Categories > Books > Harry Potter > A History of Violence

8-The Home Front Part Two

by carlac_80 0 reviews

Hermione gives some personal highs and lows of the Wizarding World's four year sprint into the 21st century with some startling discoveries.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst,Crossover,Drama - Characters: Draco,Harry,Hermione,Molly Weasley,Ron,Snape - Warnings: [!!] [V] - Published: 2008-08-20 - Updated: 2008-08-21 - 7745 words

Chapter Eight: The Home Front, Part Two


December 27, 1996

For the first time in all my years, this has to be the first time that I am happy that the holiday season is nearly over and not just because I get to return back to my studies. With Voldemort's return, I find it horrifically hard to sit with my parents and pretend that everything is okay. But I guess that would be my fault since I haven't actually told them the truth. I mean really, how do you sit your parents down and tell them that a blood supremacist wizard is out the take over the Wizarding world, possibly the whole world, and that persons like my self are amongst the first to be eliminated. Their knee jerk reaction to such news would probably be to have me removed from the school and from that world like any other self respecting parent who cares for child's safety. However, I can't let that happen. Even if I did want to leave the Wizarding World, it is now too late for such thoughts. By befriending Harry, whom I do not regret, I placed the marker on my head. Not only myself, but also my parents would be in more danger with me unable to use magic and no type of support system.

Sometimes I wonder if I am hiding my secrets as well as I think I am because every now and then, I catch my father looking at me with an odd expression on his face. Maybe it's my own guilt and paranoia getting to me. I have never hidden so much from my parents until I entered the Wizarding world and I know it's my fault for this ever-increasing distance emerging between us. My natural curiosity tempts me to question why he looks at me like that. However, he could easily respond with questions that I do not want to get into answering. If I didn't know better, part of me would believe that he knows something.

Anyways, I will admit that I am most definitely anxious to get back to the Burrow to see what's going on with the Order and Weasley front since Ron's letters usually leave a lot to be desired. I had never really noticed it before because I usually gathered the remaining information needed from Harry, when he's allotted the information, that is. Unfortunately, I've only received one letter from Harry the whole time I've been home and it contained less information than Ron's.

I am disappointed to say that this is not surprising considering the changes in Harry's behavior these past few months. After being depressed and distraught for about three months, he seemed to snap out of it. However, I can most definitely say that this is not the same Harry we know. After emerging from his depression, he seemed to withdraw away from everyone adopting a more detached attitude towards everyone including Ron and myself. It scares me sometimes. People say that the eyes are the windows to the soul; but if that is the case, Harry has shut the blinds on us. The eyes that I used be able to read as quickly as my favorite book are now heavily shielded, almost like the Slytherin mask. It appears that the only person who is remotely able to pull any emotion out of him is Professor Dumbledore and even that relationship has changed dramatically. That grandfather-grandson relationship that they used to have is now nonexistent and has been that way since June. From what I can gather, Dumbledore disclosed something to Harry that just set him off. I don't know what it was, but it appeared to be the straw that broke the camel's back. Watching Harry's interactions with Dumbledore, it appears that Harry almost considers Dumbledore a necessary evil. Don't get me wrong; he's still displays good manners and is pleasant, but the warmth is gone leaving a shell of respect and professionalism.

I guess two positive results have come from this change. The first is that in some ways, it has brought Ron and I closer together and that for all his faults, he is good guy. Some of the things that I used to find grotesque, I now accept as either cute or something that is just uniquely Ron. My God. Don't tell me I have a crush on one of my best friends. This is something that I am going to just place in the far back of my mind for now. Moving on, the second positive is that Harry himself has become more invested in his studies. Almost every time I saw him throughout the first term, he either had his head in a book or off 'practicing practicals' as he would say. However to add injury to insult, I got the feeling that I was not distinctly wanted at some of these study sessions. It appears that Harry is distancing himself from everyone. I just hope it doesn't get worse with time.

January 15, 1997

I haven't had the chance to write in a while. Everything has been so busy lately with blowups and surprises. Upon arriving at the Grimmauld Place, I immediately received a warning from Ginny and Ron not to push Harry for information. It turns out I didn't even need the warning since Harry had kept himself mostly sequestered in Sirius's old room for the remainder of the holiday. From what I was able to gather, it appears that something went on during the Sirius's will reading since Remus and Tonks came back just as affected. Making little inferences from the information I was able to gather, it seems that Sirius had volunteered for some experimental program with Gringotts that used goblin mind magic to enable a person to be able change their will and other estate business without having to step foot in the bank. I guess this was the reason why it took almost six months for it to be read. Due to said mind link, they discovered some interesting news during the will reading with the main piece of news being that Sirius is not as dead as originally thought since the mental link still responding to new information delivered and changed the will accordingly to Sirius's wishes. As a result, the will reading was shut down and the goblins and researchers in the Department of Mysteries are working double time to figure out what happened and if it is possible for Sirius to be retrieved from the veil. Doesn't it almost sound like a muggle science fiction movie?

Still that doesn't explain why the tension between Dumbledore and Harry has increased since said will reading even though it seems more like it is Harry who is the one on a warpath. The conversations that I witnessed between the two almost remind me of meetings between two solicitors with the amount of back and forth going between them. Part of me really wonders what big secret Dumbledore disclosed to cause Harry to loose so much of his trust and esteem for the man because Order members and offspring, young and old, are continuously shocked by the amount of suspicion and tenacity he displays in their interactions. Dumbledore appears to be taking Harry's new attitude in stride. However, his facial expressions do belie him at times because I have seen some expressions of hurt, and surprisingly, guilt. But what could Dumbledore possibly be guilty of? I have no idea. Anyways, this strange change in dynamic did result in some positives. Starting in February, Harry will start receiving training from Moody, Kingsley, and Tonks. Ron and I, much to Mrs. Weasley's dismay, were invited also since we're usually in the vicinity when trouble finds Harry. About time, I would say. Like it or not, we are in this and we could use all the help we can get. I just hope this time together brings Harry back closer to us.

February 26, 1997

I am writing this entry on the verge of exhaustion, but a good amount has gone on since the last time I have written. So I guess I'll start out with the good news. Ron and I have been going out for about a week now. It turns out that Ron has liked me since fourth year. Anyways, he asked me to meet him outside after he was done with quiddich practice. We then walked down to the lake with him attempting to make small talk. I knew where this conversation was going and had long decided to give it a try, but I didn't want to interrupt him. After about twenty minutes of stilted silence and overall feelings of awkwardness and nervousness, I decided to take mercy on him and made the first move. I actually don't have much to say about the relationship as of right now since we haven't been together that long. The kisses are ...nice. They are not on par with Victor Krum, mind you, but that is okay since we are still learning.

Then there was the process of telling Harry. Actually that went easier than what I thought it was going to be. He didn't seem the least bit surprised. He just gave us a lukewarm smile and said "About time!" Part of me wondered when I was ever going to see one of his full smiles again. Speaking of the devil, things have gotten a little better between us since we started the training, which by the way gave me a whole new respect for the training aurors went through. There's no point in complaining and we are seeing great improvement for our hard work. However, Ron and I are not progressing as nearly as quick as Harry, which leaves me to believe that his extra study sessions and practicals are paying off. As much as I want to, I haven't even attempted to ask him what he is doing on the side since he only just started to thaw out again. I just observe and I can observe that he is working hard. For what, I don't know. It would be easy to say the war that is coming, but we knew that back last year and I didn't see that much determination coming from him. Something tells me it has to do with whatever caused the rift between him and Dumbledore and not just the fact that Harry is a living breathing reminder of Voldemort's failure. Sometimes I get up extra early to study or finish an assignment and I see Harry outside running...running of all things. I can see the advantages to getting ones body into peak condition along with the magic, but it doesn't cease to come as a shock. Maybe I should take a page out of his book and pay attention to the body also.

May 27, 1997

If someone had told me two years ago that I would be journal writing in the library across from a Harry engrossed in his studies, I would have written a detailed recommendation for that person to be admitted to St. Mungo's. I mean really; Harry studying and I'm not. Ron would usually be here to spot this gross perversion of nature and return things to its "natural" order. But Ron is not here. Instead, Ron is at the Burrow grieving with the remainder of his family. Percy Weasley is dead. I can not believe it. Percy Weasley is dead. If I hadn't seen Ron come through the portrait hole holding a sobbing Ginny, I would have never believed it.

According to the Prophet, Minister Scrimgeour was on his way to France for reasons unknown. Percy was part of his envoy of eight including four aurors and two additional Ministry officials. It would also appear despite Scrimgeor's attempts to rid the Ministry of Death Eaters and its sympathizers; he was still unsuccessful because the portkey had a destination different than the one intended. They found themselves in the woods surrounded by ten Death Eaters and anti-apparation wards up. A battle ensued leaving one Ministry official and an auror dead before one of the other aurors found him self in the position to disable the wards. Due the chaos of the battle, no one really looked around to see who was with them and apparated back to the Ministry as soon as they felt the wards drop. The surviving aurors in the envoy gathered reinforcements to return back to the forest while Scrimgeour attempted to account for his staff finally realizing two were missing. More time was used since no one had any familiarity about the area they were portkeyed to and therefore could not immediately apparate back there. Once the aurors returned back to the scene, they saw the bodies of the auror and the Ministry worker, but no Percy and no Death Eaters. At first they believed that Percy may have very well been kidnapped by the Death Eaters; but that didn't make sense since they killed the other Ministry official and auror with no qualms. However after analyzing the area where the attacks took place, they found a pool of blood and it matched Percy's. The consulting healers and investigators determined unfortunately that there had been too much blood spilled for Percy to realistically survive without immediate medical attention and since it took nearly four hours for the aurors to determine the location, he more than likely expired. Then that blood spilt probably drew the attention of animals within the forest and thereby scattering his remains.

I didn't even really get a chance to talk to Ron before he left and if I had, there probably was very little I could say. Ron and Percy didn't get along, but they were still brothers.

This is the largest attack Voldemort and his Death Eaters have staged so far. I guess it was wishful thinking on our part that he would stay silent. He has thrown his gauntlet.

August 23, 1997

Ron and I are done. Ron and I are done and neither one of us is actually upset about it. Weird, huh? Considering our never ending ability to bring out the worst in each other, our breakup was surprisingly conflict free. But then I guess it helps that we both knew it coming and it was only a matter of who was going to initiate it was in question. You can only imagine my surprise when Ron gathered his courage first and asked me to take a walk with him around the Burrow grounds.

I guess there are plenty of reasons for our separation, but one of the main ones for me was that I just didn’t see him like that after a while. Like I mentioned earlier, the kisses were nice. Just nice. Other than that, I felt nothing. No passion. No enrapturement. No romantic love. No lust. Just the pleasant sensations that come from a kiss. However, I decided to give it more time since this was my first relationship and didn't want to be fickle like so many persons of our age are accused of being. Actually, I had known it wasn't working for quite a while and was thinking of ways to break it to him gently. But the news of Percy's death had delayed that plan. There was no way I could be that callous or insensitive especially with the way he was hurting.

Considering Ron and Percy's relationship, I had no idea what sort of reaction to expect from Ron. Nevertheless, I was still shocked by reaction yielded from Ron. His silence. Ron was never the silent type; you usually knew what he was thinking even if he didn't want you to find out. It was like the nature of things turning on its head. No anger. No opinions. No tears. He went into this state of distracted silence like his mind was always elsewhere. None of his jokes. None of his declarations of everlasting love to quiddich. None of his stating the obvious. Not much of the things that made Ron Ron. Upon his return to Hogwarts after the funeral, his silence jarred most of the Gryffindors even Harry who was beginning to be called the Gryffindor Ice Prince amongst the student population due to his own changes in agenda and attitude.

Like with Harry, all I could do was to be there for him. Most nights I just held him as he talked about how Mrs. Weasley fainted upon hearing the news. He talked about being woken in the dead of night to see his father sobbing drunkenly while he believed everyone was asleep. He talked about Ginny taking over the household duties while Bill handled the funeral arrangements. He talked about the Fred and George's inability to look any of their family in the eye. He talked about the trip Charlie and he made to clean out Percy's apartment. But he never talked about himself.

Since May, that's what I have been doing. I've been a friend just like Harry except I don't believe they hold each other at night. Instead they have taken to running together since Harry arrived. I have no idea what they talk about but whatever Harry is doing is working because he comes back a little brighter each day. A short reprieve from the cloak of silence that permeates his demeanor that I came to realize was a cloak of regret.

One night out of the blue, he told me that he couldn't take it back. Of course I asked him what he couldn't take back, but he just kept saying it. I can't take it back. I'll never have the chance to take it back. I could feel his tears seeping through my shirt and my heart went out to him because it was true. My mother always had a rule that we never leave the house angry; that before we went our separate ways throughout the course of the day, we made sure to square away conflict because for all we know that may be the last time we see each other. Smart woman. It turns out the last words exchanged between Ron and Percy was actually the same night that Percy insulted his parents and walked out. Hurtful words apparently went back and forth, but Ron admits the heaviest of the vitriol came from Fred, George, and himself. Even though Percy was wrong, he'll never be able to apologize. They will never able to hug and makeup. They may never truly be at peace with their lost. All they have left are last few moments spent with him and those moments were not good. Ron told me that the last words he said to Percy replay over in his mind in a loop whenever he sees something that brings Percy to mind. There was absolutely nothing I could say to make that better so I just kept holding him like I held him every other night. Nothing sexual. Nothing romantic. Apparently, that was enough for him as he starts to come back to the bloke we know and he told me such when we took our final walk around the Burrow as a couple.

He told me that he was appreciative of me being there as a friend rather than girlfriend in his trying time. He told me that he was sorry for not being the boyfriend material that I desired. I guess Ron is more perceptive than I give him credit for. He told me that he will always care about me and hopes that this "thing" we had won't affect our friendship adversely. It hasn't affected our friendship surprisingly. If anything, it seems that it has strengthened it. We don't argue nearly as much as we used to before the relationship. Things that used to start World War three between us now usually result in a warm smile and an eye roll. Really, most friendships are ruined by things like this. Maybe we're just weird. If so, I wouldn't have it any other way.

December 26, 1997

When Professor Dumbledore told us darker times were ahead back in sixth year, I had readied myself as much as possible for a full brunt of violence, disorder, and death. So you can imagine my surprise to count that since his return, there hasn't been more than a dozen attacks. Part of me should have been happy for this small amount of activity. However, I couldn't help but feel unsettled by the lack of attacks. I had a feeling that Voldemort's new hobby, whatever it was, would not be to our benefit and boy was I right.

One speculative reason for his lack of activity could be that he didn't have all of his resources to his disposal. That shouldn't be a problem now since his recent Azkaban breakout freed a number of dangerous Death Eaters including his monetary arm and right hand man, Lucius Malfoy. How he managed to win the alliance with the dementors will never cease to astound me. I have a feeling things are about to go from bad to worse for us.

February 23, 1998

I knew I should have kept my mouth shut earlier when I said things were going to get worse because in some ways, they most definitely have. Voldemort's attacks have picked up in frequency, but not enough yet for the Ministry to declare a state of war. It's not enough yet to cause people to stock up on goods and barricade themselves in their homes. However, it is enough to have people looking over their shoulders and ready to apparate at a moments notice with good reason also. When the Voldemort and his Death Eaters strike, they hit hard. It's like this war is on two levels, the psychological and the physical, and some might argue that he is winning the psychological due to sheer paranoia that he is sowing amongst the general populace.

In the spirit of things going from bad to worse, I believe that there is something wrong with Professor Dumbledore. I understand that he is an older gentleman and that older people have their moments of physical weakness, but that was something I never noticed in the Professor until recently. He always seemed to possess a vitality of someone less than half his age. Now, it seemed that he looked a little sickly and had appeared to loss some weight. But the greatest scare was when he nearly fainted in the middle of a Heads meeting with myself and Justin Finch-Fletchley. He's also taken to wearing gloves a lot in public, but that can be attributed to his usual eccentric style. Hopefully, it is nothing serious and he will be back to his omnipotent-like self soon.

July 19, 1998

I have officially seen it all. Something has got to give. We all knew that the war for the British Wizarding World was beginning to come into realization, but it doesn't halt the shock, pain, and changes that are left behind by Voldemort actions. Neville. Bumbling, clumsy, nervous Neville Longbottom is no more. I know we should be happy for him growing out of these traits, but it's just another reminder of how things are changing and the cost this war has and will incur.

Two days before our graduation from Hogwarts, Voldemort decided to attack the Neville's remaining family resulting in the death of his grandmother and his great uncle Algie. We have no idea why; but if we were to make a guess, it may be due to Neville's presence at the Department of Mysteries or Augusta Longbottom's hard line outspoken condemnation of Voldemort and his supporters on the Wizengamot floor. As to why he waited so long, it could be anybody's guess. Anyways, Neville is practically last of his line with his parents being in St. Mungo's.

As to how this affected him. Let's just say that I am beginning to understand the quote, "There is nothing more dangerous than a man who has nothing to lose." The reservation and uncertainty that has ruled Neville for most of his life is gone. Really, it is just like he doesn't care anymore. When asked about the change in attitude, he just said "I have no one. Who am I going to shame or disappoint?" It's quite odd actually. Harry went cold and detached. Ron went silent and melancholy. Neville has been quite all over the place, but if I had to identify one overarching emotion for him, I would say anger. Some days he's as brooding and cold as Harry. Others days he is right as rain.

However, the days that scare me most is when he displays hot anger that is usually associated with Ron. With his old meek and unassuming demeanor, I never really took in Neville physically, only the cursory acknowledgement of him being a slightly chubby boy I remember in first year. His new anger and aggressiveness, however, call to attention his imposing size and girth he has gained over the years. Thinking back over it, he probably received more exercise than most at Hogwarts due to the manual attention and lifting needed in herbology. Standing at 193.04cm and 105kg of mostly muscle, he has Ron by two inches and three stones and I had always considered Ron physically very tall and muscular in build.

So one could imagine my surprise when I walk into the back yard to for a chance to get some fresh air and instead saw something I would deny happening if I didn't see it with my own eyes; Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom were beating the stuffing out of our each other. I was so shocked by what I was seeing that I probably stood there for at least a minute before fetching someone to separate them. It took Ron, Remus, and one of the twins to break it up. After standing there giving death glares to each other, the gits started laughing and walked off into the house. Sometimes I just don't understand boys even though Remus, Ron, and Fred seemed to be just as perplexed as myself.

We never found out what that fight was about, but we did notice that the relationship between the two did change and consequently changed the mood of the Grimmauld Place a little. Harry and Neville grew closer, which made Harry a little less cold and Neville a little less angry. Considering their situations, I can see the reason for their strengthening friendship. They relate on levels I hope Ron and I never have to comprehend. Ron and I haven't had the displeasure of losing our parents and most of the other people of value in our lives. That's one place we can't follow them and begin to understand. A lackadaisical attempt would be insulting and patronizing to both of them. I explained such to Ron when he began to get a little jealous of their exclusiveness at times and also reminded him that we were adults now and not possessive three year olds claiming their first friend at pre-school. Although, I had to wonder did other students notice that same sort of exclusiveness with the three of us in our Hogwarts days?

Anyways, things are sort of better around here. Harry is now joined on his fitness activities by both Ron and Neville. Things have also gotten a little better between Dumbledore and Harry even though they are nowhere near how they used to be.

September 30, 1999

I can't believe it. We are officially Order members. The day Ron and I have been looking forward to ever since we were fifteen years old. You noticed that I left out Harry. Oh yes, he's in the Order too, but he doesn't appear to be nearly as enthused about it as he used to be. Again, it appears to be that lesser of evils attitude popping back up with him. In addition to us three, we were joined by a good amount of our Hogwarts year mates including Neville, Dean, Seamus, Susan Bones, Hannah Abbott, Ernie Macmillian, and shockingly, Lavender Brown.

As for why they waited a year, I asked Remus and he told me that they wanted young members to get comfortable in the adult world and our chosen fields before picking up any additional responsibilities. There's a problem with that however. Plenty of us still aren't comfortable in our chosen fields, or worse, haven't chosen a field yet. From the people I talked to, it appears to be a vacillation between practicality and passion. Everyone knows what's coming and acknowledges the advantages of getting training in healing, dueling, or potions, but what about when it's over? How easy will the transition be? Would there be a transition as it is so easy to become complacent at times? Remus says anyone could be of use to the Order regardless of their career choice, but I believe dueling and healing experience would look very appealing when various unsavory spells are shooting across ones head.

Practicality reined supreme for myself and I therefore decided to officially train as a Mediwitch. I believe it was a just compromise. I've always had an interest in healing and considering the growing number of the Order, Madam Pomprey would probably be more than a little overstretched if a full battle was to take place and could use all the help she could get. If I'm still interested after the war, I'll be on the fast track to become a Healer or if I'm tired of seeing blood by then, I won't be too invested that it would make me reluctant to switch fields. I'm still training with the Tonks and Moody on the side. Neville decided to stick with the Herbology as his official field while studying up on and attempting to make necessary potions on the side such as Veritaserum and Skele-Grow. It does make sense; without magical plants, a brewer isn't going to get that far. Unsurprisingly, Professor Snape doesn't know about Neville's extracurricular brewing yet and I don't want to be around when he finds out considering that Snape hasn't been in contact with the new and improved Neville much. Did I also mention that Neville is also becoming a very strong dueler? Ron still appears to be undecided and he divides his time between helping Fred and George at their shop, practicing on his broom, and dueling with various Order members for practice. As for Harry, despite his focus on dueling and warfare, he still has not chosen any official field. He just told us to ask him again after Voldemort is gone.

March 25, 2000

My God! I think it is safe to say that Voldemort is a fan of symbolism because it seems that with the start of the new Millennium, he decided to step up his attacks and overall mayhem. Abductions, prophecies, secrets, and skirmishes. There truly has not been a dull day in this month for the Order. Matter of fact, I believe things may pretty well be exciting from now on. We almost lost Molly and that is something I almost can't believe, but it nearly happened. Of all the people involved in the Order and risking life and limb, I would have never believed that the Weasley matriarch would be one of the first to stand before Voldemort, let alone live to tell the tale.

My goodness. That was a horrific twenty four hours. I can still remember Ron paling rapidly when Molly's patronus found its way to Headquarters followed shortly by Kingsley alerting us to the attack. I can remember the heated back and forth between Snape, Dumbledore, and the elder Weasleys that night before Snape was summoned. More noteworthy however, was the look of sheer bafflement Snape displayed upon his return to Grimmauld Place after that summons.

Three days ago, Molly left for Diagon Alley to run some errands. Despite Voldemort stepping up his activities, most believed that he wouldn't attack a major place of commerce in broad daylight. Well, most were wrong, myself included. According to her recount, she was passing by Florean Fortescue on her way to the apothecary when the Death Eaters apparated in. Ducking into Florean's for cover, she was met by at least three mothers with pre-Hogwarts age children in tow. She watched as they attempted and failed to apparate out noting that some Death Eaters must have already been in the alley in plain clothes due to the speed in which the anti-apparation wards were erected.

Florean decided to erect some wards of his own and have the families escape through the floo in the basement of the shop. Molly and one of Florean's employees were in the middle of helping the helping the children through when Florean's wards broke. The fighting heard upstairs spurred them on to get the children out of there as soon as possible. The last child had just flooed away when Death Eater curses started to rain down on them. All she heard before she met darkness was, "She's a Weasley. Leave her for the Dark Lord."

She woke up with a pounding headache to find herself surrounded by the Death Eaters and Voldemort himself. Knowing of Voldemort's aptitude in the mind arts, she immediately started burying any information she had regarding the Order with the number one priority being Snape knowing that he was probably somewhere within that crowd of Death Eaters. She tried to force herself to think of things most people in her situation would think of like the fact that she may never see her family again. She also allowed herself succumb slightly to the disorientation she felt from the head injury to make things even more muddled for him when he would invade.

Between the pounding in her head and fruits of her own efforts, she barely heard when Voldemort addressed his Death Eaters and was therefore taken off guard when he lifted her to her feet and started his invasion. Memories went through her head at speeds unmatched. Making it a point to keep her mind on her children that she may never see again, she managed to veer him off course slightly since she knew she had no way of keeping him out. However, that thought managed to bring forth one secret that she almost forgot that she knew herself and it was a secret that made Voldemort hiss with anger. Pushing her away from him, he cast the Cruciatus on her for what felt like hours before he ordered one of the Death Eaters to take her back to the dungeons. As she drifted in and out of consciousness, she felt a wet hand grab hers and felt telltale navel yank of a portkey. Someone saved her and she had no clue who that the person was. The only noteworthy thing she could tell us was that before he dropped her off at St. Mungo's, he handled her like precious cargo. He caught her in his arms before her already injured body could hit the ground forcefully as which was usually the case with portkeys. He apparated and carried her around as if she weighed nothing and we all know that Molly is not a light woman. He said nothing the whole time until they arrived at St. Mungo's where he stroked her on the forehead of all things and murmured some words that she could barely hear.

Now if I thought the story was weird from just Molly's version, Professor Snape's rendition took it up to a whole new level since he is not one easily impressed or jarred. The fact that he gave his recount in the company of Firewhiskey spoke volumes. As he stood in the throne room, he was uneasy with the fact that he could be exposed due Voldemort's impending invasion of Molly's memories, but he knew it was risk he would have to take if he was going to have any chance of getting her out of there, hopefully without exposing himself. Upon arriving at the fortress, he hoped upon hopes that Molly hadn't been taken to the throne room yet because chances of a successful escape dropped dramatically when one was in the room. The whole fortress was heavily warded, but the throne room along with other places that Voldemort frequently haunts had extra wards placed on them by Voldemort himself in Parselmouth making it almost impossible to be broken by anyone else except for another Parselmouth. Arriving in the throne room to see Molly unconscious on the ground, he knew that it was out of his hands. With the wards along with at least twenty five Death Eaters and the Dark Lord, he knew both of them would be dead before they reached the throne room door let alone the portkey and apparation rooms so all he could do was hope that Voldemort was in a good mood. Good moods were fleeting, few, and far between for the Dark Lord since his return. When he was in a good mood, he had more patience and allowed his followers to take them to the dungeons and wear them down. He would have them brought up once a day to search their minds until he received the information he wanted. It wouldn't be too hard to collect her without too risk to his own person. However, if he was not in a good mood, he would rip through her mind with the care of a troll along with curses that would have her wishing for death. He did't even go on to say that he would probably be as good as dead also. I'm ashamed to admit how readily we forget what he has to go through at times.

As Voldemort greeted the crowd, he was relieved to see that Molly's capture in of itself had put him in a good mood. Though not an active fighter usually, Voldemort and his inner circle Death Eaters understood the value of the Weasley matriarch as an infrastructural and morale backbone for the Order, especially with so many Weasleys being within the ranks. Her death would jar plenty of people and probably resonate through the entire Order. Oh, yes. It was a good night for Voldemort. As usual according to Snape, he digressed into one of his pureblood mania speeches about rebuilding the Wizarding World to Salazar's vision that had the Death Eaters eating out of his hands. Snape stated that he had no idea of Molly's aptitude in the mind arts so all he could do was hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

He had long ago stopped fearing death and the nonchalant way he said it still echoes in my head.

He watched on as Voldemort took Molly by the arms and held her up to his eyes to begin his assault. After about two minutes, he practically threw Molly to the ground and quickly cast the Cruciatus on her for about thirty seconds. He knew that whatever he saw wasn't good and therefore things were about to get bad. He straightened his shoulders for the inevitable and waited for those red eyes to lock on his person. Instead Voldemort's glare locked on the figure that he knew was Lucius Malfoy and he ordered someone to return a shaking and semi-conscious Molly to the dungeons. Whatever relief Severus may have gotten from that statement was short lived as the person who retrieved Molly immediately disappeared from the throne room with Molly in tow. Pandemonium immediately ensured since most knew that Voldemort warded this room himself and that two persons had just cut through the wards like butter. Severus knew that if Voldemort was angry earlier, he was now murderously incensed. From Voldemort's point of view, this was not just an escape; it was a mockery and challenge to Voldemort's power in front of his Death Eaters. This person not only managed to infiltrate and pose as one of his faithful, he brought question to his to his power by cutting through his wards declaring himself more powerful or smarter in some way. Oh yes. It was a bad night for Voldemort and therefore, a bad night for the souls to get the brunt of his wrath. Turning his attention to Voldemort, he saw him open his eyes and lower his wand from checking the wards. He walked over to the nearest Death Eater and grasped his arm. Snape barely had time to prepare as the mark brought almost everyone in the room to their knees with pain. Once having everyone's attention, he ordered everyone out except for the inner circle. He assigned the Carrows to investigate what could possibly surpass his wards, since they were not technically breached according to Voldemort, before dismissing them. Immediately after the door closed behind the Carrows, Lucius was under the Cruciatus and Voldemort's face was twisted in rage. It turns out that Draco Malfoy is alive and took steps before his disappearance to deny his father access to the Malfoy monies before faking his death and therefore denying Voldemort funding for his endeavors. After almost twenty minutes of watching Voldemort physically and verbally torture Lucius, Snape almost felt sorry for him.

It appears that Lucius was greatly touched by Azkaban displaying signs of what looks like dissociative identity disorder according to Snape, which makes me wonder how on earth Snape knows what DID is. His mood and demeanor fluctuated greatly. Some days he would be solemn and defeated while other days he could be just as vicious as Voldemort himself. He was under the belief that his son was dead and that his wife abandoned him only leaving him eight thousand galleons to his name with the out of country accounts either closed or barred. Also during Voldemort's verbal tirade, the dark wizard said things that appeared to only have meaning for him and Lucius because Snape realized his puzzled countenance was reflected in the faces of the Lestranges and other members of the inner circle. Two generations of undependable blood traitors hiding behind the enigma of pureblood prestige...A lot of runners...Are you going to run Lucius?...Will I see you tomorrow?...That's okay... I'll help you fight your nature and make sure you don't the others ...or the others...Maybe Abraxas had the right idea after all and I was just too merciful of a Lord...Sometimes you Malfoys are more trouble than you are worth...

Leaving Lucius attempting to retain what was left his dignity, Voldemort gave the three Lestranges the task of planning and initiating a continent wide search for the missing Malfoys and gave Severus the task of trying to find out from Dumbledore as much as he could about Molly Weasley's mysterious savior and the events of what happened after she was portkeyed away.

Severus arrived back to a nearly empty Grimmauld Place to be briefed by Remus that Molly was dropped off at St. Mungo's by a hooded man and should be able to come home in a few hours after they check to make sure there is no lingering damage from the Cruciatus. Four hours later, we all arrived back from St. Mungo's with Molly and both stories were put together the next morning with Dumbledore filling in some serious blanks for us.

It appears that Narcissa Malfoy came to him four years ago regarding a plot with Malfoy that was supposed to result in Professor Dumbledore's death. Both came to Dumbledore and told them of the plan and that they wanted nothing to do with the plan. They made a deal with Dumbledore sealed with a Wizard's Oath to make sure all Malfoy influence was withdrawn from the war in exchange for him protecting all Malfoy assets while they were out of the country and passing on information about the war if it pertained to the Black and Malfoy families. He didn't go into all the details considering what had just happened to Molly could happen to any of us. He just stated that the details are documented and in the event that something was to happen to him, the information would fall into the appropriate hands.

After the meeting dispersed, Molly's mysterious savior and the Malfoy Deal were the talks of all side conversations within the Order and everyone had their own opinion of course. The Weasleys were of course grateful for Molly's savior yet Arthur and Dumbledore were slightly worried since they didn't know the strangers identity and that Molly more than likely owed him a life debt. I'm just grateful to have her back so he is good in my books until future actions state otherwise. People were speculating on who this person could be with most believing that he was another Parselmouth, which lead to questions of could he really be trusted if he reemerged in the future. Some people honestly have no tact because they presented this asinine opinion with Harry still in the room. However, luckily or unluckily depending on whom you are, Harry is not ruffled by much anymore these days.

As for the Malfoy deal, opinions were all over the place. Some were happy with the move acknowledging that Voldemort's financial and political reach was shortened significantly. Some were disgusted with the fact that Dumbledore sat down in talks, let alone made a deal with the Malfoys. Some even believed that Draco and Narcissa were heartless for their actions against Lucius while some believed that Lucius received his just due considering the misery he had dished out throughout the years. Ron and some of our Hogwarts cohorts labeled Malfoy a coward for fleeing. Surprisingly, it was Luna who came to the Malfoys' defense asking everyone how they would have reacted to seeing Malfoy sitting in Headquarters requesting to be an Order member or publicly stating that he no longer support the Dark Lord. I can't speak for Malfoy since its been four years, but it's sad to say that some of these people still haven't grown up and therefore, haven't grown pass the houses. I know that interaction would not have been pretty. As for my feelings on the matter, I'm sort of indifferent about the whole thing, but I am happy to see that Malfoy is alive. Despite our history, death wasn't something I would wish on him. We are all adults now and hopefully things will be different if our paths should ever cross again.

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