Caught Up in the Spirit
A/N: I can't believe how long it has been since I updated this story! I ended up having to re-read my own story just to figure out where I was in it. I apologise to you all; I have been having relapses of my medical problems and have not done much in the past few months.
St. Anne's Lutheran Church
"Owww! How on earth do these muggles manage to tie these blasted bowties?" Sirius and Frank were both having quite a bit of trouble managing this particular piece of muggle neckwear. Remus Lupin, having spent much more time in the muggle world, had his tied to perfection. He snickered, then put his friends out of their misery by stepping up and tying their bowties into the acceptable shapes.
"Just be glad that they are not using regular neckties. Those are too much like bringing your own rope to your hanging."
It was a mere six months after the memorable night that Sirius proposed to Sarah atop the Eiffel Tower, laying his soul bare for the pretty witch who so neatly captured his heart. Sirius had wanted to just have something simple with a few close friends with Amelia Bones officiating, but he ran into some major resistance from his bride to be. Sarah was a witch, but she was a muggleborn witch with a successful veterinary practice and a large extended family. The only members of the family who knew she was magical were her parents and her younger sister. Sirius had only one relative, Draco, but he had many friends in the magical world. Since Jack and Lyn Nalett, Sarah's parents, were hosting the wedding, it would be in the muggle world, in the church in which she was baptized and confirmed. Thus the ridiculous bow ties along with the equally ridiculous tuxedos. Sirius had to admit however, Harry, Neville, and Draco looked absolutely cute in their little tuxedos, like three small penguins.
There were several people from the magical world attending the wedding; however they were coming in through a different entrance with a couple of muggleborn wizards transfiguring their ridiculous outfits into appropriate attire for the occasion. Had they not been there, it would have looked like a circus had vomited its stranger performers into the groom's side of the church. The hardest person to 'normalize' would be Rubius Hagrid. No matter how you dress him, a three metre tall person with long wild hair and a beard like a Cossack is bound to draw people's attention. This was solved by placing a notice me not charm on the half giant and having one of the wizard ushers take him to his seat. He still had his 'finery' transfigured into a muggle business suit in the event that a stray camera should accidentally include him in a shot.
The working plan was that both magical and muggle family and friends would attend the wedding at St. Anne's, then the bride and groom would attend a muggle reception in the church social hall while the magical guests would retire to the Potter Estate, vacant since the deaths of James Potter's parents, Charlus and Dorea Potter. The estate had been cleaned up and brought to its former glory by a small army of rented and borrowed house elves. Following the muggle reception, Sirius and Sarah would use a time turner to go back to the time the wedding ceremony finished, then apparate to the Potter Estate where they would partake in a simple bonding ceremony officiated by Amelia Bones. With changing from Muggle wedding garb into formal wizarding robes, then having a second reception with their magical friends, this would prove to be a very long day, at least for them. Prior to the second reception though, Sarah and Draco would be undergoing a blood adoption ceremony; at that time they would be a completely integrated family.
The wedding came off without any major hitches, Draco marching down the aisle with his ring pillow next to Sarah's four year old niece as the flower girl. Next came the Maid of Honor escorted by Remus, the Best Man. All of the bride's attendants were muggles and the groomsmen magical. The wizards in the party gave silent thanks that there had been a rehearsal prior to the ceremony, this was completely outside of their experience. Sirius did do a bit of grumbling when he saw the robes the priest was wearing, they looked much more comfortable than his tux.
The music changed from the prelude and the massive pipe organ began the traditional Wedding March. The congregation stood and turned toward the aisle as Sarah, escorted by Jack Nalett, stepped through the door. She was radiant in her dress, the long train being held by Harry and Neville. Sirius looked at his bride and his heart skipped a few beats. He always knew she was the prettiest girl he ever knew, but today she was past pretty, past beautiful, she was stunning! And in a few minutes, she would, forever, be all his! Although the march to the alter took less than a minute, it was the longest minute of his life.
During the prayers, the music, and the vows, Sirius was lost in those beautiful eyes, what her parents had, even as a child, jokingly called 'witchy eyes'. They seemed to change color, from a light hazel to a jade green while he watched. Her father always thought it was a reaction to different light; he didn't know that it was an effect that was brought about by her hidden magic. He responded in all the right places, and before he knew it, the priest told him that he could kiss his bride. Just like that, Sarah Nalett became Sarah Black, at least in the muggle world. A quick dash down the aisle and it was off to the first reception, where Sarah had limited him to a single glass of champagne. He didn't really mind, the firewhisky would be flowing later at the Potter Estate. Right now he was intoxicated with the sassy redhead who was teasing him unmercifully, whispering her intentions once they finally got alone.
Ministry of Magic
Department of Mysteries
George Greengrass, codenamed Delta, was staring at two vastly different items that had ended up on his desk. One was a black muggle diary which to all intents and purposes, was blank and unused. The other was a golden locket that was immediately recognizable from a non- moving painting at Hogwarts. The painting, never activated, was of one of the school's founder's, Salazar Slytherin. Tests run on both items had shown them to have laid upon them a significant number of dark curses and protections. The spells all showed the same magical signature, but there was an unknown magical quality that had him stumped. The odd thing was that they were obtained from two different sources; the diary from the raid on the old Malfoy Estate, and the locket voluntarily surrendered by Sirius Black when clearing out his childhood home in London. He decided he needed help on this one in order to untangle the mysteries they held. He wrote out a memo, folded it into an origami bird, then tapped it with his wand to send it on its way. A few minutes later, his study was interrupted by his boss, codenamed Alpha.
"I got your memo, what seems to be the problem?" Alpha, one of only two Unspeakables with no known 'legal' identity, was intrigued. There were very few things in the magical world that mystified him anymore, in his long tenure as head of the Department of Mysteries, he had seen just about everything.
"It's these two items, sir. All of the curses and protections are identifiable, but there is something else hidden in them which I cannot define or categorize. Would you mind taking a look?"
Alpha looked over the list of curses and protections on the items, then waved his wand over the items to check his employee's work. He nodded in approval at the completeness of Delta's cataloguing, then sucked in a startled breath.
"Where again did these come from?"
"The diary came from the Malfoy raid a couple of years ago and the locket was turned in by Sirius Black after he inherited his family estate."
"Hmm.. well, we know that Malfoy had every sort of dark object, he was apparently a collector as well as a Death Eater. Black had a brother who was a Death Eater, but was killed by the Dark Lord. The Blacks also had quite a collection of dark objects and books."
"I knew about the dark books, Black donated them to us when he cleaned out the family library. I didn't know his brother was marked."
Alpha opened the diary, then took a quill and wrote: "Who are you?"
The ink soaked into the page and disappeared. A moment later, words appeared. "My name is Tom Riddle. Who are you?"
Alpha slammed the diary shut and gathered up the two items. "One, you never saw these. Two, Send an urgent memo to Omega, tell him to meet me in my office. He and I are taking over this case, if anymore of these objects with this signature come in, direct them to me immediately. Is that understood?"
With that, Alpha spun on his heel and strode off while Greengrass wrote the memo. He was glad that he was only passing a message to Omega, not meeting with him. If he was honest with himself, Alpha and Omega both creeped him out. All Unspeakables wore cloaks and hoods that completely obscured their faces when outside of the department on business, but inside the department and after they left the Ministry for home, they removed them. All but Alpha and Omega. No one had any idea who they were. They were never seen without their hoods, anyone who may have been around when Alpha took over the department was long dead. Omega was a recent addition to the department; he just showed up one day in his hood and never took it off. Omega was a man of few words, but the one impression everyone got from him was that he was dangerous, even more so than the other Unspeakables. He gave off an aura that screamed death to anyone who penetrated the mask.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
The ghosts of Hogwarts had been called to a council at the request of Professor Sprout, Head of Hufflepuff House. She was being represented by the Fat Friar, Hufflepuff's patron ghost. This was to be a disciplinary hearing with Peeves, the school poltergeist as the accused. He had finally gone too far, in Professor Sprout's opinion, exploding dangerous potions in the Hufflepuff dorms, then blocking the exits with man eating plants from greenhouse six. Pranks were one thing, but this action had caused a third year to go into respiratory distress from potion vapors and a first year to lose a finger to a Venus Man trap, not to mention several students having bites and torn clothing from the plants. Even the normally forgiving Friar was out for blood, or in this case, ectoplasm.
Besides the house ghosts and Peeves, there were sixty five other ghosts who had made Hogwarts their afterlife home. Most were never seen by the students or staff, but they were still there. Many had been former students or staff, such as the present History of Magic professor, Binns, the only ghost in the world who drew a pay cheque. There was also Myrtle Epsilon, a Ravenclaw student who died in a bathroom in 1943. She was seldom seen because her antics with flooding that bathroom caused it to be marked with a permanent 'Out of Order' sign. Today Myrtle was in even more distress than usual; she was crying and trying to wipe away a silvery substance that looked almost like the silvery blood that covered the clothes of the Bloody Baron, Slytherin's house ghost. Right now, the Grey Lady, Ravenclaw's house ghost, was attempting to comfort her.
"My dear, how did you get yourself in such a situation?"
"I don't know!" Myrtle wailed. "I was traveling from my bathroom to the prefect's bathroom when I passed a 'T' fitting, and the next thing I knew, I was covered with this stuff. And I can't get it off!" She made another useless swipe at the silver mess, only to have it stick to her hands.
"Please calm down and after the Council meeting I will ask the Baron to look at it. If anyone can help, it would be him. So, no more tears young lady."
Myrtle sniffed some more, then sat down. The Bloody Baron entered, followed by Peeves, manacled in ectoplasmic shackles and attended by two ghosts who had been former DADA professors in their former lives. The two professors attached the shackles to a wall, then the sixty nine ghosts took their places at the long conference table. The Baron clapped his hands for attention.
"This emergency session of the Hogwarts Spirit Council shall come to order. A complaint has been filed by the Head of Hufflepuff house against Peeves the poltergeist alleging misdeeds causing grievous injury to students we are magically bound to protect. Professor Binns, do you have the complaint?"
"Yes Baron, Friar Manns filed it with me this morning. I find it to be in order."
"Is there any doubt about the guilt of the accused?"
"None Baron, his trace was on both the potions and the plants. He was also observed leaving the Hufflepuff common room by two sixth year prefects just as the alarm broke out. The prefects were the female Ravenclaw and the male Slytherin students." The names of the students were not important, just their office. After all, trying to keep straight the names of the living, especially students, was next to impossible.
"Very well. Due to the severity of the charges, and taking into account that the first year student permanently lost the index finger on her wand hand, the punishment options are as follows: either imprisonment in the Spirit Dungeon for a period no less than until the end of the school year plus the summer holidays, but no more than until the end of next school year, banishment from Hogwarts, or exorcism. Should exorcism be the chosen option, the condemned will be escorted by myself, two guards, and the Headmaster to the nearest muggle church, dowsed in Holy water by the priest, and destroyed since poltergeists have no afterlife. The Headmaster will then Obliviate the priest to erase all memories of the ritual. Does the defendant have anything to add before the Council deliberates?"
"Oh Baron, please! Peevesy did not mean to hurt anyone! Peeves will be good if you forgive me! I promise!"
"Shut up, you sniveling fool!" shouted the Fat Friar. "You are past the point of forgiveness this time, the only thing now to settle is the severity of your well deserved punishment!"
"In that case, this Council shall vote." The Baron said. "Please make known by your upraised hand the manner of punishment. All in favor of imprisonment? Banishment? Exorcism? Professor Binns, what is the verdict?"
"Baron, the vote for exorcism is 15, the vote for banishment is 22, and the vote for imprisonment is 32."
"Very well; Peeves, due to the fact that thirty seven of your peers voted for a stronger sentence than imprisonment, I hereby sentence you to a term of imprisonment to last until the end of the next school year. Guards, take the prisoner into the Spirit Dungeon and chain him tightly to the wall. He is to have no range of movement until the end of his sentence. Be forewarned Peeves, any similar incidences following the completion of your sentence will have a penalty of no less than banishment. I declare this Council closed!"
As Peeves was led away wailing, the Friar left to report the verdict of the Council to the Headmaster and Professor Sprout. Without a doubt, the students of Hogwarts would have an easier time of it for the next year and a half. The Baron turned to leave, but was stopped by the Grey Lady so that he could see to Moaning Myrtle. Seeing the silvery substance on her clothes, he stopped, startled.
"Merlin's crusty balls! Girl, do you know what you have there?" At Myrtle's denial, he continued. "That child, is memories of the living. How on earth did you end up with them? Did you enter a Pensieve?"
"Sir, I don't even know what a Pensieve is!"
"Oh, it is a stone bowl with runes carved around the edges. Have you been in anything like that?"
"No sir, I picked this up in one of the sewer pipes between my bathroom and the prefect's bath. Please Baron, is there anyway to get them off? They make me feel dirty somehow."
The Baron bit back a retort which wondered how on earth a ghost that haunted toilets and sewers could possibly feel dirty, realizing that Myrtle was in real distress, not caused by her normal torment. It was his job to help her and to get to the bottom of anything strange that could affect the school.
"First off child, you must realize that memories from the living cannot be viewed by the dead, however since these seem to stick well to ghosts, I will scrape them off you and add them to my own clothes until I can obtain help by a living being to remove them and view them in a Pensieve. There are two Pensieves in the school, the one in the Headmaster's office and one in the storage area of the Room of Requirements. I see no need to bother the Headmaster at this point, I can instruct one of my seventh year Slytherin students on the method of capturing the memories with his wand and using the Pensieve. He can then tell me the contents of the memories. So for now, step over here and I will remove them…… there you go. Now, back to your normal haunting, and if you run across any more of these, come to me immediately."
"I will sir, thank you!" With that, Myrtle floated up through the ceiling to catch the closest drainpipe.
"Baron," the Grey Lady asked, "Are you going to let a student carry something like that around?"
"Of course not, Lady Helena. When I choose the student to view the memories, I will have a student I have trained standing by to Obliviate him or her once they leave the Room of Requirements."
She laughed. "Baron, you are a credit to your House, you do not miss a trick."
The bonding ceremony and the adoption finished, Sirius and his bride were mingling with their guests. At the present time, he was huddled with Remus and Frank, looking over the now-restored Potter Estate.
"I can't believe it, I haven't been here since I was sixteen, but it looks exactly as I remember it.," Sirius gaped.
"Thank Merlin, it certainly took enough work to get it this way. All of the Potter's house elves died off, so I had to rent every available elf on the market plus borrow some from some of the other families. Fortunately there was a fund for upkeep of the estate. As Harry's guardian, I have access to it. I'm thinking that I should buy a couple of elves for the estate; that way they can keep the place up so that Harry won't have to try to clean up a disaster when he reaches his majority and takes over."
"Try hiring free elves instead. I am paying Dobby a lot less than I would pay for an enslaved elf. It takes some getting used to, but it could be the future of elf servants. It gives them a purpose, and if they still want to be enslaved, you won't be paying thousands of galleons to some slave broker."
"So," asked Remus, "where are you and Sarah going for your honeymoon?"
"Damnedest thing, I found out when my mother died that she owned an island off the coast of Greece. It has a house on it that hasn't been used in over 30 years. I didn't even know that she owned it, it was apparently given to her by her father in the event that she wanted to bail out on my father. I checked it out two months ago, there was a staff of elves, unfortunately they were as nutty as Kreacher. I sold them off and hired some free elves to make sure the place was cleaned up and ready for us. By the way, I really appreciate you and Alice taking Draco while we are gone. If you need any more help around the house, I told Dobby to listen for your call."
"Hey, what are friends for? I don't think we will be needing him, but I'll keep it in mind."
The three said their good byes and Sirius went off in search of his bride. Unbeknownst to Sirius, Remus, and Frank, there was an oversight they had never thought to correct. When the Marauders visited the Potter Estate during their sixth year, Charlus had keyed all three of James' friends into the wards. They had been such close friends that he had never bothered to remove them. After his and Dorea's deaths, James, Lily, and Harry were in Godric's Hollow under the Fidelus and had not seen any reason to return to the Estate to modify the wards.
At this moment, there was a fat, grey rat watching the guests leave from his perch in the stable…. inside the wards.