disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter, just Arabella. Hope you like it!
The door of the office opened.
'Hello, Potter, Black,' said Moody, nodding his head towards them. 'Come in, then.'
Arabella and Harry walked inside. Arabella hadn't been inside Dumbledore's office before. It was a very nice circular room, lined with pictures of previous headmaster and headmistresses of Hogwarts, all of whom were fast asleep, their chests rising and falling gently. She could have sworn she saw the name 'Black' amongst one of them. Must have been a horrible professor.
Cornelius Fudge was standing beside Dumbledore's desk, wearing his usual pinstriped cloak and holding his lime-green bowler hat.
'Harry!' said Fudge happily, moving forward, ignoring Arabella. 'How are you?'
'Fine,' Harry lied.
'We were just talking about the night when Mr. Crouch turned up on the grounds,' said Fudge. 'It was you who found him, was it not?'
'Yes' said Harry. 'I didn't see Madam Maxime anywhere, though, and she'd have a job hiding, wouldn't she?'
Dumbledore smiled at Harry behind Fudge's back, his eyes twinkling.
'Yes, well,' said Fudge, looking embarrassed, 'we're about to go for a short walk on the grounds, Harry, if you'll excuse us…perhaps if you just go back to your class -'
'I wanted to talk to you, Professor,' Harry said quickly, looking at Dumbledore, who gave him a swift, searching look.
'If you two would wait for me here,' he said. 'Our examination of the grounds will not take long.'
They moved out in silence past them and closed the door. After a minute or so, they heard the clunks of Mad-Eye's wooden leg growing fainter in the corridor below.
'Hello, Fawkes,' said Harry.
Fawkes, Professor Dumbledore's phoenix, was standing on his golden perch beside the door. Arabella made a move to pet him, but decided against it and sat on the chair beside Harry in front of Dumbledore's desk.
She gazed all around the office, silently as Harry was doing the same. Behind the desk was the Sorting Hat standing on a shelf. A glass case next to it held a magnificent silver sword with large red rubies set into the hilt, which Arabella recognized as the one Harry pulled out of the Sorting Hat in their second year. She was remembering her second year when she caught sight of a silvery light, dancing on the glass case. She looked around for the source of light and saw a silver-white shining brightly from within a black cabinet behind them, whose door had not been closed properly.
'Do you see that?' whispered Harry, looking at it.
'Yeah,' said Arabella.
'What do you reckon it is?' asked Harry, getting up.
Arabella followed him. The silvery light was beckoning her towards it. She had some idea of what it could be, but not so sure yet. It's been a while since she's seen one of them.
Harry pulled the cabinet door open. A shallow stone basin lay there with the silvery light coming from inside it. Arabella couldn't tell whether or not the substance inside it was a liquid or gas. She wanted to reach her hand out and touch it, to confirm what she was thinking and just to touch it in general.
Harry pulled his wand out from inside his robes before reaching for Arabella's hand with his other. Casting a nervous look around the office, looked back at the contents of the basin, Harry probed them.
The surface of the silvery stuff inside the basin began to swirl very fast. Arabella and Harry bent closer, their heads right inside the cabinet. The silvery substance had become transparent; it looked like glass. They looked down into it expecting to see the stone bottom of the basin - and saw instead an enormous room below the surface of the mysterious substance, a room into which they seemed to be looking through a circular window in the ceiling.
The room was dimly lit. There were rows and rows of wizards and witches seated around every wall on what seemed to be benches rising in levels. There was an empty chair standing in the centre of the room, it seemed to be giving off a gloomy sort of feeling, like no good could come out of it. Chains surrounded the arms of it.
Arabella and Harry couldn't make out what was going on in the corners of the room. They leaned in closer, trying to see…
The tip of Arabella's nose touched the surface of the substance. Dumbledore's office gave a massive lurch. The both of them were thrown forward and headfirst inside the basin –
But they did not hit the stone bottom. They were falling through something icy and black, like being sucked into a dark whirlpool –
And suddenly, Arabella found herself sitting on a bench at the end of the room inside the basin, beside Harry.
'Where are we?' said Harry.
'I think… we're going to witness a trial,' said Arabella, looking around, especially at the chair.
None of the witches and wizards was looking at them. They didn't seem to notice that two fourth years suddenly appeared from the sky. Arabella was looking around when Harry let out a cry of surprise that bounced around the room. Sitting right beside Harry was Albus Dumbledore.
'Professor!' Harry said in a kind of strangled whisper. 'I'm sorry - We didn't mean to - I was just looking at that basin in your cabinet - I - where are we?'
'He can't hear you, Harry,' said Arabella. 'We're in a memory.'
Harry raised his right hand and then waved it energetically in front of Dumbledore's face. Dumbledore didn't react in any way.
'Stop that,' said Arabella. 'He can't hear us and he can't see us.'
Arabella looked around again. The room seemed more of a dungeon than a room. There was nothing covering the walls, just rows of benches, all positioned so that they would have a clear view of the chair with chains on them. She just wondered who she and Harry would be seeing here today.
Then they heard footsteps. The door in the corner of the dungeon opened and one person entered, carried by two Dementors.
Arabella's inside went cold. The Dementors were gliding slowly toward the chair in the centre of the room, each grasping one of the man's arms with their dead looking arms. She knew that the Dementors wouldn't be able to affect her in a memory, but she remember the incident on the train last year all too well. The Dementors placed the man in the chained chair and glided back out of the room. The door swung shut behind them.
Arabella and Harry looked down at the man now sitting in the chair and saw that it was Karkaroff.
The chains on the arms of the chair glowed suddenly gold and snaked their way up Karkaroff's arms, binding him there. He was shaking.
'Igor Karkaroff,' said a curt voice to their left. They looked around and saw Crouch standing up in the middle of the bench beside them. 'You have been brought from Azkaban to present evidence to the Ministry of Magic. You have given us to understand that you have important information for us.'
Karkaroff straightened himself as best he could, tightly bound to the chair.
'I have, sir,' he said, and although his voice was very scared, they could still hear the familiar smug note in it. 'I wish to be of use to the Ministry. I wish to help. I - I know that the Ministry is trying to - to round up the last of the Dark Lords supporters. I am eager to assist in any way I can…'
There was a murmur around the benches. Some of the wizards and witches were surveying Karkaroff with interest, others with pronounced mistrust. Then Arabella heard, quite distinctly, from Dumbledore's other side, a familiar, growling voice saying, 'Filth.'
Arabella leaned over Harry and saw past Dumbledore. Mad-Eye was sitting there, except he looked a lot different. He didn't have his magical eye, but two normal ones. He was looking down at Karkaroff with such intense dislike in his eyes.
'Crouch is going to let him out,' Mad-Eye breathed quietly to Dumbledore. 'He's done a deal with him. Took me six months to track him down, and Crouch is going to let him go if he's got enough new names. Let's hear his information, I say, and throw him straight back to the dementors.'
Dumbledore made a small noise of dissent through his long, crooked nose. 'Ah, I was forgetting…you don't like the dementors, do you, Albus?' said Mad-Eye with a sardonic smile.
'No,' said Dumbledore calmly, 'I'm afraid I don't. I have long felt the Ministry is wrong to ally itself with such creatures.'
'But for filth like this…' Mad-Eye said softly.
'You say you have names for us, Karkaroff,' said Crouch. 'Let us hear them, please.'
'You must understand,' said Karkaroff hurriedly, 'that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named operated always in the greatest secrecy…He preferred that we - I mean to say, his supporters - and I regret now, very deeply, that I ever counted myself among them -'
'Get on with it,' sneered Mad-Eye.
'-we never knew the names of every one of our fellows- He alone knew exactly who we all were-'
'Which was a wise move, wasn't it, as it prevented someone like you, Karkaroff, from turning all of them in,' muttered Moody.
'Yet you say you have some names for us?' said Mr. Crouch.
'I - I do,' said Karkaroff breathlessly. 'And these were important supporters, mark you. People I saw with my own eyes doing his bidding. I give this information as a sign that I fully and totally renounce him, and am filled with a remorse so deep I can barely -'
'These names are?' said Mr. Crouch sharply.
Karkaroff drew a deep breath.
'There was Antonin Dolohov,' he said. 'I - I saw him torture countless Muggles and - and nonsupporters of the Dark Lord.'
'And helped him do it,' murmured Mad-Eye.
'We have already apprehended Dolohov,' said Crouch. 'He was caught shortly after yourself.'
'Indeed?' said Karkaroff, his eyes widening. 'I - I am delighted to hear it!'
But he didn't look it. Arabella could tell that this news had come as a real blow to him. One of his names was worthless, they all probably were.
'Any others?' said Crouch coldly.
'Why, yes…there was Rosier,' said Karkaroff hurriedly. 'Evan Rosier.'
'Rosier is dead,' said Crouch. 'He was caught shortly after you were too. He preferred to fight rather than come quietly and was killed in the struggle.'
'Took a bit of me with him, though,' whispered Mad-Eye. Arabella looked around at him once more, and saw him indicating the large chunk out of his nose to Dumbledore.
'No - no more than Rosier deserved!' said Karkaroff, a real note of panic in his voice now.
Arabella could see that he was really starting to panic now that none of his information would be of any use to the Ministry.
'Anymore?' said Crouch.
'Yes!' said Karkaroff. 'There was Travers - he helped murder the McKinnons! Mulciber - he specialized in the Imperius Curse, forced countless people to do horrific things! Rookwood, who was a spy, and passed He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named useful information from inside the Ministry itself!'
Arabella could tell that, this time, Karkaroff had struck gold. The watching crowd was all murmuring together.
'Rookwood?' said Mr. Crouch, nodding to a witch sitting in front of him, who began scribbling upon her piece of parchment. 'Augustus Rookwood of the Department of Mysteries?'
'The very same,' said Karkaroff eagerly. 'I believe he used a network of wellplaced wizards, both inside the Ministry and out, to collect information -'
But Travers and Mulciber we have,' said Mr. Crouch. 'Very well, Karkaroff, if that is all, you will be returned to Azkaban while we decide -'
'Not yet!' cried Karkaroff, looking quite desperate. 'Wait, I have more!'
Arabella could see him sweating in the torchlight, his white skin contrasting strongly with the black of his hair and beard.
'Snape!' he shouted. 'Severus Snape!'
'Snape has been cleared by this council,' said Crouch disdainfully. 'He has been vouched for by Albus Dumbledore.'
'No!' shouted Karkaroff, straining at the chains that bound him to the chair. 'I assure you! Severus Snape is a Death Eater!'
Dumbledore had gotten to his feet.
'I have given evidence already on this matter,' he said calmly. 'Severus Snape was indeed a Death Eater. However, he rejoined our side before Lord Voldemort's downfall and turned spy for us, at great personal risk. He is now no more a Death Eater than I am.'
'Kassandra!' he shouted. 'Kassandra Anastas!'
'What?!' yelled Arabella, darting her eyes back and forth between Karkaroff and Crouch. She could believe what she was hearing. Her mother, a Death Eater? What the hell?! Harry looked shocked too. She gripped his hand tightly as he did the same.
'Anastas has been cleared by this council also, Karkaroff,' said Crouch, irritably. 'She had been vouched by both Albus Dumbledore and Alastor Moody.'
'No!' he shouted again. 'She was definitely a Death Eater! She was by He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named's side the whole time! She's a Death Eater!'
Mad-Eye got up from his seat, clearly annoyed by what Karkaroff was saying.
'Kassandra Anastas,' he growled, 'highly decorated Auror and one of the best the Ministry has ever seen, was not a Death Eater. She, like Snape, was a spy, but a spy from the beginning. She had to stop the mission when word got out what happened and her circumstances. Me and Albus have given evidences on this matter. She is and never was a Death Eater.'
He sat back down and was wearing a look of deep loathing on his face. Arabella let out a sigh of relief, as her grip on Harry's hand loosened a bit. She was just a spy, nothing more she thought.
'Very well, Karkaroff,' Crouch said coldly, 'you have been of assistance. I shall review your case. You will return to Azkaban in the meantime…'
And then, the scene shifted. They were still in the dungeon, but in a different seat, but now to the left side of Crouch. Harry nudged her and pointed to a witch halfway up the rows of benches opposite. It was a younger Rita Skeeter, who looked more or less the same. Dumbledore was beside Harry again, but wearing different clothes. Crouch looked more tired and fiercer. Different memory, different trial.
The door in the corner opened and Ludo Bagman walked into the room. This was the Ludo Bagman that was clearly at the height of his Quidditch career. He sat down nervously in the chained chair, but it did not bind him there.
'Ludo Bagman, you have been brought here in front of the Council of Magical Law to answer charges relating to the activities of the Death Eaters,' said Crouch. 'We have heard the evidence against you, and are about to reach our verdict. Do you have anything to add to your testimony before we pronounce judgment?'
'Only,' said Bagman, smiling awkwardly, 'well - I know I've been a bit of an idiot -'
'You never spoke a truer word, boy,' someone muttered dryly to Dumbledore behind them. It was Mad-Eye again. 'If I didn't know he'd always been dim, I'd have said some of those Bludgers had permanently affected his brain… Bloody idiot almost killed Anastas, had to go into hiding because of his stupidity…'
'Ludovic Bagman, you were caught passing information to Lord Voldemort's supporters,' said Crouch. 'For this, I suggest a term of imprisonment in Azkaban lasting no less than -'
But there was an angry outcry from the surrounding benches. Several of the witches and wizards around the walls stood up, shaking their heads, and even their fists, at Crouch.
'But I've told you, I had no idea!' Bagman called earnestly over the crowd's babble, his round blue eyes widening. 'None at all! Old Rookwood was a friend of my dad's…never crossed my mind he was in with You-Know-Who! I thought I was collecting information for our side! And Rookwood kept talking about getting me a job in the Ministry later on…once my Quidditch days are over, you know…I mean, I can't keep getting hit by Bludgers for the rest of my life, can I?'
There were titters from the crowd.
'It will be put to the vote,' said Crouch coldly. He turned to the right-hand side of the dungeon. 'The jury will please raise their hands…those in favor of imprisonment…'
Arabella looked toward the right-hand side of the dungeon. Not one person raised their hand. Many of the witches and wizards around the walls began to clap. One of the witches on the jury stood up.
'Yes?' barked Crouch.
'We'd just like to congratulate Mr. Bagman on his splendid performance for England in the Quidditch match against Turkey last Saturday,' the witch said breathlessly.
Crouch looked furious. The dungeon was ringing with applause now. Bagman got to his feet and bowed, beaming.
'Despicable,' Crouch spat at Dumbledore, sitting down as Bagman walked out of the dungeon. 'Rookwood get him a job indeed…The day Ludo Bagman joins us will be a sad day indeed for the Ministry…'
And the dungeon dissolved again. They were still sitting beside Dumbledore and Crouch. There was total silence, broken only by the dry sobs of a frail, wispy-looking witch in the seat next to Crouch. Across the room, Arabella could see Andromeda Tonks, her face emotionless as her eyes were fixed on the chair in the middle of the room.
'Bring them in,' Crouch said, and his voice echoed through the silent dungeon.
The door opened again. Six dementors entered this this, bringing in a group of four people. They placed the group of four with chained arms that stood on the dungeon floor. Arabella knew them all at once.
Bellatrix Lestrange was sitting in the chained chair as though it was some sort of throne. She was proud to sit there. Her face didn't show any emotion, but her posture and her demeanour. Rodolphus was looking blankly up at Crouch as Rabastan was more nervous and his eyes were darting around the room. Barty Crouch Jr. was looking petrified. Good thought Arabella venomously I hope you suffer.
'Isn't that -?' whispered Harry to her.
'Yup,' said Arabella emotionlessly, staring at Bellatrix.
'So this is -?'
'After they killed my mother, yes,' said Arabella.
Harry opened his mouth to say something else, but decided against it. He just held onto Arabella's hand.
Crouch stood up. He looked down upon the four in front of him, and there was pure hatred in his face.
'You have been brought here before the Council of Magical Law,' he said clearly, 'so that we may pass judgment on you, for a crime so heinous -'
'Father,' said Crouch Jr. 'Father…please…'
'- that we have rarely heard the like of it within this court,' said Crouch, speaking more loudly, drowning out his son's voice.
'We have heard the evidence against you. The four of you stand accused of capturing Auror –Frank Longbottom, subjecting him and his wife, Alice Longbottom, to the Cruciatus Curse when they would not give you information on the whereabouts of your exiled master, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named –'
'Father, I didn't!' shrieked Crouch Jr. in chains below. 'I didn't, I swear it. Father, don't send me back to the dementors -'
'You are further accused,' bellowed Crouch, 'of using the Cruciatus Curse on Kassandra Anastas when she would not give you information either. You then tortured her daughter, Arabella Black, using the Cruciatus Curse on her, and a knife to also further torture her, then killing her mother in front of her eyes. You planned to restore He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to power, and to resume the lives of violence you presumably led while he was strong. I now ask the jury –'
'Mother!' screamed Crouch Jr. below, and the wispy little witch beside Crouch began to sob, rocking backward and forward. 'Mother, stop him. Mother, I didn't do it, it wasn't me!'
'I now ask the jury,' shouted Crouch, 'to raise their hands if they believe, as I do, that these crimes deserve a life sentence in Azkaban!'
In unison, the witches and wizards along the right-hand side of the dungeon raised their hands. The crowd around the walls began to clap as it had for Bagman, their faces full of savage triumph. Crouch Jr. began to scream. 'No! Mother, no! I didn't do it, I didn't do it, I didn't know! Don't send me there, don't let him!'
The dementors were back in the room. Bellatrix, Rodolphus, and Rabastan got up from their seat quietly.
Bellatrix looked up at Crouch and called, 'The Dark Lord will rise again, Crouch! Throw us in Azkaban; we will wait! He will rise again and will come for us, he will reward us beyond any of his other supporters! We alone were faithful! We alone tried to find him!'
But Crouch Jr. was trying to fight off the dementors, even though they were draining him of his energy. The crowd was jeering, some of them on their feet, as the woman swept out of the dungeon, and Crouch Jr. continued to struggle.
'I'm your son!' he screamed up at Crouch. 'I'm your son!'
'You are no son of mine!' bellowed Crouch, his eyes bulging suddenly. 'I have no son!'
The wispy witch beside him gave a great gasp and slumped in her seat. She had fainted. Crouch appeared not to have noticed.
'Take them away!' Crouch roared at the dementors, spit flying from his mouth. 'Take them away, and may they rot there!'
'Father! Father, I wasn't involved! No! No! Father, please!'
'I think it is time to return to my office,' said a quiet voice beside Arabella and Harry.
Arabella didn't look to hear the new voice; she was watching Crouch Jr. being dragged away by the dementors. You deserve it and more, the whole lot of you she thought.
'Come now, Arabella,' said the voice that sounded like Dumbledore. Something happened because he felt as though she was rising into the air. The dungeon dissolved around her. Suddenly, she landed on her feet in Dumbledore's office, still holding onto Harry's hand. The basin was shimmering in the cabinet in front of them, and Dumbledore was standing beside them.
'Professor,' Harry gasped, 'I know we shouldn't've - We didn't mean - the cabinet door was sort of open and -'
'I quite understand,' said Dumbledore. He lifted the basin, carried it over to his desk, placed it upon the polished top, and sat down in the chair behind it. He motioned for Harry and Arabella to sit down opposite him.
They did so, staring at the stone basin. The contents had returned to their original, silvery-white state, swirling and rippling beneath his gaze.
'What is it?' Harry asked shakily.
'This? It is called a Pensieve,' said Dumbledore. 'I sometimes find, and I am sure you know the feeling, that I simply have too many thoughts and memories crammed into my mind.'
'Er,' said Harry.
'At these times,' said Dumbledore, indicating the stone basin, 'I use the Pensieve. One simply siphons the excess thoughts from one's mind, pours them into the basin, and examines them at one's leisure. It becomes easier to spot patterns and links, you understand, when they are in this form.'
'You mean…that stuff's your thoughts?' Harry said, staring at the swirling white substance in the basin.
'Certainly,' said Dumbledore. 'Let me show you.'
Dumbledore drew his wand out of the inside of his robes and placed the tip near his temple. When he took his wand away, something silvery was clinging onto it. Dumbledore added this fresh thought to the basin, and Arabella, stunned, saw her own face swimming around the surface of the bowl, but she was younger and had bandages all over her arms. Then her own face changed into Snape's who opened his mouth and spoke to the ceiling, his voice echoing slightly.
'It's coming back…Karkaroff's too…stronger and clearer than ever…'
'A connection I could have made without assistance,' Dumbledore sighed, 'but never mind.' He peered over the top of his half-moon looking at Arabella. 'Recognize the memory, Arabella?'
'Yeah,' said Arabella, her voice sounded husky, as though she had a lump in it. 'The day you came to the hospital and asked me for the memory of the incident. I thought you were crazy, asking for something like that.'
'Naturally,' said Dumbledore. He then peered at Harry, who was still gaping at the bowl. 'I was using the Pensieve when Mr. Fudge arrived for our meeting and put it away rather hastily. Undoubtedly I did not fasten the cabinet door properly. Naturally, it would have attracted your attention.'
'I'm sorry,' Harry mumbled.
Dumbledore shook his head. 'Curiosity is not a sin,' he said. 'But we should exercise caution with our curiosity…yes, indeed…'
Frowning slightly, he prodded the thoughts within the basin with the tip of his wand. Instantly, a figure rose out of it, a plump, scowling girl of about sixteen, who began to revolve slowly, with her feet still in the basin. She took no notice whatsoever of Harry, Dumbledore or Arabella. When she spoke, her voice echoed as Snape's had done, as though it were coming from the depths of the stone basin.
'He put a hex on me, Professor Dumbledore, and I was only teasing him, sir, I only said I'd seen him kissing Florence behind the greenhouses last Thursday…'
'But why Bertha,' said Dumbledore sadly, looking up at the now silently revolving girl, 'why did you have to follow him in the first place?'
'Bertha?' Harry whispered, looking up at her. 'Is that - was that Bertha Jorkins?'
'Yes,' said Dumbledore, prodding the thoughts in the basin again; Bertha sank back into them, and they became silvery and opaque once more. 'That was Bertha as I remember her at school. So, Harry, you said you wanted to tell me something, before you got lost in my thoughts.'
'Yes,' said Harry. 'Professor - I was in Divination just now, and - er - I fell asleep.'
He hesitated here, but Dumbledore merely said, 'Quite understandable. Continue.'
'Well, I had a dream,' said Harry. 'A dream about Lord Voldemort. He was torturing Wormtail…you know who Wormtail-'
'I do know,' said Dumbledore promptly. 'Please continue.' 'Voldemort got a letter from an owl. He said something like, Wormtail's blunder had been repaired. He said someone was dead. Then he said, Wormtail wouldn't be fed to the snake - there was a snake beside his chair. He said - he said he'd be feeding me to it, instead and Arabella, if she disagreed. Then he did the Cruciatus Curse on Wormtail - and my scar hurt,' Harry said. 'It woke me up, it hurt so badly.'
Dumbledore merely looked at him.
'Er - that's all,' said Harry.
'I see,' said Dumbledore quietly. 'I see. Now, has your scar hurt at any other time this year, excepting the time it woke you up over the summer?'
'No, I - how did you know it woke me up over the summer?' said Harry, astonished.
'You are not Sirius's only correspondent,' said Dumbledore. 'I have also been in contact with him ever since he left Hogwarts last year. It was I who suggested the place where he is right now, it is the safest place right now, Arabella,' he added when Arabella was about to open her moth and say something.
Arabella said nothing, but silently agreed that it would be the safest. That place is covered with security spells and anti-Muggle ones. He should be safe in there for now.
Dumbledore got up and began walking up and down behind his desk. Every now and then, he placed his wand tip to his temple, removed another shining silver thought, and added it to the Pensieve. The thoughts inside began to swirl so fast that Arabella couldn't make out anything clearly: It was merely a blur of color.
'Professor?' Harry said quietly, after a couple of minutes.
Dumbledore stopped pacing and looked at Harry.
'My apologies,' he said quietly. He sat back down at his desk.
'D'you - d'you know why my scar's hurting me?'
Dumbledore looked very intently at Harry for a moment, and then said, 'I have a theory, no more than that…It is my belief that your scar hurts both when Lord Voldemort is near you, and when he is feeling a particularly strong surge of hatred.'
'Because you and he are connected by the curse that failed,' said Dumbledore. 'That is no ordinary scar.'
'So you think…that dream…did it really happen?'
'It is possible,' said Dumbledore. 'I would say - probable. Harry - did you see Voldemort?'
'No,' said Harry. 'Just the back of his chair. But - there wouldn't have been anything to see, would there? I mean, he hasn't got a body, has he? But…but then how could he have held the wand?' Harry said slowly.
'How indeed?' muttered Dumbledore. 'How indeed…'
They didn't speak for a while. Dumbledore was gazing across the room, and, every now and then, placing his wand tip to his temple and adding another shining silver thought to the seething mass within the Pensieve.
'Professor,' Harry said at last, 'do you think he's getting stronger?'
'Voldemort?' said Dumbledore, looking at Harry over the Pensieve. 'Once again Harry, I can only give you my suspicions.'
Dumbledore sighed again. 'The years of Voldemort's ascent to power,' he said, 'were marked with disappearances. Bertha Jorkins has vanished without a trace in the place where Voldemort was certainly known to be last. Mr. Crouch too has disappeared…within these very grounds. And there was a third disappearance, one which the Ministry, I regret to say, do not consider of any importance, for it concerns a Muggle. His name was Frank Bryce, he lived in the village where Voldemort's father grew up, and he has not been seen since last August. You see, I read the Muggle newspapers, unlike most of my Ministry friends.'
Dumbledore looked very seriously at them.
'These disappearances seem to me to be linked. The Ministry disagrees - as you may have heard, while waiting outside my office.'
They nodded. Silence fell between them again, Dumbledore extracting thoughts every now and then.
'Professor?' he said again.
'Yes, Harry?' said Dumbledore.
'Er…could I ask you about…that court thing I was in…in the Pensieve?' he said, glancing nervously at Arabella, who suddenly found the floor very interesting.
'You could,' said Dumbledore heavily. 'I attended it many times, but some trials come back to me more clearly than others…particularly now…'
'You know - you know the trial you found us in? The one about Arabella and her mother? Well…were they talking about Neville's parents?'
Dumbledore gave them both a very sharp look. 'Has Neville never told you why he has been brought up by his grandmother?' he said.
Harry shook his head while Arabella shrugged. She knew what happened to them, but Neville never told her. It was something she found out when she learned some time after the incident.
'Yes, they were talking about Neville's parents,' said Dumbledore. 'His father, Frank, was an Auror just like Arabella's mother. He and his wife were tortured for information about Voldemort's whereabouts after he lost his powers, as you heard.'
So they're dead?' said Harry quietly.
'No,' said Arabella, her voice was unrecognizable as it held so much bitter in them. 'They're insane, went out of their minds.'
'They're both in St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries,' said Dumbledore, his voice also full of bitter. 'I believe Neville visits them, with his grandmother, during the holidays. They do not recognize him.'
'The Longbottoms are very popular, as well as you and your mother, Arabella,' continued Dumbledore. 'The attacks came two years after Voldemort's fall from power, just when everyone was starting to think that they were safe. Those attacks caused a wave of fury such as I have never known. The Ministry was under great pressure to catch those who had done it. Unfortunately, the Longbottoms' evidence was - given their condition - none too reliable, but yours was, Arabella. The Ministry didn't want to administer your testimony, but given the circumstance and your ability to identify them, they had to look at your memory.'
'Er,' he said, 'Mr. Bagman…'
'…has never been accused of any Dark activity since,' said Dumbledore calmly.
'But he still gave information about my mother to Death Eater,' said Arabella.
Dumbledore nodded solemnly.
'Was she really a Death Eater?' asked Arabella in a small voice.
'Not really,' said Dumbledore. 'Though the reason why she was a spy is story for another time, she was never fully initiated as a Death Eater. She was in the early stages, but just before she was about to be branded as one, Ludo Bagman accidently blurted out some information to Rockwood.'
'Which was… ?' prompted Arabella.
'That she was pregnant with Sirius Black's daughter and was really on our side the whole time,' said Dumbledore. 'As soon as we found other what Ludo Bagman had done, Kassandra and Sirius went into hiding, barely getting out of the house, except for the occasional visit to Hogsmeade to get some sweets, or meetings.'
'Why did she want to be a spy?' said Arabella. 'Does it have something to do with Arry?'
'Another story for another time,' said Dumbledore, sternly, looking quite sad. 'Kassandra wasn't a Death Eater, as well as Professor Snape,' he added as Harry was looking at the basin with Snape's face on it.
'What made you think he'd really stopped supporting Voldemort, Professor?' said Harry.
Dumbledore held Harry's gaze for a few seconds, and then said, 'That, Harry, is a matter between Professor Snape and myself.'
Arabella knew that the interview was over. Dumbledore didn't look angry, but there was a finality in his tine that told her and Harry it was time to go. They stood up and so did Dumbledore.
'I would advise you both to please not speak about t Neville's parents to anybody else. He has the right to let people know, when he is ready,' said Dumbledore as they reached the door.
'Yes, Professor,' said Harry and Arabella, turning to go.
They looked back. Dumbledore was standing over the Pensieve, his face lit from beneath by its silvery spots of light, looking older than ever. He stared at Harry for a moment, and then said, 'Good luck with the third task.'
'Are you okay?' asked Harry as they walked away from Dumbledore's office.
'Yes,' said Arabella quickly. 'Well… no, but… I don't know… I'm going to go outside, I'll just…'
Arabella walked away as fast as she could, getting as far as she could away from Dumbledore's office and the castle. She kept walking until she was at the Black Lake.
Kassandra was a spy pretending to be a Death Eater, before Bagman blabbed and pretty much ratted on her. She didn't it for some sort of reason that everybody is trying to hide from her. It definitely has something to do with this Arry person, whoever she is, or he is. Voldemort probably wants her to get revenge on Kassandra or something like that, unless it has something to do with what he told her in their second year. Could be possible, but hopefully it doesn't happen.
Arabella kept thinking about this over and over again in her mind, trying to thinking about whether or not she missed some little information, but nothing.
She heard some footsteps from behind her and turned around. It was Harry, and he had two butterbears from the kitchen in his hands. He sat down beside her and handed her one.
'Over thinking?' he said, taking a sip.
'I do not over thing,' said Arabella. 'I barely think.'
'And yet you're doing better than me in all our classes,' Harry retorted.
'It just comes naturally to some people,' said Arabella, sounding very posh and fake-classy.
'Piss off,' said Harry, shoving her lightly with a smile before turning serious. 'I'm sorry about your mom.'
'Don't it clearly wasn't your fault. It was Bellatrix and her lap dogs,' said Arabella, looking at the Black Lake while taking a sip of butterbear.
'Yeah, I'm just –'
'I know,' said Arabella, turning to him. 'Thank you.'
Arabella leaned in on him a bit and they drank the rest of the butterbears in silence as the sun began to set, creating a pinkish and orange sky. Harry didn't ask anything else, and Arabella was grateful for that. He didn't push her into anything she didn't want to say or do. They were practically still friends, except for the occasional kiss or two.
'We should get back,' said Harry. She looped her right arm through her left as they walked back to the castle.
Thank you for reading!