June 16th 1996 Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Arthur sat patiently in the Headmaster's Office at Hogwarts. There was quite a crowd of people present, so the room had been magically enlarged for the meeting. As Arthur looked around the room, he could see many whom he hadn't seen for several years — since the war, in fact — but also several whom he had seen quite recently. There was Dedalus Diggle, Elphias Dodge, Rubeus Hagrid, Hestia Jones, Minerva McGonagall, Alastor Moody, Severus Snape, Nymphadora Tonks, Sturgis Podmore and several others that Arthur didn't know.
Arthur had received a letter from Albus early this morning. The letter had told him that the Order of the Phoenix was being reformed to deal with a very serious situation that had arisen. So, as requested, Arthur had come to the meeting.
During the last war, Arthur had been a member of the Order. Molly, too, had wanted to join the Order. However, at the time she had been pregnant, so they had decided that she should stay safe at home. This time, with the children safe at school, Arthur knew that Molly was determined to help in any way she could.
"Welcome," Albus said, standing up to begin the meeting. "Thank you for coming." He paused and looked around the room, seemingly making eye contact with everyone present. "I have called you all together today to ask for your help. The Order of the Phoenix must be reformed and without its loyal members this cannot happen." Albus paused again. "Before we begin, I must introduce one person. Before this man enters, I must ask you to put aside anything that you have heard about him. I trust him and know he is innocent of any allegations that have been levelled against him."
The door opened and a man stepped in. Arthur recognised him instantly and immediately tensed in his seat. He had seen wanted posters with this man's face on plastered all over the Ministry.
"Sirius Black!" he heard Molly screech. "You attacked my children!"
"Molly," Albus said loudly, "please give Sirius a chance!"
Arthur gripped Molly's hand in his. He felt her relax slightly at Albus' reassurance, but he could still feel the tension radiating off her.
"Just over a year ago, compelling evidence came to light that proved Sirius innocent of the charges he was imprisoned on. However, the Ministry is unwilling to consider a trial," Albus began to explain.
There was considerable murmuring in the room at this announcement. Arthur noticed that Severus looked especially displeased.
"I ask you all, as members of the Order, to keep Sirius' secret," Albus continued. "He is here today because he is connected to what I brought you here to discuss."
The room grew silent in anticipation.
Albus sighed heavily. "I am afraid to tell you that, for many years, I have been lying to you all. I am sure you all need no reminding of the occurrences at Godric's Hollow at end of the war."
Arthur remembered all too well. There had been raucous celebration that the war was over, but Arthur couldn't help feeling that everyone was forgetting about the young family that had been so brutally killed.
"However, one occurrence that evening was kept secret," Albus continued. "The Potters' child, Harry, did not die that night."
The room was completely silent. Arthur attempted to process the news. It seemed… impossible.
"What happened? How did he survive?" Dedalus blurted.
"No one knows, but survive he did. I have kept him hidden all these years, until a few days ago…" Albus paused. "A few days ago, he was kidnapped and, despite all my efforts, I have not been able to locate him."
Shocked whispers filled the room.
"Who did this?" Minerva asked in an angry voice.
"I do not know for certain, but I believe that a group of Voldemort's former followers have reformed and targeted him. They seem to believe he is the reason for their master's downfall."
Something there didn't quite make sense to Arthur. "If he was so well hidden, how did they find him?" he asked.
Albus sighed. "There were only a few people who knew of his survival. One of them was Peter Pettigrew, who we all believed was dead."
"The man I supposedly killed," Sirius added bitterly.
"But he wasn't dead, he was in hiding. He is an Animagus; his form is a rat," Albus turned to face Arthur and Molly. "This is where your children came into it; the rat he was hiding as," he paused, "was Scabbers."
Molly shrieked and Arthur felt himself gripping the arms of his chair in anger.
"He was hiding in our house? All these years?" he replied angrily.
"I am afraid so," Albus replied. "That is how your children came into contact with Sirius and I must ask you to forgive them, they kept the secret at my insistence."
"So Pettigrew was somehow able to kidnap Harry?" Hagrid asked, his loud voice drowning out the other whispered conversations that had begun.
"In short, yes," Albus began.
"It seems it was my fault, really," Alastor interrupted gruffly. "One of the Death Eaters was able to imprison me and impersonate me with Polyjuice. Appearing to be me, they managed to get the boy's trust. I'm not quite sure how, as I've never met the lad," Alastor finished with a shrug.
"We can discuss how this happened and assign blame later," Albus continued quickly. "For now, we must begin searching for Harry. I have locations for several of you to search, houses of former Death Eaters and other known hide-outs that Voldemort used during the war. Alastor will give you your assignments," he paused. "However, there is one more important task that I must ask of you: if anyone knows of any trustworthy people that we can bring into the Order, people who will keep our secrets, please talk to me."
"I may be able to ask at the Ministry," Arthur replied to the room at large. "Discretely, of course."
"Thank you, Arthur. Now, is there anything else?" Albus asked the assembled meeting. When no one spoke up, he continued, "Then we will meet again in a few days. I will have our new Headquarters set up by then and will communicate the details to you prior to the meeting."
The meeting then broke up and people began milling around the room, some reacquainting themselves with friends they had not seen for many years. The majority gathered around Alastor Moody.
Arthur was slightly hesitant to get involved with the searches. If he was seen, it would make things difficult at the Ministry, but he still wanted to help.
"Arthur, Molly," Albus' voice attracted his attention.
"Albus," he heard Molly reply in a slightly cold voice.
"I must apologise for asking your children to keep secrets from you," he said humbly.
"It's alright, Albus," Arthur replied. "I can understand the difficult position you were in."
"Thank you, Arthur," Albus replied. "And I can appreciate the difficult position asking you to take part in searches places you in at the Ministry."
Arthur nodded. "I want to help," he began. "It’s just…Well, right now, it would be very difficult for me to take time off to help."
"Anything you can do, Arthur, is very much appreciated," Albus continued. "While you are here, I need to have a quick word with you about Adam."
"Oh," Molly answered immediately. "Is everything alright? Surely he's not got himself into trouble again?"
Arthur noticed that Albus seemed to hesitate for a moment before continuing. "No, he's fine. I don't know whether you are aware, but since the events of his first year at school, I've been attempting to locate any family, Muggle or Wizarding, that Adam may have and I believe I have finally had some success."
"Oh, that's wonderful, Albus," Molly replied, her expression brightening.
"So, Remus Lupin has taken him to Ireland for a short while, where I believe he may have family, to try and make contact."
Arthur glanced at his wife and quickly understood why she was angry. Over the last few years, Adam had begun to feel like one of their own, and to have him taken on some trip without their permission was… unsettling. Arthur understood that legally Albus was quite correct in what he had done as, in Wizarding law, if a minor did not have a Wizarding guardian, then that duty fell to the Headmaster of Hogwarts. Of course, that law was not designed for children with no legal guardians whatsoever.
"Albus," Arthur replied, making a deliberate attempt to keep his tone even, but wanting to jump in before Molly ended up taking out her temper on the Headmaster. "I think you should have discussed this with us before taking Adam away. I know that we are not legally Adam's parents or guardians, but I feel that we should have had a say."
Albus was silent for what felt like a long time before he answered. "I am sorry. You are correct. I should have consulted with you."
"Adam will be safe, won't he?" Molly began.
"Molly," Albus interrupted, "there is no one I trust more than Remus Lupin."
"And when will Adam return?"
"I hope that he should be back very soon," Albus answered. "Hopefully within a few weeks."
Arthur nodded at Albus. It wasn't that he was unhappy with Adam trying to find out about his past. He was just angry that they hadn't been consulted or at least told before Adam had left.
"Well," Arthur responded, "thank you for telling us, but please bear in mind our feelings before anything like this happens again. We do feel that Adam is, well…" He paused. "One of our own."
"Thank you, Arthur," Albus replied. "And once again, I am sorry for my thoughtless actions."
"If there isn't anything else, we'll head home," Arthur continued, "but I will be in touch if I find anyone at the Ministry who may wish to join the Order."
"Actually," Albus added and, to Arthur's surprise, he actually looked hesitant before he began speaking. "There was one other thing. I was wondering if you would consent to helping with another task for the Order."
"Go on, Albus," Molly replied sharply, still looking angry with the Headmaster.
"I was wondering if you would be able to help out at the new headquarters. It has been unused for some time and could use some work."
Arthur looked over at Molly. She seemed uncertain.
"Of course, the family would be very welcome to stay there," Albus continued.
That seemed to settle it for Molly. "Alright, Albus, we'll do it. I want to do what we can to help that poor boy."