Title: Picking up the Pieces
Summary: One fateful night an associate of the Order learns a young woman is still alive when all had believed her dead. Albus and Minerva learn their beloved niece wasn't killed by Death Eaters 15 years ago and send Severus to retrieve her. When sparks fly between them Severus discovers that although Serena isn't dead she has been subjected to a curse. Can Albus, Minerva and Severus remove it and help Serena put all the pieces of her life back together? Or will the torment and subsequent acts following that night lead to madness?
Disclaimer: You know the drill…I don't own any of the Harry Potter characters…I am just using JKR's world to play in. Also, all songs contained herein or referenced belong to the artists who created them.
Chapter 1: The Sign
It was getting dark. Mundungus Fletcher, a squat, straggly man was dressed as a witch with a black veil over his face. He was hunched and limping toward the Leaky Cauldron. Therefore, trying to look more the part of the hag he was portraying so no one would recognize him.
He needed to sell some of his wares to enable him enough money for his new business venture. Things had been slightly hard since Sirius had died. He had made his last trip to 12 Grimmald Place a treasure hunt to earn an extra galleon or two. Sirius was no longer there to stop him, not that Sirius held anything in his hated house dear anyway. But Dung worried about the others in the Order of the Phoenix, the secret society headed by Albus Dumbledore, all on orders to guard Harry Potter.
Harry Potter, god son to Sirius and particular target of the now at large dark wizard, Lord Voldemort. Dung shuttered just thinking the name. No, he didn't think Dumbledore or Potter would be too happy with him for taking Black family heirlooms, no matter how little they had meant to Sirius. Therefore, here he was, about to enter Diagon Alley and get rid of the evidence.
Suddenly, to his left, a large sign rolled down the side of a small grey building. It looked like a small night club. He searched the sign for a name. 'Ahh, Achelous. Strange name for a club,' he thought to himself. But it was in a particularly good spot. Right across from the Leaky Cauldron but still where the muggles could see it. He supposed it may be owned by muggles. However, this close to Diagon Alley it could be owned by magic folk. Dung shrugged and lumbered on. Yet, the name on the rolled sign caught his eye. 'Serena Celestia,' his brow furrowed in thought. Now why did that name sound so familiar?
In the far reaches of his mind Dung repeated the name. Serena Celestia. No…could it be? He recalled a name. Samuel. Samuel Celestia. But Sam had left England long ago and died in the last dark days of Voldemort. Again he shuttered, he really needed to stop saying the name in his head.
Still, now that he thought about it he seemed to remember Sam having a daughter. In spite of this Dung had thought she was also killed. Slowly the image of a woman with dark hair and green eyes played before his eyes. Serephenia Celestia, Sam's wife. The name brought a tinkling sound of laughter to his head. An image of a beautiful woman danced along with the sound. She had a mysterious power...an ancient power. Oh yes, the dark lord would have wanted her. Perhaps that was why they had died in the end.
Mundungus needed to know. Maybe, if this was who he thought it was, the information would be worth a little gold in his pocket. But he had to be sure. Names weren't always reliable. With this last thought he crossed the street and approached the double doors. Reaching a hand out he tried the door. He scoffed. Locked! Quickly he looked left and right then slipped in an alley off to the side.
'Time to see if there's a back entrance,' he told himself.
Rats scurried away squeaking as he moved quickly and quietly in the falling twilight. Crates were scattered along the alley though he saw no people thankfully. Then he was near the back of the building and he heard movement. There was a loud slide followed by a CRACK, around to his right.
"John, please be careful with that. If you need help just ask," said a breathy female voice.
"Yeah, well since Charles isn't here and you're a woman I don't have a choice do I," questioned a male voice disdainfully.
"Sure you do. We always have choices John. Honestly," the woman began exasperated. "I can help you or you can wait until Charles comes back," she finished indignantly and sighed.
"But it's too heavy…" he started
Suddenly the woman tut tutted and grabbed one end of a large amplifier and started to lift. The man named John just caught the other side before the large item toppled onto the smaller female.
Sluggishly they made their way into the building. Mundungus shifted his position to get a better look. There were some crates stacked high to the left of the door, from here Dung could see inside. The man and woman were unloading what looked like quite a few musical instruments and some heavy sound equipment. Dung looked into the door and saw the couple set down the large amplifier. The man looked red in the face from the exertion but the woman seemed nonplussed. She smiled at the gentleman who rolled his eyes.
"You know, if I didn't think you'd draw a crowd, I would have never agreed to this," John told the woman. Dung heard a tinkling laugh in response.
"Yes, well, I'm only doing this as a favor and I owed one to Charles. Just to get you both started. After tomorrow there will be no relying on me. It'll all be you two…Want-Tobee Enterprises. Owners of Achelous," said the woman and she laughed again at what seemed a private joke.
The man named John smiled at her. "You know, Serena, I really wish you would stay. You are marvelous you realize." The smile started to turn wistful.
"Oh! You do like to tease. But you know I mustn't do this much. Besides, only because I owe Charles, otherwise I would move on."
"You do realize what the Daily Prophet said the other day don't you," she questioned seriously.
John frowned. 'No," he began.
Serena simply laughed. "Oh yes, I forgot you don't take it. But Charles does," she stated sobering again.
"Yes, well I am still not used to it after all these years. He being a squib and me a muggle. But we do try to get on with both worlds. At times it's a bit trying really." John frowned again.
"Well, with the placement of Achelous you are going to have to get used to it fast. Although I think this is a wonderful spot. Best of both worlds actually. That way you can do which ever entertainment you want. I've always thought more muggles should be aware of us. But then not all muggles think alike do they?" She asked this last question sadly.
John saw it coming. The sadness again. So he did his best to cheer her up.
"There, there deary. No long faces!" He wiggled his eyebrows and she giggled. "Ahh, that's better."
"Yes, well the Prophet announced that "he" was back." Serena stated emphasizing the he.
"Really!? Mary mother of….all that's holy," John sputtered. "So they really have been deluding themselves haven't they," he asked incredulously.
Serena nodded. "Yes, it would seem Dumbledore and Harry Potter have been telling the truth all along. Of course I have believed it for a long time. There is a feeling in the air. Darkness is coming, I can feel it." Serena said this last with a far away look.
John looked at Serena knowing what she meant. "Yes, you did try to tell Charles did you not? And I dare say he was still skeptical…," he broke off as another man approached where they stood.
"Now what are we talking of so seriously," he asked.
This man was short and stocky with a thick mane of blonde hair. John, on the other hand, was tall, lanky and had a reddish tint to his hair. The two men couldn't be more opposite in stature or manner. Dung noticed Serena smiled as she surveyed them both.
"Oh, Serena had just told me the Prophet announced "he" was back." John looked at his friend suspiciously. He still wondered if his friend didn't believe it, even though Serena had been insisting for weeks now and had been trying to keep a low profile. He was surprised she had agreed to sing in their club as their first opening act. Yet Serena had her own way and, truth be told, she was a bit stubborn about some things. When it came to helping a friend, even fairly new ones, she was determined.
John didn't think risking her exposure was worth their new club. He would be hard pressed for Charles to hold her to this so called favor she owed him. However, Charles didn't think like John and he was dying to get their new business started. When Charles had found out whom Serena was he had not hesitated to ask her to help them.
Serena had accepted his request with one of her own. No signs, no flyers. Word of mouth only. If Charles wanted to advertise, he could, but only the club or the other acts. Not her name. Surprisingly Charles had agreed. He told John he had heard Serena sing in the States, in a club similar to theirs. He had heard about it from a friend of a friend. And when he had gone the place had been full to bursting. Charles had said it had been worth it.
"Yes, well they may have mentioned it...," Charles started nonchalantly. "Anyway, the sign's up," he exclaimed.
Serena looked at him in delight. "It is? Oh let's pop out and take a look," she exclaimed with glee and turned to go out the back door but Charles stalled.
"For Pete's sake, it's just a sign," he began. Yet somehow his tone didn't match his eyes.
Serena narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously noting the slight fear in his eyes. Quickly she turned to go out again and hurried around the corner. Mundungus backed up just in time as the group went past with Charles stuttering at the end.
"Now listen. I know what you're going to say," He began, "But it'll only be up for one day."
"It was my only stipulation Charles," Serena began and Dung heard cold fury coming from the breathy voice. "You do realize I'll have to change it."
"Only one day deary…," but she cut him off.
"NO! If you want me to help you then it's got to come off!" Serena seethed. "I don't think you realize the reason I asked you this one thing and I refuse to go into it. Just know I have my reasons." With this last statement Serena took out her wand and aimed at the sign.
A jet of blue light flashed and suddenly the sign had changed. It simply said, 'Welcome to Achelous, Jonathan Want and Charles Tobee, Proprietors.' For a moment Charles looked angry but then Dung saw him work to change this.
"Very well, I just hope..."
"Yes, well I can see we all are hoping for different things," Serena cut him off with anger in her voice. But then she seemed to get her emotions under control. "Charles, I know it's hard but you have just got to trust me on this. If you want I'll change the sign to the act after mine but my name cannot be there," she pointed to the sign. "Besides, I have no doubt you will have a full house regardless. Even if it starts out quite empty. I thought you remembered what it was like in the states," she stated.
Charles bowed his head. He knew she was right. "I'm sorry Serena. Perhaps I just got carried away. Excitement and all," he smiled sheepishly.
Serena managed a small smile. "Sorry I let my anger run away with me. But I have my reasons and I'm sorry I have to leave it at that. But the less you know the better off you are." With this last proclamation she looked to John and, although she smiled, he thought she still looked sad.
Mundungus moved back behind the pile of crates when they turned to start back towards the pile of instruments. As Serena walked past she slowed and glanced at the pile of crates. Dung drew in his breath though he knew she couldn't possibly see him. Then she shook her head a little and went inside. Dung released the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding.
Mundungus reviewed the facts to himself. Serena Celestia had to be Sam Celestia's daughter. She was almost the image of her mother. If she had power like her mother, Dumbledore would definitely want to know. Dung smiled, he wondered how much gold he could get from this information. It was going to be a very profitable night indeed. With that thought Dung made his way to the Leaky Cauldron so he could apparate to Hogwarts.