The Sugar Quill
Author: Stellar Hawk  Story: I Want to Say I'm Sorry  Chapter: Default
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I Want to Say I’m Sorry

I Want to Say I’m Sorry

 

It’s 10:30 on a Friday night in June, and the temperature’s dropping off. The sun’s been napping for a while now, and I should be home getting ready to catch some shut-eye myself. But I’m restless and depressed. Other people might enjoy the beginning of summer, but this is the time of year I hate most because so many people died around this time when the war was still going on. Cedric, Sirius, Lupin, Moody, Bill, Charlie… Oh yeah, and Snape. But I don’t feel too badly about that last one.

 

My Firebolt’s starting to show its age. It’s been through a lot. Maybe I’ll get a new broom next year, if I get that raise. Granted, an Auror’s life may be exciting and glamorous, but it sure doesn’t pay well. Wish I’d known that before I let McGonagall talk me into it. Come to think of it, maybe I did. I might even have listened if it hadn’t come from Hermione.

 

Well, here it is. The Hogsmeade Cemetery. It’s the closest place to Hogwarts that one can be legally buried, well, except for Dumbledore of course. But that was a special case. I remember thinking it odd at the time that Remus had requested to be buried here, if the war should leave any of him behind. He really didn’t spend all that much time here…and the part he spent in the Shrieking Shack, I’m sure he would rather have forgotten. But now that time has passed and I look back, I think I understand. There’s something about Hogwarts that gets into you and won’t let you go. I’m not sure what that something is, but I know that Remus had a liberal dose of it. Don’t know about me yet. Don’t want to think that far ahead.

 

I know the way. I’ve been here before. There’s a large tombstone where I turn left and walk about thirty paces. It’s the one inscribed <i>Aloysius Nefarious, 1726-1862</i>. He’s the villain in chapter 36 of <i>Hogwarts, A History,</i> I think. Merlin, I hate it when I start to sound like Hermione! It’s funny isn’t it, that after all the fighting, all the feuding, the hatred and the bloodshed, the good and the evil all end up buried in the same places. Of course, the destination of the soul is another matter entirely. I’ve been inside a room with a veiled arch in the basement of the Ministry of Magic, in a strange place called the Department of Mysteries. It is where some souls go when they leave their bodies, but not all.

 

Here it is. <i>Remus Lupin, 1960-1997</i>. “You shouldn’t be here yet,” I say. I want to say I’m sorry, but the words stick in my throat. It’s my fault he’s here. He, Cedric and Sirius…

 

Suddenly I begin to notice that the air is awfully chilly, even for a cold night in June. I can see my breath in the air, my hands feel like ice, and I am surrounded by the stench of death. I hear the faint rustle of rotted fabric, the hiss of dead lungs trying to take in air. I reach for my wand as I kick myself for being foolish enough to come to a place like this all alone, at night. Voldemort has fallen and the darkness is scattered, but the world is still a very dangerous place. Dementors still lurk in places of death and decay.

 

My eyes sweep over the tombstones; my ears are tuned in to the hissing. Where is it coming from? Where is it hiding? I know how to take care of it, but I have to be able to point the Patronus in the right direction. If the dementor gets any closer before I stop it, I could be in big trouble.

 

I know what is supposed to come next. I’ve endured it so many times. The sinking sensation, like falling into a bottomless pit. The cackling, the green light, the scream…

 

But that doesn’t happen.

 

The dementor drifts out from behind a large tombstone, the Nefarious one, if I’m not mistaken. I wonder how long it has been hiding there, waiting for the opportunity to spring.

 

I raise my wand and think of my father. This dementor has tangled with the wrong wizard. I’m almost ready…

 

The dementor holds up a rotted, long-nailed gray hand, and I hear a voice in my head. <i>Waihhhht! Stohhhhp! I won’t hhhharm yhhhhou!”</i>

 

“I don’t parlay with scum like you,” I reply coldly. Dementors put Remus Lupin here. I hate them! “EXPECTO…”

 

<i>“Waihhhht! Please!”</i> The dementor’s ‘voice’ is almost a scream as its hands go to its hood. What is it doing?

 

The hood falls back, revealing a face shrouded in unkempt clumps of black hair. Some of the hair falls out on the ground in the process, but the dementor doesn’t seem to notice. I’ve never seen a dementor act like this before. What does it want?

 

<i>“Wellhhh, Potterhhh... are yhhou pleahhhsed with yourhhhhself?”</i>

 

I lower the wand.

 

<i>I’m on all fours on a flagstone floor in a dark office. I’m shaking like a leaf, and my brain feels like mush. I’ve failed again. The Pensieve. I’m being hurled across the room because I saw what I was not meant to see. "Get out of my office! Get out, and don’t come back!" I flee into the hallway, panting and frightened. What have I done? "Sirius! Sirius! No! He’s not dead! He’s not! He’ll come back!" I’m watching Remus Lupin throw himself between me and the dementors. I’ve lost my wand. He’s drawing his… "No! Don’t do it, Lupin, you can’t do it! You’re not strong enough!

 

"Run, Potter! I’ll hold them off! Run!"</i>

 

“Enough!” I scream, and the rush of memories stops. I’m not a frightened, helpless kid anymore. I’ve learned how to fight back. I raise my wand and think of what I did to Draco…and Snape. And the flow of thought reverses.

 

<i>I’m watching the traitorous git beg for his life. I don’t know if Voldemort knows that I can still spy on him, and I don’t care how dangerous this is. This is too good to miss. This is the culmination of my plan. I arranged for Voldemort to find proof that Snape was working for himself, using both the Order and the Death Eaters to get what he wanted. Voldemort raises his wand. "I don’t like servants who seek to supplant me. You will be more useful to me dead than alive, Severus. Avada..."

 

"Harry, Snape’s missing! The Order’s looking for him, but they don’t expect to find him. They think…they think You-Know-Who got him."</i>

 

I <i>know</i> You-Know-Who got him, and I am happy about it.

 

The dementor crashes backward into Aloysius Nefarious. You see, I don’t have to think about Dad to summon the Patronus. “EXPECTO…”

 

The dementor shrieks. Its matte black hair falls back. I can see its face…or what’s left of it. The nose is gone, the cheeks sunken in. Black, pencil-thin eyebrows cling to the bony ridge over its milky eyes. No…it can’t be…

 

It called me Potter. It made me remember. It <i>wants</i> to be recognized. <i>He</i> wants to be recognized.

 

“You’re dead!” I shout. “I saw it happen!”

 

<i>“Deathhhh is a mahhhtter of perspehhhctive.”</i>

 

Why didn’t they tell me where dementors come from? I thought they just sprang up out of the ground! How was I supposed to know that I was making more of them?

 

I feel an icy hand on my shoulder, and I whirl and stick my wand in the face of…another dementor. I’m surrounded by them! They snuck up on me while…while <i>that one</i> kept me occupied.

 

Expec…” I gasp. It’s too late. I’ve waited too long to act. I feel another hand on my other shoulder, and I feel the darkness closing over me…

 

The wand falls out of my hand, and the new dementor’s hood falls back. It has white-blond hair. I know why, now. I know why they wanted to be recognized. They wanted revenge.

 

“EXPECTO PATRONUM!”

 

I open my eyes. The world is out of focus, but I recognize the round worried face of my best friend in the entire world. “Thanks,” I say, and I mean it. “You just saved my life. Again.”

 

Neville helps me up off the ground, hands me my wand and glasses, and says, “Don’t mention it. What are friends for?”

 

“How did you know I was here?” I ask. His timing is brilliant, and I’d like to know why.

 

He shrugs. “I came by your place to visit this evening, but you were just leaving.”

 

“Yes, I know that,” I say. “But I thought you turned around and went back home.”

 

“No. I got suspicious when you wouldn’t tell me where you were going, so I followed you. What are you doing here alone at night anyway?”

 

“I’m not sure,” I say. “I’ve been thinking about Remus all day today. This evening after dinner, I had a powerful urge to come out here and pay my respects. I just can’t forgive myself for what happened to him…and Sirius.”

 

“Based on what I’ve seen and heard tonight, I think you’ve been socked by some sort of Come-Hither. You’d better let me take you to St. Mungo’s.”

 

“I’m not going to St. Mungo's. Now that I’ve come here, it’ll wear off, if that’s what it is.”

 

“Are you sure you’re okay?”

 

“Neville, do you remember when Professor Snape disappeared a while back, and half the Order went out looking for him?”

 

“Yeah, ‘course I do. They never did find him. What brought that on?”

 

Should I tell him? After what I’ve been through tonight, I think I will.

 

“There’s something I need to tell you, but not unless you promise never to tell Ron and Hermione. They wouldn’t understand the way you do. They didn’t lose their parents to the Death Eaters.”

 

“Okay. You have my word. Let’s hear it.”

 

“I know what happened to Snape…”

//
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