Chapter 33: The Inner Circle
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or any characters borrowed for use in this story.
Harry was still in shock as he was spirited down toward the dungeons. His mind whirled. They needed a plan for defending the castle. At least one they could show the parents. But that was a matter for the order as a whole, at the moment there were more important things to attend to. Snape was waiting in the entrance hall to his office. He let out a breath when Hermione handed him the vials of potion. They all followed the Headmaster into the office. The young man stood shakily when they entered. Harry's face fell when he saw the deserter.
"Mr. Rodewick?" Harry took a step foreword.
"Professor Potter… I…" he sunk back down and rested his head in his hands.
Harry took a seat opposite him and they began talking. Snape broke away and began to dilute the potent truth serum, carefully staying within earshot.
Sirius and Remus moved to the opposite corner. "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good." Remus whispered and the pair poured over the rapidly forming map.Hermione and Draco stood alone in the entrance generally feeling useless.
"Who is he?" she gestured to the young death eater.
"Luther Rodewick. He was a Ravenclaw, finished school last year. Last I heard he was working for the ministry, department of sport regulation I think." He sighed. "I never would have figured that one would have gone to him."
"Why? Not because he's a Ravenclaw?"
"Of course not. It's just… My father murdered his parents, in the Dark Lord's name naturally."
"Oh…" She stared at her hands. "Do you know if your father…"
"Don't ask me tat question." he cut her off.
"Draco, I need…"
"No." he crossed his arms over his chest and withdrew into himself.
Feeling even more useless than before Hermione drifted toward Snape. "Is my brewing up to your standards?" she whispered.
He turned toward her startled. "Yes, its fine." he focused his full attention back on the potion
Finally, Hermione resigned herself to a chair in the far corner of the room to wait.
"Are you prepared, Mr. Rodewick?" Snape turned from his worktable, a silver goblet in his hands.
The man stood shakily and walked toward the headmaster. "Yes, Sir, I think so."
The other gathered around the front of the desk. Snape summoned a char and the man sat. He took the goblet and drank the contents.
After several moments Snape spoke. "What is your name?"
"Luther Edward Rodewick." he answered quickly.
"Where did you attend school?"
"Are you a servant of the Dark Lord?"
"When did you become a death eater?"
"August fourteenth this past year."
"Why are you here?"
"I can't do it anymore."
"You can't do what?"
"Follow his orders."
"What orders?" Snape expertly questioned him.
"To… To hurt people." he faltered
Snape nodded. "How long has he been gathering power?"
"More than 2 years, I'm not sure."
"Do you know the names of other death eaters?"
"Do you know about his plans?"
"No one knows his plans."
"What have you been involved in?"
"Capturing people, extracting information, punishing them." his voice became quiet at the end.
"What information have you been gathering?"
"Ministry politics, information about Hogwarts."
"Have you used the unforgivable?"
He was silent a moment. "Yes." he answered barely above a whisper.
"How many times?"
"Cruciatus three times, The imperius once and… and the killing curse twice."
"Does he trust you?"
He shook his head. "He doesn't trust anyone."
"Will he suspect you as a spy?"
"Do you want to be a spy?"
"If I help you defeat him, I can try to make up for what I've done."
"Do you think you can make up for what you've done?"
"No, Sir, but I can try."
"Very well, Mr. Rodewick." Snape stepped behind the desk and withdrew a box. He opened it and took out an armband and returned to the seated man. Rodewick extended his arm and the item was fastened around his wrist then covered with a securing charm. "That talisman has many uses. It will prevent you from leaving the school grounds. Even if you were to some how escape it would act as a homing beacon and we would find you anywhere in the world. Now, you will come back here." he gestured to the large chair behind the desk.
He rose and moved to where Snape had indicated. "But, what do I do if he calls me?"
"Find one of us," he gestured to the others in the room, "And we will escort you off the school grounds and remove the band. We will also wait for your return." The headmaster produced a long roll of parchment and a quill. "You will write a list of all death eaters who are known to you. You will then write a description of all the locations you have been called to then as much of the information you can remember that you extracted from individuals. When you have finished let me know and a house elf will show you to a guest room."
"Yes, Sir. And… Thank you, Sir."
He nodded and lead the others to the hallway. He cast a privacy charm on the corridor around them. "Lissy!" he called."
A pitiful looking house elf appeared. "Yes, Headmaster Snape, Sir?"
"Bring some pumpkin juice and sandwiches to the young man in my office."
She nodded profusely and disappeared back into the walls.
"We can go through his list tomorrow. All of you are triggered to release the armband. Send a signal up to the castle if you ever need to. Does anyone have anything else?"
"We do." Remus spoke up. "We've been going over the map. Severus, when was the last time you cleared the rats from the dungeon?"
Harry's eyes, which had been studying the floor shot up.
"It's been a while but… Please tell me you're not saying what I think you're saying."
He held out the map, deep in the dungeons was a tiny scroll which read Peter Pettigrew floating over a pair of foot prints.
Harry turned and took off at a run in the direction the map had shown, his wand drawn.
Snape and Sirius grabbed and struggled against the former auror
"No, Harry, not yet." Sirius gritted his teeth. "He doesn't know we have him."
"No, he run the moment they try to get him I have to stop him now."
"He'll never suspect anything till its too late. He knows we collect the dungeon rats every year or so. He won't think its any different."
Harry finally relaxed. "but even if you do catch him he'll just transform and escape again." he crossed his arms over his chest and began to pace.
"No, he won't." Snape caught his shoulders and looked directly into his eyes.
Harry finally nodded and relaxed.
Snape released Harry and turned back to the group. "All of you go get some rest. Things just may be looking up."
Hermione slipped her hand into Harry's as they emerged back into the great hall. He gave her a small smile but his eyes were distant.
"So what are we supposed to do now?" she looked to each other the other men.
"We wait." Draco answered .
Almost in answer to Hermione's question Claudia and Kaitlyn came running down the stairs.
"Daddy, daddy, daddy," Claudia bounced up and down. "There's a big snowball fight outside."
"Please can we go out, Daddy?" Kaitlyn pulled on Harry's arm. "Please, please?"
"I think a snowball fight sounds exactly like something we need." Remus slipped the now blank piece of parchment in his pocket. "Why don't we all meet back here in five minuets."
They all agreed and went back to their rooms to bundle up. When they returned they ventured outside.
The students with the help of Fred and George Weasley and the two aurors had constructed two enormous snow forts.
"Now that is some charm work Flitwick would have been proud of." Sirius stood in wonder.
Draco observed the flags flying over each fort. "It would seem it's Slytherin and Ravenclaw versus Gryffindor and Hufflepuff." He scooped his daughter up and took off at a run. "You're toast, Potter!" he called over his shoulder.
A feral grin came to Harry's face. "He has hopes." He dove into the fray.
The two side were fairly evenly matched. Though the Ravenclaws moral ambiguity and Slytherin deviousness did give them a slight edge over Hufflepuff niceness and Gryffindor fair play. In the end they declared a draw and retired to the great hall for hot chocolate and desserts. Of course the draw was recognized by the Ravenclaws and Huffelpuffs more than an hour before the Gryffindors and Slytherins finally gave in.
It was very late when Snape finally came and cleared out the great hall. The small group of adults that had remained left and talked quietly as they walked back to their rooms. Finally Harry and Hermione were left. They walked slowly in relaxed silence, Kaitlyn holding each of their hands. Back in their rooms Harry took his daughter up to her room and tucked her into bed. When he slipped into his bedroom he could hear Hermione messing about in the bathroom. He changed his clothes and slipped beneath the cool sheets. Lying there he was struck with a feeling of utter contentment.
"Are you coming to bed?" He called.
Hermione emerged from the bathroom in her nightclothes and Harry lifted the covers for her as she climbed into bed next to him. He pulled her closer to his body and she rested her head on his chest.
"You know," he whispered, "I think you should officially move in here."
"You do now." Hermione traced invisible patterns on his stomach. "You may actually be right."
He couldn't resist smiling down at her. "I knew you couldn't resist me."
"Cocky bastard." she whispered in response. "Good night, Harry."
"Night, 'Mione." he kissed the top of her head and closed his eyes to sleep.
The room was dark as always. The walls were rough hewn, almost cave like. Torches floated ominously casting shadows in every direction. It seemed he was in a better mood than usual tonight. Hardly anyone had been tortured so far. Various death eaters groveled at his feet and gave reports of various spy missions. He processed the information ad dismissed them with little ceremony. After a time one of the female death eaters come forward and fell at his feet. She began to report on affairs at Hogwarts, giving a full account of the order meeting the day before.
"You have done well." Voldemort croaked. "I am proud to see that you have remained loyal to me. It is comforting to know my faith in you was not misplaced. Come, sit by me Ginevra."
Ginny Malfoy pulled off the hood and took a seat on the floor beside her master.
Harry shot up. He was covered in sweat. His eyes searched the room franticly.
"What's wrong?" Hermione's light touch on the shoulder calmed him and helped him to focus and sort all he had juts seen. He gasped in deep breaths and finally whispered. "Ginny."
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