Disclaimer: I do not possess any rights to the Harry Potter franchise. All rights belong to J.K. Rowling. Unlike every other author on this website who put up such disclaimers in every chapter, I will include them in only the first chapter of my fics.
This is an idea which came to my mind from reading Fate by TheTrueSpartan, one of the best writers on this website which I can't name here as it doesn't allow that, and also one of the best people I've met on this website. The plot is in no way related to his plot, although I have borrowed some characters from his story because I liked them a lot. He gave me his formal permission, and I'd like to thank him for that, for listening to my questions, taking the time out to answer them from his busy schedule, and for helping me perfect this idea.
If you haven't read Fate by now, what are you waiting for? It's easily the best fanfiction on this website.
My inspiration for writing this story came from Fate, and TTS. He inspired me to look for my own idea, to perfect it until I could bring it to fruition, and share it with all of you.
For The Greater Good
Chapter 1 – Prologue
Norbert Grindelwald's POV
Wednesday 30th April, 1981 (Grindelwald Residence, River Piddle, Dorset, England, – Nearly midnight)
One did not simply refuse the Dark Lord and live to tell the tale. Norbert knew that now when it was too late for him and his wife. His beloved Lucretia. At least her passing was swift. Maybe Voldemort respected her pureblood status? Maybe it was out of respect for her Black relatives? Did Bellatrix ask him to use the killing curse? Norbert didn't have any care nor clue. His wife passed away peacefully, and it was all that mattered to him in his final moments.
They made their bed, and they were prepared to lay in it. They didn't think they'd be sought out to be made an example out of by Voldemort, they even expected the madman to pay a smidgeon of respect to his predecessor's family, yet here they were.
The Dark Lord did not forgive nor forget. No slights, nor insults, nor rejections were ignored. Tom was punishment incarnate, and maybe this was the punishment of the crimes of Gellert Grindelwald; only it was his family which would pay it.
He would gladly face the Dark Lords' cruciatus curse for the rest of eternity if it meant his family could have been spared. But even as his heart grieved at the loss of his wife, his mind was resolute. He would not show weakness in the face of death. In the off chance that Robert was spared, unlikely as it was, he would not remember his father as a coward if Norbert could help it.
His poor boy of five did not deserve to see his mother butchered in the doorway of their house and being wandlessly levitated alongside her corpse. He did not deserve to be orphaned at that tender age barely a month after his birthday, which they had celebrated while hundreds like his family were massacred under the orders of the heir of Slytherin.
This was the price for his hubris. To think the war would not come to his family. To think they were above it.
His father, Gellert Grindelwald, the third strongest wizard in human history, and the second darkest wizard of all time, started the first revolution decades ago and forever damned the noble name of Godric Gryffindor's descendants. Norbert could never have escaped that reality.
Now Gellert would reap what he had sowed so long ago, as his past caught up to him after losing himself in his quest for the greater good. Norbert had hated his father for decades for his actions, for ripping families apart, for pitting friend against friend, wife against husband, son against father, brother against sister, and community against community. He had resented him for all his life, and now towards his end, he hated himself for his own inaction, and pitied Gellert, and hated himself some more.
The Grindelwald line would most certainly end tonight, and Gellert would have to live with that thought for the rest of his years.
"My… sincere apologies for the interruption…" That slithering voice crept back in his ears. If only he had his wand, if only he had kept it on his person tonight, he'd have ripped Voldemort's tongue out of his mouth. It was only another entry in a long list of mistakes. The final gaffe.
He could wandlessly summon his wand, but the dark lord would notice his use of magic, and it ran a deep risk of Robert being hurt, or worse. Even if it didn't, what good would a wand be when his son was the hostage of the most dangerous dark wizard of all time?
Fighting was not an option. Not anymore.
"But, Lord Voldemort does not leave loose ends." The doors to his study opened, and in came a black cloaked figure. His skin was as pale as snow, yet the veins visible on his face made him look like a corpse full of congealed blood. His eyes were bloodshot and serpent like, almost akin to those of a basilisk, yet eerily so, still human. It only added to his aura of fear.
How deep could a person be seduced by the dark arts, to an extent that one could say the dark arts were seduced by him? Evil Incarnate; that was what Tom Riddle Jr. was. He'd have to be careful to not refer to him like that, lest the last assured thing Norbert would see before his death would be his son's headless dancing corpse.
He chugged down the last bit of firewhiskey in his glass, calmed his nerves, and turned back from the fireplace to look in his son and their guest's direction. Voldemort had levitated his son and Lucretia's corpse into the room and gently placed them in a corner. How noble of him.
He had to choose his words carefully; there could be no room for error. He had to ensure Robert's survival. "I thought you'd say that, you wouldn't be the greatest wizard to have ever lived if you didn't."
Was that a spark in his eyes just then? Does he get off praise from his enemies? Is this the extent of his pride? Fucking creep. "Nonetheless, will you listen to a soon to be a dead man's final wish? Is it within your power to grant it?" A huff? God, this freak is so easy to manipulate.
"There is nothing that Lord Voldemort cannot grant. Ask, and it shall be granted. I will honour the son of the great Gellert Grindelwald." Voldemort grinned, "I always respected him for coming so close to fulfilling his ambitions, yet he was no match for my greatness."
Here we go. "I would ask you to let me speak my last words to my son, and to grant him mercy by letting him live." His killer's grin vanished, and a calm look adorned his features.
Would it work? He didn't beg at his feet like most of his other victims, nor did he resist him in a futile attempt to kill him. It was all up to fate, and the whims of a madman.
Both arseholes of the highest order.
In a surprising act, Voldemort smiled before bowing in an exaggerated manner as he brandished his wand; ugly thing it was, as grotesque as its retched master. "Of course, let it not be said that Lord Voldemort is without compassion." His smile widened, "I'll grant you some privacy, too. With your son." Voldemort turned his neck to gaze at his sniveling son, who looked like he was in shock from the horrifying ordeal as he clutched at his dead mother. "I'll be in the hallway. You have two minutes."
As soon as the dark lord had left, Norbert jumped to his feet and grabbed some empty flasks as he rushed towards his son. His weeping son raised his weak arms as he mewled out a sob. "P-Papa!"
Norbert's heart wrenched as he hugged his son. Damn Voldemort to the seven hells.
Norbert exhaled a breath he did not he had been holding in, "I'm so sorry son. I hope you can forgive me for this when you grow up." His eyes hardened as he leaned back, "Son. Listen closely. You have to focus, hey!" he shook Robert out of his hysteria. "The bad man will not harm you. When he leaves, people will come to get you. Talk to no one but Albus Dumbledore. Do you understand me? Albus Dumbledore, only."
Robert smiled as he sniffed, "T-the f-funny old man with t-the funny beard?"
His boy had relaxed a little. This would make it a bit easier. "Yes, Rob, the very same. Do one more thing for me, alright?" Rob looked up to him, still whimpering a little, "Give him these." Norbert wandlessly extracted his memories as he placed them in separate flasks before placing them in a box. "I love you, son." He kissed his son's forehead tenderly, for it would be the last time he'd ever be able to do it.
"I l-love y-you, too, p-papa." Norbert smiled at his son's reply, who managed to weakly smile back.
Norbert glanced at Lucretia's peaceful face. There was no permanent look of horror etched on her face. She probably didn't even notice the killing curse before it struck her. He smiled miserably, before schooling his features, he could not lose himself to despair again. It was necessary for Rob to see his father die on his feet, proud of his stance, as wrong as it was in the end.
It wasn't for the minds of five year olds to question right and wrong.
The doors opened again, this time they were opened with more gusto. Voldemort had a manic look on his face, as if he had been biding his time to raise his bloodlust.
"I'm afraid…" he raised his wand in Norbert's direction, a green beam dancing at its tips, "That time's up for goodbyes." Voldemort pointed his wand forward even as Robert screamed at him to stop. He had already seen one parent dead at the hands of that curse, and he was about to see it again.
Norbert grinned in the face of death.
Alastor Moody's POV
Thursday 1st May, 1981 (Grindelwald Residence, River Piddle, Dorset, England, – Just after midnight)
He apparated onto the front lawn of the house. The dark mark was visible in the sky. A perimeter was set up, and he could see Auror Captain Gawain Robards shouting to direct the junior Aurors and the trainees to their duties. The damn bunch of fools were skittering all over the premises, and he could feel Robards's near disgust even from a distance. "Having fun with this sorry lot, Robards?" Moody grunted as he made his way over to his colleague.
Gawain was a tall, tough wizard in his late twenties. He had a diagonal cut across his face courtesy of Bellatrix Lestrange. As one of the Ministries' strongest Aurors, he was one of the few who could go toe to toe with the dark lord's most power followers, alongside fellow Aurors of legend such as himself, Amelia Bones, Rufus Scrimgeour, Jane Roberts, Kingsley Shacklebolt, Frank Longbottom and his wife, Alice Longbottom.
Robards nodded in greeting at his colleague, "Alastor." He jerked his head towards the hallway, "Head Auror Bones is in the study room. She's expecting you, and I reckon Albus Dumbledore will be here soon. A patronus was sent just now."
Alastor grunted and made his way inside, his staff making a thumping noise as it struck the cold wooden floor. His magical eye swirled rapidly as he stood outside the study room. Two uses of the killing curse. His signature move. Damn fucker. At least it was swift for them, especially the kid.
He entered the study and saw the Grindelwald corpses on the floor next to each other. Where's the kid? Separate room? Possible but not plausible.
There were no signs of a battle. This was an execution.
He saw Amelia make her way over to him, gesturing for him to follow as she made her way outside and up the stairs. They did not exchange any greetings, they didn't need to. "I presume you've already gathered everything?"
"Technology does have its advantages."
They had made their way up to the second floor, and Amelia led him to a bedroom where the third Grindelwald was sleeping on the bed. "I have no idea why he left the boy alive." Alastor commented.
Amelia hummed, "It's not his style, yes, but that megalomaniac probably did it to further prove his… grandeur."
"My left nut has more grandeur than that skull fucker."
"Rosier took the right one off, right?"
"Yeah, right before I jammed the other one up his arse." Amelia snorted as they went outside the room. "I heard from Robards that Dumbledore is on his way."
Amelia sighed, "The kid was damn near hysterical when the first responding team arrived. Had to put him under the sleeping charm to calm him down. The trainees tried to get him to talk, but he only said the names, "Dumbledore and Voldemort" repeatedly." A soft look adorned her eyes, "Just like Susan." She whispered forlornly.
Alastor said nothing but patted his colleagues shoulder. What happened to Edgar, Amelia's elder brother and his wife was nothing short of brutal, and their murder was surpassed in cruelty only by what happened to the Prewett twins. Death Eater scum! A flash of fire nearly blinded them with its suddenness, but they were able to look away in time.
Albus Dumbledore and his ostentatiousness, a match made in hell.
This wasn't the kind, cheerful headmaster of Hogwarts before them, but the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. "Where is he?!" there was no twinkle in his blue eyes. They were as sharp as whetstones.
This was the wizard who had beaten Gellert Grindelwald, and the only wizard Lord Voldemort feared. The Dumbledore of old. The conqueror of Nurmengard.
"Inside, asleep, safe." Alastor pointed towards the room they had just exited, and that seemed to calm Albus, if only a little, but it was enough, given by the shaky breath Amelia released, who quickly excused herself to check on Robards and finish filing her report, leaving the two veterans of the Global Wizarding War alone.
"Don't worry about her, she's just not used to this side of yours. Hells, not many who are alive are used to it." Moody said to Dumbledore. "My condolences on the passing of your godson and his wife, Albus. They were good people." Dumbledore nodded in appreciation with a sad smile as they both made their way back into the room again.
A few moment of silence passed before Moody broke it again, "Are you going to tell him?"
"Tell who? And what?"
"You know who I'm talking about."
"Dear friend, there is no castle nor spell strong enough to hold Gellert. Despite the dismantling of his organization, he hears and sees everything from his prison." Albus reminded Alastor, who only grunted in response.
"The world isn't ready for both Gellert Grindelwald and Lord Voldemort, Albus, and frankly, neither are you." Alastor retorted.
Dumbledore smiled in response. "I've visited my old friend once every year since his fall to catch up for old time's sake. He will be devastated by this news, but he will not let his family name be dragged through the mud again."
Through the female line, the Grindelwalds were Godric Gryffindor's only remaining descendants. Or descendant.
Alastor nodded, "I'll take your word on it. And what of the boy? Who will raise him? Obviously you can't. Does he have any relatives?"
Albus nodded back.
Nozéa Lestrange's POV
Thursday 1st May, 1981 (Lestrange Manor, Versailles, France, - Dawn)
Was this her family's punishment? Was this their curse? To pay for the sins of their fathers for eternity? Would no generation of the Lestranges know peace ever again?
For nearly seventy years her the French branch of the Lestrange family had suffered. The line of Corvus Lestrange had ended long ago, with the deaths of her distance niece Leta Lestrange, and her father Corvus Lestrange IV and her infant brother, Corvus Lestrange V. Their misfortunes had begun when her distant ancestor, Corvus IV, then the head of his branch of the family used the imperius curse on Laurena Kama, forever disgracing their family with his horrendous crime.
She had thought herself destined to be the last member of a long and illustrious family line, the Lestrange family had commanded respect and prestige unsurpassed by any family in Magical France's entire history.
The Gages, the Perrots, and the Tremblays; ancient allies turned foes, surpassed her family in power only due to their greater numbers and combined wealth . They were her distant relatives through Corvus Lestrange IV's sisters and cousin, and waged a bitter feud against her due to Leta Lestrange naming her as the inheritor of her fortune in her will, an act which all three bitterly disputed.
No doubt they would have been rejoicing at the murders of her family. Soon she would be dead, too, and the greed of those families would finally be sated.
Regulus had come into her life, and she was blessed with a child, something the healers had told her was close to impossible, and some measure of joy was reignited in her heart. A happiness so deep, even the sad demise of her husband to Dragon Pox did not dampen her spirits to the extent that they were at the deaths of her daughter and son-in-law and grandson.
She had cried herself into a despair at the age of seventy two. She did not think she had it in her to feel this much pain again, but she did not even know herself that well.
Her daughter, her son-in-law, her grandson, dear Robert, whom she had seen last on his birthday just a few days over a month ago at their house in England, with old acquaintances and friends such as Albus Dumbledore who was Norbert's Godfather, Olympe Maxime, Nicholas Flamel, and his wife, Perenelle Flamel.
The Head of the Bureau des Aurors, Alain Delacour and his wife, Apolline Delacour, Robert's godmother, were also there. Their young daughter, Fleur, was just a year younger than Robert. She smiled tearfully at the memory of the both of them pretending to duel with toy wands.
The Dumont family was also there, and their daughter, Aurélie, was a joy to look at with her perfect curtsies, while the apple of their father's eye, Davet, showed off his textbook knowledge of magic to the awed younger children.
She had thought her family untouchable due to their pureblood. Surely the dark lord, the embodiment of evil that he was, would have respected that?
Her son-in-law was descended from The Noble and Most Ancient House of Grindelwald, the single most prominent wizarding family in Central Europe before Gellert Grindelwald's crusade. His mother belonged to The Noble and Most Ancient House of Rosier, one of the most prominent wizarding families in magical France and Britain.
Her daughter was descended from The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black from her father's side, and The Noble and Most Ancient House of Lestrange through herself.
Her grandson was the face of the pureblood movement by all rights.
The dark lord did not care. Even the purebloods were just a means to an end for him.
To him, they were all cattle. When the Prewitts and the Bones were slaughtered, she thought that was because they fought against Voldemort. How wrong she was.
Nozéa choked back a sob. Lucretia, Norbert, Robert… I am so sorry.
It was then that she heard Albus's voice calling for her from the floo. Despite her great sorrow, she had to talk to him. It would at least serve as a distraction for now. Plus, Albus wouldn't contact her right now if it wasn't a matter of the utmost importance. He had not yet sent his condolences, but given how busy he would have been at the moment, she expected he'd have dropped by in the morning.
She did not know it, but the oddness of the hour made her hope against all odds that a miracle had happened. That somehow, the news she heard on the late night radio was wrong.
She had to dare to hope. She had nothing left to lose. It was impossible for her heart to be broken beyond what it had already been broken into.
As she entered her living room, she saw Albus standing in the middle with a small bundle in his arms, and it was moving. Almost as if a child was breathing inside it.
It was as if the vitality of a Quidditch player had entered her weary body for a moment, for she did not remember nor care to remember how she was upon Dumbledore in the blink of an eye.
She was about to open her mouth, but Albus silenced her with a single gesture. She detected a foreign presence probing her mind, and she realised Albus was using legilimency to non-verbally communicate with her.
Robert is alive and well. He's under the influence of a sleeping charm. We need to talk about him. Take me to a bedroom so I can lay him to bed. My bones aren't what they used to be.
She led Albus to the closest bedroom on the ground floor where he gently placed Robert on the bed. As he withdrew, she got a glimpse of his face, tear stricken, pale, and an uneasy look on his face even as he dreamed.
It must have been a perpetual nightmare. God knew she was in one before she saw that her legacy was still alive.
She led the headmaster to the living room, where she instructed one of her house elves to bring them tea and delicacies.
The tears escaped her eyes again as she hugged her old friend. He said nothing, but he returned her hug with equal ferocity. She lost her daughter, he lost his godson. They were kin united by their sorrow.
"Nozéa." Albus started. She looked at his weathered face, as if he had aged twenty more years in the span of one night.
"We need to talk about Robert."
Albus Dumbledore's POV
Thursday 1st May, 1981 (Lestrange Manor, Versailles, France, – Dawn)
"Robert? What about him? Is he alright?"
Albus's heart was gripped in another tide of grief. How would he face Gellert again? What right did he have to face him again?
It was child's play for his old flame to break out of Nurmengard if he really wanted to. Time had tamed Gellert's spirit, but it didn't make him any weaker. The body could always be healed through the use of potions, it was the mind which made a wizard truly powerful.
Gellert Grindelwald was not the greatest Occlumens in history for no reason.
He had promised his dearest friend that he'd look after his son, the son whom Gellert had named as his godson when he had entrusted his care to him, a mere few hours after the death of Gellert's most trusted Acolyte turned wife, Vinda Rosier during his birth. Norbert, she had named him. The love his parents had for him was immense, and it was for his child's sake that Gellert surrendered towards the end of their legendary duel.
It was for his son that Gellert had held back from hurting innocents like when he had nearly burnt Paris to a smoldering ruin in nineteen twenty seven.
Time had taught Gellert Grindelwald remorse. Tom had undone all that in one night, Albus was sure of it. Norbert and his wife, dear sweet Lucretia were dead, and Robert had gone through what Albus would not wish on his worst enemy in a thousand years.
"Talk to me Albus!"
He gazed at Nozéa. The Lestrange matriarch was a woman of immense credibility and respect in the magical world, but she was supposed to enjoy her wizened years now, not raising a five year old traumatized child who had lost his parents. Still, she was his closest family member.
"Albus!" she raised her tone, her cheeks turning red from anger.
"Rob is not well." And she deflated just like that, and Albus felt guilt ridden once again, but this was a conversation which had to take place. For Robert's sake.
"W-what h-ha-happened to h-him?" Albus had never heard seen his friend stammer before.
The elves chose that moment to bring their tea and delicacies, and Nozéa graciously allowed him to collect his thoughts while the tea was served. He took a sip, "Robert has gone through immense psychological trauma." Nozéa gasped, "The dark lord murdered your daughter with a killing curse, and levitated her corpse and Robert while he made his way to Norbert in the study. He was helpless against Tom with Rob his hostage, and was killed soon after. Your grandson witnessed both murders and he was spared on a whim. That is Alastor Moody's assessment."
Nozéa was speechless, her eyes were wide, her mouth was open, yet no words came out. She made no sound. She just stared at him.
Albus felt sick to his stomach for twisting this fresh wound, yet it had to be done. Dear God, forgive me.
"It is my suggestion that we take him to St. Louis in Paris. I don't trust the staff at St. Mungos, they are vulnerable to infiltration by Death Eaters, and I do not wish to take any unnecessary risks. Hogwarts runs the same risks. Even the student body is compromised. A five year old child in the infirmary will raise red flags." A fire blazed in Nozéa's eyes for a moment, and it reminded Albus whom he was talking to.
"I will get in touch with Alain. He will have his best men guarding Robert at St. Louis. He owes me one, and the French are not as undermanned as the British are. War is ravaging all of Europe, but Britain has it worst." Her spirit dampened again, "Can we win Albus? Is there any stopping that demon from the seventh hell?"
Albus looked his friend straight in the eye, and when he felt he was gazing right into her soul he muttered his next words.
"We will win."
Apolline Delacour's POV
Thursday 1st May, 1981 (St. Louis Hospital, Paris, France, – Noon)
The war had raged across mainland Europe for a few years now. They didn't have it as bad this time around as they did during Gellert Grindelwald's reign of terror, but it was still extremely chaotic. The Bureau des Aurors was taking the fight to the Death Eaters by fighting fire with fire, adopted from the head of Magical Britain's Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Bartemius Crouch Sr., and a shoe in for Minister of Magic. So were other ministries like the Russian, Italian, Spanish, and German ministries.
Voldemort had to be stopped at all cost, even if it seemed impossible that he wouldn't conquer Magical Britain at this point. They were facing the worst of it, and if (when) it fell, he'd then turn his complete attention to Magical Europe.
Her husband, the love of her life, Alain, was fighting day and night to keep their family safe, little Fleur safe, and countless others like her alive and protected. He had a strong sense of right and wrong, and that was what made her fall in love with him in the first place.
It was a rare thing, for a Veela to find a wizard or a witch immune to their charms. She was lucky to find her husband, and she considered herself blessed with every day that he came back to her and Fleur alive and well.
Unlike countless others.
Unlike Lucretia, Norbert, and little Rob.
Her heart ached strongly at the reminder that her two closest friends were no longer in this world, and that their son, whom she considered her son in every sense of the world, was left bereft of their presence. But she was also a Healer, one of the best Magical France had to offer, and right now, Robert needed her help. Albus and Nozéa would be here anytime now, and she could grieve later at home.
Five minutes later, both of them were there. Little Robert was standing beside Nozéa. She smiled at him and went forward to shake his hand, "Hello Robert, do you remember me, Auntie Apolline?" Robert just stared at the fireplace. Faraway look in his eyes. Isn't making any eye contact. She saw Nozéa's lips tremble but, she had to give her credit where it was due, she was holding herself together. Albus looked composed, even if his eyes didn't say the same.
They had to remain composed for Robert.
"Nozéa," she began and the older woman looked at her, "Could you please excuse us for a few moments? There are a few toys I've arranged for Robert to play with. They are on my desk." Nozéa nodded as she gestured for Robert to follow her. When he didn't respond, Nozéa gently and hesitantly reached out to touch his shoulder but quickly withdrew her hand when Robert shivered uncomfortably. He quickly followed her to her desk after that.
No verbal communication. An aversion to physical touch. She gestured for Albus to follow her outside and into the room next door she often used for private discussions with the family members of her patients. When they sat down, they shared an uncomfortable silence for a few moments.
"I understand how heartbreaking this is, but he needs us to be strong for him right now. We know that the murders have affected him deeply, but we're still not sure how." He looked at her strongly, "You are the only one who can help him right now. Be strong." He gently urged.
Apolline took a deep breath, "It breaks my heart to even say the words, Albus…" she paused, "But, I have heavy suspicions that he is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder."
The headmaster's eyes went wide, "At his age… Is that even possible?" She nodded sadly.
"It's possible to develop it at an even younger age. Robert went through an extremely harrowing event. From what I've been told, the dark lord killed Lucretia and Norbert right in front of his eyes, and levitated their corpses alongside him." She pointed towards the room in which Nozéa was playing with Robert, "I saw three symptoms from our brief interaction so far. A faraway look in his eyes, not making any eye contact, no verbal communication, and an aversion to physical touch." She looked the headmaster square in the eye, "Albus, those are textbook symptoms of PTSD." She stated.
Albus nodded tiredly, "I had the same doubts. He remained under the effects of the sleeping charm for nine hours after witnessing his parent's murders. He was hysterical when he was found by the Aurors, and we had to give him a few drops of the Calming Draught before bringing him here. Even in his sleep,"
Albus continued, "he looked very uncomfortable, and I think he was reliving that experience in his nightmares."
Apolline needed to think this over. After nearly a minute, she spoke, "We'll have to run some proper diagnostic tests. There are spells which can give us an idea of any internal injuries or changes in his brain which might tell us more, although I think it is unlikely that there is any damage at this stage. If we can nip this in the bud, it might go away in a few years, and he'll be able to live a normal life."
She stopped to look at Albus, "I will have to ask him some questions to gauge his responses to make a better prognosis. Alone."
Five minutes later, Albus and Nozéa were in the other room while she was alone with Rob in her office. Playing with his new toys had lightened his mood, albeit barely. He was sitting on one of the couches she had placed in the corner for therapy sessions with her clients. Rob was still playing with one of his toys, a wooden centaur.
She sat opposite Rob, but he did not acknowledge her, as if she were invisible to him. "Good afternoon, Robert." She greeted him gently, but he did not deign her with a response. Deliberately, it appears. Or is he lost in his memories?
"Do you like Centaurs?" Apolline asked, but Rob continued to ignore her, "I met a centaur chieftain once."
Rob stilled at that, which only proved he was ignoring her on purpose.
"His name was Chiron, one of the most renowned centaurs in history. Would you like to know more about him?" Robert gave no response for a few seconds, but he gave a slight nod. He still didn't raise his eyes, his entire attention fixed on his toy.
"He was very intelligent, civilized, and kind, and taught heroes like Achilles, Ajax, Odysseus, and many others." She continued, "He was a great healer, astrologer, seer, and teacher." Apolline smiled wistfully, "Poetry, music, and stargazing were his hobbies."
"Stars…?" Robert finally whispered. He found his voice, and his lips quivered for a second. "Mama liked looking at stars…"
I know, sweetie. I know…
"Oh?" Apolline asked, keeping her own anguish at bay for her godson's sake. "Did you ever look at the stars with her, honey? I often spent long hours gazing at the stars with Chiron."
"Gazing? What does that mean?" Robert softly asked. Apolline smiled warmly at him.
"It is another word for looking."
"Oh." He murmured. "Mama… where is she?" he softly asked as he continued to look at his toy. "Auntie, I had a nightmare… But, I can't see her… I only see her in my nightmares."
"Why don't you tell me about this nightmare, Robert? Maybe I can help you?" Apolline asked, she had she didn't want to mess up this opportunity, otherwise, he'll shut me out again. He's still dazed, and if I confirm his fears, I'll lose the chance to reach out to him.
Robert continued playing with his centaur, and Apolline vehemently cursed the dark lord. This wasn't the first case she had seen because of this thrice damned war.
But to see her own godson like this affected her like in a way she had not thought possible.
Robert was showing clear signs of PTSD, although it was too early to diagnose such a severe disorder, she couldn't ignore such prominent signs. Robert was old enough and smart enough to realise what had happened to his parents, but at the same time, he was too young to realise the reason behind it.
No five year old could ever hope to understand that monsters like the dark lord existed; monsters that killed simply because they wanted to, they could, and because no one could stand up to them.
Robert stopped playing with his toy. His lips quivered again, and his shoulders shook, but no tears came out yet, even as his eyes reflected his sorrow.
After a minute, he opened up, "I-In my nightmares, I saw myself flying."
Apolline latched onto this chance, "Go on Robert, you're doing great." She encouraged him as Robert gulped in anxiety.
"Flying next to me was mama, and her eyes were closed. She looked peaceful." Tears formed in his eyes, "T-t-then," he stuttered, "her e-eyes o-o-op-opened… and they were completely black." He looked at her, and his eyes were full of unadulterated fear.
"Her mouth opened, and s-snakes came out of it. T-th-they crawled all over m-me! They entered my mouth, they entered my eyes, they entered my ears, and they bit me and it hurt so much auntie! It hurt so much!" Robert was sharing his pain loudly now, as Apolline's eyes widened in shock. Oh my God… Robert… you poor child.
"A-and t-the w-worst part was," Robert gulped as he shook violently, "mama was now flying right above me and she was laughing! She was laughing at me!" Robert cried, "Her skin was coming off her and t-then…"
"Then she scratched my face so badly it started to bleed! I told her, 'Mama! Mama, it hurts! Please stop!' "But, she didn't stop! She continued scratching until my skin came off!" Robert was hysterical now.
"I SCREAMED AND SHE LAUGHED! I SCREAMED AND SCREAMED AND SCREAMED AND SHE LAUGHED AND LAUGHED AND LAUGHED!" Robert suddenly seized as if the very breath was knocked out of him, and he started shaking as if he were having a seizure.
One moment Apolline was sitting on her couch, horrified, as she listened to Robert scream his heart out. The next moment she was administering a calming draught and casting the sleeping charm as Albus and Nozéa came barging into the room.
The last thing she heard him whisper before he went unconscious was seeing two flashes of green.
Author's Notes: Well, the first chapter is done. I'll be updating this every ten days, or so. I've got a job to balance, and I just got done with my degree after a very stressful three year time period. Let me get back in the hang of it, and I'll try to please you more. Do follow and favorite this, and do leave your reviews.
Regarding the ever popular and inevitable question of ships, I'll announce that in a later chapter.