For the infamous dollface's Most Unforgivable challenge.

Character: James Sirus Potter

Quote: "You keep knocking on the devil's door long enough and sooner or later someone's gonna answer you."- Lt. Green- Four Brothers

Unforgivable: The Killing Curse

[EDIT: Fixed my typo! Thanks for the correction, Xx-BananaBookworm-xX. You get a cookie! *gives virtual cookies*]

James Sirius Potter could hear their feet pounding up the stairs behind him as he ran, higher and higher. He could not let them catch him; if they caught him, he would never reach her in time.

He could hardly believe it when these boys, some of whom he had been friends with since their Sorting six years ago, had turned on him. Yet, here he was, running for his life.

The one that most surprised him was his supposed best friend, Ben Longbottom. The boy had formed a group of dark wizards, Quelli Colpevole—also known as Those Fallen—a group akin to Voldemort's Death Eaters. And, to start his regime as the new Dark Lord, Ben was going to stage a mass killing.

Of course, he was only going to get his hands dirty on the first murder; the others he would leave to his lackeys. But it was this first death that had James almost beyond the realm of rational thought, for Ben's intended first victim was not just a random selection. She was James' girlfriend of four years; Mina Corner.

Finally, James reached the top of the stairs and burst through the doors. First, he saw Ben standing in the center of the tower. Then he saw Mina, curled up on the ground at Ben's feet. He felt sick as he realized Ben had used the Cruciatus Curse on her, probably repeatedly.

Ben suddenly looked up at James and grinned. "Well, James, old mate. I'm surprised to see you here. Didn't think you had enough guts to show up." He looked past James and gestured as if shooing away a fly, probably telling his minions to go deal with other problems.

"You mean you didn't think I'd get past your stooges," James corrected, trying to glare at Ben but finding himself unable to look away from Mina.

Ben shrugged. "Well, I can't say I'm disappointed. This makes things so much more interesting."

He sounded like a child talking about a trip to Disney World, James thought. Was this really what he perceived as fun?

"I almost thought that I would be unopposed," said Ben. Mina suddenly let out a whimper, and James had to fight every fiber of his being to keep from running to her.

"You keep knocking on the devil's door long enough," James growled, fists clenching so tightly his knuckles turned white, "and sooner or later someone's gonna answer you."

Mina suddenly forced herself to sit up. "Please, James. Just go." Her voice was unnaturally high from fear.

"I'm not leaving without you," he said, his voice holding a note of finality.

"Aw, how touching," Ben interrupted, wiping away an imaginary tear. "I hate to break up this sentimental little moment, but I don't have time to waste." His expression turned to a scowl of fury as he aimed his wand at Mina. "Avad—"

"Avada Kedavra," James shouted. A bolt of green light erupted from his wand, hitting Ben square in the chest, and the boy collapsed to the ground.

James stared for a moment, then looked down at his wand, then back at Ben again. For a while, he was too stunned to speak.

"Merlin," he finally said, voice shaking. "I just…. What did I just do?"

Mina ignored the question, already kneeling over Ben as she grabbed his wrist; she was a Mediwitch in training, but her Muggle mother, who was a nurse, had taught her some non-magical means of testing things like this.

"He still has a pulse," she said, just loudly enough for James to hear.

"But—but that's impossible," James argued, hoping he was wrong. "I used— He got hit by the Killing Curse."

"When you use an Unforgivable, you have to really mean it," Mina explained as she stood up. "With the Killing Curse, you have to genuinely want that person dead. You just wanted to stop him."

James just stared at her for a moment. "He was going to kill you."

Mina smiled grimly. "I know. But he didn't."

"I'm going to Azkaban," James said in disbelief.

"No," she suddenly snapped, her weakness dissolving.

He frowned. "You know the penalty for using an Unforgivable."

"Nobody knows you used it," she said, desperate to salvage the situation. "We can cover this up."

James absently ran a hand through his hair. "I've got to own up to this. I did the crime; now I have to take the punishment."

"James," she said, "you can't. What about us? You can't just let yourself get sent to Azkaban. I—"

At that moment, five of Ben's cronies came through the door onto the roof. From the looks of things, they were higher up in the ranks and bringing a mission report to Ben, but when they saw their boss lying unconscious on the ground, one became frightened and ran.

The other four realized that Mina did not have a wand—Ben had broken it when he captured her—so they stood a reasonably good chance of winning, even without their leader.

"Mina, just stay behind me," James ordered, stepping between her and Ben's underlings as he drew his wand. The next thing he knew, curses were flying, and he was battling his way down the stairs.

Somewhere along the way, more of Ben's followers had shown up, so James was left to fight off at least twenty wizards by himself, thankfully not all at once since they ran into the bottleneck effect in the stairwell.

Finally, he reached the bottom of the staircase only to find that his father and the other Aurors had evacuated the school and captured all of the remaining Quelli Colpevole.

"James," Harry shouted, grabbing his son into a hug. "Thank goodness you're all right. Albus said you'd gone to fight them. I'd thought, when I couldn't find you…."

"I'm okay, Dad," James promised, and Harry released him. Then James almost cringed as he asked, "How badly is Al hurt?"

Harry's expression was a mixture of worry and relief. "He got hit with a pretty nasty spell, but it's nothing that won't heal with time. By next month, he'll be back on the Quidditch pitch, same as always."

James let out a sigh of relief, but then remembered what had happened on the tower. "Dad, I—I've got to tell you something." He fidgeted uncomfortably, trying to find the right words, until Mina stepped up next to him and grabbed his hand. They shared an entire conversation through one glance, one moment of eyes meeting, then James looked up at his father, somehow both resignation and determination in his eyes.

"I used one of the Unforgivable Curses on Ben."

"So, you see, Ma'am," Professor McGonagall said, "he was not in control of his actions. The boy may as well have been facing You-Kn— Voldemort. And his intentions were obviously not malicious, otherwise Mr. Longbottom would be deceased, not recovering in Azkaban's Hospital Wing."

"You make a convincing case, Minerva," said Katie Darrow, formerly known as Katie Bell. In the time since the Second Wizarding War, she had become the first female Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot. "I think we need some time to think about this. I'm calling a recess until we can agree on a course of action."

The entire Wizengamot stood and went to their Conference Room, leaving James and Professor McGonagall to wait. They waited three and a half long hours before a decision was reached.

James stood anxiously as the Wizengamot returned to the room. He could not read their expressions, but he was expecting the worst. It amazed him that his father had even been able to get the case to trial, since use of an Unforgivable Curse usually resulted in an immediate, unquestioned life-sentence in Azkaban.

"Mr. Potter," said Mrs. Darrow, "while an Unforgivable Curse is, well, unforgivable in most cases, we believe that you have a special situation. Had Mr. Longbottom died, you would have been sent to Azkaban or executed, but, since he is alive and well, we are giving you one more chance."

James felt like whooping in joy, like flying laps around the Quidditch pitch, like snogging Mina until they were both blue in the face from lack of air. But he kept his composure, for fear the Wizengamot could change their minds.

Mrs. Darrow's voice became stern, and her friendly expression turned to a glare. "Don't make this mistake again, or I will personally see to it that you are punished to the full extent of the law."

"Yes, ma'am," he said. "Thank you, ma'am."

"Dismissed," she said as she stood to exit the courtroom. The moment she was gone, James bolted for the door. The second he was in the hallway, he was tackled so roughly that he stumbled a few steps back.

"They let you go?" Mina asked, hardly daring to hope.

"No," he responded, rolling his eyes. "They're just letting a convicted criminal run around unsupervised."

She released him and punched him in the arm. "Prat. This is nothing to joke about."

"Sorry, Mina," he said, rubbing his arm. "You know sarcasm's my default setting."

Suddenly his entire family was there, asking countless questions and hugging him and, in Grandma Weasley's case, crying happily.

But the celebrating was over far too soon for James' liking, and he heard an all-too-familiar shout.

"James Sirius Potter!"

With a groan, he turned to his mother and waited to be told his punishment.

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