Chapter 30 (THE BIG 3-0) Learning the Truth Hey Guys!!! Sorry about the long wait, but this chapter was hard to write, even though it’s one of the shortest ones I’ve put out in a while (they all can’t be ten thousand words), and I’ve been pretty swamped with HW, even though I just got through finals, you’d think they’d lay off for a bit, but what can you do. Anyways I barely had time to get this out, I’m going to some dinner party tonight, so forgive me if the end seems rushed, or there are typos (no time to edit), enjoy! Oh and if you haven’t noticed I have started another story on this site, so if you are so inclined go check it out and leave me a review. Don’t worry though this story is the main priority and will be finished…no worries. * ** *** ** * * ** *** ** * Harry awoke the next morning to find his father, mother, and Sirius all fast asleep around his bed. He couldn’t help the smile that was tugging at his lips, he finally had a family. Sure it would take some time to get used to, but the fact remained that he hadn’t been dreaming; he had fallen asleep twice only to reawaken and find out they really were there. Anxious to get out of the now too familiar hospital wing, Harry attempted to heave himself out of bed, thinking he might go pay Ginny a visit. “Mr. Potter, what in heavens name do you think you’re doing, get back into that bed RIGHT NOW!” Shrieked Madam Pomfrey from the other end of the room. Harry mentally kicked himself, he hadn’t checked to make sure the ward had been clear of all inhabitants. “But you said I could get out today,” Harry groaned, turning to look at the formidable nurse who had marched her way over to his bed side. “Indeed I did, but you aren’t going anywhere with that thing in your arm, are you?” She questioned harshly gesturing to the IV. “Horrible muggle method.” She mumbled under her breath. “Wassa matter?” Said a groggy voice, Harry turned to see his father stifling a yawn and sitting back up in the chair he had been occupying the night before. “Your son is putting his health in danger, because he is so impatient. It seems James, that the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree.” Answered Madam Pomfrey trying to look reproachful; all attempts were failed, however, when the smile that had been tugging on the edge of her mouth curled upwards into a real smile. “Lucky him.” Said James smiling. “Oh you have no idea.” She said exasperated, “As much as I disagree with the headmasters decision to release Harry, I see some of the logic behind his madness, so if you’ll excuse me I’ll go get his medicine and you lot can get ready.” “Sounds good.” Said James to her retreating back. “Medicine?” Harry asked once Madam Pomfrey was out of earshot. “Yes medicine.” James answered. “For what? I thought I didn’t have any lasting damage.” Asked Harry perplexed. “Well not from the spell, I hope you don’t mind but…” James started to explain, but trailed off, looking nervously at Harry. “What?” Asked Harry suspiciously. “Well you see it had to be done. Your mother and I discussed what you told us last night, about not being able to eat, how you had been feeling throughout the year, the amount of stress you will be under during this post war time, and your not wanting people to know about any of it, so she decided that it be, uh, well I don’t really know how best to say this, but Madam Pomfrey thought it would be best if you were put on some anti-depressants.” James said hastily, “Just to help you a bit with everything you’re going to have to be dealing with, and this way you can concentrate on getting all your strength back.” He finished. “You mean like muggle anti-depressants?” Harry asked suspiciously. “Yes, and if anyone asks you can just say that they are pills to help you from some injury you obtained during the war, you don’t have to tell anybody what they really are if you don’t want to.” James explained softly. “Do I have to take them?” Asked Harry, although he figured he probably already knew the answer. “Yes, as your father, and as someone who cares for you, I am putting my foot down. I’ll admit I was reluctant to the idea in the beginning, but if you really think about it, in the long run the pros will outweigh the cons. This will hopefully just make things a little easier to deal with.” Said James placing a hand on top of Harry’s. Harry looked down at his dad’s hand placed over his own, before giving him a sad smile and a short nod. “I suppose.” He said quietly. “Don’t worry it’ll all work out.” James assured, giving Harry’s hand a squeeze. “Yeah, er, dad, can I ask you something?” Asked Harry hesitantly. “Anything.” “Well, I already told mum last night, but, uh. Before anyone else knows I’m released I want to talk to Neville and Brooke. If I’m going to get past this I need to know why two people I cared about, and I thought cared about me, betrayed me, otherwise I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully get over it and move on.” “Yeah, your mum told me and we talked to Dumbledore, he said he thought it was wise, and that you could visit them whenever you’re ready.” “Really?” “Really.” James confirmed, “I know how you feel Harry, I’ve been down that road with one of my so called best friends, and I’m still not past it, and I attribute a lot of my hostilities to the fact that I never got a chance to ask old Petey why he did what he did, you know? It’s just hard to grasp that someone you trust has been going around behind your back and arranging for your death.” James said sadly, before looking at Harry and smiling brightly. “Of course it’s also been arranged for your mum, Sirius, Remus and me to talk to him today so I suppose I’ll be getting my answers, and them some.” Harry gave a small chuckle, he hadn’t missed the impish smirk on his fathers face, and at that moment was finding another reason that he was very glad he was not Peter Pettigrew, he wouldn’t want to be faced with the incensed marauders. * ** *** ** * A half hour later Sirius and Lily had been woken up, Harry had been fussed over and deemed healthy enough to leave the hospital wing, and although it had taken awhile to muster his strength he had made it up to the towers where Sirius had been locked after being discovered by the dementors in Harry’s third year. Harry gave an audible gulp as he realized that this time he wasn’t facing his innocent godfather, but his friends who had deceived him. It helped ease his nerves when his father and Sirius put a hand on each shoulder as they approached the small row of cell-like rooms. Dumbledore led the small group to a halt, looking back and smiling at their nervous yet determined faces. They needed answers and this was the only way they would get them. “Who would you like to see first?” Dumbledore asked directing his question to Harry, who shifted uncomfortably. He looked back hesitantly, suddenly not feeling so sure of himself, where he saw his parents, Remus, and Sirius who all gave him reassuring nods before he turned back to the headmaster. “I, uh, I think that I would like to speak with Neville first.” Said Harry resolutely. “Very well, take your time, we will wait.” Said Dumbledore, giving Harry his trademark benign smile, as he motioned for one of the doors that had magically unlocked. “Right.” Said Harry, steeling himself against the wave of emotions he knew would come once he saw Neville again. Holding his head high he moved swiftly to the old wooden door, and pushed his way into the room, snapping the door shut behind him. He blinked for a few times trying to adjust his vision to the darkened cell, until he saw a huddled figure in the corner. Neville Longbottom. “W-W-Who’s there?” Asked Neville trembling not looking up to see that it was Harry. “It’s me Neville.” Said Harry coldly, looking with disdain upon the boy he had once considered a friend. “H-H-Harry?” Neville stuttered. “Yeah.” Snapped Harry. “What are you doing here?” Asked Neville quietly looking up for the first time. Harry was slightly taken aback by his appearance. His face was no longer round and joyful but thin and gaunt, shadowed by dark circles under his eyes. “I need to ask you some stuff, I need to know some things.” Answered Harry, pitying Neville despite himself; after all the former Gryffindor had been reduced to nothing. “I understand.” Said Neville examining a spot on the floor thoroughly. “Why Neville?” Asked Harry. “Do you remember that lesson Stallworth gave us about why’s and how’s?” Neville asked, still staring at the same spot on the dirty stone floor. “Yeah.” Said Harry, his voice giving away no clue of what he was thinking or feeling. “Well you know how he said that the why is because people can, for me it was that I couldn’t.” “Couldn’t” “I couldn’t say no, I didn’t have a choice.” “You always have a choice Neville.” Spat Harry. “I know.” Neville said sullenly. “But at the time I felt like there was no way out.” “How’d you end up with him, after what he did to your parents.” Harry hissed, starting to feel some of the anger that had been lurking out of sight eek out. “He came after me Harry, he found me at Christmas break, said he needed someone close to you, and that he thought that you trusted me enough, and that I would be easiest to break. He knew the prophecy could have related to me too, and thought it would be good to have me under control, there was nothing I could do, when he has his mind set on something, there’s not much you can do. I didn’t want to do it Harry, I swear on my life I didn’t.” Neville said, looking pleadingly into Harry’s eyes. “Then why did you do it?” Asked Harry, voice still full of disdain. “He put me under crucio until I surrendered.” Said Neville shivering. “Why didn’t you tell someone, why didn’t you go to Dumbledore.” Demanded Harry. “It’s not that easy, when he wants something…it wasn’t worth losing my life.” Neville defended. “SOME THINGS ARE WORTH YOUR LIFE!” Harry shouted at him. “I was brainwashed. He told me how awful you and Dumbledore were, how you had always pitied me, how you had always thought I was a weak bumbling idiot, that I would never amount to anything…he said the only reason you were nice to me was because you felt sorry. He tricked me Harry, you understand?” Neville insisted. “How could you think that?” Growled Harry, “How could you honestly ever believe that? After all we went through together. I defended you against the Slytherins, against Snape, against EVERYONE. You went with me to the Department of Mysteries, I wrote to you all that summer, I wrote to you all last summer. We were friends Neville. You were my friend, not because I ever felt sorry for you, but because I liked you, I thought you were a good person. I was obviously mistaken.” “I tried to get away, I tried after listening to Stallworth’s lesson.” Neville said somewhat panicky. “What do you mean?” “When Stallworth said it was our decisions who determined who we were, that no one could tell us we were one thing when we knew we were another, that we shouldn’t do things just because we could, it got me thinking. I wanted to stand up to him, but I was scared. I was afraid that if I tried to get away he’d kill me, and that if I came to you or Dumbledore for help, after learning what I’d be doing I’d lose everyone, all my friends, that I’d be shunned.” Neville squeaked. “Well now look what’s happened. If you had come to us, we could have helped, we would have eventually have been able to see past it, but now…you’ll always be a death eater to me.” Said Harry his voice hard. “I’m sorry Harry.” Neville begged. “I don’t want to hear it.” Harry snapped, “I’ve heard enough sniveling for one day.” “But Harry I’m sorry, if you told them I was innocent, they’ll listen to you, you’re Harry Pott…” “NO!” Screamed Harry, “YOU WERE MY FRIEND, MY CONFIDANT, I TRUSTED YOU. AND WHAT DID YOU DO WITH MY TRUST? I’LL TELL YOU, YOU TOOK THE WOMAN I LOVE TO VOLDEMORT, AND LEFT ME TO DIE AT HIS HAND…YOU CAN TAKE THAT APOLOGY AND SHOVE IT WHERE THE SUN DON’T SHINE!” “But I’m sorry, I was wrong, I was stupid, I didn’t want to, I never wanted to.” Neville continued begging, sobbing now. “You’re pathetic.” Said Harry to the boy who reminded him very strongly of Peter Pettigrew at the moment, “I can’t believe I ever trusted you, I was a fool.” He continued as he turned and began to walk towards the door. “Please Harry, tell them I’m innocent, tell them there was nothing I could do.” Implored Neville, causing Harry to stop in his tracks, wheeling around to face the repulsive sight of Neville Longbottom crying and begging for innocence on the floor in front of him, a small smile appearing on his face, causing Neville to pause, and his expression to soften. “You know Neville, I do think that…” Harry watched triumphantly as a smile broke apart on his face, “I do feel sorry for you, your parents would be so proud of you.” He spat sarcastically, wrenching the door open, slamming it behind him. He let out a huge breath of air he didn’t know he had been holding, slumping against the wall, the depressing sight of Neville Longbottom becoming etched into his memory forever. “You okay?” Asked Sirius kneeling down in front of Harry. “Fine, I want to see Brooke now, I want this to be over with.” Said Harry firmly, pushing himself off the ground, turning to face Dumbledore who gestured towards another door that had unlocked itself. Swallowing the knot in his throat, he brushed past Sirius and stormed into the cell containing Brooke. He slammed the door behind him, his eyes quickly adjusting back to the dark; he soon realized how different this scene was from the one with Neville. Leaning casually against a wall was Brooke, looking the same as she always had, a determinedly bored look on her face, yet no sign of remorse, anger, even fear. “I was expecting you.” She said slowly, “From what I’ve heard through these paper thin walls, you’ve had words with Neville, slimy coward he is.” Harry didn’t grace her with a response. “So you’ve probably came in here to shriek at me about trust and how I sold you out, the normal stuff, so why don’t we just get this over with, I’d much rather be alone than with you.” She drawled, in a very Malfoy like way. “Fine, I want to be here just as little as you do, but I need some things answered.” He snarled. “Fine with me, ask away.” She said, twiddling a finger through her hair, the hair that only a few months ago he would have given anything to run a hand through. “How did you get involved?” “As soon as my uncle died, the dark lord came to me with a plan, a good plan. He explained to me that there were two types of people in the world; the ones with power. And the ones too foolish to seize it and die at it’s hand. I didn’t want to be the former.” She explained slowly, staring Harry hard in the eyes the entire time. “What plan?” Spat Harry. “It won’t matter if I tell you now, they already got me with Veritesaerum. Riddle me this Harry, did you ever find it odd that my school blows up at the same time the dark lord comes back into power, yet it’s just attributed to some freak gas accident.” She questioned, raising her eyebrows slightly. No he had never even considered it, but he wasn’t going to admit that to her. “No, I figured you didn’t.” She said loftily, “It was all planned out from the beginning, the school blew up, I came and found you, but you screwed up the plan, you were supposed to fall madly in love with me, and you were, that was until that stupid Weasel girl told you how she felt and you had to run off and be too noble for your own good.” “I don’t believe you, you started crying when I told you we couldn’t be together, either you’re lying, or you’re one hell of an actress.” He growled. “Both really. I was crying because I knew what the dark lord would do when he found out that you were playing the hero again, but I do have a passion for Shakespeare.” She said, emitting a small laugh. “But Malfoy, we ran into Malfoy in the book shop you didn’t know who he was.” Accused Harry. “True, I didn’t know who he was, and he didn’t know who I was. I found out who he was when we brought you in from the quidditch pitch sobbing like a baby over your dead parents. I believe it was Ron who asked if you were upset over Malfoy, it clicked, he does look so much like his father.” She continued, still staring Harry in the eyes, unnerving him slightly. “Since I screwed up your plan, what did you do, go crawling back to your master and beg for forgiveness?” Questioned Harry, his voice dangerously low. “No, I realized that you were questioning me, and that you were starting to look at Ginny, I wasn’t even able to anticipate how quickly you two got together, and yes it did screw things up, but not to the point of no return. You see I had an accomplice, in Slytherin. Kurt.” “Kurt’s a death eater?” Harry questioned, but if he really thought about he reasoned it didn’t seem too out of character. “Yes, we agreed to go to Hogsmeade together, we wanted to send you into a jealous rage, only incense you further, try to speed along the process of the two of us getting together. Of course you acted all noble that time too, and decided that we weren’t meant for each other. So, Kurt started dating Ginny so I could try and win you back, and keep the plan going, of course you just can’t stop true love, can you?” She spat nastily. “No, you can’t” Harry spat back. “The little slut went running off to you, where you proceeded to spill your guts to her that you would die to protect her, and that she was everything to you, I almost threw up watching the whole thing.” “You were watching us?” Harry asked incredulously. “Yes I was watching, I watched you more than you know. It was awful really, your friends were so bent up on the fact that they wouldn’t let you get crushed that I had to gush about you whenever you were brought up, make it look convincing.” “What do you mean my friends were bent up on me not getting crushed?” Asked Harry. “Let’s see I had Ginny, Mrs. Weasley, Ron, Hermione, Parvarti, Lavender, Seamus, Dean, Luna, Professor Lupin and a handful of others all at some point or another ordering me to A, stay away from you, B, take care of you, or C, not break your heart. Then I had to listen to them babble on about how wonderful you were, everything they of course said, left me baffled, I don’t see any of it.” She said, trying to work her way under Harry’s skin. “But your parents worked against Voldemort. What about that?” Harry demanded. “They’re probably pushing up daisies by now.” She said, no emotion in her voice. “What do you mean?” “I mean, that they’re probably dead, along with my brother.” “How?” “It was their fault my uncle died, if they hadn’t of been so idiotic as to go up against the dark lord, then he would still be alive. They were the type of person I didn’t want to be anymore, so I told the death eaters how to get into their headquarters in New York. Last I heard the building was destroyed, and the death eaters were impersonating order members and were sending messages to the other branches, pretending that everything was fine, and that work was going well. As far as everyone else was concerned everything was normal.” “That’s sick.” Said Harry, finding it hard to believe that this girl who had been so sweet, had turned her parents and her brother over to Voldemort. “To each his own.” She said airily, giving a small yawn. “How can you be so callous? You were so nice?” He said looking at her disbelievingly. “Did you ever think that maybe I was too nice?” She questioned, “Did you ever wonder why I was so nauseatingly SWEET to everyone? Did you ever wonder why I never said anything mean to Ginny when she was ripping out my throat and calling me every name in the book? Did you ever wonder why I was so eager to help you with your problems? Did you ever wonder why I always wanted to know if you needed someone to talk to?” “Why don’t you tell me.” Harry challenged. “It’s because I needed everyone to trust me, I needed to be seen as innocent, I needed to keep everyone on my good sign, especially your friends, because from what I’ve heard you don’t like anyone who your friends don’t like.” She accused. “That’s not true.” He hissed. “Believe what you want, but it’s the truth. I needed to get you talking, I was trying to get past your defenses and have you spill your guts out to me. I needed something to report back to the dark lord with.” She hissed back. “And I finally found it in Ginny, not exactly the original plan, but when I realized she’d be more of an asset then we had originally anticipated I took a step back and let you fall in love.” She said, a cruel smile on her face. “You took Ginny to get me.” Stated Harry evenly, although he had already known that. “Yes, so you see, your unwillingness to go for me, didn’t cause that big of a problem. It was actually easier this way.” “Yeah well, you lost, Voldemort is dead, the death eaters, including yourself have been caught, and there’s nothing you can do about it. You picked the losing side.” “I wouldn’t be so sure about that.” She whispered. “What’s that supposed to mean?” Harry demanded. “Just remember Harry your glory will be your doom.” She chided. “Tell me what you know.” He ordered. “No.” She stated simply, lowering her gaze from his for the first time, examining her finger nails. “Tell me.” He snapped. “I have nothing else to say Harry, you’re wasting your time.” “I’ll find out what you’re talking about, mark my words Brooke, I will.” He vowed. “Do what you have to do, just leave me be.” She beseeched. “Fine, but I’m only leaving because I want to.” He assured her. “I’m sure.” She replied. “Have a nice life in Azkaban.” Harry spat, as he stormed back out into the sunlight. He was pissed. His mind was racing, and his blood was boiling. This girl who he had thought was a good person, Neville who he had thought was a good person, and they had stabbed him in the back. One showing no remorse, the other showing too much. Then there was Brooke insinuating that she was on the winning side, he wasn’t stupid enough to disregard her threat, as he stored it away in his mind, promising to discuss it with Dumbledore later. He needed to vent. He needed to kick something. He was sure his breathing was ragged, and his fists were clenched. He needed to do something, anything to keep his mind off of the sights and testimonies he had just heard. And he wasn’t only mad, he was hurt. He realized that he needed to see Ginny, he had to talk to her. “How’d it go?” Asked Remus, causing Harry to look up. “As good as to be expected.” Harry spat, trying to rid himself of as much anger as possible. “Well that’s good then.” Said Sirius, coming up and putting a hand on Harry’s shoulder. “We’re going to go see Peter now, he’s being held in Azkaban, you can come if you want, or you can stay here and we’ll come find you when we get back.” Explained James. “I don’t like the idea of him going anywhere near that place.” Argued Lily, going up to Harry and giving him a small hug to let him know she was there. “He’s old enough to go there if he wants, Peter did just as much to him, he didn’t only betray us that night Lils.” James argued back. “But it’s a foul place, it’s not good for him to be anywhere near there, I don’t even like the idea of us going.” Lily continued to quarrel. “But –“ James started to argue. “Actually,” Sirius interjected, causing everyone to turn and look at him, “I agree with Lily on this one, sorry Prongs,” He said, shooting James an apologetic smile, “But I spent thirteen years in that place, and I don’t think Harry should go there. If not only for his age, but because of who he is. Anyone in that god forsaken place would give their right leg to have a shot at Harry Potter, besides it’s crawling with dementors and we all know what type of effect those miserable things have on him.” “He’s right.” Remus agreed. “Fine.” Said James shooting his hands up in defeat. “I don’t want to go anyway, I think I’m going to go see Ginny.” Said Harry. “That sounds best.” Agreed Lily. “Well then I think we better be off, full moons coming soon, and I want to get home and rest as soon as possible.” Said Remus. “Yeah alright,” Said James running a hand through his hair. “Feeling nervous?” Asked Harry. “Huh?” Asked James distracted, “How’d you know?” “Just the whole hand through the hair thing.” Harry explained casually, feeling some of his tension and anger ebb away as he smiled at the similarities between himself and his father. “Oh, yeah.” Said James, giving Harry a proud smile. “We better get going then if Moony wants to get back, can you make it back to the castle okay, we’re going in the opposite direction, Dumbledore’s already gone up to his study, the guards are coming back in a little bit to double check all the locks.” “I’ll be fine.” Harry assured them. “Alright, we’ll come and find you when we get back.” Said Lily, giving Harry another hug, followed by the three other adults, who swept down and gave him quick hugs, telling him to stay out of trouble, or in Sirius case, to get into trouble, although he looked extremely pale at the thought of going to the spot where he had been imprisoned for thirteen years of his life. “Bye,” Harry called after them as he too turned to head down to the common room, where he assumed he would find Ginny and his friends. He had almost reached the steps leading out of the tower when he thought he heard a small whistle. He paused and lifted his head slightly, hearing the whistle again. Bracing himself, he drew his wand, taking a few tentative steps towards the source of the noise. “Potter,” Came a wheezing noise from where the whistling had been coming from. “Who’s there?” Harry called out, as he continued to approach the voice. “I need to tell you something.” Said the voice. “Who are you?” Asked Harry stopping in front of the cell that was on the very end, that had a chunk of stone missing from one of it’s walls. Not big enough to fit through, yet large enough to see through. “It’s me Pothead.” “Malfoy?” Harry asked. “The one and only.” He replied. “What do you want?” Harry snarled. “I have information that can help you.” Malfoy answered. “And what would that be?” Asked Harry, trying to sound disinterested. “It’s not time yet, but just know you’re not as safe as you think, come and get me out of here when you’re ready to know what I’m talking about, then I’ll tell you everything, as long as I’m granted full pardon.” Malfoy proposed. “A true slytherin.” Harry spat. “You know it.” Said Malfoy through the wall in the stone, “Now get out of here before any of these goons figure out what I just offered you, it would mean a lot of trouble for me, sound carried easily up here.” “How am I not safe?” Harry asked, ignoring Malfoy’s request. “Such a Gryffindor,” Sighed Malfoy, “Did you hear me? Get out of here or I won’t tell you anything even when it is the right time.” “Fine, but I’m coming back, so you better not forget.” Said Harry. “I brought it up, how would I forget? You seriously have to get your head examined.” Malfoy accused. “Fine, I’m going.” Said Harry. “Fine, go.” Replied Malfoy, moving his head away from the opening, leaving behind a very angry, tired, and confused Harry Potter. * ** *** ** * * ** *** ** * Alright this quote is more like the entire page number 168 from the book Colossal Collection of “Quotable Quotes”. So it’s not mine, they get the credit for compiling it (in other words, don’t sue) So this I thought was pretty funny, it’s an ‘award’ a certain performer received and his response ….leave a review!!!!! MICHAEL JACKSON Award:Nothing at all Background: At the 2002 MTV Video Music Awards, Britney Spears came on stage to present Jackson with a birthday cake for his forty-fourth birthday. Spears explained that for her, Jackson was the “artist of the millennium.” And Jackson somehow thought that he was receiving an award for that very thing, when all he was supposed to do was come out and get a piece of cake. Excerpt: “When I was a little boy growing up in Indiana, if someone told me I’d be getting the Artist of the Millennium award, I’d never have believed it.” Follow Up: The speech caused such confusion than an MTV spokeswoman had to explain afterwards: “There is no such award as the Artist of the Millennium. I think wires got crossed.” I just found it funny……..REVIEW!!!
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