Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Second Fiddle

Shame On You

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: Drama - Characters: Harry,Hermione,Neville,Voldemort - Warnings: [!] [V] [?] - Published: 2006-12-02 - Updated: 2007-11-12 - 4023 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 21: Shame On You

It's not fair, thought Neville. He resentfully looked around the enlarged kitchen. The table and chairs were all cleared away. The room was full of witches and wizards from all walks of life. This was the largest assembly of Order members Neville and his friends had ever seen. There were probably around fifty Order members in the room. But, in spite of the large number of people, the room was mostly quiet broken by hushed conversations. There was a pervading feeling of tension. He couldn't help but notice the grim or worried faces of the Order members.

Ordinarily, meetings only involved a small group of Order members. But, this meeting was special. This happened because Lord Voldemort actually wanted that idiot, Evans, for whatever reason. But, at least, something good came out of it. That git's thoughtless action precipitated an open exchange agreement between Lord Voldemort and Professor Dumbledore. A pity Professor Dumbledore wouldn't actually exchange Evans for Madam Bones. With that attention seeker gone, everything would be back to normal...for him and Ron, at least.

He still couldn't believe what Hermione, Ginny, and Luna told him and the others three days ago. That prat, Evans, actually defeated Lord Voldemort in a wizard's duel? It couldn't be possible, could it? For a moment, Neville remembered his and Ron's duel with Evans. But, if it was, how did he do it, then? He had faced Lord Voldemort on several occasions. And on those times, he barely escaped with his life. But, it's a part of what made him special. He, alone, beside Professor Dumbledore, survived several encounters with Lord Voldemort. He, not Professor Dumbledore or anyone else, was Lord Voldemort's equal.

Now, Evans with his meager knowledge of magic came along and proved to the others that Lord Voldemort could be defeated by anyone. That pillock ruined everything. He's the Boy-Who-Lived. He's the Chosen One. He was the one proclaimed in the prophecy to be Lord Voldemort's downfall, not Evans, not Professor Dumbledore, not anyone else.... Him.... It was his right to defeat Lord Voldemort in a wizard's duel, first.

Neville turned his attention to his friends. They, too, had worried expressions on their faces. For three days, they tried to convince Professor Dumbledore to let them join the planned exchange. But, the headmaster would hear none of it. They were too young was the excuse he gave to them. He also said there could be an unforeseen confrontation. He didn't want to expose them to such a danger.

Neville's temper rose at such flimsy excuses. They were neither too young nor ill-prepared to face danger. Whether Professor Dumbledore or any Order member liked it or not, they were involved. It was their fight too. Lord Voldemort wouldn't spare them even if they were underage witches or wizards. He gave a cursory glance at the Weasley twins, standing at his far left. Even Fred and George were denied to participate. They were given the same excuses. And, adding insult to injury, Professor Dumbledore assigned them to guard him and his friends inside the Headquarters. It's just not fair, he thought.

His mind switched to the present when he saw a hand waving casually in front of his face. "Neville? Hey, Neville! Can you hear me?" Ron, who was standing on his right, asked him with concern.

"Oh, sorry Ron... I was just thinking," he replied, smiling apologetically at Ron.

"Well, that's a surprise..." When Ron saw his puzzled expression, the redheaded boy explained, sounding amuse. "I mean, you, thinking..." Neville saw Ron's wry smile broke into a wide grin.

Neville scowled at Ron. "At least, I'm thinking. You hardly think at all," he retorted with a satisfied smirk on his face. He felt even better when he saw his best mate's expression.

Ron was shocked. "WHAT? Why you..." He never finished whatever he was going to say. Hermione, who was standing by Ron's other side, cuffed him in the back of his big head.

"Quiet," she whispered irately. "You're making a scene." Ron glanced around the room and saw some of the Order members were giving them censuring looks. Ron glared at Hermione for a moment. But, he held his tongue, embarrassed. He didn't want the annoyed and tense feelings around the room focused on him.

The kitchen door swung open. All silent conversations stopped. The room grew deathly quiet. Dumbledore somberly entered the room accompanied by Tonks, Mad Eye, James Potter, and Snape. Everyone's head followed the procession of their leader and four other Order members. Dumbledore stopped in front of the large stove fireplace. Snape and Mad Eye stood on the headmaster's right side. Tonks positioned herself on the headmaster's left side with James immediately next to her.

"Thank you all for promptly responding to my given summon." The aged headmaster let his gaze roamed the quiet room. He noticed the grim faces of each and every witch and wizard present. He hadn't revealed to them the reason for this emergency gathering. Nevertheless, it seemed every one of them had an inkling of what this gathering might be. He continued to speak in a soft but firm voice. "Three days ago, Lord Voldemort..." The crowd automatically flinched. "...has proposed to release Madam Amelia Bones in exchange for a young wizard named Harry Evans." Those, who weren't privy to the information, were confused. "I wouldn't go to any details right now. Needless to say, I agreed to the exchange." He could sense the uncomfortable silence. They were probably confused by his uncharacteristic decision. He waited a few moments for any comment.

A young wizard recruit found the courage to speak. "Umm...Professor Dumbledore...I don't mean to question your decision. But...isn't that against the very principle to which we are fighting for." The young wizard seemed to be embarrassed for voicing his opinion.

Dumbledore noticed some Order members unconsciously nodded their heads in agreement. He inwardly smiled, but his eyes betrayed his amusement. "Rest assured, Mr. Turnbuckle, I am not actually going to hand them Mr. Evans. Instead, we came up with a plan to substitute Auror Tonks in his place." The Order members collectively sighed with relief. The wily headmaster had a hidden plan all along. "As agreed upon by myself and Lord Voldemort..." The crowd automatically flinched again. "...Only four people on each side are allowed in the exchange site. I, Alastor, and Lead Auror Potter will accompany Auror Tonks, disguise as Mr. Evans, to the exchange site."

There were loud protests. Everyone was clearly opposed to the idea of only four people going to the exchange site. Dumbledore could understand their reaction. After all, it was Voldemort. To their mind, the Dark Lord couldn't be trusted. Forestalling any more shouts of protest, he deliberately continued in a loud voice. "There is no need to be concern. There is a reason I called all of you here. You will all act as support group in case Lord Voldemort..." The crowd flinched again. "...reneges on his words. Ministry Aurors will also provide support."

"Professor, this could be a trap to wipe us all out." A male voice from the crowd stated a belief every one was very much aware of. "You-Know-Who may not even give us Madam Bones."

This idea of a trap was already debated when Severus first reported Voldemort's proposal. Alastor and James had been vocal about it. Dumbledore, for his part, had no doubt that it was a trap. Hence, he sent Severus to relay a message that he would decide the time, place, and day of the exchange. This arrangement would negate any trap Voldemort had planned. Surprisingly enough, the Dark Lord straightforwardly agreed. This unexpected response only heightened his suspicion.

Dumbledore held a folded parchment aloft. "This is a letter addressed to Lord Voldemort." The expected flinch occurred. He inwardly sighed. The Ministry had a lot to answer for this bad habit of flinching whenever Voldemort's name was mentioned. "This will be delivered to him today. It contained the time and place for the exchange. We have the advantage. We will be ready when he arrives." There were murmurings of approval from most of the Order members. Some still looked apprehensive.

Mad Eye carefully listened as the headmaster outlined the mission's objectives. They were sound at best. But still, he couldn't shake off the nagging feeling that they were missing something. It all seemed so uncomplicated. And, he knew plans were never uncomplicated. He focused his magical eye to Snape, who was standing at his right. The former Death Eater was cool as a cucumber. It was a good thing the headmaster withheld the information about the time and place from the Potions Master. He still believed Snape would betray them.

"Alastor, if you please..." Dumbledore softly said to him.

Mad Eye took one step forward. The quiet room magnified the sound of his wooden leg striking the floor. He let his eyes roamed over the sea of apprehensive faces in front of him. "I have given one of these portkeys to Remus, Hestia, Shacklebolt, and Dedalus." He showed them a ninety two centimeters long rope. "The portkeys will transport you to four different locations near the exchange site. This side on my left..." He pointed to Mr. Turnbuckle and to everyone behind the young wizard. "...will go with Remus." He, then, pointed to Hesitus Gurant, the wizard who expressed his trap opinion. "From this side, all the way to my right will go with Dedalus." He extended both his arms in front of him. "Everyone in the middle will go with Hestia." He dropped his hands to his side. "Shacklebolt is at the Ministry. He will accompany the Aurors."

He waited for a moment until everyone had gathered near their group leader. "In order for this mission to succeed, I want everyone to remain hidden until Professor Dumbledore or Auror Tonks gives the signal. You will know the signal when you see it. This rescue mission is the most dangerous we are going to attempt in a large group. If anyone wishes to withdraw, now is the time." Everyone curiously looked around them, but nobody withdrew.

Mad Eye felt proud of them. They knew the danger involved, yet they willingly decided to go. "Professor Dumbledore, we're ready," he said in his forceful voice.

Dumbledore looked at the apprehensive faces in front of him. He was very much aware they counted on him to save the day. He beckoned Snape to come closer. He gave the Potions Master a searching look before he handed the letter for Voldemort. "Severus, you know what to do."

Snape slightly lowered his gaze when he received the letter. "Of course, headmaster... I know exactly what to do." The corner of his lips twitched slightly as if a smile was trying to break free. However, when he said his goodbye, for a moment, just for a brief moment, a feeling of guilt tweaked his conscience. But, as suddenly as it surfaced, it was gone.

As he passed by Mad Eye on his way out, the seasoned auror momentarily grabbed his arm. “Remember where your loyalty lies. I will personally kill you, if you betray us.” Snape merely sneered at Mad Eye’s softly voiced threat. He unobtrusively jerked his arm free of the auror’s tight grip. Then, he gave Mad Eye a parting deadly glare, before smartly leaving the room with the usual flamboyant billow of his cloak.

Dumbledore probingly watched the retreating back of Severus. There was something odd with his Potions Master today. What did he mean when he said /he knew exactly what to do/? He mentally made a note to talk to Severus after the mission. Then, he conscientiously turned his attention to the rest of the Order of the Phoenix. He gave each and everyone a reassuring smile. "Everyone, please, hold on to the portkey." In a blink of an eye, they were gone.

When all of the Order members had portkeyed away, Neville and his friends were the only ones left. He slowly walked to middle of the room and glumly surveyed the enlarged kitchen. Except for them, the room was completely empty. So empty, it almost had an eerie feel to it. He drew a deep sighed. There was nothing left to do now, but wait. He hated waiting. It always made him feel useless.

"So, what do we do now?" He heard Ron asked uncertainly from behind.

Neville reluctantly turned around to face the others. He noticed Ron, Cho, Hermione, Luna, Susan, Fred, and George were all looking at him for an answer. He wanted to tell them to wait patiently. But, it seemed so inadequate for an answer. So, he, as well as the others, quietly stood in the middle of the kitchen, undecided.

After a moment, Hermione firmly spoke. "I know what we're going to do. Why don't we visit, Harry? We haven't seen him since last Saturday." She looked hopefully at the others.

"Hermione, why would I want to visit, Evans? Don't we have more important matters to do?" Ron asked irritably. His face looked like he ate a Bertie Bott's earwax flavored bean.

Hermione's hopeful expression disappeared. "Really? Such as..." she asked in her know-it-all tone of voice. Her eyes challengingly gleamed at Ron.

"Well, we could..." Ron feebly looked at the others hoping to get some support. Hermione, on the other hand, had crossed her arms across her breast and waited impatiently for his answer. "We could...uhhh..."

"We could practice our Animagus transformation," Neville supplied helpfully. He saw Hermione balefully glared at him. He just casually shrugged his shoulders in response. Professor McGonagall had been constantly reminding him to practice their Animagus transformation.

Ron excitedly jumped at the suggestion. "That's right! We could practice our Animagus transformation." He inwardly winced at the idea even as he spoke. To be honest, he wasn't crazy about the Animagus training. It was frustrating. He couldn't change any part of his body to some semblance of his fox animal form. But, he wanted a reason not to see that git, Evans. And, he got it.

"I don't care. I still say we go see him," Hermione insisted passionately. She had firmly placed her hands on her hips as she pugnaciously stared at Ron.

"Oh, give it a rest, Hermione. Don't you understand? No one wants to see your boyfriend?" Ron said snidely to cover the pain he felt in his heart. He achingly wondered what she saw in Evans.

Hermione's face turned red with anger or embarrassment. No one knew exactly. But, one thing was for sure. She was clearly ready to explode.

"Now, that's not completely true, dear brother," Fred hastily spoke up, hoping to defuse the situation.

"That's right. We would be happy to see Harry," George said next. He noticed Ron was angrily glaring at him and Fred. He thought Ron probably perceived their words as sort of a betrayal.

"Hermione, surely we don't need to see Evans right away," Neville said persuasively. He saw Hermione balefully glared at him again. He continued bravely. "I mean... For all we know, he may still be asleep." He hoped Hermione would see reason.

"Ron is right, Hermione. Visiting your friend, Evans, is the last thing on my mind right now. Have you considered the rest of us may feel the same thing? I know I am. You know for a fact that he is safe and sound at Hogwarts. I, on the other hand, don't know whether my aunt is still alive or not. I'm sure Professor Dumbledore will bring back my aunt. But, I still can't help feeling something will go wrong." Susan fell quiet for a moment, overcome by emotions. She made an effort to swallow the lump on her throat. Her eyes were brimming with tears when she continued. "I have to believe everything will be alright. I have to believe. Otherwise...otherwise...I...I couldn't bear to..." Susan burst into tears. The young wizards watched awkwardly as Susan cried. Cho only rolled her eyes at the ongoing drama.

Hermione's feeling of animosity deflated when she saw Susan's tears. She walked closer to the disconsolate girl and comfortingly hugged her, so did Luna. Hermione felt ashamed of herself. She was placing her selfish desire ahead of her more disheartened friend. She hoped with all her heart that everything would be alright...that Madam Bones would be returned, alive. "Why don't we just do what Neville suggested? It'll keep us from thinking morbid thoughts." She resignedly supported Neville's suggestion. "And, I'm sure your aunt will be fine," she softly added as an afterthought.

Susan tearfully sniffed and slowly nodded her head when Hermione and Luna released her. "Hermione, I didn't mean to sound unfeeling. I know you are only concern for Evans. I'm sorry. Please, forgive me."

Hermione sadly looked at the downcast face of Susan. "There is nothing to forgive. I should be the one asking for forgiveness. I'm pushing you and everyone else to do something against your wishes." She regretfully lowered her eyes to the floor unable to meet Susan's tearful gaze. "I'm sorry. I don't mean to be bossy. It's just that..." She suddenly looked at all of them. There was a pleading look in her eyes. "Harry is all alone in the hospital wing. He considers me a friend. And, I haven't visited him, yet. Add to that, I have a very bad feeling about all this."

"Hermione, Ginny will not appreciate your premonition," Luna softly reminded her. "After all, she believes she has the gift of the inner eye." She saw Hermione and Susan smiled a little. "If you forgive one another, then, you have nothing to be sorry about." Hermione and Susan looked sideways at her. Then, they looked at each other. With a small smile on their lips, they hugged each other again and did what she suggested, forgive.

Ron, seeing Susan and Hermione friends again, silently breathed a sigh of relief. He didn't like anyone fighting over that git, Evans. The git wasn't worth it. "Okay then... Let's all go to the dueling room." Everyone surprisingly gaped at him. "Hey, don't look at me like that. It was Neville's idea." He didn't show it, but he was glad to have his way for once. He watched Hermione sadly followed the others. He would have to find the courage to talk to her soon, if he didn't want to lose her to Evans.

Voldemort was sitting comfortably in an ornate armchair with his eyes closed. Both he and his sleeping familiar, Nagini, were in their favorite spot, near the warm fire of the fireplace. He looked so peaceful that he gave the impression of someone sleeping. But, the expression on his face belied this impression. There was a beatific smile playing on his snake-like lips if it could be called lips. If he was a normal wizard, he would have looked cheerful to others. But, as he was now, the beatific smile only made him look sinister.

"My Lord, everything is ready."

"Very good, Bellatrix," Voldemort replied casually. He never bothered to open his eyes to address his servant. He was busy pulling together all the information Severus had reported earlier, including the time and place of the exchange. He was greatly amused at Dumbledore's feeble attempt to outsmart him. Dumbledore and his Order of the Phoenix were probably waiting for him to walk into their trap at the exchange site. Well, he also prepared a trap of his own. He was almost giddy with anticipation just thinking what he had in store for Dumbledore.

My Lord, if I may ask..." He heard Bellatrix's voice. He ignored her hoping she would take the hint not to bother him. But, his silence had the opposite effect. She continued to ask her question. "My Lord, do you think it is wise to meet Dumbledore with just the four of us? He has several of his Order of the Phoenix lackeys hidden at a discreet distance and ready to attack us at his command. Shouldn't we do the same thing?"

Voldemort's smile turned cunning. Bellatrix probably sensed he was in a good mood today. Otherwise, she wouldn't have the courage to question his motives. He slowly opened his eyes and idly looked at her. She was standing at a respectful distance from him. She was flanked by Gunthar, Wormtail, and Snape. All of them already donned their black cloak with their white mask in hand. He could clearly see doubt and worry etched on her seemingly impassive face as well as on the other three Death Eaters. He sat up straight. He could sense Nagini stirred also at his slight movement. "Bellatrix, you have nothing to worry about Dumbledore. The old fool will think twice before he attacks us."

"Then... Why don't we just attack him? We could easily crush him and his blind followers, my Lord," Bellatrix said passionately.

Voldemort just smiled indulgently as if talking to a child. "What is the point of killing them all? No. They must see that it is foolish to defy me...the greatest Dark Lord who ever lived. is more fun this way." He laughed with abandon when he saw the look of disbelief from his Death Eaters' faces. They probably thought he had no sense of humor. If they only knew, his wit and humor were boundless.

"But, my Lord...wouldn't Dumbledore suspect something? He has no reason to trust you," Bellatrix uncertainly pointed out.

"True. But, a wizard like Dumbledore will always think the best of anyone. He will surely try to be on guard. But, it will be too late before he or anyone else learns of my plan. They will know that when I ask for Harry Evans. I will get Harry Evans and not some look-alike." Voldemort's crimson eyes gleamed with malice. "Wormtail, go and bring Madam Bones here. Make sure she is calm and pliable. Do not forget to give back her wand."

He saw Wormtail gave him a dubious glance before he left. He could sense the others' surprise reaction as well. They were probably dying to know his reason behind giving a prisoner her wand. But, no one dared to ask the question. He gracefully leaned back on his seat and made himself more comfortable. "Severus, you are free to deliver my message to Mrs. Potter. I am sure she will not mind if you relieve her of her burden." The sinister smile was back on his lips. Dumbledore... He will pay dearly for his deceit, Voldemort thought to himself.

Outside the sitting room door, Philter quickly and silently hid in an alcove a couple of meters away. Peter, and then, Snape passed him without as much as a glance. For a moment, he stood still in the shadowy alcove listening to the receding sound of footsteps. He felt useless. He couldn't do anything to help Dumbledore. It was almost time for the agreed exchange. If he sent an owl to him, the Dark Lord would most likely see it arrive and suspect something. He could be revealing himself as a traitor. He would be no good to anyone if he's dead.

Philter considered his options. After a moment, he decided to warn Mrs. Potter of Severus' betrayal. And hopefully, she could relay the message to Dumbledore. Satisfied with his course of action, he cautiously peered at the hallway, looking left and right. It was clear. He carefully slipped out of his hiding place and hurriedly walked down the hallway. He had to send his message before Severus found Mrs. Potter. Time was critical.
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