Chapter VI: Discovery and a Fruitless Debate

Chapter VI: Discovery and a Fruitless Debate

A Chapter by Ashleigh

While Tonks tries in vain to change Dumbledore's mind, Bellatrix is discovered by Ginny.


               The atmosphere of number 12, Grimmauld Place was subdued as the members of the Order gathered around the long dining room table in anxious wait for that night's meeting. Tonks looked around the room and saw many faces. Among those faces were Severus Snape, Mad-Eye Moody, Molly and Arthur Weasley, Kingsley Shacklebolt, and of course, Dumbledore. Tonks took a seat in one of the dining room chairs, thinking hard about what Harry had told her. She definitely agreed that he should be a part of the Order. He was right. He had proven himself worthy beyond any of the people here tonight. She would keep her word to him and let him in on what was going on, she just hoped she wouldn't lose her job because of it. Tonks sighed heavily and rested her chin on her hand.

                "Tonks? Are you alright, dear?" Molly Weasley asked. Molly always had a knack for spotting things like that. Tonks suddenly looked up.

                "Yes, I'm fine Molly. Just a bit tired, that's all." Molly frowned.

                "Hmm. Fudge is overworking you. You should demand some time off," she replied. Tonks smiled weakly.

                "Really Molly, I love my work. I'm not happy unless I'm out there catching dark wizards," Tonks said. Molly just shook her head and turned around to help Arthur fix his tie. Suddenly, Dumbledore stood up and everything went silent.

                "I'd like to thank you all for coming tonight," he began. "As always, I like to begin our meetings with updates, questions and concerns from our members. Who would like to voice their opinions first?" A few hands went up, including Tonks'.

                "Yes Tonks?" Dumbledore said.

                "I think Harry should be a part of the Order," Tonks said bluntly. There were mixed reactions to this comment. Molly and Dumbledore were frowning in disapproval; however Shacklebolt and Moody were nodding their heads in agreement. Severus had no reaction, but merely observed the others cautiously.

                "You know why we can't allow Harry a place in the Order," Dumbledore told her sternly.

                "Actually I don't," Tonks replied calmly. "None of us do. Legally, he could join. He's been emancipated. Yet you continue to keep him out of the loop when everyone here knows that he is the key to winning this war." Even Molly couldn't argue at that point. Murmurs of agreement could be heard around the room. Dumbledore did not look pleased at how this meeting was going.

                "Be that as it may, it is still much too dangerous for him. I am only looking out for Harry's best interests," Dumbledore replied. Something about the way he said it made Tonks feel uneasy. She chose to ignore the prickling feeling at the back of her neck.

                "I happen to agree with Dumbledore, Tonks. Harry is still just a child, no matter what the documents say. He's not ready for this," Molly said tearfully. Tonks rose and stood over Molly.

                "Who fought Voldemort and lived at the age of eleven? Who killed a fifty foot basilisk at twelve? Who conjured a corporeal patronus to ward off a horde of dementors at thirteen? Who had a duel Voldemort and transported Cedric Diggory's dead body back to Hogwarts at fourteen? Who saw his godfather die and still manage to fight off a pack of Death Eaters at fifteen? Did any of you?" she said, looking around the room. Everyone reluctantly shook their heads. Harry's words had ingrained themselves in her mind. They had been powerful enough to convince her, but would they be powerful enough to convince Dumbledore? Moody rose to his feet.

                "Tonks is right. That boy's suffered and survived more than all of us put together! I say let Potter in!" he growled. Tonks smiled. At least she had convinced one person. Others in the room started muttering and nodding their heads in agreement; however, Dumbledore was not about to let this continue.

                "No!" he said severely, bringing all the muttering to an abrupt halt. "Tonks, I appreciate your concerns, but I must override this particular opinion. I'm sorry, but I feel that keeping Harry away from the Order is the best thing for him right now."

                "How do you know that?" she asked. "You're always working on some grand plan that includes making Harry a pawn. He's not a pawn. He's a human being who has proven himself to you time and time again, yet you still refuse to acknowledge any of it. Sometimes I wonder if you're actually doing the right thing, or just what you think is right," Dumbledore looked deep in thought, but Molly was outraged.

                "Tonks! I can't believe you would accuse Dumbledore of such a thing! He knows perfectly well that Harry isn't a pawn. Dumbledore knows what he's doing, and I support him in all his decisions. Arthur does too! Don't you Arthur?"

                "Well... Tonks raises some good points; however -" he faltered at his wife's terrifying glare. "I mean, yes dear," he added quickly and lowered his head. Tonks shook her head and sat down. Apparently, Harry's words had not been powerful enough to convince Dumbledore. Dumbledore cleared his throat and began to speak again.

                "It is getting quite late, and since we just spent the better part of this meeting discussing frivolous matters, I see no point in continuing to keep everyone up later than they have to be. This meeting has ended. I wish everyone well." Tonks gave Dumbledore a dirty look. Harry's life was not a frivolous matter in her opinion. As everyone began to get up to leave, Moody clasped a hand on Tonks' shoulder. She looked up.

                "It was a good try. Don't take this too hard. If Dumbledore wants to do something, he'll do it no matter what anyone says. You can't blame yourself," he said in his gruff, raspy voice. She sighed and nodded.

                "Thanks Mad-Eye. I'll try not to," she replied dejectedly. He left. Tonks remained in her chair for a few moments, then realizing how exhausted she really was, stood up and left for home, thinking of what she was going to tell Harry the next time she saw him.

*   *   *
                Harry got out of bed and looked around his room. Bright, morning sunlight was streaming through his window, making the room look more cheerful than usual. He decided to go check on Hedwig and went up a flight of stairs to the now completed aviary. He was surprised to see Bellatrix standing close to one of the tropical trees, gently stroking Hedwig's wings. She was smiling contentedly with sunlight gleaming on her dark hair, illuminating her pale face. Harry smiled in spite of himself.
"You seem better today," he commented. Bellatrix gave a start.

                "Oh... I didn't see you there. Yes, I feel better today. You have such a beautiful owl. What's his name?" she continued to stroke Hedwig.

                "Actually, it's a female. Her name's Hedwig," Harry answered. Bellatrix nodded. Suddenly, Harry got a whiff of bacon and eggs coming from downstairs. "It looks like Dobby and Kreacher made breakfast." he said. "Are you coming down?"

                "In a minute or two," Bellatrix replied calmly. Harry nodded and went downstairs.

                "Wow! Dobby, you didn't have to cook, you know, but it looks great all the same!" Harry declared as he walked into the kitchen. The large table had several plates of breakfast foods sitting on top of it. The sight made Harry's mouth water. He sat down to eat, and Bellatrix walked in and did the same a few moments later. Dobby and Kreacher sat down at the table as well. Harry had insisted they eat with them as equals. Harry had a question to ask Bellatrix, but he wasn't sure how she would react. He decided to be as casual as he could about it.

                "Bellatrix?" he asked timidly.

                "Hmm?" she responded as she looked up from her plate.

                "I know you did all those awful things against your will, but even so... you still know quite a bit about the Dark Arts, don't you?" Harry held his breath in anticipation. Bellatrix's face darkened.

                "Yes," she said guardedly. "Why do you ask?" Harry decided to get straight to the point.

                "I was wondering if you could teach me," he replied. Bellatrix choked on her pumpkin juice. She gave Harry a look of absolute astonishment.

                "Why on earth would you want to know anything about the Dark Arts?" she snapped.

                "I've finally decided that it's time to fight fire with fire. I'm tired of trying to kill Voldemort and failing every time. He needs to be dealt with his own hand. We'll never win otherwise," he said fiercely. Bellatrix tensed slightly at the sound of her old master's name, but let it go. She sighed and put her head in her hands. After a few moments, she looked Harry straight in the eye.

                "Harry, you don't know the extent of what you're asking. The Dark Arts destroyed my life. I've only just begun to repair my relationship with my sisters, and my niece still hates me. I never want to go back to that life and I don't want you to be pulled into it, either." She shook her head and looked away. Harry suddenly had an idea.

                "Well, then I guess I'm just going to have to learn on my own," he said casually. That got her attention, he thought. Her head snapped in his direction and her eyes looked panicked.

                "What! You can't do that! You'll kill yourself. You're insane if you think this is a safe idea!"

                "Well I'm not going to find out any other way, am I?" Harry said coolly. His plan was working brilliantly. Bellatrix closed her eyes for a second and bit her lip. She seemed to be wrestling with her conscience. Finally, her eyes snapped open again.

                "Alright. I'll teach you, but only because I'm convinced you won't use it for any other purpose than to destroy the Dark Lord," she whispered.

                "Thanks," he said simply, returning to his breakfast.

                Harry and Bellatrix were sitting in the study, reading. Harry had a Dark Arts book that Bellatrix told him to read and she was reading Witch Weekly. Harry looked at her with raised eyebrows.

                "What?" she said quizzically, peering over the magazine.

                "Why are you reading Witch Weekly?" he laughed. "Are you planning on cooking for Dobby and Kreacher? Or how about knitting a nice quilt for your bed?"

                "There are some interesting articles in here, you know," she grinned mischievously.

                "Whatever," Harry chuckled. Just then, a deep knocking on the front door could be heard. "I'll get it," Harry said. He got up from his chair and descended the various long flights of stairs to the foyer. He opened the door.

                "Hey Tonks," Harry said. "Come in." He stepped aside for her to enter the house. "Anything to report about the Order?" he asked as they moved towards the sitting area.

                "Nothing much to report, I'm afraid," she said sadly. "All we really did was argue about you," she sat down in one of the armchairs, looking defeated.

                "Me?" Harry said blankly. Tonks suddenly looked around the room, apparently searching for something.

                "She's not here, is she?" Tonks finally said suspiciously. Harry knew she meant Bellatrix.

                "No. She's up in the study. She can't hear anything," Harry replied. Tonks nodded and continued.

                "Well, I suggested that you be allowed in the Order, but of course, Dumbledore wouldn't hear of it. Molly didn't help the situation, either." Harry felt a sudden surge of anger. Did Dumbledore not care about his opinion, and why couldn't Mrs. Weasley just stop worrying about him all the time? Tonks leaned forward and put her face in her hands. "I'm sorry Harry. I tried, I really did."

                "Don't worry about it," Harry replied. "Do you want to stay for a while? I think there's some breakfast still left over, if you want some." Tonks shook her head.

                "Thanks Harry, but I need to go. My shift with Shacklebolt starts in an hour. Fudge will want me beheaded if I'm late. Besides, I don't think I can take being around Bellatrix." Harry nodded understandingly. "Bye, Harry," she said.

                "Bye," Harry replied as he led her out of the mansion. He heard footsteps coming down the stairs. He turned around to see Bellatrix standing there with her copy of Witch Weekly under her arm.

                "That was Tonks, wasn't it?" she said sadly. Harry wasn't about to lie to her.

                "Yeah," he replied. She nodded and looked down at the floor.

                "I wish she could find a way to forgive me," Bellatrix said quietly. "Despite everything, she's still my niece and I love her."

                "She will in time, I'm sure," Harry replied. He wasn't sure if it was true, but at least it made Bellatrix smile a little. Harry's heart gave an involuntary leap at her smile. He shook it off quickly, but it disturbed him slightly. Suddenly, the room felt very warm to him.

                "Erm... well, I think I'm uh... going to go out for a while. Maybe visit Ron," he stuttered.

                "Okay. I'll just finish this magazine I guess," Bellatrix replied. Harry nodded and walked out of the mansion. He took a deep breath once he was outside. What was wrong with him? Why had he suddenly felt nervous around her? He decided to try driving his car to the Weasley's house. He figured the drive would help him clear his head.

                As he drove up the Weasley's front drive, a curious sight met his eyes. All the Weasleys were scrambling around in the front yard, grabbing all their magical items and shoving them haphazardly into the house. The only person who didn't seem to be in a panic was Ginny, who was standing in the front yard, grinning broadly at Harry. He parked in front of the house and slowly got out of his car, extremely confused.

                "What's going on?" he called to them. All the Weasleys immediately stopped their scrambling and turned to look at Harry, dumbstruck.

                "Harry!" Ron yelled in amazement. "But... you have a car!"

                "Yeah! Like it?" Harry replied, grinning.

                "It's wicked," the twins said in unison. Everyone looked impressed with Harry's Ferrari. Mr. Weasley was inspecting it from hood to tail lights, frequently muttering things like "absolutely astounding!" or "imagine that!" Molly looked disapproving. She came up to Harry and gave him a warm hug all the same, however.

                "Harry, dear. Are you sure this is the best thing for you? I get so worried about you all alone like that," she said with concern.

                "It's okay Mrs. Weasley. You don't need to worry about me; I can take care of myself now. No matter what Dumbledore thinks, this is one of the best things that's ever happened to me," Harry replied. Molly nodded but didn't look convinced. Ginny was standing a little way apart from her dad and brothers, admiring the car from afar, rather than closely inspecting it. Harry went over to say hello to her.

                "Everyone thought you were a muggle at first, that's why they were all trying to get rid of the magic in the front yard, you know," she told him. "Ron and the others were really mad when they found out someone moved into that huge mansion. They couldn't play Quidditch in the apple orchard anymore," she laughed.

                "You didn't tell them?" Harry asked. Ginny shook her head.

                "I thought it would be fun to let them find out for themselves," she replied. Harry chuckled.

                "I guess they didn't realize the mansion Sirius left me was the same one, then?" he asked.

                "Guess not," she shrugged. "Everyone was in a bit of a shock that day. It's not surprising." Harry nodded. "You'd better get them away from that car of yours or you might never get it back," she joked.

                "Right," Harry smiled. "Why don't you come see the house with me? Dobby's there. Kreacher, too, but he mostly stays out of the way." Ginny's eyes lit up at the thought of seeing sweet little Dobby.

                "Okay," she said. After prying the rest of the Weasleys away from his car, Harry and Ginny climbed inside and took off for the mansion.

                "What does the place look like?" she asked him as they zoomed down the road.

                "Pretty depressing, actually, but since Dobby and Kreacher have been cleaning it, it looks a lot better, especially with the windows open," he told her. As they pulled up in front of the mansion, Ginny whistled in amazement.

                "Wow, Harry. It's beautiful," she declared. Harry could see what she meant. Although the gargoyles and old look of the place had a gothic feel to it, there was something elegant about it.

                "Come on in," Harry replied, opening the front door. Ginny stepped into the foyer and looked around in awe.

                "Harry, this is really -" She stopped dead in her tracks. Bellatrix had just walked into the foyer from the kitchen. Both of their eyes widened in shock, but Ginny started trembling with fear. They did nothing but stand and stare at each other, both too shocked to speak or move. Harry smacked himself hard in the forehead. How could he have been so stupid to forget how Ginny would react to Bellatrix? He realized he obviously had not thought this plan out all the way through. He could think of nothing to say, except...

                "Oh s**t!" he muttered

© 2008 Ashleigh

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Added on December 16, 2008



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