he had been seven and the wards had shattered like glass. Run!Geoffrey had said and Geoffrey had told him to climb that day, even though he and Grandfather had forbidden it before. It had been that day that had secured Potter's ability to get him at all, he thought and wasn't sure if the thought came with a bite of viciousness or with a certain sense of welcome.
He could still remember the frigidness of the wind across his wet face and the way his hands had clung to the tree like the whole world was about to crumble around him. Voldemort had found him. It had been him, the monster as Potter liked to say, who had coaxed him down with soft words and assurances that it was safe. Voldemort who had levitated himself and brought Dubhán against his chest to bring him gently to the ground. Voldemort who had wiped at his face wordlessly and held his hand as they walked back to camp.
Voldemort who had sat with him that night next to his bed, telling him tales of Hogwarts and wands and boys who could do anything. Voldemort who had looked at him that night and seen more than a prisoner. Voldemort the monster, the kidnapper, the mad-man, who had lifted his wand and removed Dubhán's invisible 'chains' so that if the white-robed men came again, someone like Geoffrey would be able to do more than tell him to run.
Someday you won't be afraid, he had said with an odd sort of patience at the edges of his voice. Someday you will realize that you have nothing to fear. Fear is for lesser beings than you and I. Fear is for people who cannot protect themselves.
Dubhán had secured his semi-freedom that night, because he hadn't run away. Voldemort had thought him loyal. Dubhán had never dared to breathe a word about how terrified he had been - about the fact that running away had never even occurred to him. After a while, he had come to believe he hadn't run away because he was loyal, too.
It had been only a few months after that that Voldemort had given him his wand for his birthday.
You aren't a boy full of fear anymore, he had said as Dubhán had held the wand, the feel of magic rushing in his blood. Now you are a boy who can make the fear run away. A boy who is on his way to doing anything. A boy of who will be great.
Once that wand was in his hands he really and truly wasn't that boy - he was Dubhán. He would be great one day. He had thrown himself into the tutoring that had come with the wand; living, breathing, sleeping everything they would throw at him because deep down he had still been afraid. He had needed to make the fear run away.
It had also been then that Voldemort had commissioned the tutor to teach him how to become a wolf. Glamours would be beyond a boy, the tutor had reasoned of Voldemort's request, while Dubhán had sat silently on the sofa, but if what you say of the boy is true - maybe he would have half a chance of learning how to become an Animagus. Beasts often find it easier.
Suddenly, Potter pulled him to the side away from a lady with a baby sitting in a wheeled-chair, as she uttered a 'thank you' for Dubhán's removal from her path. The tall buildings loomed above them, the narrow walking path, the streets full of cars - and suddenly the trees and tents and dirt disappeared from his mind.
"Come on, this way," Potter said, and took them down a side-street. It was quieter here, less hurried. "You alright?"
"I was just thinking of something," Dubhán said, but then he pushed his lips together. Sometimes he startled himself with how easy it would be for words to fall off his tongue and into the air and over to Potter's ears. But only Potter's. He had never felt such a want to tell someone else all of his secrets.
Potter's eyes shimmered at him, full of that love, and Dubhán felt his lips quiver - wanting to pull apart and let the secrets out. He bit his tongue.
"Are you hungry?"
He was a boy. He was growing. He was always hungry. At least, these were the three things Geoffrey would say to him when he snuck into the kitchens at all hours. The cooks would laugh nervously.
"Yes," he said.
Potter found a place furnished in dark woods and lighted with warm yellow lights. "A pub," he called it. Potter led them to a 'booth' and Dubhán settled his backpack down gently beside him on the seat. Inside the bag, at the very bottom was the book.
Potter ordered beer and a 'burger' and when Dubhán looked at him helplessly he ordered him a 'coke' and burger for him as well - 'as rare as the cook will make it' he said. The lady who had been writing the order down nodded, smiled, and walked away. Dubhán looked around him. The bench was tall and unpadded and his legs dangled off the edge. They had been sat by a window and Dubhán watched for a moment as people went by in the rain - wet and cold or under the protection of an umbrella.
"Is this a muggle place?" He asked.
"Do they make sugary things, too?" He asked and Potter looked at him oddly for a moment, then leaned across the table.
"Did you inherit Alexandra's sweet tooth?" He asked, examining him as if he could tell by his looks.
"I don't think so," Dubhán said seriously. "I was just wondering if they made something specific."
"You can ask the waitress," Harry offered, shrugging.
So, when she came to bring the 'burgers' he asked her.
"Do you sell cheese pastries?"
Potter was looking at him oddly.
"No dear, but there is a bakery around the corner and they make delicious ones."
"Thank you," Dubhán said and turned to the food. When Potter had served the Chinese Food before Dubhán had felt sick, and the feeling was creeping upon him once more. Muggle food.
"He was born in an orphanage, you know," Potter said, casually, around a bite of food. "A muggle one. They only serve muggle food. He's alive, obviously."
"I'm supposed to be different," Dubhán said uneasily, looking at the food. His stomach rumbled.
There was a pause as Potter finished his bite of burger.
"What do you mean? Not eating certain foods are supposed to make you different? I mean - burgers aren't something Alexandra would probably say I should eat every day but..."
"I'm supposed to be better. I'm not supposed to..." He shrugged with uncertainty. How did one express what Voldemort had told him when he didn't always even used words? It didn't even make entire sense to him, except that he knew what he was supposed to do. Doing and explaining were two different things. "He didn't know what he was. I'm supposed to know what I am."
"What are you, then?"
Sometimes Dubhán was hit by how casual Harry could act about things that were really very serious. How he could manage to sneak a conversation up on Dubhán that Dubhán wouldn't have agreed to have and make it seem like they were discussing the weather. He wondered if Potter didn't get the seriousness of the discussion, but then decided he must. Then he wondered if when Harry called Voldemort "Tom" if Voldemort called him "Harry"; did they have casual conversations as they tried to kill each other?
"I will be better and stronger."
And sometimes, Dubhán was hit by how he responded and engaged, despite realizing what Potter was doing.
"He was strong. All the teachers agree he was brilliant. How are you sure you'll be better?"
He shrugged. He picked up a pale yellow stick and put it in his mouth. It tasted like salt and potatoes. He tried to pull forward all those reasons Voldemort had given him over the years.
"I have a wand and I know about magic. I read books and I used to have tutors. If someone hurts me, I know how to make it stop. I have a bed and a room that's all mine. Those things...they're supposed to make me better."
There was an almost pained look on Potter's face and one of the pale line-cut potatoes was held limply in his hand. He clenched his jaw and nodded and Dubhán wondered what he had said to make the conversation end. Dubhán wondered about the importance of his words at all; mere things that Voldemort had said over the course of his time with him as reasons why Dubhán was different from himself.
"Want to try and find the bakery next?" Harry asked, swallowing another bite. Dubhán ate another pale stick-potato.
"Alright," he said.
"If I buy you a cheese pastry, will you tell me why you like them?"
Sometimes he found Potter to be such a perplexity. One moment he was sneaking a conversation upon Dubhán, the next he was laying it out, plain to see, between them.
"If you buy me three," he said, chewing another stick-potato. "And tell me why they showed me the pictures."
Potter twisted his lips.
"It's a good story," Dubhán said reasonably. "Not even Geoffrey can tell you - so don't think of cheating."
"Alright, deal," Potter said. "Try the burger."
It took them a bit to find the bakery. Potter said they had zigged when they should have zagged, so they went back and zagged the proper way. It was Dubhán who spotted the place, since he could smell it from half way down the block.
It was warm and dry inside, with cups of steaming coffee held between people's hands. Potter got them in line and when it was time, he pointed at the cheese pastries behind the glass (Dubhán was admittedly busy eying all the other varieties of pastries). Three of them were loaded into a bag and Potter handed over some paper.
Dubhán wanted to try another one as well - a pastry with a dollop of cherry inside, but didn't say anything. He didn't have any other information he could see giving away for the price.
They left into the rain again. Dubhán fished one of the pastries out of the bag. Potter sipped at some hot coffee.
"So," Potter said. "Why do you like cheese pastries?"
"I hope I'm half as good at telling real stories as lies," Dubhán said, around a bite. He smiled at the taste. Potter kept his face carefully unresponsive. "When I was well he moved me to a different room. Before that room I hadn't even been able to get out of the bed. Then I was. One day I woke up and I could think and my body worked and I went to the door but it was locked." He paused to savor another bite. They were back by the pub. "I've always been good with locks."
Potter made a sound in the back of his throat and Dubhán had the decency to twist his lips. He knew they were both thinking of the very same thing; Dubhán did not like to think of that thing - the thing that made him think it was all his fault.
"I opened the door. He was in the living room at the desk, writing. I remember just standing there. I only had underwear on - why dress a boy who couldn't move, I supposed. He had looked up when he had gone to roll the parchment and seemed startled. Not angry, but surprised. He knew then that I was good with locks and he made them harder after that - he told me he would."
Potter's face was shadowed and thoughtful.
"The thing is, I never told him again that he hadn't made them hard enough and he didn't make them harder because even though I'm supposed to be better he never really acted like I could beat him. And then, when I was eight he called me to his study and he said "It is your birthday today". I hadn't had a birthday since I was six. I mean, I knew I was seven, because one day someone asked me and I said "six" and he gave me an odd look and said "you're seven" and so I knew it must have been my birthday. Then, when I turned eight, he had a box for me - all neatly wrapped. A wand. I put my fingers on it and I had never felt anything like that before. I had a wand."
They had gone past the pub and past the building they had exited from. He supposed Potter really was just "taking a walk" with him.
"I had always been good at undoing locks, but the first time I did it with my wand I realized how clumsy I had been with my hands. It was like the difference in running through a spiderweb and undoing it strand by strand and coming out with a whole bunch of thread that you could use to remake the lock."
He had tried to do that once, when a spider had taken residence up behind one of the tents and built the most intricate web he had ever seen. He hadn't had a wand back then. He thought he was probably six, but he supposed he could have been seven. He hadn't succeeded of course, but it had been a fine idea that had remained with him all this time.
He could feel that euphoric feeling filling him, just talking about it.
"So one day, I undid his wards. And I won't tell you how, but I did. Not that he would have known - I only undid enough for me to climb through. I ran though the forest and onto the muggle road and into the muggle town - past the playground and through the streets. It was daytime and there were cars and people and- I ducked into the first open store. A bakery. You know all about that. While she waited for the police she gave me a cheese pastry."
He finished the last bite.
Potter didn't say anything for a long time.
"You're better at telling stories than lies," he said finally.
"So tell me why they showed me pictures of dead people," Dubhán responded.
Potter's lip twisted.
"Because they thought maybe those people meant something to you."
"Voldemort wouldn't have known, even if they had." He had to believe that. Had to tell himself that Voldemort wouldn't have known he'd ever met that last man, because if Voldemort knew about that than he surely knew about the girl.
Potter frowned at him for a moment.
"Did you know them, Devlin?"
"You haven't finished telling me - that's just what they told me, but you know more."
Potter seemed to think for a moment if he should leave Dubhán's comment alone.
"They showed you because they think there is something they can do. They showed you because the newspaper has been writing about the attacks and it is only a matter of time until one of the notes attached to the bodies is leaked to the press. They showed you because they are terrified and looking frantically for any information. They showed you because they wanted to see your reaction - would you defend him? Would you tell them these were people you had seen? Would you be able to explain why he had kept them alive? When those messages are leaked, the wizarding world will want to know whyyou're still alive. So they showed you and they asked you - and it won't be the last time they do."
He hadn't expected Potter to reveal the majority of the truth.
"They're already dead," Dubhán said.
"What do you mean?"
What did he mean? The words had tumbled out of his mouth without much fore-thought.
"They're kept in cages," he said after a moment, "and they're dirty and sick and when you make one of them stand up, they just fall back down. They're breathing, but they're already dead."
Potter didn't say anything for a long time.
"Yes," Potter finally said.
"He only keeps interesting things alive and they're too dead to be interesting."
"You're very interesting."
"Thank you," Dubhán said. "I do try."
Silence fell between them and Dubhán was left to listen to the rush of cars to his left, the sound of doors opening and closing to his right, and the sound all around of him of peoples clumsy steps. Most people were talking into small little rectangles by their ears. He watched them for a bit.
"We need to talk about the meeting, Devlin," Potter said, with his shoulders rolled forward and his hands in his pockets. His hair was messy and wet, falling in disorganized clumps across his face. Dubhán could see a bit of the famous scar between wet strands.
"I thought you'd want to," Dubhán said, into the noise - indifferent.
"We need to talk, Devlin. This isn't just a want. We need to be on the same page."
"And what page is that?"
"That jab at the end - all that translated into for them was "I have seen the killing curse" and all that will mean is "who has he seen die?" and that's where we need to be on the same page. I was hoping we could make them be less curious."
Dubhán watched the cars go by.
Would Grandfather agree with Potter?
"Are we talking then?" His words were stiff - taunting, firm, and indifferent.
Potter shrugged, rolled his shoulders again, and scuffed at the stone beneath their feet.
"Not now. Not here. Tomorrow we will sit down with Hermione."
They walked some more. The sun was beginning it's slow decent - creating shadows around the large imposing structures - by the time they turned around.
They used the floo in the 'room' ("apartment or flat," Potter corrected), to travel to Sirius' house. There were probably only a select few fireplaces that Potter dared use to travel directly to the house.
The living room was empty at Sirius' house, but there were sounds in the kitchen, and Harry walked to the sounds like a small child might follow the scent of a baking cake. Dubhán was once more aware of how oddly he fit in; he felt no need to go toward the sounds of happy chatter and instead paused behind Potter, feeling the sharp awareness of being without a wand.
"I'm just going to say hello to Sirius," Potter said, warmly and then he was gone into the hallway and Dubhán was left in the living room. He could follow, he knew. Emma would probably have smiled and cheered "me too!" and followed excitedly in Potter's wake.
Dubhán frowned and turned to examine some of the books.
Books are always more preferable to people, Grandfather had often said. You read them like I did, as a boy.
Sometimes Dubhán wondered why Grandfather would speak to him about being a boy, but still hated being called Tom so very much.
"Hello, pup," Geoffrey said, a glass of pumpkin juice in his hands, leaning against the doorway.
"Geoffrey," Dubhán said politely. Snape's words rose unbidden into his mind, coloring his thoughts and his actions.
You have been kept weak. You have been subdued in your ability to help yourself.
Why would Snape bring up Geoffrey in an occlumency lesson, unless what Geoffrey had done and what Snape can do, were related.
"They said you had tea with the Minister," Geoffrey said reasonably. "Sirius and the werewolf shared a glass of wine when they heard you'd made it out...unchained."
"I knew I would be fine."
"Feeling as though you know what you can hardly know is foolish," Geoffrey warned, sipping at the drink.
"I knew. If I wouldn't be alright, he would have rescued me," Dubhán said, eyes flashing in defense.
Geoffrey didn't say anything, observing him carefully.
"Snape came to visit me," he said after a moment. "He wanted to talk about your head."
"It's fine, covered in handsome dark hair."
"He was more interested in what was inside of your head, actually. Something about damage or insanity," he waved a dismissive hand.
"I'm not," he said, sharp.
"Insane? No, no - you're not."
"I saw him too, you know," he replied steadily, with that cool and emotionless voice that Voldemort liked most. His lips were limp, his eyes slightly hooded, staring ahead with a sharp calculating regard. If I had any photographs, Voldemort would chuckle, you would see how much alike we look. "He told me you were keeping me weak. I can make things happen in my head, when he goes there."
Geoffrey frowned, just slightly.
"I did," Geoffrey said. Dubhán's neck stretched back, just barely, with his shock at the admittance. "The Dark Lord told me to keep you safe at all costs, Dubhán. I did. That meant even from him. It would have been dangerous if he knew you could hide things, just as it would have been dangerous if he saw those things - so I hid them for you."
Dubhán clenched his jaw.
This wasn't entirely true, he knew. Maybe Geoffrey thought it was. He still wasn't sure how Geoffrey had done it. It couldn't be that he had simply told Dubhán not to think about it - because Dubhán did that often enough to know it didn't work by itself. Afterall, Dubhán hadn't known it did work until recently and he frankly had his suspicions about who was the true hero of his secrets.
"I've done things he wouldn't like," Dubhán said, in that same expressionless way. "And I didn't go running to you then. And he doesn't know."
Geoffrey regarded him sharply.
"You mean the girl?" Geoffrey asked, taking another sip. He took a moment to put the cup down on a small table at the entrance of the room. Cool, collected and infuriatingly calm. "It would be very foolish to speak of that to him."
Dubhán felt his face go cold. His heart pounded in his head. How did Geoffrey know? Perhaps the man hadtold. And then, for some reason, he felt the need to point that he hadn't run to Geoffrey - he had told Potter.
"I told," Dubhán said angrily. "I told him. The man. He knows."
Geoffrey's brow furrowed.
"There are things you are not meant to tell, Dubhán," Geoffrey said, soft and warning, taking a step into the room. For a moment he didn't sound like a traitor. For a moment he was still the man who stood between Voldemort's wrath and his body. For a moment he was still the man who explained everything patiently about how to be like Grandfather wanted. For a moment, just long enough to draw in a breath, he was a Death Eater. "Ever."
Dubhán tilted his head and took his own step forward. He reached toward his wand, only to remember it wasn't there. A fear fell into his stomach, but he tried desperately to stop it before it reached his face. He sneered.
"Why?" The word sounded like a challenge. He clenched his jaw to keep the sneer in place.
Geoffrey had a look about his face that Dubhán recognized easily enough. It was the look he would wear when Dubhán was being foolish. You'll get yourself killed one day, he would whisper with that look on his face.
Another step. The werewolf was within reaching distance now.
"You're not a foolish boy, Dubhán," he said, soft and desperate. "Sometimes you are rash, but you are not foolish. Think."
Dubhán did not really need to think. The question had been rhetorical. He knew, without really knowing, that telling Potter those things, would be very, very dangerous. It wasn't so much that he feared Potter anymore, but there was an elusive shadowed danger that made his chest tighten and his heart beat frantically when he thought of anyone knowing those things.
"You're in the middle of something that's foolish to put a boy in the middle of," Geoffrey continued, staring at him with that particular look again. "You are a boy who has learned to be talented in the face of death. A boy. A boy whose loyalty will be shifted with fear and love and Merlin knows what else. You are only a boy; no matter what he liked to pretend."
Even now, scathing voice directed at Voldemort - talking about the Dark Lord as if he were a child himself, Geoffrey didn't seem like a traitor. Dubhán felt he was surely missing something. Something twisted and disfigured that his brain just didn't have the power to see in the shadows and comprehend. He didn't like the feeling.
"You kept me weak," he said, bringing the conversation back to what he knew. Geoffrey took a step back.
"You're safe with Potter," Geoffrey said smoothly, avoiding the accusation. "This is where you belong." Geoffrey looked at him significantly, like he wanted Dubhán to be realizing something. Dubhán scoured his brain and came up with the missing words - words Geoffrey had said to him the night he had tried to escape from Potter's house. Perhaps you belong to him, but this is where you belong.
"He will come get me."
Geoffrey glared at the challenge.
"Ask Potter what the Dark Lord does when he is uncertain."
And then Geoffrey was turning around, picking up his pumpkin juice easily and walking out of the room. He paused at the doorway.
"You did a good job keeping her secret," he said, begrudgingly. "When you feel death waiting for you, you have always been able to stop shaking long enough to live. But you forget things - like any boy would. You smelled like the prison cells in the morning."
Dubhán was left standing in the living room for a moment, anger ricocheting in his chest like ill-aimed bombs. Later he knew, the anger would subside. Later he would remember what this man had done for him. Later he would wonder at the warning. Right then, however the anger was there - hot and potent - and he had only a sneer for the traitor's back.
Potter came back a moment later, frowning.
"Are you alright?" He asked, glancing behind him. "Geoffrey looked like you'd had a row."
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