Disclaimer; I don't own the wizarding world of Harry Potter or any of the characters in it. I wish I did. But I don't.
Here's chapter Thirty-Six!
Hope you enjoy it!
A great snake slithered through the trees and bushes which covered the forest. It was a long, dark green snake with a diamond pattern spreading the length of its huge body. It wound its way through all diversions and distractions which crossed its path, determined to reach its destination and its master. As it slid through piles of leaves and glided over broken branches and roots of trees, a dark red, wet trail was left behind it. Blood was dripping from its venomous fangs, only visible when the creature took a snap at rodents scurrying by. She had just killed.
Soon, a small shack was visible through the trees and the monstrously long snake could sense her master's presence. Her pace quickened and the cold blooded reptile slinked its way through trees and their roots, until she finally reached the open door of the run down shed.
At a sudden change in texture, Nagini slithered from the natural woods, the dirt paths, into a beautifully decorated high ceilinged room with cool marble floors. It was easier to move once she was inside, her long body coiling effortlessly across the solid floors of the run down shack which was so different to the outside. She moved silently under the long table which seated many death eaters until she reached the feet of her master. Gently, she wound up his legs and moved so that she was draped around his neck.
'Is it done Nagini?' Voldemort asked the great snake in parseltongue, stroking her large head as if she was nothing more than a harmless dog.
The snake hissed back at him in response, informing him that the muggles who had come camping in their forest had been taken care off.
'Well done.' Voldemort congratulated the snake.
The snake unwound itself from Voldemort's neck and slithered down the table, intent on returning to her prize in the woods. As she went, all the eyes of the death eaters followed her down the table, all extremely aware of their throats and sitting back in their chairs, as far away from the snake as possible. There was not one of them in the room who could say that they were perfectly comfortable when that snake was in the room or when the snake was conversing with Voldemort in parseltongue. If anyone did, they were lying.
'My loyal subjects,' Voldemort said softly, standing up and swiftly gliding around the table slowly, 'It has come to my attention that one of you in here, has lied to me. One of you in here, is not who you claim to be.'
The death eaters in the room gulped, all terrified about who had been lying, all starting to doubt themselves. Nobody looked at anybody else. Instead, they all looked down at the table. They were all silent as Voldemort circled around them leisurely, stopping every now and again behind some of his followers and making them extremely nervous about their future. Voldemort knew this and used it to his advantage.
'You see,' he continued, 'I am trying to build an empire based on the pureness on magical blood. A blood type so special, that it deserves preservation. And who better to preserve this oh so special blood, than a collection of wizards from a pure magical decent. With a noble birth right. But I now discover, that the group I have collected here, is not.'
Still nobody spoke. Nobody looked up. Nobody dared. The silence was tense and Voldemort's pauses didn't help.
'Does anyone have anything,' Voldemort began through tight lips, 'to confess?'
Again, nobody said a work. The self-proclaimed 'brave' death eaters, who were willing to risk their lives to end another's, were not bold enough to face Voldemort or look him in the eye.
Voldemort walked up behind the death eater who was sat near the door on the left side. The rest of the table, still with their heads down, looked over to the selected death eater who was now staring straight ahead. His face was expressionless as Voldemort hovered threateningly over him.
'Mulligan?' Voldemort whispered. His voice was deathly quiet but everyone could still hear him as they were all totally silent. You could hear a pin drop. 'Is there something you wish to tell me?'
The death eater gulped and began to breathe erratically, knowing that whatever Voldemort was going to do to him, it wouldn't be pleasant. Not at all.
'Is there something you would like to share with the entire group?' Voldemort hissed, now walking around so that he was facing Mulligan head on. He looked down at him with disdain.
'My Lord?' Mulligan asked, playing as though he had no idea what Voldemort was talking about.
'Would you like to share with the entire group what your blood status is?' Voldemort said loudly walking back round to his throne-like seat but not sitting down.
Mulligan took a deep breath and, without taking his eyes off of Voldemort, said, 'Half-blood.'
'And you, love, both of your parents. The blood traitor and the muggle.' Voldemort stated, making fun of love. Especially love for such despicable people in his eyes. If Mulligan had spoken to him when he first became a death eater, as Severus Snape had done, if he had been willing to delete his filthy parents, perhaps things would have been different. Perhaps Mulligan's destiny would not be as concrete as it was.
'They're my parents, my Lord.' Mulligan said in response.
'Indeed.' Voldemort said slowly, turning his wand over in his hands threateningly. There was a pause as Voldemort raised his wand. 'Avada kedavra.' he yelled as he threw the forbidden killing curse at one of the men who had sworn allegiance to him. Obviously, nobody was safe.
'Nagini. Voldemort hissed in parseltongue to his pet snake who slithered in from outside, fresh blood covering her head in splats one more.
The death eater crowd looked over to the snake. They sat and watched in disgusted silence as Nagini dragged Mulligans lifeless body of off its chair and began to attack it, ripping off one of his motionless hands and devouring it in one bite. The blood, half-blood, from the bloody stump spilt out onto the floor, mixing with the venom from Nagini's deadly fangs. Slowly, Nagini continued to demolish the corpse. During the course of Voldemort's meeting, it would slowly become nothing more than a rotting carcass. Mulligan would be unrecognisable by the end.
'Now that the unpleasant business has been taken care off, does anyone have any updates?' he asked his followers who now turned to face him, eager to please. All was forgotten about Mulligan and the events that had just happened.
'My Lord,' the death eater closest to him said as Voldemort sat down in his throne, 'We successfully destroyed the muggle street you requested.'
'Good.' Voldemort replied. He had his own reasons for destroying that street. Reasons he wouldn't reveal to anyone as they involved his past and the orphanage that he had been forced to live at during his childhood. He had discovered one of the other orphans he knew, an older boy who was constantly informing the people who ran the orphanage about his misdeeds, lived on Dorset Street in Darwen. He vowed to make everyone who lived in that orphanage pay for his miserable childhood and it all started with that boy. Now that he was gone, he would move on to the woman who punished him.
'The next street I want you to destroy is Spiceball Park Road in Banbury. Specifically Chamberlaine Court. A retirement home.' Voldemort said. He glanced at two of his death eaters, silently instructing them to take on the job. They nodded, stood up and with a loud crack, disapparated out of the little shack.
'My Lord.' the death eater who had been sitting opposite Mulligan said, capturing Voldemort's attention, 'We were able to successfully place the Ministers assistant under the imperious curse.'
'Did he give you any new information?' Voldemort asked, tilting his head up and looking down at the death eater.
'It seems that the Minister of Magic is taking no precautions to protect the mudbloods and blood traitors my Lord.' the death eater said, bowing his head in respect. 'Apparently we are not being taken seriously my lord.'
Voldemort's nostrils in his snake like nose flared. He did not respond well to not being taken seriously. 'Well then,' he breathed through gritted teeth, 'we will just need to send the Minister a little message. Have his assistant…deliver it…'
Lily was sat on her bed crossed legged. It was Wednesday afternoon and, as James and his friends still weren't back from wherever they had gone, (it had been five weeks and still nobody knew where they had disappeared too.), Lily was alone. However, it wasn't as if she had nothing to do. Her end of year exams started in a few weeks and she was cramming in all the revision she possibly could. What she didn't count on was a letter from her mother about the arrangements for Petunia's wedding. It had come at the most opportune time and for the past half hour, she had been rereading it over and over again until she knew it word for word.
Hello sweetheart! How are you? I hope school is good and you are doing well. It's been lonely here without you and your father is driving me crazy but, that is to be expected as we are both stressing out about the arrangements for Petunia's wedding.
She's decided she definitely wants a winter wedding and she has set the date for the 19th of December. That angered your dad as he had booked a holiday for the four of us over Christmas. It would have been our last one together as a family; just the four of us. That's not going to happen now as Petunia was adamant on the 19th and she just wouldn't choose another date. So not only has your father got to fork out for this ridiculously large wedding that she has insisted she wants, he has lost the deposit that he had put down on the holiday. Suffice to say, he is not a happy bunny at the minute.
The church alone cost him £500 and then on top of that, Petunia is insistent on filling the church with orchids and hiring a string quartet to play at the ceremony. Then there's the reception and she has invited nearly two hundred people and that's not including Vernon's guest list! Your father is attempting to persuade her to cut it down because the menu she wants costs £30 a head. Then there's the flowers for that as well and, surprise, surprise, she wants to fill that room with orchids too. Between that, the band and the venue, it looks like this wedding is going to bankrupt us! I hope you aren't planning on getting married anytime soon!
Her future husband, the one she is always cooing about, hasn't even offered to contribute with the cost for this upscale wedding that his fiancée is so desperate to have. I know that it's tradition to have the father of the bride pay but Vernon and his family have more money than us and the wedding that Petunia would like is more suited to their class.
Unfortunately sweetheart, Petunia still hasn't changed her mind and you are not allowed to the wedding. I keep trying to talk her round but every time I open the subject she walks out on me and goes to see Vernon. She's not making it easy on me, especially as I have to be the one to tell you. I really am sorry darling and I will keep trying to get her to allow you to come but, at the minute, it doesn't look like it's going to happen.
Sorry that this letter has been so filled with news of your sister and that I've had to end on an upsetting note but I must sign off now because Dorothy is here to pick up her dog. Don't worry about Petunia's wedding. You'll be home soon and when you are I'm sure she'll come around.
Good luck in your exams sweetheart!
Lily sighed and folded up the letter. She felt numb as she didn't know what else to feel. She didn't have long to address her undecided emotions as Alice stormed into the room and slammed the door shut behind her.
'Alice?' Lily asked curiously, standing up from her own bed and walking over to sit on the side of hers, 'Are you alright? Aren't you meant to be in divination?'
'I left. You know,' Alice began in an annoyed rant, 'I always knew she valued divination and, I agree it is sometimes right but then again, anytime it is right it's probably just either a coincidence or someone who has heard there future and then goes out and makes it happen for themselves, but I never thought that she would take a clump of wet tealeaves over my word. I am a pretty good judge of character and I'd know if he was and he definitely isn't. But she won't accept that and will only believe what her stupid tea cups tell her. Talk about having a closed mind!'
'Err…you lost me.' Lily said shaking her head and blinking her eyes fast in an attempt to take in and sort through the jumble of information that she had just been given. 'What's happened?'
'I've fallen out with Emmeline.' Alice said moodily.
'Ok.' Lily said slowly, 'Why?'
'Well,' Alice began, calming down and starting to go through her story slowly so that it made sense, 'we were sat in divination and we were reading tea leaves. So we drink our tea and swap cups to read the leaves. Hers say some random stuff about future success and then she tells me that mine says that Frank is cheating on me.'
'Frank?' Lily said, taken aback at the absurd idea, 'Really? He wouldn't cheat on you. Did she read it wrong?'
'Well that's exactly what I said to her.' Alice shrugged, 'I said that Frank wouldn't cheat on me and she must have read it wrong. Maybe it was someone else's boyfriend who was cheating on them because it definitely wasn't Frank. Then we got into a huge fight and…to be perfectly honest I can't really remember everything that was said but it was huge. Really bad. Then I stormed out of the class.'
'Do you think you'll make up?' Lily asked Alice in concern. It would be a real shame if they didn't. They had been close friends since about half way through their second year.
'I don't know.' Alice sighed, 'I don't want to talk about this anymore lets change the subject.' She took a deep breath and forced a smile before turning to Lily kindly and asking, 'So how are you? How are things with James?'
Lily laughed. 'Err, non-existent.' she smiled with a questioning tone. 'I did what you said and tried to see where it went naturally but all that's led to is hugs and an almost kiss.'
'Then you're in!' Alice said as if it was a forgone conclusion.
Lily frowned in confusion. Where on earth had she gotten that from? 'Yeah, err…no. No I'm not. The hugs were as friends and the kiss never happened.'
'Well what happened after the kiss?' Alice asked, moving her legs so the she was sat crossed legged and leaning forwards into Lily's story. It was just the distraction she needed to forget about her fight with Emmeline and the insecurities that she was now having about Franks thanks to her supposed best friend. Some friend.
'Nothing,' Lily shrugged, 'I think I might have put him off. I wasn't exactly…leaning into it. I tried to talk to him but he left. As in left school. They all went didn't they and they've not been here for five weeks now. The whole of May has passed since then. There's no point in talking about it now. He's probably forgotten about it by now anyway.' She looked down and started drawing little circles on Alice's bed sheets, her own insecurities starting to show.
'Well,' Alice began, 'I heard that they're all coming back today. You should talk to him. I promise you he's not forgotten.'
Lily sighed and shrugged, looking up at the ceiling. 'Yeah maybe...'
Running as a stag through the forbidden forest, Prongs was pleased to be back at Hogwarts. It was the second full moon since Wormtail's mum was attacked. They had spent the first in the grounds around Potter Mansion but had found it extremely hard to keep him under control, especially when there were the other animals that the Potter's owned to consider. They had decided after that last unbearably long full moon cycle, that they would return to Hogwarts for the next one. They found that it was clearly easier to control Moony's werewolf instincts and mannerisms when they had the option of dragging him down the whomping willow to the shrieking shack. Luckily for Padfoot, (who would have been the one to drag him down the passage way), nothing threatening had happened during their time with Moony. There was a small incident earlier where Moony had found a dead crow crawling with worms and maggots, but all of the blood had dried and it was a small rotting skeleton when he had found it. All he could do was sniff it and run away as there was nothing for him there.
Padfoot looked up and bounced over to Prongs, warning him that the sun would be rising soon and that they needed to get Moony back into the Shrieking shack. Prongs scuffed his hooves not really wanting the extraordinarily pleasant full moon excursion they had been having to end. But, unfortunately, they were coming into summer which meant longer days and shorter nights, ergo, shorter full moons.
Padfoot and Prongs corralled around Moony who whimpered, not wanting to go back to the run down shack and not wanting to be alone for the last couple of hours of his transformation. He unwillingly went with them and, as soon as Wormtail had scurried up to the tree trunk of the flailing tree, touched the knot at the base with his tiny paws and frozen the whomping willows limbs, Moony reluctantly followed Wormtail down the tunnel. Padfoot followed Moony down the passage to ensure that he wouldn't turn back. Prongs didn't go down the tunnel. (He was a much larger animal than Padfoot and Moony due to his antlers and when he could manage to squeeze through the tunnel it took him much longer to fit through so it was just much easier if he stayed where he was)
He waited for around ten minutes whilst Padfoot and Wormtail settled Moony into the shrieking shack again. When they emerged from the whomping willows hidden passage it had started to rain. It was warm muggy rain, a summer rainfall in its entirety which soaked them almost instantly. They all waited until the entrance had sealed itself before transforming back into their human selves and rushing into the dry castle. When they got there, they paused. Sirius took the time to stretch his back, Peter scratched his bum and, James being James, ran a hand through his already tousled hair. They then grinned at each other thinking about their enjoyable excursion and mad dash into Hogwarts. Muffling their laughter, the three boys made their way up to the Gryffindor common room, a place that they hadn't been to in over a month.
When they got there, nothing had changed. The Fat Lady was just as surly as ever and when they entered the common room, things were just as messy as they were when they had left. There were still scarlet tapestries hanging down from the walls depicting pictures of ancient wizards and witches and magical creatures. The notice board was still clammed full of school notices, adverts, posters and the date of the last apparation lesson for the sixth years along with the date of the exam for those who were of age to take it. There were lots of odd shaped tables that were used for studying, covered in half written essays, broken quills, old text books, spare pieces of parchments and empty ink bottles. The fireplace was still large and inviting and the circular room was still filled with squashy armchairs and sofas. The only difference was that one of those sofas had a Lily Evans fast asleep on it.
'What she doing here?' Sirius asked James in a quiet hiss, gesturing to Lily on the sofa.
'How am I supposed to know?' James whispered back urgently, 'Just…go quietly. Maybe she won't wake up.'
The three boys began to creep past Lily extremely quietly, overemphasising all off their movements as they went. They were almost home free when Peter, being the clumsy little boy he was, banged into a table and knocked several empty ink bottles onto the floor smashing as soon as they hit the hard ground.
James and Sirius turned to Peter quickly with outraged expressions on their faces.
'Oops.' Peter said, closing his eyes. He didn't need to open them to know that he had woken Lily up.
'What's going on?' Lily said as she sat up, rubbing her eyes. She blinked a couple of times, noticing James was there. It's what she had been waiting for. She had stayed all evening in the common room just so that she could talk to James about their last potion making session as Alice had advised her to do. What she didn't realise was that she had had to wait all night as well. 'What time is it?'
'Err…5 o'clock.' Sirius said, taking James' wrist looking at his watch.
James was in not state to look at his own watch as he was staring at Lily, looking as if he had just been caught out. In reality, he was just a little bit shocked. He hadn't seen her since he had tried to kiss her and then ran out on her. He hadn't spoken to her since then and the more he thought over it in that moment the more he believed that he had acted like a jerk and an inappropriate jerk at that. Especially as he hadn't given his actions a second thought since they had happened. He hadn't even told his friends who he usually shared everything with.
'What you doing up at this time Evans?' Sirius asked, trying to be casual and make it seem like she was the one who was doing something out of the ordinary, not them.
'I was waiting to talk to James.' Lily said turning to James who just took on an even more shocked expression. She looked him up and down in confusion. 'Why are you wet?' she asked curiously, 'Why are you returning at this time? Have you been outside? What have you been do-'
But Lily couldn't finish her final question as by that time, Sirius had taken out his wand and, in a sudden fluster, placed a full-body bind on her so that she fell off of the sofa where she was sat.
'Padfoot!' James said in a high pitched voice, hitting Sirius on the arm. 'What did you do that for?'
'I panicked!' Sirius shrugged, also speaking in a high pitched voice and putting his wand away.
'Well there was no need to curse her!' James replied, walking around the sofa to pick Lily up of the floor, 'Help me!' he yelled quietly to Sirius and Peter who immediately went round to help their friend pick the frozen Gryffindor girl up off of the floor.
'Jeez she's heavy!' Sirius puffed as they heaved Lily's stone like body up onto the couch she had just fallen off of.
'Well what do you expect?' James wheezed, when they sat Lily back on to the sofa, 'You just put her in a full body bind.' he continued as he stood up straight, took out his wand and dried Sirius', Peters' and his own clothes.
'Well what do we do now?' Sirius asked James as he breathed heavily.
'Take her back to her dormitory?' Peter suggested timidly.
'We would Wormy but she actually needs to stand on the step we're standing on otherwise the stairs turn into a slide don't they?' James said kindly to Peter.
'That's so unfair.' Sirius moped, 'I don't see why the founders had to do that. Us boys are trustworthy.'
'We are.' James said nodding his head, 'You're not. Everyone knows exactly what you'd be doing if you could get up those stairs!'
'And what are you all doing out of bed at this time?' Professor McGonagall asked the three boys appearing in the portrait hole. She had been on her way to an urgent and spontaneous meeting in Dumbledore's office when she heard voices inside the common room. As all of her students were supposed to be in bed, she had to go in and see what was going on. Not to her surprise, it was James Potter, Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew; three out of four of the most mischief making students in her house and in the school. They had barely been back a day and they were already being disruptive.
'Well…' Sirius started, 'James?' he continued, not being able to come up with any story and passing the excuse over to his best friend.
'We heard a noise in the common room and so we came to check it out and found her…' he motioned to Lily, '…frozen.' he lied, trying his hardest to make it believable.
'And why are you still in your school robes?' McGonagall questioned.
'We were extremely tired after we got back to Hogwarts and just fell asleep in our robes.' James said, not missing a beat and getting into the swing of his untruths.
'And why is your hair wet?' McGonagall continued to interrogate.
James paused, his chain of lies breaking down. 'It's not wet it's…greasy…' he stuttered, raising his eyebrows in uncertainty.
'Excuse me.' Sirius said as soon as he heard James say that their hair was greasy. He immediately turned around and marched up the staircase which led to the boy's dormitories, presumably to wash his hair.
James closed his eyes and shook his head in exasperation. Typical Sirius.
Professor McGonagall looked at the three students left in the Gryffindor common room. James Potter was looking extremely tired and frustrated. Peter Pettigrew looked very nervous and looked as though he was about to wet himself. Finally, Lily Evans who was frozen and needed taking care of with the reversal spell. Knowing that Dumbledore was waiting for her, McGonagall decided that she didn't have the time to deal with them and that she was going to cut them some slack.
'Alright then boys, off to bed and I'll fix Miss Evans.' McGonagall sighed, taking her wand out of her dressing gown.
'Thanks miss!' James said grabbing Peter elbow and dragging him up the spiral staircase to their dormitory. He couldn't believe they had gotten away with that.
'But surely things aren't as bad as they seem?' Professor McGonagall implored of Dumbledore. As soon as she had arrived in Dumbledore's office, surprised to see that Professors Sprout, Flitwick and Slughorn had also been summoned to his office, all thoughts of her mischief making Gryffindor students out of mind. He had just explained to his staff what he believed was happening in the outside world and what their former student, Tom Riddle, was up too. She just couldn't believe it.
Dumbledore, who was stood in the corner of his office next to a spindly glass table which held his stone pensieve, traced his finger along the runes which ran around the rim. 'Things are worse than they seem.' he replied gravely. His voice portrayed the seriousness of the situation he was attempting to explain. However, it was hard for the other adults in the room to see this as he strolled over to his desk and offered his staff a pear drop each. Everyone refused and Dumbledore walked over to stroke his magnificent phoenix.
'But really Dumbledore,' Slughorn said, 'if thing were really that bad surely the Ministry would say something. I know men in the Ministers office and they always keep me up to date on the goings on of the wizarding world. Even the less publicly known.'
'Not this.' Dumbledore muttered as he rubbed the head of Fawkes. The fiery bird squawked with pleasure, the way a cat would meow if you rubbed its belly. He smiled fondly at his bird and held his finger in front of its beak and allowed the great beast to nip it affectionately.
'Well maybe the Minister of Magic's office isn't the ideal place to learn the true extent of the situation.' Professor Flitwick squeaked to Slughorn from where he sat on the seat in front of Dumbledore's desk.
'No, no. You're quite right.' Slughorn agreed, nodding his head in concurrence, 'The best place to find this stuff out is from the auror office. I know a few of the men in there and they haven't mentioned things being this bad.'
'Perhaps they don't reveal everything to you Horace.' Professor Sprout said in exasperation, shaking her head at the man who believed that he held a huge stake of importance in the wizarding world.
'Perhaps not.' Slughorn muttered, 'But surely the Daily Prophet has a duty to tell the wizarding world the economic social situation at present and furthermore-.'
'They won't if they're being censored.' Flitwick said, his high pitched voice cutting through Slughorn's booming one and leaving the room in a tangible silence. Flitwick's comment wasn't untrue. If things in the wizarding world had reached the peak of danger and the ever mounting threat was still climbing, then the Ministry would have limited the information the Daily prophet could release to the public to ensure that spirits and morale wouldn't decline. Without this information. Nobody knew how bad things were getting in the wizarding world. But obviously, Dumbledore did.
He turned around and went to sit behind his desk calmly, placing his elbows on the table and his fingertips together in thought. He peered over the lenses of his half-moon spectacles and looked around at his staff. Each one the head of a noble house at Hogwarts. Each teacher responsible for a set of the future wizarding generation for most of the year and, in some cases, most of their lives. Each one had been trusted to mould the student's young minds, to help them see wrong and right and hopefully guide them in making the best decisions. These were the people he trusted most in the world, aside from Hagrid and a few of his close friends, and these were the people he needed to turn to when the world was in peril. But he wouldn't force them to help. He wouldn't force anyone to put their life at risk. If he did that, he would be no better than Tom Riddle or the Minister.
He wondered what they'd think to his proposal. He looked at Professor McGonagall. Minerva McGonagall. She was wearing a tartan dressing gown which wasn't surprising as he had called them out to his office in the early hours of the morning. (It was the only time he could think off to call this meeting without prying ears listening in) She was looking at Dumbledore too. Curious as to why he had asked them all to meet him at this time. It was written all over his face and was quite clear to Dumbledore. He was sure she would agree to help at once. Especially if it would help protect the future generation of wizards, the children she was nurturing now, and their children's children. She may be strict, but Minerva McGonagall was a soft hearted and caring witch. One of the best Dumbledore had ever known.
Looking at Professor Flitwick and Professor Sprout, he knew that they would possibly do the same. Filius Flitwick and Pomona Sprout. Flitwick was sat on the chair in front of his desk looking extremely small due to his goblin heritage. He was wearing an old fashioned blue striped night shirt with an old fashioned night cap. He stared intently at Dumbledore just as Professor Sprout was. She moved swiftly over to the chair next to Flitwick, her mustard coloured dressing gown, which had soil caked into the fabric, aired out slightly behind her as she went. She heaved a sigh and she and Flitwick shared a curious look as Dumbledore moved his gaze over to Slughorn.
He was the only one Dumbledore wasn't all too sure about. He taught Tom Riddle, the man who now went by the name of Voldemort. He was one of his all-time favourite pupils and it wasn't really surprising. Horace Slughorn was drawn to talent and success and he couldn't resist a good sob story. Someone exceeding the expectations set for them due to their social or personal circumstances. When he had found out that Tom Riddle had grown up in a muggle environment, in an orphanage without a mother or father to speak of and no knowledge of the wizarding world, when he found out that Tom Riddle had extraordinary talents, he had to collect him. Attempting to persuade Slughorn to go against one of his favourite students wouldn't be easy. He'd never join Voldemort's side, but openly defying him would be extremely difficult for him to do.
Dumbledore inhaled deeply and popped a pear drop into his mouth. He had kept them stewing long enough having not said a word for more than five minutes now. He needed to tell them what was going on in the wizarding world. He needed to tell them what he believed was happening and what he knew the Minister for Magic was not doing to protect their world.
'Voldemort is gathering an army.' Dumbledore said bluntly, laying his hands to rest on his desk, 'He has been doing for quite some time now, and it has become clear to me that he is succeeding. There are more people than we thought that are willing to fight for his cause. I believe, as the Ministry is covering up how the situation is progressing and are unwilling to admit the terrible extent of the situation, the only course of action is to create a resistance to stop Voldemort and his death eaters. Now, there is no pressure for you to join this resistance and I won't think any less of you if you decide against it.'
Without hesitating, Professor McGonagall agreed straight away. 'Well of course.' she said with a nod of her head.
'Grand idea.' Flitwick squeaked as if Dumbledore had suggested they nip out to the three broomsticks for a round of butterbeers.
Professor Sprout was also in agreement. She only said one world, 'Absolutely.'
Simultaneously, everyone in the room looked at Professor Slughorn who was looking at his feet. He looked up at the other members of staff. 'Well…obviously I think it's a good idea.' he said.
'But?' Professor Sprout interjected, predicting that the word was going to crop up soon.
'But I just…' he began.
Dumbledore held up a hand to stop Slughorn mid-sentence.
'Don't worry Horace.' he smiled kindly, 'No one here will think any less of you. I only ask that you say nothing about this. You cannot speak a word to anybody about this meeting.'
'Well of course I won't.' Slughorn replied, shaking his head at the preposterous idea, 'Let me explain why-'
'There's no need.' Dumbledore said gently. He turned away from Professor Slughorn, who was looking slightly guilty and embarrassed, and turned towards his other three members of his head staff. He smiled at them gently too, in the same way he had been previously smiling at Slughorn.
'I wish you not to take this decision lightly.' he began in all seriousness, 'By joining this resistance you will be putting yourself in constant danger, not to mention those close to you. We will be openly defying Voldemort and, at times, the Ministry of Magic and the Minister himself. You see, the Ministry does not want to accept how delicate this situation is. They would much rather overlook the suspicious deaths and disappearances too keep the morale of the wizarding world up. They will continue to overlook these things until it is too late to stop them. That is why I propose we start this counter action. It is the only way to stop Voldemort and return the world from disarray.'
'We understand.' Professor McGonagall said for herself, Professor Sprout and Professor Flitwick.
'As it is, not much can be done until the students return home at the end of the school year.' Dumbledore sighed, popping yet another pear drop into his mouth, 'As unfortunate as it is, nothing can be properly organized until the summer holidays. It is a shame since I would like to get started straight away, but I guess the time will allow me to find other willing volunteers to help defeat Voldemort. This is why, I am not forcing you to answer now, and the answers you have given I will not take as your final decisions. Please take this time to think things through and make a fully informed decision.'
'Very well.' Professor McGonagall said, once again, answering for all members of staff Dumbledore's grand office.
'This resistance,' Flitwick squeaked, 'does it have a name.
Dumbledore stood fluently and gracefully and glided back over to his magnificent, fiery coloured bird. 'It does.' he said, 'The Order of the Phoenix.'
Thank you for reading