A/N; Hi, everyone. This idea has been floating around in my head for ages. My laptop is down, so I cant continue work on my other stories till it is fixed so I thought I would get at least the start of this one up in the mean time. It will be Slash so there is your warning and although it wont be explicit I will be setting the rating for R to cover any gory scenes I might decide to add.
The name is not final, I cant think of one that fits. If this one works then it will stay unless I come up with a better one. Please Review, it would make me really happy!
Chapter 1; A New Beginning
Twenty year old James Evans paused across the street taking in the building before him. It was a plain building, white-washed walls and a large plaque that declared it as being 'San Francisco Social Services.' It was a symbol to him, a new start, a new world and he wanted it to work with the whole of his heart.
He had been in this place for three years, the first spent just surviving and then two more years at the college studying child psychology completing the course a whole year early. Now it was September, he was getting wet in the rain and he was running close to late for his interview.
He darted across the road and into the building's foyer. He paused to look around and noticed a woman seated behind a desk labelled Reception along the right wall.
"Hi?" James asked nervously a weak smile forming on his face. "My name's James Evans, I've got an appointment with Mrs Matthews."
She returned the smile warmly. "She's expecting you, just follow me through here." She said as she stood and lead him through the large glass double doors along the far wall. "Just leave your jacket on one of the pegs there."
James complied shaking off his wet jacket to reveal a set of baggy faded jeans and a forest green jumper over a black tee. He glanced around at the employees and was relieved to see most wearing similar clothing to himself. Mrs. Matthews had told him to wear casual to the interview and he had picked out the lightest coloured items he had but he had been severely worried that he would stick out.
He followed the woman as she led him through row upon row of desks until they entered a small office with a 'Matthews – Senior Social Worker' plaque on the door.
"Ah, Courtney!" The woman was in her mid forties but still looked on the young side and had the kind of face that everyone warmed up to instantly. "Is this Mr. Evans?"
"Yeah, Paige." The receptionist replied as she moved aside to let James walk in. "He arrived just now, soaked from the rain."
"Your hands are blue!" Paige gasped as she looked at James more carefully, "You must be freezing."
"I'm fine," James assured her even as he flexed his hands a bit. "Thank you." He added belatedly, not used to strangers caring about him.
"Nonsense. Courtney, please get Mr. Evans a warm mug of whatever he wants." Paige Matthews told her receptionist.
Courtney glanced at James questioningly waiting for his answer.
"Just some cocoa, if you have any." He muttered, but smiled thankfully at the receptionist until she turned her back and left the room.
"Please take a seat, Mr. Evans." Paige said. "Now, I've already seen your qualifications and because of your age I've even called your professors," she paused and frowned at James when he flinched at the word 'Professors.' "At college." She continued.
Harry just nodded knowing she hadn't finished. "Don't worry, I only did that because of your finishing a whole year early. I wanted to know what they thought of you. I must say I was impressed by what they had to say about you."
"Thank you." James said shyly, not used to being complimented.
"Based on your qualifications, and their testimonies I can safely say that if you still want the job it is yours." She paused as Courtney returned and placed the mug of cocoa in front of James which he picked up instantly and held in his hands, allowing the warmth to spread into his slightly numb fingers. "However I would just like to find out a bit more about you."
James tensed slightly and hoped in vain that his new boss hadn't noticed. "What do you want to know?"
She laughed gently. "Relax, Mr. Evans. You have the job. You don't have to be so nervous!"
James forced himself to calm down, here was someone that wasn't judging him on his past and allowing him to prove to her the type of person he was. He returned her smile thankfully. "Sorry Mrs. Matthews, I get nervous when I'm around people I don't know."
"That's ok, Mr. Evans." Her smile grew a bit as she warmed up to the young man in front of her. "To start with I can't have you calling me Mrs. Matthews any longer, we are very informal here and everyone calls each other by their first names. So Paige is fine."
"James." He told her simply and returned her smile again as he calmed down.
"Let's begin with what you did before you started at college." She requested.
James drew in a slow breathe, he hated lying and wanted to avoid it at all costs but sometimes there really wasn't a choice. What would he tell her? That he was an escaped convict from a magical prison after being wrongfully imprisoned for 18 months for murdering his abusive family. At least he was partly in the right building.
"I grew up in England, my parents died when I was very young and my aunt and uncle sent me to a boarding school for most of the year. When I turned sixteen I left home to try to make it on my own. I ended up here in San Francisco and the rest you already know."
He could tell that Paige wondered about what he did between leaving and enrolling in college but he knew from his own training in social work that she wouldn't ask. "I see." She settled on eventually.
They chatted aimlessly about different things, sometimes about James' college years and how he had finished so early, also about the city they lived in and what James spent most of his spare time doing. She then spent half an hour introducing him to the other members of staff.
"This is your office here." She told him as they approached a door opening off of the main room. James looked at her confused as to why he had an office. "Most of the staff work in the main hall but a few have offices, mind you they are all pretty small, including mine. Mostly only senior staff get the offices, but also staff like yourself that need a room where they can talk to people privately. We can't expect people to open up around twenty or so people."
James nodded in agreement. He knew that he would never talk to someone privately in a room with that many people in it.
"Right then, that about deals with everything. There aren't any new cases opening at the moment, however I have a meeting on Monday over a case involving an abused child. I'll give you a copy of the case file and you can look it over at the weekend and join me at nine on Monday. Other than that, you have Friday and the weekend to yourself, you don't need to be in at all, but if you could leave your number with Courtney then if we need you I can contact you."
James nodded. "Thank you so much, Paige." He grinned happily at her, his eyes showing just a glint of the bright emerald they used to be. "You don't know how much this means to me."
"I'm sure I don't, let me know if you have any problems or just want to talk, James." She told him knowingly making the brighter glint in his eyes fade back to the dark forest green then normally were nowadays. He nodded and after shaking her hand he left, grabbing his jacket on the way.
He almost ran as he got to the road as his memories threatened to flood his mind. All he could focus on was getting back to his apartment with his sanity in tack. It had been this way ever since he had escaped from that infernal prison. The mere thought of it sent shiver up his spine that had nothing to do with the rain slowly drenching his clothing.
He caught a tram and was soon heading into the suburbs and towards his building. It wasn't much to boast about. It was the best he could do with his limited funding. He had had nothing but the rags he wore and the limited control over his magic at the time of his escape. And of course Shadow, his continuation of the Marauder legend.
Fifteen minutes after he had left the Social Services building he was fumbling for his keys in the back pocket of his rain soaked jeans and opening his door. He dropped the keys in a dish on his coffee table and slumped down onto his well worn couch grabbing a soft green pillow and hugging it against his chest as he was forced to remember all his bad memories as if a Dementor stood in the room. Everything that had forced him into his current life.
A scream woke him from another of his many nightmares about his Godfather falling into the Veil that he had been plagued with for the last three months since he died.
He raced downstairs not bothering to check for his wand only to find Voldemort himself standing over the convulsing body of his Aunt. His now last remaining living relative if the blood soaked body of his cousin was evidence that Dudley was dead.
He saw his Uncle's shape out of the corner of his eye hung from the wall, blood soaking the carpet beneath.
"Let's see just how gullible your fans really are shall we, Potter?" Before Harry could react there was a loud crack as simultaneously the Dark Lord vanished and five Aurors appeared.
Harry stood in shock, not even realising that Voldemort had put Harry's wand back into his hand until an Auror was disarming him sending him backwards into the wall. A red light and then he knew nothing more.
"Harry James Potter, you are found guilty of the brutal murders of you relatives." The voice echoed around the large meeting hall.
Harry looked around him, seeing the furious faces of most of the Weasleys, the only ones missing from the perfect picture were the Twins and their two eldest sons. The sobbing face of Hermione being comforted by Charlie Weasley who looked at Harry with pity. Dear Remus looking lost as if his last hold on life had just crumbled. Severus Snape looking smug among the disappointed faces of all of his Professors, all of which had testified to say that he was unstable. And then finally the wizened face of Albus Dumbledore with a failed look upon his face mixed with fury that Harry could kill his own relatives.
Out of everyone he knew only three looked to believe him when he pleaded his innocence. His best friend and sister. A man he barely knew who took his word over that of his own brothers and parents. And finally his surrogate godfather, who couldn't afford to lose anything more in this world but as a werewolf had no hope left to defend his cub.
"You are hereby sentences to five years in Azkaban Prison at which point you will attend a hearing to decide between a life sentence and the Dementor's Kiss." A gravel hitting a block of wood and Harry's world fell into darkness again as a stunner hit him in the back.
"I'm so sorry, Harry." The voice of Charlie Weasley distracted him from his memories. He looked up at Charlie and Bill Weasley. "Remus died yesterday. He couldn't take the loss anymore."
A single tear crept from one of Harry's eyes and fell to the floor of his five by five foot cell. His home for the last three months.
The Dementor's version of a birthday present had just thankfully ended and the first bright light that he had seen in a whole year appeared in the centre of his cell. A figure appeared from a cloud of white lights.
"It is time for you to start working on escaping this place, my young charge."
Harry thinking it was just a sick Aurors' trick played along. "How?"
"The same way your Godfather escaped." A bright light again and Harry's head snapped up from the floor. How could an Auror know about that?
The ice cold water splashed at his face as he swam for everything he was worth. He could hear an alarm a mile behind him. They had discovered his escape but it was dark and there was no way that they could see him in the shape of his animagis form. A Black Panther against a cloudy night, evidence of almost half a years training and pushing himself to use his magic without his wand, without training. And it had worked, he had brought down the animagus wards on his cell and slipped out unseen as Shadow.
James opened his blurry eyes and determined set to his face as he remembered his mantra. 'I am James Sirius Evans.' 'Harry Potter died when he escaped from Azkaban.' 'This is my new life.'
A flash of white light caught his attention near his phone but when he lifted his head to see, it had disappeared. But he did catch sight of the blinking red number one on his answer machine. Not caring to get up he flicked his hand lazily over his shoulder and the little play button was pressed.
"Hey, James! You need to get out some more!" James recognised the voice as Sam's. His college room mate, who up until a week ago had lived with him in this apartment. He always had a knack of knowing when to call and always knew that James never got out much. "Me and Jackie are going to a club tonight down near the industrial complex. It's called P3, look it up and meet us there at eight. And no, you don't have a choice!"
James flicked his wrist again and the red number changed from a one to a zero. James laid his head back onto the arm of the chair and stared at the ceiling for a few seconds before deciding to go.
Time to celebrate his new job.