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Even Badgers Cry
The Characters and World of Harry Potter are property of JK Rowling
It was a typical night at the Bones’ farm. Everyone had
gone to bed hours before, and the only sound was the slow, consistent
rustling of turning pages as Susan read her book in bed. Reaching
the end of a chapter she smiled at the way that Rosie Cotton had her
hooks into Samwise. However, when she glanced at the clock next
to her bed she groaned. Grimacing, she carefully marked her page
with a bookmark and set it on the nightstand. She was supposed to
be out in the fields helping her father at dawn, and it was already two
hours after midnight. Sighing, she touched the glowing globe next
to her bed. Flopping back into her pillow, she closed her eyes,
hoping that sleep wouldn’t be too slow to call her this night.
Unfortunately, it seemed that sleep would not be her companion
tonight. That wasn’t unusual. Sometimes, it was just
so hard for her to turn her mind off, to relax and drift away into
peaceful slumber. There were so many thoughts that came to her
when she tried to sleep. Speculations and musings about what
she’d been reading, thoughts about her own future, and of course, the
news that the Daily Prophet
relentlessly informed them about every morning. The war was not
going well. This morning, the paper had been full of pictures of
giants storming their way through some hapless Muggle town. Susan
shivered, thinking of what would happen if giants stomped through the
part of Liverpool where her grandparents lived. Susan
wasn’t sure if her mother had told her parents everything that was
happening, but she hoped not. They’d never really accepted that
their daughter had married a wizard. It wasn’t that they were
rude or anything, but Susan had long since noticed that there was
always a certain coolness in their attitude towards her father, and
even to her. It wasn’t that they didn’t like her, they was just…
Susan’s thoughts were interrupted by a loud pop at the foot of
her bed. Startled, she touched her hand to the globe. The
soft, white light of the lamp revealed that Dody, her Aunt Amelia’s
diricrawl, was standing on the end of her bed. The gray bird
squawked and leapt into Susan’s arms. Susan hugged Dody to
herself, and she burrowed her head under Susan’s chin. Dody was
shaking, and if Susan didn’t know better, she would have imagined that
she was crying.
A moment later, there was a loud crack outside the window.
Susan knew that sound, it was the sound of someone Apparating.
She jumped to her feet, sending Dody flying back onto her bed.
Her wand in her hand, she carefully looked out her second floor window,
trying to see who had come calling. She let out a breath when she
saw the familiar bald head of Kingsley Shacklebolt, one of the Aurors
who worked for her aunt.
Susan sat back down on her bed, and was unsurprised that Dody
immediately jumped right back onto her lap. The relief she’d felt
when she’d seen their visitor was a friend was fading, and instead she
felt a growing sense of dread. Why would Shacklebolt come here at
this hour of the night? Why was Dody here, and in this
condition? Susan had a sneaking suspicion about the answer, and
her stomach clenched at the thought.
A moment later, she heard the voice of her father screaming in
Justin Finch-Fletchley awakened to the sound of an old bantam
rooster outside his window. “I wish they’d put a snooze button on
the ruddy things,” he muttered groggily. He thought about
grabbing his wand and firing off a nice silencing charm, but remembered
that he wasn’t at Hogwarts, so that would get him into buckets of
trouble. He’d already had more trouble with the Ministry of Magic
than he’d ever wanted to, and he definitely didn’t want to add to that.
For that matter, Justin wasn’t at his parents’ house
either. He was at his grandfather’s estate. He actually
preferred it that way. His grandfather was the only person in the
entire family that didn’t look at him differently than the old days.
After he showered and got dressed, he walked down the mahogany
staircase towards the small dining room, the one they used for family
dinners. Justin was unsurprised to see his grandfather sitting at
the table reading the newspaper already.
“Ah!, Justin, good to see you are awake bright and early,” said
his grandfather. He then turned to the butler, who was standing
quietly in a corner. “We’ll have a light breakfast this morning,
Benson, please have the cook prepare Eggs Benedict.”
“Very good, My Lord,” replied the butler, who turned and headed
off for the kitchen.
Justin was about halfway through his breakfast when a large owl
started pecking at the window.
“Now there’s an odd bird,” said his grandfather. “I don’t
believe I’ve ever seen a Great Horned Owl in England. Beautiful
specimen though, I wonder if it escaped from a zoo.”
Justin smiled and shook his head. “Oh, no, that’s Hector,
the Macmillan’s owl. It kind of fits Ernie, look at the way he’s
preening out there.” Justin walked over to the door and opened
it, putting out his arm for the owl to perch on. “Ernie saw a
picture of a Great Horned Owl in one of the books you sent with me to
school a few years ago and decided he had to have one.”
“I’ll never get used to the way that you wizards are able to use
owls to communicate. It’s certainly more interesting than trying
to use the telephone.”
“Ow!” yelped Justin as Hector took a nip out of his
finger. “More interesting, but on the other hand, telephones
don’t bite you if you don’t feed them quickly enough,” said Justin as
he broke off a piece of toast and held it up to Hector.
After the owl gobbled down the toast, he finally held out his leg for
Justin to remove the small scroll.
Justin opened the scroll, expecting to see Ernie’s latest appeal
for advice on how to ask out Hannah. However, as Justin read the
message, he felt like someone had dropped a lump of cold lead into his
stomach. It said: “Justin, I
just heard that Susan’s Aunt Amelia was killed by You-Know-Who last
Justin crumpled the letter in his fist as he looked down at the
table. It wasn’t fair. Susan didn’t deserve this, no one
deserved this. Why did there have to be people like You-Know-Who
in the world?
“Justin? Are you all right?”
Justin jumped; he’d forgotten that he wasn’t alone. “I
guess,” mumbled Justin.
His grandfather narrowed his eyes. “What is it?”
“It’s nothing,” said Justin, not looking up from the table.
“You know I’m not going to let you get away with that, so you
may as well tell me and save us both some time.”
Justin inhaled deeply. He was right. His grandfather
was many things, and one of them was determined. “I think I’ve
mentioned my friend Susan before, right?” His grandfather nodded,
so Justin went on. “Her aunt was murdered, the letter doesn’t say much
“Murdered? Do they have the scoundrel?” asked his
“No, no. It was no normal murderer. Anyway, it
was no ordinary murder, it’s part of the war.”
“Justin, I believe you best start at the beginning.”
Justin spent the next half hour telling his grandfather about
everything that had been happening in the Wizarding World for the past
five years, including the small fact that his own injuries back in
second year were a small a part of the war.
When Justin finished, his grandfather sat there and looked at
him for a long moment, steepling his fingers in front of his
face. Finally he said, “Why are you still going back there
then?” Justin was both surprised and relieved that his tone
indicated curiosity and not condemnation.
“Yes, it’s a dangerous place, but it’s where I belong. Not
just because I can do magic, but also because it is where I fit
in. I’m not about to run away from it either.”
His grandfather smiled, “I’m glad to hear you say that
Justin. I’d think less of you if you’d said anything else.
Still, do you know if anyone has told the Prime Minister about this? I
think he’d be interested in knowing that there’s a full scale war
brewing in his country.”
“I doubt it,” said Justin bitterly. “The Ministry of Magic
is pretty obsessive about keeping secrets.”
“So, what are you going to do for your friend? Will you
need a ride to that part of London where you can get formal robes for
Justin sat back and closed his eyes. He took a moment to
form a plan in his mind. “No, I don’t think so, I have another
idea. By the way, may I borrow the telephone, I need to call
A/N: Well, we’re off
again. As you can see, while this is the sequel to Bones to Bones
(as well as Losses and Gains), there’s a major difference, in that I’ve
added Justin as a second perspective character. While most of it
is in my head, I’ve been working with a Justin POV fic of his third
year (Stone and Flesh) for quite awhile. There are echoes of that
in this fic. Hopefully those things won’t cause any problems for
you. Let’s just say that Justin’s bad attitude towards the
Ministry of Magic is well earned.
As usual, many thanks to Zsenya for
her wonderful beta.