|SIYE Time:9:25 on 17th August 2018|
Category: Pre-OotP, Post-OotP, Alternate Universe
Characters:Albus Dumbledore, Draco Malfoy, Harry/Ginny, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Minerva McGonagall, Neville Longbottom, Nymphadora Tonks, Other, Remus Lupin, Ron Weasley, Severus Snape, Sirius Black
Genres: Drama, Romance
Warnings: Dark Fiction, Death, Disturbing Imagery, Extreme Language, Intimate Sexual Situations, Mild Language, Mild Sexual Situations, Negative Alcohol Use, Sexual Situations, Violence/Physical Abuse
Summary: Sequel to Darkness Within. This story begins the night before Harry's fifth year at Hogwarts. Canon couples accurate to JKR. The romance between Harry and Ginny will develop slowly due to their ages. Please note rating and warnings.
Hitcount: Story Total: 27339; Chapter Total: 746
Awards: View Trophy Room
Thank you to my beta, Arnel, for her work on this chapter! Thank you to everyone who has been reading and reviewing!
Poppy exited her office as the hospital wing doors opened. Seeing the Headmaster with his arm around Harry Potter, she hurried over to the boy.
“Harry, come over to this bed,” the matron directed, guiding him efficiently to the empty bed next to Ginny’s. With a wave of her wand, a curtain appeared, allowing her to examine the boy privately.
“I’m glad you’re back at Hogwarts, Albus,” Molly said quietly.
He smiled, though his eyes were void of their usual twinkle. “It’s good to be here, though I wish the circumstances of my return were rather different.”
She nodded. “Any word from St. Mungo’s?”
“Nothing yet, though I’m sure someone will come as soon as possible to update us on Sirius’s condition.”
“They’re all lucky to be alive,” Molly murmured.
“They are indeed.”
The curtain vanished, revealing a sleeping boy with messy black hair. Poppy slipped the bottle of Dreamless Sleep back into her pocket.
“Albus, if you could please come into my office for a moment…” she began.
The hospital wing doors opened once more. Tonks hurried in, followed by Mad-Eye Moody.
“The Healers say Sirius is stable,” she announced. “He’ll be there for a couple of weeks, and he’s on a dozen potions, but they believe he’s going to be okay. Remus is staying with him.”
Poppy smiled. “Thank goodness. I always had a soft spot for that boy.”
“Spoke to Kingsley just before coming here.” Moody smirked at Albus. “Word is you’re about to be reinstated as Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. He’s laying the groundwork to push an acquittal for Sirius through as soon as possible.”
The Headmaster nodded. “I’ll contact Amelia Bones later today. It would certainly be wonderful to have Sirius formally cleared before he leaves St. Mungo’s.”
“It’s well past time for that boy to finally be exonerated.” Poppy sighed. “Tonks, please come into my office. I suppose you had better come along as well, Alastor.”
The Aurors exchanged pointed glances as they followed the matron and Headmaster.
As the door closed behind them, Molly went to Harry’s bedside. She smoothed his dark hair back from his forehead. In all honesty, Sirius was not her favorite person, but she was relieved to hear that he was going to be okay. He deserved to have more time with his godson, and perhaps having his name finally cleared would help Sirius focus more on his responsibilities as a godfather. Looking around the full hospital wing, she struggled with her emotions. Children should not be in such danger. How could this be happening again? Losing her brothers in the first war had nearly broken Molly. If she hadn’t had her husband and children to distract her and help her focus…
The office door opened. Tonks and Moody exited first, murmuring to each other in hushed tones as they left the room. The Headmaster followed them, looking older and more tired than Molly was used to seeing him. Augusta’s face was rigid as she walked quietly towards Anna’s bed, Poppy a few feet behind her.
Standing by the girl’s bed, Augusta took her hand gently in her own. “You’re sure?” she asked quietly.
Poppy nodded. “I’m very sure. I examined her quite thoroughly. She wouldn’t tell me anything about what happened, but I know he didn’t succeed.”
“Can’t you heal her, now?” Augusta murmured.
The matron shook her head. “I’m sorry. We need to wait. Tonks will be back soon, hopefully before Anna wakes. It’s important for an Auror to see the bruises first, before we heal them.”
“Why didn’t she tell me? She Floo called and told me everything else that happened yesterday evening, including Hermione leading Umbridge and Harry away.”
Poppy shrugged. “It’s not an easy thing to tell. Many girls, and women, feel embarrassed or guilty, even though they did nothing wrong. I truly think she intended to tell you. Perhaps when she was just about to, she couldn’t quite find a way to say the words.”
Augusta nodded and looked up. Her eyes met Molly’s across the room. Holding out her hand, she whispered, “I don’t know what to say to her when she wakes up.”
Molly blinked away her tears as she walked over, taking the older woman’s hand in her own. “Just remind her that she’s safe, that you love her.”
“I never thought such a thing could happen at Hogwarts,” Augusta murmured.
The three women waited together in silence, lost in their own thoughts as they watched over the children.
Tonks was furious. She looked carefully around the empty classroom moving her wand slowly as she gathered evidence. The blouse and skirt were near the wall. Buttons were missing, the cloth was slightly torn on both garments. Draco’s wand was on an old desk near the door. Moody performed the Reverse Spell, revealing that the last spell cast by Draco’s wand was an Imperturbable Charm.
Gritting her teeth, she continued to move slowly about the empty classroom.
“Check out this knife,” Moody said.
She walked over to her mentor waving her wand carefully above the short, serrated knife on the floor. “It’s conjured.”
“Correct,” he replied.
They both moved to the large flat net of rope towards the back of the room.
“Ever seen anything like that?” she asked.
“Nope. Let’s go talk to Flitwick. He managed to remove it,” Moody said.
Sighing, she followed her partner to the Ravenclaw Head of House’s office. He was clearly waiting for them.
Once they were seated and had declined tea, Mad-Eye began to question the professor. “What did you first notice when you entered the classroom last night?”
“The first thing I noticed was Mr. Malfoy lying flat on his back under a net, hanging out of his pants. I mean that quite literally,” he spat.
“So, I take it he was not wearing trousers at the time,” Moody observed.
“No, he was not,” Flitwick stated. “The boy was undressed to his undergarments.”
“And the net?”
The Charms professor leaned forward. “Quite a wonderful piece of magic. I’ve never seen anything exactly like it before, although it is similar to the old hunting nets used by the ancient Picts to catch birds.”
“You were able to move it though,” Tonks said.
“Well, of course,” he admitted. “Though it took me a few tries to shift it over. Lovely bit of magic!”
“What did Mr. Malfoy say and do after you revived him?” Moody asked.
The professor gritted his teeth. “He complained about not having…uh…finished his task…not having claimed Miss Henry. The bloody…” He breathed deeply. “Mr. Malfoy expressed disappointment that someone, he wondered if it was Mr. Potter or Mr. Weasley, managed to interrupt him before he had the opportunity to cement his family’s alliance with Miss Henry.”
“Fucking git,” Tonks whispered.
“Quite,” her former professor agreed.
Moody snorted. “Did Mr. Malfoy express any concern for Miss Henry, any belief that she may have misinterpreted his intentions?”
“The only concern he expressed was that the betrothal might not take place, that he may have lost the young lady to another.” Flitwick explained. “He was concerned about the identities of those who had shown interest in a betrothal with Miss Henry.”
“Where is Mr. Malfoy now?”
“I turned him over to Professor Snape since he’s the Head of Slytherin House.”
Moody thanked the professor for his time and led them down the stairs back towards the hospital wing. “Your turn now,” he said gruffly. “Girl’s been through too much to face me. Better you question her alone.”
“Damn it, Moody,” Tonks spat. “My cousin attacked that girl. She’s just a kid, Remus’s student!”
“And what’s Remus to you now?” Mad-Eye inquired.
She scowled. “He’s my friend.”
“Oh, shut up!” Tonks muttered.
He smirked. “I’ll go see Severus and talk to the Malfoy boy.”
Pushing open the hospital wing doors, she walked quietly towards the last bed. Augusta, Molly, and Poppy were all waiting silently. They were tense, nervous because she was there to question the girl they all wanted to protect. Sometimes she hated being an Auror.
Closing her eyes briefly, she walked up to Anna and touched her hand lightly. “Are you awake?” Tonks half expected her to lie still and quiet, pretending to be asleep.
“Can I get you anything, a cup of tea, perhaps?” Tonks asked quietly.
“No, thank you.”
“Please tell me what happened between you and Draco Malfoy yesterday evening.”
The other women shifted uncomfortably beside them.
“Anna, I know this is difficult, but in order to press charges and secure a conviction, I need to know what happened.”
“What happens if I press charges?”
“We arrest Draco Malfoy,” Tonks explained. “He goes into a holding cell at the Ministry until the case goes before the Wizengamot.”
“And, what sort of evidence is necessary for conviction?”
“You would need to provide testimony about what he did to you. Professor Flitwick would be called to provide evidence since he found Mr. Malfoy and spoke with him last night. Madam Pomfrey would discuss the medical evidence,” she said.
“What kind of sentence would he receive?” Anna asked.
“It depends upon the findings. Attempted rape is usually one year.”
“And when the accused is underage, a minor?”
“It varies, but typically the sentence is reduced.” Tonks admitted.
“So, basically, if I tell everyone what happened, Draco might spend less than a year in Azkaban and would likely be let off with a slap on the wrist because he’s a minor.”
“I know it’s not a perfect system, but if you don’t press charges, he walks away from this like it never happened.”
Anna finally looked her in the eyes. “And, if I don’t press charges, I don’t have to testify, don’t have to see my name in the newspaper, don’t have to be questioned about whether or not I led him on in some way, don’t have to have my medical records made known to the Wizengamot.”
“You’re a pure-blood witch from a respectable family. Malfoy practically confessed to Professor Flitwick. He will be convicted if we press charges.”
“I’m not pressing charges,” Anna said quietly. “He’d spend one year in Azkaban at the most and probably a lot less. He’s a minor from a wealthy, pure-blood, influential family. He’d likely be let off with a warning, house arrest, or community service. I’m not willing to sacrifice my privacy for that.”
She shook her head, pressing her lips together in a stubborn line. “Is everyone else okay?”
“Yes, dear,” Augusta softly reassured her. “Everyone is going to be fine. Sirius was the worst injured and is in St. Mungo’s, but he is expected to recover.”
“I’m glad,” she murmured. “May I have some bruise paste, please?”
“Of course,” Poppy forced a smile. “Go ahead and undress, and I’ll start applying it. We’ll wrap your wrists in bandages soaked with Murtlap essence as well.”
Tonks and Moody walked into Sirius’s room at St. Mungo’s. One of the perks of being a convicted mass murderer and former inmate of Azkaban prison was a private room at the hospital. Remus glanced up tiredly from his chair and forced a smile. “He’s holding his own.”
“Course he is,” Moody growled. “Always was a tough kid. Go home to the Manor and get some sleep. You look like you need it.”
Remus stood and stretched. “Thank you. I’ll be back in a few hours.”
“Don’t come back ‘til morning. I’m not going into work until nine, and you two have things to discuss.” He gestured vaguely between Tonks and Remus before enlarging the chair Remus had vacated and relaxing into the cushions.
Tonks and Remus Apparated to the grounds of Longbottom Manor, walking along the path towards the house.
“How are the kids?” Remus asked.
“They’ll all be fine. Ron has some scarring on his arms. Poppy plans to keep him for a few more days. Hermione is going to have a slow recovery and will be taking a lot of potions for a while, but I think Poppy plans to release the others tomorrow.”
Remus rubbed his head tiredly. “I still can’t believe Harry ran after Bellatrix like that. He knows Sirius is going to make it, right?”
“Yeah, he knows. Poppy says he’s fine, and unlike when he says it, she actually means it.”
“Remus, sit down,” Tonks said quietly indicating the stone bench under a nearby tree. “Augusta asked me to tell you about Anna.”
“What about her?” he murmured sinking onto the bench. “Anna mentioned she wasn’t with the others because she fell and hurt her ankle.”
She nodded. “That’s true.” Tonks sat beside him, straddling the bench so she was facing him. “Remus, let me just say this quickly, okay, and then you can ask questions.”
“Draco Malfoy was part of the group that caught the kids using Professor Umbridge’s Floo. He separated Anna from the others and took her to an empty classroom. He…he tried to force himself on her. She stopped him. She won’t tell anyone exactly what happened, and she’s refusing to press charges.”
Remus stood up and walked over to the tree. He was breathing heavily and his hands appeared to be shaking. “Are you telling me that Draco tried to rape Anna?”
“Yes,” she whispered.
“Why isn’t she pressing charges?”
“She doesn’t want the publicity, doesn’t want everyone to know, but Augusta told me to tell you. Molly knows as well. She was in the hospital wing at the time. Anna didn’t seem to mind her hearing our conversation.”
“And the Malfoy boy?”
“He’s gone,” Tonks said. “Narcissa came to Hogwarts. She was both absolutely livid and quite frightened. For fuck’s sake, she was actually trembling. It was…odd.” Tonks bit her lip as she replayed the scene between mother and son in her mind. “First, she just asked him what he was thinking, and how could he do such a thing. She sounded completely appalled that he would try to force himself on the ‘pure-blood, underage heiress’ they were trying to secure a betrothal with. Narcissa seemed a bit relieved when I told her Anna was not pressing charges, but not as relieved as she should have been. She kept saying things like ‘do you realize what you’ve done?’ and ‘what if he finds out?’ and then, she told Draco to pack all his belongings. She said they were going to stay with friends in Finland.”
“They left the country?” Remus turned back to stare at her.
“Yeah,” she nodded. “I have a friend in the International Portkey Office. They left about an hour ago.”
“Who could she be afraid of? I mean…she wasn’t referring to Lucius, was she?”
“Mad-Eye told her Lucius was caught at the Ministry and was about to be sent to Azkaban. Narcissa was clearly upset by the news, but…” she shrugged. “I don’t know who Narcissa is afraid of, but I know who she should be afraid of.”
“Are you referring to me, because I fully admit, I’d like to rip the kid’s fucking head off,” Remus growled.
Tonks raised an eyebrow. She had rarely seen Remus look like the werewolf he was. He radiated power, anger, and strength. The mild-mannered tutor was gone, replaced by a man who had the potential to be extremely dangerous. “I was actually thinking of Charlie Weasley. I told you when the betrothal offer came in that Charlie must be very serious about her. We were in school together, and…he was fun, smart, easy-going, a great guy. He was also intense, driven, and passionate when he cared about something.”
Remus blew out a breath. He looked as though he was determined to regain control of his wilder instincts. “Tell me everything you know, please.”
“I don’t know much. Anna wouldn’t tell me anything.” She hesitated. “I’m curious though, do you think Anna is capable of wandless magic?”
He glanced over in surprise. “I’ve never seen her perform any wandless magic. She’s only sixteen. I mean I know some wizards can manage it. We’ve all seen Albus perform wandless magic, and…I suspect Harry wandlessly cast the Wand-Lighting Spell this past summer. Why are you asking?”
“Officially, there is no investigation since Anna refuses to press charges, but Mad-Eye and I already collected some evidence. Draco was clearly Stunned. He thinks one of the boys did it because he had her wand on a desk by the door, but none of the other boys entered that room.”
“She must have taken his wand.”
Tonks shook her head. “The last spell cast by Draco’s wand was the Imperturbable Charm on the door.”
Remus rubbed his eyes with his thumb and forefinger. “Anna must have been terrified. If a witch is scared enough…”
“She seems to have cast a pretty interesting version of an Incarcerous Spell as well. Flitwick was impressed. Took him a few tries to remove it. We think she also conjured a small, serrated knife.”
“Did she use it?” he inquired.
“Nope, Draco didn’t have a mark on him. According to Flitwick, his…uh…member was hanging out, so Mad-Eye thinks she may have been about to…cut it.” Tonks felt her cheeks becoming warm as she stumbled over the words.
“Draco was that close to…” Remus gestured awkwardly as she nodded. “Anna should have used the knife. He deserved it.”
As the days passed, Harry tried to shake himself out of the fog clouding his mind. An update from St. Mungo’s came almost daily. Sirius’s condition was slowly, but steadily improving. The Wizengamot was scheduled to meet in a few days. Harry had been assured that an acquittal was almost guaranteed. His godfather would soon be a free man. At least some good came of this mess, he thought bitterly. He felt guilty every time he visited Ron and Hermione in the hospital wing. His other classmates had been released fairly quickly by Madam Pomfrey, but Ron and Hermione were still undergoing treatment for the injuries sustained at the Ministry.
Then, there was the prophecy. The words kept floating through his mind. ‘Neither can live while the other survives. He will have power the Dark Lord knows not.’ Professor Dumbledore was convinced Harry’s power was love, but the Headmaster didn’t know. He wasn’t aware of what Harry had done.
Walking into the hospital wing, he stopped and grinned at the sight before him. Ron was helping Hermione tie her shoes, insisting that Madam Pomfrey didn’t want her to bend over too much yet. They were finally being released from the hospital wing.
“I’m perfectly capable of tying my own shoes, Ronald.”
“There’s nothing wrong with accepting a bit of help once in a while, Hermione.”
Neville and Ginny were both smirking. Luna was staring dreamily at something near the window. Anna looked as though she was trying to smile, but wasn’t quite managing it. Harry frowned. She’d been acting oddly since that night, but so was he, so he certainly shouldn’t be judging her.
“Let’s go for a walk,” Hermione suggested. “I want to be outside and feel the sun on my face.”
“We could go sit by the lake,” Ginny agreed.
They found an isolated spot and sprawled on the grass. Everyone was quiet for a while, enjoying the warmth of the June sun. The slight breeze causing ripples on the surface of the lake.
Harry looked around at his friends. He suddenly felt that he had to say it, had to confess to someone.
“There’s something I want to tell you all,” he began slowly.
Everyone turned to look at him.
“What is it, Harry?” Ginny asked.
“When I told you all about running after Bellatrix and about Voldemort appearing in the Ministry Atrium, I…I left something out.” He rubbed his hands on his jeans. “I was just…so angry. I thought Sirius was dead, and I wanted…I wanted to hurt Bellatrix. I wanted to kill her.”
“I think we can all understand that, Harry,” Neville said quietly. “The things she said about my parents. What she did to them all those years ago. I don’t mind admitting I think Azkaban is too good for someone like her.”
Harry locked his gaze on Neville. “I used the Cruciatus Curse on her.”
Hermione gasped beside him. He didn’t look her way but remained focused on Neville. If anyone would understand, if anyone could forgive him, it was Neville.
“Good.” Neville nodded. “She deserves to feel the kind of pain she inflicts on others.”
“No, it is not good. How can you say that?” Hermione demanded. “The use of an Unforgivable Curse is…well, it’s illegal to start with!”
“Did you enjoy it, Harry?” Anna asked quietly. “I mean…are you glad you did it?”
“Not really.” Harry shrugged. “I guess that’s why it didn’t work very well. I mean it did hurt her, but not like when she casts the spell. Bellatrix told me herself that I didn’t want to hurt her enough, didn’t enjoy the idea of causing her pain enough, but…I still did it. I cast an Unforgivable. I’ve never felt that way before, never….” He shook his head, gripping his knees tightly. “Do…Do you think I’m…like Voldemort? Sometimes I feel like there is this…darkness inside of me just waiting to come out.”
Ginny grabbed his hand tightly in her own, drawing his attention to her. “You are nothing like Tom Riddle. He is not capable of kindness, decency…of having true friends. You acted out of love for Sirius. I’m not saying using that spell was the right thing to do, but you were angry because you thought your godfather was dead. You had every reason to be furious.”
“Ginny’s right,” Anna agreed. “Voldemort hurts people just to hurt them. Just because he can and he likes it. He kills people for no reason at all. You were trying to hurt Bellatrix because she hurt you and almost killed someone you love. I’m not about to judge you for seeking revenge.”
There were murmurs of agreement from his friends, and Hermione reached over to pat his knee. Harry almost sighed with relief. Without thinking about it first, he pulled Ginny closer to him, enjoying the warmth of her pressed against his side.
“My turn to confess I guess,” Anna began softly. “I’m going to say this really fast.”
She took a deep breath and reached out for Neville’s hand. He looked at her curiously, but waited for her to continue.
“When Draco took me away to question me, he locked us in a classroom. First, he just asked me what was going on, but then, he tried to make me promise to become betrothed to him. I refused, and he…he…it happened so fast.” She blinked rapidly, her breathing becoming shallow.
“Oh, fuck,” Ron murmured under his breath. If Hermione heard him, for once she didn’t bother to correct his language.
“I fought back. I was so scared when he tore my clothes off, and Draco was undressing himself so calmly, like it was all normal or something. I lost it completely. I’m not even sure exactly how…but, I conjured a knife and…I wanted to hurt him. I wanted to cut it.” Anna wiped at her eyes with a shaking hand.
Harry flinched involuntarily at her words, realizing what she was saying and what she meant.
“Then, I heard you, Neville. I heard you calling for me. I dropped the knife and ran out the door. I can’t believe I tripped and broke my ankle. I really am ridiculously clumsy sometimes.” She tried to laugh.
Neville pulled her firmly into his arms. “Don’t you dare feel guilty, Anna. No one in their right mind would blame you for anything you did to him. You probably would have done the world a favor had you permanently ended any chances of him ever reproducing.”
“Where is Draco, now?” Ron asked.
“Finland. His mother took him away.”
“He’d better stay away,” Harry glowered darkly.
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