James Potter had been a member of the Order of the Phoenix for over
a year. To say that Lily hadn't been happy when he had suggested it was
like saying that Snape's hair was greasy. The only thing that had
placated her at the time was that he had relented to letting her join
as well. Of course, as she had been very pregnant with their son,
Harry, James knew in the back of his mind that she would never be
assigned a high risk post, being perpetually busy taking care of a
toddler, and, hopefully, pregnant again soon.
meeting that night was at their house and Lily was upstairs rocking
Harry to sleep. James levitated the chairs around the living room into
a circle to prepare for the arrival of the members of the Order. James
had already closed the drapes; it wouldn't do to have the nosey
Pratchett woman across the street seeing chairs floating in their front
Their Floo activated and Sirius Black shot out of the grate, dusting himself off with loud slaps against his leather jacket.
"Shh," admonished James. "Lily's putting the baby down."
Sirius stopped immediately. "Sure thing." Then with a wicked smile, said, "You old softy."
it off," James warned good-naturedly as Remus followed his friend
through the grate. "If you'd let yourself be satisfied with one girl at
a time, you might discover the joys of matrimony."
"Har, har," Sirius chuckled. "Besides, who would keep Moony in line if I got hitched?" he said with a playful lunge at Remus.
"I happen to have a fine-looking witch to fill that need in my life, thank you very much," Remus responded.
"What?" James and Sirius said simultaneously as Peter slid into the room.
"What, what?" Peter said, sitting nervously on Lily's clean sofa, behind the circle of chairs.
"Remus has got himself a girlfriend," Sirius chortled. "Is it that Isabella girl that was a year below us in Ravenclaw?"
hesitated and James could tell from over nine years of knowing him that
he was caught. "Maybe," the werewolf temporized. "Maybe it's Kathryn,
the one that works at the pub in Diagon Alley."
Sirius let out a low whistle. "How'd you score with her?"
"I didn't," Remus said, leaving out the implied, yet.
you all look like you're thirsty, gabbing about like a bunch of
prattling school-girls," came a voice from the stairwell that still
caused James to shiver. Lily Potter was descending the stairs, a very
awake Harry in her arms. "He must have heard you talking with this lot,
and refused to go to sleep," she said in explanation to her husband.
took his son and laid him over his shoulder, fumbling with the blanket
until it covered most of his little body. "There's a good boy, Harry.
Daddy'll put you to sleep."
Lily rolled her eyes and kissed Harry on the cheek.
"What?" James protested. "No kiss for me?"
don't kiss prats," she said and stuck her tongue out. Then turning to
the rest of the occupants of the Potter's living room, said, "What'cha
fancy tonight? Butterbeer? Pumpkin juice?"
Peter made a face at the former and Sirius did so at the latter. "Right," Lily said and swept into the kitchen.
Order members began to Apparate into the hall between the entryway and
the living room, the designated Apparition point. Soon, a dull roar
enveloped their house as people began to fill each other in on the
various assignments they had been given for the Order. Everyone had a
drink in their hand as Lily continued to make a line from the kitchen
to the living room. Little Harry was silently taking in the scene,
content to be in his father's arms.
Dumbledore arrived last, just after Minerva McGonagall.
Clearing his throat, Dumbledore said, "Let's bring the meeting to order, if you please?"
rumbling died down and little Harry instantly locked eyes with the
elderly wizard. James thought it uncanny that Dumbledore could command
respect from almost everyone, from the smallest of babes to the most
The meeting ranged in topic from current
efforts to discern Voldemort's tactics to how the Order would counter
them. There were several husband and wife teams at the meeting and
James mentally went through each one. Craig and Angela Dervish,
spell-breakers who had been recruited at the same time James and Lily
had joined. Frank and Alice Longbottom, two of the best Aurors working
for the Order, and of course, he and Lily.
There were also
several other members there that didn't belong to a ready-made team.
Mad-Eye Moody was the most notable, but there was also a new fellow
that James knew in passing. Arthur Weasley sat across from the
Longbottoms, twiddling with one of the lamp plugs they were using. From
what James knew, the Weasleys were good people and had Arthur's wife
not been pregnant at the time, she would likely be in the Order as well.
on," said Dumbledore. "We need a team to investigate a suspicious
gathering in Surrey. It appears that there is a recruitment drive
centred there, but we need to get a solid report from first-hand
witnesses if we are going to be able to bring in official resources to stop them." Dumbledore winked at Mad-Eye Moody and the Longbottoms.
Peter and I are busy with the operation you assigned last week," Remus
offered. James knew exactly what it was, too, though there were others
at the meeting that didn't. Remus was to act as a sort of bait for
another recruitment drive in Scotland. There were rumours that
Voldemort was trying to attract many dark creatures to join his cause
and werewolves were at the top of that list.
"I'll go," Arthur
Weasley piped in. "I haven't been on a proper assignment yet and have
been anxious to go. The only problem is I haven't been given a partner."
been watching after Harry, so I haven't got a partner, either," James
said, still looking at his wife. She nodded her approval and James
looked over to Arthur, who did the same.
Dumbledore said. "We'll go over the particulars when the meeting is
over. "Now...moving on to the issue we're having in the Ministry...."
Rodolphus Lestrange was the easy part, Arthur decided. With his overly
large black trench coat and enormous camouflage boots, it would take a
concerted effort to not notice him. The trick was keeping him
from noticing that two men, one with bright red hair and the other with
distinctive black hair and glasses, were following him.
quickly solved the hair dilemma by donning a brown derby, while James
somehow transfigured his hair until it was light brown and short all
over. "It's a natural gift," Potter had explained.
they were nearing the meeting place, Arthur was sure that the man at
least suspected he had a trail. After all, it would be terribly costly
to not suspect it.
An owl hooted in an alleyway, making all
three men stop short. Rodolphus tilted his head as if to check for more
noises, causing Arthur to give James a grateful glance for the
silencing charm he had cast on their shoes.
man in front of them continued to listen, then moved forward at twice
his previous rate of speed. James followed, matching the Death Eater's
pace, just as Rodolphus turned a corner.
He was gone.
"He didn't Apparate," James said at once as Arthur caught up with him. "I would have heard him."
"Let's each take a side of the alley and look for clues," Arthur offered.
were piles of trash propped on the walls of the buildings that made up
the alley's boundaries. A thin mist fell from the sky, highlighted by a
single bare bulb at the end of the alley, and it carried the already
putrescent odour further into their nostrils. Several rats scurried
from under a rusted-out skip as they approached.
Arthur as his eye caught a partially-opened door. Checking for hexes
with a wave of his wand, James pushed on the stout metal door until
they could see inside. It started to creak, so Arthur muttered a
silencing spell, nodding at James to take point.
the building and were immediately presented with a flight of rickety
stairs. Another silencing charm was cast and they ascended.
wooden stairs gave way to a long hallway, which they followed. There
were doors on each side that looked like they were once a set of flats.
There were burned-out Muggle devices and more piles of trash in the
ones that were open. As they approached the end of the hall, they heard
voices from the last open door on the right.
"...Lord will reward you for your service, if you are found worthy," said a man in a gravelly voice.
Creeping along the hall, their backs flat against the peeling wallpaper, they got as close as they dared.
Someone else spoke up with what only could be described as a whine. "But what about the Aurors? I don't want to go to Azkaban."
said the first man. There was a period of quiet where Arthur was sure
he could hear whispering, but then there was nothing.
All of a sudden, a large boom accompanied by a flash of light knocked Arthur and James down to the ground.
James moaned softly beside him and Arthur could barely see the faces of three menacing men through the spots in his eyes.
"Look what we have here," said a woman somewhere to Arthur's right.
like a couple of meddling fools," said someone from the left. "A little
Cruciatus will teach them not to butt into our business."
was coherent now and had his wand held loosely in one hand, pushing
himself up slowly with his right. Arthur tensed, his vision slowly
One of the Death Eaters kicked James in the
shoulder, forcing him back down, but James had seemed to be expecting
that, using the force of the kick to be pushed further down the hall.
In a flash, his wand was up, "Concussus!" he yelled.
loud slapping sound knocked all three of them down to the floor, but
several more heads appeared from the doorway. Arthur righted himself
and ran pell-mell down the hall and towards the stairs. He could hear
James hot on his heels and several bolts of light flew past their
heads, sizzling as they hit walls and doors.
appeared in the stairwell, dressed in all black, with white masks.
James grabbed Arthur and pulled him into the closest doorway, using his
shoulder to force the door.
As soon as they tumbled inside,
Arthur shut and magically locked the door with the most advanced
locking spell he knew. James added an unbreakable charm and they heard
the pounding of feet echoing in the hall.
"Apparate back to my
house," James yelled, transfiguring bits of garbage and broken
furniture into large pieces of stone, and propping then against the
door. "Go now!"
Arthur focused on the front hallway and twisted his wand. Nothing happened.
"Anti-Apparition jinx," Arthur said with a note of panic. "We'll have to fight."
means they can't get in here, at least," James said, his face a mask of
concentration and dripping with sweat. "Can you make a Portkey?"
"No, sorry," Arthur said. "That's restricted to more senior Ministry officials."
James said as they heard the door Reducted into a million splinters.
Another slab of granite was levitated onto the pile. "If we ever get
out of this, I'll marry my son off to your daughter."
laughed, a strange sound considering their desperate circumstances.
"Fine, Potter. But know that I don't have a daughter and there hasn't
been a female Weasley in six generations."
James placed the
last of the stones against the door and gave Arthur an oddly serious
look. "Deal," he said, holding out his hand.
Arthur took it
and felt a surge of power. He was about to ask if James had felt it
when the stones that were keeping them safe exploded with the force of
a small bomb.
Dust obscured Arthur's vision, but he could hear struggling off to his right. "Stupefy!" came James's voice followed by a whump.
blue jet of light illuminated the room and sent Arthur rolling to his
left. He shot a stunning spell blindly and heard someone scream.
Thinking of his unborn child, Arthur fired off a whirlwind spell and
the dust cleared, taking along with it two Death Eaters, slamming them
into the wall across the way. In this confusion, he zapped a Muggle
machine in the corner, which came to life with an annoying roaring
sound as it scuttled about. A few of the Death Eaters turned to hex the
hapless machine, giving Arthur an opportunity to incapacitate them with
a few nicely placed stunners.
James was duelling with the man
they had followed, his wand moving faster than Arthur had ever seen.
But the hole in the wall that used to be a door was wide enough to
allow several more Death Eaters to enter.
With a surge of
determination, Arthur shot a blast of pure white light from his wand.
Three Death Eaters were hit and knocked out, the sleeping spell doing
James appeared next to Arthur, his opponent left
crumpled on the flat's floor with a nasty cut on his head. They worked
as a team, covering each other's backs as the four remaining Death
Eaters surrounded them. Two had fallen when James let out a scream,
followed by a sickening crunch.
"Avada – " yelled
someone behind Arthur, but he couldn't let himself get distracted. The
Death Eater in front of him was very crafty with his tactics and Arthur
was having a hard time keeping ahead of the man's spells.
Another loud whump
sounded and Arthur was sure that James had fallen. Desperate, he flung
himself to the right in a half-dive roll, ending up behind a small wall
in what was once the kitchen. A spell glanced off the wall, leaving
behind the smell of burning paint and plaster.
Arthur decided to take a risk, banishing a heavy-looking object at his
attackers. The dense, square object flew over the wall and slammed into
the man Arthur had been duelling. Using the distraction, Arthur jumped
up and let off a series of Stunning and Petrifying hexes.
remaining Death Eater swatted the spells away, but was forced to move
away from the prostrate James. Arthur's partner lay on the floor, his
leg sticking out at a strange angle, but he held his wand firmly and
was chanting something under his breath.
The Death Eater shot
a cutting curse at Arthur, who erected a hasty shield in time to
deflect it. Another series of spells and Arthur was on the defensive,
backing away from James and towards the door.
A giant hand
appeared out of nowhere and Arthur heard James let out an almighty
groan. The hand caught the Death Eater in the back and propelled him
into the wall.
Breathing heavily, Arthur stood rooted to the
spot, unable to believe that the fight was over. When he didn't hear
any more curses, he walked stiltedly over to James and conjured a
splint for his leg.
"Thanks," James said through clenched teeth.
"Thank you," Arthur replied. "I don't think I would have lasted much longer."
tosh," James said with forced laughter. "You had him beat cold. I just
didn't want you to think I wasn't going to help, you see."
Arthur cast the counter-charm for the Anti-Apparation jinx and offered a hand to James. "Think you can Disapparate?"
"Do I have a choice?"
winced as he rolled his shoulders. "I could always leave you here and
bring Lily back for help," Arthur said with a wry grin.
"No thanks," James said at once. "I'll take my chances with a splinching."
"You first, then," offered Arthur.
"See you at St. Mungo's." Then with a modest crack, James was gone.
checked to make sure there was no part of James left in the destroyed
flat, and decided that he would check with Molly first – there was
nothing more terrible than his wife when he neglected to inform her of
everything. He concentrated on arriving at the Burrow's front parlour
and was gone.
Far away, in a little, underused
office on the second level of the Ministry of Magic, a quill dipped
itself into a magically sealed jar and began to scribble a line of
words. What was most peculiar about this event was not the words it was
writing, so much as it was the fact that it had not written anything
for almost a hundred years. For this was the quill that had been
enchanted to record all the arranged marriages in all of Wizarding
Britain since Merlin set the quill to motion thousands of years ago. It
wrote out three lines:
Harry Potter – DOB 31/7/80 Child Weasley – DOB –unknown- estimated at 14/8/81 Binding
A/N: This story started out as a plot bunny about two months ago
and I let it languish for quite some time as I worked on the
Consequences trilogy. Writing time will be given to those stories
first, but it is often helpful to put my mind on other projects to give
it a little break. This is brought to you by the combined minds and
talents of several people. As always, I have had the undaunted aid of
my wife, Rachel, my prebetas Kokopelli and Art, and my beta, Sherry.