Chapter Fourteen: Made In Black and White
Author's Note: Woo! Currently beta-less – anyone game to volunteer? J/k…I'm just giving advance warning that there are probably a few errors in here somewhere.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all related characters are property and creation of J.K. Rowlings.
The cards let out a loud banging noise and Tess gave a frustrated squeal when for the third time in a row the Exploding Snap exploded on her. Peter, Remus, Sirius and Amanda all quietly snickered as Tess cried out "This is crap! Haven't we all outgrown this game by now anyway?"
"Nope!" said Sirius cheerily, dealing out the cards again. "Besides, you were perfectly happy to be playing this game when you were winning."
Tess stuck out her bottom lip. "But that was then…"
Remus laughed and pulled her closer to him. "Here's a thought Tess – we'll play together and we'll win this time, alright?"
He was rewarded with an enormous cheesy grin from Tess, and the added body warmth as she moved closed still.
They were about half-way through the game when the door banged open again and Lily and James walked in. Given that all the attention was on them, no one bar Remus saw Tess jump slightly when she thought the cards were going to explode on her again.
"Oh, hello," smiled Lily wanly. "I forgot you were all coming here tonight." She said something quietly to James and then proceeded down the hall to her room.
As a parting shot, Sirius recoiled, acting as though he had been stabbed to the heart. "I'm hurt! Wounded by your lack of care towards us!"
"Stop it, Sirius, this really is not the time for your…for…tomfoolery," said James, voice hoarse. Swallowing visibly, he collapsed back on the sofa, and put his head back.
Sirius stopped acting dramatically, and exchanged a worried glance with all around the table. "James, mate? What happened?"
James pulled a face. "You-Know-Who has begun to attack muggles, outright…Lily's parents ... they're…" swallowing desperatley, James wasn't able to finish the sentence.
The reactions to the statement varied – Tess's large violet eyes began to swim with tears, Sirius' olive skin whitened visibly, Remus' face remained emotionless, although his hand gripped Tess' so tightly it was turning white, and Peter looked away initially, although when he looked back, his eyes were red.
It was Amanda who broke the stunned silence. "Oh God…My parents live near Lily's… Does this apartment have a phone? I have to…They…" Swallowing desperately, she got up and walked away from the table, surreptitiously wiping her eyes.
"That's…bloody hell, that's terrible James. Is there anything we can do to help maybe?" offered Remus.
James shrugged helplessly. "She's just gone numb…I know how she feels, but I don't know how to reach her."
Tess nodded and patter James shoulder. "I'll go talk to her, see what I can do."
"Amanda!" the tall dark haired lady in front of him didn'tturn around, so Sirius jogged up to where she was.
"Amanda,"he said again, waving a large hand in front of her hand.
"Why, hello Sirius. I take it you survived then?" she asked archly, determinedly staring straight ahead.
Sirius pulled a revolted face. "Apparently. What was that spell?"
Amanda continued to stare blankly ahead. "Would you be talking about 'Perditioninalie?' by any chance?"
Unable to suppress the slight shudder that went through his tall frame, Sirius nodded. "That sounds like it, yes. What is it?"
"That would be a spell of my own creation." Amanda turned cool blue eyes to look him squarely in the face. "Every moment of hell that you have ever caused me, dating right back to when we were children – that was what you felt. The only exception was that the potency of the feelings was increased ten-fold." She smiled thinly. "I'm guessing it brings new meaning to the Christian belief of whatever you do coming back to you ten times, doesn't it?"
Sirius nodded, and then looked at her, guilt-striken. "Listen…I, well. All those times when, you know – I made you feel upset or…well, anything."
Amanda raised a cynical eyebrow. "Yes?"
"Well, I didn't really mean it. It just. It…"
"Before you get too carried away with your eloquent apology, I have to tell you – that spell was designed specifically for you – you were who I thought of when I created it."
"You mean that it was intentional?"
"Wasn't it always?"
Sirius recoiled and then sneered. "Well then forget apologizing. You're just like all the others – all too willing to use and hurt others."
"Apparently. Trust me when I say I didn't want your apology. Once upon a time, before we broke up – I would have given anything to hear it. Now? Forget it. Things aren't painted so easily in black and white."
Alastor Moody looked stunned. It was an uncommon look for him, and Albus had to admit, he rather liked the idea that it was he who had Moody flabbergasted.
"What do you mean that raid can't take place in November? Do you have any idea how long it's been planned? Only the top students will be going on the raid, and even then, I'm certain nothing will be found. It's just a good practice. Teaches them to be constantly vigilant, because they'll never know when an attack is going to be coming."
Albus listened patiently to Moody's tirade, and then pushed his half-moon glasses up off his long nose. "How I know of this raid I cannot say. Just rest assured that should it take place, there will be disastrous consequences. It's a trap."
"A trap, eh?" Moody looked consideringly around the perimeter as though thinking of how he could best use this information to his advantage.
"Yes, a trap. And it cannot go ahead."
Moody looked squarely into Dumbledore's twinkling blue eyes. "It can and it will. Forewarned is forearmed. Now that we are aware that there is a trap planned, we can warn them. Constant vigilance!"
Dumbledore raised his eyes heavenward, and then back again, looking evenly into Moody's eyes. It had degenerated into a staring competition and he couldn't help but think that whichever one of them broke eye contact first would be the loser.
"Youdon't understand. I have it on firm authority that this raid must not take place. Under any circumstances."
Moody raised his chin defiantly. "I have every faith in you Dumbledore, but in this instance I'll take our chances."
Resisting the urge to use Legimens on him, Dumbledore made one final attempt to reason with him. "You're making that decision for everyone – shouldn't they know that it's a trap and that there is a high chance that they will all die? Alastor, you know how highly irregular it is for me to interfere into your business, but this is of the gravest importance. Will you risk everyone's lives for what? Pride?"
Moody abruptly broke eye contact. "My decision Dumbledore. If you would be so kind as to take your leave?"
Dumbledore stood up gracefully and walked out the door. Setting Sirius's changes in motion was proving to be more difficult than it had seemed.
It took James several moments to work out where he was after he opened bleary eyes and peered around at his surroundings. Then his brain snapped to and began informing him of exactly where he was and how he came to be there. Cheeks flooding with colour he turned slowly to see who laid beside him.
The crimson haired young-lady beside him turned around sleepily. "I didn't think you were the sort to turn a redd'ner," she said, cockney accent sounding harsh against his ears. James' colour deepened further, assuming such a thing was possible. "You were forward enough last night, laddybuck," she cooed, lazily running a hand down his chest.
James felt his eyes begin to water. What had he done? He attempted to piece together the information. He'd gone to Lily's after Tess's advice…and there's been someone else there with her…and he'd lost his temper…and gone to the pub and had a few ales… and then…
He turned to the lady beside him, still running her hands down his lanky frame. Despite the way his body was beginning to react to her caresses, he pulled away, and hurriedly began putting on clothes. "Going somewhere?" she asked with a wry smile.
James swallowed and nodded nervously. "I'm sorry, I just…I was really drunk, and I…"
The young lady unfolded herself from the bed and James' closed his eyes quickly, but not before getting an image of a curvaceous body and long legs engraved firmly in his mind "No need to apologize, laddy. This is what I do for a living – just remember to pay on your way out."
With that the young copper haired lady in front of him shrugged on a pale blue robe and walked calmly out the room. Sinking down onto the bed that he had just vacated, James placed his head in his hands.
"Good going," he mumbled to himself. "I thought screwing things up like this was meant to be Sirius's specialty, not mine."
"Where are you going?" Tess asked, watching as Remus threw on a white shirt and dark trousers, admiring the understated muscles in his torso.
Remus turned around whilst buttoning up his shirt. "Work. I have the morning shift, actually."
Tess's face lit up. "Work? You finally got a job? That's great, last time you mentioned it you were having such troubles…Where at? I'll come visit during my lunchbreak."
Remus' face paled. "No need, it's just a little place. Around." He nodded desperately cursing his inability to make up lies on the spot.
"Oh?" Tess asked, arching an eyebrow. "Around…"
"Yes, around," Remus said. He quickly leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. "I'll see you later, alright? I'll Floo you."
Tess nodded and kissed him quickly. The door banged shut as he walked out the door and hurried down the footpath.
"So, love…" she murmured. "Where would they hire a werewolf such as yourself?"
The one who now called himself James Evans wandered down Diagon Alley, hands in pockets, face closed. The last time he'd been in Diagon Alley had been about 16 years in the future, and there had been wanted signs plastered up all over the place. As always at the thought of Azkaban, his skin turned cold. 13 years…no hope, no joy, no love.
A drop of water on his cheek made him look up to see storm clouds gathering. Cursing, he put his head down as he pulled the pale grey hood over it, and walked quickly to the covered walk-way. It had always rained at Azkaban…
Sirius stared bleakly at the dark sky. Rain, howls of despair and desperate pleas for mercy. Even Avada Kedavra would have been more humane than Azkaban. It seemed that no matter what he did today, his thoughts would be drawn to Azkaban.
Sighing, he ran hair through long dark hair. He had realised earlier that day that he now had grey streaks through his hair. A few years into 30 and he had grey hairs. He was a match for Remus now.
It was bizarre. Strange. Impossible. How was he meant to set the changes needed in motion? Going though Dumbledore had seemed like a good idea, but it seemed impossible now. Dumbledore's influence, although considerable, was not enough to control human nature.
What baffled Sirius further was why some things were changing without his efforts. Last time, he and Amanda had been going out by now. Lily and James had been engaged and living in domestic bliss. About the only couple that was remaining constant was Alice and Frank, and Tess and Remus. As well as Peter and his hand. That's pretty constant, came the idle thought from the back of his mind.
"Bloody rat," Sirius whispered under his breath.
Before he could get too carried away with his vengeful thoughts, he felt a small tug at the bottom of his robes. Absent-mindedly, he looked down at the small girl at his feet and in response to her outstretched arms picked her up. He stood looking absent-mindedly at the rain, ignoring the weight of the young girl he'd just picked up. "Sirius," said a lisping voice in his ear. Startled, Sirius turned and looked at the child in his arms. Long dark lashes, creamy skin, and wavy brown hair.
"Sir-i-us!" repeated the young girl, emphasizing every syllable. "When did you get old?"
Sirius stared non-pulsed at the snippet of a girl in his arms. "Who…"
"Nymphadora!" came a call from behind him somewhere. "Nymph! Where are you, you little rascal!"
"Dora?" he asked quietly.
"Yess…" she replied, drawing out the s.
Sirius swallowed nervously and turned towards where Andromeda's voice had come from. He'd have to risk facing Andromeda, and give her back Tonks. Hopefully, she wouldn't recognize him as her daughter had.
"C'mon, kiddo," he said quietly. He walked out from under the covered walkway towards the stairs that led to where Amdromeda was searching frantically.
"Nymph? This is not the time to be playing hide and seek!"
One step, two step, almost there. A noise from behind Sirius distracted him, and he turned, loosing his footing on the step as he did so. As if in slow motion he saw the ground rush towards him, and heard Andromeda's voice echo in his ears.
"Honestly, some man just picked her up and fell. Then he ran away. If I ever get my hands on him…"
The ground seemed to be getting closer, and Sirius realised that Tonks was going to get most of the impact. He attempted to turn as he fell.
"Will she be alright?"
"The doctor said it'll leave her scarred." A ghost of a smile flashed across Andromedas face. "She's already perfecting her Metamorphmagi abilities to cover it up."
The force of the impact and Tonks anguished scream as he fell jarred Sirius back to reality. A long scrape ran down the left side of Tonks face, and her arm was twisted out at an odd angle.
A woman with long dark-hair turned at the sound of the screams. A flash of recognition as Sirius looked at his younger relative, and Sirius turned tail and fled. He couldn't face her.
"Oh Merlin, Tonks. I'm so sorry," gasped Sirius as he ran. Once he was a suitable distance away from them, Sirius leant against a wall and hit his head as a baffling thought came to him. In both realities a dark-haired man had dropped Tonks and left her scarred.
Had he been the one to do it both times?
"Complete anonymity?" queried the warlock in front of him.
"Complete and total anonymity. I would prefer no one to know that my friend and I are staying here," confirmed James Milton.
The warlock nodded, eyes taking in the unconscious and injured blonde woman in his arms, the blood that was splattered on James' robes, the haunted look in his eyes.
"Anonymity you'll have. Just be aware that it comes at a price."
James rolled his eyes, before nodding. He didn't have time to haggle over the price. "Of course. If you'd show us to our room?"
The warlock smiled, showing three missing teeth. "This way then." James followed, keeping a secure hold on the woman in his arms. He didn't want to think of what damage the girl would have received due to the way he'd bee juggling her around. He'f fix her. And then he'd go after Voldemort for doing this to her.
He didn't know why the attack on her was having such an effect on him. He knew what Voldemort did, what he made them do. Hell, he'd done the same to the girls' aunt and uncle for a fee. But the attack on the girl disturbed him, and made him angry.
Once the warlock had shown them to the rooms and left, James walked carefully to the bedroom and laid the girl down on the bed. Surprisingly, the injuries weren't as bad as he had originally thought. A few broken bones were the worst that she'd received – the rest were just surface cuts.
He chewed on his bottom lip nervously. In theory, he knew the general spells for healing. In practice, he'd never used them, tending to use his powers for destruction for the highest bidder.
He took her left arm in both hands, mentally performing the spell that would cause it to heal. He felt a sickening lurch in his stomach as he watched the bone straighten, and heard the girl scream.
"Sorry," he murmured distractedly, before leaning over her collarbone to fix it.
Methodically, he worked over the girls body, healing what he could with magic, and leaving the rest to mend itself. When he'd finished, he looked back over the girl. She looked paler than usual, the normally unnoticeable freckles standing out like on wax. Was the attack on her just a senseless violence that Voldemort loved, or was it an effort to get to him?
He stood and walked towards the doorway. "Be back in a bit," he said to the unconscious girl. He closed the door behind him and locked it with the strongest spells he knew. Amongst other things, Knockturn Alley had a reputation of things going missing, people in particular.
AN: Once again, sorry for the delay…you should be used to it by now though ;) Feel free to review and let me know how you think this is going!
Sweet 16 Movie Buff: Um…Sorry? If it helps, your reviews are usually part of what prompts me to write another chapter when I'm about to give up on it :P Hopefully the next chapter will be quicker though. It's a theory, anyway.
Perenelle: Things are getting less hectic which is good – good luck for next year as well! Hope this answered some of your questions
Amalynne O'hara: Random observations are fun! Reviews are fun too!
Blacklady: Don't worry – your English is a lot better than my Spanish! In any case – all reviews are welcome, I love to know if I'm on the right track or not
Manatheron: Wow…your review confused me a little bit. Most of the questions I can't answer because they're plot points, but I was curious about the one regarding Remus – "what is Remus going to do now? especially considering the fact that you have him killing the girl he loved in the past, and have her helping him in the present." Remus hasn't killed anyone :S (although I could be evil and add in a 'yet'...)