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Chapter 3 : Dumbledore's Plan
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The evening outside was dark and gloomy, like it had been ever since Voldemorts’ rise to power. The winter night’s had turned cold and since the clocks had gone back daylight was rare. James Potter hated this time of year, he really hated it. It made him feel more miserable, his temper became shorter and he yearned for those summer days he enjoyed so much. However, on this particular winter night, James was feeling eager. After countless nights being cooped inside his house, countless nights not having freedom; finally he and Lily had a glimmer of hope. Albus Dumbledore had apparently masterminded a plan that was designed to lure Voldemort into an open battle. He was waiting inside Willowy for his best friends Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. This led him to believe that they would be involved in some way. This is what he had been looking forward to since Lupin’s visit yesterday.
Lily joined him in the living room, holding Harry after his evening meal. He passed him over to James who took him gratefully and held his son carefully. He used his wand to make sparks to keep his son entertained. He put Harry onto the carpet. It seemed like yesterday he could barely crawl thought James as he watched Harry run around the living room chasing the light from James’ wand. Lily smiled as she surveyed the scene. She couldn’t wait for war to be over. She wanted to be able to spend some quality time with her husband and son and not have the spectre of Voldemort hanging over them all the time. She was interested in what Dumbledore had to say.
The time had reached 6pm and the fire erupted as Sirius clambered out of the small grate. He nodded towards both Lily and James and raced straight towards his Godson. Harry had lifted both his arms at the sight of Sirius and waited for the man to reach him. Sirius lifted the jet black haired boy under his arms and threw him in the air. Harry laughed loudly at his godfather. He always liked Sirius taking risks with him. He saw him as the dangerous and interesting adult, even at his young age.
“Be careful with him, Sirius”. Lily lightly reprimanded.
“He will be ok; kids are fearless at this age. He needs adventure. Don’t forget he’s been caged inside for months and he’s no doubt bored.” Sirius answered as he once again launched Harry into the air and then levitated him around the room with his wand. Harrys’ laughter was enough to convince Lily that he was thoroughly enjoying the game Sirius was playing with him. He slowly brought Harry back down to the ground and turned towards Lily and James. Harry was now hugging his leg.
“So this is it huh? This could be the beginning of the end. If this plan succeeds we could be free, if it fails then even the muggles are in trouble.” Sirius looked expectantly at his best friend.
“We will see” James paused “I don’t want to get my hopes up too much; this is Voldemort we are talking about.”
Just as Sirius was about to reply another man climbed out of the small opening.
“Remus, good to see you” James said simply and went over to hug his friend. Sirius joined him. Remus moved over to Lily and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He then went over to Harry and ruffled his hair. Harry made the gesture he normally made when Remus came over. Lupin chuckled and transformed into a red fox. He was roughly twice the size of a normal fox and seemed much more powerful. He lowered himself to the ground and the boy clambered on. The fox began to run around the room with the young child on top of him, giggling to himself. The others in the room were looking at the two fondly. The fox stopped when the fireplace erupted once more. Out strode Dumbledore looking impressive with the remnants of green flames surrounding him. Lupin let Harry off his fox back and transformed back into his human form.
“Welcome Albus” Lily said as she scooped up her son who was still laughing. “How long will the meeting take?”
“Long enough for Harry to be in bed, my dear” he replied with the implication to put Harry down for the night.
“I’ll do it” James quickly moved over to his wife and carried his son upstairs.
“So is it true Albus? Do we finally have a plan to draw Voldemort out into the open?” enquired Sirius.
“It seems so” and he inclined his head in response. “But first, we will wait for James before I relay everything.” The time was spent in silence, each person contemplating what this plan might involve. After a short amount of time, James’ footsteps were heard from the bedroom and he rejoined the rest of the group.
“Now we are all here, it is time to divulge everything the Order knows. I believe we have now put together a plan where Voldemort will risk himself in an open setting. We have to begin with explaining how we have managed to do this. Our informant has managed to lead a false trail to Voldemort himself, and to the best of my knowledge, he has been trusted and listened to. Let me explain everything.”
Two weeks ago – Hogwarts Castle – Order of Phoenix headquarters
Dumbledore paced his office like he had done so many times before. He was slightly more frantic in his movements this time though. He knew the importance of laying a false trail and knew that Voldemort would be suspicious if anything seemed slightly out of place. He had already seen the rat animagus around the castle and knew he was being followed; tonight he was going to put that to good use.
His office slowly started to fill with members of the order who were flooing in from various locations. Alastor Moody, Arthur Weasley, Molly Weasley,Sturgis Podmore, Minerva McGonagall, Dedalus Diggle, Frank and Alice Longbottom, Emmeline Vance, Elphias Doge, Aberforth Dumbledore, Rubeus Hagrid and others had arrived for the most important meeting in years, although none of them understood the significance. That would come later, Dumbledore told himself. Around him people were taking seats and making small conversation.
“Welcome, everyone” Dumbledore started the meeting. He glanced towards the bottom of the door and noticed a shadow scurry by the thin slither of light. He let a small smile flicker on his mouth. “My friends, we are here to discuss a matter of the gravest importance. All of us are aware to the danger of four of our members. Red, Padfoot and Prongs are all safely under the protection of the Fidelius and they could only be harmed through me. If Voldemort wants them, he needs me. I don’t think he is willing to try and meet me in a battle yet. Most say he still fears me.” Dumbledore hoped his gloating would get back to the Dark Lord.
“That is undoubtedly true” said a familiar thick Scottish accent “Even when he was at school, he was wary of you”.
“Thank you Minerva, most kind. I’m sure one day he will have to try and kill me, until then we wait for his next move. The Order however, has a big role to play and all of us need to meet on New Year’s Eve in Hogsmeade. We plot our next move.”
“Do you mean for the whole Order to be there?” Frank Longbottom spoke up from Dumbledore’s left hand side.
“Yes Frank, all of the Order, we shall meet in the shrieking shack. It is quiet and nobody will suspect a thing.”
“And what of our hidden four?” enquired Sturgis Podmore with raised eyebrows, “Surely you would not risk their lives as well?”
“They will be needed as well, it is imperative they be there. We need all our strength.” Dumbledore paused dramatically “We move on Voldemort himself on the 31st of December.”
There were gasps from around the room. Several members of the order shook their head in disbelief. Dumbledore heard whispered words such as “mad” and “suicide” and phrases like “barmy old codger” and “lost his marbles”.
“You must be joking Albus, this is not the time, he is stronger than ever, the amount of creatures on his side. Werewolves, giants, dementors and not to mention the amount of people under the Imperius curse.” Alice Longbottom finished. The auror knew the insurmountable obstacles they faced.
“I do not jest about matters such as these Alice. The time has come for this war to be decided. We have the element of surprise, I have been in touch with many creatures, and many are willing to fight on our side. I also am privy to information no-one in here knows about. I think in the end, this will be the difference.” He stated simply.
“What do you know Albus?” Emmeline Vance piped up.
“Alas, that must remain a secret”.
“It won’t be easy” McGonagall fixed the headmaster with her famous stern gaze. She looked like she was trying to read Dumbledore’s mind. She nodded fiercely “You have not led us astray so far, I trust you implicitly”.
There was a murmur of assent throughout the group. This man had single-handedly led the resistance against Voldemort thus far; they would have to follow him.
“Once again Minerva, you are far too kind. Please be aware that although I am confident, there will be casualties. This will determine our future. I advise that when the battle starts, duel to kill, not to incapacitate your foe.”
A grim realisation swept across the room. The order looked around at one another, they knew this could be the last time they saw one another.
“So it is agreed, we meet at the shrieking shack on December 31st to plan out final assault” Dumbledore concluded.
“My Lord, I bring news” Wormtail had entered the Malfoys’ drawing room to talk to his master
“Go ahead” Voldemort hissed.
“The Order plan to attack you on New Year’s Eve, Dumbledore is moving on us”
“He dares move on me?” Voldemort eyes flashed with danger.
“He states that you will never move on him, he thinks he has something that you do not have?” Pettigrew finished quickly.
“Then he is severely misled. He thinks he can defeat me in open war? What else do you know?” He wanted answers immediately.
“He has the entire order at his disposal and I believe he will have other creatures on his side”
“This does not trouble me; I assumed he was working with other beings, none as powerful as the ones at our disposal. Is there anything else?” Voldemort queried.
“Indeed, My Lord, I saved the best till last. Potter, Black and Lupin will be part of the attack. They will be there for the taking.”
Voldemort looked at Snape; he had become extremely important to Voldemort recently. Snapes’ information had become invaluable. He had forecast that Dumbledore would eventually be forced to bring Potter, Black and Lupin out of hiding”
“What do you think Severus?”
“My Lord, you know more than me” Snape bowed low, his hook nose almost touching the ground.
“What would you do?” he persisted.
“I know you my Lord, you have no fear. Dumbledore thinks he has more power than you at the moment. He is deluded. We should not wait for him, we should move on the order. They are the last resistance standing. There will be no obstacle once you defeat them.” Snape evaluated.
“Exactly my thoughts Severus, we are very alike”
“Only in my dreams, My Lord” Snape replied seriously.
“Then it is simple, we move on the Shrieking Shack on New Year’s Eve. Pettigrew, get word to the death eaters, the giants, the werewolves and the dementors, we need them all. It is time for me to fulfill my destiny. Kill Dumbledore, kill the Potter boy and then make the filthy muggles bow down to me.”
“As you wish, master” Pettigrew left the room.
“Soon, Severus we will run the world” Voldemort fantasised.
“As you so thoroughly deserve it” Snape bowed and turned from the room, the faintest glimmer of a smile on his face. He had so far managed the plan perfectly, he had tricked the greatest dark wizard in history and he had done it all for the love of a women he could never have.
Snape apparated at the normal spot he came to every night to report to Albus Dumbledore
“Good news I hope?” Dumbledore asked
“He has taken the bait, Albus. He will come to the Shrieking Shack at 8pm on New Year’s Eve; he wants the element of surprise. He thinks he has you and the order cornered. He sees it as his finest hour.”
“It still could be Severus, it is not certain we will prevail. You must play your part in the battle and make it look realistic”.
“I will not duel to kill” Snape stated simply.
“Then at least duel to hurt or stun Severus, people will ask questions otherwise. The order will be duelling to kill this time, not to capture”.
“I will play my part Albus, you still doubt me after my turn?”
“No, not at all Severus, you have proved invaluable to our efforts, I hope this will be the final time you will have to report to me” Dumbledore finished “Does he suspect a trap?”
“Not even in the slightest, he is convinced that he now has the power to finish off the resistance, he sees this as his crowning glory”
“Just as we planned, he has become power-hungry, he has stopped thinking logically” Dumbledore said “Thank you for everything Severus, and I hope to see you after the battle”
Snape nodded slowly and disapparated away.
Dumbledore’s next step was to tell his hidden four of the next step of his plan, he took a deep breath knowing the future of the wizarding and muggle world now all depended on one final battle.
“So that is what happened at the meeting” Dumbledore completed his story.
“That’s your plan?” Lily said in disbelief “You are going to attack Voldemort?”
“Indeed” he smiled back.
“There must be more to this” Lupin interrupted.
“Ah, very good Remus. Your old friend Peter Pettigrew was listening to our meeting in his rat form, he heard the whole thing.”
“So, Voldemort will know of your plan? That’s the real plan” Sirius’ brain was trying to figure everything out.
“Yes, I know that he took the bait, our informant has already told us. He is going to try and counter-attack the order. However we will be ready for him as this is what we expect.”
“You want us there?” James wondered.
“It is crucial you are there. Without you, there is no final battle. He must see all 3 of you there, preferably in your animagus forms so he is certain. Pettigrew will be acting as their scout”
“And me?” Lily asked.
“NO WAY” James hollered.
Lily turned his way and started turning bright red. “Excuse me” she started quietly. “but you do not OWN ME JAMES POTTER” she turned up the volume in her voice “I HAVE WATCHED FRIENDS DIE IN THE LAST FEW YEARS AND IF YOU THINK MY DECISION IS BASED ON YOU WANTING ME TO STAY HERE, YOU ARE MISTAKEN YOU INSENSITIVE PRAT” She let out a deep breath.
The room fell silent as James’ mouth fell open. Sirius let out a low whistle to try to diffuse the tension
“YOU CAN SHUT UP AS WELL” Lily shouted at Sirius “THIS IS NOT TIME FOR YOUR SO CALLED HUMOUR”.
“Lily, I’m only thinking of Harry” James barely whispered.
“I refuse to stay here and wait for news of a battle and I can tell you right now if anyone tries to kill me, they have another thing coming.” James had never seen is wife so fierce, she almost looked demented.
“Lily, I fully agree with your sentiments” Dumbledore was trying to cut through the tension. “I also agree that we should duel to kill, the time for niceties is over.”
“I’m sorry Lily; I never said you were not capable. I just worry that’s all” James apologised immediately.
“It’s ok; I can’t wait here though, that would kill me. Not knowing what was happening. I couldn’t do it, I need to be there”
James searched his wife’s eyes, they would make it. He knew it.
“Are we all in favour of the plan?” He asked
The group nodded “Harry can stay with my parents” Lily added.
“No, he must stay here, under the fidelius. If he is moved, Voldemort might find out about it. A house-elf from Hogwarts will look after him”.
James and Lily looked at each other and nodded their agreement with Dumbledore’s plan.
“I must leave now; you must come to my office on 31st December via your floo networks. I then want you to go through the secret passage by the whomping willow and meet us by the Shrieking Shack. We will then wait in the surrounding area as Voldemort will look to attack the shack, which is my plan” Dumbledore shook hands with the members of the order and flooed away.
“Well that was intense” Remus summarised.
“Yeah, sorry about that” Lily shyly smiled.
“The last time I saw you that angry was with James for being a prat in fifth year”. Sirius remembered.
“Well, in all fairness you were an arrogant toe rag dear.” Lily looked at James, this time with love in her eyes.
“I thought I would never make you that angry again, guess I was wrong.” He smiled and went over to hug his wife.
“So this is it? Promise we will look out for each other out there.” Lupin looked at his best friends who meant the world to him.
“Always” Sirius responded and pulled him into a bone-crunching hug. James and Lily joined them as they shared a group hug that seemed to last forever. Eventually they let each other go. Lily was crying and tears stained her face.
“This is so stupid” she mused. “Everything will be fine, right?” It sounded like a rhetorical question.
“Right” replied her husband. They all grouped together once again, knowing this could be the last moment they shared together. He only had eyes for his wife though as the group hugged.
Julia Granger had been woken once again by her daughters screams. In all fairness she was barely asleep; she knew the crying was just around the corner anyway. She swung her legs out of bed and went to her daughters’ room. She once again lifted her child out of the cot and rocked her back to sleep. She was completely drained after two continuous months of this.
If only she knew that her daughter had continued dreams of a white face. If only she knew that her daughter was haunted by a flash of red eyes. If only she knew this was recurring. Suddenly her daughter quietened down, this was new, this hadn’t happened before she thought. Little did she know her daughter’s nightmares had suddenly stopped. Instead a pair of emerald eyes had swum into her view, then his face and his messy black hair. The boy was around 10 years of age. Hermione Granger was no longer scared, she was calmed. This boy was obviously not dangerous. The red eyes became a distant memory as she was placed back into her cot and fell into a deep sleep, dreaming only of those lovely green pools.
Daylight saving – The clocks in England normally go back around October – The sun sets very early – around 4pm in December.
Lupin – His Fox form is bigger because as a human he is a more powerful form, much like Sirius’ black dog seems to be larger than normal.
Red – Lupins’ animagus name, so called because of his red fur.
Duel to kill – It annoys me that only death eaters use the death curse and other dark curses in HP (I know there are a few exceptions). In the battle to come, all will be fighting to the death.
Voldemort – He is not thinking clearly at this stage, he is on the cusp of greatness.
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