Disclaimer: See chapter 1
Warning: Some cursing and violence
Authors note: Reviews pleases! Even one adjective from you would make a difference!
The Road Trip
Chapter 2: The Car
"I told you this wasn't a short cut!" Josh exclaimed from the back seat as the red convertible pulled onto the interstate, and into the largest traffic jam he had ever seen.
"I didn't say it was faster. I said it was better." said Lisa.
"Oh don't tell me this is more of your psychic bull sh" he was cut off by a glare from Maria. She adjusted herself in the passenger seat, kicking off her sandals and putting her already tan feet on the dash board.
"Relax Josh, not like you've got any where to be right? Besides it will gives us one last chance to see the great city of New York. I think I'll miss the deranged homeless people the most." Maria pulled her hat down over her eyes, slouching further down in the seat.
"Alright, let's take the next off ramp and try to get around some of this mess then." said Josh.
But they crawled on missing the only turn off for the next two miles.
"Damn it. I say we vote on it then. Who wants someone with a brain to drive?" he waved both his hands in the air. "Ian, Miguel come on you guys!"
Ian pulled off his head phones. "Hu? Are we there yet?"
"No! We're not there yet and at this rate we never will be. Do you think we should change drivers?"
"Lisa doesn't want to drive any more?"
"No you moron! Lisa is a" he was cut off by a punch in the shoulder from Miguel.
"Watch your mouth." He said in warning. "You should put on your seat belt too."
Josh adjusted himself angrily.
"Put on my seat belt. Right. Wouldn't want to get in an accident going this fast. We'd all get fricken' splattered." He kicked the back of Lisa's seat. Miguel leaned toward him with his fist raised again.
"Sorry, Jeez! It was an accident!"
Miguel shrugged and sat back. Josh started to talk to Ian again, but he had put his head phones back on and was singing along under his breath. Josh looked around for something to kill the time. Walkman is broken; it's Maria's radio station today. Reading makes me car sick. He tried to entertain himself by looking in the windows of other cars, but gave that up. All he saw was fat people picking at themselves. Then he noticed the hitch-hiker.
The kid was short, maybe twelve or thirteen. His hair was a shocking white and it stood up almost entirely on end, giving him the appearance of a dandelion gone to seed. He wore big wraparound sunglasses like a blind grandma would have, and he was carrying a duffle bag with a pole sticking out of it and a card board sign, with "Arizona" written on it in drippy black marker.
"Hey check out the weirdo on the right shoulder." He said.
"Oh there he is!" said Lisa and to Josh's horror she pulled the car onto the shoulder. Maria sat up. "Lisa what's up?"
"He needs a ride."
"He can get one somewhere else!" hissed Josh as they rolled slowly closer to the odd transient.
"Are we there yet?" asked Ian, taking off his head phones again.
Josh pounded his forehead on the back of the front seat. "Fricken' morons!"
The car stopped and the boy walked up to Maria's door. He smiled nervously.
"A-a-are you traveling towards Arizona?"
English? Maria looked at the kid's face. Up close you could see big purple bruises peeking around the edge of his over sized glasses, and a split lip. A big skin-tone bandage was stuck in the middle of his pale forehead. Suddenly Josh leaned over the seat.
"Could you excuse us for one minute? We need to discuss something."
He made shooing motions and the boy nodded and walked forty feet down the highway, shoulders slumped.
"There is no fricken way we are taking that kid all the way to Arizona with us." Josh hissed.
"Don't be butt hole Josh!" said Lisa in her whiney little kid voice. "He needs a ride and we're already going that way."
"It will take us three more weeks to get there. I don't want to spend my whole summer vacation with little orphan Oliver over there. Look at him he probably escaped from a mental institution or some thing."
"It's not like we don't have room for him. This car has six seats and only five people." said Lisa stubbornly.
"I don't want to keep up the act twenty four hours a day either. You don't think that kid is going to notice some thing's a little off about all of us?"
"Josh, you aren't supposed to be doing that any way. Besides don't you feel a little sorry for him? He's in the middle of no where and he's all beat up!"
"That's not our fault and he is not getting in our car!"
"If memory serves I believe this is my car, not our car." said Maria. "I think there's room for one more."
"Oh you rock!" said Lisa in her little girl voice.
"Where's he going to sleep then? I'm already sharing a tent with Ian and there isn't room for any one else. I don't think Lisa and Miguel will want company either. Well Maria?"
"He can share with me then." Maria said.
"Your dad is gonna' love that!" Josh snorted.
"Ian! Miguel! Help me out here!"
"I agree with Lisa." said Miguel.
"Big surprise! Come on Ian! Time for some independent thought. So you really want that weird kid crowding us and following us around our entire trip. What's he going to eat any way? I'm not paying to feed him!"
"Yeah, I don't know. He's bound to notice some things not right isn't he? Stuff's going to happen that we won't be able to explain. I didn't bring much extra money either."
"I'll pay for his food if he hasn't got anything, and if he sees something he shouldn't I'll take care of it, alright?" Maria said.
Ian nodded and Josh knew he had lost. Maybe I can scare him off later then.
Lisa waved to the boy. "Ok, come on back!"
The boy walked up to the car again, looking pitifully hopeful.
Alright, they're talking about it. That's good I guess. Harry watched the five teenagers from the corner of his eye. The tall guy with the blond hair really doesn't seem to like me though. The rest don't look mean, but neither did the trucker so I guess I'll have to be twice as careful. The license plate read California. That's just the next state over I think.
The chubby blonde girl in driver's seat waved and shouted. He walked slowly back to the car.
"What part of Arizona are you headed to?" asked the dark haired girl in the passenger's seat. Harry thought she might be a Native American.
"I'm going to the Grand Canyon. I'm visiting my grand mother. She lives there. Well not actually there, but near there. Nobody really lives in the canyon." he interrupted himself. "It's her birthday." He stopped and looked at them all, more nervous then before.
Stupid, stupid, stupid! Don't say anything unless they ask. The dark haired girl smiled faintly.
"Well we can get you pretty much all the way there, we're on a road trip you know? We're stopping to see all the sights along the way, so it might not be the quickest route. I'm Lisa." the blond girl said, "and this is Maria," she nodded to the dark haired girl, "and in the back we've got Miguel," she smiled at the Latino teenager, "Ian," she nodded to the occupant of the middle seat, "and the scowlly one is Josh." She finished looking at him expectantly.
"I'm Patrick Jamison." He shook hands with everyone.
"You can put your bag in the trunk." Lisa said, but Maria interrupted her. She opened the door and climbed out.
"I'll put your stuff in the trunk," she held out her arms for his duffle bag. "You're stuck with the middle seat I'm afraid."
"Oh that's fine. Could you be really careful with the bag though?" He put his hand on the pole. "It's a broom for my grand mother, for her birthday, and…"
"Finally decided to show up did you?" asked the boney shrill blonde woman as she opened the front door.
"Are you Mrs. Petunia Dursley?"
"Who else would I be?"
The thin gray robed man shrugged.
"Get inside before the neighbors see you!" she ordered, nearly spitting. "You and your kind! Just killed half the block and you have the nerve to show up here. Don't you have any decency? But of course I knew you'd be coming the second he ran away, I knew. So what do you want?"
He step through the door and closed it behind him. "Mrs. Dursley my name is Remus Lupin. I used to teach Harry at Hogwarts…." she cut him off.
"I don't want to hear your pathetic life story get to the point."
Remus swallowed a growl. "I am here to find out the details of Harry's disappearance, and if possible where he went. As soon as I have that information I will leave, and I doubt you will see any of 'my kind', unless of course you leave something out, in which case Harry's godfather may come by with some follow up questions."
"Fine, perhaps you should take notes because I am not going to repeat myself. Last night at two in the morning the boy started screaming. He's been screaming in his sleep for the past two weeks, and we were all very sick of it. He turned over his bed and started breaking up the furniture, then he ran to the room my husband and I share, and began screaming that someone was coming and that we had to leave our house. My husband sent him back to bed, but he continued to make a racket. My husband went to quiet him down and he was gone, with the window open. He left most of his freak school things, which I expect you to take with you by the way, took only his broom and that filthy bird. My husband was just getting back into bed when there was an explosion outside. We knew he'd done something, and we were all getting up to go see. Right before I opened the door there was a flash of green light. When we got out side there were bodies in the street. Almost all our neighbors and friends, gone! I knew that boy was wrong in the head."
"Did he tell you who was coming?"
"He said some thing about the person who killed his parents but he's been rambling and screaming for a week. Of course we didn't believe him."
"Did he not say anything about where he was going?"
"No he did not and he had better not come back here either! Do you have any more questions or are you leaving yet?"
"I think that's all Mrs. Dursley, I'll get Harry's things then."
"They're upstairs, last door on the right. Don't expect me to help you with them."
Remus nodded and walked up the steps. He was a bit surprised when he opened the door. Harry's school trunk was turned over, its contents scattered across the floor. He collected everything, but there was no note mentioning where he had gone. After a final sweep of the room he lifted Harry's positions and disappeared.
When he arrived home a large black dog was impatiently waiting for him.
"The Dursleys had nothing useful to add." he sighed.
The dog turned into a man.
"He didn't go to the Weasleys, or Hogwarts; not even to the Leaky Cauldron. The only place anyone saw him was at Gringotts. He took out three hundred galleons and had them changed to muggle money. We have to search among the muggles, Remus. He's probably at a hotel or something. We have to use the muggle police."
"Sirius, we have to consider the possibility that Harry's been kidnapped. Voldemort…" Sirius stepped aggressively toward him.
"If Voldemort has taken him he's already dead. You have to let me go search for him. Let me go. Remus please!"
"You know Fudge has pinned this on you. If any wizard sees your face you're a dead man. He's put a ten thousand galleon reward on your head. It's suicidal."
"Then I'm suicidal, Remus if you don't take down the wards and let me out of this house I will tear it to the ground with my bare hands! And don't start in on me with 'Dumbledore said,' because this is as much his fault as it is any ones. If family couldn't protect Harry as an infant the Dursleys sure as hell couldn't be expected to."
He grabbed Remus' shoulders. "Don't let me fail that child again Remus, I don't need to be protected. Let. Me. Go."
Remus looked at the floor. "Alright." He looked Sirius in the eye again, "But you aren't doing this on your own. I've got a muggle phone so I want you to call every eight hours. We'll trade information then. Are you going to start on Privet Drive?"
"London. He went to Gringotts in London, so I'll start there."
"So you're from England, Pat?" asked Lisa.
Harry nodded. "From London."
"Do you live in America now or are you just visiting?"
Harry jumped at a sudden loud voice right next to his ear. "So who gave you the black eyes?" asked Josh.
"Whu-What do you mean?" Harry asked quietly.
Josh grabbed the overlarge sunglasses of his face, knocking his regular glass crooked. Josh pointed in the rearview mirror. "Those two large bruises around your eyes, how'd you get them?"
"I, I…, Well I fell off a bicycle."
"Really? Cause it looks like somebody beat the crap out of you. Your dad maybe?"
Harry whirled in the seat. Josh jumped backwards, the kid looked absolutely insane.
"Josh quit being an @$$ hole." said Miguel taking the sunglasses and giving them back to Harry.
"So Patrick fell off a bike, happens to the best of us. Did you see what happened to Christy Woo? She tried to take her BMX off a skate board ramp in Meadows Park. Turned her elbow backwards. You want to see what some bodies elbow looks like backwards Josh?"
Josh muttered something rude about Miguel's mother, but Miguel let it slide.
Harry put his glasses back on and the car lapsed into awkward silence.
Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. Harry though for the hundredth time. Lisa was nice, though she reminded Harry of his divinations professor, wearing way to much costume jewelry, and getting a faraway look in her eye at the strangest times. It's especially worrying when she's driving. Miguel also seemed nice, getting Josh to shut up. I can't afford to lose my temper. Ian hadn't said anything at all, so Harry did not have anything to judge from. Josh was, as Miguel put it, an @$$ hole. They certainly curse a lot in the U.S. Maria acted rather aloof. And she keeps giving me weird looks. So about half good, a fifth rude, and the rest undecided. Harry looked at his watch. Its four am in England. No wonder I'm tired. If its four am there then you add eight hours was it? He fell asleep trying to account for daylight savings time.
Severus Snape checked the clock again. The minute hand seemed to have moved slightly backward since he last looked. Of course I wouldn't put it past one of those snot nosed little monsters to put a charm on it, but there's no way they could have gotten into my office. Professor Dumbledore was not due back at the school for another two hours, but Snape was unable to focus on anything but the up coming meeting. The good news, in the headmaster's opinion would be that the Dark Lord had not kidnapped Potter four days ago and had no idea where the boy had gone. The other news was that Death Eaters or those in their service were watching all the places the boy might show up. If Potter tried to come anywhere near the school Death Eaters would no doubt catch him. The Dark Lord had wanted information though, so Snape had provided it. "He took funds from his vault in Gringotts and boarded a muggle air plane to North America." It was the wildest goose chase he could come up with on the spot. But it should move at least some of Voldemort's followers away from the castle. He began to rearrange the jars on his supply shelves. He nearly crushed an invaluable bottle of youth potion when the barking started.
He whirled and charged into the corridor, as he came down the stairs to the front gates of the castle he saw the grim. It hopped and ran in circles then jumped at the gate, barking and flinging drool every where. When it saw him coming it growled.
"Tsk, tsk, another stay mongrel." He said quietly. "I suppose I should put you down before you can breed."
The dog sprang at the gate, and the whole thing shuddered under the force of it. Snape jumped back instinctively. The huge black beast continued its maniac barking. He was about to cast a silencing charm when Dumbledore arrived.
"Severus let him in!" the old man ordered.
Snape silently obeyed. With a wave of his wand the gates swung open. The dog snapped at him in a very unplayful manner then tore off into the school. They found it waiting in front of the headmaster's office. Dumbledore mumbled the pass word and the three of them walked inside. The moment the door closed the dog turned into a man.
"I've found where Harry's gone!" declared Sirius Black, ignoring the trail of dogs drool that still ran down his chin.
"Going to keep us in suspense Black?" Snape sneered.
Black turned toward him and barked. In his human form the action looked incredibly bizarre. He looked at the headmaster momentarily confused.
"Sorry sir," he said to Dumbledore, "I went to London to see if I could track Harry from Gringotts, and since it hadn't rained I was able to. He left on foot, not flying, he took a muggle bus but they wouldn't let me on. I had to chase it, all the way to the airport."
Snape felt the color drain from his face. Black continued his story with out noticing.
"I followed his trail out onto the runway, that's where the planes take off and land. The trail was four days old. I looked up the schedules for the planes that took off from that lane four days ago. All of them were intercontinental flights. None were going to Australia, so I think Harry's gone to North America, Professor Dumbledore. I have to go to North America." He concluded
"Why do you think he's gone there?" asked Snape. There was a nervous edge in his voice.
"He doesn't speak another language, and he's gotten on an international flight. It would be stupid for him to go somewhere where no one would understand him."
"No ones accusing Potter of being brilliant."
"Severus what's wrong?" asked Dumbledore.
"The dark lord held a meeting. As you know, I attended. You told me to try to foul up their search, so I thought of the stupidest thing Potter could possibly do. I told them Potter had fled not only the protection of his family but the protection of the English Ministry as well. I told them Potter had gone to the Americans."