Out of the Shadows
Chapter 5: the Truth
Writter: fall shadow
Summary: Harry has been raised to follow a path of darkness, but when he meets Hermione things start to change and he finds out everything he has been led to believe is a lie. Now, with a strengthened resolve, he must do whatever it takes to stop the one he once considered his master.
Moments later, a younger middle-aged wizard was opening the door to his house and letting them enter, with Hermione in the lead.
“I’m glad you decided to come back,” he said as Harry took in his appearance, walking through the door. “Your parents are in one of the guest rooms unpacking.”
When they were all inside and the man had shut and locked the down, also casting a spell with his wand, he turned around and his eyes landed on Harry for the first time. His reaction was anything but subtle. The man’s eyes widened and Harry tensed, his hand gripping his wand and ready to draw it at any second.
“Are you… Harry Potter?” he asked after the uncertain pause.
Harry nodded once, still keeping vigilant. He saw Hermione start out of the corner of his eye and heard her gasp and mutter something about how she hadn’t noticed it before.
“Remus Lupin,” he introduced himself, before saying under his breath, “Merlin. Dumbledore always swore you were still alive. He said your parents’ magic-”
“Harry!” Hermione yelled, obviously startled by his sudden reaction.
Without warning, Harry’s wand was drawn and pointed at Lupin, about a foot from his throat, and Harry looked furious. The lights flickered and there was a crackle of magic and tension in the air. Harry noticed Hermione cast a spell down the hall, which he guessed was aimed at her parents.
“What do you know about Dumbledore and my parents?!” Harry demanded.
Lupin looked shocked, holding up his hands slightly in a defensive position and obviously not sure what to say.
“Tell me what you know! Who killed them?”
“The Dark Lord killed them,” Lupin answered in a fairly calm voice for having a wand pointed at him by an enraged teenage wizard.
“Don’t give me your lies. Why would he have killed his own followers?”
For a moment, Lupin looked as though he had been punched.
“His followers? Lily and James fought against the Death Eaters. They were members of the Order of the Phoenix,” Lupin told him.
“What? Do you really think I would believe that? Dumbledore killed them, or one of his supporters! Who was it?” Harry was shaking from anger and confusion.
How is he lying so calmly? Does he think I’m stupid?! What the bloody hell is going on?
“You better start giving me some answers, or you are going to regret it!” Harry took an intimidating step toward the man, his wand inching closer to his neck.
“Harry, stop,” Hermione said in an even voice. “This isn’t getting us anywhere. We can explain everything if you
would just calm down.” She put her hand on his outstretched arm, trying to get him to lower his wand. “Lupin is telling you the truth.”
Harry rounded on her, his anger flaring. He let his arm fall away from Lupin, and bent it at the elbow, the tip of his wand now touching her abdomen.
“Are you trying to defend him? I’m not going to stand here and listen to this! Are you going to give me a bunch of lies, too?” Harry still looked irate, but the volume of his voice had lowered significantly when he had turned to address her.
“No, I will not lie to you,” she told him in a calm voice, looking directly into his eyes, “but you may have been lied to before. We can prove it, and sort it all out.” She hesitated and then said in a quieter voice, “You can trust me,” she put her hand gently on his forearm, where he was holding his wand pointed at her. “Just relax and we can figure everything out.
He relaxed his arm, letting his wand drop to his side and muttered, “Alright,” still looking cross. They all sat down around a nearby table.
“Now, what were you told?” Hermione asked him cautiously.
Harry explained what Voldemort had told, watching their reactions closely. Both of them had looked surprised when he told them Voldemort had been the one to tell him. Lupin looked personally affronted when Harry told them of his parents being Death Eaters, and Hermione just looked stunned.
“Do you really believe that your parents were Death Eaters?” Hermione asked gently.
“I- I don’t know. It never felt right. I didn’t want to believe it, but…” Harry trailed off, looking upset and unsure of himself.
“I can assure you they were not,” Lupin told him firmly. “I grew up with your parents and had been friends with them all through Hogwarts.” Harry looked surprised. “You look so much like your father. That’s how I recognized you. And when I saw your eyes, I knew it had to be you. They are exactly like your mother’s.”
Harry felt incredibly uncomfortable. After not being allowed to talk about his parents for as long as he could remember, here he was, sitting with a stranger who claimed to have been friends with them, listening to how he was the spitting image of his father with his mother’s green eyes.
“Here,” Lupin said, standing up and walking a few paces away, “I can show you.”
He handed Harry a small picture, framed with a simple wood boarder. Harry saw about two dozen witches and wizards smiling up at him. He quickly found Lupin in the photo; a younger version of the man, with longer hair and a less weary look about him. His eyes then slid to a couple standing right near the man before him. A wizard, who looked not much older than him, with glasses and dark hair, holding the hand of a red-headed witch with bright green eyes, stared back at him. Harry felt his eyes start to mist over as his throat choked up. Despite his efforts, his hand holding the photo started to shake. Harry put down the photo and swallowed thickly.
“I’m- I’m pretty tired. Do you think I could just sleep for a bit?” Harry asked, trying to keep his voice even. He could feel Hermione’s eyes on him.
“Sure. Hermione can show you to one of the other guest rooms. And if you need something to change into, I can grab something for you.”
Hermione stood and took his hand, pulling him up with her and leading him down the hall. She opened the door to one of the rooms down the hallway and pulled Harry inside. Her eyes scanned him, thoroughly looking him over, but he refused to look at her.
“Just wait here, I think I have something that would fit you.” She returned a moment later, with Harry still exactly as she had left him. “I packed these when I cleared out my room. They were always big on me, but the pants are really comfy.”
Eventually, Harry took the offered clothing: an orange unisex medium t-shirt that said something about a “Book-AThon” and charcoal gray sweatpants with a thin, flat drawstring and pockets that he guessed were men’s.
“They’re guys’ sweatpants,” she confirmed his suspicions a second after he wondered. “But they are mine. They looked really comfortable and warm, and they weren’t as tight as the girls’ ones, so I got them last year over winter break.”
He noticed that she sounded a bit embarrassed about buying guys’ clothes for herself. Harry looked at her, slightly amused, and glad to cling to the distraction from everything else racing around his head.
“What?” Her face looked a little flushed. “Why are you looking at me like that…?”
“It’s no big deal,” Harry told her. “It’s not like you bought guys’ underwear for yourself.”
As she blinked and her face reddened further, he laughed genuinely for the first time he could remember in a long time.
“You wear guys’ underwear, too?” He was sure she could tell he was amused, but he couldn’t resist teasing her when she was getting so flustered.
“No! Not exactly… sometimes I wear guys’ boxers as pajama shorts. They are comfortable, and most girls’ pajama shorts are so short.” She saw his face was still smirking slightly at her hurried explanation. “I wear girls’ underwear under them! I just wear them like shorts! Honestly, it isn’t that big of a deal,” she told him indignantly.
“Isn’t it?” he asked innocently. “You seem to think so.”
She noticed what he was implying and she huffed, giving up on explaining herself to him and asked in a mildly annoyed tone, “Well, are you going to wear them or what?”
“Would you like me to change with you standing right there?”
Some of the blush returned to her face and she turned away. “I will go check on my parents and come back in a few minutes. Just hurry up and put them on.”
Not long after she left, everything else came flooding back to him: his parents faces, their death, Lupin being their friend, them fighting the Death Eaters, Voldemort killing them. He had to admit, the thought of them fighting against evil seemed more real than the opposite, but he wasn’t sure if that was just what he wanted to be true.
He stripped off his worn clothing from Malfoy manor, and pulled on Hermione’s clothes, noting that there was, in fact, a pair of boxers in the pile. A somewhat familiar scent filled his senses as the shirt slipped over his head. He tried to focus on the clothing and her scent, fighting his thoughts not to drift to the things he had done during his years at the Malfoys.
He must have jumped a foot even though she spoke his name softly, and nearly tripped when he turned around to face her. She was barefoot, wearing medium gray sweatpants that looked similar to the ones he had just put on and a sweatshirt overtop her t-shirt.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to startle you,” she apologized quickly. “I have to finish healing you, remember?”
“Oh, right.” With everything else going on, Harry had completely forgotten about his injury.
He removed the shirt and she set about healing him again silently. As finished pulling her shirt back over his head, she spoke.
“How tired are you?”
“I’m pretty tired, I guess, but I’m alright,” he answered uncertainly. “Why?”
“I just thought, maybe we could talk.” Her voice seemed shy, and she added, “If you want.” Harry looked at her skeptically, but decided to at least see what she had in mind.
“What about?” he asked.
“Well, about ourselves.” He could tell she was trying to gauge his reaction. “We have helped each other out, but we don’t really know anything about each other.”
He couldn’t argue with that, and getting to know more about her did seem interesting. But her finding out more about him gave him a sick feeling in his stomach.
“I don’t know…” he answered, refusing to look at her. “For me there’s not much to tell… nothing good, anyway.”
She seemed to have been expecting this kind of reaction, and quickly answered, “We don’t have to talk about anything you don’t want to share. I just thought it would be better to know a little bit more about each other if we are going to be staying here together for a while.”
His head was still reeling from everything Lupin had told him and he was beginning to feel weary even though he had woken up only a few hours ago.
“Maybe another night, I don’t really feel like talking right now,” he eventually settled on.
She looked disappointed, but she nodded and told him she understood.
“Do you… need anything?” she asked before leaving and paused. “Are you alright? I know that must have been… difficult for you earlier.”
Harry forced his eyes to her face, which was full of concern.
Why does she look so worried about me? I’m fine.
Even telling himself, he knew it wasn’t true, but he tried it on her anyway, hoping that hearing it out loud might convince him more.
Harry somehow knew before the words left his lips that she would see right through his lie. It was strange; usually people didn’t.
“You don’t have to try to be so brave you know,” she told him gently. “I will be in the next room over. Wake me if you need anything.” She turned and walked out of the room into the dark hallway and disappeared from his sight.
Harry let himself fall back onto the bed and closed his eyes, trying not to think about how in the last few hours, everything had changed. He failed, of course, and spent the next few hours lying awake, going over everything in his head: the truth about his parents, Voldemort, wondering what had happened to him when they had been killed, Dumbledore, Lupin, Hermione, how he trusted her somewhat without really understanding why, his life, everything he had been forced to do while being kept at the Malfoys, all of his regrets and everything he never wanted anyone to know about him.
And she wanted to know more about him?
What am I supposed to tell her? ‘Oh, yeah, I was just waiting to be made into a Death Eater. Had pretty much accepted it before you came along. I’ve tortured quite a few people, too. And watched a lot of prisoners suffer. Sorry about that, by the way. How I let them lock you up in a dungeon and then led you up to meet your doom at the hands of that psychotic, evil witch.’ Yeah, that would go over well.
Hours later, Harry jerked awake, cold and trembling. His nightmare had been so vivid. He had seen his parents being tortured by Voldemort. His heart was still pounding and his stomach felt sick. Then, Voldemort had walked behind Harry and told him to kill them, saying it was his destiny to betray them and become a Death Eater. Pointing his wand at his own parents, he woke up when he was blinded by green light. He was surprised he wasn’t covered in sweat- usually after nightmares he was. Harry pushed his emotions back, a practice he prided himself on, and swallowed the lump in his throat, trying to calm his body down.
Harry quickly discarded any hope he might have had for getting more sleep. There is no way I’m going to get back to sleep after a dream like that. Harry sighed, staying in bed looking out the window at the slowly rising sun. A while later, his door creaked slightly and he saw Hermione poke her head in.
“Oh, Harry,” she said, walking in after peeking into the room and seeing that he was awake. “I came to wake you up, if you were still sleeping.” Her face became serious. “Lupin said there were a few things Dumbledore left him that he was told to give you, should we ever find you. Many people thought it was a lost cause, but Dumbledore always seemed to believe that you were still alive and that you would one day return. He gave the items to Lupin in his will because he had been so close to your parents. I guess Dumbledore saw that as the best link to you out of the people he trusted.”
“What did he leave me?” Harry asked intently, feeling a mix of emotions.
“I don’t know,” Hermione answered, “let’s go find out.”
With that, they walked together out into the living room where Lupin was waiting for them. Harry was trying to ready himself for the possibility of more staggering information, but nothing could have prepared him for the things he was about to discover about himself, and the Dark Lord.