Chapter XVI: Fear and Loss

Chapter XVI: Fear and Loss

A Chapter by Ashleigh
"

Remus looks for answers and is told the truth about Harry and Bellatrix. Harry fears that Voldemort is getting too close to his family and Tonks is given heartbreaking news.

"

                Tonks rapped urgently on her parents' door for the seventh time that week. Since Dumbledore's threat, she had been visiting them every day to reassure herself that they were okay. At first, they had been glad to see their daughter more often but now Tonks felt that she was beginning to worry them. She hadn't acted this dependant on her parents since the age of two, and it certainly wasn't normal behaviour for a grown woman of twenty-three years to be so strangely attached to her parents all of a sudden. Tonks didn't care. As long as she kept visiting, she would convince herself that they were safe... until the next day when she visited again. They were alive and Tonks would make sure that they stayed alive.

                "Nymphadora?" Ted inquired when he opened the door. "Honey, don't you think visiting us every day is a little unusual? Not that your mother and I don't appreciate the company, but... well, we're concerned," he sighed before letting his daughter into the house.

                "Really Dad, I'm fine," Tonks lied, shedding her winter cloak and scarf as she walked into the kitchen to greet her mother. Andromeda smiled and kissed her on the cheek. "Hey Mum," Tonks told her.

                "Hello dear. Your father's right, Nymphadora," she persisted, taking her daughter's hand and leading her to the couch in the living room. "Is there something going on that you want to talk to us about? Is something troubling you?" Tonks shook her head.

                "No Mum. I just want to see you more often, that's all," she lied once again. "You know, just... check up on things and make sure everything's alright here," she vaguely hinted. Andromeda and Ted exchanged worried glances. Ted sighed.

                "Nymphadora, you're our daughter. We're the ones who are supposed to look after you, not the other way around," he pointed out gently as Andromeda nodded in agreement. "There must be something that's frightened you. Why won't you tell us?" he inquired. Tonks knew that she could not tell them and transfer her own fear onto their shoulders. She also knew that if she stayed at her parents' house any longer, they would keep questioning her and Tonks didn't want to deal with that. Besides, she had made her visit for today. They were alive and well and most likely would be tomorrow, she reasoned with herself. Glancing down at her watch, Tonks faked a shocked expression and shook her head.

                "Sorry Mum, Dad, but if I don't leave now, I'll be late for my shift at work," she told them, getting up to put on her cloak and scarf. She had the day off today, but they didn't know that and work was always a good excuse for getting out of unwanted social situations Tonks found. "Bye. It was good to see you," she told them, kissing them goodbye. Andromeda quickly grabbed a small handful of homemade cookies from a jar on the kitchen counter and returned to the small foyer with them wrapped, handing them to her daughter.

                "Take these with you, Honey," she told her. "You must not get to eat often enough with that dreadfully dangerous job of yours," she said, worried. Tonks laughed and accepted the cookies.

                "Thanks mum," she said simply, too tired to get into her usual argument with her mother about how she loved her job and would not ever consider changing careers, especially after spending all that time and money at Auror school. The dangerous part gave Tonks an adrenaline rush which was part of the reason she loved being an Auror so much. Tonks walked out the door with her mother's cookies in her hand. Nibbling on one, she decided she would go visit Harry and Bellatrix since she couldn't think of anything more productive to do.

*   *   *

                Remus Lupin put down his book and sighed. He had read the same paragraph ten times and had still not taken in a word of it. He was too preoccupied... too worried. She was safe for now, since he was positive Dumbledore had no knowledge that he had told anyone of his dire threat. Kingsley and Mad-Eye were good Aurors who would never let the information he and Tonks had shared with them leak outside of their circle.

                That pit in his stomach gave another lurch as his anxiety and concern for her safety returned. Dumbledore had threatened to tear the people he loved most out of his life. There was only one person Remus loved in this world, and that was her. He imagined the most horrific fates befalling her and he shivered and covered his face with his hands. He couldn't sit here and drive himself crazy like this. He had to preoccupy his mind with something. The book he had put down was useless, he needed to go somewhere and do something. The problem was where? He did not have a steady job to go to, he didn't have any close friends, and he wasn't the kind of individual to just hang around in pubs for no apparent reason.

                "Harry..." Remus murmured to himself, slowly rising from the chair he was sitting in. That was it. He would visit Harry. After all, he had been meaning to check up on him lately. He had been holed up inside his mansion for nearly an entire year now without contact with anyone other than Tonks as far as he knew. Picking up a recent issue of The Weekly Prophet (not to be confused with The Daily Prophet), Remus scanned over the article he had read in detail before and frowned. The title read Mystery Man Harry Potter Is Back... With Diapers?

The famous Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived, The Chosen One has recently shown himself in public after months of secrecy and hiding in his new residence inherited by his deceased godfather, Sirius Black (formerly a wanted criminal, but cleared of all charges once his innocence was proven after his death). Several witnesses claim they saw Mr. Potter walking down the streets of Diagon Alley, heavily laden with baby supplies.

Reasons as to why Mr. Potter was carrying these items are beyond the knowledge of just about everyone. When questioned about his sighting of Mr. Potter, Ralph Dunladen who is a wizarding resident had this to say:

"I didn't even recognize him at first. He wasn't wearing glasses and had a pierced ear; you wouldn't be able to tell it was him at first glance now. I spoke to him not realizing who he was, of course. He asked me if there was a baby supply store in Diagon Alley and I told him he'd need to find what he needed in all the stores. I thought he was just another young lad helping his mother shop for a younger sibling."

Countless other accounts insist that Mr. Potter emerged from the various shops with a box of baby books, a bag of toys and clothes and yet another bag containing a dismantled crib. What secrets could Mr. Potter be hiding behind the walls of his mansion?


                Remus put the newspaper back down on the table, unnerved. What had Harry been doing with all of this stuff? Remus had been trying to come up with a reasonable explanation for the situation for days without any success. Pocketing the article, Remus headed out the door. He would find out soon enough.

*   *   *

                Dobby welcomed Tonks into the foyer and went to call for Harry. He soon appeared, looking extremely worn out. Tonks raised her eyebrows as she followed him into the sitting room. "You look half-dead," she commented bluntly. Harry sighed and flopped down on the couch.

                "You'd be too if you hadn't slept for days," he snapped. "Bella keeps waking up in the night uncomfortable and she keeps having nightmares. Not to mention my own nightmares over last week's article in The Daily Prophet about Voldemort looking for her," he sighed, leaning back and rubbing his temples. It suddenly struck Tonks how fast this boy had been forced to grow up.
                Poor kid, she thought sympathetically.

                "Does she know?" Tonks asked. She had read the article too. Harry shook his head.

                "No. I don't want to scare her while she's pregnant. She's already having a hard time as it is," he replied, trying to stifle another yawn. Tonks raised her eyebrows.

                "You really do love her, don't you?" she asked. She had thought they were both just being delusional before, but now she was starting to see the truth. Harry rolled his eyes.

                "No, I've just been having sex with her for the past eight months to give me something to do," he replied sarcastically. Tonks made a face.

                "Alright, alright. You don't have to put images in my head," she retorted. As she said that, Dobby came running into the room, bobbing up and down nervously. "Dobby, what's up?" she asked the house elf in concern. Dobby bowed and cleared his throat.

                "Mr. Potter, Ms. Tonks... Mr. Lupin is here. Should Dobby let him in?" he asked. Dobby was under strict orders not to let anyone except Tonks into the mansion. It was too dangerous for Bella and their baby. If the information that she was living there; pregnant with Harry Potter's child leaked out, it would mean certain death for both of them. Harry and Tonks exchanged nervous glances.

                "Tell him to wait a minute Dobby," Harry told the house elf. Dobby bowed and went to tell Remus Harry's message. "I'm just going to make sure she's still asleep," he told Tonks, running up the staircase to check on her. Sure enough, when Harry entered their bedchamber, she was fast asleep in the bed, one hand resting on her large stomach. Harry sighed with relief and quickly scribbled a note to her to leave on the bedside table.

Bella,

Stay upstairs until I say it's okay for you to come down. Lupin's here and I'm not sure if it's safe for him to know about you living here and about the baby. Don't worry; you'll both be fine as long as you stay up here.

Love Harry.


                He placed the parchment in a position where she would see it as soon as she woke and he ran back down and gave Dobby the okay to let Remus in the mansion. A minute later, Remus appeared in the sitting room being led by Dobby, who bowed. "Thank you Dobby," Remus said kindly before the house elf beamed and ran off to clean something. He turned to look at Harry and Tonks. "Fancy seeing you both here," he commented.

                "Hello Remus," Tonks said, nodding as she sat back down. Harry and Remus followed suit. Remus nodded back to her and pulled out the latest issue of The Weekly Prophet throwing it down on the table in front of them.

                "I take it you haven't gotten this week's issue yet," he remarked. Harry shook his head. Plain as day on the front page was a picture of him in Diagon Alley with the baby supplies he had bought that day. His heartbeat quickened. Voldemort would see this, and there was no doubt he would be very interested to find out why his nemesis needed child care products. He was getting too close to Harry's family for comfort. Trying to keep calm, he maintained an unperturbed face and looked at Remus.

                "It's amazing the kinds of stories reporters will come up with for a good headline," Tonks laughed, trying to save Harry the trouble of responding without making Lupin suspicious. Remus' eyebrows rose.

                "There's a picture of him," he said simply. "What I fail to understand is why Harry would need these things. Perhaps I wouldn't be so perturbed if Harry hadn't cut off all contact with everyone around him except you," he said. He didn't seem angry or irritated, simply confused. Tonks looked down at the floor and bit her lip. Even she could not help Harry this time. Remus turned to Harry. "I think you have a very big secret, Harry and you're afraid to tell anyone. I think this secret is the reason you've been so secluded this past year and I also think that Tonks knows about it and is protecting you. Now, I think I have a fairly good notion of what this secret is," he said. Tonks and Harry stared at each other, confused. How on earth could he figure it out?

                "And what exactly do you think this secret is?" asked Tonks in a voice of mock innocence. Lupin cleared his throat and raised his eyebrows, glancing at Harry, then Tonks, then Tonks' stomach. Getting the hint, Harry and Tonks burst into hysterical peels of laughter. Them? Together? With a baby on the way? It was just too funny for the two of them to think about. Once Tonks finally regained some sort of control, she managed to gasp her reply.

                "That's the grossest thing I've ever heard," she cackled. Wiping her teary eyes from her outburst, she sat up straight again, still chuckling. Harry shook his head.

                "No, just... no," he said, not knowing how else to put it. Remus looked extremely disbelieving. Harry couldn't really blame him after all. What other explanation could there be from his pint of view? Tonks was the only person who had stayed in touch with Harry. The conversations they had were kept private to protect Tonks' job, and Harry had recently been spotted purchasing baby supplies. He had to admit, he'd probably be suspicious of himself too if he was in Remus' shoes.

                "Then there must be another explanation, but I fail to see how that is possible," Remus insisted in a calm, level voice, but there was something in his eyes that made Harry feel an unexplained sympathy for the man. Tonks sighed.

                "Remus, I'd no sooner have Harry's baby than willingly change my hair to a normal colour," she snapped irritably. "Now, if that's the only reason you came to see Harry, you wasted your time." Tonks stood up to stretch her stiff muscles and shot Remus an annoyed glare.

                "She's right," Harry told him. "I mean, have you ever seen Tonks with normal hair?" he asked. Remus did not look amused at the feeble attempt at a joke. A voice from the doorway caught everyone off guard.

                "You always were stubborn as a mule, Remus. Just like my cousin," she said irritably. All three people whipped around. Harry's head jerked towards Bellatrix in panic. Remus' eyes widened in shock and he immediately took out his wand, prepared to fight. As Bellatrix walked a step forward and the light from the sitting room windows washed over her, Remus instantly realized she was heavily pregnant and slowly lowered his wand but didn't put it away. He wouldn't be responsible for the murder of an innocent child.

                "Bella! Why didn't you stay upstairs?" he asked feebly. Bella glanced quickly at Remus and gave a wry smile.

                "I didn't think our baby was in any danger around him. I also happen to think he cares about you enough to be trustworthy," she replied sensibly. At these words, Remus sank down into his chair again staring blankly. He looked as if someone had clubbed him over the head with a very heavy brick. Harry sat down across from him and sighed.

                "I guess you know the secret now," Harry told him. Not wanting to explain the entire story himself, he looked to Tonks who nodded and began to tell Remus of Sirius' will reading and how Harry had gone back to Gringotts for more information about the marriage contract and found out that Bellatrix had been forced into her marriage with Rudophus and had been his slave. Then Harry interjected with how it was Rudophus who had forced her to become a Death Eater and kill all those people, and how Sirius' death had been an accident. "After the meeting I called to help clear her name, I offered her a place to stay, and then, well..." Harry finished, knowing that Remus could guess the rest. Remus stared at all three of them for a moment, and then slowly nodded his head.

                "Well... this is... nearly unbelievable," he muttered, looking at Bellatrix. She cleared her throat nervously.

                "Harry and I need your silence about this," she said quietly. "If this gets out, Voldemort will know where to find me. I know he's angry with me for running away from his service. My brand hasn't stopped burning all month, and once he knows where I am, he won't think twice about killing our entire family," she told him, gesturing to Harry, herself and the child in her belly. Remus sighed heavily and gave a slight nod.

                "I will not betray Harry, and I trust the judgement of him and Tonks. I would not destroy him by allowing his child to die... or you," he told her. This was a lot to take in, but the bottom line was his best friend's son was having a child of his own and it was plain for all to see how he loved both his unborn baby and Bellatrix. Remus would not be responsible for taking that away from him. Any happiness Harry could find in his difficult life was happiness Remus welcomed and accepted as far as he was concerned.

                "Thank you," Harry whispered, clearing his throat awkwardly to mask his emotion. Standing up he gently helped Bellatrix to her feet. She smiled weakly as Remus shook her hand. Remus nodded curtly as he said his goodbyes to all three of them.

                "Actually, I think I'm just going to stop by the office to pick up any paperwork Kingsley left for me. I'd better go. Goodbye," she said, leaving a few minutes after Remus.

*   *   *

                The second Tonks walked into the Ministry, she knew something was very wrong. People gave her sad stares as she headed up towards the Auror Department. Frowning, Tonks stepped off the elevator and entered her small office. To her surprise, her desk didn't have a single piece of parchment on it that hadn't been there that morning. It seemed as though Kingsley had come in person instead of leaving her papers. He was standing by her desk, apparently waiting for her. She was about to crack a joke about the lack of papers, but immediately swallowed it back down when she saw the sombre look on his face.

                "What is it? What's wrong?" she asked immediately, worry plain in her voice. Kingsley's eyes softened and he took a step forward. Tonks could feel her heart banging against her chest wildly. Was that pity in his eyes? Sympathy? He shook his head and put a comforting hand on her shoulder.

                "Tonks... I'm so sorry..." he began. Her face paled and she felt her knees go very weak. Catching her breath to speak, she whispered.

                "What? Tell me straight Kingsley," she demanded. He sighed and looked her straight in the eye.

                "Your parents... they were found in their home this morning. They're dead, Tonks," he said as if it hurt him to say this to her. Tonks' vision went fuzzy and her brain felt the same way. Her knees gave way, but Kingsley supported her and led her to the chair at her desk.

                "No," she whispered numbly. "I-I saw them this morning... they were fine..." she gasped. Suddenly she couldn't breathe. She felt as if the walls of her office were caving in on her and she didn't even notice when she began to cry. Kingsley put an arm around her shoulder and called out to anyone in the hallway who could hear him.

                "We need a healer in here! Tonks is having trouble breathing!" he yelled as Tonks slumped against him, sobbing. She had checked on them every day, and they had still died. If only she had stayed a few minutes longer... "We'll find who did this and have them in Azkaban before they know what happened to them, Tonks. I promise," he told her. Tonks barely heard him and was oblivious to the healer who had come rushing in with his wand to open her airway.

                Dumbledore and Voldemort... they'll both pay! Tonks thought savagely, her vision still blurred by uncontrollable tears. I'll have my revenge in the end, even if I die doing it! That was all Tonks remembered of that night.



© 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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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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