Harry Potter - Series Fan Fiction ❯ Harry Potter and the Werewolf Prophecy ❯ TONKS ( Chapter 27 )
Ron stood in front of the arch, shivering. Kingsley Shacklebolt stood a few feet behind him, his arms folded. Ron gazed at him over his shoulder. “Shall I?” he asked, trying to keep his voice steady.
Kingsley nodded, and Ron stepped forward. He stopped a few feet from the fluttering curtain, and listened. He could hear nothing. He took a deep breath and moved slightly closer. He could hear the voices now.
He focused his mind, trying to pick out the woman. “I miss him so much... look after him for me... he’s so young...”
And she’s pacing up and down in the kitchen of the little house. The child is sleeping soundly, and her mother is knitting next to the cradle.
“I can’t stay.” She says it flatly, as a matter of fact, rather than a decision. He mother stands up, dropping her knitting on the floor.
“No! Dora... darling, you can’t! Look at him! You can’t both leave him! It’s too much to ask. Ted’s gone already. I couldn’t bear it”
“Nobody’s asking, mum. They told me to stay. But what if they lose? What if they lose because I wasn’t there?”
“You’re just one person!”
She looked hard at her mother. “Everyone who’s there is just one person. They all have good reasons for staying away.”
“They don’t have a baby! What happens to him if you... if you...”
She smiled. “I’ll be back, mum. Of course I’ll be back, with Remus. We’ll be fine.”
He mother stared at her, wild-eyed. “I’ll go. You stay. Someone has to stay with the baby, and it should be his mother. I can...”
She hugs her mother, suddenly. “Oh, mum. Oh, mum. I do love you. You gave up everything, your family, just to get away from the violence, the killing. You don’t have an ounce of it in you. You stay here and look after Teddie. I won’t be long.”
“Oh Nym... darling. Take care.”
She laughs. “Oh, call me bloody Nymphadora, I know you’re dying to.”
“Goodbye Nymphadora. There’s just one thing. If you see my sister... if you see Bellatrix...”
She waits for her mother to speak.
“She’ll come for me. She’ll come for him. If you see her, kill her. I can hide him from the others, but her – she’ll never give up.”
She says nothing, but nods.
And she’s in the Room of Requirements, sitting with Ginny Weasley and Mrs Longbottom. They’re talking awkwardly. She doesn’t like Mrs Longbottom much, but she’s very fond of Ginny. Ginny’s like her, in so many ways.
Harry Potter arrives, and chases them out of the room. She would have stayed there, with Ginny, but now they’re in the fight and she moves to a window, ready to use her training, her skill. She asks where Remus is, and she’s told he’s fighting. And suddenly she can’t wait in safety.
She knows now what to do – what nobody else can do. She looks for a mirror, and prepares. The Death Eaters are in the castle now, and there’s chaos everywhere. She wants to find Remus, but there isn’t time.
She stretches her face in a few exercises. The duck that always makes the children laugh. Then her mother – the face she’s done more than any other. Now it’s tricky, because she has to work from a few snatched glimpses, and photographs. She takes it slowly, but she’s very good at this – far better than Hermione Granger was, using potions. She can become the person whose shape she takes. When she’s done, she sees her aunt’s face in the mirror. Bellatrix Lestrange.
She doesn’t like to look at the face. This woman hates her. She might be the only person in the whole world who hates her. She’s funny and kind and popular, but her aunt wants to kill her because she exists, because of her father and husband and child.
She wants to join the fight. There are people screaming and falling and dying around her, but she has something to do which is more important. She’s very clumsy, but somehow, she’s able to skip past what’s going on without anyone noticing her.
She finds a group of twelve Death Eaters. They’ve worked their way around the side. Most of the Death Eaters had attended Hogwarts, in Slytherin. They know Hogwarts as well as anyone, and they know some secret ways that the others don’t. If they get behind the defenders, trap them between two fires, then the battle is lost. The leader is Yevgeny Subbotin. She’s seen his file. He’s not a leading figure, but he’s dangerous enough.
“What are you doing here?” She doesn’t get the voice quite right first time, and they look surprised. She hoarsens, adds in the rage from the years in Azkaban. “You were sent to the Ministry. Why are you not there?”
“Er... were told to...”
She can’t let them stop to think. “The Dark Lord has issued new orders! There is a traitor among us! Go to the Ministry. Arrest Umbridge, and all of our people there. None can be trusted. Await orders.”
“But we...” Subbotin must have been given strict orders. He wasn’t sure what to do. So pressure.
“Shall I tell the Dark Lord you refused his direct order? That our victory was lost because you knew better than he? You let Umbridge assemble a traitorous army to attack us in the rear?” She spits and snarls, thinking of nothing but hatred.
“Come on then! Come on!” calls Subbotin, and they creep away.
“Do not be seen! We do not know how many traitors there are among us,” she calls after them.
She moves slowly through the corridors and looks for Death Eaters. Some she sends to London, others she stuns and binds while they are distracted. She collects their wands as she goes. She looks across a staircase and sees Dean Thomas hiding, without a wand. She throws him one that she’s confiscated, and skips back out of sight. It falls at his feet, and he picks it up, surprised but grateful.
Eventually she finds herself in the Entrance Hall, where a battle is raging. She hesitates for a moment, unsure how to proceed. If she stays as Bellatrix she risks being attacked by her own side.
She’s trying to make up her mind when a figure emerges from the other side of the Entrance Hall. They each see each other at the same time. It’s Bellatrix, the real Bellatrix.
For a moment, they are both bewildered. But Bellatrix is clever, and quick, and she’s been obsessed with her sister and her sister’s family for many years. “It must be you. I had thought I would have had to hunt you down after our victory, but you’ve made it easy for me. A pity in a way. I wanted you to watch while I killed your brat.”
And she attacks Bellatrix with a savagery she’s never known before. Bellatrix was trying to provoke her, but didn’t realise how dangerous she could be. She hurls curses, hexes, jinxes, all in a flurry, no effort in defence. Bellatrix is hurled across the floor, smashing against the foot of the stairs, and nearly drops her wand.
But Bellatrix is dangerous too, perhaps the most dangerous of all the Death Eaters apart from her master. She seems helpless, but manages to deflect the next burst of spells, pulling herself to her feet.
They stand facing each other, a few yards apart. Two Death Eaters run into the Hall, and gaze bewildered between them. “Get away!” they both snarl. The Death Eaters turn and run out.
For a moment they feint, pretend to cast again – and then it recommences, each of them hurling spells too quickly to think. They are designed to hurt, to shatter, to wear down. She’s the younger, the stronger – but Bellatrix is sustained by her rage and hate.
They stop again, shield against shield, no opening given. The floor of the hall is cracked and burned by the intensity of the fight.
“I will kill you,” says Bellatrix, gasping. She spits blood onto the flagstones. One leg seems unable to bear her weight. “Then I will find my sister, and my nephew. I will cleanse our bloodline.”
She allows her features to relax, back to her own face. If this is the end, she wants to be herself, at the last. “I don’t think you will, auntie. The first time we met I needed a week in Saint Mungo’s to recover. It takes it out of you, this fighting. You don’t have a lot left, do you? I reckon a first year could take you now.”
Bellatrix forces herself upright. “I am stronger than you, girl. Strong enough to kill.”
She smiles, through tears of pain. Is that a broken rib? One eye closed, a loose tooth. “You lot don’t ever get it, do you? Just like Lily Potter – if I have to die, for my child, then he’s protected. From you, from your daft boss, the whole lot of you.”
She’s confident now. She has an edge, a feeling that she is just strong enough to finish this.
Then she sees it, out of the corner of her eye. High on the staircases, which keep shifting as the battle continues. There’s an explosion, high above, and a body is falling. The shape, the shabby suit, she knows almost at once who it must be. The worst thing in the world has happened. The body strikes the floor of the Hall between them, a horrible smashing sound, something that can’t be survived. For a moment she doesn’t care about anything but what has just happened, cannot think about defending herself, cannot think about anything except the terrible loss that seems impossible, unbearable.
And Bellatrix has just enough strength to cast the one spell, the final spell. There’s a bright green flash...
...and Ron stumbles backwards, away from the veil. He’s shaking, and almost falls, but Kingsley holds him upright.
“It’s all right,” whispers Kingsley. “It’s all right.”
“How...” gulps Ron, “How can you bear it? How do you keep going?”
“We keep going for her,” replies Kingsley, firmly. “For her, and Remus, and their child.”
He half carries Ron to one of the benches, and sits him down.
“When Fred died – I thought it was the most terrible thing that could happen. I mean, I didn’t know her that well. I liked her, of course...”
“We all liked her,” said Kingsley. “We loved her. She was the best of us – the Aurors, the Order.”
Ron buried his head in his hands. “I saw Fred die. I was so angry. I wanted to kill as many of them as I could. Now, this... I just... there’s nobody to fight over it. Mum killed Bellatrix. That should help, shouldn’t it?”
“But it doesn’t,” said Kingsley.
“No, it doesn’t. It’s such a horrible waste.”
“There’s a reason we make people do this, Ron. Well, several reasons.” Kingsley usually sounded stern, but he was speaking softly now. “You need to know what can happen to you. Really know.”
Ron nodded. “I thought I did. After what I saw, with Harry. This... this was different.”
“You need to appreciate why we do this,” Kingsley continued. “What we are trying to prevent.”
Ron suddenly sagged forward. “You need to go home,” said Kingsley. “We’ll see you on Monday.”