If there were no night, we would not appreciate the day, nor could we see the stars and the vastness of the heavens. We must partake of the bitter with the sweet. There is a divine purpose in the adversities we encounter every day. They prepare, they purge, they purify, and thus they bless. - James E. Faust
Roger Abbott frowned as he read through the newspaper at his desk, angrily turning the pages.
"Easy there, Abbott. You're going to give yourself even more gray hair," Tonks said brightly as she leaned against his desk, tucking a strand of purple hair behind her ear. He looked up at her and then back down at the paper.
"I'm sick and tired of Fudge not taking this seriously," he said, throwing the paper down and crossing his arms across his chest. "There are more important things for us to focus on than trying to prove Dumbledore is losing it - or even looking for him - and this poor teen is getting railroaded for no reason. Besides, we all know that Albus Dumbledore won't be found until he wants to be." Tonks studied him for a moment and then looked over at Shacklebolt sitting across from them. The older auror caught her gaze and sighed before nodding slightly. She then quickly looked back at Abbott.
"So, you believe Dumbledore and Potter?" she asked softly, trying not to garner too much attention from those around them. Abbott looked up at her, confused.
"What reason would they have to lie?" he replied. "Besides, you know as well as I do what's been going around in certain circles. Not to mention that display at the World Cup."
He looked back to his desk, shifting through piles of folders in search of one in particular.
"Still think one of them was Antonius Flint?" she asked, leaning closer to him.
"Yes. Just can't seem to prove it," he growled.
"What are you doing tonight?" she asked suddenly. Roger looked up at her.
"If this is another one of your plans to try and get me to loosen up, Tonks," he started. Tonks grinned and shook her head, her hair changing from purple to pink.
"Trust me. You don't want to miss this," she said, pushing up from the desk and grabbing a pen and piece of paper. She scribbled something down. "After you get off. Go to this place. Make sure you're not followed." She handed him the paper and walked over to her desk next to Shacklebolt's. Roger looked at it, noticing it was in muggle London, then over at the young auror, who was now chatting cheerfully with Shacklebolt.
He looked back down at the paper and shrugged, shoving it in his robe pocket as he sighed. He then picked up the folder he had been looking for, flipping it open.
Roger was beginning to think he was going in circles.
Roger pulled up the collar of his overcoat as he walked down the crowded sidewalk, his eyes scanning the people. He knew no one was following him but was seriously wondering just why Tonks had him meet her outside Diagon Alley. He was going to be angry if this was another of her schemes.
He had sent off an owl to Celeste, letting her know he would be late. Again. She seemed to take it in stride, which was a godsend. Ever since the attack at the World Cup, he had been working late more often than not, tracking down leads on the death eaters that had been there. Then there was the mass breakout at Azkaban. Not to mention, he was still determined to find anything that might connect Antonius Flint to the World Cup or the breakout or Zach and Amanda's murders so he could finally put the prick in Azkaban.
Roger came to a stop, looking down at the paper and then up at the sign. He groaned as he shoved it back into his pocket and walked in. Of course, Tonks would send him to a bloody pub.
The place was dark and dank. There were several others there, who looked up, scrutinizing him. He quickly scanned the room, seeing Tonks waving at him from a table in a back corner. Sighing, he made his way back, sitting at the table. For an auror, she didn't seem to think that pink hair might stick out a bit too much.
"What is this, Tonks?" he asked, as she flagged down a waitress and ordered two more pints, though hers was still mostly full.
"Found muggle London was a better place to meet to discuss sensitive information," she said, turning back to smile at him. "Especially with so many in the ministry siding with Fudge nowadays." Roger frowned.
"What's going on?" he asked.
"I think you've picked up on some of it," Shacklebolt said as he sat down next to Roger, causing him to jump slightly. He hadn't even noticed the man walk in. Roger looked down, finding it odd to see him in a muggle suit rather than his normal robes.
"Good, we're all here," Tonks said brightly as the waitress returned with the pints and sat them down on the table.
"I know you were involved in the last war," Shacklebolt said.
"I was in hiding for most of it," Roger said. "Though I managed to get through auror training just before that. Did what I could."
"And you're one of our best aurors," Shacklebolt said.
"Get to the point," Roger said, sounding annoyed.
"We've started a secret society," Tonks said excitedly. Shacklebolt sent a scowl at her.
"In short, yes, though it's more like restarting a secret society," he said before looking back at Roger. "Most of the auror department and ministry has sided with Fudge, but we know without a doubt that the Dark Lord has indeed returned."
Roger stared at him a moment, stunned. While he had felt that the Potter boy and Dumbledore were telling the truth, part of him had hoped that perhaps they were mistaken. Besides, believing it and knowing it were two different things entirely.
"I knew it was true," he said, reaching for his beer and taking a large swallow. "I had hoped it wasn't… but the signs were all there… Had been there for a while."
"We want you to join," Tonks said, rushing ahead and causing Shacklebolt to scowl at her again. "What? Best to just get on with it."
"There is a small group of us that are banding together to join Dumbledore in the fight against He Who Must Not Be Named," Shacklebolt continued. "Some of us were part of this during the first war, but we've restarted it now that he's returned. Someone must do something, especially while Fudge continues to put his head in the sand."
"I agree," Roger said immediately, looking over at Shacklebolt. He was silent a few moments before it dawned on him. "The Order of the Phoenix…" Shacklebolt nodded.
"Wait, you already knew about this?" Tonks asked.
"I had heard about it - worked with members a few times back then - but never officially joined," Roger said. "I was too busy trying to keep my own family safe."
"Well, now is your chance," Shacklebolt said. "We could use someone like you." Roger looked down at his beer. Part of him wanted to say no, to continue on as he had. Focus on protecting his own family. But the other part of him knew that there were so many more that needed protection than just his family. Celeste and Sam would tell him that joining was the right thing to do. Amanda would have as well - she wanted to join back then. And another part desperately wanted to find out the truth behind who murdered his family once and for all and he felt the Order would be able to help in that aspect.
"What's more, we have more people there who can help find out if Antonius Flint did murder your first wife and son," Tonks added softly, as though she was reading his mind. Roger looked up at her, eyes wide. "There's only so much we can do in the office… this ties in with a lot of what we're doing with the Order."
"Though ultimately, we're trying to keep Harry safe," Shacklebolt added, fixing Tonks in a stern gaze before looking back at Roger. "And you cannot tell anyone about this."
"Not even Celeste?" Roger asked, looking at Shacklebolt. The older auror thought for a moment before glancing at Tonks and then looking back at Roger.
"I suppose if you must, it would be okay," he said.
"Sure Sam would want to join as well," Tonks added.
"Absolutely not," Roger said immediately. "The Death Eaters tried to kill her once. The last place she needs to be is anywhere that would put her in their sights again. If Celeste wants to join, then that's her decision. But I'll not let Sam join."
Tonks sat back in her chair, her face clearly showing that she wished she hadn't said anything about Sam joining.
"Very well," Shacklebolt said. "Drink up. We've got somewhere else to be."
Roger frowned as they stood on the sidewalk while the large townhouse magically appeared.
"What is this place?" he asked, glancing at Shacklebolt.
"You'll see," Tonks replied, grinning. She bounded up the stairs in front of them and tapped a pattern on the door before pushing it open. Shacklebolt motioned for Roger to follow her.
"I'd recommend that you stay quiet until we get to the kitchen," he said softly. Roger frowned as he followed Tonks down the corridor to a room at the back where he could hear voices. "Oh, and before we go in, there's something I should tell you-"
"Wotcher, Sirius," Tonks said brightly as she bounced into the room. Roger's eyes went wide as he turned to look at Shacklebolt and then bounded into the room. He froze as soon as he saw Sirius Black lounging at the table.
"Black!" he shouted. "You've been hiding him!" He glared at Shacklebolt.
"Now, Roger. Let me explain," Shacklebolt said calmly.
"He's bloody one of them!" Roger shouted.
"Actually, I'm not," Sirius said, standing. Roger turned to glare at him. "If you'd sit down, I can explain."
"I'm not sitting down. I have half a mind to drag you into the Ministry right now!" Roger shouted.
"Roger Abbott! Will you calm down!" Molly Weasley shouted. Roger looked over at her, frown on her face and hands planted on her hips. He then looked around the room, seeing her husband next to her, then a tired-looking man in a houndstooth jacket.
"Everyone here?" Shacklebolt asked.
"Snape owled and said he and McGonagall are caught up at Hogwarts. Dumbledore is, well, he'll either show up or send word if there is anything we need to know," the man said. "Moody should be along soon." Roger looked around the room.
"Are any of you going to tell me what's going on?" he asked.
"Roger, Sirius was never a Death Eater," Molly said reasonably. "And he was never the Potters' secret keeper." Roger looked at the man in question.
"It's true. I thought I would be too obvious so suggested our friend Peter Pettigrew. He's the one who gave them up and killed those muggles. Framing me," Sirius said. Roger stared at him a moment and looked to Shacklebolt.
"It's true," he said. Roger ran his hands through his hair.
"Sorry, I'm late," Moody said as he hobbled in. He stopped and looked around the room, his magic eye falling on Roger. "Abbott, good to see you. Was wondering when Tonks and Shacklebolt would get you on board."
Roger sat down at the kitchen table and sighed heavily.
"So, we're all here to fight the Dark Lord?" he asked.
"We're here to keep Harry safe," the man from before said. Roger looked over at him. "Sorry, Remus Lupin. I taught your daughter her last year at Hogwarts. Rather bright." Roger nodded.
"Well, suppose we should get Abbott further updated," Moody said as he sat down. "Got any of that ale, Molly?"
"'Course, Alastor," she said, waving her wand and sending several full glasses to the table.
"Well then, let's get started…"
An hour later, Roger looked around the table as everyone sat up. He was still having trouble wrapping his head around what he had just heard, but he was taking it all in stride.
"So, what's this about Flint?" Moody asked, leaning towards him. Roger sighed.
"I think he's the one that killed my first wife and son," he said. "I have no proof. And the only person who would know says he was obliviated. Randolph Pucey." Sirius leaned forward.
"But… weren't you two friends in school?" he asked. Roger nodded.
"My best friend. Outside of the Woods, he was the only other person who knew where we were hidden," he said. Sirius frowned. "And I think Flint was one of the death eaters at the World Cup. During the attack, Sam and Oliver ran out to help - even though I told her not to - and one of them stopped when he saw her… Started towards her before the mark appeared and they all apparated."
"Sam and Oliver were caught up in that?" Remus asked, worry in his face.
"Thankfully it was just minor injuries. They were with Bill, Charlie and Percy," he said. "She never did listen much to me."
"Sounds like her mother," Moody said, a slight smile on his face. Roger nodded as he looked around the room.
"I will do what I can to help protect Harry and the prophecy. But I worry Sam could be in danger as well," he said.
"Of course, Roger," Remus said. "We're going to do our best to keep all our families and loved ones safe as well."
"And we will help figure out if it was Flint," Sirius said. "Well, likely not myself, but others."
"I'm still on the case with you," Tonks chipped in.
"Thanks, Tonks," Roger said, though part of him wondered if perhaps he could get others who were less distracting to help as well.
"Well, I suppose that's all for tonight. See you all here same time next week," Moody said, pushing up from the table. "Abbott, I'll send you an owl tomorrow about Pucey and Flint." Roger nodded.
"Suppose I should get home. Celeste'll be worried," he said, standing.
"Give her our love," Molly called out.
"Just what kept you late tonight?" Celeste asked as Roger sat at the kitchen table. She was quickly reheating leftovers from dinner. Roger looked up at her, wondering just where to start with his odd evening.
"Well, for starters, I was ambushed by Tonks and Shacklebolt," he said wearily.
"What did those two want?" Celeste asked, walking over to the table. She sat the plate down in front of him and then sat next to him, a glass of wine in her other hand. "Something about Flint?"
"So much more than that," he said. He looked over at her. "They've asked me to join the Order of the Phoenix." Celeste frowned.
"You mean… from the first war?" she asked. Celeste had been in France during the first war and missed most of the danger, thankfully. Roger nodded. "It is true… he's back…"
"It would seem," Roger said, looking down at the plate of food, finding himself unable to eat anything. "I had no reason not to believe Dumbledore and Potter, but I had hoped perhaps they were mistaken…"
"God, what do we do, Roger?" Celeste asked, suddenly sounding worried.
"The only thing we can do… fight," he said, meeting her eyes. Celeste nodded. "And hope that it doesn't get as bad as last time…"
"What about Sam?" she asked. "Do you think the Order will be able to protect her?"
"Our business is a bit more than just that… but she'll be better protected if I'm in the Order," he said.
"Good. Then I'm joining too," Celeste said.
"Are you sure, Celeste?" he asked.
"You will not talk me out of this, Roger. If you're joining, then I'm in," she said firmly. "I wasn't here to fight last time around, and I'll be damned if I sit this one out. Not to mention it's likely you'll need a trained healer on board." Roger sighed.
"Now to keep this from Sam. We tell her about the Order and you know she'll be gunning to join," he said.
"She's 20, Roger. If she wants to join, you know you can't stop her," she said.
"But I swore I would keep her safe," Roger said.
"And I know you will. But you also promised that you wouldn't smother her," Celeste said reasonably. "It's bad enough she and Oliver put up with you changing the wards twice a month. They both got locked out for two hours the last time you did that."
"I know," Roger said. "But I will still do my best to keep her safe. From whatever is coming. And from Flint." Celeste reached over and grabbed his hand.
"We both will," she said.
"And for now, the best way to do that is to not tell her about the Order," Roger said. "Eventually, yes. But not now."
"Fine," Celeste said. "So… when is the next meeting?"
"Next week. Same day and time as now," Roger said. Celeste nodded slowly.
"Should we tell the Woods?" she asked.
"I don't know," Roger said. "I don't like keeping this from them, but I think we should speak with the others before we say anything."
"True," Celeste said. "It is a secret society and all."
"I just… I think perhaps we should take precautions," Roger said. "If this goes as bad as the first time, we should have a safe house ready. Wards in place."
"Can't we use the same charm as before?" Celeste asked.
"It would be safer to have somewhere else ready. Somewhere that no one knows about," Roger replied.
"Very well," Celeste said.
"And should the worst happen, I want you and Sam to get out of the country. Go to your parents' house in France." Celeste stared at him.
"I told you that I was going to fight this time, Roger," she said. Roger leaned towards her, placing his hand on her cheek.
"I've already lost Amanda and Zach. I'm not losing you too," he said. Celeste took a deep breath and slowly let it out.
"You will not lose me, Roger. Or Sam. Not this time," she vowed.
First warning, don't expect updates this often. I got a bit excited and posted, but going to try and slow it down after this. Unless I keep writing as fast as I have been... But, I thought we were due a glimpse into Sam's dad's head.
cjconner326 - Oh, so many things in plan...
Son of Whitebeard - Haha, had to get creative. ^_^
Thanks for reading!