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Chapter XIV: A Plot for Murder

Chapter XIV: A Plot for Murder

A Chapter by Ashleigh
"

Albus does something drastic, and Remus and Tonks are left shaken. Bellatrix proves her innocence to Tonks.

"

                Six months passed and spring seemed to pass through summer all too quickly and spiral downward into late autumn. It was now early November, and with the approach of winter came the rapidly approaching birth of Harry and Bella's child. Harry had been so preoccupied with taking care of Bella and his baby that he often forgot his seventeenth birthday had passed that year.

                "My back aches... my feet hurt... I look like a beached whale and this baby won't stop kicking me!" Bella groaned one night in bed. She grimaced with pain as her unborn child struck the side of the womb with their foot for the umpteenth time that evening. Harry sighed and shook his head before placing his book down and placing a hand over her belly.

                "Is there anything I can do to make you more comfortable?" he asked kindly, sympathizing with her. He knew pregnancy and childbirth probably weren't the easiest things to go through. Bella shook her head.

                "Not unless you can fast forward time about three and a half months," she snapped grouchily. Harry squeezed her hand before getting out of bed to get a glass of crushed ice for her from the kitchen. Despite how she complained, he knew she would love some crushed ice. She had woken him up enough times in the middle of the night asking for it.

                "Cravings and mood swings..." Harry muttered exasperatedly. Honestly, he didn't mind but found it amusing to poke fun at her for such things when she happened to be in a good mood (which was rare lately). He rummaged around in the icebox and pulled out some ice cubes, then grabbed a strong kitchen knife and began breaking up the ice until it was nothing more than shavings and slush. He poured it into a cup and took it upstairs to Bella. She smiled warmly as he handed her the ice.

                "How did you know?" she asked, beginning to eat the contents in the glass.

                "I can read your mind," Harry joked. Bella gave him a stern look and nudged him huffily in the shoulder, but couldn't pretend to be cross for more than a few moments. She laughed and rested her head on his chest and yawned before drifting off to sleep. Harry gently took the empty glass from her hand and placed it on the bedside table. He kissed the top of her head before dozing off himself.

*   *   *

                "Albus, are you sure you're not losing it a little bit?" Remus asked the old man late that evening at Grimmauld Place. The latest Order meeting had ended, and everyone had left but Remus decided to stay a while longer to talk to Dumbledore. He happened to agree with Tonks that Harry should be allowed a place in the Order and that Albus was starting to fall apart at the seams. Dumbledore gave Remus a long cold stare.

                "I'm quite sure my head is screwed on straight if that's what you're asking, Remus," he replied darkly. "Has Tonks been poisoning your mind with false ideas about me like she has been doing with everyone else?" Remus frowned.

                "This has nothing to do with Tonks and you know it, Albus." he replied calmly. "Lately you've seemed... obsessed," he finished. Before Dumbledore had a chance to respond, Remus continued with an explanation. "You are very set on aiding Harry in the destruction of Voldemort, and that is a noble act, but recently I've begun to notice that you seem to think of Harry as more of a means to an end, rather than an end in and of himself. I want Voldemort to be gone for good too, but not at the risk of using Harry." Remus' speech enraged Dumbledore. Couldn't they see that he was working for the greater good? He slammed a shaking fist down on the dining room table.

                "You... ALL of you... are delusional!" he spat. "It seems no one can see the greater good in this situation! Ridding the world of Voldemort is the most important thing right now and if that means that Harry will have to make a few sacrifices to save us all, then so be it! HE'S THE CHOSEN ONE! NO ONE CAN DEFEAT VOLDEMORT EXCEPT HIM!" he thundered. Remus' eyes grew narrow.

                "Then why won't you let him into the Order?" he asked icily. Dumbledore's face paled. He had been caught. His shoulders slumped.

                "Do you really want the truth, Remus?" he asked in a voice of mock reason.

                "That is all I've ever wanted, Albus," Remus replied calmly. Dumbledore sighed and walked around the table to stand face to face with Remus.

                "I won't allow Harry a place in the Order because he is not capable of wielding the kind of power I am," he said gravely. "Think about it for a moment, Remus. Suppose I let Harry into the Order; then what? Have everyone look to him for leadership instead of me? Oh no, that can't happen. You see, once Voldemort is gone, there will be room for a new, proper leader... Albus Dumbledore. I must admit, Harry is the key to stopping Voldemort, so I need him until then." He paused for a moment, allowing Remus to take in all this information.

                "What you're saying is... you want Harry to help you defeat Voldemort so that you can take Voldemort's place. You won't allow Harry a place in the Order because you're afraid he will eventually overthrow your power, without taking into consideration that he is still only a seventeen year old boy. What will you do if this crooked plan actually succeeds and Harry tries to overthrow your power once you've taken Voldemort's place?" he asked coldly. His body was starting to go numb. He couldn't believe that the kind old man he had trusted all his life had been manipulating all of them all along. Dumbledore shook his head and clicked his tongue disapprovingly.

                "Remus, you say that like I plan to become the next Voldemort. I have no intention of stooping down to his level of treachery. In actuality, I want to take Voldemort's place to undo all of his wrongs. Think how much better of a leader I would make than him, Remus. As for dealing with Harry after the destruction of Voldemort; I hope it never comes to that, but what is one more insignificant life when we are talking about the greater good? In that situation, surely Harry's death at my hands would only be another noble act on the pathway of world unity." He finished his rather long speech, a maniacal glint in his eyes. Remus backed away from the crazy old lunatic, horrified at what he was hearing.

                "You're insane!" Remus muttered furiously. "You've been lying to all of us all along! Tonks was right about you and I'm going to make sure the entire world knows what a fraud you are!" he yelled. Dumbledore just chuckled and took a menacing step towards the werewolf.

                "Come now, Remus. You wouldn't betray the one person who supported you throughout your life; the one who protected you during your school days and offered you a job when no one else would because of what you are. Face it, Remus. You are indebted to me. You wouldn't turn your back on an old man, would you?" Dumbledore's kind face was marred by the steely grey of his eyes. His stare seemed to pierce through Remus like a sharpened spear.

                "I owe you nothing. You destroyed that debt by threatening the life of my best friend's son. Goodnight Albus. Hopefully the healers in the mental health department of St. Mungo's will be able to provide you with the care you need," he said truthfully, turning to walk out of the room, but Dumbledore's cold voice stopped him.

                "That is unfortunate. I had so hoped I wouldn't have to do this, but I can't let you destroy my wonderful plan for world peace. Goodbye Remus," Dumbledore said in a very strange, unattached voice. Before Remus knew what was happening, Dumbledore had his wand raised and was pointing it at Remus' chest.

                "Avad-" he began.

                "STUPEFY!" a woman's voice shouted. A jet of red light whizzed past Remus' head, ruffling his hair. The spell hit Dumbledore smack dab in between his eyes. The old man lowered his wand and crumpled to the ground in a heap. Remus whipped around to see Tonks with her wand raised, breathing heavily. She slowly brought down her shaking hand and walked towards Remus. "Are you alright?" she asked. Remus shook his head slightly to shake off his shock before responding.

                "Yes, thanks to you barging in here when you did," he muttered, rubbing the back of his neck. "How did you know what was going on?" he asked her.

                "I didn't," Tonks admitted. "I got about half-way down the block before remembering that I'd left my purse. When I came back to get it, I saw this idiot pointing his wand at you. That's when I pulled out my own wand and set things straight," she replied, unceremoniously kicking Dumbledore in the ribs. The old man groaned but didn't get up. Remus sighed.

                "I can't believe he tried to kill me," he said, shaking his head. It seemed impossible that the greatest wizard who ever lived could attempt such an evil act. Remus himself was still having trouble absorbing it all in, even though he had witnessed it with his own eyes.

                "I can believe it," Tonks replied darkly. When Remus gave her a quizzical look, Tonks explained about how Dumbledore had tried to break into her mind so many months ago. Remus' mouth was hanging open in disbelief when she had finished. Without waiting for a response, she pulled out a pair of handcuffs from within her robes and stepped over Dumbledore to arrest him, but Remus placed a hand on her arm to stop her. "What?" she asked.

                "You're going to arrest him? I think he'd be better off at Saint Mungo's than Azkaban," Remus tried to reason. Despite his horrible actions, he was still Albus Dumbledore the greatest wizard who ever lived. Didn't he deserve some sort of mercy? Tonks scowled and pulled her arm out of Remus' grasp.

                "Will you let me do my job?" she asked irritably. Remus raised in hands in a surrendering motion and stepped aside. Tonks raised her eyebrows. "Thank you," she sighed. As she was about to bend down to place the handcuffs on him, Dumbledore sprang to his feet, knocking Tonks to the ground.

                "My dear Nymphadora," he said sourly. "Surely you didn't think a stunning charm would last for very long on me?" Tonks raised her wand and tried to cast a binding spell on the old man, but Dumbledore was quicker.

                "Expelliarmus," he drawled lazily, with a flick of his wand. Tonks' wand sprang from her hand and threw itself neatly into Dumbledore's. Remus raised his wand as well, ready to defend Tonks since she was now weapon-less, but Albus commanded Remus' wand to leave its owner as well. Dumbledore held his own wand at Tonks and Remus' throats, while twirling the other two in his left hand like batons. He chuckled.

                "It seems you've both been outwitted by an old man. Pity, really," he mumbled more to himself than anyone else.

                "Are you going to kill us or just toy with us like a cat?" Tonks spat bitterly. Dumbledore pondered this for a moment before he looked her straight in the eye. The insanity in the misty blue orbs staring at her made Tonks nauseous.

                "Not quite. One death for the greater good could be explained away easily by someone such as myself, but two... well, that complicates things a bit. The story isn't as believable anymore. I will let you go about the rest of your lives on one condition," he was still twiddling the two wands in his hand. Tonks wanted desperately to slap them out.

                "What condition?" Remus asked cautiously.

                "Why, that you don't breathe a word of my plan for world peace to anyone of course," Dumbledore replied with surprise, as if he couldn't believe anyone could be so naive. Tonks screeched with laughter.

                "HA! As if we'd ever let you get away with your delusional plan for... world peace did you say?" she yelled. She was shaking violently, both out of fear and anger. Dumbledore shook his head.

                "Nymphadora, I'm looking out for your best interest," he said gravely. When Tonks shrieked even louder, he continued. "No one will believe you. Think about it for a moment. Who is going to take the word of a clumsy, rookie Auror and a werewolf; especially against the word of someone such as myself? I would hate to have to resort to endangering the lives of the people you love, but if it is to serve the greater justice, then it must be." Tonks' face paled. Two people immediately sprang to mind; her parents. She would rather take Dumbledore's plan to the grave than see them die. Only one person came into Remus' thoughts, but it was enough to keep him quiet as well. Dumbledore smiled, knowing he had won.

                "Wonderful. I'm glad we settled things. It's getting rather late and I'm sure you're both looking forward to getting some well-deserved rest. Here are your wands and don't forget our little chat," he said pleasantly, ushering Tonks and Remus out of Number 12, Grimmauld Place. When they were outside, Tonks turned to Remus.

                "We can't let him get away with this, even if he does think he's the good guy," she told him. Remus nodded.

                "It's time we did something," he agreed. "But..." Tonks sighed. She didn't have to finish his sentence for him. She knew he was worried about who Dumbledore would be willing to kill to keep his secret.

                "He's right, you know. No one will believe us if we reported him. Even if they did, I'd lose my job for letting him walk away," Tonks sighed, leaning heavily against the brick wall. "I'll make sure Harry knows about this. If Dumbledore wants Harry as a pawn, then we have to make sure Harry won't allow himself to be used as a pawn." Remus nodded, but then gave Tonks a strange look.

                "Harry's barely left his home since Sirius' will reading, and that was over a year ago," Remus remarked. "As far as I know, you're the only one who's stayed in touch with him. What is he hiding?" It was a good thing it was pitch black out or Remus would have noticed Tonks' cheeks go red.

                "He's just depressed Remus," Tonks lied. "He's not hiding anything." Remus nodded but didn't seem to believe her.

                "I see. Well, tell him I wish him well. I think I'll let Kingsley and Mad-Eye in on what's happening as well," Remus told her. Tonks sighed and nodded her head before bidding Remus goodnight. She would see Harry right that minute. Something as important as this just couldn't wait.

*   *   *

                "Tonks, slow down! I can't understand a word you're saying," Harry said, looking at the babbling woman who looked panicked on his doorstep. He let her into the house and she sat down on the couch in the sitting room, her face very pale. She was taking deep breaths to try and calm herself. Harry sat down across from her and waited for her to speak.

                "Sorry," she murmured, a little embarrassed. She ran her fingers through her short, bright pink hair looking extremely stressed. Harry leaned back and sighed heavily.

                "That's alright. Now will you tell me why on earth you woke me up at three-thirty in the morning?" he asked, with his eyebrows raised. Tonks nodded and took another deep breath.

                "Dumbledore can't be trusted, Harry," she said flatly. Harry sighed and rubbed his temples in annoyance.

                "Tonks, I already knew that. Go home. I need to make sure Bella and the baby are okay," Harry snapped. Being prodded awake by Kreacher in the early hours of the morning had not put Harry in a very understanding mood. Tonks grabbed his arm and pulled him back down as he got up to leave.

                "No, Harry. This is serious! He tried to kill Remus," she panted. Harry's eyes widened and he stared at Tonks disbelievingly.

                "Wha... wh- what?" he stammered, not being able to think of anything more intelligent to say. Finally, the cogs in his brain slowly started to turn again and he managed to speak more than a sentence fragment. "When did this happen?"

                "Tonight, after the Order meeting," Tonks sighed. "I left my purse behind. When I came back to grab it, I saw Dumbledore with his wand pointed at Remus. He was using the Killing Curse incantation. I stunned him before he got the words out," she finished, sniffing only slightly before clearing her throat to cover up her emotion. Harry was thinking hard.

                "But... why would he try to kill Lupin? It doesn't make sense," he muttered, trying to take it all in. Tonks explained to him about Dumbledore's crooked plan to use Harry to get rid of Voldemort so that Dumbledore could take his place. She also told him about his idea to kill Harry once he achieved world power in order to stop him from overthrowing his rule. She also told him about how she couldn't arrest him because no one would believe her and that he had threatened to kill her parents if she told anyone.

                "… but I had to tell you," she finished. "I had to let you know, because if you're aware of his plan to use you, then you'll have the knowledge to resist his manipulation. He can't kill You-Know-Who without you, Harry. Now our only problem is figuring out how to get rid of both You-Know-Who and Dumbledore, so neither one of them gets power." Harry nodded. He didn't quite know what to say. He knew that Remus would most likely tell Kingsley and Mad-Eye, meaning that they would be on their side. He also knew he needed to warn the goblins, and give Crawbeck a chance to come up with a plan for his army. Luckily (or unluckily, whichever way you choose to look at it), Bella appeared in the doorway, saving Harry the need to respond. Her eyes were wide.

                "Harry, this means you're in danger," she said quietly. Harry, despite his best efforts to be kind to his pregnant girlfriend, rolled his eyes.

                "I've always been in danger, Bella," he sighed, ruffling his hair. "I thought you were still asleep," he added. Bella rubbed her large belly and scowled.

                "The baby woke me up. Excuse me for being concerned!" she snapped irritably. Tonks gave an audible snort of laughter from the couch. Bella glared at her. "What?" she demanded. When Tonks didn't respond, Bella crossed her arms and frowned. "I'm sick of this! We've done nothing but fight since the day Harry called that family meeting, and I've done nothing wrong since the will reading! How much more do I have to do to prove to you that I'm not a Death Eater?" she shouted. Harry stood up and put a hand on her arm, trying to calm her.

                "Bella, sit down. The baby..." Harry reminded her. He always had to remind her about the baby whenever she got stressed out. Bella reluctantly sat down. To Harry's surprise, Tonks spoke up and for once, it wasn't to insult her aunt.

                "You're right," she said simply. Harry and Bella both goggled at her. "This needs to be settled, but not until you prove your innocence. Guilty until proven innocent, after all," she growled menacingly. Bella's eyes narrowed.

                "You know damn well I can't prove anything!" she yelled. "Isn't my word enough at this point?" Tonks bent over with sarcastic laughter.

                "I think we both know the answer to that question," she spat bitterly. She pulled a vial of clear liquid out of her robe pocket, and brandished it in front of Bella. "Do you know what this is?"

                "Veritaserum," Bella replied instantly. "I'm not a fool, Tonks." Tonks gave a crooked smile.

                "Care to try some, then?" she asked. Bella looked down at her stomach and bit her lip. "What's wrong? Afraid of the truth?" Tonks asked with a smirk. Bella shot her a nasty look.

                "I'm thinking about my baby, you idiot!" she snapped. Tonks rolled her eyes and threw the vial to Bella.

                "It won't hurt your baby. I may hate you, but I'm not about to murder an innocent child for your misdeeds," Tonks replied cooly. With one look at Harry, who shrugged his shoulders helplessly, Bella opened the vial and gulped down what was inside. Tonks stood up and looked her aunt straight in the eye with a stare of pure hatred. "Did you mean to kill Sirius?" she asked.

                "No," Bella replied simply. Harry gave Tonks a satisfied look, which she returned with a glare.

                "Do you feel remorse for his death, knowing you didn't mean to kill him?" Tonks continued. Bella nodded.

                "Yes," she replied. Tonks took a deep breath and continued her questioning.

                "Did you marry Rudolphus Lestrange willingly?" she asked.

                "No," Bella answered immediately. It continued on like this for quite some time, Tonks seemingly determined to find some trace of evil in the woman sitting in front of her, but every answer Bella gave just proved her innocence more and more. Defeated, Tonks slumped and sighed. She knew that her accusations had been false all along. She pulled out her wand and muttered the spell to reverse the effects of the potion.

                "I'm sorry," she said through gritted teeth once Bella had come back to herself. "I guess I should trust Harry's judgement more," she sighed reluctantly, getting up. "Don't go thinking we're the perfect niece and aunt, alright?" she snapped. Bella gave a rather wry smile.

                "The Black family has never been known for perfection," she replied. Despite herself, Tonks laughed. At least the woman had a sense of humour.

                "I guess not," she said quietly.

                "Being an Auror must have its perks, like being permitted to carry Veritaserum around in your pocket," she observed. Tonks nodded.

                "Not that it was... legal... to use it on you," Tonks reminded her. Bella made a silent motion of zipping her mouth shut to say that she wouldn't tell anyone about Tonks' "misconduct". Tonks chuckled and nodded before standing up to leave. "Bye Harry... and Bellatrix," she added in an effort to try and get along with her. She still refused to call her Aunt Bellatrix, though. Bella smiled and nodded as Harry saw Tonks to the foyer.

                "I'll let the goblins know about what's going on with Dumbledore," Harry told her. Tonks nodded.

                "I figured you would," she agreed. On a different note, she added "Take care of your family, Harry," she said as she walked out of the mansion. "Oh and Remus wishes you well," she told him, suddenly reminded of his message. Harry laughed.

                "I will. Tell him the same from me," Harry replied, closing the door. He went back into the sitting area to help Bella up and start breakfast. It was now 5:45am, and neither Harry nor Bella felt like going back to sleep.

                Once again, Harry felt as though his life was undergoing upheaval. This time, he wasn't sure if he would be successful in surviving it…



© 2008 Ashleigh


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Added on December 16, 2008


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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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