The Unbreakable Vow
It all belongs to JK Rowling and I thank her for her inspiration and her imagination – There are no galleons to be made by me. This little story is my first Harry Potter fic. As I haven't yet read DH it is definitely AU and of course comments are welcome. My thanks to Tad and Mona for their help.
Prologue – Present day
The car trundled along the dark, narrow lane, its headlights picking up the ragged edges of the overgrown grass verges on both sides and the occasional glimpse of some nocturnal creature's round glowing eyes. The driver gave a tired grin and checked the time indicated by the digital display on the dashboard. She'd reached what she considered to be the half-way point of her journey. Another ten minutes and she'd be home. The thought of the tiny house hidden amongst a grove of trees made a warm feeling of contentment sweep through her.
Ahead she could see the red rear lights of another vehicle as it wound itself through the tree lined road. It wasn't strange to be following another car, just unusual. There weren't many houses along this particular highway.
Suddenly, without warning from within the depths of the wood to her right, coloured streams of light began to fly across the road.
A flash of white, then red, blue, a dark purple with apparent menacing intent and finally, ribbons of green. They twisted and writhed together clearly visible in the darkness. Whatever this was, it wasn't natural. It was almost like…magic.
The warm glowing feeling in her chest vanished to be replaced by the tightening sensation of dread. The car in front swerved, began to weave over the road and, to her horror, finally lost control and slammed into a tree. There was a sickening screech and grinding of crumpling metal followed by the sound of breaking glass.
"Oh, Merlin!" she exclaimed in a pained whisper, her right foot automatically going for the brakes until the car shuddered to a sudden haltShe glanced behind her but there was no other traffic to be seen. She sat in her stationary car, the motor still running and began to panic. "They've found us. They've finally found us. What are we going to do?"
Unable to think clearly, she made a split second decision and wrenched her strangely unwilling car into reverse. She didn't know who or what was out there causing such dangerous colours to appear and hang in the air. But someone or something was and she knew that she had to get help immediately. Whoever was in the crashed vehicle had to have been badly hurt. If she'd only had herself to think about, she might have got out of the car but she couldn't risk it. Not if they were waiting.
The little car sped back the way it had come, disobeying all the legal limits in her haste to return to the small town she'd left only fifteen minutes previously. If she was lucky she'd get to the police station without any mishaps and get them to call for an ambulance.
Her hands were shaking as she stopped the car in front of the police station and for the first time she turned to stare properly at the sleeping child in the back of the car. "Oh, Jamie," she said, her voice stopping on a sob. At the sound his name the child twitched restlessly but didn't awaken, his dark lashes heavy on his plump rosy cheeks. Her lips moved into a half smile through her tears. He wasn't going to like being woken but she couldn't leave him out here – it just wasn't safe to do so, especially if she'd been followed.
Grabbing her bag, she climbed out of the car and opened the back door. With a deep intake of breath she reached in and began undoing the safety restraints on the car seat. "Ssh!" she soothed gently, as the baby began to protest. "Ssh! Jamie love." Vivid green eyes snapped open into full wakefulness, glared up into his mother's worried face and then screwed up his face and began to scream. She hoped he left it at that. Anything more would be hard to explain.
She took a gulping breath and released him from the child seat, pulling him into her arms. "Jamie," she murmured, "Mummy's got you. Please be a good boy." Slamming the car door shut, she ran into the police station as if all the dementors in Azkaban were after her.
"There was an accident," she babbled in-between the child's loud protestations to the two police constables manning the front desk. "I don't know what happened. Hush, Jamie," she said, still trying to calm her small son. "Coloured lights across the road…"
"Coloured lights?" one of them asked. "What kind of lights?"
She shook her head in frustration. That didn't sound very threatening. How could she explain what it looked like and convince them that she had felt threatened at the same time? She sighed and then a comparison came to her. "It was as if someone was deliberately setting fireworks."
"Fireworks! Somebody was shooting rockets at the cars?" The detached expressions on the two policemen's faces slipped for a moment into ones of horror.
"This is serious. I'll get Sergeant Mackie." One of them headed for a set of double doors through which she glimpsed a long corridor.
The remaining policeman's face was concerned. "I can't believe what I'm hearing – fireworks! You've had a shock. You're not hurt?"
"What?" She lifted dazed brown eyes.
"You're not hurt, are you?" the constable repeated his question.
"Yes…no, I'm fine. The car in front of me went into a tree or something like that. I heard the noise of the impact…Jamie…" she pleaded with the still sobbing baby. "Please hush, darling." She returned her gaze to the constable. "You need to send an ambulance to the junction at Sheilhill. The trees grow very close to the road there and the car went straight into the..." She stopped and took a deep breath, her face almost chalk white, pale freckles standing out against her skin, framed against her dark brown hair. "I didn't stop to help and I should have done."
The policeman could see how frightened she was. She stood shaking in front of him, her arms clamped tightly around her still wailing child, although the ear-splitting screams had dwindled into hiccupping sobs. In his opinion she needed to sit down before she fell down. "You did the right thing by coming here," he assured her firmly.
She watched dully, her arms tightening protectively around the child, as one of them dialed the required number.
"The ambulance is on its way along with a couple of squad cars although I suspect the perpetrators will be long gone by the time they get there."
A kindly looking man in a sergeant's uniform approached her, a concerned expression on his face. "I'm Sergeant Mackie, Mrs…" He assessed her age and thought again. She looked to be about sixteen. "Miss…"
"I wanted to stop and help but I thought there might be people in the woods and I have the baby with me. I was just visiting a friend." She began to cry in earnest, pressing Jamie to her. "My husband will be so worried – we should have been home over an hour ago."
So she was married. You could never be sure these days but she still looked very young. He caught sight of a set of impressive looking rings on her wedding finger. "Mrs…" he tried again to interrupt the nervous stream of words.
"We should have been home by now. The crash was so loud. Hush, Jamie," she murmured as the baby began to try to wriggle from her grasp.
The sergeant beckoned the constable over. "We'll be in the lounge," he murmured quietly. "Could you get the young lady a cup of tea and perhaps something for the wee one?" He ushered her to a room which contained a couple of tables and some comfortable looking chairs. She placed the still squawking and wriggling Jamie on the floor where he immediately stopped girning and beamed up at his mother and the sergeant.
"Oh, Jamie," she said helplessly, confused by the abrupt change from woe to happiness. He was too like his father at times.
"You've had a bit of a scare," the sergeant observed. "But he looks to be fine, don't you, lad? You just wanted to move around a bit." Jamie chuckled, his tears forgotten and began to crawl about the floor. "Tell us your name, lass, and we'll contact your husband for you."
"Jenny," she said quietly. "Jenny Peters."
"And your husband?"
She took a deep breath, trying to slow down her rapidly beating heart. "His name's Gary." It still felt strange saying it, even after all this time. "But it would be better if I spoke to him myself. He worries about us."
The sergeant's face cleared and he smiled as he placed the name and attached it to a face. "Gary Peters, from the bank? You're Gary's wife?"
"Yes, my husband works at the bank." The town was small enough for him to know that much and he'd eventually work out that she was a part time teaching assistant at the local primary school. Hiding in plain sight her husband had called it.
"I know him," the policeman said thoughtfully, staring down at the baby. He could see the man in his mind's eye - a quiet, thin young man with a permanently worried expression on his face. His son was the spitting image of him apart from the eyes. He'd worked there for…must be a couple of years now. He hadn't known that he was married. The lad kept himself to himself.
Jenny continued to babble nervously. "We live in one of the cottages off the Shielhill road. I was visiting a friend and took Jamie with me. Normally I would have my mobile phone but it needed recharging and I left it at home. It was careless of me. We lost track of the time."
The other policeman came in with a large mug of tea and what appeared to be a bottle of milk for Jamie. The baby stopped his investigating and sat up, his pudgy fingers closing around the bottle. "Ta."
"He's a polite wee lad," he said.
"When he wants to be," she said dryly. "When he doesn't…" She sank into a chair and reached down with one hand and stroked the baby's head. "He's like any other one year old with a temper to match."
"Here," the sergeant handed her the mug of tea and with a grateful nod of thanks, she took a sip of the hot liquid, sighing as the warmth gradually spread its way through her chilled body. "Would it be possible for me to contact my husband now? I know he'll be so worried. Please."
"Of course." He handed her the phone and smiled. "I'll just leave you for a minute or two and see how things are coming along."
She waited until the door swung closed behind him and then with shaking fingers dialed the number. "H…Harry?" she whispered into the receiver, her eyes fixed on the small figure of her son.
"Yes," she breathed a sigh of relief at the sound of his voice.
"Where are you? Are you okay – is Jamie?" the voice on the other end sounded almost frantic. "You should have been home an hour ago."
"I'm fine." Her voice shook. "Really, I'm fine."
"You don't sound it," Harry said quietly.
"No, I'm fine…honestly."
"What happened, Ginny-love?" he asked gently. "Where are you? You're not still at Helen's?"
"No, I left Helen's less than an hour ago. I witnessed an accident on the way home and I'm at the police station." Her voice trembled. "And to tell the truth, I'm not sure if it was an accident."
There was a pause. "Not an accident?" he said carefully. "What do you mean that 'it wasn't an accident?'"
"There were lights," she almost whispered. "Like…" she hesitated. "Like spells."
She waited for the human explosion on the other end of the telephone and it wasn't long in coming. "What! I'm on my way."
There was no point in telling him not to come. He never changed – action first and think afterwards. She suspected that he never would change and she loved him because of it. Harry James Potter was the least selfish man she had ever met.