Alright, so I just want to say up front that I don't really like this chapter it just didn't want to be written at all but here it is any. I hope you guys like it and will stick with me after this one. As always I like reviews…so keep 'em comin'. FYI: I no own world just playing with it.
On with the show!
The Raven's Time
"Sirius Black! Aurors arrest him immediately!" the panicked squeal of the Minister of Magic shattered the silence that had fell over everyone at the sight of Voldemort fleeing the scene before them.
"Never mind that, Cornelius, the Dark Lord was just in front of you and that fact that Black didn't flee with him makes it abundantly clear to me that he is not You-Know-Who's right hand wizard," a stern woman stepped up, her monocle firmly in its place as she stared down the man dressed in his striped pajamas of all things.
"But..but… He can't be back…" Fudge muttered as he glanced around at all of the other witnesses.
"He is and you've wasted a whole year, now get out of my way," the woman ordered as she narrowed her eyes at the shorter man. Fudge instantly shuffled away giving her ample room to make her own move.
"Headmaster Dumbledore, I would like a word with you as well as Mr. Black. Auror Tonks, remain behind for a debriefing,"
"Madam Bones, it is always a pleasure to speak with you and as long as you refrain from allowing Dementors near Mr. Black then I see no reason why you shouldn't speak with him as well. Though I do hope that you allow Mr. Lupin to take young Harry back Hogwarts for me. I'm afraid he's been through quite a bit tonight," Dumbledore added as he stepped up to stand next to Sirius to place his own hand on the ex-convict's shoulder. Madam Bones narrowed her eyes as she looked over Sirius' tear streaked face while he refused to let go of the unconscious teenager. She nodded her head curtly.
"Excellent, Remus if you would be so kind, and…dear me, who are you?" Dumbledore asked as he spotted the stranger next to him.
"Most call me Bran, Professor,"
"Indeed, well if you would be so kind, I don't think highly of individuals who hide their faces on a first meeting," Madam Bones interrupted as she subtly slipped her wand from her forearm holster.
"Ah, beg your pardon, Madam, I forgot I had it up," Bran slowly raised a long fingered scared hand up to push the plain dark grey hood back revealing a face that held three long scars that cut through one side of his mouth over his nose and eyes, coming dangerously close to blinding his hard emerald right eye. The man's shoulder length black hair was pulled back into a low ponytail but allowed a lock of auburn to fall along his cheek. Madam Bones stared for a moment spotting another scar that looked more like a burn on the side of his neck but disappeared into his robes and a small dragon talon dangling from his left ear. Her eyebrows rose though at the lazily way that he pushed up his sleeves to reveal more scars on his forearms but there was no Dark Mark present.
"Well then Mr…"
"Bran, just Bran,"
"Bran, it seems everything is in order for you as of this moment. Mr. Black, if you would be so kind to follow me,"
"He'll be fine, Sirius. I'll not leave his side the whole time, even if Poppy threatens,"
Bran waited until Remus had Harry securely in his arms before pulling Sirius up to his feet and gave the wide eyed look the animagus gave him a wink and a smirk.
"If it's all the same, Madam Bones I'll tag along would hate for anything to happen to the guy that saved my life," Bran added ignoring the continued gaping man next to him and the suspicious glare Moody was giving him.
"Very well, I will need to clear things up with at any rate. Follow me," She returned leading the group through the silent on lookers.
"Amelia, you can't possibly…I mean that's Sirius Black, the mass murderer!" Fudge cried, shaking from head to toe as he stared at the grey eyed wizard.
"So he is, yet he has done nothing against yet and Voldemort was just in here. Go do your own job, Minister while you still have it…Oh and put some proper clothes on for Merlin's beard!"
Bran smirked as he fell in line behind Tonks who was still wide eyed and pale, her normally bubble gum pink hair now hung limply in muddy brown strands. He nudged her elbow with his own causing her jump.
"Buck up, can't be all that bad,"
"I'm here with a vigilante group and was caught by my boss,"
"True, but you're not wearing a white mask and you didn't leave with He-Who-Can't-Spell-His-Own-Name, I'd say that is decidedly in your favor," He grinning at the young witch that was now closer to his age, and watched her struggle to keep the smile from her face.
"What did you say your name was again?"
"Bran, just Bran, at your service," he said with an exaggerated bow.
"Alright Just Bran, I'm Tonks, just Tonks,"
"Ah so your parents graced you with a wretchedly horrendous name as well, Just Tonks," Bran smiled broader at the lyrical laughter finally escaped for just a second.
"Oh you are a charmer aren't you, and yes, yes they did,"
"Nymphadora, we don't know anything about him yet. Don't let your guard down," the gruff voice from behind them caused Tonks to spin around her hair now a fiery red.
"Don't call me that," she hissed.
"It got your attention, constant vigilance," Moody retorted unfazed by the witch's temper.
"Aye, sir, Bran at your service, what would you like to know?" he said waiting for the grizzled old Auror to take a better look at him.
"Where'd you come from?"
"With an Irish name?"
"Aye, father was from the Isle o' green," Bran grinned to make Moody glare some more.
"Enough, gentlemen, we're here to see to Mr. Black are we not?" Madam Bones interrupted as they reached her office and stepped inside. She waited for them to nod their heads before pointing at the chair for Sirius to sit in, who promptly fell into.
"Now, you happen to be in luck that I have a bottle of Truth Serum and the Supreme Mugwump in my office at the same time, not to mention you have no actual trial record. So we will begin,"
Bran watched from the shadows as the Head of the DMLE allowed three drops of the potion into his unknowing godfather's open mouth and then the questions began. After an hour and several yawns Madam Bones finally deemed him to be telling the truth.
"Well, Mr. Black I must say you have quite the tale to tell everyone and I am deeply disturbed that you have had to suffer so many years in that place. I deem you a free man but for legal purposes I suggest that you come back tomorrow where we will have an official trial. Supreme Mugwump Dumbledore, I trust I can leave him in your capable hands?"
"Of course, Madam Bones, I await word for the proper time of the trial," Dumbledore stated with a twinkle in his blue eyes on overdrive.
"Good, now someone better bloody well tell me what the hell has been going on in my own front lawn tonight," she turned her piercing gaze to her Auror and retiree.
"I believe it was a well played trap laid by Voldemort for Harry Potter. Thankfully we were able to make it in time before something truly disastrous happened," Dumbledore spoke up.
"A trap for Harry Potter…and why would he, other than the obvious reason of course, lay a trap for the Boy-Who-Lived in the Ministry?"
"Specifically the Hall of Prophecies, Amelia; the boy managed to last nearly an hour against the Inner Circle and that was with only five other teenagers that came with him. The boy's got balls, I'll give 'em that," Moody added with a clunk of his knobbed cane.
"He was definitely holding his own when I happened across him and Mr. Black here," Bran finally spoke up causing everyone to jump.
"I'm assuming you're not with the rest, so why were with them?" Madam Bones asked after looking over to see the curious look on the Headmaster's face.
"Ah, well I was just leaving when my way was blocked by this rather surly champ with long blond hair and I thought it only fair to repay him in kind,"
"But you were down in the Veil Room," Sirius finally spoke up after letting the potion's effects where off completely.
"Of course, I work there after all,"
Madam Bones closed her eyes and plopped down behind her desk while Moody and Tonks stared at him.
"You're an Unspeakable?" Tonks gaped at him.
"Yes, well one on the way out at any rate. Turned in my notice earlier today," Bran smiled as he remembered the letter that he had left on Croaker's desk before he had stepped into the room in another life.
"No wonder I didn't know you at first glance," Madam Bones muttered to herself before lifting her head up.
"Very well, off with the lot of you. I have a lot of work to do now."
"Thank you so much, you don't know how…" Sirius started coming back to himself after everything finally clicked in his head.
"Think nothing of it, Mr. Black, it's long overdue," Amelia Bones then shooed everyone out. Bran stopped just outside the door by a hand suddenly being shoved into his way. He looked up the arm and into gleaming grey eyes that had years of sorrow striped from them.
"For what; all I did was stand there,"
"For stepping in front of that spell in front of the Veil and reminding me how close we were to it. You saved my life, and my godson's,"
"Oh that, I'm sure you would have been alright but you're welcome at any rate," Bran shook his godfather's hand firmly.
"Indeed, Mr. Bran, that was truly wonderful spellmanship earlier. I would if you would accompany us to my office at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?" Dumbledore asked, the twinkle still firmly in place.
"Don't see why not, as I have nothing better to do. Can't find someplace to sleep till people are actually awake,"
"I thought you lived here," Moody grumbled.
"As in the Ministry, sure but now that I don't work here anymore, I can't exactly sleep here now can I?" Bran grinned at the glare that Moody gave him.
"That's not what I meant, you told me an hour ago that you lived in England,"
"Actually I believed you asked where I was from and if I recall the Ministry is in England. Right?" Bran added with a puzzled look at Tonks who was desperately trying not to laugh out loud. Moody growled.
"Alastair, easy old friend, he gave a valid answer. I think we may be able to help you find somewhere to sleep for what's left of the night, or rather morning," Dumbledore said glancing over at Sirius who quickly nodded.
"Of course, don't see why not. I can always use some extra help at the old dive,"
"Oh you mean the headquarters of that little order you are so proud of; yes, I think that would do splendidly," Bran smiled at the gob smacked looks that was even on the Headmaster's face.
"Unspeakable, well former Unspeakable, my dear; we were even aware of your little guard posts during the year,"
"I see," Dumbledore muttered as he watched the new comer hold out an arm to Tonks who arched an eyebrow at him. Bran rolled his eyes and promptly grabbed her hand and looped it over his arm then glanced back to the Headmaster pointedly.
"Quite right, after me," Dumbledore tossed Floo powder into the fire and was gone with a whoosh of green flames. Bran winked at Tonks before he disappeared in the green fire. The young Auror started to head in but was stopped by a hand on her arm, glancing back she was trapped by the grey eyes of her newly freed cousin.
"Be careful, Nymie please,"
"There's just something off about him," Sirius muttered. Tonks nodded her head before she too took off following the Floo to her former Headmaster's office.
"What do you think, Mad-Eye?" Sirius asked quietly.
"I'll give him that he's wearing an Unspeakable robe couldn't really see a thing when he had it up, and he can fight like a seasoned soldier. The only thing that gets me is willingness to give answers,"
"Yeah," Sirius murmured just before he left the Ministry.
The instant Bran stepped out of the fireplace he was overcome with a mixture of sadness and nostalgia at the sight of the intact Headmaster's office, the many portraits of past headmasters attempting to pretend to be asleep, shelves filled with books and silver and gold whirling trinkets that this time would not be destroyed. The sudden questioning chirp from behind him cause him to turn and lock gazes with the large beautiful phoenix, he grinned as he stepped over to tilt his own head at the bird.
He waited for Fawkes to tilt his head the other direction still trying to understand him.
"Yes, I feel you would have a harder time figuring me out now. Bit of dilemma, eh?" He continued but steadily held his hand out, waiting for the phoenix's verdict. He ignored the calculating looks from Dumbledore and the whoosh of the fireplace flaring to life twice more until Fawkes finally lowered his head to brush it against the out stretched hand.
"Took your sweet time with it, didn't you," Bran murmered causing Fawkes to give a laughing trill.
"Interesting, few strangers know what he is and are willing to talk with him. He's also rather picky in who he deems worthy. Welcome, Mr. Bran to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry," Dumbledore announced.
"Thank you, I take pride in being interesting, but I am wondering how fairs Mr. Potter," Bran stated turning around.
"I believe he is now in the capable hands of our resident Healer, Madam Pompfrey along with Mr. Lupin. Sirius, I must ask you to wait just a moment longer to go see him or at least be that wonderful specimen of dog you so love. I need to speak with Mr. Bran here,"
"I'll escort him down, Professor, won't look as odd for me to walk with my dog right?" Tonks spoke up earning a grateful look from her cousin, and a nod from the aged headmaster. Sirius turned to Bran.
"I'll be seeing you, we'll talk more about living arrangements, alright?"
"Sure, go see to your godson," Bran stated with an absent wave towards the door and with that the two left.
"Now, Mr. Bran, I must ask for a more in depth account of your appearance, for the safety of my order," Dumbledore said after a few moments of watching the stranger look around his office in silence.
"Didn't expect anything else when you asked me here, Professor; what exactly do you want to know?" he asked as he settled himself into one of the vibrant over stuffed seats in front of the man's desk that most people avoided when in the office.
"You mentioned you were an Unspeakable and were just then leaving, correct? I'm curious to know just how much the DOM knows of my group and why you didn't chase us out?"
"Ah, you weren't doing any harm and you were well out of the way of any operations that we were going through. The only snag was when Arthur Weasley was attacked by Nagini, I am sorry about that. How is he doing now?"
"He still has some difficulties with tremors now and again but unfortunately the poison has continued to spread throughout his body to the point that we have little hope of him surviving past three years now," Dumbledore answered with a sadness he showed few people. Bran nodded slowly before reaching within his robe. He held up a small vial that held a silvery creaming potion inside.
"Give this to him, tell him to drink it all as soon as he receives it. It won't help the tremors but it will stop the poison. We've had a few incidents with particular snake before and our Potion Master was able to finish this a few years ago. I see no harm in having your Potions Master check it," Bran added with a small good humored smirk as Dumbledore took the vial. He stared at the liquid before glancing over to Moody who nodded. The ex-Auror instantly sent a patronous towards the dungeons.
"While we wait, would you be willing answer a few more questions?"
"Of course, will this help? I swear upon my magic and life that what answers I give are as truthful as possibly given," Bran stated lifting his wand to be engulfed with a soft golden glow. Dumbledore nodded his head.
"What do you truly know about the order?"
"Straight to the point, what I know is that the full name is the Order of the Phoenix, currently residing at an undisclosed location and is mostly an intelligence gathering unit. You have very few active fighters. Your most recent scuffle was in the Department of Mysteries and faired quite well I might add. You've also been using your people as a bodyguard system to one Hadrian James Potter, Boy-Who-Lived, as he resides in his maternal aunt's home in Little Wigging, Surrey. By the way those wards aren't very good, the poor boy truly doesn't see it as home anymore and with that fiasco of a Tournament where one Tom Marvolo Riddle was reformed with his blood makes them quite useless. He would be much better off with his godfather. Oh, and you should know there are eight Horcruxes, not seven. We recently uncovered the last one," Bran stated just as the door opened to reveal Severus Snape. Dumbledore stared at the man before him for a moment in complete shock.
"Horcruxes…Albus, you knew He made those vile things and you've had us babysitting instead of hunting for them. Are you out of your mind!" Moody exclaimed as he rounded on his old friend.
"You really can't get two of them in all reality, two of them are relatively easy, one is already destroyed and one is well, is going to be very interesting to get rid of," Bran continued as if Moody hadn't said anything.
"Headmaster, you sent for me?" Severus decided now was as good a time as any to make his presence known. The sneer of a voice brought Dumbledore out of his sightless staring, and jumped to his feet, holding the vial out to the Potions Master.
"Yes, I need to tell me what is in this and whether it is safe to take?"
Snape arched an eyebrow at his boss as he slowly took the potion, his gaze flicking over to the stranger making himself at home as he popped one of the lemon flavored candies that the Headmaster had out in the open on his desk. He lifted the cork and took a slight whiff to find a soft mint scent. Then looked closer at it and dipped his finger at the rim to bring the silvery substance away as it rolled down like tears. His eyes widened as he returned the cork.
"It's safe, it's of the healing verity but I've never seen anything like it before, seems to be a combination of phoenix tears and unicorn blood but to know exactly it will take a more in-depth analysis in my lab," he finally answered as his gaze once more turned to see the stranger making face as he popped a particularly sour lemon candy in his mouth again.
"I'm glad to hear that it is safe to use, just a moment please," Dumbledore muttered as he went over to the Floo and called out Arthur's name and told him to step through. In a flash the aged Weasley patriarch slowly stepped out, his body shaking terribly and his skin a ghastly grey. Severus watched the stranger jump to his feet and steer the man over to the chair that he had just vacated.
"Ah thank you, Bran," Albus stated.
"Of course, Professor,"
"No time to talk, Arthur drink this please. I believe it will help with you ailment," the headmaster said handing the vial over after uncorking it. Arthur glanced around the room before tilting the potion back, expecting the usual vile taste of a healing potion only to be pleasantly surprised at the minty smoothness to what he just took. Instantly, the now constant burning in his veins stopped at the tightness that was in his chest lessoned. His mind cleared of the fog of pain to replaced by the warmth that he felt the one time he heard Dumbledore's phoenix sing. He snapped his head up to smile at the group of men watching him carefully.
"How do you feel, Arthur?" Albus asked softly.
"Brilliant…I mean, bloody hell, there's no pain anywhere," Arthur grinned as he started to get up but was stopped by the stranger's long rough hand on his shoulder. He lifted his head up to lock with dark green eyes that he had only ever seen in a fifteen year old boy before.
"I would suggest that you stay seated for a while longer, unicorn blood tends to take a little longer to settle in a wizards blood stream, makes a person a bit dizzy for at least an hour," Arthur nodded his head, dazed at the deep voice and crooked grin on the scared face.
"Bran, I must say that is a marvelous potion. Please, send word to your former colleagues thanking them for us. Arthur, there is more bit of news though, it seems your youngest son and your daughter went with Harry. They are not severely injured but Poppy is looking over them as we speak," Albus added causing Arthur to jump to his feet only to be over whelmed with the said dizziness and had to fall back into the chair.
"I did warn you," Bran mumbled as he pulled a green plant stock that looked like a piece of asparagus and held it out to the graying red head. "Butcher's broom, it'll help. I had a feeling you may need it, just chew and swallow it."
Silently, Arthur took it but didn't start chewing it until he glanced over to see Albus nodding his head.
"Who are you?" he asked abruptly still staring at the stranger, he was caught off guard by the spark of something that he couldn't quite place flash in the man's green eyes for just a second.
"Ah, beg apologies, Bran, at your service," he added with deep bow.
"That can't be your only name?" Snape sneered as he crossed his arms over his chest.
"At the moment it is, I have no desire to be mercilessly teased over the first name. Parents who name their children that should never be allowed near an unnamed baby ever again," Bran muttered. Dumbledore's blue eyes regained their twinkle as he moved back to sit behind his desk.
"Arthur, I believe it is safe to move now, I'm sure Poppy will allow a worried father down to see his children. Oh and Severus, would you be so kind as to…"
"No, I will be returning to my quarters," the Potions Master stated turning away from the group with one last glance at Bran before leaving with flurry of black robes. Arthur shook his head as he slowly stood up only having a short spin of the room, he was rescued once more but this time Moody came to his aid.
"I'll make sure you get there, Arthur, and Albus don't think this is over. We will be having a talk about that little bombshell Bran there gave me," Moody snarled to see a resigned nod of his old friend's head while Bran grinned unabashedly when the headmaster looked over at him. The ex-Auror shook his head before helping the eldest Weasley from the office.
"Well, Mr. Bran, that was certainly not something to just blurt out there. I'm rather surprised at you," Albus said as he waved his wand over the chintz teapot, steam rose from the now hot liquid inside. He motioned towards to see the stranger nod his head and took a cup from the headmaster. Bran slowly took a sip before answering.
"Now, Professor, you didn't really expect to go back on my oath did you? That wouldn't do at all, besides it needed said,"
"But surely as an Unspeakable…"
"I never really was one of the normal Unspeakables if you would even be able to use that term for them. Lucky for you I was leaving at the moment that I did otherwise you would have come up some asinine plan that would have never worked," Bran interrupted with an absent wave of his hand.
"Indeed, now if you would be so kind as hold a conversation with me about them,"
"Of course, but first I would like to stretch my legs as it were. If you'll have me I would like to join your order. Seems to need a little more muscle, and it wouldn't hurt you to start looking at future inductees either, those six teenagers would do wonderfully. With a little more training they could hold up even longer against ol' Tommy Boy's Inner Circle,"
"They are still children, surely you can't think I would allow them near battle again," Dumbledore stared at the man across from him to see the jovial and easy nature he gave off vanish in an instant. Now there was nothing but a cold steel in those green eyes.
"They are not still children, Albus Dumbledore, tonight alone has vanished that rose tint to their glasses. Mr. Potter has seen and went against Voldemort numerous times now, Mr. Longbottom lost his parents not to long after Mr. Potter but he is still constantly reminded of what could have been, Miss Lovegood watched her mother die by the woman's own spell and has had to watch her father slowly slip farther away from sanity. Miss Granger is a very intelligent young witch, she knows what is at stake in this quickly approaching war with both the stigma of being Muggleborn and being the Boy-Who-Lived's best friend; as for Mr. Weasley well he has great potential and faced death several times on his own. And surely, you can't forget Miss Weasley's own experience with that diary you have on your desk. Oh yes, Albus Dumbledore, the Unspeakables know everything, we have fingers in all the big cookie jars. They are the future, Dumbledore, and if you don't train them now they will never be able to survive the coming years," Bran ranted as he set his tea cup down on the older man's desk. The office soon filled with a heavy silence as Bran watched the headmaster sit and think, he absently looked around to see many of the past headmasters nodding their heads in agreement with him.
"Mr. Bran, you have gave me many things to think over tonight, and I was rather hoping you would want to join the Order of the Phoenix. The meetings have been taking place at Sirius' ancestral home at Number 12 Grimmauld Place," Dumbledore stated plainly and Bran felt a box click in his head letting him know that a Secret had been given. He nodded at the old wizard.
"Excellent, now as for those items of interest; all our research has lead us to a few places. One is in the castle, one is in a cave, but it is giving us unusual readings, one is at Gringgotts Wizarding Bank in Diagon Alley, and another is currently in the general area of Little Hangleton but it is moving like the prickly one that we are still looking into. It is also currently here in the castle. Wait, there are two in the general area of Little Hangleton, one is stationary and then the most recent that we have found evidence to is now in a forest in Albania. I have a loose map of the area needed," Bran explained as he leaned back into his chair folding his fingers together over his stomach.
"You know where they all are? Marvelous…" Dumbledore muttered as his eyes trailed over to the destroyed black leather diary in front of him, but they quickly snapped up to Bran's gaze.
"That prickly one as you put it…is it…"
"Unfortunately, Occulemency will help but it is not fool proof, after all he essentially has two souls fighting for domenence inside his head. I would like to work with him, and you must tell him everything. Letting him just wonder around clueless will help no one," Bran answered pointedly glaring at the old man.
"If you think it is best, I'm afraid you've put me thoroughly out of my depth with all this news. I have known I was a mere human before now but this…well this has just drove the last nail in the coffin as the muggles say. For now, I believe Sirius was thinking of allowing you to stay with him. Let us go down and see to Poppy's victims, I mean, patients," Dumbledore added with a twinkle back in his eyes but it was dimmed from all the news he was given.
"Aye, I good bed does sound inviting to me," Bran stated as he followed the Headmaster out of his office.