Episode 19: Second Chances

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Written and Directed by Humaira K and Gill P

Guest starring
Michael Gambon as Albus Dumbeldore
Liam Neeson as Gabriel Masterson
Peta Wilson as Bellatrix Lestrange
Catherine Zeta-Jones as Lucia Barron

“You’re lying,” said Gabriel Masterson as his daughter explained that the woman he loved was in fact, a Death Eater.

“I wish I was Dad,” said Meliza with a frown. “But from the first time I met her, something was off.”

Gabriel continued shaking his head. Meliza had come home for a surprise visit. He had been delighted to see his daughter, but the worried look on her face had sunk his heart. Now he knew why.

“Pale september, I wore the time like a dress that year/The autumn days swung soft around me, like cotton on my skin/But as the embers of the summer lost their breath and disappeared/My heart went cold and only hollow rhythms resounded from within/But then he rose, brilliant as the moon in full/And sank in the burrows of my keep.”

“You haven’t liked her since you met her. Pumpkin, I loved your mother dearly, and I loved Oliver’s mum dearly as well. But I’ve found love again finally. Please let me be happy!” pleaded Gabriel.

Meliza gaped at him, “You think this is because I hate you dating someone else? I’m HAPPY for you dad, but not at the risk of our family. Please don’t do this. She’s evil!”

“NO! I will not have you bad mouthing Lucia in my home,” said Gabriel angrily.

Meliza became silent before she said, “Isn’t it my home too?”

Gabriel pinched the bridge of his nose to stop the onset of the headache he knew was coming. “It’ll always be your home Meliza, I just don’t want you bad mouthing my girlfriend! Go, before we both say something we regret.”

“You might not believe me Dad, but I give you permission to use Legilimency on me. I swear on Merlin’s wand that the memories you see are true,” said Meliza firmly.

Gabriel stared at her for a moment before focusing his mind. Meliza stayed still and allowed him to probe her mind back to that day. He saw Meliza and Ron moving closer to the Death Eater meeting. He saw Bellatrix Lestrange and some Japanese wizard talking politely. And then he saw her, head bent. Her unmistakable eyes. No! It couldn’t be true! How many times had he looked into those eyes and seen his soul mate? Her eyes were almost as recognisable as his own.

“And all my armour falling down, in a pile at my feet/And my winter giving way to warm, as I’m singing him to sleep.”

He pulled away suddenly in shock. Memories like that could not be faked. His heart stopped as he understood fully what he saw.

“I told you I was telling the truth,” said Meliza sadly, gathering her father into her arms.

* * *

Lucia stood blankly in front of Bellatrix and Rudolphus. They had just sprung the “great” news: Anastasia Darcy – the former thorn in the side – had joined the Death Eaters. Deep inside, she knew this was wrong, but she had to abide by Bellatrix a little bit longer. She would have to find a way to get out from Bellatrix’s grasp. And maybe help Anastasia too. She was too young to be influenced by that evil woman.

Gabriel offered to cook her dinner, so she Apparated from Bellatrix’s hideout as soon as she could.

“Gabriel, honey, I’m home!” Lucia called, as she unlocked the front door. The house was dark, and she sniffed the air. There wasn’t anything cooking. Gabriel was an excellent cook and would usually be up to his ears in a messy kitchen, filling the house with a yummy aroma.

“Gabe?” she inquired again. Thinking he was playing a game, she carefully crept towards the living room, when a lamp snapped on suddenly, startling her.

“And all my armour falling down, in a pile at my feet/And my winter giving way to warm, as I’m singing him to sleep/All my armour falling down, in a pile at my feet/And my winter giving way to warm, as I’m singing him to sleep.”

Gabriel was staring at her gravely. “Lucia, I know.”

“What?” she said lightly, trying desperately to rack her brain for an excuse. She knew in her heart that Meliza had told her father already.

“Meliza was at the summit with the Death Eaters,” Gabriel said, gesturing for her to have a seat. He fingered his wand. The facade was gone now, and he wasn’t sure what she was capable of. But he was prepared. “So. All those random meetings with “directors,” and you just had to Apparate to meet them at weird hours of the day, you were actually meeting with Bellatrix.”

“No, I mean, yes,” Lucia said shamefully.

Gabriel lunged at her and grabbed her arm. He forcefully pushed up her long sleeve and tapped his wand against her skin. She yelped as Bellatrix’s Dark Mark appeared on her skin for the briefest of seconds.

“Gabe, sweetheart, I’m sorry, you don’t know what she’s done to my family!” Lucia spluttered. “She’s killed them in cold blood in front of me!”

“My son’s Mother died fighting against You-Know-Who in the first war, you know that? Of course you do, like a fool, I told you everything. But if You-Know-Who or any of his goons ever tried to recruit me for their side, I would’ve died than become their pawn!” Gabriel screamed.

“Please,” Lucia begged, big tears dripping down her cheeks, “I didn’t want it to be this way.”

“I’m so – I can’t even look you in the eye anymore,” he said poisonously. “You make me sick.”

“Please… don’t say that, I love you,” Lucia begged.

“You know, I thought I loved you too. But relationships, and love. They’re built on trust. You lied to me from the moment I met you. And you’ve been passing information about me to HER, haven’t you?” Gabriel spat. “You put me and my family in danger to save your own life, I bet. And Meliza and her friends too!”

“No, I gave her nothing. I was only her assassin,” Lucia wept. “Please, let me make it up to you.” She reached out to touch him.

He jumped up and pointed his wand at her throat. “Don’t you dare touch me, traitor.” Lucia cried harder.

“Come with me,” she begged. “I can show you what my true intentions are.”

“Why should I even believe you?”

“And all my armour falling down, in a pile at my feet/And my winter giving way to warm, as I’m singing him to sleep/All my armour falling down, in a pile at my feet/And my winter giving way to warm, as I’m singing him to sleep.”

“Because you should know the truth. Let me show you my truth and then we can part. But I can’t let you walk away without knowing.”

* * *

“Why are we here Mother?” asked Anastasia curiously looking around at the deserted Diagon Alley.

Bellatrix looked affectionately at her ‘daughter’ and said, “Because my dear, we’re going to send a message to the wizarding world that I am not to be messed with, and neither are you. Now, let’s have some fun!” With a glint in her eye, Bellatrix started shouting spells and setting fire to buildings, knocking things over physically and generally reeking mayhem.

“I’m not the guy who cared about love/And I’m not the guy who cared about fortunes and such/I never cared much/Oh, look at me now.”

Anastasia hesitated at first, trying not to damage too much property, but before she knew it she was setting fire to buildings, knocking over things and generally having fun. They didn’t dare go into Gringotts, they weren’t that stupid, but otherwise they watched the destruction and their handiwork as shops, buildings and establishments burned. They’d even chanced at the Leaky Cauldron.

Patrons came running out and stopped dead when they saw Bellatrix. She smiled viciously and started firing off curses joined by Anastasia.

Tom the bar man was in a heap where Anastasia had done her best to knock him unconscious. She was uncomfortable with the idea of hurting people, Bellatrix recognised this and said nothing. They’d work up to it.

Then when they grew bored, they picked their way through the shops, shrinking things they liked and breaking things they didn’t.

“I never knew the technique of kissin’/I never knew the thrill I could get from your touch/Never knew much/Oh, look at me now.”

“What do you think of this robe Mother?” giggled Anastasia as she held up a lurid purple robe against herself. Bellatrix let out a bark of laughter and said, “Not your style dear. How about that black one? Or that green one?”

Anastasia dutifully picked up the robes and shrunk them before leaving the shop.

Soon they turned their way into Knockturn Alley. Instinctively Anastasia grasped Bellatrix’s hand. Bellatrix looked up at her, surprise showing on her face. Then she said gently, “There’s nothing to be afraid of here, as long as I’m with you.”

“Yes Mother,” whispered Anastasia holding onto her hand tighter.

“I’m a new man better than Casanova at his best/With a new heart, brand new start/I’m so proud I’m bustin’ my vest.”

Bellatrix shouted curses and buildings started to burn. Borgins and Burkes was the first shop they hit, but it wasn’t the last. All around them the shouts and screams echoed as people burned and creatures laughed at the playground of fire. Anastasia gripped Bellatrix’s hand tighter and whimpered a little.

Seeing that this was making her daughter uncomfortable Bellatrix quickly cast her Dark Mark into the night sky and they Apparated out of there.

* * *

“Harry,” Hermione said urgently, “did you see the Daily Prophet?”

It had been almost a week since Anastasia’s disappearance. Going through the motions of going to class was too much for Harry. He had lost so much already; losing Anastasia was the last straw. He was in a funk that he didn’t know how to get out of. Harry was tempted to run, get away from it all, but he didn’t want to let anyone down. Sydney offered to keep on eye on the Muggle world, to see if Anastasia would venture there. But his worst fears were confirmed when Hermione handed him the papers.

“It’s been some change/But we’re still outsiders/If everybody’s here/Then hell knows we ride alone…”

As bold as the sunlight streaming into the Great Hall were several blurry wizarding photographs. It was hard to tell who was in them. The headlines screamed, “Unsubstantiated reports claim that Bellatrix Lestrange and her newest disciple, former Hogwarts student Anastasia Darcy, ravage Diagon and Knockturn Alley!” That’s why there was such a fervour when he walked in this morning. People were gossiping about the paper.

“Is it her?” Ron asked quietly.

Harry rubbed his eyes and squinted. Meliza saw that Harry had arrived, excused herself from the Ravenclaw table, and crept towards the Gryffindor table to sit beside Hermione. They instinctively grabbed for each other’s hands and looked at Harry.

“I’ve seen some years/But you’re still my Caesar/With everything I feel/I feel you’ve already been here.”

“It can’t be her. Ana would never align herself with the one woman she’s hated for how long now?” Meliza tried to explain. “She’s got more sense than that.”

“She’s right. The photos are much too blurry to come to any conclusions,” Hermione said, nodding.

“They do look an awful lot like her,” Harry admitted.

“Maybe it’s someone posing as Anastasia,” Ron offered.

“They were there for a few hours,” Hermione thought aloud. “A Polyjuice Potion wouldn’t cut it.”

“Bellatrix could throw glamours, couldn’t she?” Meliza said. “Cast a spell that would be more believable than a potion?”

“Someone as powerful as her,” Hermione said darkly, “yes, it’s entirely possible.”

“It’s bright on the outside/the bright love the dark side I know/it’s obvious but sometimes you just have to say it so/You don’t feel so weak/About being such a freak/alone.”

Harry looked up at the Head Table as his friends continued to talk about the possibility. The teachers were trying to have a civilized conversation behind their hands, but he knew right away what they were talking about. His eyes met Professor Dumbledore’s trying to find an answer, and for the first time ever, Dumbledore cast his eyes aside and looked away.

* * *

Dumbledore was startled to find Lucia Barron in his office, but he schooled his features into a pleasant smile. She was hiding under a layer of thick layer of black veiled material and the Polyjuice potion she had used to gain entrance into the school seemed to be wearing off. Her eyes were red rimmed and her complexion was pale.

“Dumbledore,” she said quietly, her hoarse voice betraying that she had spent hours crying.

“Lucia, my dear what is the matter?” he asked concerned. Without taking his eyes of her face, he conjured up a tea service and poured the steaming hot liquid into a cup and handed it to her shaking hands. The cup wobbled a little as she tried to control her nerves and drink the tea, but after a few sips she seemed to calm down. No one ever suspected the calming potion in his teas.

“I…Gabriel knows,” she said struggling to control the tears that poured down her face. She put the tea down onto the table that he had conjured up and wiped them angrily. “Meliza, she told him. She saw me at the summit in Japan, and she told him as soon as she came back. She’s always been off with me, ever since the first time she met me.”

Dumbledore frowned. His spies had been right, perhaps The Alliance of Destiny was meddling in things it shouldn’t. “And Gabriel believes the word of a child over you?” he asked carefully, biting down into a jammy dodger biscuit and watching her reaction.

Her features flitted into a ghost of a smile as she said, “He’s a Legilimens. He told me that as soon as we started getting serious. Meliza knows that, and she would have offered to show him what she saw, there is no way out of this situation.”

“Gabriel Masterson. I remember him. Unusually talented boy when he was here. I remember he had a feud with Alexander Darcy over that pet toad of his,” chuckled Dumbledore as memories came back to him of scolding the two dark haired boys over the level of rivalry that had escalated to dangerous proportions. “It is a shame such a talent does not work in the Wizarding World, but he really did love the Muggles. Both his wives were Muggles.”

“I know. And I know how it must have hurt him to find out the witch he thought he loved was nothing more than a Death Eater,” said Lucia hanging her head in shame.

“Never ever forget what that woman did to your family Lucia,” said Dumbledore, his tone stern. “You are helping to bring her destruction my dear, nothing must stop that. But I recognise that you love Gabriel dearly, and his…shock and disgust must have hurt you. But what did you expect my dear? You are the only spy I have in Bella’s Inner Circle. Since Severus’s sabbatical I am blind without you.”

“That girl, Anastasia Darcy, the one they keep talking about in the papers who disappeared. She’s now working with Bellatrix Lestrange. I saw her at the hiding place. They told us she’s joined with Bellatrix,” said Lucia suddenly with some urgency in her voice.

“Interesting,” said Dumbledore looking lost in thought.

They sat in silence for a while before Lucia blurted out, “I want to break the Unbreakable Vow. I can’t sacrifice my happiness for the greater good. I must be with Gabriel.”

Dumbledore shook his head sadly, “You know that you cannot my dear. To break the Unbreakable Vow is death for both you and Lupin.”

“But I love him!” cried Lucia passionately, “After all that happened I never thought I’d find true love. And now he can’t even look at me! I have become what I loathe. I have become what killed me family!”

“No!” shouted Dumbledore startling Lucia. “I will not have you die as well for love! We will find a solution Lucia, but you must understand to destroy evil you have to step into the mind of evil. And I need you.

We will find a way.”

* * *

“Gabriel, I called you and Meliza here because I wish to show you something about Lucia,” said Dumbledore eyeing his former pupil over his half moon glasses. As soon as he mentioned the name both Meliza and Gabriel’s faces twisted into a look of hatred. Before they could say anything Dumbledore held up his hand and motioned them to the Pensieve.

“What you see here is the truth and nothing but the truth. On Merlin’s honour I swear it,” he said motioning for them to look.

They watched as a younger Lucia smiled and played with her younger brother in the garden of their sun-drenched estate in Spain. The idyllic scene between the siblings was broken by a crash in the main house. Lucia’s eyes were wide, as she motioned for her brother to stay quiet and follow her.

“He goes along just as a water lily/Gentle on the surface of his thoughts his body floats/Unweighted down by passion or intensity/Yet unaware of the depth upon which he coasts/And he finds a home in me/For what misfortune sows, he knows my touch will reap.”

Pablo Barron followed his older sister with wide, scared eyes. Lucia squeezed his hand in reassurance as they crept closer to the house. The scene that followed was fast, too fast in Lucia’s memory but here in the Pensieve what was happening was slowed down so that they could understand.

Her whole family was being held hostage as Bellatrix Lestrange surveyed them with grim determination. Lucia motioned for her little brother to hide and to reassure him that everything was going to be fine. Solemnly he hid somewhere, and Lucia strode into the entrance of their living room.

“What do you want Lestrange?” she asked coldly, keeping her eyes on the older witch.

“I have a debt to collect. Your brother Jorge is gone and I have a space that needs to be filled. Now your mother and father here are too old to be part of my Death Eaters. But you are not.”

“I will NEVER join your army of Death Eaters! I abhor death! Leave me alone and leave them alone!” she shouted motioning to her rigid and terrified parents.

“Crucio!” shouted the older witch as she pointed the wand at Lucia’s father. He screamed with such pain that to this day Lucia was unable to get the sound out of her head.

Meliza gasped within the memory, a hand going up to her mouth to stop the sob that was coming. Dumbledore motioned her to keep watching. Gabriel hadn’t said a word since coming into the memory but Dumbledore could tell he was absorbing it all.

“NO!” shouted Lucia running to her father before she was stopped in her tracks by Rudolphus Lestrange.

“You wish to inflict more pain on your family?” asked Bellatrix lazily pointing her wand to Lucia’s petrified Mother.

“No! I’d rather die than let you hurt them more!” said Lucia passionately. Her dark hair flying as she readied for the inevitable curse.

Bellatrix shook her head and chuckled, “You’re no good to me dead, choose.”

“I choose to die,” said Lucia without hesitation. Bellatrix readied her wand but then she lowered it as a thought struck her.

“Accio Pablo Barron!” she shouted and Pablo whizzed into the room from wherever he had been hiding.

“No!” shouted Lucia.

“Just say yes,” Bellatrix rasped. “Agree and I will spare your family the same fate of countless others who fought me.”

“No!” Lucia Barron cried aloud.

“Very well,” Bellatrix said. She raised her wand, and like dominoes, they fell without a sound. They were only a few feet away from her and Lucia ran to them, but she was too late. She knew they were dead.

“You, you…” Lucia whimpered, her shoulders heaving.

“Witch? Yes,” taunted the Dark Witch. “Tell me something I don’t know!”

“They were innocent, they did you no wrong,” Lucia said, taking her little brother’s lifeless body in her arms and holding him close as the tears fell. “Your quarrel is with me.”

“They did me wrong, because YOU did me wrong, Lucia! You should join like your brother Jorge before you. Pay tribute to his memory, and join me! Or their fate will be your own!”

Lucia wept and felt an ocean of darkness close in around her. “Please, no more. I accept.

They then watched as Dumbledore initiated Lucia into the order of the Phoenix. They watched countless memories of her with Bellatrix Lestrange, memories of her with Gabriel and the happiness she had finally found. But always there was an infinite sadness to Lucia as if she could never tell Gabriel the truth about who or what she was.

“And all my armour falling down, in a pile at my feet/And my winter giving way to warm, as I’m singing him to sleep/All my armour falling down, in a pile at my feet/And my winter giving way to warm, as I’m singing him to sleep.”

Finally they were back in the office. Meliza looked into her father’s eyes and knew what he had decided. Without saying a word he left the office and Meliza, alone.

* * *

A tap sounded on the door to Dumbledore’s office. Meliza was emotionally beaten, and didn’t have the strength to move. But she understood everything. It made perfect sense. She felt like a complete idiot for jumping to the wrong conclusions. She was a member of the Order, and like Sydney, a spy who had to lie to the people she cared for. Her heart went out to Lucia and her father. Meliza knew her father would do the right thing. The former headmasters of Hogwarts around the room looked down on Meliza in pity, except for Phineas Nigellus, of course.

“Come,” Dumbledore’s voice carried towards the door.

“Professor?” Harry said, as the door swung open. He saw the scene before him: Meliza looking sad and Dumbledore watching the door. “Oh, I’m sorry. I’ll come back later.”

“No, no, come in Harry,” Dumbledore said, gesturing him inside.

“Hi Mel,” he said. Meliza sent him a sad smile as she sat in quiet contemplation.

“Is there something you wanted to talk to me about?” Dumbledore asked.

“He goes along just as a water lily/Gentle on the surface of his thoughts his body floats/Unweighed down by passion or intensity/Yet unaware of the depth upon which he coasts/And he finds a home in me/For what misfortune sows, he knows my touch will reap.”

“Well, yes, Anastasia,” Harry said. “Those photographs in the Daily Prophet, they look a lot like her.”

“That they do,” Dumbledore said, taking his seat beside his desk and gesturing for Harry to take the seat next to Meliza. “It is unfortunate that they were printed without our knowledge. I had hoped to keep Anastasia’s disappearance quiet a little more longer.”

“She deserves a second chance Harry,” Meliza said from beside him quietly. “She has to know we love her and want her back.”

“Yes, I agree,” Dumbledore said. “There will always be evil in the world, no matter where we go in life. We have not yet created the perfect utopia for mankind – Muggle or wizard – to live in peacefully. And even if such a world were to come to pass, would you choose to live there?”

“No,” Harry and Meliza said.

His eyes twinkled. “Exactly. For good to exist, for us to continue to solider on and fight the good fight, there must be an equal. Unfortunately, that is evil. You know as well as I that Miss Darcy would not go to the dark side without a fight. Even on the cloudiest days, there is always light fighting to get through. Meliza knows this first hand.”

“And all my armour falling down, in a pile at my feet/And my winter giving way to warm, as I’m singing him to sleep/All my armour falling down, in a pile at my feet/And my winter giving way to warm, as I’m singing him to sleep.”

She cringed when he said her name, but nodded in the affirmative. “We’ve lost so many good witches and wizards to the other side. I’m not going to let them take Anastasia too.”

“So what do we do?” Harry asked.

“We soldier on, Harry, and we fight the good fight,” Professor Dumbledore said, nodding his head. “This is one battle we aren’t going to lose.”

Fade out

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