View Full Version : The Spirit of War
September 29th, 2003, 2:23 am
Harry opened his eyes slowly and blinked in the bright sunshine that was pouring in through the window. It could not be morning already. He felt as though he had only just closed his eyes to go to sleep. He rolled over and his hand brushed against something, someone lying next to him.
She stirred but continued to sleep. Harry leaned across her and felt for his glasses on the bedside cabinet. His fingers found the thin metal and he grasped hold of them. Lying back down on his pillow, he pushed the glasses onto his face, causing the images around him to come into focus.
With his head still resting on the pillow, he turned slowly to look at Ginny. Her flaming red hair fanned out across her pillow, her milky white face glowing in the morning sunshine. She looked so peaceful; Harry did not want to ever have to wake her.
But all too soon the fantasy was destroyed by a knock on the bedroom door. Ginny stirred again and opened her eyes. She looked across at Harry, who smiled back at her. She blushed slightly; a rosy-pink stain flushed briefly across her cheeks, and sat up. She was still wearing her jeans and a canary-yellow vest top. She grabbed her cardigan, which was hanging over the railings at the foot of the bed, and pulled it on hastily.
"Come in," Harry called out sleepily.
The door opened slightly and Ron's ginger head peeped through the gap.
"Um, just wondering if you guys wanted any breakfast?" he said to the bedroom floor.
Ginny stood up and walked across the room. Ron opened the door wider and stepped inside the bedroom as Ginny brushed past him. She disappeared into the corridor without a word or even a glance at Harry.
In the safety of her bedroom, Ginny perched on the edge of her bed and re-traced the events of last night in her mind.
Yesterday had been Harry’s eighteenth birthday. But with all that had happened recently, there had not been much thought of celebrating. They had only arrived back at Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place yesterday morning. It had not been their choice to return here, but Lupin had insisted it was the only place safe enough for them.
By the time they had arrived, unpacked their things and settled in, no-one seemed keen for a celebration. Harry had spent most of the afternoon alone in his bedroom. Hermione had resolved to her usual pass-time of reading every book she could lay her hands on, and Ron had spent the afternoon watching her in silence.
Ginny had been the only one of them to feel some sense of duty toward helping Lupin around the house. She spent the afternoon helping him clean the many rooms in the over-sized house, which had been neglected during the last few months. She then tried her best to assist with the preparation of dinner, which proved much harder than she had anticipated.
Lupin was a good enough cook in his own right - he had lived alone for several years, preparing his own meals. But having lived alone was precisely his main problem; he was not accustomed to cooking for four growing teenagers as well as himself. The task of preparing food in such large quantities seemed far beyond his magical abilities.
Ginny, on the other hand, felt that she was more of a hindrance to the problem than a blessing. She had never had to cook so much as a slice of toast for herself and her helpfulness back to The Burrow had been limited to chopping the vegetables or setting the table, and even then she had been under the watchful eye of her mother.
But despite their lack of experience and ability, their enthusiasm to cheer up the rest of the house pulled them through. After two hours of confusion and chaos, they managed to produce a fine meal of sausages and mashed potatoes, in which Ginny felt rather proud of herself.
After dinner, which was consumed with as little conversation as possible, Lupin had stood up, his bottle of Butterbeer clutched firmly in front of him:
"Happy birthday, Harry," he said proudly, a smile stretching across his worn face.
"Happy birthday," the others had chorused.
Harry smiled weakly at them as they drank in unison to his eighteenth birthday.
Several minutes later, as Ginny was beginning to clear away the dishes, she realised that Harry had sneaked out of the kitchen.
As if she was reading Ginny's mind, Hermione said:
"We'll clear up if you want to get an early night." She gave Ginny a knowing look and nudged Ron unceremoniously. "Come on, Ron, do something to help."
Ron got reluctantly to his feet and began waving his wand carelessly at the dirty dishes, which rose from the table and flew across to the sink with a crash. Hermione was mumbling at him under her breath as Ginny slipped quietly out of the kitchen.
She walked silently along the hallway, glancing briefly at the discoloured patches on the wall where a number of paintings had once hung, and ascended the stairs. She stopped outside a door on the second landing and knocked gently.
There was no answer. She hesitated and was about to turn away when the door creaked open and she was suddenly face to face with Harry.
"I, um ... was just on my way to bed and I, er ... thought I'd stop by and say goodnight," she stammered.
Without speaking, Harry retreated back inside his room, leaving the door open and Ginny still standing awkwardly on the landing. She hesitated again, before following him into the dark bedroom and closing the door softly behind herself.
Harry was now sitting on the edge of his bed. Ginny could remember the last time Harry had been in this room, when he had shared it with Ron. That had been over two years ago, when the house had belonged to Sirius Black, Harry's late godfather. Now the house was almost empty and they each had a bedroom to themselves.
Ginny looked apprehensively around the dingy room. A single lamp burned dimly on the bedside cabinet, casting an eerie glow over the emptiness of the room. Harry's trunk lay unopened at the foot of his bed and a large birdcage perched open and empty on top of the chest of drawers. His snowy owl, Hedwig, was probably out hunting; it was unlikely that she was delivering any post for Harry, as he had no-one to write to outside of this house.
Harry looked enquiringly at Ginny and she came to her senses.
"Um ... so, you're OK?" she asked in a strained, awkward voice. She wished he would stop looking at her.
"Yeah. Don't worry about me." He gave her a weak smile.
She gathered herself, walked cautiously across to the bed and perched herself on the edge next to Harry. She sat and stared at her feet for several minutes, unsure of what to say, yet not wanting to leave.
"I'm sorry we had to come back here," she said finally.
"It's fine," Harry replied quietly.
Ginny sighed. She knew it was not fine. She lifted her head and turned to look at him. He let his eyes wander to hers and they looked at each other properly for the first time in a long time.
Harry was the first to look away. He stood up and stared out of the window.
"Lupin's right," he said quietly, "this is the only place that's safe anymore. Except, maybe, for Hogwarts."
"I wish we could've gone home," Ginny found herself saying, although she wished instantly that she had not said it.
Harry turned back to her. She watched him run a hand through his persistently untidy hair.
"Me too," he whispered softly.
Ginny blinked and felt a single warm tear escape and roll down her cheek.
Harry returned to her side and looked deep into her eyes. He raised a hand and touched her cheek softly, the tip of his finger gently tracing the path of the tear on her face.
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September 30th, 2003, 5:19 am
"I'm telling you, nothing happened," Harry pleaded. He was becoming increasingly annoyed with Ron and his persistent questioning. "We were just talking and we ... fell asleep."
Ron sniffed the air disbelievingly and continued to chew on his slice of toast. Harry looked desperately at Hermione for support but she simply rolled her eyes before disappearing behind her copy of The Daily Prophet. Harry caught sight of the front page - the headline read: 'MINISTRY IN DISREPAIR in the wake of Fudge's shock resignation.'
Harry did not bother to read the wizard newspaper anymore. There had been a time when he had waited anxiously for news of Voldemort and any activity from his Death Eaters. But these days the paper was so full of depressing news that Harry could not bring himself to read it at all. The constant reports of attacks, disappearances and murders, made Harry feel like a failure. He felt completely helpless and was constantly angry with himself because there was nothing he could do. So he left the reading to Hermione, confident that she would relay anything important to him.
"Now, Harry ...” Lupin took the seat next to Harry and handed him a mug of coffee. "I'm not sure if it's such a good idea ... you, er, sleeping in the same room ... er, together. I mean, I know you're both adults now, but she is still at school ..."
Harry sighed deeply. He was beginning to wish something had happened last night. At least then he could tell the truth and be believed.
"I'm not lying," he urged. "Nothing happened. We were just talking!"
"Morning," Ginny mumbled as she edged quietly into the kitchen. Harry noticed that she had changed her clothes. He looked down at the crumpled t-shirt he had slept in and suddenly felt very self-conscious.
He watched as Ginny took a seat at the far end of the table and began buttering herself some toast. He was not aware that he was staring at her until Ron cleared his throat with a very irritating 'hem, hem.'
"What?" Harry demanded, snapping his head around to look at Ron.
"I was just wondering if we were doing anything today," Ron said casually.
The four teenagers turned to look at Lupin, who was perusing a copy of The Quibbler with a thoughtful look on his face.
"Hmm?" He looked up slowly from the magazine.
"I think we all want to know what we're supposed to do," Harry informed him.
"Do?" Lupin asked. "You don't have to do anything. I'm under strict orders not to let any of you leave the house."
Harry could not believe his ears. He had agreed to return to Grimmauld Place, but he had not agreed to spend the whole summer shut away inside the dingy old house.
"Come on," he pleaded with Lupin, "you can't force us to stay here!"
"I can try," said Lupin simply.
Harry let out a sound of annoyance and frustration as he banged his fist down on the hard wooden table, causing Hermione to flinch slightly. He wanted to just get up and leave. He was fed up with being treated like a child. He wanted to walk straight out of the house and do ... something. But this was just the problem - he had no idea what he would do.
In a vain attempt to vent some of his frustration, he got to his feet and walked out of the kitchen, slamming the door angrily behind him. He stood for a moment in the hall, regretting his rash decision to leave, but not wanting to go back. He finally decided to go back to his bedroom where he lay on his bed, staring at the ceiling.
Remus Lupin closed his eyes briefly as the sound of the door slamming resounded through the large kitchen. He opened them again to find, to his regret, the three remaining teenagers still looking hopefully at him.
"I'm sorry," he said earnestly. "Of course I can't force you all to stay here. But your father-” He looked briefly at Ron and Ginny. "Your father has asked me to keep you here. He said that under no circumstances are any of you allowed to leave the house. It's not safe for you."
"But Harry's right," said Hermione quietly. "We have to do something or we'll all go crazy. Surely there's something we can do?"
"I don't know," Remus sighed. "Just hold tight for now. I promise, if there's anything you can do, anything at all, I'll let you know."
The voice came from the fireplace. Remus swung around to see the tired, worn face of Arthur Weasley swimming in the flames.
"Dad!" Ron leapt off his chair and dropped to his knees in front of the fire.
"How you doing son?" Arthur beamed up at Ron.
"Arthur." Remus got off his chair and joined Ron on the cold stone floor. "Good to see you. How are things at the Ministry?"
"Lupin, I need to talk to you in private." Arthur turned back to Ron and added, "Sorry, but this is important."
"Oh, I forgot, we're not important enough." Ron got angrily to his feet. "Come on, Hermione." He grabbed Hermione by the arm and dragged her out of the kitchen. Hermione flashed Remus an apologetic look as they disappeared through the door.
Ginny got to her feet silently and left the room without a look at her father.
"Sorry, Lupin, but I have to be quick." Arthur looked around quickly, as if expecting to be interrupted at any minute. "Everything's falling apart here. We need a new Minister and fast."
"Dumbledore ...?" Remus began.
"No." Arthur knew what Remus was about to ask. "Even if we could convince him to apply, he's just not well enough. He's been pushed to his limit and I really don't think he could take on any more responsibility right now."
"So, who has applied?"
"Well, er ... I have," Arthur replied grimly. "Not voluntarily. Kingsley Shacklebolt put my name forward without telling me. But I'm kind of glad he did. Someone's got to take control of things here."
"Good for you." Remus beamed down at him. Arthur would be an excellent Minister. But to take on the position at this point in time would be very difficult, and Arthur already had so much to deal with. "Are you sure ..."
"Yes," Arthur cut him off, "I'm very sure. But please don't tell the kids, not yet anyway. The Wizengamot are meeting this morning to vote. They're keen to appoint someone as soon as possible. So I should find out any minute. I'll try to come over for lunch ... I've got to go." And with a POP, Arthur's head disappeared from the flames.
Remus got back to his feet and began clearing away the breakfast things. He was beginning to feel some of Harry's frustration himself. It was not only the kids who had been forced to return to Sirius's house. Remus was feeling just as useless as they were. He could not help wondering what things would have been like if he had not been a werewolf. He was sure that was the reason why he was here, standing guard over four restless teenagers. He was the most expendable because he could do so little to help the Order of the Phoenix in the fight against Lord Voldemort.
He shook his head in an attempt to stop himself thinking so negatively. At least there was now the possibility of Arthur becoming Minister for Magic. His chances were good; he was very popular at the Ministry. Remus knew that having a member of the Order as Minister would be a huge step forward. Fudge had been nothing but a hindrance to them and it had been a relief when he had finally resigned.
Remus sat down at the empty table and placed his head in his hands. He hated being in this house. It was a constant reminder of how he had lost his three best friends to Voldemort's cause. Remus lifted his head, suddenly feeling very angry at himself for being so selfish. He got to his feet and wandered out of the kitchen, thinking vaguely of going to check on Harry.
October 2nd, 2003, 2:16 am
Ron dropped himself heavily into an armchair, causing a small cloud of dust to rise up around him. Hermione picked up a large, leather-bound book from the bookshelf and sat down quietly in the chair opposite him. She opened the book and disappeared behind its many pages.
"Don't you ever stop reading?" Ron barked.
"Sorry." She closed the book and put it down on the coffee table. "Would you prefer to talk?"
"Well, what would you like me to do?" Hermione raised her voice slightly. "Shall I just sit here and stare at you all day?"
Ron pulled a face, causing a small grin to spread across Hermione's face.
"I wonder what your dad wanted," she said.
"Dunno," Ron mumbled. "I don't care, either. I'm fed up with asking for information. If they want to be all secretive, then I don't give a **** anymore."
"Ron! Don't say things you don't mean." Hermione rose from her seat and perched herself on the arm of Ron's chair.
"Sorry." He looked up into her sweet face. He really did not know what he would do without her. He slid his arm around her waist and pulled her closer.
"Maybe ..." Hermione hesitated, and then continued, "Maybe we could go to St. Mungo's today. I'm sure Lupin would let us, it's not far from here."
Ron fidgeted uncomfortably. He knew it had been a long time since he had last visited his mother, but he really did not feel like going to the hospital today. He laid his head on Hermione's shoulder and whispered, "Maybe tomorrow."
A gentle tap on the door pulled Harry out of his distant day-dream. He rolled over on his bed and called out, "Come in."
The door opened slowly. Harry sat up and attempted to straighten his t-shirt. His heart sank slightly when Lupin edged inside the room.
"Harry, I just wanted to apologise for earlier."
"It's fine," said Harry shortly. He lay back down on the bed and stared up at the ceiling again. He could hear Lupin moving across the room. Harry wished he would go away. The mattress sank slightly and Harry knew Lupin must have sat down on the end of the bed.
"We haven't had a chance to talk much these last two years, have we?"
Harry muttered his agreement. The truth was he had been avoiding Lupin as much as possible. He was sure he knew what Lupin would want t talk about and Harry was not sure if he was ready for this conversation. He was not sure if he would ever be ready.
"Look, I know what you're going to say ... let's just leave it," Harry found himself saying, although he felt terrible as soon as he had said it. "Sorry," he added quickly.
"You don't have to be sorry, I understand," said Lupin calmly.
"No, you don't understand," Harry mumbled, "no-one does."
"OK, maybe I don't," said Lupin dryly, "but you're not the only one who's suffered, Harry. I know, I know," he added, seeing the look on Harry's face, "you've lost the three people who were dearest to you. I know that has been hard for you. But we all have to move forward. It's not going to be easy, but we've got to try ..."
"And do what?" Harry sat up and looked Lupin directly in the face. He was suddenly taken aback by how exhausted Lupin looked; his face was lined and worn, and his eyes were extremely tired and withdrawn. Harry collected himself and continued, "I just can't see the point in sitting around here doing nothing. I'm the only one who can kill Voldemort ..."
"And that's exactly why you can't go running around looking for trouble ..."
Lupin stopped and looked quickly towards the bedroom door. Harry had heard it, too. It had sounded like someone screaming downstairs. Harry's scar seared briefly with pain.
"Hermione!" Harry scrambled off the bed and leapt for the door, Lupin close at his heel.
"No, wait." Lupin grabbed Harry's arm and pulled him back. "Stay here, I'll check it out."
Harry stood alone on the landing for just a few seconds, before heading defiantly down the staircase in Lupin's wake.
"Ron!" Hermione screamed his name as Ron writhed in pain. She ran to his side as the Death Eater lifted his wand and Ron lay in a crumpled heap on the floor, sweat dripping of his face. Hermione's heart was thumping against her chest. She wrapped her arms protectively around Ron and cradled him, tears streaming down her cheeks.
"Tell me where he is, or I'll do it again."
"No!" Hermione sobbed. "Please ..."
The masked Death Eater raised his wand again, "Crucio!"
"Expelliarmus," Lupin called out from the doorway. The Death Eater was caught unaware and his wand flew out of his hand.
"It's OK, I've got him."
Hermione looked round to see another Death Eater standing directly behind Lupin, the struggling form of Harry in one hand, the other holding a wand to Harry's temple.
"Drop your wand, or Potter will get what's coming to him," the second Death Eater growled.
For a moment Lupin simply stood there, his wand held out, looking helplessly from one Death Eater to the other, before admitting defeat and letting his wand slip from his fingers.
"Don't get any funny ideas," the first Death Eater spat at Hermione. "Any stupid moves from you ..."
He did not have to finish the sentence; Hermione knew exactly what he meant. She watched helplessly as the first Death Eater collected his own wand from the floor where it had fell. Then he picked up the book that Hermione had been reading and rifled through the pages carelessly.
"Reading won't help you anymore, sweetheart," he said smoothly. "Portus," he pointed his wand at the book.
The Death Eater holding Harry edged his way inside the room, kicking Lupin's wand aside. He threw Harry to the ground beside Hermione and Ron. Then he turned to Lupin, his wand raised.
"Not yet," hissed the first Death Eater. "We'll take him, too."
The second Death Eater reluctantly lowered his wand. "Get down there," he hissed, pushing Lupin to the ground with the others.
The first Death Eater flicked his wand casually and Hermione felt invisible ropes snake around her, pulling her tightly against Ron and Harry. She could feel Lupin's back against hers, but could not see him.
Hermione felt her wand sliding out of her pocket and saw it fly across the room, closely followed by Ron and Harry's wands. The Death Eater snatched them out of the air and tucked them inside his cloak.
"Let's go," he hissed, beckoning the other Death Eater over. He held out the book which he had recently bewitched. Then he placed a hand on Hermione’s shoulder and gripped it tightly. Hermione could see his eyes glinting from behind the mask.
The second Death Eater reached out and grabbed hold of the book. The room dissolved immediately, but in the swirl of colours, Hermione was certain she saw a flash of red hair somewhere near the doorway.
Ginny had been enjoying a peaceful bath when she had heard noises from below; somebody screaming, followed by rapid footsteps and raised voices.
She got out of the bath tub as quickly as she could, spilling water all over the bathroom floor, grabbed her robe and pulled it hastily around herself. She placed a hand on the doorknob and was about to turn it, when she stopped herself. She did not have her wand; she had left it in her bedroom. It would be stupid to go charging out of the bathroom unarmed. She placed her ear to the door and listened hard. The voices were very distant, possibly two or three floors below.
She took a deep breath and turned the handle slowly. The door creaked open and Ginny winced at the noise it made. She edged slowly through the gap, her bare feet moving cautiously across the old floorboards. She crossed the landing, tip-toed into her bedroom and snatched her wand from the bedside cabinet.
It was surprising how much confidence flooded her veins the moment she felt the smooth wood between her fingers. She grasped it firmly and sprinted back out to the landing. She took the stairs two at a time as the voices became louder and louder. She reached the first floor landing and saw that the living room door was open.
"Let's go," an unfamiliar voice came from inside the room.
Ginny reached the doorway and froze. Her hands suddenly felt icy cold and her heart was drumming in her ears. She felt her wand drop limply to her side as Ron, Hermione, Harry, Lupin and the two Death Eaters disappeared, leaving the room empty and silent.
October 23rd, 2003, 12:00 pm
With a loud CRACK, Arthur Weasley Apparated into Grimmauld Place. He stood on the pavement outside number twelve, with a broad grin on his face.
Arthur Weasley, Minister for Magic. It had a nice ring to it, although the circumstances in which it had come about could have been better. The Ministry was in ruins. Arthur knew he had his work cut out for him. But it was a challenge - a challenge he was ready for. All those years in the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts office had been great; Muggle Relations had always been his passion. But now of all times, he knew that he had to do more.
He strolled confidently up the stone steps outside number twelve. He was really looking forward to telling Ron and Ginny about his promotion. Maybe Ron would finally respect him.
Arthur tapped the door with his wand and with a series of clicks the magical locks sprang open. He pushed through the door and stepped inside the house. It was very quiet. Maybe Lupin had managed to keep the teenagers occupied. Arthur had never managed to control the noisy teenagers at The Burrow ... He shook his head furiously. He had promised himself that he would stop thinking about his old home, the home where he and Molly had raised their family.
He wandered into the kitchen. Empty. Maybe they were upstairs. He climbed the staircase to the first floor, where he heard a sound coming from the living room. It sounded like an animal, possibly just Crookshanks, Hermione's cat. Arthur entered the living room to find Ginny' small form curled up on one of the armchairs, sobbing quietly to herself.
"What's the matter?" Arthur asked softly, moving across to where Ginny was sitting, her knees tucked in to her chest, her long hair masking her face.
"They're ... gone," she managed, the words catching in her throat.
Arthur knelt down in front of the worn chair. He raised a hand and brushed his daughter's hair out of her wet face. "Who's gone?" he asked gently.
"Harry ... and ... and Ron ... and ... everyone," she sobbed. "Death Eaters ... here."
"Everyone!" Ginny repeated. "I tried ... to contact ... you ... but ... but the Ministry said ... you'd left."
Arthur wrapped his arms around Ginny's shaking body. How could this be? The house was unplottable. The only way a person could see it was if the Secret Keeper had told them the address. But Dumbledore had been so careful. He had only told the members of the Order.
"I'm sorry." Ginny lifted her head. Tears continued to spill down her cheeks. "I ... was ... too late."
THUD. Harry hit the hard floor painfully. He struggled unsuccessfully with the invisible bindings as he sat on the cold stone floor between Lupin and Hermione. A dark room had appeared around them.
"What now?" he whispered to Lupin.
"Shh, just keep quiet," Lupin urged him. "Don't try anything rash."
A chorus of laughter filled the room. Harry twisted his head and saw several black-robed Death Eaters standing behind him. There were at least five or six of them, Harry could not be sure.
"Yes, Potter," one of the Death Eaters spat. Harry recognised the voice. It was Lucius Malfoy. "Don't try anything rash. We wouldn't want you making things worse for your friends here."
In the corner of his eye, Harry could see Malfoy waving his wand carelessly towards Ron and Hermione.
"Just leave them alone," Harry found himself saying. "It's me you want."
The Death Eaters laughed again. The sound made Harry's blood boil.
"Now that wouldn't be much fun, would it?" Malfoy sneered. "Now, should we start with the Mudblood or the Werewolf? Or perhaps the muggle-loving weasel?" he hesitated. "Macnair! There's one missing!"
"There's one missing, you idiot!" Malfoy swung around to face the masked Macnair, his wand raised menacingly.
"It doesn't matter," came another familiar voice - Snape. "She's not important right now. We have Potter, that's all that matters."
Harry wanted to say something. He wanted to shout at Snape, to hurt him. He tried to remind himself that Snape was a spy for the Order; he was not a Death Eater anymore. But Harry was not sure if he really believed this. Dumbledore had always been far too trusting of Snape.
Malfoy sighed angrily. "I suppose we'll just have to make up for it with the other Weasley," he spat, turning back to Ron. "Crucio."
Harry squeezed his eyes shut in an attempt to block out Ron's screams. He could feel Hermione sobbing uncontrollably next to him. The Death Eater's were laughing maniacally. Harry tugged harder at the invisible ropes around his chest, but to no avail.
Finally, Malfoy raised his wand and the room resounded with laughter again.
Harry twisted his head around to see a small Death Eater step towards them. He reached down and grasped Lupin by the neck of his robes, pulling him roughly to his feet. The magical bindings came apart instantly. Harry leapt to his feet, but was immediately withheld by another Death Eater.
"Leave him alone," Harry hissed, struggling against the Death Eater's hold.
The small Death Eater laughed and pushed Lupin hard against the stone wall. "Hear that, Moony? Little Potter thinks I should leave you alone."
"Wormtail!" Lupin spat back. "You murderous little traitor!"
"Murderous, eh? Well, I guess I'll just have to live up to my reputation, won't I?" Wormtail slammed Lupin against the wall again. Then he ripped at the neck of Lupin's robes, exposing the top of his chest. Wormtail raised his wand and slashed at the air in front of Lupin.
Harry was horrified to see a large red gash appear across Lupin's chest. Lupin gasped in pain, but continues to stare fixedly at Wormtail.
"The Dark Lord rewarded me for my part in his rebirth," Wormtail continued. "He rewarded me with the power to kill you."
Wormtail raised his gloved hand to his lips. He bit into the tip of the index finger and pulled the glove off slowly with his teeth, revealing a large silver hand. Lupin's eyes widened. The gang of Death Eater's fell into a hushed silence, and pressed in on Wormtail and Lupin. The one holding Harry dragged him forward for a closer look.
"Why did you do it?" Lupin asked.
"Do what?" Wormtail laughed.
"Why did you kill James and Lily?" Lupin pressed him. "James was the one who convinced us you were worth something. He told us to give you a chance ... and you repaid him by betraying him and orphaning his only son."
"Shut up!" Wormtail hissed. "You never really accepted me into your stupid little group. You were always laughing at me behind my back. You thought you were so great. Well, not so great now, are you? Prongs killed himself trying to defend his worthless son. Then Padfoot went and made the same stupid mistake. Now, Moony, you are going to die trying to protect the wonderful Harry Potter."
Wormtail flexed his silver hand, then pressed it hard against the wound on Lupin's chest. Lupin screwed his face up in pain. At the same time, Harry felt a sharp pain cut across the scar on his forehead. He knew that Lupin was dying.
"NO!" Harry screamed, tugging harder at the Death Eater's grip.
The room was filled with a terrifying mixture of laughter, screaming and crying. Hermione looked as though she was about to faint, she stood limply in the hold of another Death Eater. Ron stood nearby, his face blank and distant.
Lupin's legs gave way and he slumped to the floor. Wormtail stepped back, looking sickeningly satisfied. Harry kicked hard at the Death Eater holding him, who let go with a howl of pain. Harry dropped to his knees at Lupin's side. He was still alive, but his breath came in short, sharp gasps. Harry lifted Lupin's head gently and saw that the cut on his chest had turned black, like a long scorch mark.
Somebody grabbed Harry by the back of his t-shirt and dragged him back to his feet.
"There's nothing you can do for him, Potter," Snape whispered quietly in his ear.
"I WON'T LET HIM DIE!" Harry shouted. He swung round and snatched Snape's wand from his unsuspecting grip. "BACK OFF!" he shouted, waving the wand wildly at the other Death Eaters, who stood around him, their own wands raised.
Several spells shot at Harry at once.
"PROTEGO!" Harry shouted quickly. But his shielding spell was not strong enough to protect him from so many spells shooting directly at him. He was knocked off his feet and his head hit the hard stone floor painfully. He felt the wand fly out of his fingers as the Death Eaters' laughter echoed inside his throbbing skull.
Harry opened his eyes and blinked up at the Death Eaters, who had crowded in around him. He could no longer see Ron or Hermione, just a mass of black robes and masks pressing in on him.
Malfoy raised his wand slowly. "Crucio."
The pain was unbearable. Harry felt as though white hot knives were piercing every inch of his body. He wanted it to end. He wanted them to kill him. But it did not stop. The laughter around him grew louder and louder as the pain increased...
Harry heard the voice somewhere in the distance. The pain subsided and Harry opened his eyes. He was lying face down on the ground, cold sweat dripping off his nose onto the grey stone. There were noises all around him, people were shouting, but their voices seemed so far away. Harry placed his throbbing forehead on the cool stone floor, letting the voices ebb slowly away until there was nothing.
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