|Not for Anything: The Triwizard Tournament
Author: Penitent Rebel PM
Part Four of the "Not for Anything" series. AU. James Potter is alive and raising Harry. Goes through Harry's fourth year at Hogwarts. Rated T.Rated: Fiction T - English - Family/Angst - Harry P. & James P. - Chapters: 36 - Words: 141,175 - Reviews: 1,002 - Favs: 386 - Follows: 280 - Updated: 01-10-11 - Published: 05-15-10 - Status: Complete - id: 5972563
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The moment James left, a painful silence descended upon Sirius. His heart beat quickly in his chest, and his stomach tied so tightly into knots that it was painful. He began to wonder if it was possible for a person to die of guilt. Harry slumbered peacefully, his breathing deep and even, his eyes moving quickly back and forth beneath his closed eyelids. Sirius hoped he was having a pleasant dream, and then remembered very suddenly that he'd been given a potion for dreamless sleep. He wasn't allowed to dream.
Because of Sirius.
Sirius ran a hand through his hair and stood, stretching his muscles as far as they would go. He tried to think back on the past several months, trying to force a memory out of the fog, but nothing came. He couldn't even remember what he'd done this morning. It was as if he had awoken from a long sleep to find himself in the hospital wing and everything before that was like a dream. He couldn't remember what he'd done and what he hadn't, and if it had even been him doing the few things he remembered at all. Only his conversations with Crouch were clear in his mind.
Sirius wished he could have been the one to kill Crouch. He'd have done it in the first war. He'd have channeled all the anger and guilt and fear and heartache he now felt into action and gone after Crouch with a single-minded conviction. That was who Sirius was: a man of action. He'd always been that way: turning teardrops into hurried commotion. That was how he had always been so deadly during the war. That was also how he managed to get himself arrested after Lily died. When most people would have been wallowing in an ocean of grief, Sirius was running, reacting, avenging. This sitting and waiting was going to kill him. If the horrid guilt he felt didn't do it first.
Harry flopped over in the bed, an arm falling off the side. Sirius lifted it gently and tucked it under the blankets. He ran his fingers gently through Harry's hair, still covered in the grime of graveyards and Death Eaters and occamy spit. If he'd thought he could do it without waking him, he'd have cleaned his godson up. He felt it was the least he could do, but even with the sleeping potion, that probably would have been pushing it.
He ran a hand over his arm and noticed for the first time that it had been healed. Pomfrey must have done it. Part of him wished she hadn't; he almost felt he deserved the pain. He should have fought harder. He shouldn't have allowed himself to stay trapped in his own mind for so long. He should have been able to throw off the curse. It was a terrifying thought, how quickly he'd succumbed, and how completely. He shuddered, thinking how close Harry had come to danger... to death.
Sirius shuddered again, thinking that he himself had sent Harry there, knowing he'd face Voldemort. Knowing he'd die. He didn't see how James was ever going to forgive him. For that matter, he didn't see how he was ever going to forgive himself. Tears prickled painfully at his eyes, but he willed them away. Tears were forbidden to him: only anger was allowed for Blacks. Anything else was a sign of weakness, and rule number one for surviving in Grimmauld Place had always been to show no weakness.
Sirius plopped back down on the bed, wishing he had something to do, but there was nothing. Only quiet and darkness and the weight of the world in the pit of his stomach.
"Hello," James called the moment he stepped out of the floo into Remus' living room.
"In the dining room," Remus called back.
James found Remus sitting at his table, sketching. That was what he often did when he was distressed.
"Fudge came by," James began, seating himself. No use beating around the bush about it.
Remus looked up. "I'm assuming you're not here to pass along his regards."
James let out a small, nervous laugh. "No. Actually, he made quite the fool of himself. He doesn't want to believe Voldemort's back."
"Can't say I blame him for that," Remus interrupted. "I'd rather not believe it myself." He let out a loud sigh. "I've been thinking; I should go underground, and quickly. Fudge is too blinded by his own prejudices to ever reach out to werewolves, but Voldemort won't waste any time doing it. If I get there first, maybe this time..."
The words hung heavily in the air.
"Are you sure?" James asked. "You hated being underground."
"I'd hate watching people die and knowing I could do something to stop it more."
James nodded; he'd expected that answer, but he still hated it for his friend. Hated it for everyone he loved, actually. The world was suddenly a much more frightening place than it was just this morning. Though at least Harry was safe. For now.
"What are you drawing?" James asked, grasping for anything to say.
Remus turned his sketchpad around. It was still rough, but there was no question that it was Cedric. "He was one of my best students," Remus admitted, a frown on his face. "I don't think I've ever seen anyone work so hard, except for Harry. He was a good person. Kind. The other students looked up to him; you could see it in their faces." He lowered the picture and picked up his charcoal to resume drawing. "I don't think I'll ever get used to the idea of death."
"I know what you mean. I've seen quite a lot of it. More than my fair share, I sometimes think, but I never did make my peace with it."
Remus put down the charcoal, but didn't look up. "What do you reckon it's like to die?"
James shrugged. "I don't know. I hope it's like a party. And everyone you love is there, and your favorite song is playing on the wireless, and all your favorite foods are laid out, and you get to wear flannel pajamas all the time."
Remus snorted. "I think it's a lot like here, only better. Maybe you get to see the life you would have had if all the evil in the world hadn't got in the way. You know, you'd still be happy with Lily and probably have about eight more kids running around after Harry. And I never would have been bitten, so I could have a job. Maybe I could be a teacher; I really liked teaching. And maybe I'd have a wife and children. I always wished I could have a family."
"You could still have a family, Remus," James put in.
Remus snorted again; disbelief this time, no hint of mirth. "Who would ever marry a werewolf?"
"Loads of people, probably. Not everyone shares the ministry's prejudices."
Remus shook his head as though trying to shake off a dream. He waved his hand through the air. "It's no matter."
"Moony, there are plenty of people who don't care. Just look at the Marauders. We never cared."
Remus returned to his drawing. "I don't want to talk about it anymore."
"But, Remus, you-"
"I said I don't want to talk about," Remus replied, an air of finality in his voice. "Even if there were someone who didn't care, I still wouldn't marry her. I wouldn't want to do that to anyone. Especially not someone I loved."
The silence was thick. Second ticked by silently. James loved that he and Sirius and Remus were good enough friends to hold the silence, and feel no need to fill it.
"How's Harry doing?" Remus asked after a few moments had passed.
"He was asleep when I left him. Sirius is with him."
Remus lifted his gaze, a tiny hint of a smile on his face. "You trusted Sirius enough to leave him?"
"Well," James admitted, veering his eyes to the side and scratching absently as his arm. "Madame Pomfrey's watching, too."
Remus sighed a sigh that flooded James with chagrin. "You do realize that he's not responsible for what happened, don't you?"
"Well, yes. Only it's hard to make myself believe it." James glanced up, choking on the words and the vile taste they left in his mouth. "He should have fought it."
"He tried. You know he tried."
"He should have tried harder!"
Remus shook his head. "It's not an easy thing to fight, Prongs. That's rather the entire point, actually. You never had much trouble with it, so you never did understand how difficult it is for the rest of us."
"I do understand."
"I don't think you do. If you understood, you wouldn't still be angry. It's completely illogical to be angry with a person for being cursed. You may as well be angry with someone for being sick. Or for dying."
"I have been angry with people for dying," James said softly. "I was furious at Lily for a little while. Angry that she left me, and I knew it was stupid, even at the time, which just made me feel all the worse. I mean, it's not like she could help it. But I was still furious with her for leaving me. That's how I feel now. I know it's stupid, and I know I've no right to be this angry because he's my best mate, and it wasn't his fault, and he deserves better from me. But I can't help it. He almost killed my son!"
"Crouch almost killed your son," Remus corrected in his soft baritone. "Sirius had nothing to do with it."
"Sure looked like Sirius," James grumbled.
"And sounded like Sirius, and acted like Sirius," Remus provided. "But it wasn't Sirius. Which is why the Imperius curse is so dangerous."
James nodded along. Everything Remus said was true, and he knew it. But it didn't change the way he felt.
"Would you like to stay for a little while? Play some chess? Have a drink? Sirius sent me oak-matured mead for Christmas, and I haven't opened it yet."
James shook his head. "I should get back. I want to be there when Harry wakes up."
"Harry will be safe with Sirius. It might be good for them to have some time alone. It'll give them a chance to talk."
"One drink," James relented. "And one game of chess, but then I really have to get back."
But where Marauders were concerned, one game of chess was never enough, and James didn't return to the hospital wing until a few hours later. Sirius and Harry both slumbered peacefully, and James lay in the bed next to Harry, glad for the mead buzzing through his head and pushing him toward sleep.
When James awoke, the sun was shining brightly. Sirius and Harry were both awake. Harry sat on Sirius' bed, wrapped in a blanket. He had wet hair and was wearing clean clothes. James was glad to know that Sirius had made him clean himself up. He'd looked a fright yesterday.
The two of them were playing chess. Sirius was losing from the sound of things. "You're cheating!" he accused.
"No, I'm not," Harry said with a laugh. "You're just a sore loser."
"Shh. You'll wake your dad."
"It's high time he woke up. It's after ten o'clock. He'll miss lunch if he continues at this rate."
"Yes, but you know how cranky he is when he first wakes up. Better to let him get his nap out."
"I am not cranky when I wake up," James retorted through still-closed eyes.
"Uh-oh, Pronglet. Sleeping Beauty awakes."
James sat up slowly and stretched. "Morning, Dad," Harry said with a smile. Sirius seemed suddenly very focused on the chess pieces.
"Who's winning?" James asked, pushing himself up and coming to look over Harry's shoulder at the board.
"No one yet," Harry reported. "But I just took Sirius' queen."
"He kidnapped her," Sirius replied, studying the board. "It was a dirty trick involving knights and castles and the shameless murder of two innocent bystanders, not to mention the bishop." He looked up and leveled a stern gaze at Harry. "A man of the cloth, Pronglet. You should be ashamed!"He turned his attentions back to the board. "But I'll get her back! You watch!" Sirius moved his castle forward. "Beat that!" he said triumphantly.
Harry quickly took Sirius' castle with his own.
Sirius looked up glaring. "Do that again, and I'll turn you into an aqua marten."
Harry laughed, and James found himself joining in.
"Can I play the winner?" James asked.
"That'll be me," Harry said confidently.
"Oh, I don't know, Pronglet. I'm coming from behind. Watch this. He moved a knight to take a pawn.
"Oh dear, a dead pawn!" Harry cried! "How will I ever recover?"
"Look closer," Sirius replied, a smirk on his face.
Harry did, and swore when he saw that Sirius had checkmate. "I never even saw that!"
"Which is why I am and will always remain the chess champion," Sirius replied nonchalantly, threading his fingers together and placing them behind his head. He leaned back in the bed. "James, you and Harry play. I need to look over my manuscript anyway."
"Wasn't that due yesterday?" James asked.
"It was, and it's been finished and sent, but I feel rather odd about it. I don't really remember doing it, so I sort of feel like I'm taking credit for someone else's work. I think I'm going to call the president of the Magical Astronomical Society and explain it all to him." He picked up a stack of papers from the table and flipped through it. "I've skimmed it a bit, and it's mostly how I would have done it. All the information is correct anyway, though it's a bit more exoteric than I'd have written it. I like to feign brilliance, you know."
"That might not be so bad," James offered. "You could be one of those people who makes science make sense. Bringing comets to the masses. Call it 'Astronomy for the rest of us'!"
Sirius shrugged. "I still don't feel right about it."
"One game?" James asked. "Then we'll leave you alone to moon over your own brilliance for as long as you need. We'll even moon along, if you like."
Sirius quirked a lip. "Only if you promise to moon believably."
"Of course," James agreed, his own mouth twisting into a smile.
It felt like old times, sitting with Sirius and playing chess, Harry's head resting on his shoulder. Every once and again, Harry would speak up with some piece of advice. "Watch his castle," or, "You should take that pawn," or, "Your knight's about to be taken." More than once, Harry saved him from impending destruction.
"No fair," Sirius complained. "You two are ganging up on me!"
"It's not our fault if you're pants at chess," Harry said with a cheeky grin.
James laughed. "You tell him, Champ!"
"You're no better!" Harry retorted. "You still haven't moved your queen! It's been in danger from his pawn for three whole turns!"
James reached up to give Harry a playful cuff. A moment later, Harry returned it.
"Get him, Pronglet!" Sirius cheered, a smile on his face.
"You shouldn't be encouraging him," James protested with a smile.
"He doesn't need the encouragement. It's time to face facts, Prongs. You've raised yourself a troublemaker."
"And proud of it!" Harry added.
James threw an arm around Harry's shoulder and pulled him in, planting a kiss on top of his head. "I'm proud of you, too."
Harry nodded. His smile faded as he thought back on the activities of the past few days. His eyes searched the room for something - anything - to take his mind off it. They landed on the bag of galleons sitting on his nightstand. "Dad, what are we going to do with the prize money?"
"I don't know," James replied. "It's your money. What do you want to do with it?"
Harry shrugged. Nothing came to mind. He didn't even want the money. It should have been Cedric's. It would have been, if he hadn't insisted on being so noble. He still would have died, Harry tried to tell himself. Still, he couldn't shake the feeling that it was his fault: that he should have been able to do something to stop it. He should have been able to distract Crouch long enough for Cedric to run, or if he'd only cast a spell. Sirius had taught him loads. Confringo would have done the trick. Hell, even a jelly-leg jinx would have been preferable to him just standing there and doing nothing. Tears welled in his eyes, and he forced them away.
"I don't want it," he said bitterly. "It shouldn't have been mine anyway. It should have been Cedric's. He should have won."
"Maybe you could give it to charity," Sirius suggested. He smiled. "Do you remember how Charity Burbage used to steal money from people when we were in school?" Sirius turned to Harry to explain. "She'd go around with a little cup, saying, 'Give money to Charity. Give money to Charity,' and people would. Even the ones who knew her name was 'Charity'. I fell for it myself a few times, but I worked it out quickly. Quicker than your dad, in any event. When she got hired on here, I tried to convince her to give me my money back, but she wouldn't. She said if I was stupid enough to give it to her, I deserved to lose it. She claimed she managed to get enough money to buy herself a pony."
Harry smiled. "I wonder what Hermione would think of that. Burbage is one of her favorite teachers."
"Isn't every teacher her favorite teacher?" Sirius asked.
Harry shook his head. "She doesn't like Snape much. And she thinks Trelawney's a fraud."
"Can't blame her for that," James said, moving his castle forward to get checkmate.
Sirius took it well, after he'd finished swearing. James found himself laughing, and a moment later, Sirius joined in.
"I think I'm going to go get cleaned up," James reported. "Make sure my house is still standing and whatnot. I might add a few more wards while I'm at it."
"Not a bad idea," Sirius said thoughtfully.
"Harry, would you like to come along?"
Harry shook his head. "Lunch will be soon. I was thinking I'd like to see my friends. But I don't think I want to go to the feast tonight."
"It might make you feel better," Sirius said softly, his eyes glued to the flor. "Dumbledore will probably do some sort of memorial for Cedric. Those things can be helpful, when... when you've lost someone."
Harry looked up, eyes glistening. "Are you going to go?"
Sirius' eyes met Harry's. "I don't know. I hadn't really thought about it yet. I suppose I will. It's expected and all."
"No one else knows what happened to you, though, right?" Harry asked.
Sirius shook his head. "And now that Fudge has decided to start being an idiot-" Sirius began.
"Start?" James interrupted.
"Now that Fudge has proven that he's as big an idiot as we all knew him to be," Sirius corrected.
"That's better," James said approvingly.
"There's no need for any sort of official explanation," Sirius continued. "It was all in the Prophet this morning. They're denying everything, saying Cedric died in an accident."
"Hm," James said. "Maybe we could convince our little winged friend to write something true for a change."
Sirius gave a wry smile. "Do you think she could manage it?"
"It'll be difficult for her, no doubt," James agreed with mock sincerity. "But I suppose she'll have to survive. Unless she wants us to just - oops - let her little secret out!"
"You never were good at keeping secrets," Sirius agreed, his tone dripping with sarcasm. James had kept more of Sirius' secrets than he cared to think about.
"I should go," James said. "Harry, will you be all right here?"
Harry nodded and looked at the clock. "I was thinking I should get back to my dormitory anyway. I haven't packed at all." Harry stood to hug his godfather and his father in turn.
"Will you ride the train tomorrow?" James asked.
Harry thought about that a moment. "No, I think I'd rather drive. Can we drive?"
James smiled. "Sure. I'll meet you in Sirius' quarters. We can go to the Three Broomsticks for lunch."
"I'd like that," Harry said softly.
"Me, too," James said. "So, I'll see you then?"
Harry nodded and waved as James stepped toward the floo.
"Prongs?" Sirius asked as he was about to toss in the floo powder.
James turned slowly.
"Do you think we could..." Sirius whispered.
"Stop worrying," James said softly. "It wasn't your fault." Before Sirius could say anything more, he stepped into the fire and disappeared in a whirlwind.
"I should be going, too," Harry said. He began to gather his things just as two people appeared at the door. Cedric's parents.
"Professor Black," Melinda said gravely. "Cedric spoke often of you. You were his favorite professor."
"He was a wonderful student. A joy to have in class," Sirius replied. "I'm so very sorry for your loss."
"Thank you," Amos said. "We're still in shock, really."
"We came to say thank you, for bringing him back to us," Melinda said, turning to Harry.
"And we wanted to know if he... did he... what did he... did he say anything, before he died?" Amos asked.
Harry tried to think back, but couldn't remember. It all seemed like something that had happened very long ago. "There wasn't much time. But he wouldn't leave me there alone, even though I told him to. He was a hero. A true Hogwarts Champion."
Melinda smiled. "Thank you for telling us that."
Harry became suddenly aware of the bag of money was in his hand. He'd grabbed it just before the Diggorys came in. He thought maybe he'd give it to Dumbledore. "Here, you should have this. Cedric should have had it. He should have won."
"No, son. We don't want it," Amos said, pushing the bag away. "That's yours. You keep it. Buy yourself something that will make you happy."
Harry sighed. He could never spend this money. No matter what he bought with it, it would always remind him of Cedric.
The Great Hall was surprisingly quiet when Harry entered, despite it being filled to capacity. The Hufflepuffs were an especially mournful lot. All of them had donned black, and very few of them had dry eyes. Cho Chang was weeping openly, surrounded by a clump of girls who tried to comfort her. Most of the students at the other tables wore black as well - even the Slytherins. Harry wished he'd known. He felt terribly conspicuous in his red t-shirt. He said a little spell to change its color and slipped into a seat between Ginny and Hermione. The twins and Ron sat across from him, their faces pale and drawn.
Hermione was reading the paper, frowning. "They're saying Cedric died in an accident," she reported blandly.
"I know," Harry replied with a sigh. He knew her well enough to know that she was leading into a hundred questions. He should have known this was coming. He lowered his voice so he wouldn't be overheard and told his friends exactly what had happened in the graveyard.
Ginny laid her head on his shoulder, slipping her hand into his. Harry put an arm around her. Being near her made everything better, it seemed. The terror he'd felt in the graveyard was slowly being replaced in his mind by all the love that had flooded him since he'd returned.
The group ate in an awkward silence after Harry finished his tale. The entire hall was painfully silent with the normal buzz of student conversation missing. It was instead replaced by the sound of forks and knives scraping against plates as students ate. Harry found he didn't want his turkey sandwich. He pushed it toward Ron, a question in his eyes.
"That's interesting," Hermione said.
"What?" Ron asked, taking the proffered sandwich.
"It says here that Bagman has gone missing. He disappeared yesterday after the task and hasn't been seen since. It says he got himself into trouble gambling with some goblins."
"You see, Fred," George said. "I told you it wouldn't do any good to blackmail him."
"That's who you were blackmailing?" Harry asked.
"We didn't actually blackmail him," Fred provided.
"Only considered it," George continued.
"We won the bet with him at the World Cup, see."
"Gave him our life's savings."
"We were going to use that to start our joke shop."
"But he paid us in leprechaun gold."
"We thought it must have been a mistake, so we wrote to him."
"He never answered."
"So we confronted him at the first task, but he said he wasn't paying."
"Said we were too young to gamble."
"So we asked for our original investment back."
"Only he didn't have it. He'd used it to pay off some goblins."
"He'd racked up quite a few debts, you see."
"And goblins don't play quite so nice as us," George finished.
"So you lost your entire life savings?" Ginny asked mournfully? "But what about your joke shop?"
Fred shrugged. "We'll still open it, Gin. Just a little later than we originally planned. We'll work for the ministry for a few years and save up that way."
"A few setbacks could never stop us," George agreed.
Harry was struck with a sudden idea. That afternoon, when he was sure they'd be alone, he sneaked to their dormitory with his prize money.
"Take it," he said, thrusting it at them. "Use it to open your shop. The world will need a few laughs soon."
"Blimey, Harry!" Fred exclaimed. "We can't take this."
"Yes, you can," Harry insisted. "Consider it a personal favor if you have to. Just take it!"
"Thanks," George said, looking shell-shocked. "This is fantastic!"
"Phenomenal!" Fred agreed.
"Stupendous!" George added.
"Monumental!" Fred continued.
"It's nothing," Harry said, interrupting. He could see them going on like that for a while.
"Do you want us to make you a partner?" George asked.
"No," Harry said quickly. "No, I don't want anything. I don't even want you to tell anyone where the money came from. All I want you to do is make the world happier. Make people laugh."
"Will do," Fred agreed gravely.
True to his word, James was waiting when Harry knocked on Sirius' door the next day after all the students had gone. Part of him wanted to ride with them until Malfoy elbowed his way to inform Hermione that she was a mudblood and she'd probably be next. Harry, Ron, Ginny, Fred, and George all hit him with hexes at the same time, none of them caring that a teacher might see. It turned out only Sirius saw, and he congratulated them, warning them they should probably clear off before any of the other staff members saw the tentacles sprouting from Malfoys eyelids and put two and two together.
Sirius was still out when Harry knocked, supervising the loading of the horseless carriages that would take the students to Hogsmeade. Harry insisted on waiting until he returned to leave, determined to say goodbye. He hugged Sirius tightly, and Sirius chuckled. "I'll be seeing you soon. We're all moving to Grimmauld Place, remember."
Harry scowled slightly. He wasn't too keen on the idea of moving, though living at the Order Headquarters ought to be exciting at least. James and Sirius shook hands, awkwardness still hanging between them. "Would you like to come to lunch with us?" James asked.
"Nah," Sirius replied. "I've got grading to catch up on, and you two need some time to yourselves."
"Tea, then?" James asked.
"Yeah, sure, okay," Sirius agreed. "I'll come round for tea."
"Good," James said with a small smile. "Four o'clock. I'll invite Remus as well. He'll probably be glad to have something to do. He's going underground soon."
"With the werewolves?" Harry asked.
James nodded sadly. "His idea. He wants to help however he can. Come on, let's get your things." James used a shrinking charm on Harry's trunk and put it securely in his pocket. Harry went through the floo first, eager to get away from school.
"See you at four," James said, and then he, too, was gone.
The drive home was lovely. James' car was charmed to avoid obstacles on its own, so he could take it at great speeds. He had always enjoyed putting the top down and riding swiftly down the road, the wind whipping at his hair. Sirius' motorbike had been even better for that sort of thing. James glanced at Harry out of the side of his eye. He stared out the window, saying little. James wished he knew what to say to make things better, but he didn't.
James swore when he saw lights behind him and slowed down, pulling over to the side of the street. The police officer climbed out of his car, his face stern. He seemed surprised when he saw James, as though he'd been expecting teenagers. "Sir, have you any idea how fast you were going?"
"I don't know," James replied. "I was just driving. Would you rather I be looking at the speedometer or the road?"
Harry suppressed a grin. This poor muggle had no idea what was about to hit him.
The policeman pulled out his citation pad. "Name?" he asked.
"Sirius Black," James replied.
"Serious... what are you playing at?" the officer said sternly. "Let me see your license and registration!"
"I haven't got any," James replied.
"You haven't... What do you mean you haven't got any."
James turned to Harry. "I though that was pretty self-explanatory. Didn't you?"
"Sounded straightforward to me," Harry agreed, giggling.
"Think driving without a license is funny, do you? Step out of the car, sir. You're under arrest."
"Oh, I don't think so. I haven't got time to be under arrest, you see. I'm taking my son here home. He's awfully tired. It's been a rough year for him. He's at St. Brutus's Secure Centre for Criminally Incurable Boys, you know. Ever since he chopped up our next door neighbor last summer. I rather thought she deserved it, but people will fuss."
"He... you... he did WHAT?"
"Chopped up our neighbor," Harry said, leaning forward to look at the officer. Then he looked at his father. "Why does everyone always act so surprised when I say that?"
"Well, we really must be going," James continued. "But it's been lovely chatting with you. Good day, sir!"
James had already driven away before the police officer realized what had happened. Harry laughed heartily in the passenger seat. "Do you think he'll come after us?"
"Oh, I've no doubt he will," James said with a wink, stepping on the gas as he rounded a corner, taking them out of sight of the police officer. "Luckily, we have this." James hit the button on the dash that would make the car invisible. "I had Sirius and Remus help me work it out last week. You never know when being invisible might come in handy."
The flashing lights of the police car came round the corner and stopped suddenly. The police officer and his partner both got out, looking around them with bewilderment on their faces. "Wicked," Harry crowed. "So, when will you be teaching me to drive this thing?"
"When you're thirty," James replied. "Though perhaps we could start this summer."
"Wicked," Harry said again, and settled in for the journey home.
Author's Note: I've had several questions about whether or not I'm planning to continue this through all seven books, and the answer is a resounding yes! I've got the first chapter of the fifth book nearly done, so look for it soon. It'll be called Not for Anything: Dark Storm Rising.