OoftheP

Author's Note: (I'll TRY to make this quick) K, I need ya'll to tell me if I'm going in a good direction with this story, cause this is probably going to be one DOZIE OF A STORY!! :-D I know it's only the beginning, but tell me what you think so far. And flamers, BRING IT ON!! Arabella is in the mood for roasting some chestnuts over an open fire…;-)

The Order of the Phoenix

(and other unlikely occurrences)

"Now, I have work for each of you. Fudge's attitude, though not
unexpected, changes everything. Sirius, I need you to set off at
once. You are to alert Remus Lupin, Arabella Figg, Mundungus
Fletcher - the old crowd. Lie low at Lupin's for a while; I will
contact you there."

~Dumbledore, Goblet of Fire

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A large shaggy black dog stood at the street corner in the Muggle neighborhood, staring at the small apartment building across from him. A woman had climbed up the building's concrete stairs an hour before, and had entered apartment #12.

The dog finally, hesitantly crossed the street, and even more cautiously climbed up the same stairs. It was the dead of night- the lights in the woman's apartment were shut.

The dog turned the corner at the top- just as the dog disappeared from sight, a tall gaunt man appeared in its place. The man nervously approached the woman's door in the same manner that a thief approached his first safe.

But of course the man should be cautious. He was walking into unknown territory-a lion's den. He doubted the woman had forgotten the event that had changed their lives so many years ago-he also doubted she would even give him the chance to explain. If he remembered anything about her, he remembered that he would be lucky if she let him live.

Taking a breath, Sirius Black raised his hand, and gently knocked on the door.

He stood there as the seconds ticked by, not knowing whether to relax or to be afraid. Could it be that his once vigilant friend-so vigilant that she could here a feather fall-didn't hear him knock?

His question was answered as the door creaked open. He peered into the darkness.

A hand grabbed him by the collar of his robe-the other hand clamped his mouth shut. The hands yanked him into the apartment-the door slammed behind him.

He was thrown face down into the hard floor. A female figure kneeled on his back as she pulled his arms behind him. Sirius tried to escape the hold, but he couldn't-she was too strong. He could only manage to turn his head to the side as he strained to see the face hidden by the shadows.

"Arabella," he desperately gasped, still squirming under her hold. "I can explain."

Arabella Figg leaned forward, her hair brushing Sirius' ear and face. "Dumbledore owled me-though you will have to explain yourself. What did I used to always tell you?" She didn't allow him the chance to answer. "CONSTANT VILEGENCE!!" she yelled, severely reprimanding him.

Arabella got off him, and Sirius sorely, slowly rose. He remembered just why he never used to underestimate his auror friend.

Arabella flicked on the hallway light, and the two friends saw each other for the first time in over fourteen years. Sirius was shocked to see how little Arabella had aged since then. Her hair was the same brown shoulder length mop-her bangs still framed the same youthful yet thought provoking stare. Only her eyes were older, wiser-sadder.

"Padfoot," she started, but the name stuck in her throat. "Padfoot. I tried! I'm sorry, but I tried!" she cried suddenly, wrapping her arms around her old friends gaunt frame.

He enveloped her in his arms, embracing the very last of the Marauders.

"I know Ink," he softly said as he stroked her hair. "Dumbledore told me."

They stood there, sense of time lost in the wave of warm nostalgia.

Without moving, Arabella whispered into his robe. "He's back, isn't he. Dumbledore wouldn't have sent for me otherwise."

Sirius just nodded.

Arabella pulled herself away, and adjusted her muggle clothing. That was one of Sirius' strongest memories of Arabella-the one of her that was the last to disappear when he was giving over to the Dementors-her love of muggle clothing.

"Let me get my wand," she said as she walked away. "And there's food in the fridge." She turned to Sirius, smirk on her face. "Escaped from Azkaban how long ago Padfoot? And you still have no meat on you're bones," she teased.

Sirius smiled ruefully as he made his way for the fridge. Opening the door of the refrigerator, he came face to face with the oddest assortment of foreign looking items he had ever seen. "Hey Ink-are you growing your own potion ingredients?"

"Nope," she impishly replied, voice muffled through the walls. "Just haven't gotten around to cleaning my refrigerator out yet."

Sirius suddenly lost his appetite.

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Arabella Figg. Honorary Marauder. Unregistered Animagus. Retired Auror. Despiser of the Ministry of Magic. Really bad cook.

Expert on the art of making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

"Are you joking!" she scoffed as she slapped the peanut butter onto the bread slices in front of her. "If it wasn't for PB&J sandwiches, I'd be dead right now! Every Chinese take out in a ten mail radius knows who I am by the sound of my voice! I've put several pizza boys through college!" She smirked as she placed the finished sandwich in front of Sirius. "I always told the hotshots in the Ministry of Magic that if they really wanted to break a death eater, to just feed them my cooking."

"Ah yes-I remember that threat well," Sirius calmly replied as he tore into the sandwich in front of him.

"How's Harry?" Arabella eagerly asked.

Sirius swallowed-not an easy feat while eating PB&J. "He's been taking what happened at the Triwizard Tournament badly. He's like James-he thinks he should be blamed for what happened."

Arabella sighed as she looked out her kitchen window, deep in thought. "Dumbledore told me Voldemort used Harry's blood to bring himself back."

"Did he tell you about Fudge?"

"He told me that the Ministry is pretty much against us." A cruel sneer grew on her face. "Couldn't count on them when Voldemort first showed up. Be stupid to count on them now."

Silence filled the dark kitchen-Sirius tried to concentrate on the sandwich in front of him. "Dumbledore sent Moony to get Mundungus."

Arabella chuckled. "The only reason Dumbledore wants that old fool is cause he was lucky. Moody and I were always cursed and tortured, yet Gus would get away smelling like a rose." Her eyes lit up as she looked at Sirius. "How's Moony?"

"Since Hogwarts is no longer on good terms with the Ministry, Dumbledore gave him the Defense Against Dark Arts job back," he dryly said.

"Moony deserves the job-good for Moony," Arabella victoriously smirked as she sat at the table. She reached across the table to the box she had carried in from the other room. The box looked old and filthy, as if it had been all but forgotten until now. She reached for it-paused-and carefully lifted the lid.

Inside was a wand-her wand. Sirius wondered why her wand was in that box, a box obviously not touched in years. Sirius yearned to ask her why.

But Arabella read his querying eyes. "After they took you to Azkaban, I couldn't do it anymore. They threw you in there without a trail, without giving it a second thought! I ranted, cajoled, begged for them to give you a chance to tell your story under the Truth Potion." She smiled bitterly. "They started to think that I was one of Voldemort's because of that.

"So I quit-told Dumbledore to owl me if Voldie returned, and disappeared. I just couldn't live in the wizarding world anymore Sirius. I couldn't face that damn Ministry and it's damn belief that their infallible," she slowly said as she twirled her wand in her fingers. She suddenly laughed in frustration.

"But no! Voldie wouldn't want me to live the rest of my angry mournful lonely life here in America! No-he has to rear his ugly head just to spite me."

Sirius just sat in silence, staring at his old friend. So that was why she hadn't been there, the day Moody and Fletcher had placed him on the boat to Azkaban. He had been told it was because she hated him too much…

"Thought my Auror days had ended-but I guess they've just begun."