The Sugar Quill
Author: Wendelin the Weird (Professors' Bookshelf)  Story: Unhonoured and Unsung  Chapter: Default
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Unhonoured and Unsung

Unhonoured and Unsung


This fic is for everyone sane enough to appreciate the awesome magnificence of the Harry Potter books. Everything you recognize in the story belongs to the incomparable J. K. Rowling. I could never have come up with any of it myself.

But I can let my imagination build a little on that superb foundation...


Summary

Days before the end of the Triwizard Tournament, a prophecy is made about the boy who will pay for his victory with his life.

Now, a bereaved Amos Diggory must battle monsters, men and fate, and in the end, make the most difficult decision of all: should he find out what was in that prophecy? Can he bear to know whether his son might have lived?

 

*********


Prologue

The young woman was quite nondescript, just your average witch taking her dogs out for a walk. Only the dogs seemed to draw attention to the fact that she was there at all - there were five of them on a Multi Pet Leash, all quite ferocious and barking their heads off. The young woman held fast against the tugging leash with a weary patience. Her neighbor Mopsy, whom nobody liked, had promised her a new crystal ball if she looked after the batty old lady's dogs for the weekend, which was the only reason she was even within twenty feet of the crazy canines.

She paused for a minute as they stopped to growl at the large, shaggy black dog that had just appeared from behind the bushes. She looked on as her charges growled and snarled and acted in a generally threatening fashion… Yawn. She gave a slight tug on the Leash, indicating they ought to leave that black dog alone and move on a bit.

Suddenly, her whole body seemed to seize up. Her limbs went stiff, her vision blurred, and she swayed dangerously where she stood, hardly noticing that the shaggy black dog had changed into a man with long, matted hair, or that he had grabbed the Leash from her.


She felt her eyeballs roll up, and then she spoke, her voice raspy and harsh as a bark.

"The night of the final challenge approaches. He will share the glory of The Boy Who Will Still Live, and yet will perish himself; the last in his line and none will come after... "

 

*********************



Far away from prying eyes, human or canine, somewhere in the heart of the Department of Mysteries, a dark, musty room lit up with a pale blue light. A wisp of smoke appeared in the middle of the room, and it swirled and swirled until the smoke was no more, and in its place hung a tiny glass sphere, hovering in the pale light. It moved through the air and reached a slot in a shelf by the wall. The light flickered and narrowed into a single, focused beam, which touched the surface of the glass with a searing sound. Out of nowhere, words appeared on the sphere:

 

A. L. P to S. N. B.
Cedric Diggory



*********************




The Abandoned Prophecy



A man with a wilted face sat at the desk, reading the cold, still piece of parchment in front of him.


" Mr Amos Diggory and Mrs Angela Diggory
46 Owlery Lane
Droppings-On-The-Fence
Yorkshire

15 November 1995

Dear Mr and Mrs Diggory,

Our sincere condolences on your great and unfortunate loss. The Ministry assures you we are doing our best to investigate the accident that so tragically took your beloved son from you.

The Department of Mysteries invites you to collect one of Cedric's possessions that has remained with us. I suspect that you are unaware that shortly before the accident, there was a prophecy made about Cedric, about which we immediately informed him. However, he declined to accept the prophecy, or even to claim it as his own. In his letter to us he expressed his vehement disbelief in determinacy and in Divination in general.

Upon his death, the prophecy becomes the property of his next of kin.

If you wish to claim the prophecy, please contact me to set a suitable appointment. Arrangements will be made for you to hear the prophecy under protective spells in order to ensure absolute privacy.

Please note that admission into the Department of Mysteries will
be granted only to the addressees of this letter. You are required to present this letter in person to the security staff at the Wand Registration counter.

Yours Sincerely,
Selena Delwitt-Podmore
Head of Time Studies
Department of Mysteries"


 


"Amos, it's here."

The man with the wilted face looked up wordlessly, uncomprehendingly, as though he were in a different world. Then he blinked. His eyes, which had shown little other than mourning for so many months, widened slightly with apprehension. He nodded to the thin, dark eyed man standing at the door, and rose.

"It's in a cage. We should check the protective spells on it," the dark eyed man said.

Amos tried to bring himself fully back to the present. "Call Lina. You're good at dealing with dark creatures, Walden, and it's not every day she gets to see a live lesson in Lethifolds."

But Macnair was looking at the piece of parchment that Amos had dropped on the floor. He picked it up. "What's this? 'The Department of Mysteries invites you...’"

Amos snatched the letter back. "I'll keep that, Walden, if you don't mind."

"It's from the Department of Mysteries," said Macnair, leering. "Why do you have to go there?"

"You had no business reading that! " Amos's cheeks puffed out in repressed anger. "Shouldn't you be getting Lina?"

Shooting a curiously shrewd look at the parchment, Macnair left to bring Lina. Amos Diggory found himself alone in the stowing room, alone, except for the Lethifold.

Silent and black, it had chosen now to drape itself half on the floor, and half on the bars of the cage. It lay still, an unmoving shroud, looking quite delicately formed. A powerful feeling of broken numbness swept through Amos. How deceptive appearances were. How unfair it was that a living shroud of death should take the form of shiny muslin fine enough to be used in the most expensive dress robes, that a ticket to certain death should take the form of something that would ordinarily be so desirable... so desirable... make you want to just grasp it in your hand, when that grasp, the grasp of doom, meant death. The kind of death that Cedric had died, the kind that sneaks up and smothers even while you are basking in the victory of the grasp.

Amos Diggory battled the rising bile up this throat, and forced down the stings that threatened to leak out of his eyes. It wasn't fair. Cedric had been everything that Amos had wanted to be. He had always been close to his son, Hufflepuffs both, understanding each other on a level that other fathers and sons would have envied. Cedric had been his golden boy, loyal and hardworking and all of it, but talented, too. Amos had gloried in his son's glory, felt accomplished in his son's achievements, been young once more in his son's youth. His son had been more than a son: he had been a friend and an inspiration.


Amos smiled. If today, he could stand in front of a Lethifold in an insecure cage unafraid, confident in his ability to produce a Patronus to combat it, it was all due to Cedric. Cedric had been the one who had effusively, enthusiastically written long letters to his father recounting his preparation for the third task.


"I'm learning the Patronus Charm! I know Dumbledore won't put Dementors or dark creatures in the maze but professor Moody thinks I ought to be prepared for anything. You should try it Dad! My Patronus is a horse, isn't that great? I wonder what yours will be. I bet it'll turn out to be a bee or something, the way you nag at me to be careful all the time! It really sounds like you're buzzing when you do that..."


And Amos, completely caught up in his son's eagerness and not to be outdone, had coached himself to perform the charm. He really ought to have learned a long time ago, given his line of work, but so far, he had gotten by; usually, he simply asked Macnair to take care of the dark creatures. Amazingly talented man, Macnair.


Macnair returned with Lina, and Amos smiled at her in greeting.

"Hey Amos, d'you know 'bout Buckbeak?"

"What... Oh, that hippogriff that escaped? What about it? Have you people managed to catch it?"

"Aw no, Amos, it's just been sighted. In Tibet. And you'll never guess with whom."

"Hippogriffs don't live in Tibet! They can't - "

But Lina was paying no attention to him. "With Sirius Black, that’s who!" She said triumphantly. "John reckons they've been on the run together all this while."

Amos snorted. "Really, Lina, just because they both happened to escape on the same day..." He trailed off as he noticed Macnair sniggering in a nasty, knowing way. He didn't like the look on his face too much, either, so he changed the subject. "So what about these protective spells, then?"

Macnair started on the checks, and Lina watched with rapt attention. She was one of the better trainees they had accepted into the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. As Amos watched the Lethifold be caged securely with spells and bars, he felt a curious sense of satisfaction. There were things one could do against the ways and evils of the world. They were wizards, intelligent men with the power of magic at their wand tips and in their veins. They would always have defences against dark creatures of all kinds - the kind that lies draped in cages, the kind that sneaks up and kills.

 

*********************



Later, in his office, Amos fretted over the piece of parchment. A prophecy. About Cedric. Amos Diggory’s mind reeled. This was too much information, too out-of-the-blue… And Cedric had refused to know what was in the prophecy… before he… died.

Tragic accident.”

Well, what else could he expect from the Ministry anyway? What was the use of being bitter about it all when, really, nobody could know for certain what had actually happened? It was all very well for that Potter boy to talk about the return of You-Know-Who (… and who, being Harry Potter, had of course not been harmed by the great tragic accident at all…) but what proof did anyone have? It could have been just a former Death Eater, or even exactly what the Ministry said it was – an accident.


Should he go and hear the prophecy? Had it foretold his son's death? Or perhaps, a choice, an alternative future for him? Could he bear to know that Cedric might still have been alive if he'd chosen to do something differently?



It was driving him mad. He needed to know... he wanted to know... But could he live with bringing himself that close to Cedric's death again? The only way Amos managed to function these days was by focusing on thoughts of Cedric when he had been alive. He didn't like to think about him dying... He felt he would be sucked into an abyss if he did, into which he had almost lost himself when the loss had still been fresh.

Out of the corner of his eye, Amos saw Macnair slipping out of the door to the corridor. He frowned, walked a few steps to the door, stuck his head out and called, "Walden! What is it?"

Macnair was nowhere to be seen. Now where had he disappeared to?

"Walden!" He shouted again. "What did you want?"

Just then, Amos felt a light brush of something against his ankles. He jumped as if he had been scalded, because he already knew what it was. He had seen it out of the corner of his eye, he had sensed it approach him. The Lethifold was on the move.

Amos knew it normally would not have attacked him until it thought he was sleeping, but he had been in the way, and now he had provoked it by jumping all over it in his eagerness to get away. The Lethifold closed in on him, wrapping itself around his ankles and inching its way up his legs. Amos tried to throw it off, but it was impossible. It was clinging incredibly firmly. He couldn't even move his legs.

The door to the corridor burst open and Macnair ran in. Amos started at him, wide-eyed, trying to appeal to him for help, but no words came out. Macnair didn't even pause to look at him. He had dashed into Amos's office, and Amos could hear him rummaging through his drawers in search of the letter. Amos struggled harder against the Lethifold, which had now reached his waist and was inching up his chest, wrapping itself around him in a suffocating grip.


When he finally stopped panicking, Amos clutched his wand tightly in his hand, concentrated hard on his memory of Cedric's letter announcing that he had been chosen as Triwizard Champion ( - what did it matter that the Potter boy had been chosen, too? It hadn't been his fault, the poor boy - ) ... His son was the Hogwarts Champion in the Triwizard Tournament -

"Expecto Patronum!"

A swallow blossomed smoothly out from the tip of his wand and nipped at the Lethifold, swishing its wings over the dark, smooth creature. The Lethifold slipped quickly away.

"To the cage!" Amos urged, and the swallow followed the Lethifold until it was back in the cage again. Sealing it quickly, Amos turned and ran towards his office to stop Macnair. As just that moment, Macnair came bursting out, the thick parchment clutched firmly in his hand.

"Impedimenta!" Amos roared, and Macnair froze, moving as if through thick mud. Amos snatched the parchment from him easily.

And suddenly, he knew what he wanted. He wanted to burn the letter, and never hear about the prophecy again. His son had not wanted to know about the it. Things happened the way they did, and there was nothing he could now do to change anything. Why the unnecessary heartache of "It might have been"?

"Incendio."

The parchment burned to a black crisp, and Amos watched it with satisfaction. It was all right now. He didn't have to decide anything. He... had forgotten about Macnair.

The Impediment Jinx had worn off, and Macnair faced Amos with cold, steady eyes.

Amos knew he didn't stand a chance. Macnair was accomplished in the dark arts, and was too ready for him.

But in the split second that Macnair paused, wand aloft, ready to curse him, Amos wondered why it Macnair would so badly want an invitation to the Department of Mysteries.

"Obliviate!"

 

*********************



It was the first week of July, and the Ministry was all in a furor, because they had finally been forced to accept that You Know Who was back. Amos was caught up with work. The Lethifold was long gone, destroyed by Walden ( - that man was amazing with dark creatures, truly amazing - ) and there were interbred dragons, mutated Dementors and one rampaging chimera to take care of. As for Buckbeak the hippogriff, it was all but forgotten, remembered only occasionally when Amos had time enough on his hands to think - much like that letter he had once received, telling him about Cedric's prophecy.

Somewhere deep inside him, Amos was sure he didn't want to hear the prophecy, but it worried him that he could never remember what had happened to that letter. He had searched his desk as thoroughly as only a wizard can ( - "Quaero!" - ); he was sure he had last seen it there. But it was nowhere to be found. Not that he needed it, really but...

But sometimes, just sometimes, he weakened inside, and thought that he wanted to know what exactly that prophecy had said.

As it turned out, it did not matter after all. He received the letter one morning in late July -

" Mr Amos Diggory and Mrs Angela Diggory
46 Owlery Lane
Droppings-On-The-Fence
Yorkshire

28 July 1996


Dear Mr and Mrs Diggory,

We regret to inform you that in the recent raid of the Department of Mysteries by the Death Eaters, the Time Chamber was broken into and all prophecies destroyed. Included among these was one belonging to you, made regarding your son Cedric.

We also regret to inform you that the person to whom the prophecy was made,  Sirius Nigellus Black, is now deceased, making it impossible for us to obtain a Pensieve copy.

We hope you have not been inconvenienced by the loss of your son Cedric's prophecy and that your lack of response to our letter dated 15th November means that you did not wish to know the contents of the prophecy.

Yours Sincerely,
Selena Delwitt-Podmore
Head of Time Studies
Department of Mysteries"



Amos Diggory sighed, and felt strangely at peace.

*********************



Epilogue



...Two figures, pearly-white as ghosts, fluid as smoke, unfurled themselves from the fragments of broken glass upon the floor and each began to speak; their voices vied with each other, so that only fragments of what they were saying could be heard over Malfoy’s and Bellatrix's shouts.


'... at the solstice will come a new ...' said the figure of an old, bearded man.
'DO NOT ATTACK! WE NEED THE PROPHECY!'


'He dared - he dares -' shrieked Bellatrix incoherently, 'he stands there - filthy half-blood -'


'WAIT UNTIL WE'VE GOT THE PROPHECY!' bawled Malfoy.


'... and none will come after ...' said the figure of a young woman.

Nobody heard her continue, "... He shall go to his grave unhonoured and unsung; and yet shall Immortality be his. He shall be the instrument of awakening the leaders to the War, he will be remembered forever in the hearts of these who matter... The night of the final challenge approaches..."

 

*********************



The End




This story is dedicated to Birgit from the Sugar Quill for reminding me that Amos Diggory works in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, that Buckbeak's wannabe executioner's name was Macnair and not Rookwood, and for instantly supplying me with the exact quote from OotP when I needed it.

Also, muchos muchos gracias to my beta, Lauren, who managed to spot out so many niggly grammar issues that she is probably Legolas in disguise. (Think, “Keen are the eyes of Elves.” )


"Unhonoured and unsung" comes from Love of Country by Sir Walter Scott - "... And, doubly dying, shall go down/ To the vile dust from whence he sprung,/ Unwept, unhonoured and unsung."

 

 

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