Note: I am completely scrapping my outline for this fic and starting anew. DT was supposed to be the first part of a trilogy (which I refuse to write since it'll take forever). So I'm planning on ending DT in 3-5 chapters and then time skipping straight into Sullen Fate, which I had originally written as an AU ending/sequel to DT.
The premise is that 17 year old Alex Mortimer/Harry Potter is captured by the Light side after Nate destroys Voldemort. While the Potters deal with Harry's true identity, Alex/Harry is actively researching ways to use his father's Horocrux to revive him. It's only 5 chapters long at this point so it should be fairly easy to revise. If you guys are in any way interested, feel free to check it out (it's story #16 on my list).
Special Thanks: To all the people who visited my ShortForm and helped me win a point this week! I'm on the 3rd week of the competition and I'd really, really appreciate it if you guys checked out the site again this week. Thank you so much!
Chapter 32: Ghost of Yesterday
Dark, green eyes peaked out from between the folds of the curtains. The small child stared solemnly at his uncles in turn before hesitantly taking a step in their general direction. His lip was pursed into a thin line and his posture was guarded as he left the safety of his personal haven.
"Come on, Harry," Sirius muttered, looking impatiently at the clock. "We're going to be late!"
At his Uncle's harsh tone, the boy took a step back.
They stood there, staring at each other, for one long painful moment, before Sirius cursed loudly and threw his hands up in the air. "I give up," he grumbled, turning towards Remus. "I'll grab Nate. See if you can convince our little scamp to hurry up."
Remus rolled his eyes as Sirius walked away. Holding his hand out, he waited patiently and silently for the boy to muster up his courage. To his surprise, without further ado, the three year old quietly tottered over to him and grabbed his hand.
"Moony," the boy said quietly, hugging the man's arm.
Remus's lips tilted upwards. "That's right, cub," he said warmly. "Uncle Moony."
The two Marauders stared with mounting horror at the ghostly form of their best friend. James was the first to recover, managing to tear his gaze from the horrible sight of Remus's corpse and meet the ghost's gaze.
"Remus. Who did this to you?"
The ghost shrugged lightly, though his steely gaze never wavered. "Voldemort," he said, his voice echoing slightly as if spoken from a great distance. "He wanted me dead and therefore I am. If anyone is to be blamed, it would be him."
James shifted uncomfortably, feeling those unforgiving eyes turn to him. For some reason, he had the strangest feeling that Remus was angry at him. But surely not…he knew Moony. The man didn't have it in him to hold a grudge, especially against a close friend.
"Is there anything…" he cleared his throat awkward, as he waved his hands towards the corpse, "Is there anything that we can do for you? Any last requests?"
Remus gave his friend a flat stare. "Prongs, I'm dead. Earthly matters are beyond me now."
James flushed. "Yes, I know…but…you know what I mean," he finished awkwardly.
Suddenly thoughtful, the ghost slanted a glance back at Harry who was watching the proceedings with a hard, bitter expression upon his face. Remus felt his resolve harden. He wouldn't allow the Potters to take Harry again. He was happy here and that was enough.
"Actually, yes…I do have a request."
James nodded seriously. "Tell us."
Remus hesitated, before speaking carefully. "The boy behind me," he said, shifting slightly so that James and Sirius could catch a glimpse of Harry. "I want you to promise that you won't harm him or attempt to take him away."
James craned his neck and met the boy's hostile gaze. "Who is he?"
The ghost and the boy exchanged a glance, before Remus answered. "I met him earlier in my cell," he said quietly. "He stopped one of the Death Eaters from harming me and healed me to the best of his abilities. I owe him."
Even though he knew that there was more to the story than that, James decided to let it go. It would be terrible of him to refuse one of his best friends' last requests. "I understand," he said seriously. "Sirius and I won't touch him. We swear it."
Remus smiled toothily. "Good."
As he watched his Uncle Remus interact with his blood father, Alex felt something ugly twist inside of him. He, James Bloody Potter, hadn't changed a single bit. Potter still looked the same and behaved in the exact same arrogant manner as he had during Harry's childhood. Surely the man had been affected by his supposed death? Surely his ex-father had grieved?
The more he listened to their conversation, the angrier Alex became.
Though he had verbally disowned the Potters as his blood family, it hurt finding out how little they truly cared. Alex had always believed that, despite favoring Nate, his parents cared for him… at least a little…deep down. It was illogically, but at the moment Alex wanted nothing more than to raise his wand and cut the man down.
He wanted to throw his true identity at the man's face.
He wanted to hurt Potter as much as he'd been hurt.
To make things worse, it made him angrier knowing that the Potters still held enough leverage in his heart to hurt him. Alex's fingers tightened against his wand. He wasn't the same weak child that they had thrown away.
It should have pleased him to hear that his Uncle Remus had wrangled the terms of his release from the Marauders. He should have been relieved to find out that he wouldn't have to fight his way out…but he wasn't.
Alex clenched his teeth in fury.
Every single reservation he had about standing against his original family disappeared. Alex had believed for some time that the guilt of his supposed death would have been enough of a punishment for the Potters. After all, the guilt of indirectly causing your child's death should have been a heavy burden. He had believed that the Potters would mourn…and that they would change.
He wanted to fight, goddammit.
Almost as an answer to his wish, his magic suddenly surged sending a torrent of hot, burning accidental magic towards Potter. Alex's lips curled into a feral grin as he watched the man who had raised him, hurt him…slam harshly against the ground and begin screaming as flames of magic licked across his skin, creating lines of welts and burns.
He didn't care that his magic was unstable. It didn't matter that he couldn't use his wand.
All he wanted was for the man to scream.
The charged, angry surge of magic that rushed past him caused him to tense as his hair to stand on end. Sirius wasn't sure exactly what had happened, but he knew that he had to stop it. He could hear James' pained gasps as the magic tore into him, swiping at him with the collected elegance of a cat sharpening its nails.
His gaze fell upon the boy whom Moony had protected.
"Let him go," he snapped, raising his wand. "He didn't do anything to you."
At those words, the boy released a short, sarcastic laugh. Shaking his head, he walked closer to Potter's tortured form. "Are you going to curse me, Black?" he asked, golden eyes glittering with wild abandon as he walked closer. "Curse an unarmed child?"
Sirius's eyes hardened. "Don't push it."
There was a slight pause as the boy halted mid-step. "You're right," he said calmly, a strange expression upon his face. "I have no agenda against you. Step aside, Black, and I leave. I won't hurt you."
With gritted teeth, Sirius forced himself to act. "Reducto."
The boy's eyes grew dark as he stood his ground, allowing the spell to harmlessly land in front of him, scattering rocks and debris. Alex allowed the faintest of smiles to cross his face. "It's good to see that your morals are not as weak as before, Black."
Sirius frowned. "What are you talking about?"
The boy bared his teeth in response. "If you want to do something right for the first time in your life, take the werewolf's body and leave," he said harshly. "As a ghost, he is bound to whatever dwelling his body is buried near. Surely you don't want him to haunt the Hideaway forever."
"Why are you telling me this?"
Alex shrugged, refusing to acknowledge the ghost's presence. "The werewolf deserves better," he said flatly.
"I won't leave without Prongs," Sirius said harshly. "Let him go. I don't know what issue you have with him, but torture is not the answer. Talk it out. I'm sure whatever he did, it was an accident."
Alex's expression hardened. "An accident," he spat. "I'm sure."
Sirius stared at the child and quietly held his wand in the palm of his hand as an offering. "Let him go," he repeated.
Alex shook his head, feeling his anger mounting.
"Never. I'll never forgive him," he spat. Without meaning to, his magic captured Sirius in its grasps and began to burn. Alex watched, uncomfortably, as his Uncle screamed…however, he was soon distracted by a sharp tug at the back of his mind.
His true father had arrived.
Note: I'd really, really appreciate it if you guys would take the time to check my ShortForm. The link is on my profile so please, please help out. I will finish DT soon and then continue on its not-so-AU-anymore sequel, Sullen Fate, which I will later re-edit and re-write to link better to DT. It'll be a lot of work, so please show your support and view my ShortForm. I'd totally appreciate it more than a review. Thank you!