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The Eighth Weasley Child

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Disclaimer: I do not own any characters used in this story, all recognizable names, locations, and characters are property of the wonderful JK Rowling, who was lovely enough to bless us with the Harry Potter books to become obsessed with as I have.

 

……..

The Eighth Weasley Child

…….

“Oh, hello, Mr. Weasley!” Harry exclaimed. He had been at the Burrow for a week now, but Arthur was always working early in the morning and late at night, so Harry hadn’t seen him.

“Hello, Harry! How are you?” Arthur replied enthusiastically.

Harry, ever conscious of the bruises covering his ribs and the welts crisscrossing his back, paused before answering. “I’m fine, sir. You?”

Arthur’s eyes swept over Harry for a moment before answering. Being a father, and a Ministry worker, he easily detected the pause.

“I’m fine, Harry. How was your summer?” Arthur inquired.

“Same as usual.” Harry answered honestly “I’m glad to be here though. My relatives don’t like me much.”

“Then they don’t know you very well.” Arthur replied.

Harry smiled. “Thank you, Mr. Weasley.” He got up and left the room, intending to take a shower.

……..

Ugh, this looks bad. This looks really bad. It’s been a week since I left Privet Drive, how are the bruises still so…purple? Harry thought as he looked at himself in Ron’s ceiling-to-floor mirror. After he had taken a shower, he had rushed into Ron’s room because he had forgotten a shirt. Now he just stood, staring at the purple bruises covering his ribcage, which is something he had been avoiding since he left Privet Drive. It looked really bad.

Just as he went to grab a shirt and put it on, the doorknob rattled and Arthur walked in, looking at the floor.

“Ron, your mother wants you to…” he stopped mid-sentence when he saw Harry.

Harry, on his part, had stopped mid-step when Arthur had walked in, hand outstretched for a shirt. He looked like a deer in headlights.

“Wha…?” Arthur began.

As soon as Harry got his bearings, he snatched up the shirt he had been reaching for and tried to hastily pull it over his head. He was stopped by a hand on his arm.

“Harry…” Arthur started again.

“Mr. Weasley, it’s not…”

“What it looks like.” Arthur interrupted. He gently pulled the shirt out of Harry’s hands and set it on his cot bed. Worry etched into every inch of his face, Arthur started examining Harry’s ribs. He had yet to see his back.

“Harry, what…?” he started again. He began thinking back to their previous conversation. “Same as usual.”

“What, sir?” Harry asked, still rather jumpy.

Arthur gently touched one of the larger bruises covering Harry’s ribs, causing him to flinch violently. “This morning, you said your summer was the same as usual. And you paused when I asked how you were. Why have you never told us?” Arthur seemed a bit hurt.

“I didn’t want to bother any of you, I have to go back...” Harry started to explain.

“We would have wanted to know. This is…” Arthur seemed unable to come up with a word to describe how horrible the sight of Harry’s bruised and beaten body was.

Arthur slowly made his way around Harry to look at his back.

Harry heard a sharp intake of breath.

“How…” Arthur started. He seemed unable to finish a sentence. He gently touched the largest of the welts on Harry’s back, causing him to flinch away a bit.

“I’m sorry…” Arthur started to apologize.

“You’re fine, Mr. Weasley.”

After a moment of gently touching Harry’s back, Arthur came around to face him, a look of disbelief on his face.

To stop Arthur from openly staring at his bruises, Harry grabbed the shirt off the bed and, very carefully, pulled it on, covering his welts and bruises.

After a moment, Arthur dropped his head into his hands. Harry moved closer to him and placed a hand on his arm.

“Mr. Weasley…” he started.

Before he could finish, Arthur looked up and enveloped Harry in a strong hug, being careful of the welts on his back.

Taken aback, Harry hugged Arthur back, just as tightly. Arthur didn’t let go for a very long time.

When he finally pulled, back, he sat on Ron’s bed, motioning for Harry to sit on his own. Harry complied.

“Harry, you should have told someone. You could have told one of us, or Sirius, or Remus, or Dumbledore. We would have helped instantly.” Arthur sighed. He dropped his head back into his hands.

“There was no point, Mr. Weasley. I would have had to go back anyway. The only reason I’m protected, or the Dursleys are protected, is because of the blood wards surrounding the house. I have to go back to protect both myself and my relatives.” Harry responded. “And you guys, for that matter. Me staying here is dangerous, and it’d be even more dangerous if I was here the whole summer.

“We could have found a way of protecting them and you without forcing you to return there to be abused every summer.” Arthur replied.

“Too much trouble. I wouldn’t have wanted to cause you guys even more trouble than I already do.” Harry stated.

“It doesn’t matter, Harry. Just because it would have been a little extra work doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be worth it. We most certainly wouldn’t put you in harm’s way just to save us a few hours.”

“I disagree. I probably deserve to be smacked around a bit anyway…” Harry started.

“Don’t say that. Ever. First of all, you aren’t just smacked around a bit. Your entire ribcage is purple, after you’ve been here a week, no less, and your back is completely covered in welts and belt buckle marks. Second, even if you were just smacked around a bit, that wouldn’t mean you deserved it. Nobody deserves to be abused by people that are supposed to care for them.” Arthur interrupted, lifting his head out of his hands.

“I’m not abused, Mr. Weasley.”

“Then what do you call it, Harry?”

“Punishment. I’m worthless, I deserve it.”

Arthur stared at Harry in disbelief for a few moments before replying.

“Punishment.” He repeated, his mouth hanging open slightly. He rubbed his face in a tired manner before continuing. “Harry, let me start by saying you are not worthless. And I don’t mean that in respects to the war against You-Know-Who. As a person, you are worth something to many people. Me, Molly, my kids, Hermione, Sirius, Remus, Dumbledore, McGonagall…I could go on. People care about you. That makes you far from worthless.

“Also, this is abuse. Punishment would maybe, maybe be a swat on the arse once in a while. Abuse is when you are whipped by a belt repeatedly, and hit and kicked so many times that your entire ribcage is purple a week after you left the house where it happened. I can only imagine what it looked like a week ago.” Arthur sighed and rubbed his face again before standing and making his way toward the door.

“Please don’t tell anyone, Mr. Weasley…” Harry started to protest.

“I have no choice, Harry. We must punish your uncle for this.” Arthur replied.

“I never said it was my uncle.” Harry argued hurriedly.

“No, you didn’t. And I’m sure some of those bruises around your ribs probably came from your cousin. Regardless, I’m not stupid, Harry. The Order had you under careful supervision. The only place where you could have had that happen to you without us finding out would be in that house. And I doubt your cousin would whip you with a belt, and your aunt wouldn’t have the strength to cause welts as bad as yours. Therefore, I deduce your uncle is the one who beats you. If I’m wrong feel free to contradict me, Harry.” Arthur responded.

Harry realized Arthur had him there. “Who are you going to tell?” he asked worriedly.

“Everyone who needs to know. Molly, Sirius, Remus, Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Snape.” Arthur replied.

“NO! Sir, please, don’t tell Dumbledore! Or Snape and McGonagall for that matter.” Harry pleaded.

“Why not, Harry?” Arthur questioned.

“Well, sir…I just figure…him being Dumbledore and all…he would have to already know about it. I mean, he’s Dumbledore. And if you tell McGonagall and Snape, it’s bound to get back to him. I don’t think I could live with the knowledge that he knew my uncle hit me and continued to let me go back every summer.” Harry answered honestly.

“I assure you, Harry, he had no idea. If he did, he would have had you out of there in an instant. He cares about you just as much as Sirius, Remus, and us. He wouldn’t have kept you there if he knew your uncle constantly beat you.” Harry saw anger flash across Arthur’s face when he said the last few words. ‘And in any case, he must be made aware of the situation. I’m sorry, Harry.”

……..

“WHAT?!” Nobody in the room, not Arthur, not Molly, not Sirius, not Remus, not McGonagall, not even Snape, had heard such a sound come from Dumbledore.

All seven of them had just watched Arthur’s memory of catching Harry looking in the mirror in Dumbledore’s Pensieve. While everyone was obviously angry, nothing compared to Dumbledore.

McGonagall was shaking, her hands balled up in fists at her sides. Molly was crying, her face in Arthur’s shoulder. Both Sirius and Remus were pacing up and down the length of the office, murderous looks upon their faces. Snape was much calmer than the rest of them, but his façade was slipping, and he had a look of cold fury etched upon his face, his usual cold look giving way to a slight snarl. His hands were also bunched up in fists at his sides.

Dumbledore, however, looked slightly mad. He was shaking, but so was the atmosphere around him. Magic, and powerful magic, at that, was seeping out of him, out of control. Thing around the room began to shake, and Dumbledore, teeth bared in the scariest snarl any of them had seen, was none the wiser.

Snape was the first to notice what was going on and to perceive the potential danger they could all be in if Dumbledore lost total control of his magic.

“Headmaster…” he warned.

Dumbledore noticed this, and began to notice the many things shaking around the room. With a huge effort, Dumbledore reigned in his magic so they, along with his possessions, were no longer in danger. He leaned forward and gripped his desk until his knuckles were white.

“Headmaster, calm yourself. We will not be able to do anything about it if you are on the verge of hexing every pigeon that flies within one hundred feet of you. You need to calm down before we do anything.” Snape barked.

“You’re right, Severus.” Dumbledore took several calming breaths before continuing.

“We will go to Privet Drive and…discuss things with Vernon Dursley and his wife. Though I’m sure some of those bruises on Harry’s ribs were caused by his cousin, Dudley was probably encouraged by his mother and father to hurt Harry. He did not know any better, therefore he will not have to be…punished.” Dumbledore said shortly. He still seemed to be under huge strain trying to control his magic. “We will walk to the Hog’s Head in Hogsmeade and Apparate to Arabella Figg’s house from there.” With that, Dumbledore walked out from behind his desk and strode to the office door, holding it open for everyone before closing and locking it behind them.

On the walk into Hogsmeade, Dumbledore seemed to calm down enough to no longer struggle with his magic. He was still breathing rather hard; however, he wasn’t shaking, and neither were the objects around them.

McGonagall, Sirius, and Remus still had their hands balled up into fists at their sides, murderous expressions on their faces. Molly still looked exceptionally sad, and she was clinging to Arthur’s hand as if her life depended on it. Both Snape and Arthur had stone cold expressions on their faces, as if they had just come back from battle, and lost a loved one in the process.

They made it to the Hog’s Head faster than they had anticipated, and one by one they Disapparated into the back lawn of Arabella Figg’s house.

When they appeared, Mrs. Figg came running out of the house with a frying pan. When she saw Dumbledore, she stopped.

“Dumbledore, you could have let me know that you were coming! I thought you were Death Eaters!” she chastised.

“My apologies, Arabella. It was urgent, I didn’t have time to contact you.” Dumbledore said gravely.

“Well next time, please take the time to warn me.” Mrs. Figg turned and led the group through the house to the front door. “Will you be coming back through here?” she asked.

“I would say not, Arabella. Thank you for letting us through.” Dumbledore answered.

“It’s no trouble.”

One by one, the group filed out of the house. Mrs. Figg shut the door behind them with a click.

“This way.” Dumbledore ordered, striding down the street.

It didn’t take the group long to make it to Privet Drive. They could even see the carefully manicured lawn and gleaming car of Number 4.

Dumbledore marched up to the front door and knocked loudly, everyone else standing behind him.

After a moment, the purple face of Vernon Dursley poked out.

“It’s some of you lot, I see. Go away!” He yelled.

“No.” Dumbledore waved his wand, knocking Vernon backwards before pushing the door open and walking in. “Is your wife home?” he asked, anger pulsing through his veins.

“What does it matter to you? Get out!” Vernon screamed, backing into the sitting room.

The group of wizards, and one witch, followed him. They found both Petunia and Dudley in there, cowering behind the sofa.

“You, boy, go upstairs to your room.” Snape ordered.

Dudley squealed and, without a backwards glance at the room, ran out toward the stairs, hands clamped to his bottom.

“You two are lucky I was able to calm the Headmaster down. You probably wouldn’t be…coherent, right now, if I had not.” Snape snapped at the two remaining Dursleys.

Arthur stepped forward, still holding Molly’s hand.

“How dare you harm Harry.” He said this quietly, but it had the quality of many of Snape’s sentences: dangerous.

“I don’t know what that boy has been telling you…” Vernon started to argue.

“Harry hasn’t told me anything! I saw the bruises and the welts! I walked into the room when he was putting a shirt on and saw them! His ribcage is still purple a week after he left this house! The welts on his back are still red and swelled up! You beat him!” Arthur yelled.

Petunia’s face grew white as a sheet while Vernon’s grew purple and splotchy.

“I warned him…” he started.

“Yes, I’m sure you did warn him not to tell us, and I assure you he hasn’t!” Arthur spat. He was quite unlike his usual kind, calm self. “I saw everything you bastard!” Molly put a hand on his shoulder to calm him down. “I hope one day you feel every bit of pain you put him through.” he said calmly, cold fury underlining his words. He slowly retreated back behind Dumbledore, still holding Molly’s hand.

“Harry is such a sweet boy. How could you do this?” McGonagall asked. Her teeth were clenched shut and she was shaking again, her hands still balled up in fists by her side.

“He’s a nuisance and a freak. He deserved to be punished!” Vernon yelled.

McGonagall whipped out her wand and advanced on Vernon, losing every bit of self-control and dignity she had. Snape put a hand on her shoulder to stop her.

“What you did to him was not punishment, Dursley. It was abuse. Punishment would be making him weed the garden, or scrub the floors when he did something wrong. Whipping him with a belt and hitting and kicking him until his ribs were purple was not punishment. Not only that, but you seemed to do it just for fun. I know Potter can be troublesome, but not nearly as often as you seem to have beaten him. And as troublesome as Potter can be, he most certainly does not deserve what you have done to him. You appall me.” Snape explained, cold fury etched into the words.

Both Dursleys went white with fear when McGonagall advanced on them, and Petunia still hadn’t seemed to recover. Vernon, however, had.

“You listen here, you greasy git, you have no idea how it is around here, so you have no idea what that freak deserves…” he started to argue.

“I wouldn’t care if he had burned this goddamn house down, Dursley, that doesn’t warrant him being beaten to a pulp every other day!” Snape yelled, losing his cold demeanor.

Everyone was surprised that Sirius hadn’t done something yet. But they were soon appeased. Both Sirius and Remus stepped forward after Snape’s rant.

Sirius was shaking, and Remus looked inches from cursing the Dursleys.

“You foul, horrendous, repulsive muggles,” Remus growled. Everyone was shocked to see him like this. He always tried to hide his inner wolf, but it seemed to be coming out full force now. I was a little shocking, to say the least, to see Remus angry. He was always so calm, but not now. “How dare you hurt Harry, after all he’s already been through.” He seemed on the verge of whipping his wand out like McGonagall had. “You’re disgusting, and deserve to rot in hell.”

Sirius just growled, unable to speak without shooting Avada Kedavra at the pair. Remus placed a hand on his shoulder to calm him down, pulling him back behind Dumbledore.

Now, Dumbledore spoke. “They’ve all pretty much summed it up. While I would love to let them loose on you, I would rather like to keep them out of Azkaban, and place you there. Since I doubt you could cause much damage to Harry, Petunia, you will be able to stay and care for your son. You however,” he glared at Vernon, “Will be going in front of the wizarding courts to face punishment for your crimes. I have an Auror on his way to escort you. You’re lucky wizards don’t resort to your type of punishment, you appalling piece of filth. I hope you rot in a cell in Azkaban for the rest of your life.” Dumbledore turned and walked out of the room, walking back in a moment later followed by Kingsley Shacklebolt.

“I’m here to escort you to the Ministry of Magic for the crime of abusing a magical child under your care, Dursley.” Kingsley snapped in his deep, booming voice.

Vernon seemed unable to speak for a moment, but he eventually found his voice.

“Oh, you have, have you? Well let me tell you…” Vernon started to argue, pointing his figure accusingly at Kingsley.

Kingsley idly waved his wand, casting a silencing spell on Vernon. Dumbledore stepped forward.

“Let me just say, Dursley, that if I wasn’t afraid I might lose control and permanently harm, maim, or even kill you, I would take care of you myself. As it is, I nearly blew up my office today when I found out, and I don’t wish to lose my job or my freedom by doing the same to you. But be warned; if I ever find out you have harmed another person, there will be repercussions outside of legal bounds. I am a very powerful man, and I will unleash my power if I must, if it will stop you from hurting another as you have hurt Harry. Kingsley.” Dumbledore motioned for Kingsley to get Vernon, and he made his way outside, followed by the rest of the group.

Without waiting to see if Vernon put up a fight, the Disapparated one by one back to the Hog’s Head. The walk back to Dumbledore’s office was silent.

……..

“Harry, could I have a word?” Arthur poked his head into Ron’s room, to see Harry and Ron in the middle of a game of wizard’s chess.

“Of course, Mr. Weasley. I’ll be back in a moment, Ron.” Harry stood and followed Arthur outside. They stopped under the crabapple tree.

“Harry, I would like to…apologize. I should have seen something, or otherwise realized you were being harmed. I wish I could have helped you sooner.” Arthur said sadly.

“It’s all right, sir. I was making sure none of you found out. I was trying to keep everyone safe. It really wasn’t all that bad.” Harry replied.

“Harry, your entire ribcage was purple a week after you left there. That in itself shows that it was bad.” Arthur argued. He sighed. “I just wanted to say that you can tell me anything, Harry. If anything is happening at all, whether in school or outside of it, you can talk to me. I may have seven biological children, but since I met you, I’ve realized I really have eight. Seven redheads and one black haired, green eyed boy.” Arthur smiled. “I’m sorry this happened to you.” He reached out and ruffled Harry’s hair.

Harry grinned, leaning forward and hugging Arthur tightly.

“Thank you, sir. That means a lot to me. I never had a family until I met you guys. I now realize that I’ve had a family since I became friends with Ron first year. I know I’ll always have you guys, and I can never thank you enough for that.” Harry said.

Arthur’s heart warmed, and he hugged Harry back just as tightly.

Harry would always be the eighth Weasley child.