AN – It's been a while for the last update for Twist of Fate, hasn't it? Well this chapter didn't cooperate for a while. I've outlined the next three chapters and roughly planned the timeline for it too so hopefully things will go a lot smoother next time. AAND I got my A level results too ;) It's GOOD news :D Two As and two Bs! And can you believe it, 120/120 on my English Literature exam! I had to pinch myself to make sure I was seeing it right haha – I've never got full marks on anything in my life which made it even more special :D
Chapter 9 – A Dementor's Call
It was the middle of October and very cool. As Harry shifted on his broom, already high in the dark night sky and his breath making misty plumes form in the air, he looked down at the stands. They were full to the brim with students; he could already see Lana sitting next to her friends and Susan and Hannah, wearing Gryffindor colours in a show of support against Slytherin. Hermione, Ron and Neville were waving to him eagerly from the stands.
Malfoy, the git, was swooping about on his Nimbus 2001 while the rest of his team pulled off difficult manoeuvres on their own, looping around the Gryffindor players with ease. All the brooms had been provided by Draco's father – which Hermione said, had ensured his son's place on the team. Draco Malfoy had overheard, taking to skulking around the grounds with his goons Crabbe and Goyle and called Hermione a Mudblood. Harry would have hexed him but Ron got there first and gave him a mouthful of slugs which he promptly vomited in the middle of the courtyard in full view of those leaving from lunch.
Ron was pleased as punch until it got back to Professor Snape that he had hexed his favourite student. And since Harry did nothing to either help or hinder Ron, Harry had detention also with Filch and had been banned from attending Nearly Headless Nick's 500th Death-day later that month. In their spare evenings Harry and Ron would scrub, mop and clean everything that Filch told them to until their time was up. Harry made sure he kept the look of Horror on Malfoy's face in his mind's eye when he was taking detention. "It was worth it…it was worth it," he would chant under his breath.
Harry circled the pitch looking out for the small golden snitch which had been released by Madam Hooch ten minutes ago. Hundreds of bright balls of light illuminated the stands and ground below in the otherwise pitch black sky, which Harry hoped, would make it easier to find the snitch, but so far, nothing.
"All right there, Scarhead?" yelled Malfoy, shooting underneath him to show off the speed of his broom, a dramatic improvement on his own Nimbus 2000
"If you haven't got something better than that you can sod off—" WHOOSH! A heavy black bludger hurtled past his head, so close to his scalp that he felt it ruffle his hair as it passed.
"Close one there, Harry!" said George, streaking past him with his club in his hand, give the Bludger a powerful whack sending it in the direction of Adrian Pucey. The bludger sped towards the Slytherin before quickly changing direction and hurtled back, heading straight for Harry. Harry dropped, dodged and rolled.
"What the bloody hell's going on?" he yelled to Fred and George who were now zipping around him in an attempt to keep the bludger away – but it kept coming back!
"Haven't got a clue!" Fred yelled back, scowling as he saw that Slytherin had taken possession of the Quaffle and were zipping up and around Oliver in an attempt to confuse him. The Bludger came for Harry again.
"Time out! Time out!" George motioned to Oliver Wood who signalled to Madam Hooch – she blew her whistle and they all flew down to the pitch, Slytherin's at one end and Gryffindor's at the other.
"What the hell is going on out there?" Wood demanded. "There are two bludgers y'know, focus on both instead of just one!"
Fred waved his bat in the direction of the Slytherin team who were looking decidedly smug. "Someone's bewitched the bloody thing to go after Harry; whenever we hit it away it just comes shooting back."
Wood looked grimly at his team one by one. "Then if they have to resort to such underhanded tactics then they don't think they can win. They may have better brooms than us but we have better players. Now, I want you all to go out there and give it everything you've got. Potter – I want you to get on that snitch and catch it as fast as you can. You're fast on a broom and can evade the bludger as long as you keep going. Do not stop under any circumstances Fred George, do your best to disable the Slytherins, use your aim to your advantage. Right. Are you ready?" The steely glint in Wood's eye was enough for them and each nodded with grim determination. "Let's do this."
The match began again and Harry rocketed up into the sky, the bludger behind him. He flew in quick circles above the pitch, dive bombing the slytherins, letting the bludger trail after him and knock them off their brooms if they weren't quick enough to see him, getting several cheers from his house and many loud boos from the Slytherins. Gryffindor picked up points ruthlessly until they were neck and neck with the Slytherins, all they needed now was the snitch, and that was when Harry saw it.
A brief glint of gold behind Malfoy's head and since he was too preoccupied with jeering at Harry he didn't sense the movement behind him until it was a tad too late. Harry shot toward Malfoy whose smirk quickly faded, shooting out of the way to avoid being hit, but removing himself (unknowingly) from the path of the snitch. Finally seeing the snitch, he began to give chase to Harry who was shooting up into the inky sky.
Malfoy pushed harder and a burst of speed later he was level with Harry – a shove and a smirk sent Harry sharply to the side. But Harry wasn't having that. Malfoy was a rotten little shit and Harry was going to do everything he could to get that snitch!
Higher and higher they climbed, Harry and Malfoy shoving against each other on their brooms, attributing the sudden drop in temperature to the height at which they flew. Just a few more inches – a burst of speed – got it! Harry stopped in midair to raise the snitch clenched tightly in his fist and grin at Malfoy who, much to Harry's surprise, was not sneering or scowling, but wide eyed and trembling. Harry turned to look over his shoulder, dread spreading through his body like poison. Seemingly unable to move he watched the Dementor close the distance between them. Malfoy sat astride his broom as though frozen, lips slowly turning blue from the icy cold that followed the Dementors wherever they went.
Harry had remained still for too long. He felt the bludger slam into the shaft of his broom, driving the wood painfully between his legs. Despite the layers of cushioning charms that had been applied to the Nimbus 2000 it was enough to bring tears to his eyes. Harry's ragged gasp jolted Malfoy out of his stupor and didn't hesitate to get out of there, shooting back down to the pitch in a blur of silver and green leaving Harry to face the Dementor alone.
He felt his breath catch in his throat and the well of voices rise in the back of his mind – bad memories trying to get to the fore. He was so cold he shivered, ice had formed on the handle of his broom as more Dementors appeared, drawn to his unhappy past and the delicious new happy memories he had made in the last few years.
"No—" he struggled to manoeuvre his broom away in time, they were approaching fast and his broom grew sluggish and started to drop slowly in altitude. The magic in his Nimbus 2000 was struggling in the freezing presence of the Dementors, frost forming on the handle and twigs.
His only choice was clear, he shoved the snitch in his pocket, grabbed his broom with one hand and pulled his wand from his holster. Reacting on pure instinct he pointed it straight at the hood of the nearest Dementor and roared "EXPECTO PATRONUM!" Something silver-white, something enormous, erupted from the end of his wand. The Dementor flew back with a screech but another was coming, and another – and he could hear screaming and yelling, unsure whether it was just in his head or in the stands below as his broom gave out, so did his patronus and he spun in an uncontrolled dive towards the green grass of the pitch, hoping desperately that the safety charms would hold…
The tip of Harry's broom collided stabbed the grass and threw him off, sending him spinning through the air to land on his arm with a sickening crunch. Harry gasped, breathing heavily and trying to hear through the roar of blood in his ears – it was with terror that he realised that the screams he could hear were not happening inside his head. A group of eight Dementors had followed him down onto the pitch like a cold black cloud – some drifting off to the sides, attracted by the fears of the children watching the match. The excited emotions of several hundred people must have been too much for them to resist, a varied and delicious feast, and another was coming back for him.
Harry raised his wand at the closest Dementor but the cold was now so intense around the stands he could barely think straight – the pain in his arm was clouding his senses – a cat, a phoenix, an owl, a mole – the Professors had wasted to time in sending out their Patroni, one after the other they drove away the Dementors. Those who couldn't cast a corporeal one produced shields and bright balls of energy to fire at the cloaked figures. Harry's own spell was weak and he was starting to feel sick, the Dementor was too close now and it was breathing in and in and in—he couldn't cast – closer, closer—
Orion hurriedly pulled the stuffed teddies from the shelf in the nursery and shrank them, pushing them into a bag of Lily's he'd found in their room. He'd cast an undetectable extension charm and had shrunk and stuffed everything and anything into the bag he could – he'd even taken the furniture from downstairs. All the little knickknacks James and Lily had placed about the house, the books, the rug, the photos, even the rocking chair he used to sit in when he put Harry to sleep went in.
Harry would appreciate this, he just knew it. They didn't have much of James and Lily's other than the invisibility cloak and a mountain of gold in Harry's Gringotts vault, and ever since the ministry had 'claimed' the Godric's Hollow Cottage as a site of historical interest, no one was allowed in. They'd never even bothered to ask whether it would be okay either, before they'd slapped down a stasis and smothered the place with wards. The only way he'd managed to get in was because they'd never bothered to remove the old ones.
The Fidelus Charm they'd used had collapsed after the 'death' of Voldemort, but the rest of the usual household wards had remained, and he'd been keyed into those. So it was with only minimal tampering that he was allowed through.
Orion stood back and surveyed the room. Nothing was left in here except a bit of dust and a few sweet wrappers now. He'd taken the cot and bedding, the mini-Quidditch mobile James had made for Harry above it and all the toys and books Harry had been bought. "He'll be able to read these when he's older," Lily had said with a smile, her green eyes warm with contentment as she arranged and added books to Harry's shelves. But Harry had never got to read them because it had been a few scant months before Lily and James were murdered and Harry shipped off to the Dursleys. Orion – Sirius, had been in Azkaban then, a prisoner and filled with bitterness and guilt and regret, believing he deserved everything he got – and that it was his fault that James and Lily were dead. While he had sunk deeper and deeper into his guilt in Azkaban, Harry had been an abused little boy with a dream of escape and nice relatives that would arrive and rescue him from the hell he lived in. Harry deserved so much better.
Orion sighed and patted the door frame, what would probably his final farewell to the place that had held the Potter's little family for such a short time. He wondered whether Remus (Moony, he told himself) had visited, and made a mental note to ask Twinky, the house elf he'd bought for his old friend, how he was getting on.
As he made to turn around the hairs rose on the back of his neck and a foul stench of death and decay reached his nose. In his desperate attempt to collect the Potter's things for his Godson he had failed to notice how cold he was, or that there was anything else occupying the cottage but him.
The scabbed grey hand of a Dementor clasped his shoulder and opened its rotting maw and sucked—
Lana looked around her with an open mouth, it was like something out of a nightmare. Children were screaming, shivering and crying around her as the Dementors approached, the cold seeping through even the toughest of Lana's warming charms. Like many others voices rose in her mind, her worst memories brought to the fore. The Quidditch players had flown down to the pitch and dismounted, holding out their wands with shaky hands, many of them pale and shaking.
Several Dementors were coming their way and Lana didn't know anyone else either from Hufflepuff or Slytherin, whose stand they were next to, that could cast a Patronus. Her dorm mates Chloe Arnlem, Fiona Brown and Mary Varne were shivering and fearful, every student was wearing similar expressions.
She saw a Dementor approach Harry – his Patronus charm was nothing more than a wisp of vapour and he was swaying back and forth trying to stay upright. They converged on the stands and Lana drew on every happy memory she had, both her own and from others. There was the first time Harry saw James fly on a broom in the Pensieve, Harry's first steps, Lily's wedding, Harry's first birthday, Harry's eleventh birthday, Hogwarts at Christmas, playing games, telling stories, pranks, potions and time spent with Marie. On and on they went until finally Lana released them all her magic bursting from her wand and sending bolts of light in every direction, scattering the Dementors and shooting towards Harry to drive his own away.
Lana collapsed back onto the bench, Chloe, Mary and Fiona were fussing and asking whether she was alright. Her head was swimming and she felt a wave of fatigue course through her – she'd overtaxed herself again. She needed to remove that magical block her mother had placed on her, and soon, she didn't think she could cope with it for much longer. Lana although there were only eight floating around she was sure there were more patrolling the borders and some in Hogsmeade. She could see Dumbledore standing in the teacher's box, an unearthly wind whipping his robes and hair about his form and thunderclouds gathered overhead as his Patronus let out a piercing cry and forced the Dementors into the sky, driving them up and away from the pitch.
While they had been drawn down towards the pitch with the promise of the heightened emotions of many fresh faced students, the Dementors were now driven away the happy memories of some of the strongest witches and wizards of the generation, the number would have been a problem if only one or two of the Hogwarts Staff had been able to cast the Patronus charm, but then, something rather odd happened.
The Dementors seemed to stop and hover in the air for a moment, ignoring the Patronus' heading towards them, before one wailed, then another, and another, rising up into the air as one, drifting in the wind before suddenly flying swiftly from the pitch, over the forbidden forest and into the darkness.
Warmth and feeling returned to those at Hogwarts as the Dementors left en mass. Those that had disrupted the game were only a portion of those guarding the extensive grounds of Hogwarts and village of Hogsmeade. Only a few wondered why they had left so suddenly, but the rest cheered and clapped, glad that their oppressive presence had gone.
A sonorous charm was cast and Dumbledore spoke to the students gathered there, "Everyone is to report to the Great Hall immediately for treatment by means of chocolate – walk calmly from the stands, no pushing – the results of the match will be determined there."
Lana stood and her gaze caught Harry's retreating form, supported by the Weasley twins either side. She was just about to turn away and follow her friends when the twins gave a startled shout and Harry's head jerked back – a bludger had broken his nose.
Orion couldn't move, every muscle was frozen and joint locked in the chilling presence of the Dementor. It turned him and leant in closer, pulling at his happy memories, seeming to take great delight in feeding on the new ones he'd made with Harry, Lana and Marie in recent years. He'd expected it to be over quicker – but there was more and more and they just kept pouring out of his eyes and his nose and his mouth as the Dementor sucked them in with delight, savouring them.
His knees felt like bags of water and he collapsed, lightheaded and sickly. The orange glow from the streetlights that burned through the window was dimming, becoming paler and paler as memories assaulted his mind...
Regulas had just walked into the trap meant for Snivellus but it was all the same – still funny because it was a Slimy Slytherin…I hate you Sirius! I wish you weren't my brother – I hate you!
He was sixteen and being yelled at by his mother – just before he ran away to the Potters…You are a disappointment to me, to your father and bring shame to our noble house, get out! Get out! You are no son of mine!
He was facing Peter, confused at his words…Why did you do it Sirius – we trusted you, we all did – I can't believe you're a Death Eater…
He was being led through the damp halls of Azkaban up to the high security ward by a particularly vindictive Auror…Here's your new home Black, look, you're even close to your cousin Bella. I'm sure you'll have lots to talk about—which murders you enjoyed the most and what dark arts you think are the best, I'm sure you'll be right at home…
He was on one of his most recent aimless walks through Diagon Alley just to fill up the time, overhearing snatches of conversation from huddled groups of witches and wizards fussing over The Daily Prophet…Sirius Black – he's a murderer…the sooner he gets the kiss the better…
The scabby hands reached out to frame his face, a mockery of a lovers caress. It was in the final strains now. All his regrets and pains had come to the fore and he had nothing happy left to offer. He'd never find out what happened in the Other Harry's future or his own, he'd never see his godson graduate or Lana wear off that stupid potion and they'd never take down Tom Riddle together and Remus, oh merlin, Remus still thought he was a murderer and he'd never even told Marie how much he—
Orion slumped onto the floor of the Nursery, his world turned dark…
Is this what eternity's going to be like? Orion thought to himself, feeling as if he was floating but there was nothing around him and he couldn't see. Was his nose meant to itch this much? Was he meant to be this uncomfortable in the afterlife?
Warmth, light and sound returned to him slowly and the fierce growls of a wolf rang in his ears.
Thank Merlin and Morgana, I'm not dead yet – I can't be – Is that you Remus? Is it a full moon? How did he know I was here? Are Dementors repelled by werewolves?
"Orion-Orion oh god speak to me, please!"
That's not Moony's voice…
His eyes opened and he stared at Marie in a daze, struggling to form words, unable to believe that she was here. Why was she here? How did she know?
Tears filled her eyes and she threw herself at him sobbing into his jacket, clinging to him as though he was a life raft in a storm. He could barely make out her words between her choked sobbing, but he finally managed to move his arms enough to raise and wrap around her. His whole body felt like a heavy lead weight and his mind moved sluggishly.
When she realised Orion was responding to her death grip her head shot up and a fresh wave of sobs bubbled up as he gave her a croaky "Hi".
"Please don't cry-"
He felt the stinging slap to his face was totally uncalled for.
Marie grasped his jacket with both hands and shook him, "I. Thought. You'd. Been. Kissed!" She snarled, tears still running down her face.
The nursery which was lit by the orange glow of the streetlights was extinguished as something – several something's – blocked the window. Dark shapes swept past and they could hear the whistling raspy breaths of things downstairs. Their breath curled in the air and fear crept back into his gut and Marie was shivering.
"We have to get out of here" she whispered, her green eyes sweeping over the empty Nursery and out into the hall.
Feeling rather weak Orion pulled out his wand with numb fingers and Marie helped him to his feet. She cast a quick warming charm over them that had no effect on their chilled bones.
"There's anti apparition wards on the cottage" he wheezed, swaying on his feet as Marie guided him forward. It felt as though he was wading through treacle. "Ever since THAT night the ministry declared it a site of special interest and layered it with stasis charms," he said slowly. The loss of motivation was typical of Dementor encounters, making you feel sick and lethargic as though they'd sucked at your energy as well as your memories. "Wait how did you get in?"
Marie waved her hand dismissively, tucking an arm around his waist when his steps faltered. His knees were weak, he was lightheaded and he felt a strong need to sleep. "Kreacher told me you were here...I may have blasted a ward point or two to get in." In truth, once Marie realised that she'd been repelled by the wards after attempting to go in the traditional way, and couldn't remove all the wards quickly enough, she'd blasted the front gate and first few fence panels to ashes, ducking in before the wards had a chance to reassert themselves.
Before Orion could formulate a reply, he turned rigid in her arms. Dementors were emerging from James and Lily's room from the hole in the ceiling and there were more downstairs, emerging from the open front door to rise up the staircase, turning the air cold and spreading fear and loneliness as they came closer.
Marie grabbed his sweaty hand and cast her Patronus, it was bright and snarling, but not enough to fight them all off. Marie pulled the shield towards them as tight as she could and they made slow progress down the hall. They managed to reach the top of the stairs but now they were surrounded and the Dementors were finding weak spots. Orion tried to cast his own patronus but only sluggish mist emerged. He looked at her helplessly, turning in her grip to place a palm against her face.
Orion drank in her features, longing for her clear blue eyes instead of the glamour of her green ones. "I just want you to know that I—"
Marie gripped his red hair and pulled him down into a desperate kiss as she silenced him. Fiery bliss coursed through his body. It seemed to him as though the whole world faded away as he closed his eyes, the darkness drew back and warmth surged through his limbs as he pulled Marie closer. He growled against her lips as she relaxed against him. Orion hadn't been with a woman for months, but the urge to go further was unusually absent, he was content to kiss Marie letting his lips caress and move in sync with her own. He was only vaguely aware that her wand arm was still outstretched.
Marie broke away panting and Orion opened his eyes slowly, his own breathing heavy. He leaned in to kiss her again – he didn't want a Dementor to be the last thing he saw or felt – but Marie turned her head away.
She moved down the hall, but he remained where he was feeling confused, she hurried back to his side and grabbed his hand. "Quickly Orion," Marie pulled him down the stairs, tripping over his feet and feeling light headed they made it out the broken front door and through the overgrown garden. He looked back over his shoulder to see Marie's Patronus, brighter than he'd ever seen it charging the Dementors. Another sharp tug brought him back around when he almost tripped over a creeping vine, copying Marie as she leapt over a pile of ashes that was once the front gate and central ward point for the Potter's cottage.
Before he could utter a sound, they were over the threshold and Marie pulled him into the circle of her arms and disapparated.
Lana rushed back to her dorm as soon as the Headmaster bid them all goodnight. The hot chocolate was still warm in her belly and had staved off the worst of the Dementor's effects. She'd begged her excuses from her friends and closed the curtains around her bed, pulling the communication mirror out of her trunk. Even though she activated it and called through for half an hour, Marie or Orion didn't answer. She left it open just in case, calling through every now and then until Kreacher appeared and told her that Orion and Marie had been out for some time and didn't know when they'd return. "Tell them to contact me as soon as they're back," Lana had ordered and closed the connection, leaning back to rest against the headboard of her bed.
She did try to get to sleep but grew restless when the mirror stayed silent. Lana slipped quietly from her bed and pulled on her dressing gown, sliding her feet into her furred boots she'd bought to keep her feet warm in the draughty winter nights at Hogwarts.
Lana disillusioned herself and walked through the common room, along the tunnel and out into the corridor by the kitchens. The castle was chilly in October and only set to get colder. In the middle of winter you didn't have to look very far to find ice on the windows.
She strolled through the dungeon corridors for a while, encountering nothing more than a few spiders and a mouse before she began to climb the staircases. She detoured to take a look at the portrait guarding Gryffindor tower – the fat lady was sleeping soundly, slumped against the backdrop of her painting – before moving up and on to the higher floors settling in a deep windowsill looking out over the grounds.
The full moon shone down onto the rolling lawns of Hogwarts, transforming all colour into shades of black and grey, and the surface of the Black Lake to liquid silver. Not wanting to be seen or heard she refreshed her disillusionment charm and cast a muffling charm.
As Lana got comfortable she tucked her knees under her chin, looking out onto the grounds and took comfort from the familiar stones and scenery of Hogwarts.
"I just hope you're both alright." She whispered into the night, sending out a silent wish for Marie and Orion's safe return, leaning her forehead against the frigid glass.
Potter Memorial Cottage Raided!
Late last night Aurors were called to a disturbance in Godric's hollow on the site where Harry potter defeated He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. Upon arrival hundreds of Dementors had congregated around the cottage emitting a strange wailing noise which is suspected to be the way they communicate with each other. The house we are sad to say was stripped of any and all items of furniture, clothing and sentimental value to the Potter family which was warded and put in stasis as a memorial to all that happened there on that Halloween night in 1981.
There is structural damage inside to the front door as well as the outer perimeter and wards. The investigation is ongoing, but Aurors suspect that the recent escaped criminal Sirius black is behind it. Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge had this to say: "Only such destruction towards the heart of our most recent history could have been orchestrated by someone intending to cause great distress as Sirius Black. Black was almost back within our grasp last night but used Dark Magic to slip away. I have assurances that such a thing will not happen a second time and that Black will be apprehended soon. Until then continue with the safety measures that have been suggested, inquiries can be made at the welcome desk at the ministry or by post owl from the usual address."
Due to Sirius Black's dangerous nature the Muggle Prime Minister has been contacted and they too are on the lookout for those fitting Black's description. It puts my mind at ease to know that both Magical and Muggle law enforcement teams are working to bring this criminal to justice.
As always if you have any information regarding the whereabouts of Sirius Black, please contact the Auror office by the usual address. Dementors will continue to guard Godric's hollow and search other likely places for black to return to.
Stay safe, dear readers.
Daily Prophet Offices,
22 Diagon Alley,
Thank you to…
Kamil the Awesome
Quite a few of you were close in guessing this chapter, I'll just have to shock you with the next few ;)
So what did you think about this one? And that kiss ;) it's been a long time coming!
I'd love to hear what you think :D