Chapter 33 : I Found a Way In
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AN: Okay folks – this is a very dark chapter. I did a second re-write, so I want to know what you think about it. So pull out the tissues and curl up tightly. The when you are finished, write a review ;-)
AND – I DON’T Whine!
Harry and Ginny returned to Gryphons Den where Ron and Hermione filled them in on the attack at the Ministry. While it concerned them a greatly that William was emboldened to step out of the shadows and conduct such an attack, Harry was more concerned with what Potter the Younger had told him about his quest and how it related to the Dagger of Misery.
“So let me get this straight,” Hermione said. “You didn’t get anything useful from the Horcrux other than he’s a Potter from some years back. Is that correct?”
Harry pulled a face at his friend. “Well when you say it like that it sounds like we were off on some kind of holiday,” Harry said. “We found out a lot of information. We just need to figure out how it relates to the current situation.”
Hermione rolled her eyes. “Obviously,” she huffed. She had grown impatient with Harry because of his and Ginny’s unannounced trip to Azkaban. While she half expected him to run off, it still peeved her that he still didn’t let them know what he was doing.
“Well, perhaps you could share what you learned with us,” Hermione said. “Other than what you’ve said, all I can say is that the Horcrux is probably useless for controlling the Dementors.”
“You know dear,” Ron started in a soothing tone, “It might be that they just got here. Maybe we should let them put their thoughts in order before you start the interrogations…”
Ron’s voice trailed off at the withering look he received due to his poor word choice.
“Ronald, if you haven’t been conscious for the last couple of days, you’d have noticed time is not something we have in great abundance,” Hermione virtually growled at him.
“I am sorry, but we have to devise a strategy for dealing with William, the Dementors, William’s rats, and the gryphon. … and we need to do it NOW!” Hermione continued.
While Hermione aimed her ire at Ron, Ginny and Harry waited. When Hermione finally wound down, Harry and Ginny explained their encounter with the Horcrux. They used dreamscapes to fill in the portions where it would take too long to explain and added their thoughts to the ideas they were already working on.
“I think we are looking at a very small part of a much larger puzzle,” Harry said. “The problem is that we don’t know how big the real picture is at the moment.
“Hermione, I think you said it correctly when you said we need a strategy. But I think we are dealing with a group of overlapping circumstances…things that are interdependent.”
Hermione nodded her agreement. She then conjured her favorite presentation board and started writing names and events on it.
“If we put each person, issue, and event in a box and develop their relationship with the others then we might be able to determine a grouping. That might at least give us a place to start.”
The four of them drew boxes and lines on the board’s arrangement for what seemed like hours. Their ideas covered so much of the board that Hermione enlarged it twice. Finally, Ron stood up and stretched.
“I don’t know how much more of this I can take,” he said. “This all sounds vaguely familiar for some reason – the time thing and all, but the rest… I mean it looks like this all stems from something that we don’t know about yet.”
“That it Ron!” she yelped. “There’s a triggering event we don’t know. Someone made the daggers for a reason. We have the legend, but nothing other than that. Then we have the gryphon’s egg that is somehow the Potter Quest. And then we have William and Ajax at odds…”
Hermione stopped and cocked her head.
“Harry, do you think it’s possible that William and Ajax are both trying to fulfill the quest?” Hermione finally said.
Harry felt a chill race down his spine as Hermione spoke. It was as though a voice were trying to get his attention. Whatever it was, it didn’t want him to think clearly.
“Huh, I don’t think so, why?” Harry stumbled.
“I know this may sound mad, but see if you can follow my thinking here,” Hermione said while taking notice of Harry’s change.
“If both of them knew about the quest, but were pursuing it for different reasons – say one for power and glory and the other for family honor – then what’s to stop them from fighting each other?
“There have been other historic family quarrels that started wars.”
Ginny wasn’t quite convinced yet, and she had also taken notice of Harry’s distraction. She understood how families could separate and fight amongst themselves. She had been witness and at times part of some fantastic rows with her brothers. At one point she had even burned off Charlie’s eyebrows with accidental magic when he had made their Mum cry by deciding to leave home.
“Hermione, I’ve been in some pretty good rows with my brothers,” Ginny said. “But we always patched things up in the end. I have a hard time believing a family like the Potters would tear itself apart over a silly egg.”
“Normally, I would agree —,” Hermione began.
“Unless that egg was something more —” Ron added.
“And Ajax may be insane, but something drove him there,” Hermione finished. “Odds are it was William killing his father and younger brother…
“And I’d find it hard to believe Ajax would have been so accepting of Angel so soon after his mother’s death if he were his father’s illegitimate child,” Hermione said. “There is a linkage there.”
“Wait a second,” Harry said. “Are you trying to say Angel had something to do with the gryphon’s egg? Because if you are, I think you’ve missed the boat. That was only a couple of decades ago. We are talking about something that had to have happened at least seven centuries ago.”
Harry felt weakened by what he said. Keeping his mind in the here and now seemed more like a chore. In the back of his mind he felt a coldness creeping towards him. He was hoping it was a memory that bore some importance on what was going on.
“But why does it have to have happened then?” Ginny asked barely bringing Harry back into the conversation. “The gryphon did say that its Lord and Merlin were involved. Merlin was long before seven centuries ago.
“Harry, I think you’ve found the confusion that Younger was talking about,” Ginny said as she gave him a worried look. She could sense something was wrong. She knew it was growing quickly, but he was not telling her anything.
Ron had a sudden moment of understanding.
“Healer Godzilla was on to something, wasn’t he?” Ron said. “Angel was eleven, but Ajax’s mum died twelve years before he was murdered. So she wasn’t Angel’s mum. But he acted like he was… I mean he acted like he was a bit…I don’t know…he was just off about their relationship. It wasn’t like me and Bill or Charlie was it. It was like he adored his little brother. That’s not something I’ve ever seen.”
Ron stopped. He narrowed his eyes as if there was something just outside his memory that he knew would help them understand more of what was happening.
“Once you start actually ‘seeing,’ time sort of stops for you,” he said. “The seer’s abilities are a bridge between times. Time is the material you use to create the art you are making.”
“What does that mean, Ron?” Ginny asked. “We are talking about time and a place. What does that have to do with being a seer?”
It was just something Fred told me about being a seer…” Ron paused, realizing that Fred had told him not to tell anyone about what he had told him about being a seer. He hadn’t asked why since he was so excited to learn how to apply his awareness to rescuing George, Iris, and James.
“I mean, George…He mentioned something about it and I looked it up in the library…but it all seems to make more sense.”
The others accepted Ron’s cover story, much to his relief. He just hoped he hadn’t done something irreparable.
“Harry, did Younger say where all this happened?” Ron asked.
“Yeah, he just said he didn’t know when,” Harry said. “He said it all happened on the Stone of Destiny.”
Now it was Hermione’s turn to pull a face.
“Harry, the Stone of Destiny is not large enough for everyone involved in this. I think it’s only the size of a piece of pull-along baggage.”
Ron and Ginny were lost in this part of the discussion. While the Stone of Destiny was well known enough in the Muggle world as the Stone of Scone and often referred to in England as the Coronation Stone, it was not something of importance in the wizarding world.
“The Stone of Destiny, also known as the Stone of Scone,” Hermione began in her lecture tone, “is a historic block of red sandstone used for centuries during the Scottish monarchs’ coronations. It was also used since the 17th century for British monarchs. Other names by which it has sometimes been known include Jacob's Pillow Stone and the Tanist Stone, and in Scottish Gaelic clach-na-cinneamhuin.”
“Er, that’s brilliant ‘Mione,” Ron said. “Would you happen to know where it is?”
“That’s my point Ron,” Hermione huffed. “The stone was moved about over time. So, there’s no way to guarantee that it’s in the same place it was when all of this took place. Historically, it was kept at the now-ruined Scone Abbey in Scone, near Perth, Scotland.”
“I think I may have a way to find that part,” Ron said.
Both Hermione and Ginny’s jaws dropped.
“What?” Ron said. “I am a seer, you know. It’s not like I can’t help.”
“It’s not that, Ron,” Hermione started. “It’s just that we were a little surprised, that’s all.”
Ron rolled his eyes and huffed. “Always the note of surprise; well at least you admit it.”
Harry suddenly rose and left the room.
Ron and Hermione looked to Ginny for an explanation.
“Is he all right?” Ron asked. “He seems distracted.”
Ginny didn’t know what to say. She too could tell that something was wrong, but other than what Ron was able to gather by Harry’s behavior, she was in the dark.
“I don’t know,” she said. “He’s got me worried.”
Molly had no reason for thinking this lovely, yet distraught, young woman was something more than she appeared except for a nagging feeling. It was the same kind of nagging feeling she had when she understood something was about to happen that would change everything. She had the same feeling when she met Arthur. With him the life changes were for better more than worse; love, marriage, family, and a life. She also had the same feeling when she and Ginny met Harry for the first time on Platform 9 ¾.
As Molly approached Asiya the feelings that change was again upon the world as she knew it washed over her. She saw flashes of events and places. This time though Molly had enough experience to understand what was happening. Her son was a seer, she thought, that had to come from somewhere. And heavens know Arthur acts like he has no idea what’s for dinner even when he’s been in the kitchen minutes before it’s served.
Molly replayed as much of the flashes she could and understood that Asiya was not what she appeared to be. She was much more than a simple girl. There was something of old mythical magic that was hiding behind the veil of her current form.
“I see a young woman here, but I don’t think you are as young as you seem,” Molly said as she sat down next to her. Interacting with the unknown would have normally stirred Molly and made her a bit more on-guard, but at this point she decided the direct approach would be best.
“Why don’t you let me know what you’ve been hiding from and why you think it’s best to do what you need to do now,” Molly said encouragingly.
Asiya had regained her composure for the most part before Molly had arrived. But the telltale signs that she had been crying were apparent. She looked at Molly and saw the same helpfulness that her son Bill showed. It was a kind of loyalty that would withstand any test…and if she felt if she opened up to her, her word would stand the test of time.
“You are a very wise woman,” Asiya said haltingly. “I really am not in a ‘spot of trouble,’ as you said. I am just happy; happy that all of this is finally coming to an end.”
Molly moved closer. “What’s that, dear? What’s all coming to an end?”
“You are Bill’s mother,” Asiya said. “So perhaps you know Harry Potter?”
Molly nodded. She wasn’t sure where the conversation was going, so she was not about to give away more information than she thought she should. She didn’t want to be the key to attacking Harry.
“He is the reason for my joy,” Asiya said. “I know I look unhappy, but believe me, my joy is more than I have felt in centuries. I have finally found the way to my beloveds. Harry Potter is but a shadow of himself now. But he promised me he would prevail. He said all he needed was the knowledge from Merlin’s book to bring back my beloveds. But he never returned. He left me to wither away in loneliness and despair. He forgot the promise he made. But the blood of his line finally won out and convinced my servant to do what he would not do for me.”
Molly sensed Asiya’s building passion. She didn’t understand what Asiya meant, but she thought it best to move her from the Leaky Cauldron to the Burrow and wait there for Bill. She also thought it was a way to buy herself some time to let Harry and Ginny know what was coming their way.
“I imagine you are becoming impatient with all of this coming to an end finally,” Molly said. “It just seems to me that you’d want to face Harry Potter at a time and place of your choice. So, if I send him word that you want to speak with him, then what say you come with me to my home to wait for him?”
Asiya agreed and went with Molly to the Burrow.
George was overjoyed. He had reconnected with his brother and was about to reconnect with Iris – regardless of how much she did not want to reconnect with him. Fred had told him he needed to do enough living for the both of them. George did not need another reason to splurge.
The shop had been doing an incredible business since its reopening. Lee was actually going to open another shop in Hogsmeade by the beginning of the next school year. George had also expanded the owl-order business to include several overseas locales. There was enough in his Gringotts vault to last a lifetime – something he was thinking about testing.
George strolled into a Muggle coffee shop he frequented on his way to work. He was almost oblivious to everything except the tall dark beauty standing in queue ahead of him. Angelina Johnson was hard to miss. Her radiated confidence almost outshone her unparallel beauty. George maintained that if Fred hadn’t asked her to the Yule Ball first, she would have gone with him. Twins share everything, except in the case of the heart; neither would tell the other their true feelings for the girl. Truth be told, George was almost sure Fred went after Angelina because of George’s fear she would reject him.
Angelina turned to depart with her order. As she did, George caught her attention and she reflexively let out a surprised yipe. She also spilled the scalding contents of her order all over George’s front.
George began a dance in an attempt to move his now scalding clothes from touching his skin. He also tried everything to get to his wand, but to no avail. He was being parboiled…and making a fool of himself trying to avoid it. Then Angelina’s wand swished and flicked. George found himself standing shirtless.
“I’m sorry Fred…” Angelina froze. “I mean George. I guess I put a little more into that than I expected. How clumsy of me.”
“Well, good thing you didn’t aim at my pants,” George said while trying to lift the soaked fabric of his trousers from touching his skin. “Not that there’s anything important there, but there are some things I like to keep private.”
As the hot coffee cooled, George was finally able to reach his wand and summon his banished shirt. He put it over his shoulders and cast a Reparo on it to reweave the tears caused by its quick departure. As he finished, he noticed Angelina had not moved. He realized he had not acknowledged her apology.
“No worries,” he said. “Good as new, and besides skin eventually grows back…I’ve heard.”
Angelina took a long look at George and sighed.
“It’s good to see you…well, most of you,” she said. “Someone told me about your losing a bit of your head during the war. Seems like it wasn’t all that important a bit.”
George smiled at her playfulness. Was she really flirting with him? He decided he would play along.
“No, it was just a piece…no bits,” he said with a grin spreading across his face. “That would be a fate worse than death.
He looked at her and saw her trying to stifle a laugh. He decided to continue the game. “No, all they got was my ear. Mum likes to say it was one of the only things I could possibly do without…since she said I never used it anyway.”
Angelina smiled and looked down.
“Well, it is good to see you again…maybe we could see each other again…to catch up.”
George’s heart skipped beat. He could hardly believe what she had just said. Calm down old boy, it’s not like she wants to shag or something, he thought to himself.
“That would be great,” he said breaking the silence.
Angelina turned to leave.
“It was good to see you ‘ear’… I’ll owl you,” George said lamely.
Brilliantly said you oaf, George thought. ‘Good to see you ear?’…could you have come up with anything more ridiculous?
George shook his head and ordered a coffee to go. He decided to go back to the shop and see if Lee needed any help. He had forgotten where he was headed before Angelina poured her drink on him.
Harry could not understand what was happening. He felt like nothing was working out the way he wanted. He felt lost and alone. He felt desperate. His eyes were burning and itching. A great lump was growing in his throat that threatened to choke him. He felt angry as he stood at his bedroom window looking out over the snow covered landscape. After everything he had been through, he thought he should be able to stand up to a little lack of confidence. But a surge of fear distracted him so much that he had to leave Hermione, Ron, and Ginny before it overtook him. He didn’t know what would happen if it did, so he fled to his room and privacy. Or at least a place where could sort out what he was feeling. He knew the emotions were more that he could deal with on his own so he reached out to Ginny through the bond. It felt cold and empty.
I have no idea what I have to be this angry about, he thought to himself. I’ve done everything I can possibly do…
Ginny, where are you? I need you here. Something is happening…something is going wrong.
Uncontrolled grief and pain suddenly smashed into him. It was pain like he hadn’t felt in months. As it washed over him, memories of abuse, fear, and death took his breath away. He relived moments he wished he could have forgotten and it tore his heart out. Hot scalding tears rolled down his face as he saw people fighting with their last measure to beat back evil. His soul burned as he watched them fall lifeless or were blown apart.
He saw his friends suffering on his behalf. They managed to hide or flee Voldemort’s clutches for a time. But Harry saw their efforts end in failure. Some were imprisoned, others tortured, yet others were killed shortly after the bounty was paid for their capture. Their sacrifices seemed in vain – nothing changed. In the end they just suffered or died, and he lived on.
Ginny, where are you? he sent out through their link. I can’t do this without you. Why are you doing this to me? I’m sorry…whatever I did…I’m sorry. Please come back to me.
Harry turned to his dresser where his wand sat. The memories grew blacker and the pain increased beyond what he had ever experienced. He felt as though his head was about to split open. It felt like that would bring relief.
“You know the curse, Harry,” a familiar high-pitched voice, a memory, said in his head. “You have to mean it for it to work.”
He moved to the dresser and took his wand in his trembling hand. He narrowed his eyes and thought how much better it would be if he had not made the decision to return when Voldemort killed him the first time. How much better off would he have been if he stayed with his parents and friends who had gone before him. He thought how much better it would be without the pain.
“That’s right Harry,” the voice soothingly continued. “So much would be solved if you just mean it. The pain will cease and you will be among the only people who really cared for you.
“Dumbledore did not intend for you to survive. He never intended you to think about love. He only intended you to use it as a weapon. That is why he was happy that you broke Ginny’s heart. He didn’t want there to be a reason for you to survive. He knew you would be a threat to everyone if you lived.
“Fulfill his wish, Harry. Save the rest of the wizarding world from the evil growing within you.”
Harry’s heart beat harder and faster. The lump hardened in his throat. He agreed. He was becoming something vile. He looked into the mirror on his dresser and felt the face he was presenting to the world was only a mask of his true self.
I’m becoming dark, he thought to himself. There really is only one way to end this. He turned his wand around and stuck it into his chest.
“I’m better off dead. The world would be better off with me dead!”
Suddenly the door to his room burst open followed by a screaming Expelliarmus and an enraged looking Ginny. She had been trying to reach him through the bond, but she was only able to see glimpses of despair. As she rushed to his room, she paused for only a moment outside when she heard him speak. Utter shock at his words electrified her into action.
“What in the name of everything you care about are you doing?” shrieked Ginny.
Harry looked silently at her. She saw he was lost in his own thoughts – thoughts that she could only just see moments of and feel just as slightly as when their bond was new. There was nothing coming from the link that gave her a clear picture of what was happening to him. All she knew is what she had heard from the other side of the door and that he had his wand pointed at his heart. This was not the way, she vowed, Harry James Potter was going to die. He was hers, she silently vowed, again confirming to herself that she was not going to lose him to the war.
“Harry look at me,” she said as she ran to his side. Nothing was gained by her by touching him; the bond was still quiet and weakening. The link refused to open. It was, however, not as though it was Harry who had shut it or blocked it. Ginny felt there was something else stopping them. She felt herself begin to panic.
“Oh god, Harry forgive me,” Ginny said.
“Legilimens,” she said as she looked deep into her bondmate’s eyes.
Then it was as if she boarded the emotional rollercoaster Harry was enduring. She felt rising and falling with every emotion he was going through. It was as though his feelings were hers. The depth of the blackness of his emotions was more than she had ever thought possible. The depth was more than they had ever felt though the bond – it was pure evil. No nightmare could ever be worse than this. Yet, Ginny felt there was something foreign; something besides everything that was wrong with his attempt, there was a feeling that this was not coming from his mind. His thoughts were like memories that never happened. They were, however, as real as his every breath. It was as if he were trapped in someone else’s worst memories. It was a sort of directed nightmare. She saw these nightmares and memories merge into a hell-like environment where he was by himself. She felt his heart breaking into ever smaller pieces as he saw bodies twisting in the wind as they gasped their last breaths. He was alone and wanted to die. He felt that he needed to die to escape. Her heart was also tearing itself apart. She could hardly breathe. She was as trapped as he was. She was falling into the same desperate emotional state.
Fear, anger, and loneliness screamed from Harry’s mind into hers. He was completely trapped and helpless. Ginny had no idea how to help him. She had barely learned the spell Snape had used to terrorize the school and Harry from a book Hermione had given her. She had never practiced it so had no idea what to do once she had found out what was happening. It wasn’t like she was inside the bond as a bondmate. It was more like she was here as a terrified visitor. Her panic was almost blinding her.
Finally, she broke eye contact and pulled him tightly to her – breaking her spell. She decided the only thing to do was to push hard against the link and break through. It was not something they had ever agreed not to do…they had mostly an unspoken agreement to respect each other’s privacy, but this was an emergency. She was desperate to get into the bond regardless of what it held.
HARRY, she screamed into the bond while pushing hard with her mind to open it. The bond seemed to repel her as if it too didn’t know her. She pushed harder with her mind and soul as her grip on him tightened.
You know me. You can let me in. Please, Harry, listen to me. You have to let me in. Nothing was happening. She was completely blocked out. Tears started rolling down her face making her fear the worst. Maybe he was too far gone. Maybe he didn’t need to kill himself. Maybe he was already dead. She was becoming angry and scared at the same time as her panic grew. Angry because she felt lost without him; scared because she knew she would not survive without him.
“This is not going to bloody happen to you,” she growled. “Not while I’m here.”
She stamped his foot hard causing his body to reflexively move. In that moment she felt whatever was blocking the bond was distracted. Finally, she pushed passed it and into the bond where she found Harry screaming in terror.
Ginny, where were you? he wailed. I called you and called you, but you were nowhere to be found. Where were you? You said you would never leave me…you said you loved me…you said…
Even with her in the bond, he would not calm down. The mania continued spiraling out of control.
I’m here Harry…I’m here…I’m right here, she repeated.
Even though she was in the bond it seemed Harry was unable to understand that she was there for him. He was like a caged wild animal; scared, confused, and hurt. Then within their normally safe haven she saw what had held her from entering. A grinning William Potter stood leering at her.
“Hello poppet,” he said. “I’ll wager you never thought you’d see me here. I don’t think I need to introduce my friends, do I?”
Ginny heart raced…Dementors.
Randal Potter woke from a fitful sleep. He decided he would only have to rise in three hours, so he might as well get up now and start his day. As he slipped on his dressing robe he noticed a shadow in the corner of his room raise what had to be a wand.
“Avadra Kedavra,” shrieked a voice he had never heard before…and would never hear again. There was only enough time for him to understand the sickly green flash was of a spell that took his life and caused his body to fall to the floor with a horrible thud. His eyes stared open and blankly at nothing. He was another full measure of blood.
The shadow moved from the corner to Randal’s lifeless form. “Hmm, and you were supposed to protect Harry Potter?” Cho said. “Pity, I was expecting a bit more of a fight out of you.
“Don’t worry too much about Harry though,” she said as she turned his face with her foot. “I think he’ll be along soon enough with his wife to keep you company.”
A sudden commotion caught her attention. It was the sound of several sets of legs running towards the closed bedroom door. Let’s see how they react to this, Cho thought to herself before disapparating.
James and Iris Potter fired simultaneous blasting hexes at Randal’s bedroom door. They had wasted precious seconds deciding how to enter his flat and were not about to make the same mistake again when they saw the green flash emanate from under the door.
As the door blew off its hinges and out of the way they could see they were too late. Randal was dead. He lay in a heap on the floor as if he were nothing more than a discarded pile of clothes.
“No!” screamed James. “Damn it! No!”
Iris said nothing. They had been sent here by Ron on what they initially thought was a fool errand. He called them only minutes ago and told them he had a dream and to get to Randal. He told them something terrible was about to happen. He said he didn’t have time to explain, but that it was a matter of life and death.
Now they stood looking down at their uncle.
He was recently found and now he was lost forever. A single tear rolled down Iris’s cheek. She looked to her brother and saw his face contorted and red. Great streams of tears poured from his eyes in sorrow for the uncle he just barely had gotten to know.
“I can do this,” he bawled. “I just can’t do this anymore.”
Iris reached for her brother’s arm and pulled him towards her. He pulled her into himself and let go his emotions. She was always his strength. She understood he was not always strong. And he knew she would do as he did when she was weak; she would prop him up and keep him from despair.
“We just found him,” he cried. “We just learned about him. What the hell is wrong with a world that just keeps doing things to us like this?”
She kept quiet and let her brother rage. He was hurting more than she was at the moment. While Randal had been her uncle too, he had been becoming the missing father figure James had so craved. Randal did everything he could to help them put their ‘new’ lives in order. He had shown James more in a few weeks, than James had ever imagined possible. It was a friendship, yet it was more. They had made a family connection that only a favorite uncle could make with his brother’s son. And now it was over.
Ron was shaking, his bed clothes were soaked with sweat, and he knew nothing he had already done was going to change what he knew had already happened. He paced back and forth in his room, unable to contextualize the dream he just had. He barely had enough presence of mind to contact James and Iris. His dream ended with them. But there was more that happened. More that his conscious mind would not let him remember – but he knew he had to remember…he had to pull this dream from his memory to know what needed to happen next.
A soft knock at his door roused him from his thoughts. As the door pushed open, Ron dove for his wand. He hit his mattress and scooped up his wand from the night table. He turned in time to see a shocked Hermione, pull herself back behind the door.
“Ron, it’s me,” she squeaked. “Didn’t you know?”
Something had happened to their bond, Ron thought. He should have known it was her. But something had happened, he thought again.
“Mione,” Ron said. “I’m sorry. Something’s gone wrong; can you feel it?
“I don’t know what it is, but I just sent Iris and James to check on Randal.”
Ron got up from his bed and stood looking at his bondmate.
“I think Cho’s killed him,” he said.
Hermione bit her bottom lip and looked into Ron’s eyes. She too felt the strange emptiness in their bond that made her feel alone. But being near him, despite him reaching for his wand, calmed her.
“Ron, what makes you think Cho would kill Randal?” she asked. “What would she possibly gain from that?”
Ron turned away and began pacing again.
“I’m not sure,” he said. “But I think it has something to do with a ‘full measure.’”
Blood rushed from Hermione’s face. “Three times you must sacrifice the power the Dark Lord knew not. Three times you must sacrifice blood in full measure before your fate is revealed…” she repeated.
“Ron, no one knows about your prophesy except us. What could this have to do with it?”
“I don’t know,” Ron said. “That’s the problem, isn’t it? I have no idea what it means. That’s what I was trying to figure out before you came in.”
“Did Iris and James tell you Randal was dead?” Hermione asked.
She took his hand and gave it a gentle squeeze. “Did anyone tell you Randal was dead?”
“No, but that doesn’t mean…”
“RON!” a loud thunderous voice called out. “Ronald Weasley, where are you?”
Ron and Hermione recognized James’ voice. They both questioned the emotion laden tone.
“Hermione, stay behind me, please,” Ron said.
As she was about to wind up at his presumption she would avoid the coming conflict with James, Ron added.
“If anything happens, I want you to be ready to lend me a hand.”
Ron went to the front of the flat where he heard James and someone else bustling around in the kitchen. He heard Iris’ voice but could not make out what she was saying to her brother. Ron stopped before he entered to see if he could hear any better. As he stopped Hermione bumped into his backside hard and propelled him into the room.
“There you are,” James said with steel in his tone. “How the bloody hell did you know?”
“Come on out Hermione,” James said. “We aren’t going to do anything insane.”
Hermione poked her head from the hall leading to Ron’s room.
“What happened?” she asked.
“Randal’s been killed,” James blurted.
Iris set a cup of tea in front of her brother and made him sit in front of it. James sat as if the weight of the world was on his shoulders. She then offered Hermione and Ron cups as they sat in silence.
“We saw the flash,” Iris said weakly. “We were too late to do anything.”
Ron felt James’ eyes boring holes into him as though he half expected Ron to take the blame for not telling them sooner what was going to happen. Hermione saw that Ron was about to open his mouth. She caught his eye and shook her head.
“If we’d had gotten there a few minutes earlier…” James trailed off. Intellectually he understood he was angry and hurt. But that didn’t stop him from feeling Ron could have done something more to save Randal. He wanted someone to pay for killing his uncle. He wanted to know why they did it besides the obvious, ‘kill everyone associated with Harry Potter.’
Heartbeats seems separated by years as the four of them sat in silence.
“I’m sorry I didn’t know sooner,” Ron said. “I wish I would have been able to tell you sooner. I wish it was that easy.”
James could see Ron’s despair. While he didn’t know why Ron would feel this way – Randal wasn’t his uncle. It was almost as though his death wounded him even more deeply than it affected himself or Iris.
“How did you know,” James asked. “Our mole had no idea anything like this was getting ready to happen.”
Ron looked to Hermione. While she had been ensuring Ron and Ginny had all the information they needed to understand their growing powers, he had been using her to help him conceal his seer abilities. Hermione nodded her agreement to let them know how he knew.
“I’m a seer,” Ron said. He waited and watched as the information was processed by the twins.
“But, you and Hermione are…” Iris said. “You’re a bloke!”
Ron’s face turned red as he rolled his eyes.
“Obviously,” Ron said. “It’s not unheard of you know. And this is why I don’t go announcing it to everyone. If they know anything about seers, they immediately expect I’m ‘that way.’”
“What way,” James asked.
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