A/N: Thanks to beta J.D Tucker. You Rock!
The Last Hope
Remus watched as the sun set into the horizon. He would have enjoyed the beauty of the sunset had he not been dreading the following event. As the full moon showed its face, Remus began to double over in pain. The agony of the Change hit him head on, and Remus nearly passed out. He didn't though. Not only was Greyback watching, but so was the rest of the pack.
Fenrir, who had already finished his transformation, stood in front of Remus and snarled. Even after he changed, Remus still felt pain. Let go, a voice in the back of his head told him. The young werewolf was reluctant at first but soon gave up his body to his inner wolf.
The pain stopped. To Remus, it was like the one thing he had feared the most was nothing to fear at all. Now that the wolf controlled his body, it had no reason to cause him pain, yet Remus did not feel overwhelmed by the wolf. In fact, he felt complete.
Remus stood on his haunches and howled to the full moon. He was ready for his trials.
Greyback looked appreciatively at the younger werewolf. Dumbledore's block was finally broken. He howled for all the other werewolves to gather around.
Remus crouched down as the others approached him. He had an idea of what the first trial was. The first wolf jumped at him. He was young, maybe in his twenties. He was easy. Or at least, that's what Remus thought.
He had expected the wolves to attack him one by one. Well he was wrong. As the young werewolf went for Remus's face, another two wolves came behind him and bit his neck and arm.
Remus growled and tried to throw off the werewolves on his back. They wouldn't budge, but he did manage to throw off the younger one. The only problem was that another came at his ankles. Remus clawed that one's back, but winced in pain as he felt teeth sink into his ankles. He growled louder this time and his wolf reached a new level of rage.
He began to bite and claw at the werewolf on his front. Then he reached around and grabbed one of the others on his back by the neck. He then proceeded to slam it to the ground until his ran away limping. The other on his back began to bite and claw more fiercely. Remus grabbed it by its tail and pulled it in front of him. It became a one on one battle after that.
This werewolf was harder than the others. It was older and more experienced with combat. Besides, Remus was already injured from before. The wolf only grew fiercer. It had finally gained complete control of this body, and he was not going to let things get ruined by these trials.
Remus jumped at the older werewolf's neck. If it wasn't going to give in like the others, then he'd just have to kill it. He latched onto the other's throat and ripped it out. He kept the older werewolf pinned until he was sure it was dead.
With the last challenger taken care of, Remus turned to the rest of the pack, mainly Greyback. He looked at the Alpha as if to say, "What's next?"
Greyback smirked, which was a very scary picture in his werewolf form, and stepped aside to reveal something behind him.
Remus's eyes widened as he saw what that something happened to be. It was a child, a boy to be exact. He couldn't have been more than ten years old. The boy was absolutely terrified. Remus could smell his fear even from a distance.
The wolf knew what he had to do, but Remus refused. He would not condemn a child to this life. The wolf didn't care. They had to do this. For Harry.
The ex-Order member looked at the Alpha again, this time pleading with his eyes for a different trial. The pain was starting to come back. He was fighting with the wolf for control again. It didn't last long, though. The wolf brought up memories of Sirius and Harry, and Remus could fight no longer. There was no turning back. He had to do this.
He approached the shaking boy and bared his fangs. He was slow to bite the boy, but he still did it. He prayed to whatever god who was listening that this now screaming boy would forgive him.
After Remus released the boy, he turned to Greyback. The Alpha was right, that was the hardest thing he had ever done. There was no way Remus would be able to go back into society now.
Fenrir nodded to Remus and howled to the pack. They all howled back. Lupin had been accepted. He was part of the pack now. He too joined the series of howls.
Only a few moments later, Remus' injuries made themselves noticed. The rush was over and the pain came back full force. The young werewolf promptly passed out.
To say that Tonks was scared was an understatement. She was absolutely terrified. Not only had she been captured and tortured by Death Eaters, but she also found out that everyone's suspicions were true. Harry had joined the Dark Lord. The Light side was doomed.
She wondered for a moment how Sirius would have reacted, but she didn't know the animagus very well. He could have already known and maybe even supported Harry. Maybe Sirius was really a Death Eater. No, Dumbledore wouldn't keep a Death Eater in Headquarters. Well he did let Snape in, so maybe Sirius was a Death Eater.
Tonks thought back to when she saw Harry come in with that snake. Kingsley had already told her about the trial and how Harry had gone Dark. She thought that maybe if she told Harry how much she worried about him and how she thought he was innocent, Harry would consider coming back to Light side. He didn't seem to like the Dark Lord all that much. He could have been faking, though. Now that she thought about it, Tonks was not only terrified she was confused.
No. Harry was Dark now, and she would leave it at that. Just like Kingsley and Mad-Eye said, he was the enemy now. She had to fulfill her duties not only as an Auror but also an Order member. If Harry couldn't be kept in Azkaban, then maybe he would need the Kiss.
First, though, she had to get of this cell.
Tonks froze when she heard footsteps. It sounded like a woman's heels. The young Auror prayed that it wasn't her aunt, Bellatrix. That crazy woman had been coming down almost every hour to taunt and torture her.
Of course nothing ever went in her favor, so the insane female Death Eater came right in front of her cell and contorted her face into what was supposed to be a smile.
"Hello dear niece," Bella said in her sickly sweet voice.
"Aunt Bella," Tonks tried to keep her voice steady.
"Unfortunately, I didn't come to play. The Dark Lord wants to see you." Tonks sat up straight. "But if you want to, just disobey Him, and we can continue our game."
The Auror scrambled up at that. Anything was better than being tortured by Bella, even if it was talking to the scariest wizard on earth. At least, Tonks hoped they would just be talking.
Bella let her niece out of the cell and prodded Tonks with her wand out of the dungeons. Tonks got a headache from all the twists and turns they had to take, but she was glad her aunt didn't curse her on the way up. They stopped at a very familiar set of doors. Tonks recognized it as the very same place she was tortured in when she first got here. Because she hesitated, Bella shoved her past the doors.She fell at the feet of dozens - or maybe more she really couldn't tell – of Death Eaters who all had malicious expressions on their faces.
"Let her pass," Tonks heard a hissing ominous voice order.
The Death Eaters moved aside to reveal a snake-like figure wearing black robes that seemed to suck up all the light around him.
"Come forward," Tonks stood and shakily made her way to the man she knew was the Dark Lord.
"Hello Nymphadora. Are you enjoying your stay?" He was kidding right. She was being kept in a dungeon and being tortured for Merlin's sake.
"What do you want from me?" She tried to sound confident, but it didn't quite work out that way.
"Just some simple conversation, Auror Tonks." That couldn't possibly be all. "Preferably about your views in this war."
"What do you mean 'my views'?" Tonks asked incredulously. "I side with Dumbledore, and no else. His views are mine also."
"That's too bad, Auror Tonks." He made what Tonks guessed he considered a sad face. It was really creepy. "Because now that I have Potter in my grasp, Dumbledore is bound to lose this war." So Harry was a Death Eater after all.
"You won't get away with this. There are more people against you than you think."
"Oh you mean the members of the Order of the Phoenix." Tonks eyes widened. He knew about the Order. "Yes I know all about Albus' little vigilante group, more than you even. You do know that that kind of organization is illegal by the way."
"The Minister supports us. He would never shut down the Order."
"Ha!" The Dark Lord hissed a cold laugh that made Tonks shiver. "You honestly believe that the Ministry's corruption has not reached the Minister. It seems that the Aurors of this generation have become naïve. Did Alastor teach you nothing? I have a plethora of followers and supporters in the Ministry. Unfortunately for you, they are better at hiding their true identities than Order members. There may be a Death Eater standing right next to in a briefing and you would never know."
"Why are you telling me this?" Tonks asked, exasperated.
"Just making some simple conversation." The snake-like wizard rose from his chair. "I just want to know why you blindly follow the old fool when he is no better than I."
"Albus Dumbledore is no fool, nor is he a lair or murderer."
"What makes you think that, dear Auror? Your precious Dumbledore is that and much more. He just does an extremely good job at covering it up."
Tonks had nothing to say to that. In fact, she didn't want to speak to the Dark Lord anymore. She had to escape, but she couldn't think of anything. Too many things were going through her mind. Dammit, she needed a plan.
"Oh and Miss Tonks." The Dark Lord jolted her out of her thoughts. "Crucio." Tonks screamed and thrashed in pain. It was only for a few seconds, but she had not been prepared for the curse. "You will leave when I wish for you to leave, and not a moment earlier."
Tonks doubled over in pain and threw up at the Dark Lord's feet. She fell unconscious, but not before she glimpsed her aunt's smiling face.
Voldemort didn't even flinch at the vomit in front of him. Many Muggles and Wizards had done it before at the hands of his torture. Besides, he was in a semi-good mood and nothing at the moment would dampen it.
The young Auror, though obviously trained a bit Occlumency, was extremely informative in both the plans of the Order and Auror attacks. Of course, he had enough Aurors in his ranks to know the Ministry's defense inside and out, but he had very few spies who knew about the field strategies of the Order.
He watched as the young metamorphagus was levitated out of the Meeting Hall by one of his servants. The others kept their attention on him. There were at least two hundred of them present. Since Potter's capture, his numbers had been increasing rapidly.
"My loyal servants," he called out to the large mass of people. "Dumbledore is planning multiple small-Two nights from now, we will head them off at their designated attacks. All of you have been informed of the squads you have assigned to. Go and prepare for the upcoming battles."
He did not wait for all of his Death Eaters to Disapperate. Instead, he turned briskly, his robes billowing, and went towards his bedchambers, Potter's room in particular.
He walked in to probably the worst mess he had ever seen. His eye twitched a bit, but he didn't get too upset. With numerous reparos and scougifies, Voldemort set the room back to normal. He stared at Harry's small sleeping form for a full two minutes before he picked the boy up and carried him over to the bed. He noticed that the boy was unusually light, but that was expected given the boy's previous abuse and malnutrition.
After tucking Potter into bed, Voldemort gave an order to a House Elf and left the room. While walking to his own room, he scolded himself for his momentary affection--no, weakness. He satisfied himself, though, with the thought the Potter would get even more pissed about his lack of violent reaction towards the boy's resilience.
Harry awoke that morning and expected to see an irked Dark Lord or at least be back in his dungeon cell. What he saw though, kind of pissed him off.
The room. Looked as if it had not been utterly destroyed the night before. Voldemort had to have seen the mess and repaired the room, or it could have just been a House Elf. All that for fucking nothing. Well, at least he got to vent.
Harry jumped when a loud pop sounded next to the bed.
"Master says that Mister Harry Potter sir must eat," the House Elf said, holding a large tray of food. Harry eyed the tray for a moment. It was filled with bacon eggs, sausage, and toast. There was also orange juice on the side.
"Thank You," Harry said, hoping that the Elf wouldn't freak out. "You can go now." The elf shook its head dangerously.
"Master says Bindy isn't to leave until Mister Potter finishes his breakfast."
Harry eyed the food warily once more. There was no way he was going to be able to finish all of this. He grabbed a piece of toast and began to eat slowly under the watchful eye of Bindy the House Elf. After a few samples of everything on the tray, Harry was full.
"Um Bindy?" The House Elf's eyes widened and its ears perked up.
"Yes, Mister Potter?"
"I'm full. You can take the tray back now."
"No, no. Mister Potter has to eat everything, Master says, or Bindy can't come back."
"Well you can just tell your Master to stick this tray up his arse because I'm not eating anything else!" Harry quickly regained his forgotten anger at Voldemort. He threw the tray across the room, which thoroughly frightened the House Elf, but Bindy cleaned the mess up anyway and left in a hurry.
Harry jumped out of bed and went to the previously destroyed wardrobe. Everything was black, as expected. He pulled out an expensive looking button up shirt and a pair of pants. Then he grabbed some socks and shoes. He didn't bother to wonder why everything fit.
He went towards the door, expecting it to be locked, but it wasn't. He nearly stepped out, but Nagini was coiled up in front of the doorframe. She was asleep though, so Harry quietly stepped over her.
After that obstacle, Harry sprinted towards the nearest corner to hide from any unsuspecting Death Eaters. He kept sprinting from corner to corner until he heard footsteps. Luckily, this one was alone.
Harry waited until the Death Eater was in reaching distance, then he attacked. He lunged at the person's back and jumped on top of them. Whoever it was, they must have forgotten that they had a wand because they attempted to throw Harry off by slamming him against the wall. The boy held fast and caused the Death Eater to buck like a bull. Harry grabbed the person's mask and pressed his finger into their eyes. The man, as it was easily determined by his scream, cried out loudly in pain as his eyes bled profusely. The Death Eater began to buck wilder in his blindness, and Harry tightly grabbed the man's head. Suddenly, a snap was heard and the man fell to the ground.
Harry's eyes widened when he realized that the Death Eater was dead, but he didn't have time to dwell on it. He took the man's wand, cloak, and mask. Harry heard more footsteps and almost jumped out of his skin. He had to hide the body. He dragged the dead man over to one of the hidden niches and whispered a Disillusionment charm over him. Then, before any more Death Eaters came around the corner, he ran.
Albus strode purposefully to the new Minister of Magic's office. Though he was quite saddened by the replacement of his puppet, Albus just knew he would be able to manipulate Scrimgeour as easily as he did the others.
The Headmaster passed groups of Ministry workers and smiled pleasantly. Some of them, Order members mostly, nodded and smiled back. Some scowled at him, Death Eaters probably. He'd have to look into that. Others just ignored him.
Albus frowned inwardly. He considered himself to be the most powerful wizard of this time. There was no way he would just let someone ignore him. Maybe he needed to remind those in the Ministry just how great he was.
Albus greeted the Minister's new secretary with a smile. She knew what he was here for, so she buzzed the Minister and notified him of Albus' presence.
"Send him in," Albus heard from the magical intercom.
The secretary got up an ushered him into the office with probably the best smiled she could muster. Albus made a mental note to invite her for tea. He needed someone who could keep a close eye on the Minister.
"Headmaster Dumbledore," the Minister called with a gruff sort of voice, "to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?"
"Minister Scrimgeour, please, call me Albus," Dumbledore said with that convincingly grandfatherly voice.
"Them you must call me Rufus, Albus," the Minister retorted.
Albus just smiled. Now that he had the pleasantries out of the way, he could get down to business.
"I wanted to talk to you about the current situation with the war, Rufus." Albus decided to just right down to the point.
"You mean Harry Potter siding with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named,' The Minister said as more of a statement than a question. This Minister was smart one.
"I don't understand how the boy could be a threat. He doesn't even have a complete Hogwarts education, and he's still a child. Potter is just another Death Eater we have to worry about. He wouldn't stand a chance against five of our best Aurors." Scratch that. The Minister was just as dumb as the last.
"Ye, but the public still needs a replacement beacon of hope," Albus interjected.
"Aren't you enough of a leader for the Light?"
"Yes, but Potter's betrayal has put morale at a new low. The public needs a figure to replace Potter's image someone who they can blame when things go wrong and praise when things go right. Do you understand, Rufus?"
"I believe I do." The Minister scratch his chin. "But, would do this?"
"I am still going over candidates." Albus didn't want to say too much met just yet.
"I see. What else did you want to talk about, Albus?"
"I would like to form a secret faction of Aurors to work solely for the Order of the Phoenix."
The Minister's eye widened at the bold request.
"W-why would you need your own faction, Albus?" Rufus sputtered.
"It's quite simple, Rufus. I need a troop that will focus only on fighting Voldemort." Albus noticed the Minister flinch. "One that will follow my orders directly."
The Headmaster smiled while the Minister thought over his proposition. Albus used a bit of Legilimency to push his decision.
"Well," the Minister started, "I understand the necessity for an Auror team focused only on fighting He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and you never steered the people wrong before (except with Potter). I guess I could make a team of a dozen or so Aurors."
"I was thinking along the lines of forty or fifty."
Rufus sputtered again. "Y-y-you need that many?" Albus only nodded. "OK then, I think I could spare forty Aurors for such a noble cause."
Albus smiled. This was almost too easy. Of course, he would gain more forces in time, but forty would be adequate for his plans now.
"Who did you have in mind?"
Back at Number Twelve Grimmauld Place, Ron and Ginny were playing Exploding Snap while Hermione read some thick and obscure book, when the twins came by.
"Having fun kiddies?" Fred asked with a mischievous smile.
"What do you two want?" Ron responded with a half-sneer.
"Just passing by," George replied.
"What could we possibly want with three shrimps such as yourselves?"
"What's your problem, you two?" Ginny jumped up indignantly.
"Nothing. The group seems a little empty don't you think, Fred?"
"Yeah what could possibly be missing, George?"
"If you're talking about that traitor, then we're better off without him." Hermione piped in without looking up from her book.
"Traitor. What traitor?"
"We don't know of any traitors-"
"Besides the ones in front of us."
"Are you trying to say something about us?" Ron almost yelled, red-faced.
"Of course not," the twins said in unison.
"You kiddies might want to stick together."
"With all this uproar, you wouldn't want a Death Eater-"
"Preying on your little lives." With that, the twins walked off with smiles on their faces and pranks in their pockets.
"Are you sure this is the right thing to do, Bill?"
"Positive, Charlie. Besides we can't turn back now."
"What if mum finds out? This'll crush her."
"No one is going to know unless we tell them, Charlie. He said this would be a secret."
"What iif he lied?" What if there was someone was spying on us?"
"You're being paranoid. I checked everything out before we did this."
"But what if-" Bill put a finger to his brother's lips.
"Shush, Charlie. Everything is going to be fine. We just have to stick together. We're the only one's who feel this way right now, but I'm sure that will change with time."
"I don't like lying to our family, Bill."
"Neither do I, but bear with me." Bill pressed his forehead against Charlie's. "We can do this."
Charlie took a deep breath. "Okay. Let's go."
A/N: Wow that took forever. I'm pretty much drained right. Thank You everyone for your reviews. I had to look at them every once in a while in order to keep writing. I think this chapter pretty much explains itself.
Next Chapter: It's a surprise