Chapter XIII: A Peculiar Question

Chapter XIII: A Peculiar Question

A Chapter by Ashleigh

Remus pays a concerned visit to Tonks as Harry and Bellatrix plan for a family. Dumbledore asks Slipknat a suspicious question and the goblins resolve to notify Harry.


               "What are we going to do, Harry?" Bella asked him helplessly. She had stopped shaking, but tears were still flowing from her eyes. In a daze, Harry shook his head.

                "I- don't know..." Harry admitted. A baby? How on earth was he supposed to be a father? He was still a kid! Bella took a deep shuddering breath and stood up.

                "You realize this changes everything, don't you?" Bella asked in a trembling voice. Harry numbly nodded. He put his head in his hands and exhaled heavily.

                "I'm too young to be a father, Bella..." he muttered. Bella scowled and crossed her arms.

                "And I'm too old to be a mother!" she snapped. "That doesn't change anything. We're going to be parents and there's nothing we can do to change that, so deal with it!" She then dissolved into tears again. Harry looked up and sighed.

                "It'll be okay. We can handle this," Harry reasoned. "This may not be such a bad thing." Bella looked at him like he was some sort of martian, then actually let out a small smile.

                "Maybe you're right," she agreed. "What about Tonks? She's not going to take this well at all."

                "I think she already knows," Harry replied. He told her about how she had refused to leave until she knew what was going on and how he had told her that he had been worried about her and explained about the mood swings and vomiting. He left the part about Dobby spying on her out of the explanation. "Then she just stormed out of the mansion. She seemed really pissed off," he sighed. Bella frowned.

                "Well, at least that saves us the trouble of dropping another bombshell on the poor woman," she said. She gently rubbed her belly again and sighed. "I guess we have to start preparing for a family now." Harry nodded.

                "Yeah..." he replied. "Excited?" he asked her suddenly. Bella smiled faintly.

                "Maybe a little," she admitted. Harry gave a small laugh.

                "Me too," he grinned.

*   *   *

                Tonks stormed into her house and threw her cloak against the wall. Angrily kicking the door shut, she collapsed onto a chair in her living room. "I can't believe this," she muttered. If she had been correct in her diagnosis of her aunt, and she was pretty sure that she was, she was going to have a cousin in about nine month's time. She just hoped Harry wouldn't end up being her uncle. That was just too disgusting to think about.

                Tears started to blur her vision, but she angrily blinked them back. She wasn't a sap. She reminded herself that she was an Auror. Aurors were not supposed to show emotion or lose their head in bad situations. She showered and put together a quick dinner. Just as she was about to put it on the table, she heard knocking on the door.

                Immediately, she pulled out her wand and cautiously approached the door. She wasn't being paranoid. You couldn't be too careful these days. She peeked through the crack in the door and saw Remus Lupin, but she didn't open the door just yet. It could easily be a Death Eater using Polyjuice Potion.

                "What's your name?" Tonks asked him cautiously.

                "Moony," Remus answered without hesitation. Tonks smiled and breathed a sigh of relief before opening the door.

                "Hello Remus. What brings you here so late?" she asked casually, leaning against the door frame.

                "Molly's been worried about you. She asked me to see how you were," he replied calmly. Tonks scowled and sighed as she let Remus into the house.

                "Molly isn't my mother. I'm a big girl. I can take care of myself!" she retorted. Remus gave her a quizzical look.

                "Then why have you seemed so upset lately? I know your job isn't exactly a walk in the park but you've seemed more stressed than usual lately. Is there something going on that you're not telling anyone about?" he asked. Tonks wasn't a fool. She did the only thing she could do at that moment. She lied.

                "Of course not. Why would there be?" she asked. When Remus didn't reply, she continued. "Remus, it really is just work. When Harry finally gets rid of You-Know-Who, I'm sure I'll be much more easy-going, but until then I just have to do my job the best I can," she reasoned. Remus raised his eyebrows.

                "You seem to have a lot of confidence in Harry," he commented. "I do too, but you say that like you know for sure he'll win. Even I don't pretend to know that." Tonks fixed him with a cold stare.

                "Is it so wrong to have faith, Remus?" she retorted. Remus shook his head.

                "That's not what I meant..." he began but Tonks put her hands on her hips and scowled menacingly.

                "Then what did you mean?" she snapped. Remus just shook his head and sighed.

                "Nevermind," he said. Tonks looked towards the kitchen where her dinner was quickly becoming cold. She turned to Remus. "I've got dinner on the table. You want some?" she offered. Remus shrugged.

                "I haven't eaten yet. If you're sure," he replied. Tonks just laughed weakly.

                "Really. It's not a problem," she reassured him, getting out an extra plate and piling the extra food onto it before setting it on the table in front of the chair directly across from her. Remus sat down and slowly started his meal as Tonks took her own seat. She didn't touch her food right away yet, though. "Have you ever felt like the whole world was out to get you?" she suddenly blurted. Remus put down his fork and gave Tonks a quizzical look.

                "I think we all do at some point in our lives. Is there something in particular you want to talk about?" he asked her with a piercing stare. Tonks secretly kicked herself for acting so childishly and shook her head.

                "No. It was just..."

                "Hypothetical?" Remus finished her sentence for her. She sighed and nodded, continuing to eat her supper. Remus cleared his throat after a minute or two. "Don't take this the wrong way, but you're a millionaire now. It looks to me like you haven't spent a knut of it." He gave Tonks a questioning glance. Tonks sighed and put down her knife.

                "I just... haven't gotten around to it. I've been busy, that's all," she half-lied. The truth was, she still thought of it as Sirius' money, and she was just holding onto it until he returned. It was a ridiculous notion, she knew, but she couldn't shake the feeling. Remus' eyes softened sympathetically, which made Tonks scowl inwardly.

                "I understand... I haven't spent much of mine, either," he admitted. They finished their meal in subdued silence, and Remus looked down at his watch and frowned. "I have to get home. It's nearly nightfall."

                "Full moon?" she asked him casually. Remus looked up at her and nodded.

                "Yeah. Thanks for the supper. I'll tell Molly to relax a little," he said with a half smile. Tonks grinned back.

                "Anytime," she replied politely, showing him to the door. He walked outside and with one last backwards glance at her, he gracefully spun in a small circle and apparated on the spot. Tonks sighed and closed the door, making sure to recast all her security charms and spells.

                She was again reminded of Harry and Bella and frowned, punching a rather substantial hole into her wall out of anger.

*   *   *

                "So I guess the famous Harry Potter... The Boy Who Lived... The Chosen One... knocked up a Death Eater, huh," Tonks spat scornfully at Harry. It was the next morning and Tonks just couldn't resist going back to the mansion to show her resentment towards the situation. Harry chucked a cockroach cluster at her.

                "Well of course it sounds bad when you say it like that," he scowled.

                "Where is she anyway?" Tonks asked, looking around as if expecting Bella to jump out of the walls and attack.

                "Morning sickness," Harry replied. Tonks raised her eyebrows at him but said nothing. She sighed and leaned back in her chair.

                "Actually, you've been taking this a lot better than we expected," Harry told her. Tonks gave Harry a frightening glare.

                "Don't push it!" she warned menacingly. Just then, Bella walked into the sitting room, rubbing her belly and looking rather pale. Harry smiled when he saw her.

                "How are you feeling?" he asked her. Bella sighed.

                "Nauseous," she replied truthfully, sitting down as far away from Tonks as possible. She suddenly looked like she wanted to throw up again, but took a deep breath and the wave of nausea subsided.

                "Have you thought of any names yet?" Tonks asked them in a rather sarcastic voice. Bella shot her a stern look.

                "Why yes. If it's a girl, we're going to call her Nymphadora," Bella replied just as sarcastically. Tonks' fists closed angrily, but she unclenched them and managed a rather cold sneer.

                "Moody, aren't we?" she retorted. Harry sighed and rubbed his temples.

                "Will you both shut up for two seconds?" he said exasperatedly. Bella shot him a very angry look.

                "I'm carrying your baby! You'd better start showing me some more respect! You don't care about either of us, do you?" she cried, bursting into tears and fleeing upstairs to their room. As soon as she was out of earshot, Tonks started laughing.

                "Now that was funny," she chuckled. "Has she been that way the entire time?" Harry nodded reluctantly and sighed.

                "Oh sure. It's funny as long as you don't live with her," he replied.

                "Well it's your own fault!" Tonks snapped. Harry crossed his arms defensively.

                "Has it ever crossed your mind that I might be excited about a baby?" he asked. This was partially true, but mostly it was just terrifying.

                "Sure it has," she replied. "But you won't be so excited when it's crying in the middle of the night and you can't get it to go back to sleep." Tonks leaned back in her chair and yawned. She hadn't been getting much sleep lately.

                "Fudge is still working you around the clock?" Harry asked, changing the subject purposely. Tonks allowed the change and nodded.

                "As usual," she sighed heavily. "The rookies always get the graveyard shift," she shrugged. She looked down at her watch. Suddenly the fire turned green and Kingsley Shacklebolt's head appeared in the grate.

                "There you are. I thought I'd find you here," Kingsley's voice boomed. Tonks rolled her eyes.

                "What does that overweight bowling pin of a minister want now?" she snapped. Kingsley raised his eyebrows.

                "Careful about what you say, Tonks. He's still our boss," he warned wisely. Tonks sighed and nodded.

                "Unfortunately," she muttered. "What was so important that you couldn't wait for me at the office?" Kingsley shook his head sadly.

                "We've just discovered an entire family dead in their home. Suspected Death Eater involvement; the parents were found in their bedroom and four children in the basement." Tonks sighed again and shook her head.

                "Ages?" she asked.

                "Girl, age three, and three boys, ages five, seven, and ten. It looks like the cause of death for the children was the Cruciatus Curse and the Avada Kedavra Curse for the parents. We need you to help remove the bodies of the children," he answered professionally. Tonks' eyes clouded with sorrow, but she nodded.

                "I'm on my way," she replied briskly, grabbing her purse and cloak. "Bye Harry," she said. Kingsley's head turned towards Harry.

                "Ah, Harry. Terribly sorry about forgetting you. How are you?" he asked politely. Harry nodded in acknowledgement.

                "Fine thanks," he replied vaguely. "It looks like the Auror Department have their hands full," he commented. Kingsley nodded grimly before his head disappeared from the grate. Tonks had already left the mansion. From the doorway, Bellatrix appeared with a faint smile playing across her lips.

                "What is it?" Harry asked her, slightly confused. Bella just shook her head and walked into the room.

                "I overheard you and Tonks talking... are you really excited about the baby?" she asked sceptically. Harry's eyes widened. He wasn't sure what to say.

                "Well..." he began, thinking hard about his answer. "Yeah. I am," he finally decided. "Terrified... but excited," he grinned. Bella laughed.

                "I guess that's a reasonable answer, considering the circumstances," she replied fairly. She covered her mouth to yawn. "I think I'm going to take a nap. I've been exhausted all the time lately," she sighed.

                "Well, I guess that's normal," Harry replied, kissing her before watching her ascend the stairs to their bedroom. He smiled and grabbed his cloak. He hadn't taken his Ferrari for a drive in a long while. He'd been so worried about Bella and didn't want to leave her alone for too long, but now that he knew she was in fact better than alright, he couldn't wait to brush the dust off the steering wheel and get back in the driver's seat.

*   *   *

                Dumbledore walked through the front doors of Gringotts Wizarding Bank. Every head in the vicinity turned towards him and the goblins all bowed respectfully. He ignored the awed stares of everyone and walked straight up to the counter where Slipknat happened to be working at.
                "Ah, Mr. Dumbledore. How may I be of service?" the goblin bowed professionally. Dumbledore looked around suspiciously, then leaned closer to Slipknat and whispered so that no one else could hear him.

                "I'm here to discuss some rather pressing matters and to confirm a few things. Could this be done privately?" he asked, his paranoid eyes darting from goblin to witch to wizard, as if daring them to try to confront him. Slipknat nodded.

                "Of course Mr. Dumbledore. A private room will be prepared right away. Please wait just a few moments," Slipknat said obediently, walking into the back hall to find a vacant room. Dumbledore wrung his hands nervously. Even the other people in the bank seemed to notice that he did not look as calm and collected as usual. His pointed hat was lopsided and tattered, his long, silvery hair was knotted in several places and flyaway, and his robes looked crinkled and worn. The deep shadows under his eyes were evidence that he had not had a chance to relax in quite some time. Finally, Slipknat reappeared and walked back up to the counter. "Mr. Dumbledore, a room has been reserved for you. Please follow me."

                "Thank you," Dumbledore replied curtly, following the goblin down the hall to one of the rooms on either side. The room was marble, but instead of a large palladian window, podiums, and long pew-like benches, there were two poufy armchairs and a small slit of light that just barely qualified as a window. Torches on the walls made up for this lack of light. Dumbledore sat down in one of the chairs and twiddled his thumbs. Slipknat sat across from him.

                "What is it that you would like to discuss?" Slipknat asked him calmly. Dumbledore cleared his throat and leaned closer to the goblin.

                "I just wanted to confirm whether or not Harry Potter has questioned why I had the keys to his vaults and his mansions," Dumbledore said coldly. Slipknat shook his head.

                "As far as we are aware, Mr. Potter has not come to us with that question. If you don't mind me asking, why would you be so concerned? Surely, you had proper authority to remove the keys from my possession?" he prodded. Dumbledore's misty blue eyes turned to a steely grey as they so often did whenever he was agitated or nervous.

                "Of course," he replied cooly. "I simply took the keys because I thought it would be better to give them to him in person, rather than have him suffer through the legal system so soon after being forced to hear his godfather's last wishes through his will reading." This was partially true. Dumbledore did in fact want to give Harry the keys in person, but it wasn't to spare him heartache. Dumbledore knew that by giving Harry the keys in person, it would make him look more powerful and in control of the situation. If Harry thought that Dumbledore was in control, then he was likely to follow him and aid him in destroying Voldemort. Unfortunately, he didn't think he was welcome at Harry's new home and did not dare try and mend things just yet, for fear of sparking another argument and further damaging Harry's trust in him. Slipknat nodded.

                "Yes, that is the reason why I allowed you to take possession of the keys in the first place," he agreed. "Under ordinary circumstances, Gringotts goblins would hold onto the keys until the rightful owner picked them up, but seeing as how you are such a respected member of the wizarding world and you have taken young Mr. Potter under your wing for many years; the bank saw fit to release the keys to you to pass on," Slipknat replied with a polite bow. Slipknat wasn't a fool. He knew Dumbledore was becoming more and more unstable with each passing day. The whole world knew it, yet without sufficient proof that he was a danger to the community, there was nothing anyone could do to stop the mighty Albus Dumbledore.

                "I appreciate the compliment," Dumbledore replied politely. "It is getting late and I must attend to Hogwarts School matters. Thank you for seeing me on such short notice."

                "It is our pleasure, Mr. Dumbledore. Good day." Slipknat bowed Dumbledore out of Gringotts. Once the old man was out of sight, Slipknat beckoned Crawbeck and Griphook to him. He briefly explained the encounter with Dumbledore.

                "We have pledged our allegiance with Harry Potter," Crawbeck answered. "Therefore, we will notify him of this encounter. The goblins will not stay silent any longer," he announced.

© 2008 Ashleigh

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Added on December 16, 2008



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