Written for the Ravenclaw Challenge at the Hogwarts Online Forum. The brief was to "Write a story about a Ravenclaw, any Ravenclaw, but one which shows their Ravenclaw talents - cleverness, thinking outside the box, cunning without the Slytherin guile, courage without the Gryffindor recklessness - you get the picture." I'm not sure this story entirely does that, but I had fun with it anyway.
As far as I know, we don't know which Houses most of the original Order of the Phoenix were in, so I have made my own decisions. Bear with me if they differ from your opinions.
Decisions and Destiny
"...Benjy Fenwick, he copped it too, we only ever found bits of him..." (OotP, page 158, British edition)
The bar is noisy, and Edgar winces as he makes his way to the corner where Alastor Moody is sitting with Emmeline Vance and Caradoc Dearborn. It's not just the noise tonight; there is a forced jollity in the atmosphere as pervasive as the cigarette smoke, and it tightens the chest just as surely.
"Is there news?" he asks as he slides into the seat beside Emmeline, but he can tell by their faces that any news they have for him is bad.
Moody merely snorts, and Caradoc takes a long draught of his ale. It is Emmeline who answers.
"We found him," she says quietly. "Well… Not exactly. We found a few…" She swallows. "A few pieces," she finishes in a whisper. "And his wedding ring."
Edgar groans. "Does Jenny know?" he asks quietly, and Emmeline nods. "Yes, Fabian and I told her. We found – what was left – after all. Fabe and Gid's sister is staying with her. Her new baby is imminent and she has two little ones already. Molly Weasley has five of her own; she can cope with kids."
Edgar sighs and lifts his glass in a toast. "Benjy," he says, and the other three nod and raise their glasses too. They do not talk further.
Edgar finds himself studying the others in the room as he sips his ale. They make him feel very old, very responsible, very careful. Though careful isn't perhaps the right word… Sensible? Cautious? No, that isn't it either.
Maybe it is just that he is a Ravenclaw in a covey of Gryffindors. Caradoc is a Hufflepuff of course, and so are Dedalus Diggle and Alice Longbottom; and Aberforth – absent tonight, unsurprisingly - is the one Snake in their midst. But now that Benjy is gone, only he and Dorcas wear the blue and bronze. Or wore it once anyway. His schooldays seem longer ago than the actual seventeen years since he left, and he gave up wearing the colours what seems an age ago. Not so the Gryffs – Gryffindors are nothing if not proud of who they are, and the room is loud with their scarlet and gold.
Sometimes he envies them, with their easy courage and their reckless gallantry. Gideon Prewett probably never weighed up anything seriously in his life. He saw what he considered needed doing and he did it, Fabian in tow without a murmur of dissent. The younger ones too – Potter and his girl; the Black boy (and Edgar still marvels at his presence in what his family must see as a den of traitors and worse); and even Lupin and Pettigrew, who are quieter, but who entered into this as quickly and seemingly as effortlessly as walking from the stool in the Great Hall to the Gryffindor table after their Sorting. Edgar half smiles as he remembers Moody and Dumbledore's frustration with them in their early days, Dumbledore's quiet insistence that they take no unnecessary risks, and Moody's impatient: "This isn't a game, Potter!" repeated more than once.
His own initiation had been so different. It had taken him a full month after Benjy had first sounded him out on Dumbledore's behalf. He was sympathetic of course – who wasn't if they had a proper view of the world? But no one had ever accused Edgar Bones of being reckless or of rushing into anything. And there wasn't just himself to consider; he had Susannah and Edward and Simon, and baby Emma on the way. Not to mention Pop and Ma and Amelia and young Peter. He knew well enough that joining Dumbledore's so-called "Order" was more risk than glamour, more grind than glory. Benjy knew it – he was a Ravenclaw too – so he did not push him. He knew Edgar of old, knew it always took him time to make a decision. So beyond a Floo-call ten days after their first meeting in the Leaky Cauldron, and an owl a fortnight later with the single word: "Well?" on the parchment it carried, he had left Edgar to decide in peace.
And Edgar had decided, in his own time and his own way. He had made lists of the pros and cons (carefully burnt soon after writing). But even his Ravenclaw logic could not get him past the fact that his family – the biggest item on the "con" list – were also the main reason why he should fight. He had spoken at length to both Dumbledore and Moody, and to Arthur Weasley, who had decided against joining the Order for the sake of his own young family. And he lay awake night after night going over the options. He thought of what could happen, the best and the worst, if he joined or if he did not.
Finally, his decision made – apart from the one crucial piece of the puzzle - he sat down with Susannah, and put it to her. She was no Ravenclaw, but her Hufflepuff loyalty meant that she agreed with him without question as he had known she would. Still he went through it all with her. His decision affected her and their children, put them all in danger. She must know the best and the worst. She smiled over his lists, frowned at his explanations, smoothed his worried forehead and kissed him gently.
"I trust you, Edgar," she said softly, and Edgar had to bite back the retort that that fact was what made this decision so hard. She trusted him, not only for herself but for the boys and their unborn baby girl. What if he had got it wrong?
Still, fortified by her agreement, he went to Dumbledore the next day and accepted his destiny. And although destiny was not a word that most Ravenclaws used voluntarily, that was what it seemed to him that day.
Now, more than six years on, it still felt that way, even with the loss of Marlene and her family last month, and now Benjy, who had become far more than a friend to him. Whether you called it the right decision, or a reckless choice, or a destiny you could not avoid, it amounted to the same thing.
Edgar was doing what he knew he had to do.
"...Edgar Bones... they got him and his family, too, he was a great wizard..." (OotP, page 158)