Disclaimer: HP and Co. belong to J.K. Rowling, not myself.
A/N: I am so, so sorry for the long wait of this chapter. I haven't been able to get in touch with my beta for this story or Changing Desires and I was loath to post it without someone looking it over. Thankfully my lovely beta of Silver Lining and Moments of Happiness drnic for looking it over for me. If you are interested in doing some betaing for some of my stories, specifically Blood Matters and Changing Desires, please let me know!
We're finally answering some big questions in this chapter. So please let me know what you think and how you feel about this chapter!
Chapter 18: Death of a Hero
Albus sighed as he looked over the silvery liquid of his pensive. He had been thinking more and more of what had happened fourteen years ago. The memories of the event had been placed in the pensive and now Albus thought he should re-visit them. Closing his eyes he lowered his face into the swirling liquid and was immediately sucked into the past. The memories began easily enough and he watched himself enjoy a cup of tea while he waited for news on the two possible children of prophecy.
Albus Dumbledore was sitting comfortably at his desk in the opulent headmaster's office at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He was enjoying a nice cup of tea while he mused over the war on Voldemort. Ever since he had heard the prophecy that auspicious night in the Hogshead while interviewing Sybil Trelawney, he had been anxiously awaiting the end of the seventh month of the year. Two potential families had children due around that time and both were families he would gladly back and guide as they raised the child of prophecy. Secretly, he hoped for the Potter's to give birth to the child of prophecy since James was a pureblood wizard but Lily was a muggle-born making their child a half-blood, just like Tom Riddle, poetic justice if you asked Dumbledore and people did.
The floo flared to life and he leaned forward in his chair expectantly as his contact informed him that both Potter and Longbottom families had given birth to healthy baby boys. Grinning he leaned back once the floating head had vanished from his fire and beamed. Now he just had to ascertain which boy would be the ultimate defeater of Voldemort.
Albus stared in shock at the small, still body of one–year-old Harry Potter. The little boy was lying on the white sheets of a hospital bed in St. Mungo's hospital. Lily was sobbing as she stared down at her child and James appeared to be in shock. Albus had been resting in his office when a frantic floo call had come in from the Potter Lord saying Harry was in St. Mungo's, Albus had thought perhaps the little boy was injured, never in a million years had he expected this. As far as he understand what had happened with Harry was an accident, the little boy had been outside playing in the well-warded yard of the Potter's home in Godric's Hollow and everything had been fine one minute and the next, well the next all hell had broken loose. Harry had been stung by a bee and minutes later the little boy had been lying in the grass his airway closed. Neither Lily nor James had shown an aversion to bees but apparently little Harry had been deathly allergic and his small body had given out on him with the introduction of the bee's venom. Even with Lily grabbing the boy and flooing to Mungo's immediately there had been nothing the healers had been able to do, though they had tried. Now, one year after his birth, James and Lily were faced with the horrifying fact that their child was dead and Albus had to face the reality that the child he had been silently backing in the war against Voldemort was dead.
"I'm just going to speak to a healer," Albus said softly before stepping out of the sad room to get his bearings. Walking down the well-lit hallways of the hospital he was surprised to find himself in front of the nursery where the newborn babies were kept. Looking at all the little lives he felt a small swell of hope though it was quickly dashed when he saw Narcissa Malfoy walking out of the room after settling a small bundle wrapped in blue back into a hospital issue bassinet. As many of these children were born to good, light families there were just as many being born that would be future foot soldiers for Lord Voldemort, like the newest Malfoy spawn. Of course Albus didn't voice this out loud, he just nodded his head to the Lady Malfoy before returning to his musing. As he watched the haughty woman sweep away a sudden thought seized Albus.
A few hours later and some fancy spell work and a few pilfered potions James, Lily and Harry Potter were walking out of St. Mungo's. It had been touch and go for a while but the healers had managed to save Harry's life and James and Lily could not be happier. Lily had yet to put down Harry though the little boy seemed out of it and confused, a byproduct of the medicine the Healers had said, Albus knew that was not the truth but he was willing to go along with it. He watched dispassionately as the Potters left before turning on the healer who was standing next to him.
"You know what to do," he said as he slipped a bag into the man's waiting hand.
"Goodbye Albus," the healer said, before heading towards his office to pack his belongings and then hopefully fall off the proverbial radar.
Albus pulled himself from his pensive a thoughtful expression on his face as he settled back in his chair and summoned an elf to bring him tea. At times he thought of the life he had ruined when he had made that decision all those years ago, Orion Malfoy had been just a child, a new born baby and he had taken him, aged him and altered his memories, well given him memories and charmed him to look like a dead child. It had been necessary though, all for the greater good after all, especially since Tom had chosen to target Harry Potter, never knowing that it was a pureblood child of his own second hand man. Sighing, Albus looked around his office his wizened hands clasped in front of him as he stared at the little silver devices around his office, none had done anything since the summer when they had informed him that his plan had fallen apart.
Drinking his tea he allowed his mind to wander, neither James nor Lily had been aware of what he had done; they had both been obliviated by Albus having their memories modified to see the event of their son dying as only a close call. No one besides Albus knew the truth and he would keep it that way, everyone had asked him, Severus had bloody hounded him but he had kept his silence. A hero was needed, a pinnacle for the light and he knew he couldn't start over with another child. Neville Longbottom wouldn't do so he needed Orion, he needed Harry Potter and he would find a way to make it work.
Remus' face flamed red as he bumped into the Dark Lord in the hallway of his home, normally he wouldn't have been embarrassed, but the man was shirtless and coming out of Sirius' room.
"Remus" Tom said, his rich voice amused, he loved to keep people on their toes whether it was with a well-placed Cruciatus curse or a running into them in the hallway.
Smirking to himself, the Darkest Lord of the century walked into the kitchen and went about making himself and the man he had left gasping in the bedroom a cup of tea. Of course the domestic behaviour further shattered any preconceived notions Remus had and the werewolf felt like he needed to go lie down even though he had just woken up. Or perhaps he needed a drink, yes a drink sounded magnificent.
A few hours later Sirius emerged from his own bedroom with a silly grin on his face. Tom had come back after making the tea and the two had spent the next few hours ensconced in their bedroom. Now Tom was busy working on whatever it was a Dark Lord did and Sirius was bored. Wandering down the hallways of Marauders Manor the Black Lord was on the hunt for his best friend and partner in crime. He expected to find Remus curled up somewhere with a book or perhaps his lesson plans, what he had not expected was to find Remus curled up in the library a half-drunk bottle of muggle rum in one hand.
"Remus?!" Sirius exclaimed, Remus was the mature one, he never drank during the day and Sirius could count on one hand the number of times he'd seen the werewolf drunk.
"Sirius?" Remus croaked turning to look at his friend the bottle slipping from nerveless fingers. "What time ish it?" He slurred rubbing a hand over his face.
"A little past noon" Sirius answered banishing the now empty bottle along with the remaining alcohol.
"Oh" Remus looked stumped then he shrugged and adopted a rather goofy grin.
"May I ask what caused you to turn to the bottle so early? That's usually my coping mechanism" Sirius asked curiously as he sat down opposite his friend.
"Huh?" Remus asked unintelligently, "Oh I saw..." He trailed off, shuddering. "Domestic Dark Lord, making tea...shirtless..." Sirius goggled at Remus before breaking out in peels of laughter. The sight of his lover, shirtless and making tea had been enough to drive Remus to the drink? He vaguely wondered what would happen if he told Remus that the Dark Lord also liked to cuddle occasionally and was not opposed to being used as a pillow.
Remus looked at his giggling friend a scowl adorning his features. He did not find what had occurred in the hallway funny but then again Sirius wasn't walking around with the threat of an Avada Kedavra hanging over his head. Getting up with supreme care, Remus began to make his way towards his bedroom though his feet seemed to disagree with his brain and the next thing he knew he was lying face down on the soft carpet. Sirius' laughing increased as he got back up from his own comfortable place to help his friend. Once Remus was seated safely on the carpet, the dog animagus called a house elf to bring him a sobering potion.
After about ten minutes a much more sober Remus was seated in his favourite chair with a mug of tea clasped firmly in his slightly shaking hands. Sirius was opposite him again and was lightly mocking his friend about his little lapse in sanity. This was the highly amusing scene that Tom walked in on.
"You two seem to be enjoying yourselves," The Dark Lord drawled as he took a seat next to Sirius. At his appearance Remus let out a squeak and quickly busied himself with his tea. At Tom's questioning look Sirius devolved into uncontrollable, very manly, giggles, leaving a bemused Tom to look on.
Orion grinned as he signed his name on his final essay of the day, his handwriting had improved so much thanks to Remus' lessons and he finally felt confidence handing in his work. Blowing on the ink to dry it he carefully rolled up the parchment and placed it in his bag. He was done, no more homework for the rest of the weekend and he could finally enjoy himself. Flexing his fingers he carefully put away his belongings before heading towards the room he shared with his brother. Coming up to the door he steeled himself, since walking in Blaise and Draco that first time, he had subsequently caught the pair together numerous times and it was getting to be a bit annoying if not amusing mainly because of Draco's less then manly screams.
Knocking once on the door to give the pair, if they were inside, warning Orion walked in, sighing in relief when he saw that the room was, in fact, empty and he wouldn't be subject to his brother's pale arse wagging in his face while Blaise bolted semi-nude from the room. Putting his bag on his bed he flopped down in quiet contemplation wondering what he was supposed to do now. As Harry Potter he would have been outside playing Quidditch with his friends not even thinking about homework until the last possible minute. Now it was Saturday afternoon and he was completely done and totally unsure of what to do with himself.
After a few minutes of contemplation the young teen dragged himself up and headed back out into the Common Room, he wondered where the other fourth years were and set off to find them. It wasn't exactly a warm day so he highly doubted they were outside, that only left the Great Hall where students often congregated or the library. Finding the Common Room nearly abandoned besides a few upper year students, Orion headed towards the Great Hall, figuring if his friends weren't there then he could just head back to the Common Room and play chess against himself until someone showed up.
Draco, Blaise, Theo and Pansy were all sitting together in the Great Hall, normally they would talk in the Common Room but a few NEWT students had been studying in there so they had decided to vacate the premises. Blaise and Draco were sitting close to one another, heads bent over a shared copy of the Daily Prophet as Theo and Pansy debated over their latest homework assignment.
Orion walked into the hall his eyes immediately drawn to the Slytherin table a small frown marring his features when he didn't see his friends there, just Draco and the others. Not even bothering to go over the young teen turned to head back his Common Room when a hand on his arm.
"Hello Orion" Luna Lovegood said from where she was positioned at his elbow.
"Luna" Orion greeted, "What's up?" He asked the blond Ravenclaw curiously.
"Nothing really, Neville and I have been looking for Nargles but they have proved to be elusive today. Would you like to join us? Who knows what we may discover"
"Uh...sure" Orion said now noticing Neville standing not to far off, a grin on his boyish features.
"Good" The blonde haired girl linked her arms with his and tugged him gently and soon he was off with Luna and Neville searching the castle for creatures that only seemed to exist in Luna's imagination.
Draco glanced up as he heard his brother's voice though he grinned as he saw Orion go off encased between Neville Longbottom and Loon-err Luna Lovegood. Normally he'd fuss and worry over Orion but he knew that Neville and Luna were decent people and the least likely to hurt his fragile little brother.
"A Slytherin being seen with a Gryffindor and that Loony Ravenclaw, we'll never hear the end of it!" Pansy said as she had also seen Orion leaving with his friends. The withering glare she received from the Malfoy heir was more then enough to cause her to redden and turn back to her debate with Theo.
"Orion was in Gryffindor as Harry Potter" Draco spat contemptuously at the pug-faced girl. "He has friends in that house and Lovegood has always been loyal to her friends. If he can't make good friends in our house, then I encourage him to find friends elsewhere. He needs people" Pansy was his friend but sometimes the girl just got under his skin.
On the other side of the Great Hall, her nose buried in a book though she didn't appear to be reading, Hermione Granger watched as Orion walked off with Neville and Luna. She hadn't reached out to him since her letter but she was sure he would eventually forgive her so she let it be. Ron and Ginny however were both absolutely seething as they watched the trio go off ignoring the glares they both received from older Gryffindors including Fred and George, they still hadn't heard from Orion in regards to their note, but they were hopeful he would contact them soon.
Remus hadn't had a chance to give Orion the letter since he had mainly forgotten and every time the poor man had remembered something had cropped up. The note was still safely in his quarters and every time Remus saw it he silently resolved to give it to Orion.
As Ron spewed venomous hate under his breath, he bit off with a yelp as Fred (or was it George's) foot connected with his knee. Glaring at the twins, the younger Weasley eventually quieted and bent his head so he and Ginny could whisper back and forth. The rest of the Gryffindors ignored the pair, most understood and respected Orion for what had happened and how admirably he was handling the whole thing, Ron was loud and brash however, same with Ginny and few Gryffindors wanted to go toe to toe with the volatile pair.
Narcissa Malfoy stalked around her house in a rage. Ever since the previous night when Lucius and Tom had told her about what may potentially reside in her son she hadn't been able to calm down. She had released a fair amount of anger when she had cursed the Dark Lord black and blue and the man had fled from her home and she hadn't seen him or her cowardly husband since. Stalking through the sitting room she clenched her wand tightly before exploding another one of Lucius' precious vases a smirk on her features as she could practically hear the man sobbing wherever he was hiding. She had categorically destroyed every valuable item Lucius owned, nothing she liked of course, but she didn't mind wrecking a few Malfoy family heirlooms, especially those that mattered to her husband.
Finally she seemed to finish her destructive rage and the elves were able to emerge from hiding to take care of the damaged items. Stowing her wand, Narcissa grabbed her bag and flooed to Paris, perhaps a little retail therapy would cheer her up and buying things for her sons always brightened her mood, plus Lucius hated when she went shopping so it was a win-win situation for her. Once she had left, Lucius emerged from what could only be called a panic room, his face white with horror as he looked around at his once beautifully furnished family room. Of course everything his wife liked or their children had bought was in one piece, just his favoured items or heirlooms were in pieces. Sighing he looked despondently at a Malfoy family elf who was busy vanishing glass.
"She went shopping, didn't she" he stated, not even bothering to ask.
"Mistress was going to Paris, Lolly was hearing her call out the name of her favourite shop" the elf responded as Lucius let out a groan and fell into his favourite chair and asked the elf to bring him a glass of whatever liquor Narcissa had left in tact and lots of it.
His wife, while he loved her, definitely carried some of the Black family insanity inside her. Speaking of Blacks, he wondered how Tom was making out at Sirius' and Remus' Manor. He knew the man had fled there after Narcissa had started in on her slicing hexes, not that he blamed him; his wife was wicked with a wand when she was angry. Taking the offered glass from Lolly he brought the tumbler to his mouth and took a sip, pulling a face when he realized it was vodka, something Narcissa knew he could barely stand.
"Wench" he muttered under his breath before putting the glass down and rising. "I will be at Marauders Manor, come get me if anything happens" he ordered the elves; perhaps Sirius had something more drinkable.
Severus settled himself comfortably in his favourite chair a potions manual in one hand and a mug of tea resting comfortably beside him. It was Saturday night and Severus was enjoying the night to the fullest. His students were comfortable, his godsons hadn't been by to see him, not that he minded them visiting but the absence gave him some much needed time to catch up on the little things, like reading this new periodical. What he hadn't been expecting however was for his floo to flare, rather violently and for Tom to stick his head in demanding that he come immediately and bring sobering potions.
Frowning, Severus gathered his potions and snagged a headache one for himself before stepping into the green flames and calling out the address Tom and supplied him with. What he really hadn't been expecting was to step out of the floo into Marauders Manor- the home of his arch nemesis and his pet werewolf- and find Tom and Remus (he grudgingly used his name) dealing with a highly intoxicated Lucius and Sirius.
"What in blazes is going on here?" He demanded looking from the Dark Lord to the werewolf.
"Lucius arrived here a few hours ago and he and Sirius proceeded to drink their way through half of our liquor supply" Remus said leaving out his own lapse earlier in the day which had led to them needing to floo Severus for more potions.
"The mutt I understand, he's always been a bit unstable but why is Lucius here?" Severus asked ignoring Tom's scathing look.
"Narcissa has been in a rather foul mood since last evening after destroying Lucius' prized possessions she ran off to Paris for some shopping, Lucius found his way here and is currently drowning his sorrows the only way he knows how. Sirius doesn't need a reason to have some fun and he decided to join Lucius" Tom explained scowling at his lover though he couldn't help feeling a small surge of affection, Sirius would always be a bit of a child after all.
"Ah" Severus drawled ineloquently. "And their drunken antics were cause for you to floo me for potions?"
"I have no desire to put up with the pair for the rest of the night Severus, I have allowed them their fun or in Lucius' case his moping and I would now like to get some sleep. Something that will not happen until these two are at least partly sober" Tom snapped allowing some of his Voldemort persona to leak through. Severus paled slightly and nodded before handing over two sobriety potions as well as two headache reliever potions, just in case.
"Thank you" Remus said as Severus stepped back into the floo intent on recapturing his quiet evening.
Once the Potions Master had left Tom and Remus manhandled Lucius and Sirius into sitting positions, the pair had been rolling around on the floor, something Tom couldn't wait to tell Lucius tomorrow, the man would be mortified. Once seated Tom practically poured the potions down their throats and waited for them to sober up. Once he deemed them tolerable he instructed a rather frazzled Remus to take Lucius and put him in the guest bed.
"I shall handle Sirius, perhaps send an owl to Narcissa and tell her that she is here and we will send him home in the morning" The man added, it was not a request however and Remus practically leapt to his feet to obey. Smirking Tom hefted a now snoring Sirius into his arms and carried the man to bed, it had been a rather eventful morning after all he wasn't surprised his younger lover was worn out. Red eyes shining in mirth, Tom shut the door and left Remus to see to the cleaning up of the house.
A/N: And there you have it! We finally see what happened all those years ago between The Potters, Malfoys and How Albus Dumbledore played a role. If you have any questions feel free to ask me on my twitter or Facebook (links in my profile) since I don't always answer reviews.