"You don't know how easy death is. It's - it's like a door. A person simply walks through it, and she's lost to you forever."
―Eloisa James, Duchess By Night
Following Padfoot's trail, the clumps getting larger as path continued, was shorter than the men could have anticipated.
A large, battered, run-down, wooden house stood at the bottom of the hill: the shutters half way off the hings, the door with ghastly white paint peeling off with three large claw marks directly down the center, trees looming over the house -making it less visible if not searching-, and small vines running along the front.
James smiled, as he glanced at the building on the hill. It would have been absolutely impossible to see, especially since they were searching in the dark.
Frank's lit wand quickly scanned the area, his eyes examining every detail with great care and his feet going as close as he could at the top of the hill, incase there was a enemy to catch him near by. With a sigh, he stumbled backwards towards James and mumbled a quick 'Nox'.
"So," James whispered, as Frank ducked down behind the large stone next to him. "Spot anything?"
"It looks like some sort of abandoned house," Frank replied, fiddling with his wand between his fingers. "But, I suspect it's a hiding place for Voldy's followers or prisoners...I can't be sure with just looking outside. It definitely has to be bigger on the inside, if they wanted to do anything important with this place... I can tell for certain, though, if Sirius led us here, the there must be something essential about this place."
"Okay," James stood up abruptly, grabbing his wand from his back pocket, "Let's go and see, shall we?" He moved to start down the hill, but was stopped by an irritated Frank grabbing his wrist and yanking him down, once again, to his hiding spot.
"We can't just strut in there and demand for Harry or answers," Frank whispered harshly. "We don't know how many armed Death Eaters or what is behind that door. We need back up. I'll send a patronus out to the Order and they should be here in around an hour." James shot him a glare, his happy, nonchalant demeanor falling immediately.
This entire trip he tried to keep everything lighthearted- mostly for Frank's sake and to keep his own mind preoccupied and off of Harry-, but waiting another hour or more, knowing he was right here, possibly able to save his own son- which was somewhat of a possibility he would be in there- from more torture was too much. He couldn't just sit around and wait...
"No," James stated, standing up once more with his wand in hand. "My son could be in there, and the possibility is more then enough of a reason to fight every single one of those slimy Death Eaters now. An hour could be the difference between life and death for him..."
"And waiting another hour could be the only reason you and your son, if he's even in there, to make it out alive!"
James, ignoring Frank's statement, practically ran down the hill. His wand was lightly lit in front of him, and he carefully but quickly navigated around the trees.
"This is so bloody stupid, Potter," Frank mumbled, behind him making James jump and turn.
"Then, why did you bother coming?" James questioned harshly.
"I can't just stand there and wait, while knowing a fellow Order member and friend is putting their life in jeopardy." James rolled his eyes and nodded.
"Whatever you think, Longbottom. Just don't get in the way too much." He mumbled, leading and continuing down the forest's hill with ease.
Soon, the pair reached the bottom and each stood back to back, observing the area for any enemies. Their eyes wondered, glancing at every shadow and figure making some movement. Finally, when they deemed the place safe, they turned to one another, James motioning his hand to continue forward into the building, and Frank grabbing his wrist and protesting against his rashness. James tore his wrist out of his grip and, within moments, the two were loudly Frank protesting to make a plan and James demanding the other Order member to mind his own business.
A slow clapping caused the two to immediately freeze in place, and turn toward the source of the noise.
"Well, well, well, look what a hippogriff dragged in this early in the morning," the voice stated mockingly, walking out from the forest, his robes sliding gracefully along the ground.
The two Order members gave him a look of disbelief, but said nothing, watching the man's every movement to see if he might attack. The Death Eater gave a loud chuckle.
"You two really think that all that unnecessary, loud bickering wouldn't gain our attention? You two are really that big-headed to think we would leave one of our most important hideouts unguarded?" He snorted. "Just like that Black, who managed to stroll himself-!"
"Where is Sirius?" James demanded, his one hand clenching on his wand tightly. "And more importantly, where's. My. Son! I want to see him now!"
"Woah, somebody woke with a stick up their ass this morning." The Death Eater laughed, making exaggerated mocking gestures with his hands.
James shot a glare and started demanding once more from his son, but stopped immediately when Frank clamped his hand over his mouth.
"My oh my, the great auror Potter is more of a fool then I could have guessed. You really believe you have authority over me to tell me what to do?" He sneered. "I want my son; I want my son! You're sounding like a broken record, Potter, twist it up a bit."
"Go to hell," James spat, narrowing his eyes once more and throwing Frank's hand off his mouth in irritation. "You and all the Death Eaters; you all are just sick in the head! You kidnap innocent, naive children, then when a Ministry member or a member of the Order starts headin' your way, the lot of you hide around Voldy like the cowards-!"
"Uh, James," Frank whispered urgently, a ting of fear laced in his voice, as his eyes widened slightly and, tugging his friend's arm gently to make James step back with him.
But, the irate, irritated Potter was having none of this. He shoved the younger Order member's arm off of him forcefully, and turned to look Frank in the eye.
"What, Frank? Are you now going to come up with some idiotic plan to escape again?" James spat mockingly. "Because, let me tell you, my son could be in there! You were a Ravenclaw in school, but, if you think I'm going to get up and leave; oh, let me tell you-!"
"JAMES! LOOK AT WHAT THE BLOODY HELL IS HAPPENING!" Frank shouted more urgently, as his eyes darted around the scene in front of him. James, finally realizing the situation he was actually involved in, turned his head, and his mouth gaped slightly in horror.
The Death Eater, looking filled with glee for the coming situation, had his thumb pressed against the upper part of his left arm, on what could have been a tattoo, but the Order members knew otherwise from experience. A large skull centering the vein with spotted snakes slithering around it glowed a vibrant green beneath Jull's dirty thumb. James, silently cursing himself for his lack of observation and his moment of rage, prepared himself in stance for battle and drew his wand -Frank copying his gestures. Five waves of smoke formed throughout the sky and onto the ground, Death Eaters shortly taking there place. James could recognize two of them as Bellatrix Lestange, Sirius' insane cousin, and her husband, Rudolphus Lestrange.
The four newly arrived Death Eaters, excluding Bellatrix who looked ready to jump for joy, looked at one another and at Jull quizzically, before recognizing the two aurors and surround the two, Bellatrix with a slight skip in her step.
"Why, oh my, looky who were have here! Potter and that Longbottom fellow! Happy day oh happy day, my oh my Jull! Have you got the jackpot today!" She gave a wicked grin, showing her yellowing teeth. "I've got a few new spells up my sleeve I've been working on with my 'hubby'-!"
"Bellatrix," Jull interrupted with a raise of his hand. "While I'm absolutely endeared by your enthusiasm; I was think more along the lines of a quick kill, maybe a few crucios thrown in here in there, and maybe a nice party at the Malfoys afterwards. It happens to be late, and the Dark Lord would be rather displeased if our prey got away, hm?"
Bellatrix made a loud noise of complaint and whispered something along the lines of "It wasn't worth coming this late at night if we couldn't have a moment of fun", but complied.
"Anyway, Potter, Longbottom. Any last words before you are inconveniently unable to remain on earth?" Jull smirked.
Frank and James glanced at one another, and James was certain he saw a glint in this mans eyes that he never seen before.
"Just one, actually." Frank stated, with unusual cockiness.
"That was just three, but I shall give you one more," Jull stated mockingly. "What is your final word, dearie?
"STUPEFY! STUPEFY STUPEFY!" With three quick shouts, three Death Eaters were knocked out and Frank bolted out of the center of the surrounding Death Eaters, James doing the same after a simple shove. The remaining two Death Eaters stayed frozen for a few moments, until Jull shouted a few spells and darted after them with the yet-again conscious Death Eaters.
Curses flew everywhere of green and red. James and Frank practically were flying through the forest at their speed, their wands flying back and mouths shouting a spell every few seconds -never exactly aimed at anything in particular.
The two made it up the hill and zoomed a few miles away from the forest, when they stopped running.
"Okay," Frank panted, as he and James caught their breath. "Let's apparate to your house, your living room and plan from-!"
Time seemed to slow for James as Bellatrix's killing curse hit Frank directly in his heart.
James did what his instincts immediately made him do; he shot a killing curse Bellatrix's way, and without even knowing if he managed to hit his target, he apparated away.
The apperation happened to go perfectly, surprising James to the fullest. Directly where he planned, back into his cozy home with nobody in site. He strode over to his love seat.
He grinned slightly, the adrenaline still until his brain fully processed what happened.
Frank wasn't here.
He didn't manage to apparate alongside James.
Frank never made it out of the forest.
He was dead.
I woke up extremely early in order to finish this... I've been so busy that it's unbelievable and this damn spacebar doesn't put a space every time so I'm quite annoyed and every time I try to save this god damn thing my internet thing puts a 'cannot read webpage' and I swear if I see that message one more time; I'll hurl.
Sorry for the long wait, by the way... So. Much. Stress. Also, well, I came out of the closet recently and my parents (and a few other people) happen to disprove and well...you guys may know how homophobia works... (and just because I'm stating now that I'm gay does not mean I will make random werido cracky pairings in this story, mkay?)
And, please don't kill me for this chapter...I was debating whether or not to do this to Frank, and I ended up doing it, which made me sad, because I felt it was essential for James' rashness to cost him in some way... As a Gryffindor myself, I have found that being rash actually doesn't accomplish the best things, for the most part, just makes things worse. Though, it's still hard to control it...
Anywho (still in love with that word, it will and always has been a WORD...don't listen to me; I'm sleep deprived.), I hope you enjoyed this chapter!
It would make me blue, if you skipped to review! (Oh my god, remind me to never to type that corny again, okay?)