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"Start talking, Rabi."
Rabastan's shoulders slumped. He slumped back in the couch and moved his hands through his already ruffled hair and exhaled,
"Harry, things have gotten complicated."
Harry closed his eyes and made himself comfortable,
"I'm listening and don't leave anything out."
Silence ensued for the next few minutes and Harry waited patiently for Rabastan to get started,
"I wasn't there at the time so I don't know exactly what happened after I apparated with Snape but I heard that the order was trying to take over the ministry but their attempt failed because The Dark Lord made it there just in time. When I returned to the ministry everything was reformed. The Dark Lord had taken several extremist steps to ensure total submission from the people. Several known order members had been apprehended and.…."
Harry opened his eyes and turned to look at Rabastan,
Rabastan's shoulders were tense and he looked extremely pained,
"Most of them were your friends."
Harry didn't feel anything, no guilt, no remorse. They should have started being more careful when they had decided to follow the old fool. But Harry couldn't understand why Voldemort had suddenly gotten so violent…Well hadn't he always been so violent? It shouldn't surprise him and it didn't. It just made him wonder. Why had brought on this bout of violence?
"Go on, Rabi. Tell me what happened next?"
Rabastan stared at him perplexed,
"Aren't you…..I mean….they're your friends, right?"
"I'm done protecting them…. I'm done being their scapegoat….I think it's time they learned to face their problems rather than hoping that their golden boy could solve them."
Rabastan smiled a watery smile but it soon morphed into a grimace,
"They've all been locked up in Azkaban."
Harry sighed and closed his eyes again,
"I didn't need to know that."
"Sorry, Harry. But you told me not to leave anything out."
Harry laughed softly,
"Right, I did say that."
Rabastan started talking again,
"The Dark Lord…...he…umm…."
Harry kept silent. He wanted Rabastan to speak on his own terms rather than forcing the truth out of him. Finally, he spoke,
"He doesn't know that you were taken by Dumbledore and tortured. According to him, you vanished during the failed attempt to take over the ministry because…."
Harry knew that he shouldn't but he was starting to get irritated by the pauses,
"Rabi, I'm not made of glass physically or emotionally. You can say anything to me. I can handle it."
Rabastan finally spoke,
"He thinks you were a spy for Dumbledore and you helped them in setting up the attack at the ministry."
Harry couldn't stop the laughter that burst out from his lips. That was absurd. It was more than absurd….it was downright ridiculous,
"Right and how did he infer that?"
Rabastan's hands balled into fists,
"It's that bitch. She's been feeding him all that poison about you."
Harry chuckled. Nope, Bella couldn't feed Voldemort anything. This was all Voldemort's conjecture. Harry had expected the man to be brighter than this. A spy…. really….and a spy for bloody Dumbledore of all people…. he'd rather choke himself. He hadn't asked Voldemort to let him live, he hadn't asked him for that post, he hadn't even tried to get close to him…..then why would he think that he was a spy? Rabastan's trembling voice pulled him out of his musings,
"You have to see this."
Harry opened his eyes and was instantly met with a picture of himself, blinking owlishly back at him from a poster. Harry's eyes widened and he yelped,
"That is a terrible picture of me! He should have used a better one. My first wanted poster and I look like a bloody deer caught in the headlights."
"Headlights… I don't understand?"
"It's just an expression."
Harry looked at the reward mentioned underneath and smirked,
"At least, I'm ridiculously expensive and he wants me alive. That should be comforting, right?"
Rabastan vanished the poster,
"You're taking this better than I imagined."
Harry couldn't stop himself from grinning,
"Who doesn't want to be wanted?"
"Yes, but The Dark Lord has all his death eaters constantly searching for you. It's the main reason I couldn't get a healer for you. In those initial days….when you weren't responding…I thought you were…..I thought you were going to die and I was helpless to save you because I couldn't get help for you. The Dark Lord would have found out…he would have killed you…and I couldn't bear that…..I just constantly hoped you would wake up….."
Harry turned to look at Rabastan who had his face buried in his hands,
"Rabi…. look at me."
Rabastan hesitated but looked at him, tears streaming down his cheeks, his expression pained,
"Take a good long look at me. I'm alive and well. I'm here in front of you because you saved me. I would have died. Dumbledore would have killed me and I'm certain no one would have known. You're the only reason I'm here, Rabi. You're the best thing that has ever happened to me."
Harry smiled softly and urged Rabastan to smile too,
"Wipe your tears away for me, Rabi."
Rabastan did and smiled gently,
"Is Bellatrix the senior undersecretary now?"
Rabastan shook his head,
"That post is still vacant. I don't understand why The Dark Lord won't fill it."
Harry had an inkling to why Voldemort wasn't filling it up,
"In the past few meeting, The Dark Lord has been undoing all your work on Muggleborn legislature. Next week he's going to announce The Muggleborn Registration Act."
Harry knew it wasn't going to be anything good,
"What does the Act entail?"
Rabastan hesitated before speaking,
"All Muggleborns will be required to register themselves. The registered Muggleborns will fill out questionnaires about their family history and then wait for their trial behind bars in the Ministry of Magic. While awaiting trial, they will be guarded by Dementors and threatened with the Dementor's Kiss if they resist. Trials are going to be held by the Muggleborn Registration Commission headed by Bellatrix, who will be assisted by Death Eaters and head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Yaxley. Those who cannot prove that they have magical heritage, in other words, any Muggle-born and potentially some half-bloods will be sentenced to Azkaban for having "stolen" magic. Those who do not register will be killed."
This was preposterous. How could Voldemort think like that? How could the man be so stupid? Stealing magic…...that wasn't even possible. If it were possible, there wouldn't be any squibs or muggles. Everyone would be able to steal it then. Harry felt incredibly angry at Voldemort for that. How could he undo all his hard work? He could do have done anything but Harry wasn't going to stand for this. It shouldn't really matter to him but this was supposed to be his legacy. He wasn't going to sit quietly and let Voldemort do this. He was just lost in these thoughts when another thought crossed his mind. Harry's eyes sat up straight and fixed Rabastan with a piercing gaze,
"You said you've been attending meetings at the ministry, Rabi. How have you been doing that. As far as I know you've been beside me all the time."
Rabastan cheeks reddened and he averted his gaze,
"Come on….tell me, Rabi."
Rabastan looked up and then pulled out something from underneath his shirt. Harry leaned closer to take a good look at it and realized it was an hourglass on a gold necklace. He would recognize it anywhere since it had saved his Godfather's life once. How Harry wished he could have saved him again,
"You've been using a time turner?"
Rabastan nodded sheepishly and Harry felt the weight of the guilt grow heavier on his chest.
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