Chapter Three: One Giant Leap

When evolution selects its agents, it does so at a cost. It makes demands in exchange for singularity, and you may be asked to do something against your very nature. Suddenly, the change in your life that should have been wonderful comes as a betrayal. It may seem cruel, but the goal is nothing short of self-preservation, survival.

She started digging.

It was barely three digs into the ground when metal met something hard in the ground. She thrust the shovel down again. Clank.

Bingo. Lily thought, throwing herself at the ground and dog-digging lightly with her hands. Mud was riding up her nails, but when they scraped something solid, her eyes fell upon something truly terrifying.

A skull.

Lily felt herself revolt back, something lurching in her stomach. She had instinct to cover her hand with her mouth but didn't – only to close her eyes firmly and start covering up the skull furiously with more dirt. Again, her fingernails scraped over something equally hard as she dug at the ground for dirt to cover up the skull.

In the newly dug up ground, lay a skeletal hand.

It wasn't quite as disgusting as the skull nestled in the damp earth, so her hands delicately brushed by the grubby bones when her eyes fell upon something metallic and shiny resting on the finger of the hand.

A ring.

With the famous insignia of a skull – that Lily was familiar with only too well – her mind struck to one thought.


James' friend Peter Pettigrew had been in league with James right before he was sent off to jail. As a mark of their friendship, Pettigrew had worn the ring and obviously hadn't taken it off ever – even when he was about to die.

Wait a moment – Pettigrew probably was unaware of his death. James could have killed him – so there was no more crew anymore to point the finger to.

She slipped the ring into her pocket, standing up. Her eyes grazed over the dark cemetery that was illuminated by her headlights. This was perfect – for burying, that was.

Lily hurried to the back of her trunk, slipping a hand quietly into her back pocket for her key. She unlocked the trunk, thankful for the darkness that eclipsed the dead bodies of Dumbledore's thugs. She dragged them out and lay them on the dirt, getting ready to bury a 'resting place' for them.

H E R M I O NE W E A S L E Y / G R A N G E R

Hermione dragged out a large stuffed papier-mâché doll, three feet tall and crossed eyed, from Mr. Weasley's trunk with a sigh. She slung it over her shoulder.

"So mind telling me again," Mr. Weasley said confusedly. "But what is this for?" he asked, pointing to the doll.

Hermione smiled. "It's for the game tonight. The team we're playing against – this doll is their mascot. If we win, it'll be roasting on the bonfire…" she said with a smile.

"And if you lose?"

"Then I'll throw it away. Well, if our team does win, we have our celebratory bonfire night." Hermione said.

"On a school night?" Mr. Weasley asked incredulously.

"A celebratory school night." she corrected with a beam, looking over her shoulder. Blaise sent her a toothy grin from what she assumed was his car. Hermione smiled back.

"So is that the Quarterback?" Mr. Weasley said curiously, his gaze following her eyes. She distractedly looked back again, shaking her head out of her trance.

"Who?" she asked dazedly.

"The boy you like over there."

Hermione snapped her head towards her father. "I don't like him," she said hastily. "I mean, he's a very nice boy, but…" Hermione sighed. "yes, he's the Quarterback…"

Hermione felt her father stop abruptly next to her and ceased her walking as well, her eyes falling upon Lavender, who was cheekily smiling at Mr. Weasley.

"I love your glasses, Mr. Weasley," she said in a polite-but-sarcastic tone. Mr. Weasley sensed the sarcasm but smiled nonetheless.

"Well, thank you, Lavender," he said in an odd voice. "Rumor has it that you're a local hero. Pulling a man out of a burning train car…?"

Lavender smiled toothily before pretending to be embarrassed and looking downwards. Her smile was immovable, though. "Oh, you heard about that? Does everybody know?"

Hermione's grin was entirely polite as she irritably straightened the strap on her backpack. "It was on the news, you told half the school to set their TVs."

Lavender ignored Hermione. "It's going to be my cornerstone for my campaign for class president. I'm running on an idea that enhances moral, mental, and social advancement for good deeds… what do you think?" her grin was so wide her face was almost splitting in half. She didn't wait for Mr. Weasley nor Hermione to respond before she rushed off giddily.

Hermione jerked the papier-mâché mascot off of her shoulder and irritably spoke: "I think I need to get something out of my locker." she said, excusing herself and walking towards the school entrance.

"Hey," Mr. Weasley called after her, putting Hermione to a stop. He kissed her cheek before the bell rang loudly.

Hermione walked off to the door, but her father stopped her again.

"Hermione," he said loudly. She turned around. "Be careful."

She ignored the weirdness of this statement before nodding earnestly and entering the school.


Dean was utterly engrossed in watching Lily on screen for the sixteenth time that day, this time lifting up his Ipod and recording it there with a satisfied smirk on his face, when he felt loud footsteps thumping on the carpet to his desk. He hurriedly closed the Lily-screen.

"Dean!" a voice shouted concernedly.

Dean jumped. "Where have you been these last two days?" he asked sharply.

"I teleported myself into the future!" Seamus said, worry and excitement building up in his voice. Dean sighed.

"Seamus, haven't we been through all this?"

Seamus had been prepared for that. He reached for the crinkled magazine in the back of his pocket. Thrusting the cover out proudly at Dean, he smiled.

"Then explain this," he saw Dean's eyes graze over the cover. "It tells the whole story of my heroic journey."

Dean wasn't impressed. "Is this how you spend your time?" he asked condescendingly, tutting, "photo shopping yourself into a comic book?"

"Read it!!" Seamus said urgently, flailing the comic book about.

Dean rolled his eyes before he took the comic from Seamus and rifled through the pages. Seamus rambled on.

"Look, I'm on the subway in Japan, and suddenly, I'm six weeks into the future!" Seamus exclaimed, pointing to the comic pages all the while as Dean flipped through them. He raised an eyebrow at Seamus.

"Been hitting the sake?"

Seamus ignored him. "I found the author, but he was dead! Then – there's a nuclear explosion!! Ka-boom!" Dean swatted him over the head and shushed him. "It all happens in six weeks! And you and I, have to stop it." he finished dramatically.

Dean stuffed the comic back into Seamus' hands. "Definitely the sake."

"Look, you're in it too!" Seamus yelled determinedly, reopening the magazine and flipping through the pages wildly. He pointed to a page where Dean is painted perfectly, and then shoved it at his friend.

The page showed pictures of their conversation, where Dean was saying in bubble letters: "Definitely the sake." his eyes grew wide for a moment.

"How could I know that you were going to say that?" Seamus demanded furiously, disrupting Dean's thoughts.

"We have work to do. If you still work here." Dean brushed off, standing up. Seamus stood in his way.

"If I can prove it to you beyond a shadow of a doubt – will you come with me?" he pleaded. Dean stood critically in his way, but Seamus immediately started raving as his watch beeped.

"We have to go right now! The comic book tells me that I have to save a girl – right now! I can prove it to you!"

Seamus ran, and Dean stared after him perplexedly.


Dean shrugged and hurried after Seamus.


Sirius stared upwards, wind blowing strands of his soft black hair away from his forehead.

Sky, sky… endless sea of blue and white, clouds splaying gracefully over the air as though it was cotton willing to be curled up against. Sirius focused on the clouds, imagining that his nose was touching them. He was high up – high enough to fly…

He looked ahead, and in the back of Sirius' head, images of skyscrapers barely underneath his pupils, as though he was face to face with the stars at nighttime.

Finally, Sirius looked down. Miles, miles of endless dropping –flying – awaited him.

Arms outstretched, breeze rippled the wrinkles on Sirius' shirt. His heart pumped hard enough to crinkle his eardrums, because this was the first time he'd done something real in a long time. Flying gave him an excitement that he could get nowhere. As though magic fell from the sky when he was up there.

He closed his eyes and dropped.

"Uumf!" Sirius groaned, as his face came into contact with a layer of thick, fined-grained sand and sprinkles of dirt. Spitting out the mush, Sirius looked up from his spot on the ground, in a sandbox, after falling from a rod on the monkey bars.

A small, chubby boy wearing a thick coat watched him eagerly, slurping away loudly from a milkshake cup.

Sirius wanted to say to the boy: "school hours are over, kid" because he was in the school playground, but the boy was standing a few innocent yards away from him, just awaiting Sirius' new plummet from perhaps taller equipment in the playground.

All he did was send the boy an irritable stare, his thick black bangs falling into his eyes as he pushed himself up, brushed the sand off of his clothes, and climbed back up onto the monkey bars (an act that would surely send teachers screeching at him if he'd be back in Elementary school). He sighed as he ignored the pain in his throbbing back and stinging kneecaps.


Sirius fell down again, and this time, he was sure that he had broken his nose. The kid slurped loudly, probably concealed his snicker in the straw noisily.


Remus stared at himself in the mirror briskly as he adjusted his collar on his stiffly ironed shirt and examined that array of blue and red ties hanging carefully off of his assistant's forearm.

"Get the fundraiser donations drawn in, okay? It makes us look responsible."

"Yes, sir, it does." another assistant said cheekily, taking away the mirror and smiling at Remus promisingly.

Remus looked over and saw a certain mess of black hair wafting into the building over all of the other heads.

"Sirius, just the person I want to see–!" Remus began.

"I need to talk to you." Sirius said busily, bustling through the crowd of people and standing beside Remus.

Remus ignored his brother, and instead snatched both ties off of his assistant's elbow, brandishing both of them in front of Sirius' face. "Red or blue?" he asked.

"I dunno, blue…?" Sirius offered hopelessly, shrugging.

The tawny-haired man stares hard at both of the ties, before he nods approvingly and thrusts the red tie into the assistant's fingers. "Red," he said firmly. "A president wears red."

Remus drew an arm around Sirius, smiling and patting his shoulder. "Are you going to come for the speech tonight? Break out the suit, have a few drinks?"

"Um, yeah," Sirius brushes off hurriedly, jogging to keep up with Remus. "uh, listen, I – I tried it again."

"Tried what?"

"You know what I mean, what do you think I mean? I – I tried to fly!" Sirius said heatedly.

Remus placed a hand on Sirius' chest, pushing him back a few steps so the other man wasn't whispering in his ear urgently and loudly.

"Would you keep your voice down?"

As Remus walked away briskly, Sirius grabbed for his brother's elbow and pulled him back. "You were there, last night I could fly – this morning – nothing. Except for the fact that I nearly broke my neck trying–"

"Well, that would have solved one of our problems…"

Sirius ignored Remus. "Yeah, so I went to the library after that to see if I could find anything about human flight, I came upon thisamazing book." Sirius waved up Activating Evolution, which Remus' eyes grazed over momentarily.

Sirius opened the book to a flimsy paper bookmark, reading from a passage.

"Genes determine obesity, blood pressure, out of the thirty million possibilities, one might contain the power of human flight. This guy knows what's going on, Remus." Sirius said.

"Where did you find this?" Remus asked suspiciously, and Sirius ignored him again.

"The author, his name is Snape, he's a genetics professor. I called him – they said he quiet six months ago – they think he'shere," Sirius said eagerly. "We gotta find this guy."

"We… we have a more immediate problem. There's this woman reporter, poking around why you jumped off that roof."

"Remus, we flew," Sirius interrupted importantly. "Aren't you curious how this happened?"

Remus sighed, his head swaying back a bit. "Yeah, I want answers just like everyone else, Sirius, just like you, but right now I have to make it seem like crazy doesn't run in our family."

"Remus, this is for us."

"Look, I have an election to win and a family to feed, okay?"

"So, what are you telling that reporter?"

"I know one thing we can't tell her." Remus said. "the truth." he let Activating Evolution fall onto the counter of his desk with a slap.


Severus typed away fervently on his laptop, ignoring the sweat that had coated his forehead, hair, and back within the last twenty-four hours. His thin coat lay on the floor, discarded, along with his shirt, leaving Severus with only his flimsy t-shirt on that had pushed up past his shoulders.

There was a rustling noise at the door, and Snape, out of both sleep deprivation and paranoia, looked up alertfully and grabbed for the gun beside his laptop, aiming it at the door discreetly at the height of his desk.

When the door finally opened, Ginny came walking in, her red hair brushing about over her shoulders as she shut the door behind her.

"Sorry!" she apologized loudly, a shiny key dangling in one hand while Ginny balanced a large blue bowl in the other hand precariously. Severus sighed in the relief and loosened his grip on the gun.

"I still have your dad's old keys," she explained, brandishing the key and placing it atop Severus' pile of books on his desk carefully. "…maybe I shouldn't." her eyes fell upon the gun in Snape's hand and she stared at it with slight surprise.

"It's all right," Severus muttered, putting the gun back into the drawer. "it's just, after being attacked, every noise I hear…" his faded off desperately. "sorry."

Ginny shrugged, nodding, and she brushed off the topic by opening the lid to the blue bowl in her fingers.

"Well, this, is macaroni and cheese. It's what Americans eat when they slowly want to commit suicide." Ginny stalked over into the kitchen and stored the bowl on the counter as though she knew the place better than Severus. Which she probably did. "Your dad said that mine was the best he ever had, but… he was from England."

"…thank you," Severus began. "You're – you're very kind."

Ginny sat at the edge of his desk, smiling softly. "You look like hell," she observed concernedly. "when was the last time you slept?"

Severus sighed and stared at the computer screen blankly.

"All of this work… and I'm no closer to understanding my father's research."

"Well, what about the program in your dad's computer? Didn't you say that he had… cracked some code?"

Snape shrugged at Ginny. "I thought he had. But, the algorithm, it's gibberish."

Ginny leant forward so she could spy off of Snape's shoulder, eyeing the computer scrutinizingly with it's green words floating over and down the screen repeatedly.

"Do you know anybody who speaks gibberish?" the red-haired girl asked, grinning at Severus.

Severus wiped at his brow and stood up from his seat. "The man with the horn-rimmed glasses. Chased me around the world, even in this very apartment, looking for this. But this isn't anything!" Snape exclaimed tiredly, leaning against his doorframe.

"Well, then why would your father have built it?" Ginny asked encouragingly.

"Why? It was always like this with my father. Every question met with another question, never an answer!" he looked at Ginny over his shoulder. "Only why."

"What about the map?" she offered, turning around to face the map with the many strings and pins on it. Severus joined her.

"The map," he repeated. "the map is nothing until I figure out the principle behind it," he grabbed Ginny's shoulders and turned them so the girl faced him. "you know, even if I could find just one such person, it could validate everything he believed," he sighed. "but I can't."

"Your father had a lot of faith in you."

"My father only cared about proving he was right," Snape turned and stared at his computer again. "he left his country, his family,chasing his insanity. And now I'm wasting my time trying to prove him sane! Where did it get me…?" he asked, an edge on his voice.

Snape grabbed the laptop, shut the screen, and tossed it forcefully across the room so it skidded on the floor in the kitchen.

"Severus!" Ginny shouted reproachfully, and dashed over to the computer as she kneeled down with it.

"I'm sorry," Snape said, wiping at his temples, walking over to Ginny and kneeling down beside her.

Ginny pulled something that was sticking out of a slot on the computer out, staring at a small, empty journal. She handed it over to Severus, shrugging at the small journal.

Snape examined it carefully, flipping open to its age-worn pages and caressing the soft paper underneath his fingers. So many entries of names, races, and descriptions littered the pages, until he found a small gold key at the very back, along with a page that said:


With an according address below it.

"Voldemort." Snape repeated quietly, and stared at the key. Did it open the mysterious Voldemort's house?

"What is it?" Ginny asked, staring at the key horrifyingly.

"It's… it's another question."


Cedric stared at the foggy glass of water in front of him, laying on the plain white table with the matching plain white chair, which incidentally matched the plain white walls and floor.

Cedric looked up to see a thick glass and door that was separating him from the free world outside. He wished that Susan Bone's hard glare would move somewhere else. He felt oddly ex-rayed and petite under her piercing glower.

He sighed hopelessly, impatience on the end of his tone.

He never thought he would be sitting at the table in one of these rooms. He was always the one interrogating the ones sitting down. In a way, standing up gave you a type of power in this room.

"I don't know how else to explain this," Cedric began. "I heard a little girl call for help. I went to her. That's all that happened." he said to Susan, who was folding his arms disapprovingly at Cedric.

"So you just waltzed right in… found missing Luna Lovegood in a wall, then pulled the name Voldemort out of your ass when only a handful of us know that name." Susan said critically.

"It's… it's like someone was talking to me," Cedric began carefully, not knowing how to form his words correctly. "Except that it was in my head."

"Do the voices tell you anything else…? Do they want you to do things? Rob a store, kill the president…?"

"No," Cedric said. "It's more like… like I can hear people's thoughts."

He could hear Susan's heels step back a step as though Cedric was potentially dangerous after making this statement.

But then she moved forward, staring hard at the other man.

"Can you tell me what I'm thinking?" she ordered.

"No, I really can't control this."

"Give it a shot, I'm wide open." Susan insisted commandingly.

Cedric shrugged helplessly. "I dunno, you think that I'm nuts," he said, wildly guessing. "or stupid."

"Neat trick," Susan condescended sardonically. "Stop wasting my time."

Diggory… I need this more than you do. Nobody believes in me.

Cedric's head shot up, curiosity etched in his face as he repeated the words that were echoing in his head magically.

"Nobody believes in you," he repeated, satisfied at the look on Susan's face, "I know what that feels like."

Cedric let his face fall into his hands, sighing. "How much longer do I have to be in here?" he asked.

"That depends," Susan said, softer this time, "how would you like to work with the FBI?"

H E R M I O N E G R A N G E R / W E A S L E Y

Hermione grabbed her geometry book out of her locker swiftly, piling it up on her arms as Neville came bounding up to her, headphones looped around his neck deftly.

"Hermione! What are you doing running off, when your tape of… bodily harm is still missing??" Neville asked, panic in his voice and face as he bit his bottom lip hard.

"Well, if someone finds it we'll just tell them that they were some visual effects you took care of with your computer." Hermione rifled through her book bag distractedly as she pulled out more books from her locker. "Look, can I get back to my life now?" she asked, closing her locker loudly and walking away.

"What, that's it? You're going to pretend that you're no different from any other girl in the school?"

"Yes, actually!" Hermione said firmly, turning away again.

"But you are, Hermione! You are different! Don't you see that?? Don't you see that none of this matters? School spirit doesn't matter, being a pretty cheerleader doesn't matter! That's… that's not who you are anymore."

"So who am I?" Hermione asked crossly. "So what that I can crawl through a wood chipper and live to tell about it. That narrows my chances in life to freak. What's wrong with wanting to be normal, Neville? You should try it."

Hermione stalked off again, Neville still standing by her locker.


A painting of a brunette cheerleader walking away from a boy with headphones standing by red lockers stands innocently on an easel in Draco's loft, as Cho grabbed it and stashed it with the rest of the other collected paintings.

Draco walked into his apartment, stopping when he saw Cho pushing all of his paintings together.

"What are you doing here?" he asked quietly.

"Draco, you have to get back to work and ignore these silly paintings 'of the future'. The editor called, the comic book is late."

Draco walked over to a free counter space, placing down his sack of groceries. His eyes scanned over the loft suspiciously.

"You were taking them, weren't you." Draco said, not looking at Cho. It wasn't a question.

Cho shrugged airily, her hands on her hips. "Yes, so we can sell them and use the money to get you straightened out. Into rehab." she said firmly.

Draco shook his head, grabbing the painting of the girl and boy by the lockers and placing it back on the easel. "I'm not going into rehab."

"I found all of your junk. The drugs. All of it. I flushed it." Cho said.

Draco gaped at her furiously. "How am I supposed to paint the future–?!"

"Nobody can paint the future!" Cho said angrily, "That's the drugs talking!"

"Look around you at all of these paintings!" Draco roared angrily, his blonde bangs falling into his eyes. He didn't bother to brush them back. "Every one of them has come true!"

Cho turned, sighing, staring at the painting of an explosion on the floor.

"Oh," she said, tutting. "Does that include this big one on the floor of New York going nuclear?"

"I… I don't know how, I don't know when… but… but I have to stop it."

Cho stayed silent, so Draco took the liberty to take a small step forward and cup his fingers around Cho's cheeks.

"I don't want to lose you, Cho," he whispered. "but if you don't believe in me, then you shouldn't be here."

Draco removed his hands from her face and scanned all of the paintings scattered about the loft, all predictive, all important… he needed this more than he did Cho.

"Fine," Cho said coldly, walking towards the steps. "You think you can paint the future? Paint one without me in it."

She stalked up the steps and all Draco could do was stare after her form as though he was letting something wonderful slip through his fingers, but the phone rang in the next second.

Draco, glad for a distraction, slumped over to the telephone and held it up to his face, only to receive an earful of eager Japanese mumbling. Draco groaned.

"I can't understand a word you're saying," he said seriously, growling into the phone. Through gritted teeth, he again attempted to cease the other man's insistent rambling. "Stop calling me here, you've got the wrong number – wrong number!"

He irritably pushed the end button and slapped it down onto the table, before frustratingly shoving everything on his paint table off so it clashed to the floor loudly. The table skidded over to the other side of the loft with a screech.


"Who are you calling?" Dean asked Seamus as they walked along the busy streets of Tokyo, many students chatting merrily along the sidewalks as many schools rang their end-of-the-day bells. Dean pushed past all of them ignorantly as he attempted to keep up with his friend who was thoroughly engrossed in his comic book.

"The comic book author!" Seamus said. "to warn him about the future! He keeps hanging up on me!"

"That's because you're crazy," Dean theorized. "I'd hang up on you too."

Seamus stopped suddenly, making Dean bump into him clumsily. "This is the spot!" Seamus yelled eagerly, flipping through the comic book fervently. He turned to face his friend, pointing at the painting in the comic book of an image of the two of them talking in the exact same place.

"A young girl in a school uniform will step in front of speeding truck." Seamus' finger trailed down to another picture on the page, and pointed to a girl that was flailing her arms wildly in front of a truck that had already skidded into a table displaying outdoor shopping items. "And we have to save her. See?"

Dean looked around confusedly. "What school girl?"

Both men looked from left to right, and were horrified to see a busload of unformed school girls being released from school doors, all moving together as a unit.

"Okay…" Dean began, as all of the girls passed them, "Which one is she?"

"I don't know!" Seamus wailed desperately, flipping back to the comic book. "Ah! She has a red bow in her hair! You go this way, I'll go that way!" he pointed to separate directions and bounded off hurriedly.

Seamus scanned within all of the schoolgirls, weaving within them. He grabbed a girl's shoulders, seeing something red flashing about her head, but when she turned horrifyingly to see him, Seamus saw that it was just a girl with crimson headphones.

"Sorry." he murmured, blushing, before running off to the other end of the street.

Dean, on the other side of the sidewalk, looked fruitlessly about, but saw no one.

Seamus ran passed a girl jump roping, a girl walking along with her friends, but none of them had red bows in their hair.

Then there was a girl.

A red scrunchy holding up a tight pigtail.

A hand distractedly waving to someone else, not looking ahead at the large truck a mere yards away.

"Dean! Stop that truck!"

Dean had turned too late. He swiveled on the spot, screamed "Stop! Watch out!" but the girl hadn't heard him.

Seamus clenched his fists, scrunched up his face, gritted his teeth, and concentrated. A pop in his ears made him realize that he had done it.

Relaxing his face, he was ecstatic to see everyone frozen – stuck in time, was the correct term, really. He could do anything he wanted to here. He wouldn't run out of time.

Seamus ran over to the helpless girl, arms out in defensive and mouth open wide in shock, and grabbed her. She was not heavy, which didn't make it hard for Seamus to carry her over to the safety of the sidewalk and bring time off its stand still.

Food and boxes crashed onto the floor and was broken to millions of pieces. But someone had still been saved.

As Seamus put her down, he jumped up in glee. "I did it!" he yelled, seeing Dean staring after him surprisingly. They both ran forward, hugging each other while still jumping around wildly in delight.

"You did it, Seamus! You did it!"

"So you believe me now? You'll come with me?!"


The sun had risen up hours ago, but she was still digging. A thick layer of sweat had built up on her back, drenching her shirt entirely.

She stared as the last bit of the thug's bloody, and scarily pale face was covered with sand. More sand, just to make it look like a natural pile… more sand. Another shovel. Lily was breathing in nothing but the hot air, which did nothing for her lungs. The sun was broiling on her back; it seemed to be looming right above her.

She was done.

Leaning her forehead on the shovel, Lily breathed in deeply, watching a drip of sweat fall down onto the ground. She wiped her brow, walking back to the car.

As she climbed back into her car seat, willing to have air conditioning built in, but she had no time to do anything about it as Harry stirred in the back seat and sat up groggily.

"Hi." he greeted to Lily with half-drooped eyes, his voice hoarse from sleep.

"Hi!" Lily said back, ruffling her son's hair and trying to hide the deep circles that were under her eyes. "How did you sleep?"

"Good," came Harry's answer as he rubbed at his eyes and stretched, "where are we?"

Lily smiled, turning on the car and backing out of the deep dirt. "On our way to grandma's house."


Lily pounded on the thick screen net on Mrs. Potter's door, looking grimly through the window. She rapped harder on the wood, still awaiting the heavy footsteps to come plundering out of the kitchen.

In a flash of a second, Mrs. Potter peered over the kitchen doorway. A frown wavered on her lips for a second as she saw Lily standing in on the porch, but she covered it up sweetly with a large grin towards Harry.

Lily didn't care that Mrs. Potter treated Harry like gold and Lily like rust. She's wasn't here for insults. She wouldn't take them this time.

"Harry!" she boomed excitedly, bounding towards the door and unlocking it, capturing Harry in a large hug. She spun him around, and Lily tutted at the pink slippers that Mrs. Potter was sporting on her colossal feet.

"Oh my, how you've grown!" she thundered, smiling cheekily at Harry and fondling his black hair.

"You always say that!" Harry said, chuckling.

"I do."

"Yes, you do."

Mrs. Potter grinned, patting Harry on the shoulders. "Why don't you come inside for some tea, hun? Some nice breakfast? You can rest in the dining room, Harry, dear."

Harry strolled off to the dining room, leaving Lily looking grimly at her grandmother in law and Mrs. Potter glaring back, evil glinting in her eyes.

"You look thin," Mrs. Potter said dryly at Lily, before stalking off to the kitchen.

"I need to talk to you."

Mrs. Potter sighed. "I know what you are going to say," she started wisely. "It's hard raising a boy on your own… having to do so much, you wish you were two people at once, I know… but that boy needs more than you've been giving him," as the kettle started whistling, she gave Lily a glare before tending to the boiling water. "A steady hand and a stable environment, I can give him that."

Mrs. Potter turned back to the overcooked eggs that were simmering away on the stovetop.

"Because James turned out to be such a noble citizen." Lily said icily.

The older woman turned to face Lily bitterly. "My son. Yourhusband," she said. "is a good man."

Lily looked hastily to see if Harry was listening in their conversation before she placed the same ring she found in the cemetery on Mrs. Potter's counter.

"Recognize this?" she asked icily. "I found it in the desert."

Mrs. Potter looked airily at the ring before she loftily turned to Lily. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"This belonged to one of the men that your son murdered. I found it in his grave. You knew that all of James' crew wore these!"

"James wouldn't murder anybody." Mrs. Potter said stubbornly, and brushed past Lily to get to the cups in the cabinet.

"You're wrong," the red-headed woman said insistently, her nails clenching into her palm. "he robbed Dumbledore, getting away with two million dollars, and then he killed his crew."

"My son was framed," she said firmly, tossing sugar into mugs. "and he'd be rotting in some prison if he hadn't escaped. Besides – if James had two million dollars, honey, he'd be on some tropical island sitting out his years. With Harry."

Lily gave Mrs. Potter a stony glare. "I want you out of my son's life."

"Well, people in hell want ice water, doesn't mean they're going to get it."

"You have no idea what I'm capable of." Lily snatched up the ring on the counter and stomped loudly out of the kitchen, ushering Harry along with her.


"Do you want to tell me why I'm still here?" Cedric asked impatiently, jogging alongside Susan Bones.

"We need you to talk to her." Susan responded strictly.

"Talk to who?"

"The girl you found, Luna Lovegood," she said, "we're keeping her here where it's safe until we know what to do with her. She's been through some severe trauma, with her parents murdered right in front of her… she hasn't said a word since we've brought her here."

"What makes you think she's going to want to talk to me?" Cedric asked bluntly.

"Well, if you're really a mind reader she won't have to."

Susan opened a heavy door for Cedric, briskly walking through and straightening her jacket.

"Who is this Voldemort, anyway, what's he doing?" Cedric asked confusedly.

"He leads a trail to more than a dozen murders. All the people impaled by household objects… bones broken, all without any sign of fingerprints. But only some of them show any mutilation of the head or neck, so… we don't have much of a lead."

"So you think it's all Voldemort?" Cedric asked.

"I… I think it's going to get a lot worse if we don't go after him." Susan concluded darkly.


"Mr. Voldemort?" Severus called through a door, knocking loudly. "Hello?!"

"Shh!" Ginny called terrifyingly behind Snape, arms wrapped around herself protectively. "W-What are you actually going to do if Voldemort's in there?"

Severus reached for the key that he had found in the small brown journal and fumbled with it at the lock. "If Voldemort murdered my father, I need to know why." The door remained locked even with the key's aid, and Snape rustled the door desperately. "I… guess that would have been too easy."

"Let's… go?" Ginny said pleadingly.

"You have no idea what is behind this door!" Severus said firmly, excitement flickering in his eyes.

"It's locked, and I'm kind of trying not freak out right now, so can we please just–"

But her pleas were interrupted as Snape pierced a screwdriver into the keyhole and burst open the door, staggering in ungracefully.

"Or… I suppose we can just break in." Ginny said quietly. Snape beckoned her in silently.

Severus groped for his bag, reaching for his camera as he hurriedly took pictures of everything he could.

They walked carefully along the halls, and as Severus brushed by Ginny, he realized that her shoulders were shaking in fright. Snape eased past her into the living room, surprised to see Activating Evolution lying innocently on the coffee table.

Severus examined the bookshelves that lined the walls, when his elbow bumped into a dirty wall mirror, making it pop open to reveal a passageway. Ginny's eyes got wide, but Snape grabbed her hand securely and dragged her along into the dark hall that had been discreetly concealed by the mirror contraption.

Eerie lights hung sinisterly on the ceilings, and as Severus eased along the floor cautiously, his eyes fell upon a replica of the map in his father's apartment.

"Oh my god." he murmured.

"That map," Ginny whispered, "it's just like your fathers."

"Not exactly," Severus corrected. "this map has more strings – more people on them."

Ginny pointed to a newspaper clipping picture that was in the middle of the map. "I know that guy," she said, "he's running for Congress. Remus Lupin."

"His life may be in danger." Severus said seriously. Ginny shuddered subconsciously next to him.

"Look, can we please go now?"

"Not yet," Snape said firmly, and walked on further, pushing past a bunch of black garbage bag streamers to reveal an empty closet, its walls gratified.

On it, in red and black, were written the words:

Forgive me, for I have sinned.

Over and over again.

"Dear god," Severus breathed, his heart pumping so loudly he could hear his eardrums crinkling. "what was my father involved with?" he questioned faintly.


The light in the elevator flickered as Cedric and Susan landed on the bottom floor.

"We're keeping Luna in a backroom down here. It's pretty deserted on this floor."

Cedric nodded nervously.

A long, loud scream shrieked from the end of the hall.

More lights flickered uncontrollably as Susan ran down the hall with Cedric at her heels. He watched as Susan fumbled for her gun.

"It's him! It's Voldemort!"

When they both burst through doors, they realized that a dark figure with a black cloak and hat was gripping onto Luna Lovegood as though she was the treasure chest at the bottom of the sea. Voldemort attempted to pull the girl out of the door of her room, but Luna thrashed about and screamed, her blonde hair flying everywhere in an attempt to free herself from the lethal grip Voldemort had her in.

"Freeze!" Susan commanded loudly, and Cedric winced as her strong voice echoed along the halls. Voldemort did freeze, dropping Luna and dashing around the corner. Susan ran after him, Cedric dazedly in pursuit.

He screeched at a halt in front of the girl, seeing that Luna Lovegood was crouched against the doorframe, cowering, sweat dripping down her forehead in beads. She was shivering, her teeth clattering in her tremor, and her fright radiating throughout her body and she slowly crawled against the wall.

"Hey, hey, remember me?" Cedric asked Luna, crouching down beside her. "Everything's all right, okay, everything's just fine… it's okay."

How could he find me?

Cedric listened to the odd echoing in his head, before he realized that Luna was thinking again and he was hearing her again.

"That doesn't matter, it doesn't matter, you're safe now." Cedric whispered reassuringly, and felt Luna grip to his coat for protection.

But not too long after, he brought Luna back into her room hastily, and locked the door, darting after Susan worriedly.


Susan rushed toward the moving form of Voldemort as fast as she could, watching him weave among the many tanks in the maintenance room he had lured her into. She didn't know this route too well, but she had worked in this building many times before, and she had memorized the map of the building, and so she satisfyingly knew that Voldemort was heading towards a dead end.

And Susan was right, as Voldemort screeched to a halt in front of a long, white pipe.

"Give me your hands!" Susan yelled, aiming her gun, and Voldemort turned around slowly, his entire face eclipsed in darkness.

In a flash, Susan felt her gun against her own head, and she panicked slightly at why it was there. She hadn't moved her hand. Her own gun was forced at her head, along with the fact that she suddenly was blown towards the pipe behind her harshly.

Breathing heavily, she attempted to drag that hand away from her head, but it wasn't moving. Voldemort walked forwards slightly, and all Susan could see or comprehend was a slight smirk upon his pale face.

Cedric almost fell on the slippery tile as he burst in, shooting four bullets at Voldemort's chest. He fell instantly to the ground, and as Cedric turned to see Susan on the floor breathlessly with her gun on the ground, he crouched down beside her.

"Are you okay?"

Susan nodded, panting slightly.

He turned around again, ready to handcuff Voldemort to the pipes, when a sudden realization hit him that he was gone.

Cedric ran forward, a thousand thoughts running through his head as he examined the empty space. He heard clanking up at the pipe above, and as Cedric looked up quizzically, he saw a pipe large enough to fit three people. How had Voldemort gotten up there?

"What happened, Diggory?" Susan asked breathlessly by the floor, but Cedric said nothing.


Dean sighed, leaning forward slightly past the morbidly large woman reading a magazine, trying to get the attention of his eager friend who was engrossed deeply in his Ninth Wonders.

"I'm confused," Dean said. "you said you called me in the future."

"Yeah, so?" Seamus asked distractedly, his eyes not leaving the comic book.

"So… shouldn't I be at home? Waiting for your call?"

"We're changing the future!" Seamus said, disagreeing. "By taking action, we've changed something."

Dean nervously fiddled with his fingernails. "What if we make it worse? And – and if there's a nuclear explosion, shouldn't we be flying away from the bomb?"

Seamus 'tisked' his finger at Dean. "Ah, ah, ah, Dean… A hero never runs away from his destiny." he smiled wisely. "my only concern is… if I should hide my true identity. Perhaps a costume?"

"You even mention tights and a cape, and I'm going home." Dean warned threateningly.

"You can't go home!" Seamus wailed indignantly. "the comic book says we fly together, so we fly together!" he said firmly, pointing fixedly at a drawing with the two sitting together on a plane, with the chubby lady in the middle laying her head on Dean's shoulder, her mouth open in a snore.

Dean's eyes widened at the picture, staring horrifyingly at the woman next to him.

The lady moved, grunted, and stretched before she laid her head full of cloud-like curls on Dean's shoulder. Dean gaped, making a small noise of protestation, but the lady seemed to already be dozing off. Seamus snickered to himself knowingly.


Sirius down the steps to the hospital, everything around him seeming to be in slow motion including himself, even though he was hurrying hastily to get out of the door. He knew that this was not what he wanted to do forever – be a hospice nurse – but still, he felt horrible leaving Cho's father.

And to make things worse, Cho was striding into the hospital, looking prettier than ever with her hair silky and smooth and with this shiny glow seeming to radiate off of her.

Sirius sighed.

The guilt trip, puppy dog eyes, or subconscious pleading voice that Cho would give him for leaving her father would make his day from awful to terrible.

"Sirius!" she called smilingly, looking up the stairs surprisingly. "Hey! I was just going upstairs to check on my dad."

Sirius felt his insides drop at one hundred miles a second. "Oh." he murmured in a small voice. He scratched the back of his head awkwardly.

"Where are you going, aren't you supposed to be in his shift?" Cho asked suspiciously.

More dropping.

"Er… yeah. I was just… filling in my replacement… saying goodbye to your dad, you know–"

"…what?" Cho asked slowly, dread oozing into her face.

"I – listen–"

"No!" Cho whined, interrupting him.

"Look, I'm quitting."

"But why??"

"I… I called the agency and told them this morning."

"But – my father," Cho insisted.

"That – that other nurse, Bertha Jorkins, she's gonna take really good care of him, all right?" Sirius tried to persuade convincingly.

"But she's not you."

Sirius tried the comfort-and-console method. He put a hand on her shoulder, smiling sadly. "Look, this isn't what I'm supposed to do, this isn't what I'm supposed to be. I… I can't really explain it."

Cho tilted her head, her lips pursed. "Try." she said patiently.

"Well, truth is…" Sirius said tentatively. "I… I've been trying to save the world one person at a time – but, but I'm meant for something better. Something important, I know it now. That's really… all I can tell you."


And then Cho smiled, a really small hesitant smile, but Sirius gladly returned it to cut the uneasy quietness. Then he awkwardly patted her purse and walked away.

"I'll miss you." Cho called after him, and Sirius turned again.

"I… it's New York. Everyone runs into one another sooner or later."

Cho nodded. "Maybe it'll be sooner."

H E R M I O N E G R A N G E R / W E A S L E Y

Hermione could hear Lavender rambling off to her friends about her heroic act of pulling the man out of the burning train car in a dramatic voice, boasting on and on. How Lavender could keep the attention of six hungry cheerleaders was amazing to Hermione. But then again, she would have more than six hundred people lined up by her door if they knew what she could do.

"Flames were everywhere – oh my god, I could hear the poor man coughing someone inside the train car – but, but there was smoke everywhere, I couldn't see him. I was so scared, you guys…"

Hermione watched as the girls bustled around Lavender concernedly, patting at her shoulders. Hermione shook her head at the attentiveness Lavender had received ever since she had claimed the right of Hermione's stunt at the train car.

The brown-haired girl stared into the flames, watching them gather around the logs, cotton, and mascot that Hermione had created.

Blaise swooped right next to Hermione, smiling cheekily.

"Nice mascot," he complimented.

"Thanks," Hermione said, laughing. "I stayed up all night yesterday stuffing it with… newspaper."

"I would have filled it with fire crackers, but that's just me."

Hermione grinned back. "That would have been cool."

Blaise put his hands on her shoulders and pulled her back a bit from the bonfire flames. "Careful," he warned. "stand too close and you might end up like that guy from the train car."

"I'm… not as flammable as he is."

"So – there's a keg in the back. Want some?"

Before Hermione could protest, Blaise grabbed her elbow and steered her over to the line that many students were bustling around in. A laughing blonde loftily handed them two cups of beers, laughing drunkenly. Hermione stared in the depths of her cup uneasily, watching the foam bubble away.

"Are you sure this is okay?" she asked for reassurance, and Blaise pursed his lips.

"You're miles away from home, who's gonna know?"

"I… I guess that my parents can't find out." Hermione nodded, but still didn't drink from her cup, watching as Blaise took long swigs, chugging down gulps as though he hadn't drunken anything in days.

"Lavender told me that you want to meet your real mum and dad." Blaise said.

Hermione scowled. "I told Lavender that a long time ago," she mumbled, "with confidence."

Blaise laughed. "You do realize you were talking to Lavender, right?"

She shrugged.

"Is that why you're bummed? The whole adoption thing? I mean… you didn't like just find out, did you?"

Hermione's eyes widened. "Oh, no no no, they told me when I was really little… why… why would you think that I'm bummed?"

"You don't seem like yourself. I thought that maybe something was wrong."

Hermione smiled. "You don't know me well enough to know when I'm not myself."

"Let's see, you never drink plain milk. It's always strawberry. You draw witches in the margin of your notebook, you put chips in your sandwiches to make them crunch, and you're always the first person to laugh at something hilarious. Even though I haven't heard you laugh in a while. Lately… lately you seem sort of sad."

She paused before answering. "Have… have you been spying on me?"

Blaise laughed. "Hermione, my goal tonight is to hear you laugh."

There were loud, numerous pops sounding from the mascot that hung pitifully on the bonfire, and Hermione turned to see firecrackers exploding out of it's head, newspaper flying in every which way direction. She laughed.

"Did you put firecrackers in his head just for me?" she asked, grinning at Blaise widely.

As an answer, Blaise leant down, kissing her soundly on the lips. When he pulled away, Hermione's eyes were bulging, and she wasn't smiling carelessly anymore. She opened her mouth but no sound was audible.

Blaise took hold of her hand, drawing her away from the bonfire, Pansy Parkinson looking after then worriedly.


Cedric bounded excitedly up the stairs, through the hall, screeching to a halt in front of his bedroom door. He could hear Hannah through the thin wood, the sound of pages being turned and turned again from a flimsy book.

"Hey," Cedric said, turning the knob to the door and smiling faintly at his wife, who sighed tiredly. "Look, I know that I missed our therapy session."

"It's fine." Hannah mumbled in an irritated, silent voice.

"No, no it wasn't – I meant to call you but I had the craziest day! It was just – so amazing, and strange, I… I don't even I know how to describe it!" Cedric smiled, brushing a strand of hair back behind his ear.

"Then don't." Hannah said in a frustrated voice, shutting her book closed and getting up from the bed sheets, brushing past Cedric.

"That – that's it? That's it? You waited up all this time to tell me that you don't want to talk to me?" Cedric asked angrily.

"I really don't want this to turn into a fight, and if I say anything else, it will," Hannah said, rustling around a pile full of sweaters. "I am really trying, Ced. I mean, this marriage may not mean anything to you, but–"

"It does, of course it does!" Cedric interrupted hastily. "What are you talking about? It's just, I have a lot of stuff going on right now–"

"So do I," Hannah hissed. "It… it was supposed to be a good thing when I made associate, and you were supposed to be happy for me. But it seems like you're mad at me for getting what I wanted because you haven't!"

With a tense silence flexing Hannah's cheekbone grimly, she strode past Cedric stiffly.

Cedric turned blankly. "I… I don't mean to be. It's just – it's hard, Hannah."

I can't do this anymore. I wish you would just leave.

"Fine," Cedric answered to his wife's thoughts out loud, "I will."

Hannah turned to face Cedric confusedly, her eyebrows furrowed as though how her husband had made that perfect assumption of what she had been contemplating furiously in her head, but Cedric had headed for the door.

H E R M I O N E G R A N G E R / W E A S L E Y

Hermione could faintly hear the pounding music back by the bonfire faintly, but the taste of alcohol on her tongue from Blaise's mouth was too overpowering to make her brain focus on the students singing along back by the bonfire.

She was on the bleachers to the football stadium, surrounded by a huge fence and an envelope of darkness as Blaise kissed her firmly on the lips.

He could feel his fingertips tickling up her thigh, underneath her skirt, and she pushed his hand back out again, sitting up.

"I – I need just a little break." she muttered uncomfortably, not facing Blaise.

"Go back to the party?" he husked breathlessly.

"No, it's just, I'm… I'm going through something right now and I'm just not sure if now is the right time to get into a relationship…"

Blaise grabbed her shoulders, brushing away her hair and kissing her neck from behind. She slipped out of his grasp uneasily.

"Look, you just need to relax." he pushed forward and met their lips again, Hermione leaning out of his purchase.

"What's gotten into you?" she asked disgustingly.

"I just really like you, Hermione, don't you like me?"

He pressed their mouths together again, pushing her down onto the bench of the bleacher. The cold metal met Hermione's back like a million needles.

"No – Blaise, stop–" she rolled out of his arms, onto the damp grass, him crashing down with her, pushing her down and holding her against her wild thrashing, intermixed with calls for help. Tears started trickling out of her eyes as she shoved against Blaise's shoulders, but he managed to press down her neck with his elbow.

Hermione choked, her knees kicking.

She managed to push him off, sobbing uncontrollably and coughing loudly, Blaise grabbing after her, attempting to catch her skirt. He threw her into the gate, causing Hermione to yell out, before hitting the ground with a branch piercing through her neck, her head, almost into her brain.

Hermione was dead with a final 'ugh' of a groan, not alive until the lethal stick would be removed from her skin.

Blaise saw blood running into her hair and froze in alarm, dropping to the floor and turning her around, seeing a long, thick part of a branch drenched in blood from being stabbed into her head. His eyes widened.

"Hermione – I, oh my god – Hermione!"


"You haven't said a word the whole way home," Lily said worriedly to her son, mute in the passenger seat. She smiled feebly, attempting to joke with it. "Boy, that has got to be a record."

Harry was silent, staring stonily at the road ahead.

Lily furrowed her eyebrows in concern at her son, before grinning falsely at him to lighten the mood. "You hungry? I was thinking that we could stop by that ice cream shop on the way home. You know, the one with those ginormous banana splits?"

Harry, again, was quiet, until he exploded verbally, turning over to face Lily.

"Why don't you believe Dad's innocent?? We should be trying to help him." he demanded.

Lily was speechless for a moment, not quite sure how to talk about this with a child – with Harry. "I… I know that you want to believe in your father. But I know what's best, Harry. They're going to catch your father, and he's going to go away for a long time."

Harry shook his head, readjusting his glasses. "They'll never find him," he said smugly.

Lily furrowed her brows. "How… how do you know that?"


"Harry, do you know where he is?"

There was a loud, whining siren from the police car that had seemed to zoom up out of nowhere, and Lily sighed, looking worriedly at Harry as though she was embarrassed to be caught by the police in front of her son. She leant her head on her hand, waiting as the officer stomped up to her car.

"Is – is there a problem, officer?" she asked sweetly, her voice cute. The officer was still grim.

"Mr. Dumbledore," he began dangerously, his lip curling into a sneer, "wants to see you."

Lily froze, her heat pumping loudly in her mind. "I'm with my son," she pleaded quietly.

But the officer had roughly opened the car door, making Lily comfortingly stroke the hair of Harry before they both climbed out of the car seats, passing by the stony man.


Sirius mingled cheerfully among the cloud, brushing by his mother and eyeing the large poster that was plastered across the wall, readingVote Lupin! brightly.

He took the glass that the bartender had slid across the slick counter, sipping at its contents and feeling the ice cubes caress across his lips.

Smiling across the building, he saw Cho, beautifully dressed up – looking as though it had taken her hours to get prepared. Sirius grazed across the sticking out elbows and the shiny shoes that he avoided stepping on, moving over to Cho smoothly.

"Hey," he said suavely, flashing her a grin. "So I guess sooner, rather than later."

He held up his glass. "To destiny," he began. Cho smiled. "may we recognize it when we see it."

Cho thought for a moment. "To love," she said, "may we stay away from it when it's no good from us."

The dull clank of their glasses echoed throughout Sirius' ears as he brought the glass to his lips and took a small sip.

"You know how earlier you were telling me how you had changed," Cho said, and Sirius nodded, "I… I noticed. There's just something different. Like – like a look in your eye. A confidence of sorts."

Sirius put down his glass.

"There's… there's something I should tell you. Something that I didn't think would be right to say when I still worked for your father, something that I wouldn't have even said to you two days ago. I've – I've been in–"

"Excuse me, good evening everybody," Remus' voice rang over the crowd, echoed by the microphone. "I apologize for the rain, if you elect me, I promise I'll do something about it."

There was a murmur of a laugh coursing through the people.

"I would like to welcome you all here. On account of my family, my staff, my wife… It… it was a life-altering event that really prompted me to try out for Congress. My father hid a depression from up until the day he died. His loving wife, his attentive children, his caring friends, we all knew about it. Yet he suffered alone.

"As many of you may have read, my brother Sirius had an accident. What I kept from the press… is that Sirius barely survived a suicide attempt."

The flash, click, click of the multiple cameras in the room seemed to blind Sirius. He hadn't been suicidal. There had been no accident. He saw his mother staring at him in concern, even Cho's eyes on him. Did she believe Remus?

The cameras swiveled around, snapping photos of Sirius, but they turned straight back to Remus as he continued talking. It was all a blur of noise to Sirius now.

He elbowed the people out of the way, ignoring the soft whisper that called his name – Cho's whisper – as he stormed out of the building and into the rain. Anywhere but that speech. Anywhere but those lies.


"Nissan Versa. Nissan Versa!" Seamus pointed fixedly at the magazine for a visual as he approached the lady at the counter.

The lady, playing boringly with her frizzy hair, seemed to awaken from her dreariness.

"Oh," she said tiredly as she saw Seamus impatiently in her line. "Nissan Versa? That's a popular choice. Let me check to see if we still have any left."

She typed away at a computer, Seamus wondering if she even knew what key she was hitting.

"Um, Seamus," Dean muttered. "We've got a connected flight leaving for New York."

"We're not flying!" Seamus brushed past, waving his hand impatiently.

"What?!" Dean asked surprisingly. "Why not?"

"It says we rent a car."

"And we drive all the way?"

"Yes. In a Nissan Versa!"

"Do you know how long it's going to take?" Dean complained. "Suppose – suppose she doesn't have that exact car."

But the droopy-eyed lady turned to them, lazily throwing a key into Seamus' palm. "You're in luck," she drawled. "we have one left."

Seamus smiled satisfyingly, brandishing the key wisely in front of his friend's face. "It's our destiny, Dean."

Seamus dashed off, Dean jogging after him, as he slammed the car door closed excitedly as he got in, squealing in excitement. Dean attempted to snatch a look at his Ipoded-Lily-Evans, when Seamus nudged him in the ribs.

"Okay, we're going to Las Vegas."

Dean thought briefly at what was on the receiving end of their road trip – Lily Evans, innocently unaware of Dean and Seamus coming to visit her in Las Vegas –

He shook his head of the daydream, staring the key in the ignition.

"Yes, Seamus. It's our destiny."


Cedric sighed as the sound of bubbling, frothy beers being sipped at filled his ears. Looking around, he saw nothing but people enjoying themselves, laughing and chatting with their friends and having some entertainment in a bar on an innocent Friday night.

The chubby, balding barman shuffled up to Cedric, smiling.

"How you doing?" he asked conversationally.

Cedric looked at the table. "Well – I'm… uh…"

That was a rhetorical question. Just say fine, and order a drink.

Cedric's head snapped up, surprised to hear the barman talk so rudely to him, when he realized that the man was still silent and smiling falsely.

"Uh – fine. Whatever you got on tap."

Rubbing at his temples, Cedric looked over to see an equally moody and brooding man sipping away at a deep glass of beer.

That woman… sucking everything out of me.

Cedric felt a cold glass slide into his fingers. He smiled at the glum man a few stools away.

What's he looking at? Barking up the wrong tree.

The man shook his head sadly at his glass, as though Cedric was simply going insane, smiling at random strangers… but this could be fun, if Cedric didn't acknowledge the people to it…

Turning around to face a couple on a date, he focused hard on both of them.

What am doing here going out with him?? Am I that desperate?

Cedric laughed quietly to himself at the uneasy woman, before turning to the man.

She is digging me…

Chuckling at his beer, Cedric turned to an old lady that was a stool away.

What if I just disappeared? Would they notice? Would anybody notice? Would anybody care? Would they even know I was gone?

Rather glumly, the smile slid off of Cedric's face. Maybe this was not to play around with, even if it was interesting.

He turned to see a tall, dark man standing by the door.


Cedric heard nothing. No thoughts from someone…?

Then he realized that the man was staring back at him, glaring boringly into Cedric's alertful eyes.

That was strange.

A feeling nagging on the end of his spine, Cedric put down his half-finished glass and headed for the exit, when a feeling of unexplained dizziness hit him. A sharp, throbbing pain in the back of his head, something swirling about in his mind –

With a sharp thud, Cedric hit the floor face first, hands splayed on the floor in defeat.


"We were in his apartment – we saw everything!" Severus explained hastily, running forward and dragging Ginny along beside him by the wrist. His coat was drenched in rain, as was his hair, but Ginny still had her hood of her jacket up above her mass of red hair. She stayed quiet as the police team thundered around them.

"And may I ask what you were doing in there?" A policeman inquired.

"Just follow me," Severus said hurriedly, and bust through the door, into the study and ready to go into the hidden hallway of the mirror. "I have evidence that Voldemort killed my father. He had a list of victims along with a man who–"

Severus was silent immediately. Everything in the apartment – from spoons to pictures, bed sheets to shampoos, was empty. No books on the shelves. No plates on the tables. It had all been emptied out.

"I… I don't understand," Snape murmured quietly, "we were here this morning."

Ginny squeezed past the police, staring horrifyingly at Severus, who nudged open the mirror. Trying to ignore the dramatic lightning strike from the thunderstorm raging on outside, Severus walked into the dimly lit hallway and found no map, no strings, no nothing.


Sirius could hear Remus approaching him in the dark, rainy night. But Sirius stayed hidden, behind the pillar of the parking lot garage, waiting until Remus would be close enough. He heard footsteps of his entire Congress team with him, and when Sirius finally heard Remus' gentle murmur right behind him, he pounced, and punched Remus straight in the face.

Remus fell straight onto his own car, clutching his mouth, while the rest of his team proceeded to slamming Sirius onto the pillar.

"Son of a bitch!" Sirius shouted at Remus.

"Careful, Sirius," he warned. "That's our mother you're talking about." He turned to his crew. "Let him go."

"There was no reporter on my story!" Sirius roared. "You just wanted to talk on about some silly excuse of my nonexistent illness!"

"There would have been a reporter eventually." Remus said calmly. "I had to take control of things before they would be–"

But Sirius had sent his fist flying into Remus' face once again.

Moodily, Sirius excused the hands of Remus' associates and walked out into the rain, ignoring the fact that he chilling up like ice cream and that the clothes that were sticking to his skin were not helping his case. But he would walk home this way if he had to.

But a moment later, defeated, Sirius attempted to hail a cab with his bangs plastered to his face. All the of the cars ignored him, whizzing straight past his outstretched hand.

But it was then that Cho held a red umbrella protectively over him, shouting over the rain:

"You're bleeding!"

"What?" Sirius asked, and dabbed at the sides of his mouth. Blood was trickling from his lips after being slammed into the pillar. But that wasn't the concern right now.

"Look, what Remus said – it's not true, I didn't try to kill myself!"

"No, I know."

And after a few moments of hesitation under the umbrella, Sirius leant forward, and kissed Cho.

And only a few apartments away, Draco Malfoy was looking at a sketch of the exact same thing, Sirius kissing Cho under a red umbrella to avoid the pitter-patter of the rain, a piece he had painted three weeks ago.

H E R M I O N E W E A S L E Y / G R A N G E R

Hermione, temporarily dead on an autopsy table, felt nothing as a worker dressed heavily in gloves and aprons, pulled a branch out of the side of her head and tossed it into a tin can.

Hermione awoke with a start, coughing uncontrollably as the color in her eyes slowly faded back to its original color.

She looked down at her bloodied form.

On an autopsy table, her chest cut open with the ribs and heart and muscles exposed.

"I – holy–"

This force, evolution, is not sentimental. Like the earth itself, it knows only the hard facts of life's struggle with death. All you can do is hope and trust that when you've served its needs faithfully, there may still remain some glimmer of the life you once knew.