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Atonement Is Coming by TreacleTart

Format: Novel
Chapters: 4
Word Count: 8,535
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Strong violence, Scenes of a mild sexual nature, Sensitive topic/issue/theme, Spoilers

Genres: General, Horror/Dark, Action/Adventure
Characters: Harry, Ron, Hermione, McGonagall, Charlie, Shacklebolt, Draco, George, Luna, Neville
Pairings: Harry/Ginny, Ron/Hermione, Neville/Luna, Other Pairing

First Published: 02/03/2015
Last Chapter: 07/20/2015
Last Updated: 07/20/2015

Summary:


Lovely banner by aurevoir at TDA

Sequel to the short story Silent Rumors

It's been 5 years since the war ended and the wizarding world is finally starting to heal, but quiet whispers of a militant group attacking Pureblood families threatens that peace. When Pureblood families start to disappear, the Trio gets dragged in to help. 


Chapter 1: A Shadowy Threat
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Kingsley Shacklebolt sat in his office with his feet up on his desk. He held a glass of firewhiskey on the rocks in his left hand. A large pile of unanswered letters sat to his right. It was late at night and he was well past exhausted.  The last of the Death Eater trials finished earlier in the day and he was glad for it.  He didn’t think he could handle another day of sifting through evidence, particularly when that evidence was mainly composed of memories of torture and murder.  Suddenly, his fireplace flared up with leaping flames and out of it stepped a severe looking witch with square spectacles and emerald green robes.   

“Ah, Minerva made it after all, have you? I was just thinking you’d forgotten our meeting for something a bit more exciting.”

“My apologies, Kingsley. There was a fuss at the school. One of the older students was having terrible nightmares and it upset the first years greatly.  I had to smooth it over before I could leave.”

Kingsley took a long drink of his firewhiskey. “Of course. Nightmares.  Who doesn’t suffer from those these days?”

Minerva studied Kingsley’s face for a moment before summoning herself a healthy portion of firewhiskey. “Are you feeling well?”

“I’m fine, just a bit tired is all. As you can imagine, I haven’t been sleeping that well lately.  Been having quite a lot of nightmares in fact. I’m certain it’s due to the trials. You can’t imagine the horrific things I’ve had to experience through my pensieve over the last few months.  Add to that the burden of deciding whether to give someone the Dementor’s Kiss or not and you have a recipe for sleepless nights.”

“That seems quite natural, Kingsley. I imagine anyone in your situation would feel the same way.”

The two lapsed into silence, sipping their firewhiskeys, and watching the glowing embers in the fireplace. Finally, Kingsley spoke up.

“Well Minerva, I can’t imagine you came all this way to talk to me about my nightmares. What can I do for you?”

For a moment, Minerva stared down at her glass. “I’m concerned about some things that I’ve been hearing as of late. Whispers of hate crimes against Pureblood families, even ones who weren’t involved with the Death Eaters. One of my students, young Jade Zabini, I’m sure you know her older brother Blaise, told me that her cousin’s house had been graffitied a few nights ago.  Apparently, it said Purebloods, Atonement is coming in bright red letters, almost as if it had been written in blood.”

“I have heard a few similar stories and I’ve even had the Aurors look into it, but we haven’t found any evidence that it’s anything more serious than a few hoodlums causing a stir.”

“I’ve also heard rumors  that the MacMillan family has completely up and disappeared as well. No one’s seen them or heard from them in several days.”

“The Aurors have checked into that as well, Minerva, but they found that there was a note left at the apothecary they own down in Diagon Alley telling the employees that they would be on a family vacation for an undetermined amount of time. Everything was fine at their home as well. Nothing out of order. No signs of distress. No reported threats or attacks prior to the disappearance.”

Minerva shook her head in disagreement. “I don’t believe that note for a minute. You know as well as I do how devoted Ernie was to that shop. There’s no way he would just up and leave on vacation without letting his employees know in advance. Not to mention the idea that he would just leave for an indiscriminate amount of time. I just can’t imagine it. Maybe from someone else, but not coming from him.”

“I agree that it’s a bit suspicious, but without evidence there’s nothing I can do. Frankly, my hands are tied. I’ll admit that that the timing is concerning, particularly with the graffiti popping up all over the place, but like I said, the Aurors feel certain it’s just a group of hoodlums out to cause a few scares. I’m sure that before you know it Ernie and his family will return suntanned and perfectly happy after a long vacation and then you and I will laugh at how paranoid we were.”

“The thing is, Kingsley, I’ve heard rumors that it’s more than just a few hoodlums, that it’s a small, but militant group of wizards who feel that we will never be at peace while purebloods exist.  At first they were content to harass any of the remaining pureblood families, but the word is that they are planning attacks.  I feel that members of our community could be in danger and I believe it is our duty to stop this before it gets any worse.”

 

 

A single guard by the name of Michael Corner stood guard outside of Kingsley’s office.  He was fairly new to the ministry security detail, only having completed Auror training about six months previous.  He had been assigned the evening shift at Kingsley’s office because in theory, Kingsley wasn’t supposed to be there that late, so Michael was really only supposed to be there to make sure no one tried to steal classified documents while he was away.

The corridor in front of Michael had been bustling with people earlier in the day, but now it stood empty and dark.  In fact, it was so quiet that he could hear everything that was being said inside of the office that he was guarding.  He listened in silence as he fiddled with a large, gold coin in his pocket. A smile slid across his face as he heard Kingsley tell Minerva that the small group was not a threat. He knew that to be false. In fact, Michael knew that in several minutes, they would both find out that this small group was indeed a threat, but at that point he imagined it would be too late for them to do anything.

As if out of nowhere, four witches and wizards cloaked in all black, appeared in front of Michael. He nodded silently to each of them as if their arrival had been expected.  He motioned towards the door and they all seemed to understand what he was trying to communicate. As quietly as possible, Michael rested his hand on the doorknob and slowly began to twist it.

 

 

“What would you have me do, Minerva? The Aurors have found nothing to make me believe that this is a credible threat. I can’t just waste endless funds chasing ghosts.” Kingsley’s voice was rising, the frustration he felt was clearly evident. 

Minerva was just about to respond when she heard the door click behind her. Instantaneously, she spun and pulled her wand, but it was too late. A look of shock crossed her face as she was hit by two different stunning spells.  She vaguely registered a loud grunt behind her and the sound of a glass shattering on the floor as Kingsley was hit.  With her last moments of clarity, she saw four people step forward cloaked in all black and wearing coverings so their faces couldn’t be seen.

 

 

Quickly, the mysterious four stepped inside of the room.  They were all aware that their stunning spells had set off silent alarms throughout the building.  It would only be a few minutes before a group of highly trained Aurors arrived to see what had happened.  That left them with a little less than five minutes to get everything in order. They began spreading out around the office, each of them working on a different task.

One of the four members roughly yanked a tuft of hair out of Minerva’s head while another used a razor to scrape some hair off of Kingsley’s chin.

“Quick Terry. Dump the hair in here. Careful not to mix them up.”

The member who had been identified as Terry did as she was told, tossing a bit of hair into each vial.  She watched as the two potions bubbled up and changed color.  The Headmistress’ turned a bright red, almost the same color as the Gryffindor crest, while the Minister’s turned a deep shade of purple. As soon as the potions settled, Terry whispered forcefully “Rodger! Penelope! The potions are ready. Quick! You have to drink them now! We’re running out of time!”

Out of the shadows stepped, Roger Davies and Penelope Clearwater, no longer wearing the dark robes they had used to conceal their identities.  They each downed one of the vials and doubled over as the spasm inducing potion began to take hold. The group watched in awe as Penelope’s skin went from youthful and taut to fragile and lined. Gray was appearing in her jet black hair.  Her dazzling smile narrowed into the characteristic tight lipped frown of Minerva McGonagall. Roger stood a few feet away, his pale white skin darkening to a rich brown color. His hair seemed to be growing backwards, sinking down into his skull until his head was perfectly smooth.  He shot up about a foot taller and those watching could see his shoulders expanding to match the broad stature of Kingsley Shacklebolt.

Roger turned to the fourth member who seemed to be fussing with a bag. “Anthony, we need the robes now!”

“The knot won’t come undone! I can’t get the bag open.” whined Anthony.

“Oi! Are you a wizard or not?! I swear you’re practically useless.” Roger whipped his wand out of his pocket, muttered a few words, and instantly the bag was open. Anthony flushed a bright red, but said nothing. He snatched two robes, a set of square eye glasses, and one diamond earring out of the bag.  He passed them roughly to Roger and Penelope who dressed at lightning speed.

Once they were dressed, Penelope and Roger immediately set to work putting the room back in order.  With a wave of the wand, the glass of firewhiskey that was in ruins on the floor flew back together.  The chairs turned upright and the pile of papers that littered the room returned themselves to a nice orderly stack at the corner of Kingsley’s desk. 

Just as they were finishing up, Michael stuck his head into the doorway. “Time is up. The Aurors are here. I will do my best to stall them, but I can’t guarantee anything. I’m going to shut the door and pretend like nothing has happened. Hopefully, that will delay them long enough for you to get out of here. Good luck. Tell our boss that I await my next assignment.”

Terry whispered “Incarcerous” and ropes shot from the tip of her wand, binding the unconscious bodies of Minerva and Kingsley to each other.  She pointed her wand at them again and said “Levicorpus”.  The tightly bound bodies floated up into the air.  She quickly stepped into the fire grate, pulling the bodies down in front of her.

Anthony tossed a handful of floo powder into the fire and watched his partner disappear with the bodies trailing behind him.  He turned to address Rodger and Penelope, who were now transformed into exact replicas of Minerva and Kingsley.

“Now you two remember what you’ve learned. You’ve dedicated the last 6 months to studying everything about these two people, from their mannerisms to the way they speak, so that you won’t blow your cover.  Remember the entire movement is relying on you.  We’ll be in touch soon.”

Loud voices were coming from the hallway. Anthony could hear Michael being ordered to open the door.  He threw a handful of floo powder into the fire and stepped into the flames just as the door creaked opened.

 

 

Michael noticed a flash of green light in the fireplace as he opened the door, but thankfully all of the other Aurors were too preoccupied to notice. Looking around the room, he noticed that everything was back in place.  Fake Kingsley and fake Minerva sat in their seats looking quite surprised by the army of aurors taking over their office.  It was as if they had been interrupted in the middle of a completely normal meeting.

John Dawlish, who was leading the group of Aurors, stepped forward tenatively. “Begging your pardon, Kingsley, but we have alarms set in the ministry building to register if any attack type spells are used.  It triggers a silent alarm and a group of Aurors immediately deploys to the location to secure the area and stop any threat if necessary.  A few moments ago, one of the alarms was triggered right here in your office.  If you’ll excuse the intrusion I’m going to have to take a look around.”

Fake Minerva watched carefully as Dawlish moved around the room.  He was using spells that she didn’t recognize, but she could only guess that he was trying to determine what had triggered the alarms. Fake Kingsley was shifting in his seat a bit and her eyes were drawn back to him.  Suddenly she noticed his earring was missing from his ear. Panic set in. The real Kingsley never took his earring out. She prayed that Dawlish would be too busy to notice. Quietly, she tried to signal to Fake Kingsley about it.

Looking down, Fake Kingsley realized what she was motioning at. Bile rose in his throat. If their entire plan was blown because of a stupid earring, the boss would certainly have his head.

After a few moments, Fake Kingsley cleared his throat and addressed the Auror in a polite, but curt manner. “Well, Dawlish, as you can see, neither Minerva nor I are facing any grave danger, but I am glad to see that the Auror department is still living by the words of Mad-Eye and practicing constant vigilance.”

Dawlish turned to face Fake Kingsley and Fake Minerva.  He studied both of them for a few seconds.  His eyes seemed to linger on Fake Kingsley.  Finally, Dawlish seemed to decide that everything was alright and motioned the Aurors out. “I apologize for the intrusion Kingsley, Minerva.” He said, bowing to each in turn. “Good night.” He stepped out, quietly shutting the door behind him.

 

 

On the other side of the door, Dawlish paused. “Corner, keep an eye on them and this office.  I don’t know what triggered that alarm, but if you notice anything suspicious, contact me immediately.”

“Of course, Dawlish.” said Michael.  He watched as the Auror Emergency Response Team disappeared down the dark hallways.  When everyone was finally gone, Michael let out a small chuckle.  Everything had gone exactly as planned, if not better.  The boss would most certainly be pleased with the results. All that had to be done now was to keep Roger and Penelope from screwing up at their new roles.


Chapter 2: A Surprise Announcement
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Far away from the ministry, deep in the English countryside, sat a nice farm style home.  If you didn’t know better, it would look like the type of house that belonged to muggles, except for the fact that muggles couldn’t see it. Neither could wizards unless the Secret Keeper told them the address.  Harry Potter had designed it this way so that he and Ginny could at least have some modicum of privacy from the hordes of admirers and media who hounded them daily.  Additionally, the quiet countryside allowed for the sense of peace and calm that Harry had so desperately needed when the war ended.

Tonight, their countryside home was shining brightly.  In the garden behind the house, a large wooden bench table had been set for dinner.  Small fairy lights floated in the air, twinkling in the light breeze that was blowing. Ginny was rushing around the kitchen waving her wand frantically at pots and pans. The smell of treacle tarts baking in the oven wafted out of the open kitchen windows. 

Just like many other evenings, Harry sat in the living room with his two best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, however on this particular evening they were waiting for more guests to arrive.  Little did anyone know, but Harry and Ginny had a surprise announcement to make.

“How do you two like your new home?” Harry asked.

Hermione smiled a melancholy smile. “Oh. I like it well enough. It’s nice to be somewhere where we can enjoy a bit of quiet and the sound of the ocean is quite soothing when I wake up from one of my nightmares.  None of those horrible tabloid writers seems to know where it is thankfully. I’ve put up every security spell I can think of, but nothing ever seems to keep them away permanently. Hopefully, this one will hold for awhile though. I hate to think of moving again anytime soon.”

Harry understood what she meant perfectly well. Ever since the war he and Ginny had been hounded by the media.  In the first few years, they had changed homes monthly trying to keep a sense of privacy, but even that was no deterrent.  Just when Harry thought he was going to lose his mind, Kingsley Shacklebolt had stepped in and used the might of the Ministry of Magic to surround his house with special protections, similar to the ones that had been placed on the Dursley’s house in Harry’s youth.

Ron sighed in frustration. “It always amazes me that our Hermione managed to protect our location from the Death Eaters all those years, but somehow we can’t keep those media vultures away from us. I mean it’s been five years since the war ended. You would think they could move onto something more current. You would think that if we just ignored them long enough they would go away.”

Harry chuckled. “I wish I could just ignore them, but even if I were to just stand there and say nothing an article would be bound to follow titled “The Boy Who Lived Deaf from Traumatic Brain Injury” or “The Boy Who Lived…To Good To Speak To The Media?”

Ginny entered the living room, plopping herself down onto the love seat next to Harry.  She settled into the space between his arm and chest, smiling at her friends.  She was determined that tonight would be a happy night and she wasn’t about to let these three get on a depressing tangent as they so often did.   “On a happier note, there’s something Harry and I wanted to talk to the two of you about before everyone else starts to arrive. We have a bit of a surprise.”

“Gin’ you know Harry already told us the moment you found out you were expecting, so it’s not exactly a surprise.” Ron said with a laugh.

The way that Ginny glared at Harry was so reminiscent of Mrs. Weasley that both Ron and Harry sank down into their chairs. “That was very considerate of him, particularly since we agreed we would be announcing it together.  Did he also tell you that yesterday we found out that the baby is a boy?”

A gasp escaped Hermione’s mouth. “No, he didn’t, but that’s great news! Do you have any names picked out?”

Harry gave a melancholy smile. “Yeah. We’re going to name him James Sirius Potter.”

Ginny slid her hand into his and gave it a tight squeeze. She knew it was hard for him to think of his first son being born without the chance to know Sirius or his father.  Unfortunately, that seemed to be a fairly common occurrence for most of the wizarding community these days.  Most families had suffered a loss or two, her own family included.

“That’s a great name Harry. I’m sure that both your father and Sirius would’ve been very proud.” whispered Hermione. Silence permeated the room. No one seemed to know exactly what to say next.

“Have you decided on godparents?” Ron blurted out, trying to diffuse the somberness.

“Yeah…kind of.” said Ginny nervously. “That’s actually one of the things we wanted to talk to you about.  We were thinking about naming Hagrid as Godfather, but we wanted to run it by you first because we didn’t want you to be offended.”

“Offended! Why would we be offended? Ginny, you’re my sister. That makes me and Hermione, uncle and aunt to your children. It only makes sense for you to make someone outside of the family Godparents.”

Ginny noticed that Hermione looked a bit skeptical. “Are you sure it’s okay, Hermione?”

Hermione paused for a moment. “It’s fine. It’s just that….well…Do you think it’s a good idea to trust Hagrid with something so important? I mean, I know he means well, but you can’t pretend he isn’t a bit careless.” *

Harry looked at Hermione and said firmly. “I would trust Hagrid with my life.”*

 

Just then, the flames in the fireplace flared a bright green and what appeared to be a sea of redheads swarmed into the sitting room.  Every member of the ever expanding Weasley family
was present.

A young girl, with long strawberry blonde hair came rocketing forward from the crowd.  “Uncle Ron! Uncle Harry! Can we go play Quidditch in the backyard? I brought my broom and everything! See.” she said, holding up a child’s model firebolt.

A very pregnant Fleur waddled up beside her, resting her hand on the girl’s shoulder. “What did I tell you earlier, Victoire? Zees is not ze time for Quidditch.”

Fleur sat down heavily on one of the love seats, her swollen belly making it difficult for her to get comfortable. “I cannot wait for zees baby to come out. I aven’t been able to see my feet in months!” she said to no one in particular.

“I know what you mean!” Angelina Weasley chimed in “When I was pregnant with little Fred, the last trimester was so draining. I felt like every time I moved, I would bump something with my stomach.”

Everyone was laughing, and joking, when a loud noise interrupted the festivities. A very large, very hairy head appeared in the fireplace, but most of the body attached to it appeared to be stuck.  The room was silent as Hagrid tried to wiggle himself loose. 

“Would one o’ yer mind givin’ me a hand?”

 Ron and Harry rushed forward, each seizing either side of his large body.  They pulled with all of their might. Ashes went flying all over the recently cleaned floor as Hagrid popped out of the fireplace and went sprawling out onto the floor.  He stood up quickly, brushing the ash off of his best hairy orange suit, flush creeping up his cheeks.

“Sorry ‘bout that.” 

“Ginny, before I forget. Minerva and Kingsley asked me to inform you that they might be a bit late on account of a meeting, but that they would stop by as soon as they could.” interrupted Mr.Weasley.

“Oh. I’ll make sure to save them both plates.” She looked around at the guests filling her living room. “We’re just waiting on a few more people.”

As soon as the words left her lips, the flames in the fireplace flared bright green and out stepped Neville and Luna hand in hand, followed closely by Seamus and Dean.

“Sorry, we’re late. It was practically impossible for Luna and I to get past the paparazzi on the way home earlier. They seem insistent on swarming our apartment. By the time we met up with Dean and Seamus, we were running quite a bit behind.”

“If you had told me that one day, the entirety of wizarding London would be discussing the love life of Luna Lovegood and Neville Longbottom with rapt attention, I would’ve told you needed to get your head checked by a healer.” muttered Ron under his breath to no one in particular.  Harry snorted in laughter, seeming to have been the only one to have heard Ron.

 

Ginny swept forward, hugging them each in turn. “We understand completely. I was just about to suggest that we all head out to the backyard. I have the tables set for dinner.”

Luna brushed Ginny’s hair back from her face in a dreamy manner. “Something looks different about you. It’s almost as if you’re glowing. Maybe you’ve had a recent encounter with a blibbering humdinger. Next time I’m by, I’ll bring you my radish earrings. They should help chase them away.”

“That’s very kind of you Luna. Now if you would all please follow me to the backyard, we can start dinner.”

The sea of people filling their living room stood up and started migrating to the backyard where one long picnic table sat, laden with more food than an of them could possibly eat. Everyone would certainly try their best, particularly Ron, who even after all these years still scarfed down food like it might disappear.

On the table there was platter after platter of chicken and ham pies, roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, boiled potatoes, mushy peas, tureens of rich gravy, crisp salads, roasted parsnips, boiled turnips and rolls in every shape and size imaginable. The aroma alone was heavenly and instantly transported many of the guests back to their Hogwarts days.

Only Fleur seemed to be put off by the food, choosing to nibble on a few soda crackers instead. “I am sorry, Ginny.  It looks lovely, but zees food is much too ‘eavy for me right now. I just ‘ave ‘ad no taste for meat during zis pregnancy.”

 

After everyone had eaten their fill, the tureens and platters floated into the kitchen and out came the tarts covered in fresh mounds of whipped cream.  While everyone was finishing off their dessert, Harry couldn’t help, but look around the table and think about the people that would’ve been present had the war never happened.  He could imagine Sirius and Lupin would be telling some harrowing story of their days at Hogwarts. He could imagine Tonks sitting beside them in her mother, Andromeda’s place, bouncing Teddy in her lap.  Fred and George would be conspiring to create some sort of mischief and Dumbledore and Snape might have sat here as well, lost in conversation about the things going on in the world.

Ginny noticed Harry drifting away in thought and slipped her hand into his. “Are you okay, Harry?”

“I’m fine. Just imagining what it would be like and who would be here if the war had never happened.”

“I know Harry. I’ve thought about it a million times over and I’m sure everyone at this table has as well.   To this day every time I see George, I expect Fred to come waltzing in behind him and every time I remember that I won’t ever see him again, it breaks my heart, but tonight is a happy night.  All of our loved ones are here. Nothing will ever replace those that we’ve lost, but that doesn’t mean we should take for granted those that are still here.”

“Of course. You’re right Ginny.” said Harry, swallowing down the emotions that were bubbling in his throat.

 “Now seems like a good time to make our announcement. Do you want to do it or should I?”

“I’ll do it. You just sit back and rest.”

Harry stood up at the end of the table and clinked his glass with a spoon to get everyone’s attention. “Hello everyone.  Ginny and I just wanted to thank you all for making it here this evening. The reason that we’ve asked you all over is because we have a very special announcement to make.  About three years ago, I asked Ginny to marry me and for some strange reason, she said yes, even though I’m…”

“A specky git?” asked George helpfully. The whole table burst into laughter.  For a moment, it was like the old George was back, the one who hadn’t lost his twin brother.

“Yeah…Something like that.” smiled Harry. “Anyways, what we wanted to tell you is that Ginny and I are expecting our first child. She is about four months into the pregnancy and yesterday we found out that our baby will be a boy.  We plan to name him James Sirius Potter.”The table erupted with words of congratulations.  Everyone seemed genuinely happy for them.

Harry left his seat at the table and walked to the far end where Hagrid was sitting. He could feel everyone’s eyes following him as he moved. “There’s one more thing. Hagrid, my old friend, you’ve meant so much to me over the years. You were the first person who ever really showed me any kindness that I can remember. You helped guide me through some difficult years and now here we are. It is my hope that you will be willing to do the same for my son because Ginny and I would like you to be his godfather.”

Hagrid seemed to be taken by surprise.  He shot from his seat, enveloping Harry in a bone-crushing hug that left him dangling a foot off of the ground. Once he let go of Harry, he sat back down on the bench with a thud, covered his face with his large hands and burst out into tears. “I-I-I’d be hon-honored.” He said in between sobs.

Slowly, the tarts disappeared and conversation began to stall as the various children became more and more tired.  Fleur and Bill were the first to take their leave, Bill carrying a now exhausted Dominique into the floo and Fleur waddling slowly behind them.  George, Angelina, and baby Fred followed shortly after even as Fred insisted he could stay awake for hours more. Percy, Audrey and baby Molly left at the same time as Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.

Ginny rounded up the remaining guests and carefully guided them into the sitting room for polite goodbyes and final hugs. Just about everyone had stepped into the floo when Hagrid burst into tears once more. “Hones’ly. Me a godfather? Imagine that!”

 

Once everyone was gone, Ginny collapsed into one of the love seats and lifted her now swollen feet on to the table in front of her. “Well, that seemed to go well, don’t you think?”

“It was amazing. Everything was so delicious, Gin. If I didn’t know better, I’d have thought you had an army of Hogwarts house elves hidden somewhere in the kitchen. Thank you for putting in all of that hard work.” Harry kissed the side of Ginny’s face. “Why don’t you go upstairs and go to sleep. I’ll see to the dishes.”

“Are you sure?” Ginny said, eyebrows raised in disbelief.

“Positive. Go get some rest. I’ll be up in a few minutes.”

Kissing Harry goodnight, Ginny began the arduous task of climbing the stairs. She was content with how the evening had gone and happy that they had managed to avoid any sensitive subjects. Full of food and exhausted, she fell asleep almost as soon as her head hit the pillow.

As he promised, Harry joined Ginny a half an hour later. Slipping into bed, careful not to disturb her, he wrapped his arm around her side, resting his hand on the small bump growing in her belly. For the first time in months, he slept peacefully, unaware that anything was wrong in the world.

 

 




Hi there,

I just wanted to thank you for reading and let you know that there maybe some things that seem familiar in this chapter. One line in particular comes from Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 1, Page 14. In my story, Harry says "I would trust Hagrid with my life." In the series, it is Dumbledore who says this.

Also, if you love this story or hate, please feel free to leave me a review. Any feedback is very helpful an I always take it into account for further chapters! 

~Kaitlin 


Chapter 3: The Dungeon
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 In a dimly lit dungeon, Minerva McGonagall and Kingsley Shacklebolt lay unconscious on the floor.  A mysterious, shadowy figure stood just outside the iron door to the cell that held them.  He was gazing intently at his victims making plans for what he could do as long as no one found out that they were missing. Everything was hinging on Roger and Penelope’s ability to convince the public that nothing was wrong. If they did so successfully, then they could affect drastic change in England and possibly across Europe. His thoughts were interrupted by Terry Boot coming down the hall.

Cautiously, she approached him, tip-toeing as she got closer. “Boss, what can I do for you?”

“Move Shacklebolt to another cell.  These are two of the most powerful wizards alive. We must keep them separate. Together they have the potential to overpower us all.”

“But we’ve already confiscated their wands.”

The shadow chuckled. “There are ways to create magic without a wand. I wouldn’t put it past either of these two to know how to do it. 

Terry looked like she might argue, but thought better of it. Slipping her wand from her pocket she whispered “Levicorpus”. Kingsley’s body lifted up into the air, floating idly.  Terry waved her wand once more and turned to walk down the hallway with Kingsley’s body trailing behind her.

Returning quickly, she asked “Anything else, boss?”

“Go and get the others.  I plan to wake our guests soon and ask them a few questions.  Even separated and without wands there is the potential for either of them to cause problems. Kingsley in particular strikes me as a real fighter, so I’d like to have as many people possible to guard them while I do the interrogating.”

Terry shuffled quickly down the hallway to retrieve the rest of the group.

The shadowy, dark figure lifted his wand, pointing it directly at the unconscious form of Minerva McGonagall. “Enervate.” He whispered.

 

 

Minerva McGonagall woke up suddenly, as if she had just been hit by an electric shock.  Her whole body throbbed with pain and her memory was fuzzy.  She tried to sit up, but found it impossible due to the ropes that were constricting her movements. They were wrapped so tightly around her arms and legs that they cut into her papery skin like razors. Her chest throbbed and ached from where she was hit with the stunning spells. Fear was starting to set in, but she fought to stay calm. Panicking would not help the current situation.

Quickly, she scanned her surroundings.  It looked as though she were in some type of dungeon cell. Three of the walls and the floor were made with thick, rough stone that scrapped against her aging flesh.  There were no windows that she could locate and the front of the cell seemed to be guarded by large, metal bars. A faint glow around them suggested that they were shielded to block any magic she might attempt.  The only light in the room came from one small torch, just outside of the cell, which cast strange shadows across everything. Just as she was studying the front of the cell, trying to find a door, one of the shadows moved.

“Hello? Who’s there?”

Silence was the only answer she received.  Minerva knew that someone of great magical power was standing just a few feet away.  She could feel their presence radiating all around.

“Please, just tell me why I’m here? What do you want with me?”

A deep, mischievious laugh emminated from the spot where the shadow stood. The maniacal sound of it sent chills down Minerva’s spine. Once more she fought to maintain her composure. She would not allow her kidnappers to see her crack under pressure.

“Oh, my dearest Minerva. That’s a complicated question to answer.  I guess the simplest response would be that for now we need your hair.”

The shadow’s voice sounded vaguely familiar to Minerva, but she couldn’t quite place why.  It was certainly the voice of a man, definitely a younger man, but not childish.  His speech came across quite friendly, but she wasn’t fooled.  Every word dripped with the eminent threat of danger.

“As you may have guessed by now, we have switched you and Kingsley with members of our group.  Of course, no one will know that as long as they keep taking the polyjuice potion that I’ve prepared for them.”

Adrenaline shot through Minerva’s veins. She couldn’t seem to see Kingsley anywhere in the darkness. The fear that he might be dead almost paralyzed her.  “Is Kingsley still alive?”

“For now. Like I said, we need your hair and his as well. That seems to be reason enough to keep you both alive for the moment.  Besides, there are a lot of questions that I have for the both of you.”

“May I speak to Kingsley?” Minerva held her breath while waiting for the reply. She doubted that the shadow would acquiesce, but she had to try. If only she could get to Kingsley, she thought they might have a chance to escape.

“You must think me a fool.  You will stay separate and for now I think you will just have to trust my word when I say that he is alive. I think I’ve given you sufficient reason to believe it.”

Minerva tried to shift her body weight off of her left arm and shoulder, but only succeeded in causing a shooting pain through her chest.  The pressure that the ropes put on her joints made her feel as if she might explode.

As she was trying to get more comfortable a group of people in black cloaks with hoods approached the front of her cell. She could tell they were all staring in at her and found herself feeling like a zoo animal on display.  The man in the shadows reached forward, putting his hand up to one of the bars on her cell, and suddenly they moved apart, creating something like a door for the group to enter. Only the mysterious shadow stayed out of the cell.

 “Now Minerva, we are going to cut you free of those ropes, but if you try to escape or attack anyone there are five guards standing just a few feet away who will immediately subdue you. Do you understand?”

“Attack you? How can I attack you when you’ve taken my wand?”

A deep sigh vibrated against the walls. “Don’t play stupid with me.  I know you are capable of wandless magic.  You might not be quite as powerful as Dumbledore once was, but I’m still not going to take my chances with you. So I’ll ask you again. Do you understand?”

Minerva clenched her jaw tightly. “I understand.”

One of the group members cautiously approached the spot where Minerva lay.  He roughly rolled her onto her stomach, waved his wands, and whispered “Diffindo.”  The ropes fell away from her aching body.  She groaned as she tried to move her limbs. It was agonizing, particularly in her right shoulder, which she feared might have some torn ligaments.

“I’m going to sit up, if that’s alright.” No one said anything as she slowly lifted herself into a sitting position.  Her bones creaked and her muscles protested, but wincing several times she was finally able to sit upright against the wall.

“Now Minerva.” The man in the shadow began “I need to ask you a series of questions. I know that you will be naturally inclined to not answer, but I assure you it will be easier for both of us if you do.  You see, eventually you will answer me whether you want to or not. If you try to refuse, I will be forced to use other methods. Those other methods could get quite painful and frankly sometimes they get messy. No one really wants to have to do it that way, so how about we just make it easy?”

Blood was rushing to Minerva’s head and there was a slight ringing in her ears. She understood what was being said very clearly. Either betray everyone she cared about to keep herself safe or be tortured until she gave up. Thoughts shot rapidly through her mind.  She knew that she would have to feed them enough information to keep them satisfied, but not enough to really compromise anything. Maybe slip in a lie or two to throw them off. For the time being, it was the best she could do.

When Minerva felt like she had her strategy in place, she whispered “What do you want to know?”

 


Chapter 4: Nightmares And Caterwauling Charms
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 Draco Malfoy lay in his bed wide awake watching the ever present group of tabloid columnists circling his property like vultures. The paparazzi had begun their harassment shortly after the war ended and the trials started.  It had been announced that there would be trials for each and every Death Eater, starting with his father, Lucius Malfoy, who allowed Voldemort to reside in his house through most of the war.  He had fallen victim to a very public trial that was dragged out for months in which he received the harshest punishment under wizarding law, the dementor’s kiss. Their family attorneys attempted to appeal the sentence, but they were denied repeatedly.  Draco knew exactly what was happening.  Because the Malfoy name was so prominent, his father was being used as a very public example.

Even now, Draco still had nightmares about the day the kiss was performed.  Countless friends and family members had advised him not to go.  Everyone told him that he would want to remember his father as he was, not as the empty shell he would be after his soul had been sucked out, but Draco felt it was his duty to be there for him since nobody else would be.

Draco could remember arriving at Azkaban and feeling utter desolation. He had been quickly ushered into an interview room where he was allowed to spend fifteen minutes with his father.  His father spent that time telling him to be proud, carry on the Malfoy name, and to look after his mother.  It all seemed very impersonal for someone who was about to have their soul removed.  A minute before the execution was due to start, the guards entered and told them it was time to say goodbye. It was then that Lucius had done something that caught Draco completely off balance.  He grabbed his son and pulled him into a tight embrace. It was the first and only time Draco could ever recall being held by his father.

Of course, the execution, if you could call it that, was horrific.  Lucius lay in the center of a cold, metal room strapped to a medical table.  Draco sat on the other side of a glass window watching the whole scene. 

Slowly, a door opened and in floated a dementor cloaked in black robes.  It floated towards Lucius, placing its rotting hands on his cheeks.  Lucius was a proud man and refused to show any sign of fear, but as the dementor slowly bent down to administer the kiss a scream burst out of Lucius’ mouth and he began to thrash on the table. To Draco it seemed like it lasted forever, but in reality it only took a few moments for everything to stop.  The dementor pulled away and sucked in the last little strands of Lucius’ soul.  His body lay motionless on the table, still pumping air in and out of his lungs, but his eyes didn’t blink betraying the catatonic state he was in.

Draco left that day, a changed man.  He had just witnessed possibly the most inhumane thing in his life and the only thing that could bring him any modicum of solace was the fact that at least his mother, Narcissa, hadn’t had to bear witness to it.  At the time, she was being held inside of Azkaban and was not allowed to attend.

Narcissa’s trial followed shortly after.  An overzealous judge threw the book at her, even after Harry Potter himself testified that she had lied to Voldemort to save him.  When her trial ended, she was sentenced to life imprisonment in Azkaban.  A few weeks later she was dead.  Her body was found hanging by a bed sheet in her cell.  No one knew exactly how long it had been hanging there because the icy winds had prevented the usual decomposition. No note was found because she had no access to writing materials, but Draco suspected that even if she had, she would’ve had nothing to say.

Days after he had buried his mother’s body, Draco began his own trial, which would soon become the most controversial of all the Death Eater Trials and would set future precedent for punishing child soldiers. He stood charged with the murder of Albus Dumbledore, aiding and abetting, and using unforgivable curses. During his trial, Draco had refused to speak on his own behalf regardless of how much his lawyers badgered him to do so.  In fact, he had felt convinced that whatever sentence was coming his way, he thoroughly deserved it.  It had seemed as though the trial was getting close to wrapping up when Harry Potter had once again stepped forward, this time bearing memories of both Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape.

The court watched the memories of Snape and Dumbledore planning to protect Draco, to save him from becoming a murderer, and of Snape stepping in and killing Dumbledore himself.  Those memories combined with Harry’s testimony had destroyed most of the evidence that had been presented to support Draco’s guilt. When word had escaped that Draco was likely to be set free, protestors and victims lined the courthouse with signs calling him horrible names.  The morning that the verdict was to be read, the protestors had hurled rotting food, rocks, shoes, and all sorts of other things at him.

 

When he entered the building on the day the verdict was to be read, the protestors hurled rotting food, rocks, shoes, and all sorts of other things at him.  He barely flinched as they made contact.

Inside the courthouse, Kingsley Shacklebolt read the verdict.

“Draco Malfoy, you stand accused of the murder of Albus Dumbledore, aiding and abetting the Death Eaters, and for using unforgivable curses.  Any one of these charges could land you a lifetime in Azkaban and all three of them could result in the maximum punishment.  You have pled not guilty and even though you have refused to participate, your lawyers have attempted to defend your behavior.  While I do believe definitively that you committed horrible acts of violence during the war, I also believe you had no choice. You did not willingly track down Voldemort and offer yourself to his services. Instead, your family dragged you into it and for their protection you played along.  We’ve seen the evidence from the memories of both Severus Snape and Albus Dumbledore, which indicate that you played no part in the latter’s untimely death.  Therefore, this court finds you not guilty on the count of murder.  We do, however, find you guilty of aiding and abetting as well as use of unforgivable curses. As far as sentencing for those crimes, we will sentence you with time served. I suspect that everything you went through during the war and everything you’ve been through since is punishment enough. You are free to go Draco Malfoy.”

That evening after the trial, Draco went home to the emptiness of his family’s vast manor only to find it swarming with reporters.  After days of not sleeping well, exhaustion finally overtook him. He was sound asleep when loud clicking sounds woke him up.

When Draco opened his eyes, he saw a wizard from The Daily Prophet standing over him taking pictures. Instead of leaving immediately, the reporter had the gall to ask him for comment on his sentencing.  A few days later, a nasty article appeared in The Daily Prophet titled Draco Malfoy Sleeps Peacefully With Blood On His Hands. Next to the article were the pictures stolen of him while he slept.  It was after that incident that Draco had encircled his property with Caterwauling Charms and various protective spells to keep the media at bay.

Tonight his protective spells seemed to be working quite effectively and slowly he was lulled into a sense of peace. His eyes began to get heavy and finally he could fight it no more. He whispered “Knox” and lay down in his bed.  Sleep overtook him quickly, although it was peppered by dreams of his parents.  He was dreaming of his mother when he was ripped from his sleep by the shrill sounds of one of his alarms.  One of the Caterwauling Charms on the far side of his property had been tripped.

Draco slid from his bed, his feet landing on the freezing stone floor.  He snatched up a discarded robe off of the floor where it had been cast aside.  Slipping it over his head, he went downstairs to shut off the alarm.  He figured it must’ve been started when some paparazzi had tried to find a way on to the property.  Draco knew that the alarm had probably scared the intruder off, but none-the-less he felt the need to check.

Upon opening the front door, it took Draco a few moments to realize that anything was wrong.  Suddenly, he took two steps back and slammed the door shut with force.  What awaited him in the gardens of Malfoy Manor was terrifying and he was certain no paparazzi could’ve done it.  For a few moments, he stood in his entrance way recalling what Pansy Parkinson had told him about the most recent attacks on Pureblood families. Thus far he hadn’t had any problem, but by the looks of his gardens that was all about to change.

Draco sprinted up the stairs, pulled parchment from his desk, and furiously scribbled out a note.  He read it over once and tied it to his falcon.  With a wave of his wand the wind blew open. He walked over to his window and before releasing the bird whispered “I don’t care what you have to do to get him this letter, but he has to have it tonight. I don’t have much time.”  The falcon shot off of his arm and into the cold night air, leaving marks on Draco’s arm where the talons had dug in.

Once the bird was out of sight, Draco sealed all of the windows. Calmly, he circled Malfoy Manor making sure that all of the doors and windows were protected by a wide variety of spells. He then returned to his room, sat on his bed, aimed his wand at his door, and waited.  He knew they were coming. It was just a question of when.

 

 

 






Hi there,

If you've been reading the story up to this point, I want to thank you for your patience with me. I'm an impossibly slow updater, due mainly to the fact that life and side projects keep me so busy. Just know that I will never abandon this story and that I've currently got several more chapters written out, so I'm hoping (but not promising) that the updates will pick up a bit.

Thanks as always for reading! Please, freel free to leave me some feedback in the little box below.

~Kaitlin/TreacleTart


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