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“Cronus Rising”

 

 

“Chapter One: Fallen Heroes”

 

 

 

 

   

Harry was sprawled on the couch in his flat with the small body of his godson slumped against his side. On the coffee table lay Witch Weekly with him and Ginny’s smiling faces staring up him. The picture had been taken a fortnight ago at a Ministry gala celebrating five years of being Voldemort free and honoring the lives that were lost in the struggle. Harry had been asked to be the keynote speaker so he attended with Ginny on his arm.

 

Now, the tinges of war were upon them again. Andromeda Tonks’ murder did not seem random or insignificant. The wizard who allowed the killing curse to slither from their throat did not do so out of madness or insane fun. It was not a botched robbery. No, everyone knew that Teddy Lupin was Harry Potter’s godson. Whoever murdered Andromeda was going after Teddy. Harry was positive.

 

When Harry told his godson that his grandmother was dead, he cried something awful. Quickly, he slipped into the denial stage of grief. After hours of crying and hiccups, he collapsed into his godfather’s arms out of exhaustion.

 

The embers in the fire were slowly dying causing the room to grow darker by the second. Glancing out the window, Harry noted the full moon creeping out behind dark clouds. Images of Remus Lupin’s dead body flickered in front of his eyes. They disappeared as quickly as they came.

Peace was a fickle friend. It would linger around just long enough to mask the world in a disillusioned dream. Then, it would disappear off into the abyss and leave behind chaos and death.

 

It had been years since Harry felt the claws of death coiling into his life. There only seemed to be birth and love. Bill and Fleur had a daughter they named Victoire. They named her as such because she was born on the second anniversary when Voldemort had been defeated for foolishly thinking he was the master of the Elder Wand. Percy married a woman named Audrey who quickly gave birth to a baby they called Molly. She was a year younger than Victoire. George, just eight months ago, married Angelina Johnson.

 

The lock to the front door clicked. Involuntarily, Harry tensed. Pulling Teddy closer to his chest and hand slipping into his pocket for his wand, he prepared himself for whoever was going to enter the flat.

 

A flash of red appeared as the door opened slowly. Harry immediately eased and his grip loosened on his godson. Ginny’s eyes were glassy and red, her balance something less than desirable. Her hair was pulled back in a slack ponytail and she wore Muggle street clothes.

 

“I heard what happened,” Ginny slurred slightly as she plopped on the couch next to Harry. “I was at a bar with the team when the news broke.”

Harry opened his free arm to wrap around Ginny’s shoulders. He pulled her close to his chest, her redhead nearly touching Teddy’s brown one. Stroking her arm, he told her everything was going to be all right.

 

“I’m so sorry, Harry,” Ginny whispered. “I know how much she meant to you and Teddy.”

 

Leaning his head down, Harry planted a soft kiss on her temple. It wasn’t long before he heard Ginny’s breathing even out. Lolling his head back, Harry prepared himself for a long night.

 

Molly Weasley was kind enough to plan Andromeda’s funeral by saying that Harry had his hands full with a grieving child. The wake took place at Andromeda’s small cottage. Teddy refused to leave his godfather’s side.

 

Hand in hand, Harry and Teddy made their way through the well-wishers and grievers to give their thanks and receive condolences. The little boy was quiet and withdrawn; and it was hard for Harry to see him as such. Teddy Lupin usually bounced off the walls and constantly fidgeted because he lacked the self-control to ever sit still.

 

Luna Lovegood moved through the crowd with an unfamiliar male following her. Luna was dressed quite respectably in a black dress (no doubt from Ginny’s closet) and a gaudy turquoise necklace looped around her neck.

 

“Harry, it’s been so long,” Luna greeted him, a small birthday bag laced in her fingers. “This is Rolf Scamander. We’ve been traveling the countryside looking for evasive creatures.”

 

“Nice to meet you,” Harry greeted.

 

The two men shook hands. Once they pulled apart, Luna knelt down to Teddy’s eyelevel. She held out a bag covered in balloons to the small boy.

 

“Err, Luna, this is a wake and not a birthday party,” Harry reminded her.

 

“I know,” was all she said.

 

Teddy let go of his godfather’s hand for the first time since entering his deceased grandmother’s cottage to peer inside the bag. Harry watched as the boy’s head tilted to the side as he reached into the sack. In his hand was a circular ring with glass in the middle. It was gray with jagged edges.

 

“Harry, what is it?” Teddy held up the object for his godfather to take.

 

He accepted it and rolled it in his hand, not quite sure what to make of it. Perhaps it belonged to an Umgubular Slashkilter or something of the sort. Harry didn’t dare ask Luna.

 

“It’s an Enemy Eyeglass,” Rolf spoke up. “You put it up to your eye and anyone wishing you harm will glow a mean red.”

 

“I thought it would be useful,” Luna continued, “since your grandmum was murdered and all.”

 

Teddy frowned and muttered his thanks. Sometimes, Harry wished that Luna came with a filter. He handed the Enemy Eyeglass back to his godson. He had never heard of anything of the sort before and ruled it off as one of Luna’s fantastical things.

 

Upon seeing Ginny talking with her mother a few feet away, Luna grabbed Rolf by the elbow and dragged him off to her best friend. Placing a gentle hand on Teddy’s shoulder, he gave it a slight squeeze of reassurance.

 

“I’m gonna go to the bathroom,” he whispered quietly.

 

“Want me to come with you?”

 

The boy shook his head in the negative and sulked off up the stairs. Harry frowned deeply as he watched him go.

 

“How is he taking it?” Hermione’s voice asked.

 

Harry turned to see her suddenly at his side. Her hair was pulled back into a messy bun and a black dress clung to her curves.

 

“Not well. He’s certainly not the little boy we’re all used to,” Harry replied.

 

Harry caught Ginny’s eye. She smiled softly at him and gave him a small wave. Harry smiled back tightly, his mind wandering to the lost little boy upstairs.

 

“Ron’s probably already told you that the night Andromeda… well, I got called into work.”

 

“Yeah, he told me that when you failed to show up for Ginny’s game.”

 

“Well, what he didn’t tell you was that it was a Muggle torturing.”

 

Harry’s head snapped to Hermione, disbelief clouding his features. One would have to be mad to attack Muggles with the Ministry in the state that it was. Under Kingsley Shacklebolt’s rule, Muggle tormenting or torturing of any sort was punishable to a stint in Azkaban.

 

“That’s not all, Harry. At the house, the cover of the new issue of Witch Weekly was on the floor. The one with you and Ginny from the gala.”

 

“What would that be doing there?”

 

“I think it was supposed to be a message to you.”

 

A thousand thoughts bombarded Harry’s mind. It had to have been some crackpot Death Eaters wallowing in the defeat of their old master. The bastards thought that they could rattle him, thought they were all-mighty and tough? They thought wrong. They had no idea who they were dealing with. Ginny must have noticed the tense conversations and made her way over to the pair.

 

“Where’s Teddy?” Ginny asked, her hand resting on Harry’s shoulder.

 

“The loo,” he responded.

 

“I think maybe you should go check on him.”

 

Harry nodded stiffly and made his way upstairs. The bathroom door was open and the lights off. Strolling down the corridor, Harry stopped outside a door with a metal sign nailed upon the wood. The sign, in Remus’ careful lettering, read Teddy R. Lupin. Harry rapped a few knuckles on the door. There was no response.

 

He twisted the doorknob and pushed forward. On the windowsill which normally housed a variety of stuffed wolves collected throughout the years, sat Teddy with his forehead resting on the glass. Faint red tear tracks covered his pallid face.

 

Making his way into the room, Harry gently closed the door behind him with a soft snap. He took a seat on the large windowsill next to his godson, his hand resting on the boy’s sneakers.

 

“I was a little over one when my parents’ died,” Harry spoke softly. He had never told his godson the story of his parents’ deaths. “They were murdered by a dark wizard called Lord Voldemort.”

 

Teddy tilted his head towards his godfather, the Enemy Eyeglass clenched tightly in his fist. He blinked several times before lifting his legs to give his godfather more room. Harry scooted until his back rested against the glass and allowed Teddy’s legs to rest comfortably on his lap.

 

“I don’t remember them at all. They were these mystical fairytale people who I respected and loved. They helped me through the toughest times of my life even though I can only recall what they look like because of pictures.” Harry paused to look at his godson who was listening intently. “I lived with my aunt and uncle for most of my life. They were Muggles and hated magic. I felt like I had nobody. I wished night after night that some long lost relative would just come and take me away from there.”

 

“Did someone come?” Teddy whispered.

 

“Hagrid came when I was eleven years old and told me I was a wizard. I was floored. I was never told of magic before that.”

 

“Did you stay at Hogwarts then? You never went back did you?”

 

“Oh, I went back every single summer. When I turned seventeen, I left that place and vowed I’d never return. Except, I send Christmas cards to my cousin and aunt every year. I’ve even gone out to the pubs a couple of times with my cousin.”

 

“But no one came for you.” It wasn’t a question but rather a statement filled with disappointment.

 

“When I was thirteen, I found out I had a godfather.”

 

Teddy’s brow furrowed as he lifted his head off the glass. He scooted down the windowsill to get closer to his godfather. Once in arms reach, Harry hoisted Teddy up onto his lap. The boy snuggled up close to his godfather, his free hand clenching a fistful of his dress shirt.

 

“Why didn’t you live with him?”

 

“Oh, I wanted to. He wanted me to as well. He was blamed for a crime he didn’t commit. He went to Azkaban for a lot of years before he broke out because he thought I was in terrible danger.”

 

“How come I haven’t met him?”

 

“He died when I was fifteen saving my life. It nearly broke me. But then I had your father and all of the Weasleys and a great headmaster by the name of Albus Dumbledore all behind me. I felt like I could go on as long as I had them. Then, Dumbledore was murdered. After that, George’s twin brother Fred and your parents were killed. It was so hard to get over their deaths.”

 

“What happened then?”

 

“Well, Lord Voldemort, the reason they were all murdered, was dead. I had Ginny. I had you. I had my best mates and a surrogate family. I joined the Auror department and I fight every day to ensure something like that never happens again.”

 

Teddy didn’t say anything. Running a hand through the boy’s messy hair, Harry smiled softly. It was Teddy who was his savior after the war. Harry lived and breathed for his godson, vowed that he would never let anything happen to him. Harry had failed. His grandmother was murdered and the boy felt grief crashing into him relentlessly.

 

“Promise you won’t go anywhere?” Teddy asked in a quiet voice.

 

The boy had a whole family support system with the Weasleys, but the one person he craved by his side was his godfather. Harry’s chest burst with pride and he could not deny the child that simple request. After Sirius died, Harry had pondered why his godfather had been so reckless in his life. Why couldn’t Sirius Black just be happy to have his godson survive the devastation at Godric’s Hollow and care for him? Revenge and battle meant so much more to him. Harry would never allow anything to mean more to him than Teddy.

 

“Promise,” Harry whispered and kissed the boy on top of his head, silently praying he could fulfill that simple request.

 

There was a soft knock on the door before Ginny Weasley popped her head into the room. She made a motion to leave once she saw the private scene in front of her, but faltered when Teddy’s head lifted off Harry’s chest to give her a subtle smile.

 

Teddy always had a soft spot for Ginny. Next to Harry, Ginny was his favorite person in the world. He loved listening to her chat about Quidditch and found it rather fun to go out shopping with her. When Harry had to work late on Friday nights, which Teddy always spent the weekends with his godfather, Ginny would pick him up from his grandmother’s and they would cook dinner together.

 

Ginny made her way into the room and knelt down in front of Teddy and Harry. Her eye caught the ring in Teddy’s hand and raised a questioning eyebrow.

 

“It’s an Enemy Eyeglass,” he told her as he held out his hand.

 

“Luna gave it to him,” Harry supplied.

 

Ginny raised the circle to her eye and looked through it. She moved from first Teddy and then to Harry. A smile broke out across her freckly face.

“Well, you two aren’t imposters according to your nifty eyeglass!”

 

Teddy laughed as Ginny handed him back the object. The eyeglass was quickly raised to his own eye to survey Ginny in front of him. Once he was happy with the fact that she was who she appeared to be, he let her know she wasn’t an imposter either.

 

“Everyone’s leaving,” Ginny turned her attention to Harry. “My mum and I were thanking them for coming.”

 

“You’re the best, Ginny.”

 

“Mum says she wants you two to get home, so she’s gonna clean up.”

 

“I’m not going to let her do that by herself,” Harry reasoned.

 

“She’s not. She reeled in my dad, Ron, Hermione, George, Angelina, and Bill to help. She let Fleur skip out on it so she could get Victoire home and in bed.”

 

Harry stood up and gently hauled Teddy over his shoulder. The boy squealed in delight, his mind escaping the death of his grandmother for a split second. Reaching out his free hand, Harry took Ginny’s in his. They made their way downstairs to see Mrs. Weasley bossing everyone about.

 

“Oh, Harry, dear, did Ginny tell you? I want you boys to go home and get some rest. I got everything covered here,” Mrs. Weasley told him with a pat on the arm. “RON! GEORGE! Stop messing around and take those dishes in the kitchen to get clean!”

 

“Thank you, Mrs. Weasley, for everything. I don’t know what I would have done without you,” Harry told her with a smile.

 

Teddy twisted his midsection on Harry’s shoulder to see the Weasley clan rushing around the house. He gripped his godfather’s arm tightly and pulled himself in an awkward position.

 

“Harry!” He turned to see Kingsley Shacklebolt rushing towards him.

 

“Kingsley, thank you for coming”

 

Harry held out his hand to shake the Minister’s hand. Kingsley gave his condolences before asking to speak with Harry in private. Hauling Teddy off his shoulder, Harry put the boy onto his feet.

 

“Harry, stay!” he pleaded, his fists clenching his godfather’s pant leg.

 

He knelt down until he was eyelevel with Teddy. Slowly and gently, he pried the tiny fingers out of their death grip.

 

“Hey, buddy, do me a favor and stay with Ginny for a bit, alright?”

 

Ginny held her hand out for the child to take. With hesitation marking his movements, Teddy slowly made his way over to her and grasped her hand into his. Harry stood up and gestured for Kingsley to follow him into the den. Glancing back at his godson, he saw Teddy with the Enemy Eyeglass pressed against his eye and scanning the Weasleys carefully.

 

“What is it?” Harry questioned once they were securely away from the others.

 

“I’m sure you share my suspicions that Andromeda Tonks’ death was not a random act of violence. It was planned and executed with great care.”

 

“I reckon as much.”

 

“Just minutes before Andromeda was attacked, we believe that a Muggle family was terrorized as well. We sent the Magical Law Enforcement to catch the wrongdoers,” Kingsley explained.

 

“I know. Hermione was part of the team that went out.”

 

“They captured one of the Wizards involved. We have him in a Ministry holding cell. According to the Auror who interrogated him, he asked if Harry Potter enjoyed their… gift, he called it.”

 

Gift?” Harry questioned harshly as a frown worked its way deep in his eyebrows.

 

“The Auror played dumb. Asked what this gift was. The man replied… the gift was the death of your godson.”

 

Harry could hear his heart hammering in his chest. White, hot anger coursed through his veins. His godson, Teddy, was the intended target. When he was absent, they murdered Andromeda in his place.

 

“Who is he working for?” Harry demanded.

 

“A man known by the name of Cronus.”

 

“Cronus? I’ve never heard of a Wizard by that name!”

 

Kingsley nodded in agreement. It was someone new who took a liking to the way Voldemort ran his regime of terror. Harry would be damned if he let it happen again.

 

“So, this Cronus is a Voldemort copy-cat?” Harry asked.

 

“It’s what I’m inclined to believe.”

 

Sighing heavily, Harry raked a hand through his hair. A Voldemort copy-cat was all he needed to top off the fantastic week he’d been having. Harry had been hoping for some elusive Death Eater on the loose. Not this. Anything but this.

 

“Harry, it gets worse,” Kingsley said regrettably. “This came across my desk. It was found in Andromeda’s house when the Aurors did the sweep a few days ago.”

 

Pulling out a piece of glossy paper, Harry’s heart sank. There was Ginny’s picture all smiles and waving at the camera with the caption, Ginevra Weasley: Holyhead Harpies’ Star Chaser and Captain. Long-term girlfriend of The Chosen One.” Except, the picture, had a huge red X marked across the face. Harry’s insides churned.

 

“Why didn’t you tell me about this before?” Harry demanded as he snatched the Witch Weekly page.

 

“I talked to Ginny person-”

 

“She knew? She knew and she didn’t tell me a bloody thing!”

 

“We both agreed you have a lot on your plate. We wanted-”

 

“A lot on my plate?” Harry said bitterly. “Yeah, well, I had a lot more on my bloody plate when I was seventeen years old and hunting Horcruxes!”

“Look, we both agreed it wouldn’t be best to tell you until after the wake. You had a crying child attached to your hip and a funeral to plan. I did what I thought was best for you and for your godson,” Kingsley seethed. “I didn’t want you to go pull a Sirius-”

 

“Pull a Sirius, eh? You thought what? I’d go out and hunt for the bastards that want my godson and my girlfriend dead, and I’d get myself locked up in Azkaban?” Harry stepped towards Kingsley, face red with anger. “Sirius did what he thought was best! He went after Pettigrew to protect me from the likes of him. He just got blamed for everything in the process! Maybe if you Aurors did your job right back then, he wouldn’t have suffered all those years!”

 

Kingsley sighed. His jaw tightened.

 

“I’m not talking to you when you get like this. I want you in my office Monday morning with the best Aurors in the division.”

 

With that, Kingsley briskly marched out of the den. Harry scratched the side of his face and glanced down at the X covered Ginny. It brought a whole new meaning to X marks the spot.

 

Entering the living room, Ginny was sitting on the floor with Teddy in her lap. They were examining the Enemy Eyeglass. As soon as they saw Harry, Teddy raised the circle to his eye and surveyed his godfather head to toe with it. He then whispered something to Ginny who laughed.

Harry knelt down in front of them. Holding his arms open, Teddy latched his arms around Harry’s neck.

 

“Let’s go home.” Harry then turned his attention to Ginny. “You and I are going to have a talk later.”

 

“Kingsley told you then?” she replied flatly.

 

“It was foolish not to tell me.”

 

“Well, you found out in the end. No use crying over spilt milk.”

 

Harry didn’t respond. Instead, he stood up straight and cradled his godson in his arms. He thanked Mrs. Weasley once more and bid goodnight to everyone. Then, Harry Disapparated.

 

Once safely inside his flat, Harry put Teddy immediately to bed. He kissed the boy on the forehead before exiting the room quietly. Collapsing down on the living room couch, the Witch Weekly picture of himself stared up at him. Flipping to his page of dedication, Harry glanced down at the caption below his picture that read, “Harry Potter: World Class Auror, Order of Merlin First Class Recipient, Wizengamot Member, International Confederation of Wizards Chairman, The Chosen One, War Hero.”

 

With a wave of his wand, the fireplace burst to life. Harry threw the magazine into the flames and watched his picture melt.



Thank you for all the encouraging reviews for the first chapter! I replied to them all. The next chapter will be out in a few days. Please, leave a review before you leave. They were all so encouraging and caused me to post this chapter before I intended to! :)

 

 

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