Disclaimer: I do not nor will I ever own the Harry Potter story, characters, villains, heroes, and creatures. I also sadly do not make any money off this story. Trust me; my bank account cannot lie about that.

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FLAMES OF BETRAYAL

By Marietsy

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CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX

Bellatrix Lestrange stared at the writhing Muggle in disgust. She usually enjoyed torturing the disgusting things, but for some reason, today she just wasn't in the mood. She sighed. Things had been tense since Potter disappeared and that werewolf had captured her.

She snarled as she remembered being hit by the spell that knocked her out. She was sure that she had knocked him out. She was so intent on killing her cousin once again that she hadn't even paid attention to what was going on behind her.

Waking up in the cells at the Ministry had not been fun. Luckily, the Dark Lord's spies in the Ministry had been busy finding a way to get her and her fellow Death Eaters out. The fools at the Ministry thought that a heavily warded cell would be better at keeping them imprisoned than the cells at Azkaban. That was a mistake; it took weeks, but after a hidden portkey and a few unconscious Aurors, they were free. Of course, the torture that the Dark Lord had put them through for being captured had Bella questioning whether she would've been safer at the Ministry.

Lord Voldemort was already angry about Potter's disappearance, but what pushed him over the edge was the capture of some of his top Death Eaters were captured pushed him over the edge. He was frustrated by the lack of information on Potter's whereabouts. Now his Potion's Master was missing and it was well known that he was traitor. There hadn't been a sign of either of them since they left Hogwarts. Lord Voldemort was sure that they were together, along with the Weasley boy.

The Dark Lord wanted to find Potter while he was still catatonic, since he believed he would be easier to kill. There would be no chance that the prophecy could take effect if Potter wasn't aware of surroundings. The Dark Lord still didn't know what the prophecy was, but if there was any small chance that Potter's condition would stop it from coming true, and then he wanted to take it.

Bella looked around at her fellow Death Eaters and prayed to gods that she didn't believe in that the Dark Lord would find Potter soon. The amount of Cruciatus curses that had been flying around had risen since the boy's disappearance and Snape's became worse with defection.

She watched as her fellow Death Eaters tortured the Muggles, her gaze flat and cold. Her fellow Death Eaters felt that they had needed this Revel to relieve the tension that was endemic within the Death Eater ranks. Even though she wasn't getting anything out of the torture, her fellow companions were. She watched as Crabbe Sr. threw a cutting curse at a young girl; the accompanying scream made the dimwitted wizard smile ferally.

They had picked a Muggle family that lived on a small farm. The isolation of the farm gave them time to torture, rape, and kill the family. The father of the young girl was lying on the ground, his mouth open in a silent scream as his terrified eyes moved between the torture of his daughter and the rape of his wife.

Bella grimaced when she Avery grinned wildly as his gaze settled on the man's teenage son and the family dog. She knew of the wizard's sick fascination with bestiality. She knew what was coming, and couldn't help a flash disgust as Avery moved closer. She turned away so not to see the rape of the young man by the family dog.

The boy screamed as he saw the family dog coming towards him, his eyes wild with animal lust. He tried to crawl away, but his legs wouldn't move. Avery laughed manically as the dog snarled at the movement and with a wave of his wand, he made the boy's clothes disappear. Avery looked at the scene with anticipation gleaming in his eyes, and he licked his lips several times. The rest of the Death Eaters had paused in their torture when they heard the boy scream and they roared their approval.

There was a sudden flash of light and Avery suddenly fell to the ground, his control over the dog disappearing. With a yelp, the dog turned and ran away. The Death Eaters froze, surprised. Bella looked in the direction that the spell had come from. She stared at the two cloaked men, her eyes wide. They both exuded power. The shorter wizard almost glowed with magic. The air crackled with energy and she almost took a step back in fear. She had never felt this much power in any wizard before. The closest was the Dark Lord, but his power was dark. The shorter wizard was filled with light and it hurt to be near him.

Bella shook off her fear and glared at the two wizards. It didn't matter who they were. They were only two, while she had ten Death Eaters with her.

"Who are you?" she demanded.

"Your worst nightmare!" the tall cloaked figure replied while the smaller one snickered.

Bella growled at the disrespect; she hated the flippancy from her inferiors – from anyone, actually. How dare they! They should be cowering with fear at her feet. She was one of the best Death Eaters the Dark Lord had. She struck fear in men's heart and these two wizards before her weren't cowering. She couldn't understand it. They were being insolent. She wouldn't allow that. She would teach them to fear her.

"How dare you interrupt us, let alone attack one of us!" she yelled.

"Yeah, yeah. You're the Death Eaters. You're all powerful. We should fear you, we should be trembling at your very presence," the tall wizard stated sarcastically. "Did I miss anything?"

The smaller wizard chuckled. "Yeah, you did. You forgot that they would make us pay for our insolence."

"Ah, yes! Right then." There was a moment of silence and the man sighed, "Hello! I'm waiting."

Bella's eyes narrowed and she raised her wand, directing it at the taller man. "Crucio," she screamed.

The taller wizard waited until the spell was almost upon him then twisted his body and the spell flew by him uselessly. Bella frowned. She threw the curse at him again, followed by another. The cloaked figure proceeded to twist out of the way of the spells.

"Well, that was so unexpected," the wizard stated wryly.

"Gee, a Death Eater throwing an Unforgivable. Whatever is the world coming to?" the smaller wizard snarked. The taller cloaked figure laughed.

Bella's eyes grew colder. "Avada Kedavra," she yelled.

The green light headed towards the smaller wizard. There was a flash of red, a musical cry and a red blur swooped down, swallowing the spell before disappearing in flash of flames.

Bella gaped. The wizard had a phoenix. The only phoenix that she knew of was Fawkes, Dumbledore's familiar. This would not do.

"Attack!" she screamed. "Kill them both!"

The Death Eaters advanced and began to throw curses.

The smaller wizard raised his hand, and a shield surrounded both of the wizards. The curses bounced off harmlessly. Bella blinked, her eyes wide.

"Wow! I never thought I would see the Black bitch speechless," the smaller wizards said into the silence.

The taller wizard snickered and Bella's face grew red. With a nod to her fellow Death Eaters, she began to throw spell after spell at the two mysterious wizards. Bella caught her breath at the almost casual way the wizards were batting or blocking the spells. She'd never seen this type of fighting, this lack of concern for their safety. She could swear she saw the smaller wizard yawn, but it was too dark to really see past the hood of the cloak.

"I'm bored," the taller wizard stated.

"Okay, well do something about it then. Once we finish here, we can eat. I hear that we're having roast beef tonight."

With a sudden movement that took Bella by surprise, the two wizards burst into action. Where they had been nonchalant earlier, they were now intent and focused. Throwing spell after spell, they began to take down the Death Eaters one by one. Bella could only watch as those that came with her were stunned, bound, and gagged. With desperation, Bella began to scream out dark spell after dark spell. She wasn't ready to be captured again. She would rather die than to displease her Lord.

She hissed in pain as a cutting hex hit her arm. She raised her wand and screamed once more, "Avada Kedavra!"

She almost cried with frustration as the smaller wizard just moved out of the way of the spell. Who were these two? They fought like no wizards she had ever seen before. They were formidable and powerful. She needed to escape. She had to report this to the Dark Lord.

She threw another curse, but this time she aimed it towards the young man who lay on the ground, watching the battle. Bella watched as the two wizards turned towards the young man and grabbed the serpent pendant that she was wearing and activated the portkey. She laughed wildly as she saw the young man turn towards her when he realized that she was escaping. She grinned at him maliciously because although they were extremely powerful, she had killed the young man and made good her escape. Powerful or not, they could still be beaten. Within a several seconds, she was gone from the farmhouse and standing in front of the Dark Lord.

Wincing, she knelt in front of Voldemort and began her report. "My Lord, we might have a problem." With trepidation, she told him of the two wizards who defeated the six other Death Eaters. She only hoped she got through the night with her life.

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"Damn it!" the smaller wizard yelled.

"Harry," the other wizard began.

"No, Ron. We had her. We had that bitch in our sights and she still got away. While she may not have actually killed Sirius, she would have if it had truly been him. She has already escaped once. I can't believe she got away!" Harry yelled as he waved his hands in the air.

"We'll get her next time," Ron said soothingly.

Harry snorted. "We better." He walked over to the young man who Bella killed and sighed. He hadn't been able to save him. What good was all this power if he could even save an innocent?

He grouped all the unconscious Death Eaters together, before grabbing a stick to make a Portkey with. When placed on the stunned wizards and activated it would send them to the Ministry. Harry just hoped that this time the Ministry would be able to keep them locked up. He then carried the young man's body over to rest with the bodies of his family. Harry bowed his head and mourned the loss of one more Muggle family.

Ron stepped up next to him, grabbed his shoulder, and squeezed, trying to give some comfort. "There was nothing you could do, Harry, unfortunately, we can't save them all."

Harry nodded, knowing that it was true. He just hated it. He sighed, turned to his brother and smiled weakly. "Come on, we need to get back. We need to let the others know what happened here. Anyway, Severus needs his herbs; you know how cranky he gets when he doesn't get them in time."

Ron chuckled. "Yeah, he does get mite cranky."

Harry laughed and they both disappeared without a sound.

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Dumbledore looked out the window of his castle. Hogwarts may belong to the Wizarding World, but he always thought of it as his. He believed that it was something that should belong to him because the most powerful wizard in centuries. He hated the fact that he would never own it; that he would never know the true power of the castle. Only the descendants of the Founders could access the power of the castle, and they were all dead. If he couldn't have the power, then no one could.

The sound of a house-elf popping into the room brought him out of his thoughts. He sighed, turned, and walked over to his desk. Sitting down, he watched as the house-elf put the tray down on the desk. With a small bow, the house-elf disappeared. Dumbledore took his wand out, pointed it at the teapot, and checked for any mysterious potions or charms. He still was getting Howlers from the last time he'd been affected by a potion in his tea. He still didn't know who sent the picture of him to the Dailey Prophet, but if he ever found out, there would be hell to pay.

He made a cup of tea. Sipping the hot beverage, he looked at the paper that was lying on his desk.

WHERE IS HARRY POTTER?

By Rita Skeeter

It has been four months since the disappearance of our Savior. Where has he gone? Who is going to save us from You Know Who? It has come to this reporter's attention that the information that Headmaster Dumbledore gave us about our Savior recovering at Hogwarts from his stay in Azkaban is wrong. According to a source, who shall stay nameless for fear of their life, Harry Potter disappeared from Hogwarts, where Dumbledore said that Harry was staying, four months ago.

My source informed me that Mr. Potter was taken from Hogwarts by his best friend, Ron Weasley. It is well known that Mr. Weasley never lost faith in his best friend. He defended Harry Potter until after the trial. It is understandable that due the efforts of You Know Who and Lucius Malfoy that Mr. Weasley's faith may have faltered. After the truth about Mr. Potter came to light, Mr. Weasley took Mr. Potter away from Hogwarts. Where did they go?

Is it true that the reason Mr. Weasley took Mr. Potter way was to keep him safe? It is not well known, but according to my source, Harry Potter has never recovered from his stay in Azkaban. I was informed that Mr. Potter has been catatonic since he was released.

My source also tells me that Mr. Potter was concerned that if something ever happened to him that would leave him incapacitated, our revered Headmaster would try to gain custody of Mr. Potter and his assets. Could it be that Headmaster Dumbledore is not the kind, wise wizard we always thought? Could there be something more sinister to Mr. Potter's actions? Could there be a reason that Mr. Potter made sure that he would stay out of the Headmaster's hands? Could it be that our dear Savior feared the Headmaster?

This reporter wants to know. If our dear Savior feared the Headmaster, who then should we fear? What is it that Albus Dumbledore is hiding? I urge you to find out and let this reporter know.

As for the location of Harry Potter, where is he? How is he? Will he be able to protect us from Who-Know-Who when the time comes? This reporter begs the hero to come back. Come back, Harry. Please protect us once again.

Dumbledore slammed the paper down on the desk, his eyes fierce. After years of suppressing the truth about his actions, there was doubt about him in the Wizarding World. Who could have told Rita about Harry? It was supposed to be a secret. The members in the Order were under strict orders not to tell anyone. Was it Severus? Mr. Weasley or whatever his name was now? He didn't think it was. If it had been, they would have told the paper months ago. So who was it?

He hated the feeling that he was losing control of things. His carefully constructed world was falling to pieces, one piece at time. First, his weapon was sent to Azkaban, even though it wasn't Harry's fault. Dumbledore didn't predict the cleverness of Tom. The plan that sent Harry to Azkaban was truly worthy of a Slytherin. He just never thought that Tom would come up with something like that.

After the loss of Harry, things began to go downhill. He was too old. There was no way that he could defeat Tom. That was why he carefully maneuvered Harry into being the Boy Who Lived, Dumbledore's Golden Boy. Once Harry and Tom died in the Final Battle, Dumbledore would be the one who basked in the attention that would come from the fact that he was the Leader of the Light that brought about the defeat of the Dark Lord, and was Mentor of the Boy-Who-Lived.

Once it was known that Harry was truly innocent, Dumbledore felt as if everything was back on track. Of course, that feeling didn't last long. The fact that Harry was catatonic was distressing, but not unsurpassable. He knew that if he got custody of Harry, he could mould Harry to be the perfect weapon. He, of course, got another shock. Who knew that Harry hadn't trusted him? He never knew. He thought he had his weapon under his control. It was shocking to find out that he wasn't.

Finding out that Harry named Ron his Guardian upset him. The fact that Ron took Harry away from Hogwarts and out of his control enraged him. He'd been unable to find a trace of either of them, no matter what spell or ritual he used.

Severus leaving him was definitely something that he never thought would happen. There'd been too many spells on the Potions Master. There was no way that he could have escaped. Apparently, he'd been wrong. Very wrong. He still didn't know how Severus did it and like Harry and Ron, he'd been unable to find a trace of where he was.

Now this article in the Dailey Prophet. When did he lose control and what was going to do to get it back?

Dumbledore leaned back in his chair, his forehead furrowed with thought. He didn't know exactly what he was going to do, but the first thing he needed was Harry back under control and the only way to do that was to get rid of the one thing that was standing in his way.

Ron Weasley.

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Hermione looked down at the paper, her gaze satisfied. She knew that Rita Skeeter wouldn't miss writing the story. Causing a scandal was the reporter's forte. She was slowly destroying the Headmaster's reputation, something that he valued. There were going to be more articles in the papers as more secrets about Harry, Ron, and the Headmaster were released. By the time that everything was done and over with, the Headmaster's good standing with the Wizarding World would be gone. Hermione knew how fast the Wizarding World turned it its heroes.

It was the least she could do for her missing friends. The guilt for her betrayal would never leave her, but helping them in her own way would ease her conscience.


Just an FYI...Harry Potter is NOT going to suddenly gain access to the Power of Hogwarts, nor is Ron. They are not the descendants of the Founders. I figured Harry was powerful enough on his own. In fact, I can't decide who will be. I'm waffling on picking the person. It totally depends on how the story writes itself out.