Chapter V: An Eventful Family Meeting

Chapter V: An Eventful Family Meeting

A Chapter by Ashleigh
"

Harry calls a family meeting and obtains a new house-mate.

"

                Harry woke up the next morning and reached over to the bedside table for his glasses before realizing that he no longer had them. He grabbed his contacts and put them in.

                Mundungus had been true to his word for a change. When Harry had gotten back to his mansion the night before, his flashy red Ferrari was sitting in front, looking great. He also visited the Black family graveyard after his shopping trip. There had been hundreds of tombstones stretching for quite a long distance, some of them dating back to the Middle Ages, all of them as gothic as the rest of the property. He had constructed a small memorial for Sirius in the clearing in the middle of the cemetery. It was just a few rocks piled up neatly with his name and the date of his birth and death scratched into them. Underneath the inscription were the words Beloved Cousin, Friend and Godfather. He liked it. He knew Tonks and Lupin would like it, too. He allowed a single tear to escape his eye, then roughly brushed it away and headed back to the mansion. He had also allowed himself to explore his new home. The entire place needed a good cleaning, which was why he was glad to discover both Dobby and Kreacher in the kitchen cupboard. Apparently, Dobby left Hogwarts and now wanted to work for Harry for free (although Harry offered him money all the same). Kreacher was only there because he was bound to him now. Technically, he could have ordered him to go to Tonks, but he wasn't about to be that cruel to her. Upon leaving the house elves to clean, he found out that his new home was about three quarters the size of Hogwarts, complete with hidden passageways and secret rooms. The entire place was decorated in the same fashion as the foyer; dark, gothic and depressing. That's when he had decided to call it a night and go to bed. He chose the master bedroom for himself, which was slightly bigger than the foyer. His bed was big enough to comfortably accommodate a giant, with crimson red draperies hanging down from a high canopy. He could get used to this kind of living, he thought as he jumped up onto his bed and fell asleep...

                Suddenly, Harry snapped back to the present and immediately headed to the fireplace in the Great Room. He grabbed some Floo Powder off the mantelpiece and instead of shouting one location, he shouted "The Black Family!" He stuck his head in the fire and immediately, his head was transported to all the fireplaces where every member of the Black family was currently residing. He announced his message "Attention all members of the Black Family! As the Lord of the Blacks, I declare an official family meeting! All Black family members must report to the Black family mansion in Ottery St. Catchpole immediately. Thank you." He was whisked back to his Great Room. He knew they'd all come. They had to. He had given them all a direct order. He also knew they'd be apparating and would arrive at any second. As if on cue, a deep knocking on the front door could be heard. Harry opened it. Tonks and an older woman were standing on the doorstep. They were the first to arrive.

                "Wotcher, Harry!" Tonks smiled. She turned to the older lady with wispy brown hair and sparkling grey eyes. "This is my mother, Andromeda."

                "Nice to meet you." Harry stuck out his hand and the lady shook it.

                "You too, young man. I must say I'm surprised at how young our new Black family Lord is. Then again, you are Harry Potter. I'm sure you can handle the responsibilities." She said it kindly enough, but Harry was taken aback at her abrupt words. Tonks seemed to notice.

                "Mum's a little outspoken," she told Harry. He nodded and invited them all inside. Andromeda looked around the foyer, her eyes slipping from one giant statue to the next, finally stopping and narrowing on her own statue, where she frowned at her destroyed face. Tonks saw and glared at the statue as well. Harry thought it best to take them to a different room. The kitchen was the closest, so he led them there.

                "Hey Dobby. You can take a break whenever you like, you know," Harry told the house elf, who was standing on tiptoe upon the countertop, furiously scrubbing the window with a soapy rag. "Get lost, Kreacher!" Harry scowled at the other house elf, which just glared at him and left the room, muttering about "mudbloods", blood traitors and half-breeds as usual. Dobby jumped down from the countertop.

                "Harry Potter is too kind to poor Dobby..." he said as he bowed slightly to him. Harry brushed off his comment with a wave of his hand. Dobby then turned to Tonks. "Dobby is delighted to see Miss Nymphadora Tonks again. Miss Nymphadora Tonks is also very kind." She laughed.

                "Thanks, Dobby, but it's just Tonks," she smiled at him. Dobby nodded respectfully before walking out of the room. Tonks turned to Harry. "Why did you call a family meeting, anyway?" she asked. "What could be that important?"

                "I'll tell you when everyone else gets here," Harry replied. He didn't think it was a good idea to mention her aunt Bellatrix to her just yet, especially since she still held her responsible for her cousin's death. Just then, he heard knocking on the front door again. He left Tonks and Andromeda in the large kitchen to get the door. This time it was Narcissa and Draco.

                "You called?" Draco scowled at Harry derisively. Narcissa frowned at her son.

                "Draco, be polite!" she snapped. "Hello Harry," she said. He could tell the greeting was genuine, but he noticed she didn't smile as Tonks or Andromeda had. He led them both to the kitchen. Upon seeing her sister, Andromeda's eyes widened and she took a step closer to Narcissa. Narcissa did the same. "Angie?" Narcissa whispered.

                "Cissy," Andromeda replied. "It's been a long time." Tonks sighed and scowled at her aunt and cousin. Narcissa turned and smiled hesitantly at her.

                "Don't expect me to call you aunt!" she spat. Narcissa's face fell and Draco rounded on Tonks.

                "How dare you speak to my mother that way, you worthless bloodtraitor! At least my father isn't a filthy muggle!"

                "Draco! Apologize!" his mother commanded, but it was too late to diffuse the situation. Tonks was screeching various profanities at Draco, and Andromeda was furiously trying to whack him over the head with her wand for insulting her husband. Harry was about to go in and stop the fight, but thankfully, the knocking on the front door quieted everyone down. Once again, Harry made his way to the foyer to open the door. Standing on his doorstep was the reason he had called this meeting in the first place. Bellatrix Black was wearing plain black robes with no trimming. Underneath the robes, she wore a long grey skirt and a navy button-down blouse. Her cheekbones were hollow, her eyes dark, with lank black hair falling down to her shoulders. She looked extremely depressed. The moment she saw Harry, she dropped to her knees and began to cry.

                "I'm so sorry," she sobbed. "All the h-horrible things I've done ... I'm so so sorry." Harry knelt down in front of her and looked her in the eye, just to make sure she was truly sorry. She was. He could only see small, wispy amounts of purple around her. It was the same amount he could see around almost everyone else.

                "I believe you. I don't blame you for anything you've done, either," he replied simply. He stood back up and she looked up at him in amazement.

                "You know, then," she whispered. Harry nodded. She was obviously talking about her arranged marriage. "I refuse to use that as an excuse for anything I've done," she told him severely.

                "That just shows you're a good person," he replied. Harry suddenly realized that he had grown up a lot these past few years. He helped her to her feet and led her to the kitchen. If Harry had thought the last outburst had been bad, this was absolute chaos. The second Tonks saw Bellatrix, she fired a hex that Bellatrix quickly deflected.

                "YOU KILLED MY COUSIN!" she screamed with tears in her eyes. "YOU KILLED HIM! I HATE YOU!" She fired another stream of hexes at her aunt. Bellatrix made no attempt to harm Tonks, but merely just deflected the spells that were being fired at her.

                "TONKS! STOP!" Harry finally roared. She looked at him with venomous fury in her eyes, and slowly lowered her wand. "How could you invite her here?" she choked out. "She murdered your godfather, my cousin!" She folded her arms across her chest and turned away from him to compose herself. Tonks wasn't the kind of woman who showed displays of emotion in front of others.

                "You know I wouldn't have invited her here without a good reason," Harry replied calmly. "Let's just wait until the rest of the family gets here. Then I'll explain everything." Tonks glared at him, but nodded all the same.

                "If your reason isn't good enough, Harry, I swear I'm arresting her and locking her away in Azkaban where the dementors can feast on her soul,she threatened. Harry was about to protest when Bellatrix interrupted.

                "No Harry. She has every right to feel the way she does. I think that's fair," she said quietly. Tonks raised her eyebrows but said nothing. Pretty soon, the rest of the Black family showed up. Some were kind, like Tonks and Andromeda. Some were hostile, like Draco and some were still on the fence, like Narcissa. Harry was introduced to many people and he introduced himself about a dozen times. Once he had moved everyone to the vast sitting area and was sure that everyone was there, he cleared his throat and stood up in front of them all. The meeting had started.

                "Well, a lot of you probably know that I've just recently become the Black family Lord, and I also know that a lot of you aren't happy about that," he began.

                "At least you're right about one thing, boy!" a crotchety old man shouted at him.

                "Oh, shut-up!" Tonks snapped. Harry ignored the interruption.

                "I'm not sure if I like the situation myself, to tell you the truth," he admitted. "I do know that I have a duty to this family now, though. Whether any of us like it or not, this is the way it is, and I'd like to start upholding my duty by getting the truth out." There was much whispering around the room. Many people were wondering what this "truth" was and how it affected them. Harry paused to let them whisper to each other for a few moments, and continued. "Bellatrix. Can you come up here?" She looked up at him, terror in her eyes. He knew she was frightened of how everyone would react, even wondering if anyone would believe her. He gave her a reassuring nod, and she slowly rose to her feet and walked to the front of the room to stand beside Harry. She took a deep, shuddering breath and began.

                "Before I tell you why I'm here, I need to apologize for all the terrible things I've done. There's no excuse for what I did and what I'm about to tell you is not an attempt to gain pity or cover up my actions with innocence. It doesn't change what I did and how many lives I destroyed. What I'm about to tell you is merely the truth... nothing more, nothing less." She was trembling, and stopped for a moment to regain her courage. The entire room was hushed. You could have heard a drop of water fall on the other side of the mansion. Even Tonks raised her eyebrows in curiosity. Bellatrix sighed and continued.

                "I was forced into my marriage with Rudolphus Lestrange. My parents wanted a pure blood marriage for me. I had no say in the matter. I was bound by a contract and could not defy it or Rudolphus would have had the authority to punish me as he saw fit. I still tried, but his punishments were painful." She stopped and looked down, trying to stem the flow of tears that were slowly leaking from her dark eyes. "I hate myself for giving in to him, but I did. The contract made me his slave. He ordered me to become a Death Eater and destroy all those innocent people's lives, and I obeyed because I was afraid of what he would do to me if I didn't." She could no longer stop her tears, which were now flowing freely down her hollow cheeks. "I'm so ashamed of myself," she whispered. She had finished her speech. Narcissa stood up and threw her arms around her big sister, crying just as freely as Bellatrix. Andromeda did the same. They stood like that for quite a while before Harry cleared his throat to break them up. He had said all he needed to say, and so had Bellatrix.

                "I think that's going to be the end of the meeting. If anyone has any questions, they can ask me. If not, everyone can go back to their lives," he said quietly. This meeting had given him a lot to think about. Nobody really had too many questions, and the ones they did have were stupid in Harry's opinion. Once almost everyone had been shown the way out, he pulled both Bellatrix and Tonks aside.

                "Look, I know you two don't get along, but I still want you both to stay awhile," Harry said to them. Tonks gave a sideways look at Bellatrix, then sighed and nodded. Bellatrix nodded her head also, but looked down at the ground. "It'll be good to catch up with you, Tonks, especially since the last time I saw you it wasn't exactly a happy occasion. Bellatrix, I know you're still wanted by the Ministry, so you're welcome to stay here until your name's cleared and you can get your own place." Tonks looked livid.

                "WHAT!" she demanded. "I don't believe this, Harry! First you invite her to this meeting to defend her, and now you’re offering your home to her? What's next? Are you going to marry her as well?" Harry glared at her.

                "I'm sixteen!" he exclaimed. Tonks looked rueful but held her tongue. Bellatrix remained silent. Harry turned to Bellatrix. "Would you like to stay here?" he asked her.

                "Yes, thank you Harry," she almost whispered.

                "Good. That's settled then," he replied. "Why don't you go upstairs and scout out a room for yourself. There's lots to choose from." He said this before realizing that she obviously knew that, since she used to live here and felt slightly foolish.

                "I'll go and see if my old room still looks the same," she said with a slight smile. She left the seating area to go up the vast staircase to the upper levels. Now Harry had the chance to talk with Tonks alone. He had a feeling she wasn't too impressed with him at the moment. He looked at her just in time to see her scowl at him.

                "Look, I didn't do this just to make you miserable, you know," he told her rather heatedly. "I don't want to be in this position, but I am, and I'm just trying to do the best I can for all of us. Can't you at least understand that?" he nearly shouted. She was about to open her mouth to retort, but then her shoulders slumped and her eyes moved to the dusty stone floor.

                "Yeah, I understand that," she said. "I just don't understand how you can accept her with welcoming arms when she killed Sirius. He was my mother's favourite cousin; you know and mine, too. You make it seem like you're the only one who misses him, but you're not." She didn't say this as an accusation. In fact, she seemed quite sad. Harry really felt bad for her. He suddenly had an idea.

                "I want to show you something. I think you'll like it." He walked out of the sitting area. Tonks shrugged and followed.

                A few minutes later, they were standing in the Black family graveyard, looking down at Sirius' memorial. Tonks looked at the inscription, her lips moving soundlessly as she read. Her eyes filled with tears, but she quickly blinked them away and nodded.

                "It's nice," she admitted. She sat down on one of the other tombstones and looked at Harry. "How's life been for you lately?" Harry decided to allow the change of subject.

                "Better, now that I'm not with the Dursleys." he replied. She smiled faintly in response. "What's been going on with the Order?" Tonks' face fell.

                "Sorry Harry. I've been forbidden to tell you anything about that. Dumbledore's orders." She bit her lip. She obviously knew he wasn't about to accept that as an adequate answer.

                "Excuse me? Dumbledore's orders?" Harry yelled. "Dumbledore is the only person keeping me out of the Order! I could join now if I wanted to, but he runs the entire operation and makes sure that I can't, is that it?" Tonks reluctantly nodded. "Well, who fought Voldemort at the age of eleven and lived? Who killed a fifty foot basilisk at twelve? Who conjured a corporeal patronus to chase away a horde of dementors at thirteen? Who had a duel with Voldemort and transported Cedric Diggory's dead body back to school at fourteen? Who saw his godfather die and still manage to fight a pack of Death Eaters off at fifteen? Did Dumbledore? Did you?" he was shouting now.

                "No, Harry," Tonks sighed. "We all know you did all of that. I really want to tell you, I do, but Fudge would fire me for sure if I did."

                "What if you spied for me?" Harry blurted out. Tonks looked thunderstruck.

                "Did you not hear what I just said? I'D GET FIRED!" she shouted as if Harry were deaf.

                "No one would have to know!" he protested. "Please Tonks. I've earned the right to know what's going on. I won't force you to do it, but I'm asking you as a friend and I guess family member now. All you'd have to do is go to the meetings and participate in the Order like you've been doing, then tell me everything you guys talked about." Tonks seemed to contemplate this for a moment.

                "Alright. I'll do it, but only because you begged," Tonks grinned. He was so happy he could have hugged her.

                "Great! You're the best!" he replied.

                "I know," she said simply.

                Pretty soon, Tonks left and Harry was in the kitchen trying to figure out what to make for dinner. The entire place was now spotless. Dobby and Kreacher had done a good job. They were now working on Harry and Bellatrix's rooms. He had told them to work on their own rooms before his. (He had given them each their own bedrooms), but Dobby had insisted on doing Harry's first.

                Harry looked in the pantry. Dobby had also gone out and bought a tonne of food. The trouble was, he wasn't sure if Bellatrix would like any of it. He was about to go find her when she walked into the kitchen. "I was just about to ask you what you wanted to eat," he told her as she pulled out a chair at the mahogany table and sat down.

                "Anything is fine with me," she yawned. "Thank you for letting me stay here. I know it couldn't have been easy for you to get past my involvement in Sirius' death. I really never meant to kill him, you know." She looked at him with pleading eyes.

                "I know," Harry replied. "I don't really like talking about it, though." She nodded.

                "Of course. I understand," she said. She looked over his shoulder into the pantry. "That can of chili looks good." He knew she changed the subject on purpose, and he appreciated it.

                "Yeah. I'll make that," Harry told her. When the meal was finished, they sat at opposite ends of the table with their bowls of chili. They had a couple of short, meaningless conversations, but nothing terribly riveting. As Harry ate another spoonful of his dinner, he thought about how odd it was for him to be sitting here with her. She had done terrible things, some too gruesome to speak of. He had spent the majority of his life hating her for all the evil she had caused, and yet now he could not hate her anymore. Knowing how much pain and torture her husband had put her through, his perspective of her was completely different. He no longer saw a cruel, evil woman who would stop at nothing to destroy as many lives as she could. He saw her as a frightened woman who had no self-esteem left from years of abuse and who hated herself for what she had been forced to do.

                "Is something the matter? You looked dazed," she told him. He suddenly snapped out of his thoughts.

                "It's nothing. I'm fine," he replied. She just shrugged and continued eating her supper. Harry had a funny feeling that things were going to get much more complicated in the future.



© 2008 Ashleigh


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Added on December 16, 2008


Author

Ashleigh
Ashleigh

I live absolutely anywhere and everywhere I choose, whenever I please, thanks to a little something called imagination., Canada



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ACTIVE CONTESTS I'm always looking for new reading material on Writers Cafe to review. I regularly create contests to give me an opportunity to read things tailored to my interests. I'll post any acti.. more..

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