Chapter 26 : The Beating Locket
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And after that, their relocation was quite easy. Some Death Eaters had to share rooms now, but it was large enough to still sleep everyone comfortably. They spent the following week regrouping to make sure they did not face such an ambush again, and Parker made sure he spent a fair amount of time with his mother. He was pleased to have her back and to see that she was unharmed. He could tell, though, that Pansy had an obvious dislike for Clancy for no apparent reason, yet he forced her to get over herself and spend time with Clancy anyway.
One morning, Parker and Clancy were enjoying their morning coffee in study when Pansy knocked on the door and let herself in.
From the spot he was settled into on the couch, Parker looked to his mother. She noticed Clancy leaning against Parker, who had an arm wrapped protectively around her as they sipped their coffee, and Pansy seemed crestfallen to see that Clancy was there as well. It was evident that Pansy wished for a moment alone with her son, but it was also clear that she would not be getting that.
“Can I help you, Mum?” asked Parker briskly. His voice seemed to say that he did not wish to have her there. He wanted to spend his morning with Clancy; while he was happy to have his mother back safe and sound, he was tired of her constant doting on him and her apparent jealousy of Clancy.
“I was hoping I could spend the morning with you. There’s something rather serious I want to talk to you about,” admitted Pansy.
With his brow furrowed in confusion, Parker looked to her and noticed two objects she held in her hands: a watch and a locket.
“All right…” agreed Parker. Under any other circumstance, he would have told her no and to leave him alone for the time being, but he was too intrigued by the watch and locket she held delicately in her grasp. He sat up, unwrapping his arm from around Clancy’s shoulder.
Pansy took a few steps closer to them, her eyes shifting to Clancy as if to force her to leave.
Parker caught on immediately, though, and he ordered in a stern voice. “She stays.”
Clancy shifted uncomfortably and moved to rise. “N–No, it’s okay. I can go. You spend the morning with your mother.”
Parker caught Clancy’s wrist as she stood, and he shook his head at her. “No, I want you to stay.”
“Parker,” began Pansy in argument.
“She stays!” declared Parker, and that was final. “Now, what’s the matter?”
Now sitting on the edge of the couch in curiosity, Pansy dropped down into the chair across from Clancy and Parker. She placed the watch and the locket on the coffee table between them before eyeing Clancy uncertainly one more time.
Parker rolled his eyes and groaned. “Mum, stop. Anything you want to say to me, you can say to her.”
Clancy fidgeted uncomfortably at their exchange and Pansy’s obvious dislike for her, but still she said nothing and made no move to leave, for she was just as intrigued as Parker.
“Fine,” said Pansy in defeat. She rubbed her hands together as she began. “I should have talked to you about this a long time ago, and I’m sorry I didn’t. I had always planned to, but then your father died and we went underground. Then I was taken and I didn’t get a chance. But it’s time I told you.”
Blinking in confusion, Parker shook his head. “Get to the point.”
“Remember almost four years ago when the Auror showed up,” Pansy suggested slowly.
“Of course I remember,” said Parker plainly as if it were a stupid question. How could he forget such a thing? “I killed him.”
“You did. Because I asked it of you. Because I forced it on you. I know it may have seemed harsh at the time, but I did have an ulterior motive for making you do what you did.”
Parker moved to the edge of his seat, bracing his elbows against his knees. He was neither angry nor upset—just confused and wishing to know what she was trying to tell him. “You had an ulterior motive for making me kill a man?”
“You see, at that time, we were just beginning to plan our takedown of the Potters. Everything was just an idea at that point. Nothing had come to fruition yet, but your father and I realized something as we started to lay everything out: we knew you would work for us on the inside at Hogwarts, and as such, that would put you in harm’s way. But you are our son and we couldn’t bear the thought of seeing your hurt—or worse—and we were too selfish to see our own desires fulfilled that we let you and even encouraged you into harm’s way. So we made up our minds about something: as parents, even if we endangered your safety, we wouldn’t see you hurt. So…”
Pansy faltered as she carefully chose her words, and she looked to the locket on the table before her. It was just a simple golden locket with the Carrow family crest stamped to the front of it. She picked it up and turned it over delicately in her hands.
“So that summer, before you killed that man, we did something. Because your father worked in the Department of Mysteries, he had access to all kinds of knowledge—all kinds of dark magic. So he learned what we had to do to keep you safe. To protect your soul. To keep you alive.”
“Protect my soul?” he asked, bewildered. “I don’t understand…”
“To do what we wanted to do, the instructions said to first prepare the receptacle.” Pansy held out the locket, indicating that it was the receptacle she spoke of. “And the next step: you had to kill someone.”
“H–Horcurx,” Parker choked on the word as he realized what she was saying. Clancy stifled a gasp from beside him. “You and Dad…You wanted me to make a horcrux.”
“To protect you. To make your immortal!” declared Pansy. “Whatever it took! We would do whatever it took. So we did the unspeakable; we did what we had to do to prepare the receptacle. But we never had the chance to complete the process. You went back to Hogwarts, and we were going to try at Christmas, but that turned to hell when your father decided it was time to kill Alaric Rousseau and he had to spend so much of his time at the Ministry to ensure Harry Potter’s trial went the way it did. And then Azkaban happened and we lost your father…That night was never supposed to turn into what it did. It was just going to be another run-of-the-mill night until James Potter showed up in the Chamber of Secrets and sabotaged the plan. So we never got the chance to complete the process before your father died. Then we were underground and you were safe. For a time…And then I was taken so soon after we re-emerged. I never had the chance to tell you. Until now.”
“So you’re telling me that…that locket right there is prepared to receive a horcrux, and I…”
“You’ve murdered three people. The Auror. Albus Potter. And the Minister for Magic. Your soul has already been split three times. I’m telling you that all I have to do now is say the incantation and you can live forever…”
In that moment, Parker had never felt such uncertainty in his life. He rose from his spot on the couch and began to pace about the library, gnawing on the nail of his thumb. He didn’t know what he should do. Seeking immortality had never crossed his mind. He wasn’t afraid of dying. In fact, he had been so focused on getting his vengeance that he hardly had time for anything else—including thinking about his fears or losing his life.
Besides, the process for creating a horcrux was known to be so gruesome, so horrible, and so unthinkable that he hadn’t ever considered it. But here his mother was presenting the opportunity to him. And she had already done all the dirty work. She had done the horrible part of preparing the receptacle—whatever that part contained. And Parker had already done the killing. In truth, the hardest parts were already over.
But why live forever? Why be immortal? He didn’t quite care. He would meet whatever afterlife was waiting for him when his time came, and as long as he fulfilled his purpose of destroying the Potters, then he could die happily. So why live forever?
As he paced, his eyes came to rest on Clancy, who was watching him carefully, trying to anticipate what he would decide.
And then it hit him.
She was the reason to live as long as he could. Forever, if needed. So he could be with her.
He looked back to his mother then, his mind having made itself up in an instant just at the sight of Clancy. “Three murders. That’s three horcruxes?”
“Not necessarily,” explained Pansy. “The receptacles have to be prepared before the murder in order for the horcrux to properly leave your body. I prepared the locket before you killed the Auror; that’s one horcrux. And then I prepared the watch—it was your father’s watch—before you killed Albus; that’s two. Then you killed the Minister, but I was imprisoned and no receptacle was prepared before his murder, so killing him cannot contribute a horcrux. So just two horcruxes. If it’s what you want.”
Parker spoke quickly. “I’ll do it.”
“P–Parker,” squeaked Clancy, finally speaking up after being silent since the whole conversation had started.
“I’m doing it, Clancy,” he said sternly. “It will give me a second chance at killing the Potters—if I need it. And it will let me be with you for as long as I can.”
Clancy said nothing further. She knew she couldn’t win with him even if she disagreed with it. He would always get his way, and she had tested her luck with him enough over the past week by releasing Dominique, something which Parker hadn’t revealed to anyone else. He had told everyone else that he had discovered she simply escaped the manor during the attack, and that was that. Clancy believed Pansy had her suspicions about the truth and Clancy’s involvement in Dominique’s escape, but Pansy also knew better than to question Parker. Clancy could tell Parker was still furious about the whole thing, but he didn’t say anything further. They had made their agreement, and he would uphold his end of the deal.
Sucking in a deep breath, he approached his mother. “Do it. Now. Let’s get it over with.”
Nodding, Pansy raised her wand.
When the four in the kitchen realized that Lorcan and Molly must have begun kissing, they all reacted with joy. Scorpius and James cat-called loudly while Lily and Norah giggled happily.
Lorcan’s voice finally emerged again. “Shut it!” he teased, half-laughing and half-groaning. He and Molly entered the kitchen again a moment later. Lorcan had his arm around Molly’s neck, and she was leaning happily into his side with one of her hands on his stomach. He kissed the top of her head as they entered, beaming.
The four at the table cheered happily upon seeing them, and after some whooping and blushing, they resumed their brunch, eating, drinking, and laughing merrily.
Sometime later, Teddy and Dominique joined them as promised. When they did, they entered appearing bright-eyed and bushy-tailed; while they couldn’t have slept much at all, they were wide awake and beaming with happiness. Teddy had his arm around Dominique, and they both wore smiles from ear to ear, their cheeks flushed.
Everyone cheered upon seeing them. Dominique hid her smile in the crook of Teddy’s neck as her blush grew, and Teddy fist-pumped triumphantly.
“Bow-chicka-wow-wow!” Lorcan teased with a laugh from the table.
“Okay, enough!” Teddy declared with a chuckle.
They settled in at the table with everyone else, and all seemed to be right in the world as they continued their brunch. They didn’t know how much time passed as they continued to eat, drink, and chat. But it was quite some time later when they were picking up their mess and cleaning the kitchen.
James picked up a few plates from the table and was on his way to Norah washing the dishes at the sink when he suddenly felt an excruciating pain he had never felt before. He couldn’t even imagine such pain. It began in his wrist and surged through every inch of his body.
He dropped the plates in his grasp, and they fell to the floor and shattered. Shards of the ceramic plates slid along the kitchen tile in all directions. James cried out in pain as the others jumped in shock at the noise, and he sank to his knees, clinging tightly to his wrist and bringing it into his chest and cradling it.
“Fuck!” he screamed in pain as he looked to his wrist to see the scar blazing red and oozing blood. He had smeared his blood along his other hand from cradling his wrist. He blinked back tears as he inspected the amount of blood that was suddenly and unprecedentedly pushing itself from his scar.
“James!” Norah blurted in shock. She stopped what she was doing immediately. Even leaving the water in the sink running, she ran over to him with wet, soapy hands. The ceramic from the shattered plates cracked beneath her shoes as she ran to him, and she dropped to her knees in front of him. She took his face into her hands and made him look at her, his eyes swimming with tears. “Talk to me. What’s happening?”
“I–I don’t know,” moaned James as the pain continued.
And he didn’t. He didn’t know what was happening to him. He had never felt pain like this, so he couldn’t even begin to guess what was happening to him. The pain was nothing like his seizures or when he would give a prophecy. It wasn’t like that; it was different. It wasn’t his own pain, in a way. He could obviously tell that his pain was not being inflicted on him physically, and it clearly wasn’t a mental pain. And that could only mean one thing.
It was his scar. The horcrux. And that meant it was Parker.
“It must be Parker,” he groaned again as the realization dawned on him. “It has to be…”
Norah continued to console him, rubbing his back as he leaned into her and seemed to shrink smaller and smaller into himself from the pain. The others gathered around as well to see what was the matter and if they could be help.
“It’s Parker?” asked Teddy.
“It’s the only explanation,” hissed James as he continued to cling to his wrist.
Teddy bit his lip, seemingly debating something, and then he spoke with determination. “Look, James,” he said sternly. “Look through his eyes.”
Norah looked up to Teddy in shock. She knew such a thing was a side effect of having the horcrux inside him; they had all heard the stories Harry had told. Harry had been able to see into Voldemort’s mind because of the horcrux when he wanted to—and even sometimes when he did not.
“He shouldn’t!” argued Norah. “Remember what Harry said! That works both ways. If James can see into Parker’s mind, then Parker can see into James’. We can’t risk Parker finding out about the horcrux in James! It is legitimately our secret weapon.”
“But we have to know what’s happening to him!” Teddy retorted. “Look at him! He’s in pain! That means Parker is, too. Or Parker is up to something. Shouldn’t we find out what he’s up to?! We can use it to fight back!”
James was the one to speak up then, still panting on the floor and holding his wrist. “He’s right, Norah. It’s a risk I have to take…”
And before anyone else could argue with him, he closed his eyes to those in the room and looked deep inside himself. He didn’t know how to look inside Parker; he had never done it before, and Harry had never explained in explicit detail, but he knew that if he tried hard enough and searched deep enough within, then he would find Parker.
And he did.
When he felt as if he had retreated into his deepest and darkest depths, he somehow felt out of his own skin. He was as far within himself as he could possibly go, yet he wasn’t in his own body. He was suddenly seeing through someone else’s eyes and feeling their pain.
He was on his knees in a library somewhere with his vision blurred as his eyes filled with tears. He tried to look around to better appraise his surroundings and those around him even as he cried out desperately. He noticed Pansy Namken in front of him, her wand out and pointed at a locket between her and Parker’s body.
Pansy’s eyes were full of pain for her son as they locked with Parker’s, and James felt as if he were looking into Pansy’s eyes himself.
“Just a little longer,” Pansy muttered with her wand still pointed at him.
James noticed then that he—or more accurately Parker—was coping with the pain by squeezing another hand clasped in his. Just then, his gaze shifted from Pansy to the left to see whose hand he was squeezing.
Her eyes swam with tears for him, and then the pain faded. It all seemed to disappear as Clancy lowered her wand.
Parker fell back on his knees as it ended, panting. “Did it work?” he asked.
Pansy looked from her son and to the locket, which suddenly snapped shut of its own accord with a loud click. She picked up the locket, and her eyes briefly widened as she seemed to feel something from within the metal. She wrapped her hand around it and caressed it tenderly. “It worked.”
She passed the locket to Parker, who accepted it and turned it over in his hands, inspecting it curiously. James continued to watch through Parker’s eyes, trying to decipher what exactly was unfolding before him. Then, in the palm of his hand, he felt the faintest of thumps. There was a gentle beat within the metal that reminded James of a heartbeat. Parker nodded in satisfaction.
“How are you feeling?” asked Pansy.
“Fine enough now. For a while there….it was horrible.”
“Do you feel up to making the second?”
Parker nodded. “I want to get it over with and be done with it.”
“All right then. Let’s do this one more time.” Pansy picked up the watch and placed it between herself and Parker. Parker took Clancy’s hand one more time for support, and Pansy raised her wand and muttered the incantation.
But, unlike the immense pain Parker had felt last time, this time he felt nothing.
He felt nothing. No pain. Nothing happened. Nothing emerged from him at all.
Confused, Pansy muttered the incantation again. And again. Yet nothing continued to happen. Finally, she lowered her wand, bewildered, and Parker questioned impatiently. “I don’t understand. Why isn’t it happening?”
“I–I don’t know,” answered Pansy. “It’s like there isn’t a part of you to split. As if the other prepared part of your soul is gone. I don’t understand…”
Clancy was the one to speak up that time. “Like that other part of the soul is gone—as in the horcrux is already made? Or…?”
“I don’t know,” Pansy said again. “Maybe? I don’t know how the other part of the soul would have left to create the horcrux without Parker knowing. The pain is too great for it to not be obvious. Unless I did something wrong at some point when preparing the receptacle and therefore could only create one horcrux despite the two prepared murders, then there has to be another horcrux somewhere else…”
James gasped as he pulled himself from Parker’s mind. He had discovered what he needed, and in the shock of it all, he had to get out of his mind so he could process what had just happened.
His vision returned, and Norah, Teddy, and the others came back into view, still crowding around him.
Choking on his surprised gasps, he reached out and clung to the fabric of Norah’s shirt. “H–Horcrux!” he choked out. “He created a horcrux! Another. It’s in a locket. They tried creating a second but couldn’t. T–They’re confused. His mother prepared two receptacles before two separate murders; one of them must have been before the day at Azkaban, and his soul must have already been split by that point and ready to be separated. That’s why they couldn’t create the second right now. Because one had already been created. And it’s in me.”
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