Chapter 20 Bill's Tale
A/N This chapter has a dark theme near the end. You have been warned.
When Harry and Ginny entered the dining room of Sirius' house the next day, 'My Lord' and 'My Lady' seem to be the preferred greeting. Harry indicated for everyone to be seated. As soon as the last person was seated, the room became quiet. Harry began, "I'm sure that a lot of you have a few questions for us, so we will try to answer them for you."
Tonks was the first to voice her question. "Harry, how were you able to stay awake for seven days?"
"While we were training at Hogwarts, Ginny was putting in fourteen to sixteen hour days, while the rest of us were working ten to twelve hour days. These long days eventually caught up with Ginny and she was starting to fall asleep in class more and more. Then one day, Ginny was able to stay awake. She never fell asleep in class after this point. We didn't realize what had happen until the day of our weddings. During the reception, she was getting tired and she 'borrowed' some energy from me so she could stay awake."
"Harry, that is not what happened. I thought you said we were going to be truthful?"
"Ginny, I am not going to tell them about our wedding night!" Harry heard both Ron and Hermione laugh at this comment.
"What do you mean by 'borrowed' some energy?" Tonks asked.
"She reached into my body with her mind or magic, gathered up some of my energy, and then transferred it to herself so she could finish our wedding day," Harry replied. He continued, "What we figured out was that she was doing it over the summer subconsciously. But at our wedding, she consciously did it. Later on that week, we all practiced it and it has become second nature to us to 'share' energy between us. I mean, has anyone not realized that we," Harry pointed at Ginny, Ron, Hermione, and himself, "all go to bed around the same time. When one of us takes a nap, the other three soon join him or her."
Molly said in a soft voice, "I did. I first noticed it during that last Hogsmeade visit and over Christmas Holidays."
Harry smiled at Molly who smiled back. Tonks broke into the moment with, "Can you teach this ability to me?"
Ginny is the one who answered her. "Tonks, we had tried to teach it to three people, but so far we had been unsuccessful."
Harry looked at Ginny with a confused expression, "I wasn't aware of trying to teach this to anyone else."
Hermione interrupted Ginny, "Harry, we didn't want to burden you with this as you already had so many other things on your mind. We didn't tell you, well, because it didn't work."
Harry was trying to listen to two conversations as Ginny was sending at the same time Hermione was talking, "Harry, don't get mad. I made the decision not to tell you."
Harry held up his hands. Both Hermione and Ginny stopped. "Okay Ginny, I understand." "Okay Hermione, I understand," Harry said to both ladies. Ginny and Hermione both smiled and then Ginny turned back to Tonks.
"Ginny, is that why Mum was at Hogwarts?"
"Yes, Harry. I sent an owl to her and we were trying to transfer energy between the two of us. I could take some from her but not give her any. After the failure with Neville and Luna, Hermione wanted to try it with a family member."
"Tonks, we were only able to borrow energy from other people. We never have been able to transfer energy to anyone else except to the four of us. Hermione seems to think this ability is unique just to the four of us."
Dobby and Winky were serving morning tea to the Order members while Ginny was answering Tonks' question. All of a sudden, a loud crash was heard from half way down the table. When Harry got to the area, Dobby was bowing so low his nose was touching the ground. An unknown wizard to Harry was yelling, "I will have your hide, you…"
Harry, with a wave of his hand, silenced the man. "Dobby, what happened?"
Dobby was shaking violently, "Dobby was serving sir when Dobby knocked…"
The House Elf looked at Harry and his shaking decreased to a mild quiver. "Sir knocked the tray out of Dobby hands, My Lord."
"Dobby, please bring a replacement tray and put it on the side table. Our guests can serve themselves. You and Winky may go. And Dobby, you didn't do anything wrong. Understand me?"
"Yes, My Lord." Dobby disappeared and returned with a new tray. He and Winky both left the room. Harry finally turned back to the man, who was flanked on each side by Ron and Bill. The man was pointing his wand at his throat tying to undo Harry's Silence Charm.
Harry watched in amusement while the man tried to remove the charm. "Who are you?" With a double wave of his hand, Harry summoned the man's wand and reversed the charm. Harry was immediately assaulted with a verbal barrage of words.
"You can't do that to me. I work for the Ministry. I will have your…" Harry once again waved his hand and silenced the man. Harry turned to Minister Scrimgeour, who answered without being asked.
"He is the second assistant in the Department of Control of Magical Creatures. The department head was killed before Christmas and hasn't been replaced yet. The assistant is with her daughter who is having her first child."
Harry looked at the man for a few seconds. "Do you like your job? Just move your head." The man nodded. "Do you want to keep your job?" He nodded again. "Fine, since you work with magical creatures, I will allow you to be one. You will report to the kitchen, you will do everything Dobby and Winky tell you to do. You will do all the work that they tell you until these meetings are over, without magic. Do you understand me?" He nodded again.
"Dobby…Winky!" The two Elves appeared. "This oaf has agreed to help out in the kitchen. He will do all the work that you can give him, without magic. You two are to do the bare minimum work necessary."
Harry stepped up to the man putting his nose within inches of his. "No one and I mean no one abuses my friends. Understand?" The man cowered and nodded his head vigorously.
"Dobby…Winky, he is all yours." The House Elves and the man walked out of the room while Harry, Ron, and Bill returned to their seats. Not a word was said.
Harry took a long sip of his juice, draining his glass. He rose and went to the side table and filled his glass. He silently asked the rest of the teenagers if anyone needed a refill. None accepted. When he sat back down, Kingsley was the next one to venture a question.
"My Lady, you said the Shield would not allow any Death Eaters to pass through it. I was wondering how you accomplished this."
"It was mainly Hermione with some help from me. Dumbledore left me a very old tome that had some great charms in it. Hermione and I got a couple of these old charms, changed them a little bit, and then combined them into the Shield charm she used to keep the Death Eaters out, or in Peter's case within, the Shield."
"Not to change the subject, but why did you need Peter inside the Shield?"
"He was needed because he had the Death Mark on his arm. Harry knew, from his previous encounters with Tom, that Tom didn't brand himself with the Death Mark. He needed Peter inside the shield so Harry could get Tom to summon the Death Eaters."
Kingsley looked a little uncomfortable asking his next question. "Okay, My Lady, but how did you know it would work?"
"Harry, do I answer that?"
"No Ginny, I will answer it."
"Harry, let me do it, you could get into trouble."
"No Ron, I will do it."
"Auror Shacklebolt," Harry began therefore putting a formal theme to this conversation. "When I was informed that Mrs. Weasley and My Lady had finished developing the Shield, I asked some people to capture a Death Eater for us so we could conduct some experiments. A few days later, these individuals were able to secure a Death Eater. They brought him to the Shrieking Shack in Hogsmeade. At my direction, the Death Eater was put into the Shack and the Shield Charm was performed. We observed this Death Eater trying everything he could to get out. He never did. Sunday night, the counter charm was used and this Death Eater was again secured, bounded, and left on the front step of the Ministry."
Harry heard quite a few people snickering. The Daily Prophet had reported that nobody, including the Death Eater, could figure out how he had ended up at the front door of the Ministry. Even with the snickering, Harry could hear a few people muttering "illegal kidnapping," "improper imprisonment," and "he thinks he is above the law." Harry let it continue for a few more seconds before slamming his hand down on the table resulting in a loud crack that silenced everyone in the room.
Harry's eyes, voice, and face showed the anger when he began. "I telling you right now, no one will get into any trouble because of this. We captured a Death Eater and detained him until he could be turned over to the proper authorities. No harmful or vicious experiments were conducted. He was provided with a bed, food, and facilities. I am positive that he was treated enormously better than if one of us would have been captured by Tom. A memory charm was the only thing done to him so the information would not get back to Tom." Ginny had reached over while Harry was speaking and was holding his hand and stroking his arm. Harry calmed down after he finished.
Kingsley stood up and bowed to Harry, "My Lord, I, nor anyone else, will attempt to bring anyone up on charges for what we just heard."
Harry bowed to Kingsley and then Kingsley sat back down. He waited a few seconds, then asked the question he had been waiting for since yesterday, "My Lady…Mrs. Weasley, I was wondering if you will be willing to allow the Ministry to use this Shield Charm to help detain the prisoners in Azkaban?"
Harry smiled and called, "Dobby." Dobby appeared with a small stack of paperwork.
"Dobby has the papers, My Lord."
"Thank you, Dobby."
Harry took the papers, quickly scanned through them and then passed them to Kingsley. "This is a proposal contract between the Ministry and Weasley Security. When the Ministry approves it, it will allow the Ministry to use the Weasley-Potter Shield Charm for the next twenty-five years for a yearly fee. After twenty-five years, there is an option for another twenty-five years or to purchase the Shield Charm outright. Weasley Security will have the right to lease the Shield Charm to individuals also."
Hermione was very deliberate when she spoke, "Harry, what is Weasley Security?"
"Hermione, it is a business that Ron and you own."
Ron and Hermione both said, "What?"
"I had Grorn draw up all the paperwork needed to start a business, Weasley Security. You and Ron are the sole owners."
"What about Ginny? She helped develop that charm," Hermione protested.
"Harry and I have already discussed this, Hermione. You and I both know that you did most of the work on the Shield. I don't need it, Hermione. Harry and I have enough. Besides, this will give you two a guaranteed income for the next twenty-five years," Ginny finished with a smile.
"But what are we going to do?" Hermione said with an uncharacteristic lack of confidence..
"Do nothing and still earn Galleons. Do everything and earn lots of Galleons by leasing the charm to anyone who wants to protection their homes and family. Do nothing and let the business just sit there with that one contract. Do everything and build the business into the most successful business offering protection from Death Eaters and such. You don't have to decide right now. Take a few days or until we finish school. The choice is yours and Ron's to make."
Kingsley had finished looking at the contract. "Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, this contract is acceptable to me but I will need to let the Minister look at it and get it approved. I'll try to get back to you tomorrow."
"That will be fine, Auror Shacklebolt,'" Hermione answered quietly.
"If there is no other questions right now, we will let Bill give us his briefing."
Bill gave Harry a sly grin. "My Lord…My Lady, if you permit me, I'll like begin with a short background brief." Harry nodded.
"As you know, I was given command of the Chamber forces with Neville and Luna as my seconds. I decided that Professor Minerva would be the best to command the Hogwarts forces. I detailed most of the anti-dementor groups to her."
"Excuse me, Bill," an Auror who Harry couldn't remember his name interrupted, "What do mean anti-dementor groups?"
Bill continued as if the answer to that question was part of his briefing. "These groups were the idea of Ron, Hermione, My Lady, and My Lord. They were made up of three to four students who were able to produce Corporeal Patronus or a very strong shield charm. Their main responsibility was to fight any dementors that might show up. Working as a group, they would attack the dementors and protect anyone who might have been overcome by dementors. They also carried vast amounts of chocolate to disperse as needed."
After a slight pause, Bill started on his main briefing. "We entered the tunnel right after we received Hermione's Patronus. Once in the chamber, Moody secured the two Death Eaters and they were taken to an empty classroom Professor McGonagall let us used as a holding cell for prisoners. I sent twenty people through the hole that Ron had made on his and My Lord's first visit to the chamber. Then, the students who were to clear the cave-in began working on enlarging the hole. I must report a strange occurrence that happened around this time."
"This has been confirmed by all twenty students in the cave-in group. Soon after I went through the hole, a small, very old gentleman showed up and directed the students to move back. The students report that he was hard to understand due to the dialect he was speaking. The students can't decide if it was Old English or Middle English. The students also report that he was dressed like some of the people in the older paintings."
Bill looked around the table at the astonished faces. "Once the students understood what he wanted and moved back away from the rocks, he performed a spell. The spell caused each and every rock to return to its place in the ceiling of the tunnel. The students report it took about twenty minutes for the rocks to return to the ceiling. I, among others, have examined the area and can find no sign of the cave-in. We have been unable to locate this gentleman or obtain his name."
Professor McGonagall spoke into the silence. "You won't be able to."
"What do you mean, Professor?" Of course, it was Hermione who asked.
"There is another story that was told when I first came to Hogwarts to teach. Not unlike the story of the Chamber, this was thought to be untrue and unproven, until recently. This story tells of a man who would show up whenever the castle needed major repairs or renovations. The last time the man was reported to be at Hogwarts was when the castle was renovated with the new bathrooms. This was about one hundred twenty years ago."
When no one said anything, Bill continued. "When we got to the outer chamber, we began to get into position. We were about half complete when two Death Eaters came out a side tunnel. They were quickly stunned and transported to the holding cell. At this point, I was trying to use my tomb breaker ability to counter the blood sacrifice on the doors. It was fairly easy as I had run into the same spell in Egypt once before. Soon after this, Harry's and Ron's Patronus came to me. I moved everyone into position and was just waiting for Fawkes to allow us entrance into the room."
"Harry, from this point on, I can only give you a generalized briefing of the battle. There is just too much to try and brief each and every detail of the enormous individual duels that took place. There is one or two items I would like to bring to your attention later."
"In general, the fighting lasted for the next two, two and half days. There was sporadic fighting up till the end of day three. Three Death Eaters did manage to make it up from the Chamber to Hogwarts, but they were quickly captured before they could do any harm or damage. We are still investigating how these three were able to make it up to Hogwarts." After a brief pause, Bill began with a noticeable ease in his voice. "There was no major attack on Hogwarts itself from dementors, giants, or werewolves. One small group of twenty dementors did attack Hogwarts and Hogsmeade. Minerva and her groups were able to disperse that group without any trouble."
"Harry, I have one other odd thing to report," Bill declared.
"You remember back last year when Hogwarts was attacked and the reports of the tall blonde Death Eater that was firing off hexes and spells all over the place but never seemed to hit anyone?"
Harry again nodded slowly.
"Well, he was in the chamber doing the same thing. Curiously, not one Order, Auror, or DA member was hit by this seemly random shower of spells. But, I do have three confirmed reports and two unconfirmed reports that this same tall blond man killed three Death Eaters that had defeated three of our people before the Death Eaters could kill or injure them further."
Stunned, Harry squeaked out, "Are you sure?"
"Yes, but more amazing, is that none of the capture Death Eaters can ever remember seeing or meeting a tall blond man other than Mr. Malfoy. Nor does anyone in the Order or Hogwarts staff ever remember a tall blond wizard. Also, he is not among the dead or captured. Kingsley reports that no one with that description works for the Ministry. Tonks has an interesting theory about this."
Tonks turned to Harry's end of the table, "I think he may have been a trained Metamorphmagus verses a natural Metamorphmagus."
"I didn't know there were two different kinds," Harry confessed.
"Well, technically, there isn't, but a natural Metamorphmagus can change her or his appearance at will and keep the change no matter what. A trained Metamorphmagus has to have a little natural ability already, but needs to use spells and charms to get the full effect. I believe he was a trained Metamorphmagus due to inability to keep his changes while shooting off all those spells. I believe his natural appearance is the tall blonde one that only shows up when he is middle of a battle. That is why no one can remember him."
Bill again, "My pet theory is that he was a spy from a foreign country."
After a quick sip of tea, Bill finished his report, "We have no confirmed reports of any giants taking part in the battle. Likewise, we have been unable to identify any known or suspected werewolves among the dead or captured. Of course, we may find a few during the full moon later this month. This is the end of my report."
Harry nodded and then winced. There was no way he could avoid the question now. He had been putting it off ever since he woke up from the battle. In a sorrowful voice, Harry asked, "How many did we lose, Bill?"
Bill was dreading this question just as much as Harry, if not more. "Harry, we lost eight people."
"Who…who…," Harry told a deep breath, "Who were they, Bill?"
"Four of the eight were Aurors, Katie Riker, Bess Dancer, Ben Maraduke, and John Watts." Bill saw a slight relieved look in Harry's eyes, but he knew the next name would hurt Harry. "Alastor Moody."
Harry sat very still, not noticing Ginny's hug or her soft voice whispering in his ear. He finally managed to squeak out, "How?"
"We are not sure. Somehow, he and a group of Death Eaters got separated from the rest of us. This had to happen on the first day. He wasn't missed until the second day and a search was conducted. He and some Death Eaters were found down a side tunnel."
Kingsley spoke into the quiet. "Harry, don't you get upset about this. Moody died doing what he dedicated his life to, capturing and killing Death Eaters. Harry!" Kingsley waited until Harry looked at him, "Harry, he had an honor guard to escort him on his 'Great Adventure.' He took twelve of those bastards with him. Be proud of him, not sorry."
Harry looked at Kingsley for a long two minutes before nodded slightly and then turning to Bill, indicating him to continue.
"Harry, the next person baffles all of us. Pansy Parkinson."
"Uh…Pansy! How did she get there? Are you sure it is even her? I mean, she hasn't been at school all year. Are you sure she was fighting on our side?"
"Yes, Harry. I have many confirmed reports of her fighting on our side. We had confirmed that she killed two Death Eaters and stunned and bound two, possibly three more. All we do know is that she showed up just as a group of Aurors were getting ready to enter the Chamber about half-way through the first day. None of the Aurors sought to question her since she was wearing school robes. They thought she was a D.A. member assigned to their group. Also, the Healers who examined the body reported no Death Mark on her.
"Bill, is it possible to find out who the two Death Eaters were?" Hermione asked reluctantly.
"Hermione, what are you thinking?" Harry demanded.
"Well, I'm thinking that she may have switched to our side to get access to someone she wanted to hurt, or get revenge on."
Bill answered her, "Good idea, Hermione but we already looked into that. Those 'Response' groups were a little too efficient. They were supposed to take detail notes, but not many did. They were more interested in getting the injured and dead to the infirmary and the prisoners to the holding cells than taking notes. I'm afraid this is one mystery we may ever solve."
"Bill, who were the last two people killed?" Harry asked sadly.
"Harry, the last two are dead because of me. I declared an area safe before it truly was," Bill said with his head hung low.
Molly spoke, "No it wasn't. It was my fault, Harry; I sent them to that area without confirming the report of an injured Order member."
Professor McGonagall began to speak, "It was my fau…"
"STOP!" Harry began to fear that the next two named would either first or second year students. "I'm getting the picture that it was a lot of little mistakes that caused their deaths. Please, someone just tell me what happen."
By silent agreement from Molly and Minerva, Bill told the Order about the deaths of two first years.
"On the second day of the battle, we received a report of an injured Order member. The report stated that the person was not hurt very badly but could not summon help himself. The report stated he was in an area that I was just informed of having been declared safe. I sent the report to Minerva, who was by this time helping me with the administrative parts of the battle. She passed the report to Mum, who was put in charge of the 'Response" groups. She sent Dean's group to the location. Dean's group was composed of Dean, a fourth year Ravenclaw by the name of Jackie Cannon, and two first year Hufflepuff's, Amy Fowler and Jerry Smith."
Harry let out an involuntary groan and covered his face up with his hands. Through his hands, Harry spoke into the very silence room, "Jerry and Amy?"
Several minutes later, Harry lowered his hands. Speaking to no one in particular, he spoke of the two. "Jerry asked Amy to the Halloween dance. A few days later, Jerry stopped me in the halls and told me that Amy had said 'yes' to be his date. He was so excited that he told me that he was going to ask Amy to every dance, Hogsmeade visits, and to visit him over the holidays every year. Jerry told me that he fancied Amy very much and wanted to make sure no one else asked her before he did. He also came to me in early December to seek my advice on what to get her for Christmas. I told him a nice necklace was usually a good item to get."
Harry leaned over and laid his head on Ginny's shoulder. Harry slowly became aware that Ginny was silently crying. Harry rose up and turned to her and gently wiped away her tears. A long sad time later, Harry turned to Bill, "Please continue Bill."
"Miss Cannon reports that there was no one in the area that the injured Order member was supposed to be. After looking around for a few minutes, she says that Dean told them to return to the infirmary. Ms. Cannon says that Dean told them that he was going to see if he could get in some of the fighting. She tells us that Dean left them and the three of them started back towards the infirmary. They had been walking a few minutes when two Death Eaters appeared in front of them. The three tried to fight them but were quickly stunned. When she became conscious, she was in a full body bind. She remembers the two Death Eaters using the names of Lucius and Bella. Miss Cannon can not recall the number of times that the two used the Cruciatus Curse on Amy and Jerry. She thinks she was either stunned again or passed out. When she came to this time, she says Jerry was lying on the floor, not moving and his head in a funny position. Miss Cannon says that by this time, both Lucius and Bellatrix were using the curse on Amy one right after the other. She says she passed out again. This time she woke up in the infirmary."
Bill looked at Harry, "Neville will finish this report."
Neville started, "Luna and I were on our way to be guards for you Harry, when we heard a scream from one of the side tunnels. We went to investigate and came upon two Death Eaters torturing a female. I didn't see Jackie or Jerry until later. Luna and I were able to sneak up behind the two and we stunned them. When we moved forward to secure them, I notice Jerry and Jackie. Jerry was already dead. Amy was in very bad shape and Jackie was passed out or was stunned. I lost control of my temper and attacked the two Death Eaters. Some time later, Luna was able to calm me down some, but only after I had inflicted severe pain and damaged to Lucius and Bellatrix. I then sent my Patronus back toward the entrance. Since Amy was so badly hurt, I had Luna Levitate Amy and Jackie and start back. I stayed and secured the prisoners. I understand Amy died on the way to the infirmary." Neville stopped talking and just held Luna's hands and stared into her eyes.
"Bill, what does Dean say about all this?" Harry softly voiced.
"Harry, Dean is in St Mungo's. He hasn't said or done anything but stare at the walls since he found out about Miss Fowler and Mr. Smith."
Bill continued in a very dispassionate voice. But Harry could still hear the anger in his voice too. "The healers report that Jerry's neck was broken. They think he may have done it himself while under the curse. Amy died due to her body was so badly damaged. There was nothing not damaged by the use of the curse. Miss Cannon's physical injuries have been healed. She will have to go to a lot of pain before she will be healthy mentally. The healers think it might be better to just Memory Charm her. Her parents haven't decided what to do yet."
Harry had mostly contained his temper, but it flared at the end of the report. "What happen to Lucius and Bellatrix? Where are they now?"
"Harry, Lucius was executed while you were still sleeping after the battle. Bellatrix is still waiting a final decision."
Harry temper really began to show, "Why wasn't she the first in queue to be executed?"
Neville spoke up, "Harry, when I lost control of my temper, I tortured the two of them."
"Harry, I tortured that woman particularly bad."
"I was to the point of killing them when Luna stopped me."
Harry looked at Luna, "Why?"
"I told my Neville that I would not be proud of him if he killed a helpless person."
"Helpless! Bellatrix has never been helpless. She was just as bad as Tom was," Harry declared.
Neville spoke up, with a very determine quality about him, "She is when she has no arms or legs, Harry."
"What do you mean no arms or legs?"
"When I was torturing her, I cut off both arms and legs and then burnt them so they couldn't be reattached. I'm sorry, Harry," Neville finished with his head down.
Harry nodded at Luna and Neville, "It's all right, Neville and Luna. You stopped a long time before I would have." Harry then turned to Minister Scrimgeour. "Why hasn't she been executed?"
Minister Scrimgeour got a righteous look on his face. "We can not execute someone in her condition."
Harry's temper, already near the boiling point, exploded, "Her condition doesn't mean anything. She has tortured and killed more people than anyone except maybe Lucius and Tom. I want her executed now."
Minister Scrimgeour began to get mad, "You can't tell me what to do?"
Harry began to grin and he shocked everyone when he calmly began. "Minister Scrimgeour, about a month ago on the eve of the battle, you agreed to three things. One, you agree to release Stan and the other innocent people. Two, you agreed to be attached to Dobby for two days. Do you remember the third item?"
Minister Scrimgeour paled, but shook his head.
"Well, I do and so does everyone that was in the room at the time. You agreed to do everything Mr. Weasley said to do. This part of the contact had no time limit and it was a binding magical contract. You still have to do everything Mr. Weasley says."
Harry looked at Mr. Weasley who was sitting a few seats down from Ginny, "Mr. Weasley, do you have a problem with executing Bellatrix Lestrange for the crimes of murder, torture, and countless other acts she has done?"
Mr. Weasley looked at Mrs. Weasley for a few seconds, answering "No, My Lord. I agree that Bellatrix Lestrange should be executed." Turning to the Minister, he continued, "Minister Scrimgeour, it my wish and the wish of the Order that Bellatrix Lestrange be executed at the earliest point in time."
Minister Scrimgeour's face showed anger and frustration as he tried to stop himself from summoning parchment and quill. He quickly wrote out a note, sealed it, and handed it to Mr. Weasley. He looked at the Minister, "What does this note say?"
Scrimgeour tried but could not stop himself, "It is to the governor of Azkaban for the immediate execution of Bellatrix Lestrange."
Mr. Weasley handed to note to Molly, who passed it to Ginny, who then gave it to Harry. Harry called Fawkes and asked the phoenix to take the note to the governor of Azkaban. Fawkes left with a small pop.
The room was very quiet until Harry spoke again, "Mr. Weasley, while the Minister is in such an agreeable mood, please inform him of the other item we would like him to correct."
Mr. Weasley smiled at this because he knew this was a very right thing to do. "Minister Scrimgeour, I and the Order wish for you to revoke all the unfair laws against the werewolf community."
Before the Minister could reply, Harry passed a parchment down to him. "This news release will run in the i Quibbler /i and the i Daily Prophet /i tomorrow. This news release basically states that the werewolf community was instrumental in the defeat of Lord Voldemort. Due to their help in this, you decided that the laws against werewolves are unfair and needed to be revoked." Harry saw the look on the Minister's face. "Don't worry, Minister. For now, this is the last thing you will have to do against your views. This is a right thing to do." Harry waited a few seconds to let the Minister digest this before announcing lunch break.
After everyone had eaten, Harry and the other five students were standing in one of the corners of the room just being near one another and reflecting on what had been said during the morning session.
Fred, George, Alicia, and Angelina approached the group. When they were in talking distance, both Fred and George bowed so low that they both look like House Elves. They also began speaking in their back and forth method.
"We so humbly…."
"ask your permission to…"
"speak to you."
Harry, laughing slightly, "Will you two get up?"
"As you command…"
"….My Lord." By this time, both Alicia and Angelina were hitting their boyfriends in the arms and telling them to behave.
Ginny, also laughing, demanded, "What do you two want now?"
"I'm still your sister and I haven't forgotten how to do a particular hex," she said while piercing the two with her eyes.
"We just wanted to inform you and Harry of what has been happening in Diagon Alley the last couple of weeks," one of the twins said.
"Well, tell us and stop making prats of yourselves."
"Alright, since the news got out about Tom's death, the merchants have been reopening their stores. The biggest surprise was this morning. On our way to help Lee open the store up, we noticed Mr. Ollivander was sweeping the walk in front of his store."
"When we asked him where he had been lately, he simply said 'Cheers' and gave a small laugh. He wouldn't say any more about it."
Hermione, always the very observant one, asked, "Why were you 'on your way' to help Lee, don't you two still live above the store in that flat?"
"Uh, well…no, Lee is living in the flat," One of the twins began.
"We are renting a flat in Muggle London with Alicia and Angelina…" The other twin confirmed.
"…until our house gets built," finished by the other twin.
The six students were shocked. Hermione was first again, "Then, the four of you are marr…"
Alicia and Angelina both spoke at the same time, "No, not yet!"
Angelina continued, "But if they know what good for them, they better ask us soon."
Fred and George answered, "Alright. We will. We are just not fully ready yet."
Harry was amazed that Angelina and Alicia were acting like the twins. For not being twins, they sure did things Harry was used to seeing and hearing from Fred and George. Harry guessed the girls were spending so much time with the twins they were starting to act like them. Like now, both of the ladies, turned to their respective boyfriend and gave him a nice sweet kiss, breaking apart at the same time. Both Ginny and Hermione giggled and Harry and Ron were mildly shocked. It was the first time either one could remember seeing the couples kiss.
After Fred and George's faces returned to their normal shade, Fred or George, Harry still had a problem telling them apart, began, "Well, yes, we or I should say…"
The other twin jumped in, "Angelina and Alicia are thinking about taking over Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlor. We have an appointment later at Gringotts to see about it." While Neville, Luna, Ron, Ginny and Hermione made encouraging remarks to Angelina and Alicia, both Fred and George winked at Harry. Harry got the impression that the twins were up to no good. One of the twins finally leaned over to Harry and whispered, "It is our engagement present to the girls, but keep it quiet." Harry was successful in keeping the surprise from his face. After a few minutes, Harry called the members back to the table for the afternoon briefings.
The afternoon briefings began with a report from Professor McGonagall. She told the Order that the overland assault on the school ever materialized. Other than the dementor attack, no other attacks came. She had high praise for the students, Aurors, and the Order members who helped defend the castle. She was particular proud of the D.A.'s anti-dementor groups as they kept dementors from reaching Hogsmeade and Hogwarts. She reported that she had no injured or deceased members. Other than the three Death Eaters that came up through the tunnel, there was no sign of any Death Eaters trying to attack the castle.
Bill then gave another brief that detailed Hagrid's mission to the giants. Bill explained that the reason Hagrid wasn't here to give the briefing himself was that he was helping Grawp and two surviving females. After the room quieted down from the outburst of protest due to that statement, Bill told the story of the giants. When Hagrid and Grawp reached the giants camp, they found only the two smaller females. They were the only giants alive. Hagrid and Grawp were able to get the story out of the two. Sometime before Christmas holidays, the then current Gurg died. At that time, there was only about eighteen giants left alive, not counting the only two females. Since all the males wanted to be Gurg, they fought among themselves till one became Gurg. No sooner than the new Gurg was victorious, someone would kill him and the fighting would begin again trying to determine a new Gurg. The two females told Hagrid and Grawp that each time one or two males were killed trying to determine the new Gurg. This process continued until there were only two giants left. The last two males fought over who would get the females and eventually beat each other to death. Hagrid and Grawp had arrived at the camp about two hours after the last male had died. Hagrid and Grawp then persuaded the two females to return with them to the Forbidden Forest. Bill ended the report stating that the two females were happy with their new home and with Grawp, since he was no bigger than themselves.
Bill also informed the Order that Firenze was successful in his mission too. While the Centaurs didn't get involved with the battles in the Forest, they also didn't interfere either.
Harry then called the day's meeting to an end and again asked everyone to return tomorrow at 9 o'clock. Just as Harry and Ginny were heading to the door, Tonks called for them to wait. After the room cleared of everyone but the extended Weasley family, Tonks asked if it would be okay for Dobby to go with her and Remus tonight to the Malfoy Manor. They wanted to do a walk through to determine what they could do with the manor.
Harry called Dobby and asked him about going to the manor. Dobby agreed and left with the Lupins to tour Malfoy Manor.
Harry, Ginny, Hermione, and Ron all arrived at St Mungo's reception area a few minutes after leaving the Order meeting. Ginny went up to the witch at the desk and asked for Dean's floor and room information. As the four entered Dean's private room, a woman jumped out of a chair and demanded they leave.
Harry quickly spoke to the women, "Mrs. Thomas, I'm Harry Potter and this is my wife, Ginny. This is Ron Weasley and his wife, Hermione. Both Ron and I are dorm mates with Dean. We would like to see and talk to Dean, please."
"You can't see him, he not taking visitors," she yelled.
"Mrs. Thomas, I have been avoiding the information of what happen to everyone else in the battle. I only learned today what happen with Dean and the group he was leading. Please, I need to talk to Dean."
"No! It is because of you that he is like this. I will not allow it."
Mr. Thomas walked up behind his wife and gently turned her to him. "Honey, let him talk to Dean." He gently walked her to the door of the room, "We are going to get some tea and will be back in a few minutes."
The four walked over the bed where Dean was sitting up. He was staring at the wall. Harry took a deep breath, "Dean, I know you are hurting and blaming yourself for what happened. I have been in your situation many times. Just two years ago, I got my Godfather Sirius killed. Just a month ago, I led a bunch of people into a battle where many were killed. Dean, you made a mistake and their deaths will always be on you mind. All you can do is hope to forgive yourself and go on with your life. Learn from your mistakes."
The room remained unnaturally silent for so long that Harry was just turning to leave, when a voice, weak and shallow, filled the quiet, "All I wanted was to be a hero like you…people to know my name…respect…now I'm just someone who got two children killed."
"Dean, you will get over it. It hurts now, but it will fade in time. Just learn from your mistakes."
Dean began to slowly and calmly cry. The door to the room opened and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas entered. Harry and the rest left while Mrs. Thomas went to Dean and was holding him in an embrace. Dean's crying had reached a very loud state by the time the door closed.
When Harry asked everyone to take their seats the next day, he noticed several people were not in attendance. Most notably was the absence of Remus, Tonks, and Kingsley. Harry glanced at Professor McGonagall and some others, all who indicated that they had no clue as to where the three were. Harry was just getting nervous enough to fear that something had happen to the three when Remus and Kingsley entered the room, looking very pale. The two wizards immediately went to their seats and called Winky to bring them coffee, lots of it. Harry, impatiently waited for the two to get one cup of coffee into them before asking, "What is wrong?"
Remus started, "Harry, you know that Tonks and I asked you for Dobby's assistance with Malfoy Manor. When we got to the manor, Dobby took us on a tour." Remus put his elbows on the table and leaned head down into his hands. "Harry, after what happen last night, Tonks and I have agreed to just tear the manor down and rebuild somewhere else within the estate grounds."
Harry was puzzled and it was evident in his voice, "Fine, Remus, the house belongs to the two of you. You can do whatever you want with it. But, what happened?"
"When Dobby took us to the dungeon, we all were very surprised to witness a House Elf walk out of a hidden door. Dobby was really surprised because Lucius had told Dobby that this House Elf had died over twenty years ago. When she saw us, she became very upset and started punishing herself. It took Dobby a long time to get her to realize that we are the new Masters of the Manor. Once Dobby convinced her, she became very cooperative."
Remus looked up, putting his hands back down on the table and took a deep breath. "The first thing she started talking about was that all of her 'guests' were back to health and were ready for the next 'entertainment session.' Harry, we were shocked and demanded she show us what she was talking about. She led us through the hidden door into a second dungeon. This dungeon contained twenty-five cells, plus a small kitchen and healing room, as she called it. We told her to take us to her 'guests.' She led us to a cell that contained a female, about twenty years old. Tonks sent for Kingsley and Healers from St. Mungo's. That is where we have been all night."
Harry had thought he had heard silence before, but this was the worst. Harry didn't even hear the normal noise that fifty or so people causally make just breathing. There was no chair squeaks, the shifting of weight in chairs, no finger tapping, nothing. It was like there was nothing but statues in the room. Finally a few sniffles and deep breaths were heard and Harry pleaded with his eyes for Remus to continue.
"There were eight females detained in the dungeon still alive, five witches and three Muggles. Binny, the House Elf in charge of this dungeon told us that three 'guests' had recently died due to their injuries. She couldn't tell us the date they died. She's had no contact with the outside world in a very long time. She doesn't even know what year it is."
"Once the 'guests' were taken care of and taken to St. Mungo's, Kingsley and I questioned Binny. The story she tells us is not to be believed. She doesn't know when she was assigned to the 'Guest Dungeon' as she refers to it. Dobby tells us that he was told she died twenty years ago so it has been at least that long. When she was first assigned, she was given some instructions that she told us. She was told never to be seen. She was to nurse the 'guests' back to health and take care of them between the 'entertainment sessions.' She was also told to only leave the dungeon when she was to report a death. The only reason she was outside the dungeon was that she was out of potions. She was trying to find Lucius or one of the Malfoys in order to get more."
Kingsley took over for Remus. "From the information we had gathered so far, Lucius has been providing 'guests' for the entertainment of his fellow Death Eaters for a long time. Their normal operating procedure was to attack a wizard or Muggle family. The males were to be killed and the females were to be captured, if possible. Binny tells us that Goyle and Crabble were normally the ones to transport the females back to the dungeon. The Death Eaters would leave a badly mutated body for each female captured in place for the Aurors to find. There is no way to tell, but the Aurors that have been looking at this since last night feel that any violent death of a female in many generations may have spent time in the Malfoy dungeon."
Kingsley looked at Harry with determination, "I have already submitted a recommendation that all brutal death bodies to be put to the same identification process that we do for all Death Eaters to verify the identity of the victims."
Kingsley continued the sickening tale, "The Malfoy family has been providing this service for generations. Through records the House Elves have been keeping, the Malfoys used to charge their friends for this service. Lucius appears to have provided this service for free, as a benefit for being a Death Eater. We have been able to tentatively conclude that 88 to 92 percent of all the missing witches in several generations may have been detained at the Malfoy's. We are still working on the Muggle female disappearances. We may never know the complete truth there."
A sorrowful low moan came from Percy. "Penny, please don't lie to me…please tell me I didn't… I didn't…"
Penny leaned over and forcibly grabbed Percy head between her hands and turned him to her. "No, Percy. You didn't do anything like that."
"You are not lying to me?"
"No, I have sat through all the interviews the Ministry has conducted with you. You were never in that deep."
"Thank Merlin!" Penny encircled Percy in her arms while Percy kept repeating, "Thank Merlin!"
Tonks entered the room and sat down rather heavily in a chair next to Remus. Remus pulled her into a tight hug and was slowly stroking her back. "They all are finally settled down in St. Mungo's. The Healers say that one or two may never leave St. Mungo's again." Tonks was talking to Remus but the room was still so quiet that the whole room heard. She turned to Harry, "I have some good news, if there is anything such as good news in this situation. One of the victims of this was a twelve year-old girl by the name of Doris Thomas. She was reported murdered over last summer. She wasn't subjected to the same things as the other girls due to her 'special' status. Doris told me that after she was captured, Lucius told her that because one of her female ancestors had at one time had been a Malfoy; she was being trained to be Draco's slave."
Harry was so numb that he was surprise that the next statement by Tonks was still able to have an effect on him. Tonks sadly said, "She told me that Lucius…uh…he…well initiated her for this role the first night she was there."
Harry exploded. Turning to Bill, "You…Are…Sure…That…They…Are…Dead."
Bill gulped, everyone in the room could see the power that was emitting from Harry, "Yes, Harry. I and six others watched Lucius executed the first week you were still asleep. Naricissa was one of those found around Moody. We don't know who killed Draco, but his body was found by an individual of the Response Group who tripped over it. The body had been covered with an invisible cloak."
"Both Mr. Goyle and his son were killed trying to escape through the tunnel Charlie was responsible for. They were trying to use Buckbeak to escape when Buckbeak decided he didn't like them very much." Amazingly, Harry chuckled at this statement. "Mr. Crabbe was one of those killed by Auror Dancer. The son was killed in the Chamber during the first exchange of spells. We think he was killed by a curse from one of the Death Eaters."
Hermione spoke, chokingly, "Professor Lupin, did Binny know who provided the potions?"
Remus looked mad, thinking, "Why does that girl always ask the right question at the wrong time." "Yes, she did."
"Who was it, Remus?" Harry asked forcefully.
"She said it was Snape. He would show up and help her nurse the girls back to health when they were injured more badly than she could repair."
Bill jumped in before Harry could say anything. "Snape is one of two confirmed Death Eaters that we have no information on. The other is the Nott boy."
Kingsley jumped in before Harry could say anything, again. "We have everyone we can spare out looking for them. So far we have nothing. We are doing our best. You will be the first to know if we get anything."
Harry began to calm down with Ginny's reassuring touch. Harry finally got enough control of his temper to ask, "Bill, what are the numbers for the Death Eaters?"
Bill looked and sounded very relieved to be talking about something else. "Confirmed dead or executed is sixty-eight total, there are nine waiting execution. Three are waiting for their trials; twenty-three are in Azkaban for life, and two missing. Harry, you have to remember that this is just the Death Eaters we know about. There may be more that we never know about."
Several days later, Harry was still staring at the simple, white marble boulder that had been placed near Dumbledore's tomb. The boulder was in a spot that overlooked the lake and would amazingly catch the morning and evening sun. The marble boulder only had one smooth side, the top, which had a simple statement, "Dedicated to the witches and wizards who fought and died to destroy a dark and evil wizard." The students and staff had returned to Hogwarts by the Express the day before so they could attend the memorial service today. Classes would resume tomorrow morning as usual. The memorial service had been over for three hours, yet Harry was still standing there when Ginny went to him. She placed her hand in his and leaned on his shoulder. They stood there, just looking at the memorial.
"How long did you know about the portrait, Ginny?"
Ginny knew this was going to take gently hands. "Harry, I and Ron both grew up in the magical world. We knew portraits should be talking soon after they appear."
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Didn't Dumbledore talk to you about this?"
"No, we didn't get around to it."
Ginny sighed, "Harry, we…okay, Dumbledore felt it would be better not to tell you. Professor McGonagall, Mum, and Remus told us the night you stayed out after the funeral. He wanted to force you to become the leader that you are now. You wouldn't accomplish this if all you had to do was go to the Headmistress' office and ask him."
"I'm no leader."
"Yes, you are. Hermione tells me that what you did to that oaf during the meetings has already had an effect on some people. She says there was an article in the 'The Daily Prophet' calling for some of the laws to be changed. The Wizarding world will be coming to you for answers, Harry. Just accept it." Harry grinned and kissed Ginny.
"One more, little item, Ginny. How did you keep information about the portraits from me?"
Ginny snickered, "Well, Dumbledore told Professor McGonagall about a very old charm. It caused you to forget whatever was being said about portraits. We had to get approval from Grorn so the charm could be placed on you. Hermione released the charm on the Express on the way up here. That is why you had the sudden urge to talk to him last night."
Harry and Ginny fell into an easy, peaceful quiet while looking at the memorial. They stood there, lost in thought, for a good while.
Ginny broke the silence, "I like it. It is so simple. I sure Remus was involved it is design. It reminds me of your parent's memorial he did." Harry gently removed his hand from Ginny's and then wrapped her in his arms. Ginny snuggled into his arms and once again was determined to hold him forever.
"It is nice, isn't it? I just wish that so many didn't have to die before it was erected."
"Don't Harry, you did every thing that needed to be done. You saved many more than you will ever know. Harry, it is time to move on and look to our future. Besides," Harry saw the spark in her eyes and the slightly upturned corners of her mouth as she continued, "Grorn just came to see me."
"Oh, what did he want?"
Ginny smiled and teased Harry. "Nothing much, just gave me some instructions on what will happen in about eight and a half months."
"Ginny, what are you talking about?"
Ginny couldn't contain it any longer. Her face broke out in a huge smile as she said, "Grorn came to me and informed me that is about eight and a half months, he will visit us and take back to Gringotts the RING and replace it with the smaller one."
It still took a few moments for Harry to catch on. "Are you sure?"
"Yes, Harry. After he left, I went to Madam Pomfrey and she confirmed it."
Harry's eyes lit up and the biggest smile Ginny had ever seen was on Harry's face. Harry gave Ginny a simple but passionate kiss and then hugged her hard for several minutes. "I love you, Ginny."
"I love you, Harry. I can't wait to tell him all the stories about his father, the 'Boy with the Lighting Bolt Scar'.
A/N A sequel called "Death Eaters End" can be found at