To Save A Squib
To Save A Squib
a Harry Potter fan-fic
A sequel to "The Way of the Squib"
Chapter 2 of 4: Double-Edged Swords
Everything in this story really belongs to J.K. Rowling
When I heard the high, cold voice of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, I was terrified. My first coherent thought was filled with regret and anger. Mrs. Norris’s kittens... I wasn’t going to live to see them born. It wasn’t fair!
The Dark Lord moved towards the battered Gryffindor Animagus and me. The red light of the rising sun outlined his unnaturally tall, thin body. I could not help staring at him in horrified fascination. The blood-red slit-pupiled eyes glowing in the skull-white face, the flat nose with slits for nostrils, the pale, long-fingered hands... he did not look human, he was a creature of Darkness, wearing a human-like shape.
As terrible as the sight of him was, the feel of the Dark magic that surrounded him was worse. His presence was an assault against every sense I possessed. I would have been moaning with fear, but I could not make a sound.
The Gryffindor Animagus, injured though he was, moved protectively between me and the Dark Lord. He was too badly hurt to last long against this evil creature. His left arm was wrapped around his side. He coughed painfully, right hand over his mouth. I saw his hand come away with bright red blood on his fingers.
The Animagus held what appeared to be a small grey stone hidden in his left hand. Too frightened to speak, I willed him silently to go! To take Callandra and leave me!
The Animagus remained where he was, between the Evil One and me. It seemed that he was determined to save both Squibs. He took a stumbling step towards the Dark Lord, his feet rustling through the leaves in this small clearing. The sounds muffled the soft noise as he let the stone that was Callandra fall from his hand.
I saw the stone resting, half-hidden, among the leaves. Small, grey, unremarkable... nothing worth the Dark Lord’s notice. Even if Voldemort killed us, as it was likely he was going to do, Callandra would be safe. Safe, but a stone!
Gryffindor idiot! I thought. I was not worth the child’s life. The Animagus should have been content with saving her. He was reckless and foolish... Severus had been right.
Poor Severus. I could not help wondering if his "carefully calculated risks" had included the possible arrival of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. I couldn’t ask him. I did not know if he was alive.
The Evil One’s red eyes locked on the Animagus. He smiled a terrible smile.
"Well met, Sirius Black."
"S-Sirius... B-Black...?" I tried to say it out loud. My mouth moved, but no words came out. This could not be true! The Animagus could not be Sirius Black!
Sirius Black was a loyal follower of the Dark Lord! He’d betrayed James and Lily Potter. He’d murdered Peter Pettigrew along with a street full of innocent, unsuspecting Muggles! He was a fugitive from Azkaban! A mad, dangerous Dark Wizard! Everyone knew these things!
He’d been a wicked child too. Primarily responsible for the dark streak of malice that was evident in the worst of the Marauders’ mischief. I’d known he was a bad one, ever since he was eleven years old!
But... he’d saved Callandra Moffitt.
Severus, who had to have known who the Animagus was (though he’d been wise enough not to tell me) had called Black an agent of Dumbledore’s! Snape and Black had despised each other ever since their first year at Hogwarts. I had watched their mutual hatred grow deeper over time. But now they’d been working together to save the girl.
The Headmaster himself had ordered Black to watch over Callandra. I had seen Black at Hogwarts, playing with Potter and his friends, accepting food from the boy’s own hands! Surely, Black had been there with Dumbledore’s full knowledge and approval.
And, now nearly unconscious on his feet, Sirius Black was bravely (and foolishly) about to lose his life trying to protect me from the Dark Lord.
As much as I’d always disliked the boy, as much as I’d hated the man, it was obvious to me that Sirius Black was not a loyal follower of the Evil One.
Hatred for He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named was evident in every line of Black’s body. He was trembling with pain and rage, not awe. He certainly did not fall to his knees to kiss the hem of the Dark One’s robes.
Instead, Black tried to spit at the monster. Blood stained his mouth.
"Well met, indeed," Black rasped. His hoarse, pain-filled voice was barely recognizable as the same one that had belonged to the wily child, always so pleased with his own cleverness.
"Were you expecting to find your loyal followers here, waiting for their Master?" Black growled. Jerking his head in the direction of the pile of rubble that was the fallen tower, he gave a harsh, barking laugh that left more blood flecks staining his mouth.
"Take a good look! Nothing’s there. Just ruins. And bodies in the ruins."
The Dark Lord looked past us, through the trees to where the tower should have been. Shock and anger flared in the blood-red snake’s eyes.
Black began to laugh. An agonized laugh, that quickly became a helpless coughing fit.
"What have you DONE?" the Evil One hissed, glaring at the Animagus.
"Me? Not a thing," Sirius Black snarled, when he could talk again. His pale eyes were snapping fire, the only things that looked alive in his bruised and battered face. "I’m just glad to see you getting some of your own back! Go on. Search through the rubble. Maybe you’ll find some of them still living."
The Evil One hissed like a boiling cauldron. His wand was suddenly in his hand. The Dark Lord spoke angrily and the words sounded like nothing in any human language. It was like the whisper of a brutally cold winter wind through dead, dry leaves.
The dreadful spell picked Black up like a rag doll. The Animagus landed hard on the ground beside me. Black cried out in agony. I winced. The sound of breaking bones had been sickening and unmistakable.
Black lay crumpled on his side. He was still conscious, his eyes full of agony.
"You idiot!!" I cried, finding my voice at last. "Why didn’t you leave me when you had the chance?"
He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named stalked towards us.
My battle with Lucius Malfoy had left me too weak to stand. Still, I dragged myself forwards, trying to get between the monster and Sirius Black.
"D-didn’t want you to know who I-I was..." the Animagus whispered to me, almost wryly. "You never believed me whenever I t-tried to tell you that I hadn’t done s-something wrong. Knew you’d never believe I was innocent."
"I never believed anything you ever told me, because you were always guilty, before!" I snapped.
There was no time for me to say anything else. The Evil One had reached us.
The Dark Lord ignored me, speaking only to the Animagus.
"I have a use for you, Black. Both you and Dumbledore’s pet Squib shall have the honor of serving me," He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named hissed. "I will let you live.
"But a small lesson is still in order."
The Dark magic that surrounded the Evil One surged.
It was warning enough.
"Crucio!" the Dark Lord hissed, raising his wand and aiming it at Black.
My fingers closed around the mirror in my pocket.
"Are you ready, Filch?" Severus had asked me, before he’d brought me to this place. "Do you have everything you need?"
"Yes," I’d said.
I had not needed Rita Skeeter’s little mirror to fight the Death Eaters. But I had brought it with me, just in case. And it was the only weapon available to me now. I’d wanted to ask Moody if he thought that the little mirror was capable of reflecting back very powerful spells, or even Unforgivable Curses. But I’d been too afraid of what might happen. My teacher shares Severus Snape’s tendency towards what Slytherins refer to as Calculated Risks.
(Slytherins refer to similar behavior in Gryffindors as Reckless Stupidity. Both Slytherins and Gryffindors will insist that there’s a world of difference between the two. I can’t see it, myself.)
Knowing Moody, he would have experimented by casting an Unforgivable Curse at me while I held the mirror, just to see what would happen. The results would have been painful for one or both of us. I did not want to suffer harm myself and I did not want to hurt Moody. So I had not asked, and the mirror was all but untested.
The Dark Lord’s Cruciatus Curse struck Rita Skeeter’s Mirror, instead of Sirius Black.
It reflected, striking He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named with nearly twice its original force.
The Evil One’s scream was a terrible thing to hear. A cold, high piercing wail that seemed to go on forever. The Curse did not not strike me or Black. But the mirror shattered. The Dark Lord had put so much power into his Curse that every bone in my right hand shattered along with the mirror. The spell’s shock wave ran down my right arm to my shoulder, pulverizing the bones. My screams were swallowed up in his.
The pain was indescribable. I lost consciousness. Agony followed me down into darkness, along with the Dark Lord’s screams.
END OF CHAPTER TWO