Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Second Fiddle

Fool Me Once

by Crucio_Crusade 3 reviews

Harry Potter is aware of the wizarding world. The only problem is he grew up apart from it. When he explored the magical world, he found danger, wonder, and friendship.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama - Characters: Harry, Hermione, Neville, Voldemort - Warnings: [!] [?] [V] - Published: 2006-10-16 - Updated: 2006-10-16 - 3391 words

Disclaimer: This fan fiction was based on the Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling. I do not claim ownership on any character created by J.K. Rowling, and no money is collected from this story. This is one way I show appreciation to J.K. Rowling's works. Other names or places on this story are fictional. Any similarity to actual name is purely coincidental.

Chapter 20: Fool Me Once

Sunday morning, at number twelve Grimmauld Place, seven Hogwarts students with their minders, Fred and George, were gathered at the dueling room. They were herded out of the kitchen by Mrs. Weasley as soon as they finished their breakfast. It seemed the Order of the Phoenix was having another one of their impromptu meeting. What could be so important this time that it couldn't wait to be discussed later today?

Neville and Ron grumbled along with the other teenagers. They wanted to be a part of the meeting. They wanted to help. As always, Dumbledore told them that they would have their chance. It wasn't just today or any day for that matter, so they thought. In a way, Ron and Neville were glad they're out of the kitchen. Fred and George "improved" their appearance last night. The Order members had been making fun of their new looks during breakfast.

"Hey, Fred, George, I bet you know something, don't you?" Ron suspiciously asked his brothers.

The twins mysteriously smiled at him. "What gave you that idea?" Fred asked innocently.

"Oh, come of it. You two are members of the Order of the Phoenix, aren't you?" Ron irately asked.

"So what if we are?" George asked casually.

"Then, you have some idea at what they are discussing in the kitchen." Neville said eagerly.

All the students including the twins were seated on soft pillows on the floor. They sat in a big circle formation so they could easily talk to each other. At the moment, all eyes were focused on Fred and George.

"Maybe," George said teasingly, smiling mysteriously.

"Maybe not," Fred concluded, breaking into a mischievous smile.

"Come on you two. Tell us what you know." Susan had a petulant look on her face. "We promise we won't tell anyone that you told us."

"Fred should we?" George looked at his twin hesitantly.

"I don't know. It could get us in trouble if we tell them," Fred said thoughtfully.

"Oh come on. When have you two ever cared if you get in trouble or not?" Ginny asked archly.

The twins looked at each other and smiled mischievously. "Never," George replied with a bright smile on his face. "Okay, we'll tell you. But, if anyone asks how you know, you never heard it from us." He looked at everyone in the circle and waited for their confirmation.

They all agreed. The circle tightened as the students moved closer to the twins. They eagerly wanted to hear what the twins knew. Besides, it'll reduce the chance of them being overheard by the adult Order members.

Fred and George raised their heads and scanned the room. They were making sure there was no one else but them. Fred, then, began to tell his tale. "Okay, earlier this morning..."

"So, early, we thought we were still asleep," George commented on the side.

"We overheard mum and dad talking in the kitchen." Fred paused dramatically to build up the suspense.

"They were talking about something very important," George intoned theatrically, also pausing for a dramatic effect.

Ron rolled his eyes in annoyance. "Will you two stop fooling around and just tell us the story. You are both making me dizzy."

"Quiet, Ron. Fred, George, please continue," Neville requested nicely. He really wanted to know what the twins overheard.

"As I was saying..." Fred began, but George stopped him.

"Let me, dear brother." Fred just shrugged his shoulder and gestured to his twin to go ahead. "As Fred was saying before he was so ruddeeelllyyy interrupted..." George looked meaningfully at Ron who only raised his eyes heavenward. " my brother who is not my twin, we overheard mum and dad talking in the kitchen." George suddenly stopped.

The others waited with bated breath for him to continue. When it became obvious he wasn't going to talk further, Neville inquisitively prompted, "And?" George, however, just looked at him confused.

Fred watched Neville and George silently stared at each other. Then, it dawned on him. "Oh, it's my turn to talk again." The others who were holding their breath seemed to pop like a balloon and collapsed on the floor.

"Will you two knock it off and just get on with the story?" Ron demanded angrily. His twin brothers were beginning to drive him mad.

This time it wasn't only Ron but the others as well. Fred raised his hands as if surrendering. "Okay. Okay. You lot have no sense of style when it comes to storytelling, don't they George?" The others just gave him an angry look. Fred decided to tell it straight since it was obvious only he and George appreciate good storytelling. "We overheard dad tell mum You-Know-Who would release Madam Bones in exchange for Harry Evans. There, now you know."

Nobody spoke. Shock was evident in everyone's face. They were expecting muggle killings or Azkaban break in. They weren't expecting something like this.

Susan had a shock expression on her face. "She's alive?" she softly asked in disbelief. She couldn't believe her Aunt Amelia was still alive. She refused to admit it out loud. But, in her heart, she believed her aunt was already dead. Now, the twins were telling them her aunt was still alive. "She's still alive!" She burst out laughing and crying at the same time. Luna and Ginny who were sitting beside her gave her a heartfelt hug. The others wholeheartedly offered their warm support to Susan as well.

Cho who had been quiet so far, courteously empathized with Susan. But, she pointed out something which the others seemed to be ignoring. "You do realize Madam Bones is only alive if Dumbledore agrees to the exchange?" She noticed the angry looks the other girls gave her. An uncomfortable silence settled in the room.

Susan turned her gaze to Cho, mildly confused. Her eyes were red from crying with joy. "What do you mean? Of course, Dumbledore will agree to the exchange." Susan looked at her friends expecting their support. But when her eyes met their eyes, they only lowered their heads in response.

Susan's smile slowly disappeared. She pressed her lips together, displeased. Her eyes began to fill with anger. "Do you expect me to believe Dumbledore will do nothing? She's the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, for Merlin's sake. She's a well respected witch. Who is Evans? He is nothing. Nobody wants him. His own family doesn't want him? And, you expect me to believe Dumbledore will do nothing?" Her friends remained quiet. No one tried to meet her eyes except Cho who only smirked at her.

She angrily stood up. "Fine! Some friends you are." With that she ran out the door, as fast as her feet could carry her. Hermione, Ginny, and Luna quickly followed, worried for their friend.

Snape calmly sat down and watched the various expressions on the Order members' faces. He felt a considerable amount of satisfaction at seeing the emotions playing on James Potter's face. He wondered if Potter would let Amelia Bones die. He noticed the sympathy thrown at James and Lily's direction. He felt a simmering anger towards the couple. Those arrogant fools deserved no sympathy. They considered themselves and their children secure from the Dark Lord's wrath. This would teach them a lesson never to underestimate Lord Voldemort.

James didn't know what to think. He was bewildered. What did Voldemort want with Harry? He didn't think Harry had ever met that evil wizard. He was new to the wizarding world, for Merlin's sake. "Sniv...Snape, are you sure he said he wanted Harry and not Neville?" he asked suspiciously. He wouldn't be surprised if Snape was just playing a trick on him just to get even from all the pranks he suffered at the Marauders' hands.

"If you want to know if I have gone deaf, the answer is no. My hearing is perfectly fine. And, this is definitely not a joke," Snape said coldly. He saw Potter was taken aback at how close he had guessed his thought. The arrogant fool was so predictable. He wondered how Potter became a Lead Auror. He pointedly turned his head towards Dumbledore who was sitting at the head of the long table. "Shall I tell the Dark Lord you agree to the exchange, headmaster?"

"What are you..." Lily angrily began, but James held her hand and gently shook his head. She wanted to voice her protest. But, she understood her husband would like to do this himself. She made an effort to rein in her fear for her son's well-being.

James smiled reassuringly at his wife. He glared coldly at the Potions Master. "Why are you asking the headmaster, Snape?" James scornfully asked. "What gave you the idea that I would agree to exchange my son for Amelia Bones?"

Snape sneered at James. He snidely said, "That half-blood Evans hasn't been a son to you since the day he was born. What gave you the right to object?"

Snape's words hit close to the truth. James, however, brushed the comment aside. "I may have abandoned him. And, I greatly regret doing it. Nevertheless, he is still my son, blood of my blood. I refuse to allow Harry to be bartered like a piece of trinket." James coldly held Snape's eyes for a moment.

Snape smirked inwardly. How the mighty had fallen. Again, he pointedly ignored James as if he didn't hear a word. "Headmaster, what is your answer?"

James angrily strode towards Snape and bodily pulled him from his chair. "I don't think you heard me. I said there will be no exchange." He roughly shook the Potions Master to drive his point clearly.

Snape quickly reached for his wand. But, before he could point it at his nemesis, he felt something poke his right ribcage. "Don't even think about it, Snivellus." Snape froze. He moved his black eyes on his right side and met the cold emeralds eyes of Lily Potter. He felt another poke on his ribs. For a moment, he thought of cursing Potter anyway. But, his Slytherin side took over. He gave the arrogant git a contemptuous look, before he slowly lowered his wand hand. His day would come.

Dumbledore had remained silent so far. He was weighing his options. He let Severus and James argue to clear the air between them. But, it only created more animosity between the two. When he saw James manhandled Severus, he knew it was time to intervene. He didn't want the situation to escalate to a wizard's duel. "James, please release Severus," he calmly ordered.

For a moment, Dumbledore thought James wasn't going to obey. Then, he saw the Lead Auror roughly shoved the Potions Master. Severus tripped on his chair and tumbled to the floor. "James! That was uncalled for." But, the angry auror ignored him and returned to his seat with his wife. He turned a concern look on his Potions Master. "Severus, are you alright?"

"I'm fine, headmaster." Snape slowly stood on his feet and straightened his cloak. Nobody assisted him or offered sympathy. He disdainfully looked at the Potter couple, before he took his seat.

Dumbledore solemnly looked at the worried faces round the table. Everyone grew uneasily quiet when James and Snape began exchanging heated words. "We are not here to argue amongst ourselves." He addressed everyone. "We are here to devise a plan to save Amelia Bones. I would appreciate it if someone has thought of an idea."

Mad Eye had heard the firm conviction in the headmaster's voice. He had been quietly observing the interchange between James and Snape. He could see James was holding his temper by a thread. If Snape kept pushing the auror's buttons, the Potions Master would end up in the hospital wing. He resolutely refocused his mind on the issue at hand. What did Voldemort want with Evans?

He remembered the badly injured body of Voldemort. So far, he kept what he saw to himself. The other aurors who were with him, weren't sure at what they saw. They assumed the injured wizard with Bellatrix was a fellow Death Eater. He didn't persuade them otherwise. He had a feeling Voldemort's injury, the Evans boy's condition, and this demand for an exchange were all tied with what happened inside that room at Budleigh Babberton. He was about to voice out his thoughts when he heard Dumbledore asked Snape a question.

Hermione, Ginny, and Luna caught up with their angry friend in front of the kitchen door. "Susan, wait!" cried Hermione. The girl abruptly halted and bitterly confronted them. The trio hesitantly approached their obviously pissed off friend. Ginny and Luna pushed Hermione forward. Then, they stood on Susan's left and right sides. Hermione briefly glanced at them, annoyed. Why did she have to be the spokesperson? She sighed inwardly and bravely faced Susan, to reason with her. "Please, don't be angry with us. We are your friends. We really are happy that your aunt's alive. But, you have to be realistic. Professor Dumbledore will never agree to such a ridiculous proposition." Ginny and Luna shared a surprise look on their faces. Hermione realized what she said. She wanted to kick herself for her insensitive remark.

"To exchange my aunt for Evans is not ridiculous," Susan retorted angrily. She turned to the door, ready to knock.

Hermione quickly stopped her. "Susan, maybe we should wait until the Order meeting is over. You can pound on that door till your knuckles are raw and they wouldn't even hear it." Susan paused. As much as she hated to admit it, Hermione was right. She resignedly turned around when her bushy haired friend spoke again. "Please, come back to the dueling room with us. Don't listen to Cho. She's just being her bitchy self." Hermione glanced at Ginny and Luna for support. But, the other girls weren't paying them any attention. Ginny was looking at Luna who had pressed her left ear on the door.

Susan curiously turned around when she saw Hermione disapprovingly pressed her lips together. "Luna, what are you doing?" She heard Hermione asked exasperatedly.

"I'm listening," Luna simply replied.

"How can you hear through a Silencing Charm?" Hermione asked archly.

Luna ignored her. She had a look of utter concentration. Ginny curious as well followed Luna's example. "Hey, I can hear voices too."

"Shhh... Be quiet, Ginny. Do you want them to hear us?" Luna softly cautioned her redheaded friend.

Hermione couldn't decide whether they were pulling her leg or not. She made up her mind to find out if they could really hear something. She squeezed herself between Luna and Ginny and pressed her right ear on the door. She couldn't hear anything at first. She concentrated a little harder on listening. She heard Snape's voice, or at least, it sounded like Snape's voice. He was telling the Order members the reason why You-know-Who wanted Harry in exchange for Madam Bones. Her eyes grew wide. She was shocked.

"Harry defeated You-Know-Who in a wizard's duel?" Hermione burst out loud. She couldn't believe it. How did he do it? Neville dueled You-Know-Who several times in the past. He never won a single one and he's the Chosen One.

"Quiet, Hermione." Ginny whispered cautiously. "Damn, I can't hear a thing anymore." She moved her ear to a different location and listened carefully. Her hazel eyes were unseeingly moving from side to side.

Luna calmly stood up straight. She saw Hermione and Ginny still trying to hear something. "Someone put a Silencing Charm on the door," she said matter-of-factly.

Hermione and Ginny self-consciously straightened. "We knew that," Ginny replied trying not to show her embarrassment. "We were just trying to make sure it was really in place."

Hermione had a thoughtful look on her face. "Come on. We have to tell the others what we heard." She briskly walked away. Luna and Ginny hurriedly followed.

Susan was left standing alone, unsure at what she should do. She saw Luna stopped at the bottom of the staircase. "Are you coming with us, Susan?" She heard the dirty blond haired girl asked calmly. She briefly glanced at the closed kitchen door. She sighed, and then sullenly followed the others up the stairs.

"Are they gone, Alastor," Dumbledore asked curiously. He saw the patched-eyed auror snappily nodded his head. "It seems I am not as vigilant as I used to be." He smiled ruefully at everyone.

"I'm sorry, headmaster," Mrs. Weasley said apologetically. She felt as if Professor Dumbledore had personally accused her of negligence. "I should have known Fred and George wouldn't be able to handle them."

"There is nothing to be sorry about, Molly. I am sure even I could not stop their insatiable curiosity." Dumbledore smiled reassuringly at Mrs. Weasley who gratefully smiled back at him. "Now, let us not dilly dally. Is there anyone here who has an idea how we can save Amelia without sacrificing anyone's life?" He expectantly looked round the table. From their expressions, he knew everyone was trying to think of a plan.

Tonks interestedly glanced from one side of the table to the other. Everyone had been quiet for the last five minutes broken by soft murmurings of a few Order members. She was undecided whether she should voice her plan. After a few moments, she opened her mouth to speak. But, she quickly closed it again, thinking her plan wouldn't work, not against You-Know-Who.

Dumbledore saw her reaction. "Nymphadora, do you have something to say?"

Tonks self-consciously looked around. She shook her head. "It was just a silly idea, professor."

Dumbledore gave her a kindly smile. "We need something to work on, even if it is just a silly idea."

Tonks hesitated for a moment. "Well, as you all know, I am a Metamorphmagus. I was thinking. Maybe, I can take Harry's place for the exchange." She anxiously waited for everyone's comment on her idea. She saw Dumbledore's serious demeanor broke into a big smile. The others smiled broadly as well, except for Snape. He had a sour look on his face.

"You are right. It is silly," Snape commented unkindly. "Headmaster, I suggest we should just give the Evans boy to the Dark Lord. Surely, he is not more important than Madam Bones?"

"Who asks you?" Bill replied dourly. The greasy git was starting to get on his nerve.

"On the contrary Severus, I think it is a brilliant idea," Dumbledore generously said. "Is there anyone else who has a different idea?" Nobody spoke. "So be it. We will work on Nymphadora's plan, then. Now, how are we going to accomplish this?" He addressed the question to the room at large.

Mad Eye was suspiciously studying Snape. Their most viable plan was bound to fail if the Potions Master would reveal all this to Voldermort. "Professor Dumbledore, I don't think we need Snape's assistance to prepare this plan. I suggest he leaves." The crusty auror was staring hard at the Potions Master.

Dumbledore thought for a moment. While he was considering his decision, he noticed everyone suspiciously glanced at Severus. He felt sorry for the Potions Master. Because of his past mistakes, some witches and wizards would always look at Severus with suspicion and mistrust. Dumbledore decided to reiterate his support for the Potions Master. "I am disappointed you think poorly of Severus, Alastor. He is on our side now. I believe he has as much to lose as the rest of us should Voldemort wins this war. He stays." He noticed the uncomfortable silence after his announcement. He waited for anymore objection. Nobody voiced their dissent.

Snape smiled inwardly. His eyes gleamed challengingly at James Potter and Mad Eye Moody. They now certainly knew he had the headmaster's complete confidence. And, as soon as he informed the Dark Lord of Dumbledore's duplicity, he would be greatly rewarded. He couldn't be anymore happier.
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