Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Black Vengeance

Of Bells, Bones, Longbottom and Disturbing News

by maidros 8 reviews

Susan wonders about her parents and auntie. Neville is being comforted by Dumbledore, and Harry gets some disturbing news.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure - Characters: Dumbledore, Harry, Neville, Petunia Dursley - Published: 2007-02-26 - Updated: 2007-02-27 - 2468 words

Black Vengeance - 9

Of Bells, Bones, Longbottom and Disturbing News

(Author's note: Thanks for all the opinions regarding the ship. I did some serious thinking and came to the following conclusions. I bow to the will of my readers and this story will be Harry/Hermione, as I poll has decided. But the point of my critics has been taken. I am writing another story, which I will start posting in a few days. My new story will have a Harry/Hannah ship.

The present chapter of the story sets the various characters in position for the plot, and next chapter onwards, the story is going to be much faster, and more action packed.)

---(Beginning of the Chapter)---

Susan Bones, now the last remaining member of the time-honoured Bones family, sighed softly as she brushed her reddish-brown locks out of her eyes. Although her own sorrow for her own parents and aunt was all-consuming, she had elected to repress that misery to sympathise with the agony of the Bells. A few hours earlier, just after she descended from the school train at the King's Cross Station, she had spoken to Katie Bell and her parents, seeking their permission to attend the funeral of Eileen Bell (Katie's sister), Amelia's secretary. Her parents and aunt Amelia would be buried in four days with full honours in a more pompous ceremony in which the Ministry bigwigs would be present. It struck her as particularly callous that everyone would choose to ignore Eileen Bell, who had also died in the same attack just because Eileen worked for auntie and was not a Ministry employee. But then, she reflected bleakly, the Bells were not influential enough and the Honourable Minister and his lackeys could not be bothered to commiserate with the grief of the Bell family.

Susan remembered sweet-tempered and vivacious Eileen very well. Eileen had been a good friend of the Hufflepuff girl, and Susan had no intention of letting the joining the Ministry's ignore-the-unfortunate-secretary facade. When she had spoken to the Mr. and Mrs. Bell, and their other daughter, Katie, the Bells had been very gracious about her request and Mr. Bell understood the sorrow afflicting the last Bones family member. He and his wife had invited Susan to spend the next few days with them, insisting that it was no trouble and that it would be extremely unbecoming for Susan to spend the next few days alone in the house that was the scene of a grisly tragedy. Susan had been extremely grateful for the invitation - truth be told, she was very uncomfortable about having to go back to the Bones family Manor. It held too many memories of the recently deceased, and she did not want to face them until she had come to accept the news. Right now, she was in a state of shock, and her benumbed brain had not yet considered the implications of the tragedy.

In the Bell home, Susan and the Bells had had a quiet supper and Susan and Katie had retreated into their bedroom - they would be sharing a room for the night.

"I am so sorry", Susan mumbled to Katie Bell, for what seemed the umpteenth time. "If there is anything I can do to help, please ..."

Katie turned her tear streaked face to Susan. She had never met her sister's boss, but if she was anything like her niece, then she must have been a really nice person. Although Katie herself and Susan had both been at Hogwarts for the past five years, they had rarely spoken. But Susan seemed like a very nice and pleasant person and Katie put an arm round Susan's shoulder. "Listen, I can understand what you're feeling. There is no need to say anything. If you need anything, just tell me, okay?"

Katie had observed the faraway, almost detached look on Susan's face. She whispered softly, "Susan, is there anything bothering you? Apart from ...", her voice trailed away. "Apart from this mess, I mean?" Katie's voice was stronger now.

"I don't know", muttered Susan.

"What do you mean?"

"I've been thinking about ...", her voice trembled, before she continued, "m-my parents and auntie, and your sister. See - a few days ago, I got word that they might be in danger and sent them a warning. But still, no aurors were found guarding them. I want to know why."

Katie's head snapped up when she heard of the warning of the danger. "What did you say?", she queried roughly.

Susan gave Katie a brief version of the warning she had received, just leaving out Harry's name as the person who had given her the warning, and the message she had consequently sent her auntie. Susan finished, "Did the letter reach them? If not, why not? Did they not act on it? Why were there no aurors there, even if they knew that my family - and your sister - were in danger?"

Katie looked pensive as she looked away into the distance. "There may be a way to check if they received your letter. Last year, when my sister had a broken ankle, she used to work from home. Among other things, she used to sort mail for your aunt, and she kept a list of the letters that your aunt received. We can see if your letter was listed by her."

"Where is this list?"

"I think it must be still among her personal effects, or in her room at your place."

"Well, if it isn't too much trouble, d'you think we could check your sister's stuff tomorrow? It'll be good to find out if they actually got my letter."

"Sure. I don't think there'll be any problem with that. Mum'll let us do that much, I think."

Katie's eyes sparkled as she continued, "I swear I'll make those scum pay for this."

Susan nodded sagely, "Harry's training should help us there. At least, there's someone who has guts to stand up to You-Know-Who and his swine."

Katie sighed, "Well, we'll go to your place tomorrow. Is there anything else we should do tomorrow?"

"No, my parents and aunt Amelia arranged for me to be emancipated in case of any misfortune. We'll have to go to Gringotts after the funerals."

Katie's lip trembled and she did not trust herself to continue, "Okay, for now, try to get some sleep. Goodnight!"

---(Scene Break)---

Dumbledore's evening had not gone perfectly, after he and Emmeline had departed to get the two students. Firstly, they had found the Bones home abandoned and empty - there was no sign of Susan Bones. Deciding to pursue inquiries about the missing girl the following day, Dumbledore and Emmeline Vance had just apparated outside the Longbottom Manor. The old grey stone building was solid and immovable as ever. From the outside, there was no hint that this place had been the recent site of a tragedy. There was a single light in an upstairs room, and Dumbledore fathomed that Neville was staying alone in the horror-ridden house. With Emmeline still at his heels, he strode forward and rapped on the door with the brass knocker - a lion, carved on a small pedestal. The Longbottoms had long been in the frontline of the war with Voldemort, and they had paid the price for it. His ruminations were terminated when a house elf ushered them into the presence of Neville Longbottom, who from the looks of it, had been crying the last few hours in the solitude of the family home. Dumbledore introduced Emmeline Vance as a friend of his, and all of them sat down in the hall.

"My dear boy", began Dumbledore. "We came to make sure you were alright."

"Thanks, Professor. I'm fine", muttered Neville.

"Neville, have you had anything to eat yet?", questioned Dumbledore gently.

"No, sir, but I'm sure one of the house elves will take care of that."

"Not to worry", smiled Dumbledore, drawing his wand. A small wave and he had conjured a tea-tray with some sandwiches. He magicked it down to the hall table, and smiled at Neville. "Do try the sandwiches, my dear boy. They are my favourite flavours."

Neville obediently picked up a sandwich and a cup of tea. Sipping the tea, he muttered, "How can I help, sir?"

"Neville, as I said, we came to make sure you were alright. Also, it is not going to be safe for you here."

"I can manage, Professor."

"I've no doubt. Your grandmother would have been proud of the young man you have become. But for now, I think it might better if you were in a safer place."

Dumbledore's face clouded and became much more serious as he continued, "It is quite possible that the Death Eaters may come back for you. As such, I will place you in a safe place if you allow me."

"Do you know who was responsible for this, Professor?", asked Neville, waving his hand to indicate the recent outrage perpetrated on his family.

"We have a few clues, Neville. One of the Death Eaters we suspect is Fenrir Greyback."

Seeing Neville's blank look, Dumbledore continued, "He is one of the worst and most dangerous werewolves in existence."

"But why now? My gran and grand uncle were mostly neutral."

Dumbledore could guess why the Longbottoms had been targeted, but this was not the time to reveal the reasons to Neville. "I am afraid there is no way to know for sure, Neville", he returned gently.

"But it is getting late now, Neville. We must leave quickly. Please pack whatever you need for a couple of weeks."

Neville frowned. If he had to go into hiding, he would be essentially confined to the one place. This put a wrench in his plans to train with Harry over summer. Perhaps, Dumbledore could arrange something for him.

He summoned up enough courage to speak to the all powerful Headmaster, "Sir, it is just that I had a few plans for this summer."

"Indeed! What plans, may I ask? Perhaps it would be possible to reconcile your wishes with the present situation?"

"Well, sir, Harry's organising a defence group. He plans to help us all train."

Dumbledore's head snapped up at that. This was news to him. He had imagined Harry sunk in sorrow over Sirius, and here was the boy, recruiting and training up a group of followers. Dumbledore's first idea was to increase the watch on Harry, and confine him fully, either to Privet Drive or Grimmauld Place. But, if Harry's mind was made up, it was only a matter of time before the boy would find a way round any watch that Dumbledore might put up. Besides, Dumbledore wondered how Harry planned to get away with his violation of the Underage Magic Resitrictions. Finally, the Headmaster could ill afford to annoy Harry beyond a particular point. Pushed too hard, the boy might retaliate in unexpected ways. It was better to have a known problem, rather than an unknown one. Perhaps this could be turned into his advantage .. hmm? Putting up a calm facade, he queried, "What has he planned and how does he propose to train over summer?"

"I've no idea, sir. We're to meet in the Leaky Cauldron in two weeks."

"Anything else?"

"Well, he just asked us to keep our eyes open, and send any questions to Hermione Granger."

Dumbledore frowned. This was interesting indeed. Not only had Harry managed to guess that his mails were being intercepted, but also managed to come up with a scheme to communicate securely with the girl. Knowing nothing of how Harry communicated with Hermione would make things very difficult for Dumbledore to know what they were planning. He sighed - this girl was one unanticipated factor in his entire scheme surrounding Harry. While the muggleborn witch was indeed amenable to authority, she took her ethics a little too seriously for Dumbledore's comfort - there was no hope of getting her to cooperate with himself where Harry's secrets was concerned. He would have to do something about this girl. However, he answered calmly, "No matter, Neville. It is an excellent idea and I am sure we can arrange something to help you train. You'll keep me informed of this, will you not?"

Neville gulped. Harry had demanded secrecy, and here was Dumbledore asking him to break his word to Harry. Dumbledore noticed Neville's struggles, "My dear boy, you must see that Harry needs protection more than anyone else. He is Voldemort's number one target. Also, I am afraid, the poor boy is undergoing much stress at the moment, Neville. He has had a very unpleasant year. His godfather was killed recently in the Department of Mysteries. I rely on you to help him."

Neville sighed, "Yes, Professor. I'll do as you ask."

Dumbledore beamed, "Very well, then. Get what you need and we must be off."

With that, Neville called a house elf and had her pack some essentials for him. Then, he called out to Professor Dumbledore, "Sir, I'm ready."

---(Scene Break)---

Nightmares had a habit of pursuing Harry in waking life - the emerald eyed boy had learnt as much from bitter experience. Thus it was when he had snapped out of the dream involving Voldemort and Malfoy. He had scribbled all the details he remembered of it, intending to confide in Hermione in the morning. Finishing writing, he checked the time, and found that it was nearly morning. There was no use going back to sleep now. He spent an hour reading his old transfiguration book, thinking how he could use the various transfigurations in defence. Harry had been extremely impressed with Dumbledore's method of dealing with Voldemort in the Department of Mysteries, and he intended to work on his transfiguration in the coming days. At six in the morning, he went down and started on his chores. He was making breakfast for his oh-so-loving-family when Aunt Petunia came into the kitchen. "There is something we need to discuss.", she barked.

"What's it, Aunt Petunia", asked Harry turning around.

"Marge is coming down here in three days. Unlike last time, you're not to do anything .. unnatural while she is here."

"Marge is coming here?", he repeated dully.

"Are you deaf, boy? She is staying for a week. And while she is here you will stay in your room and not come out except when called. Do you understand?"

"Yes", sighed Harry.

"Good. If you break your word and do freakish things, you will regret it."

Harry sighed. Aunt Marge of all things. Just when he thought that things could not become worse - he would have to keep a tight hold of his temper. If only I could get away before she comes, he thought and suddenly froze. A sudden inspiration had occurred to him. He frowned. Perhaps, just perhaps ..
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