Author’s Note: This is the sequel to Promises
Unbroken. If you have not all ready
read PU, I highly suggest doing so, else this story
will probably make no sense whatsoever.
Be advised that this is an Alternate Universe tale as well. That said, enjoy the story—and let the
Disclaimer: The characters and settings of Harry
Potter belong to the wonderful and talented J.K. Rowling, whom I thank very
much for the loan of her playground. The
plot, however, and anything you do not recognize, belongs to me. I am not making any profit from the writing
and display of this story, except for gratification of my ego and quenching my
thirst to write.
The Sequel to Promises Unbroken
last line of defense.
Chapter One: The Cost
“No!” Lily screamed, instinctively
rushing forward. Dumbledore couldn’t be
dead. The symbol and icon of the war
against Voldemort could not have fallen.
Even the Killing Curse could not slay Albus Dumbledore. It wasn’t possible. He couldn’t be gone. If she could only reach his side, everything
would be all right—
“No, Lily!” Strong arms suddenly grabbed
her from behind and dragged her back.
Death Eaters were surging forward, and a
smiling Voldemort strode towards them as well, his red eyes burning with power
and satisfaction. Despite this, Lily
fought desperately to reach her old mentor’s side, but Sirius Black picked her
up off the ground and bodily hauled her through the opening. “The doors, Hestia!”
Jones cast the spell immediately and the
marble wall sealed itself with a final crash.
The opening closed off none too soon; the passageway shook and rocked as
spells impacted against the barrier, and Sirius kept dragging her back. The Aurors, too, were running, and Lily
distantly noticed that there were only two of them where once there had been
five. Sirius must have come alone, but
she couldn’t care at the moment. Desperately,
Lily tried to pull away once more.
“We have to go back,” she pleaded. “We can’t leave him!”
“He’s dead, Lily,” Sirius said
quietly. “There’s nothing more we can
“Come on Lily! We’ve got to get out of here before the whole
place comes apart.” Sirius had stopped,
and looked her in the eye. His face was
every bit as pale as Lily imagined herself to be, but his voice was still
hard. “I’ll carry you if I have to, but
it’ll be a lot faster if you run.”
Albus… Hot tears rose for her
friend, but Lily blinked them back.
Reality intervened. There wasn’t
time, and Sirius was right. She let out
a shuddering breath as the ceiling above them began to shake. “Let’s go.”
Few would ever understand how much those
words cost her.
Chairs flew as both Professor Snape and
Professor Fletcher dove to the headmaster’s side, nearly upending the head
table in the process. Lupin lay on his
back on the floor, twitching slightly and shuddering inexplicably. Surprised students in the hall were screaming
and carrying on, looking around wildly for threats—but there were none, and
even if there had been, Harry would never have noticed. He was too busy rushing to the side of the
man whom he had grown up knowing as an uncle.
Madam Pomfrey, too, was hurrying in the headmaster’s direction; Snape
and Fletcher were now struggling to hold him down as Remus’ body jumped into a
Harry reached the dais and jumped up onto
it, only to have Hagrid, recently returned from another mission for Dumbledore,
grab his arm. Frantically, Harry tried
to pull away, but the half-giant was too strong and held him back easily.
“Let me go!”
The crowd of professors around the
headmaster had doubled in size, and Hagrid glanced their way before
replying. “I can’ let yeh do that,
Harry. Yeh have the stay back, now. We don’ know what’s goin’ on—”
“I don’t care!” Harry interrupted him
urgently. “I need to—” Hagrid’s other
hand clamped down on his shoulder, cutting off all chance of escape.
“Professor Lupin wouldn’ want yeh getting
hurt,” the gamekeeper replied firmly. “Yeh
can stay here an’ watch, but yer goin’ no closer.”
Harry let out an angry sigh by decided
not to object. Arguing with Hagrid was
like trying to ride a centaur. It simply
Anxiously, he watched Snape, Fletcher,
and Pomfrey lean over Remus, trying all manner of spells to wake him. The headmaster was still, now, but whether
that was caused by a well-placed Full Body Bind or something else, Harry
couldn’t tell. However, Remus looked
paler than usual under the bright lights in the Great Hall, and Harry thought
he saw something flickering underneath the headmaster’s closed eyelids. The nurse and the two professors were
speaking too quietly for him to overhear, but the concerned looks on all three
faces were impossible to miss at such a short distance.
Meanwhile, Professor Flitwick was herding
the other students out of the hall. Many
of them hesitated, looking worriedly in Remus’ direction on the way out, but
the Slytherins murmured excitedly as they passed, and Harry caught sight of
Draco Malfoy grinning. Not too far away,
Hermione caught his eye and mouthed a question: Is he all right? But Harry could only shrug. Even Hagrid seemed uneasy.
After several minutes, Harry was the only
student left in the Great Hall. The
rest, no matter how reluctant, were heading back to their respective
dormitories and away from the action. He
was the only one there to see what happened—except for the fact that nothing
was happening. Remus still lay
absolutely motionless on the floor, and Harry would have feared that he was
dead if not for the slight rise and fall of his chest. Someone, he noticed, had summoned a pillow to
cushion his head, upon which Harry spotted some leftover blood from where it
had struck the hard floor. But the wound
had been expertly healed, so that could not be the reason why Remus remained
Before Harry could begin to guess at
other reasons, though, the headmaster’s body gave a giant convulsion and Remus
jerked awake. He flailed around blindly
for a moment until Snape and Fletcher caught his thrashing arms and forced him
back down. The other professors only
watched in shocked silence as Remus struggled against them unthinkingly. His breathing was coming in short and rapid
gasps, and his chest was suddenly heaving with the effort.
“Easy, Remus,” Fletcher started
quietly. “There’s no need to—”
“Don’t move,” Snape cut him off
tersely. “You’ll only hurt yourself
Remus shook his head. “Sit up,” he wheezed. “I need to sit up.”
Harry had never seen Remus Lupin lose control,
nor ever seem so lost or confused. His
blue eyes were wide and darting unseeingly around the Great Hall,
and his head was sweeping back and forth, searching for bearings that he could
not find. Cautiously, Snape and Fletcher
helped him to sit up, but both professors looked extremely unhappy about the
situation. Shaking, Remus immediately
pressed both palms to his forehead as if he was afraid that his head was going
“Where am I?” he whispered into the
silence. Harry watched his eyes close
“At Hogwarts,” Fletcher replied
gently. “You’re still at Hogwarts,
Fletcher frowned. “No, you’re at—”
“What about the Ministry?” Snape cut him
“It’s gone.” Remus’ eyes flew open. “Dear God, it’s gone.” He staggered to his feet before anyone could
stop him, and almost fell before Snape and Fletcher caught him.
“What do you mean it’s gone?” Professor
Sinistra demanded shrilly.
“Voldemort…” He stumbled
a step away from the two professors, pressing his trembling hands against his
temples once more. Several teachers
gasped and all went pale; at his back, Harry felt Hagrid tense. Remus, however, saw none of that as he stood
quivering and staring at the floor.
Suddenly, though, his head snapped up, and a look of horror crossed his
face. “No,” he whispered. “Dumbledore…”
A sharp cry split the air. It was a beautiful song, and sad, yet somehow
strong and heartbreaking at the same time.
Quickly, Harry followed Remus’ gaze with his eyes and felt the others
doing the same. At the far end of the
Great Hall, a red and gold creature swooped down in their direction. Although Harry had only seen a phoenix once
before, he recognized the bird immediately.
It was Fawkes.
Graceful and ragged, the phoenix landed
upon the table before the headmaster.
His large eyes stared only at Remus, who, after a moment, reached out a
shaky hand to touch Fawkes scorched feathers.
“He’s gone, isn’t he?” Remus whispered.
The way that Fawkes’ head drooped and the
silver tear that landed silently upon the head table were the only answer they
Goddamn it, Prongs, talk to me!”
you think he’ll live?” Some witch he
didn’t know asked the question, but he could hardly care. An angry swipe of his hand cleared the blood
out of his eyes. Only then did Peter
realize he was shaking.
shook James again. This couldn’t be
happening. “C’mon mate, wake up,” he
pleaded. “Don’t do this to me!”
you think there’s any chance?” the witch pestered him. They were deep in the underground tunnels
beneath the Ministry, and dust was everywhere.
The lift had landed hard, and he’d barely managed to drag his friend
free of the rubble. She hadn’t been much
help. “There’s a lot of blood here, you
ignored her. “James?”
could just try to revive him, you know.”
think I didn’t already try that?” he demanded
angrily. “If I thought that would work,
I’d be doing it over and over again!”
there’s no need to snap at m—”
you’re a healer, shut up!” Peter snarled.
“I’ve got better things to do than listen to your useless
prattling!” Anxiously, he turned to his
friend again. He’d tried every spell he
knew to wake his friend up, and it worried him to no end that James still
wasn’t moving. “C’mon James…wake
up. We’ve got to get out of here before
Death Eaters show up—”
witch screamed and he was on his feet quickly, wand in hand and searching for
threats. Peter had never been talented
in combat magic like James or Sirius, but his friend was in danger. “What is it?”
Immediately he dropped to his knees again, letting go of his wand and not
caring where it went. But James was
indeed stirring. “James? James, can you hear me?”
it, James,” he said desperately. “Wake
friend’s eyes flickered open. “I’d
rather wake up to Lily’s face,” James mumbled.
“Sorry. Lily’s not here right now.” And I don’t know where she is.
okay,” James whispered. “Where are we?”
the Ministry,” he answered. “But we’ve
got to go before the Death Eaters catch up to us.” His heart was racing. They’d been here too long. “D’you think you can
“No.” James’ voice was very quiet.
“What?” He’d been looking around for avenues of
escape, but his head whipped around to face his friend again.
“Small problem, Peter.
I can’t feel my legs.”
Peter bit off a few words his overbearing
mother would have never forgiven him for saying. Being around Sirius had never been good for
his language… He swallowed hard. He
can’t feel his legs. All of a
sudden, Peter felt cold inside. This was
everything but good.
“Are you sure?” was all he managed to
“Quite sure, actually,” James replied,
and his voice was tight with pain.
“Trust me, Wormtail. I might be
an idiot, but even I wouldn’t make this up.”
Peter swallowed. “I had to hope.”
“Yeah. Me, too.” James’ eyes flickered around the sub terrain
tunnel they were in and caught sight of the witch who was still staring at them
both. With a great effort, he pushed
himself up on his elbows and turned his head to look down the dark passageway
to Peter’s right. “I think you two ought
“If you even finish that thought, Prongs,
I will curse you right now,” Peter cut him off angrily. He knew exactly what his friend was going to
say. “I am not leaving you. So don’t even say it. Don’t even think about it.”
James scowled. “You hear that?” he demanded, and Peter
listened. There were footsteps and
shouting a floor above them, and they both knew what that had to mean.
“Yes,” he responded, surprised at his own
calm. His heart was racing, but for once
in his life, he wasn’t scared to death.
Maybe that was because one of his friends was depending upon him, and
Peter had failed them far too many times already. “But the chance of me leaving you here runs
between zero and nothing, so don’t even bother.”
“Peter, you are undoubtedly one of the
stupidest people I have ever met,” James growled fondly, and Peter grinned
despite himself. Evidently, the oddly
calm feeling he had didn’t extend to his shaking hands, but at least he could
“Sure I am.” Quickly, he glanced around. The underground
tunnels beneath the Ministry were still quiet, but how long that would last,
Peter could not know. He had to get
James out, and quickly—but how? Unless a
miracle happened in the next thirty seconds or so, James couldn’t feel his
legs, and that left Peter in a hell of a pickle. He wasn’t about to leave his friend; doing so
was not even an option for a Marauder, even one who had gone astray for so many
years. He took a deep breath. No matter the other foolish things I’ve done,
I have never betrayed my friends, Peter thought desperately. And I’m not about to start now.
“What are we going to do?” the witch
asked suddenly, tearing his attention away from the minor problem at
echoed dubiously. He certainly had no
intention of dragging the nervous and frightened witch along in his attempt to
rescue James. His own
feeble attempts at heroism were apt enough to fail without her help.
“Yes, we,” James interrupted before she
could reply. “Where else is she going to
Peter frowned. “Right…um, James, do you know the way out of
“Of course I do,” the Auror replied
firmly. Then confusion crossed his dusty
features. “If I knew were we were,
“No kidding,” James breathed, looking
around again. “Well, there are only two
ways to go, and one of them is the way out.
Since we’ve got a fifty-fifty chance, I’d say go right.”
Peter swallowed, and had to ask. “What’s the wrong direction do?”
“Take us to a dead end.” James smiled apologetically.
“Get them out of here!” Sirius shouted.
They were aboveground now,
and right in the middle of Muggle London.
The old red telephone box that had once been the visitor’s entrance to
the Ministry of Magic had been uprooted and relocated to at least a hundred
feet away from where it had once stood; Sirius was standing right in front of
it, and knew that he was nowhere near where the box was supposed to be. The nearby offices and buildings were in
shambles, and the dumpster that had been there that morning was nowhere to be
found. Rubble covered the street, and
the alleyway seemed wider than it had once been—and then Sirius realized that
was because at least one building had been completely destroyed by the underground
And of course, curious Muggles were
beginning to approach.
He heard sirens, and growled under his
breath, turning his head in their direction.
Flashing lights and motor vehicles—just what he needed. The Muggle version of law
enforcement. Beautiful. Sirius gestured wildly at his skeleton force
of Aurors as the ground shook again.
“Get the Muggles out of here!”
“What are we supposed to do with them?”
Hestia Jones demanded.
“Why should I care?”
Flashbulbs were going off in his face,
and the Muggle reporters were closing in.
Or perhaps some of them were magical folk, too, but Sirius didn’t have
the time to care—and devoutly hoped that any witches or wizards would have the
sense to stay away when Voldemort was beneath their very feet. Hestia swung into action immediately, though,
driving the curious back with angry shouts and a suggestive wave of her
wand. They fled once she sent giant
sparks flying in their general direction, thoroughly traumatized. Once, such a careless display of magic would
have meant days of work for the Obliviators, but for all Sirius knew, all the
Obliviators were buried underneath the Ministry.
Instead of concerning himself with the
Muggles—and the undaunted policemen who were heading his way, sparks or
no—Sirius spun around, trying to count how many people he actually had under
his command in this disaster. When he’d
arrived, witches and wizards had been fleeing the Ministry, and most of them
had apparently Apparated away to safety.
Some, however, lingered, and he could see Aurors appearing. When he and his colleagues had fled, there
hadn’t been time to set a meeting point; Sirius himself had Apparated to Diagon
Alley because it had been the first place to enter his mind. The shortage of Aurors had proved fatal when
Hestia and four others had barged in to help Dumbledore and the refugees, and
there was a high chance of it doing so again.
A quick count told Sirius that he was still shy of a dozen, and a
frightened corner of his mind began to wonder how many had died in the blast.
But there wasn’t time for that now.
“Stay back from the opening!” he screamed
suddenly, waving Oscar Whitenack away from the underground passageway leading
to the Ministry, which was still wide open from their exit only minutes
before. Just as he realized what a
mistake it was to leave the path open, though, fire sprouted from the breach
and Oscar fell back, burning and smoking.
Only Kingsley Shacklebolt’s quick action pulled him away in time, and
Hestia’s Fire Extinguishing Charm saved his life.
Oscar was still down, though, leaving him
with nine Aurors. Ten
counting himself. Sirius burst
into motion. “Seal that breach!”
Several Aurors approached, but more fire
leapt out at them before anyone could act, warning Sirius that Voldemort and
his followers had definitely made it past the first barrier. One of the Aurors—he thought it was Mucia
Coleman, but he wasn’t sure—stumbled backwards, clutching an arm that sprouted
with flame. This is getting bad.
The ground rocked again, nearly spilling
Sirius off his feet. To his right, he
saw Lily, her tear-streaked face covered in dirt, stagger and barely catch herself. This time,
however, the street didn’t stop shaking, and even as the Aurors struggled to
seal the opening, a section of pavement came flying upwards and almost crushed
several of the escaped Ministry employees.
Nearby Muggles were screaming, and the pub collapsed with a crash,
sending wood fragments flying every which way and pelting the crowd with
rubble. Sirius flinched and tripped over
a flying bench in his effort to reach the still-open breach, then he saw
Kingsley and the others fly backwards as if swept aside by a giant hand of
Lily, still in shock, only stared.
“Lily, get them out of here!” Sirius
gestured desperately at the crowd of mixed witches, wizards, and Muggles. They were still staring, only staring,
beautiful and easy targets sitting in plain sight—and things were about to get
A final and giant great heave, and then
the ground lifted underneath Sirius’ feet and sent him sprawling. Despite the dire situation and the Death
Eaters that he was certain they were about to encounter, the Auror had to
smile. It wasn’t a kind smile, but was
definitely one that his colleagues would recognize. Things just got worse.
Flat on his back, Sirius could only watch
as Voldemort and his followers strode out from the Ministry. Dark power swept around them, and the escaped
witches and wizards were screaming in terror—Muggles joined in, not quite
understanding why, but knowing to be afraid all the same. The approaching Muggle policemen started
firing their weapons at the Death Eaters, recognizing the threat they posed,
but Voldemort only laughed.
It was the same high-pitched laughter
that haunted Sirius’ nightmares, and it drove him to his feet. Lily, too, seemed spurred into action, and
out of the corner of his eye, Sirius saw her shouting at the witches and
wizards to flee.
He almost didn’t notice the cloaked
figures behind Voldemort until it was too late.
One swept out from behind a Death Eater and clamped skeletal hands
around an Auror’s neck, drawing her close.
Kingsley tried to cast a Patronus from not far away, but a Death Eater
intervened—chaos surrounded him, and Sirius dodged several spells, and was struck
by at least two others, although the adrenaline rush kept him from feeling
their immediate effects, save for a little distant pain. He was hardly able to follow the action as
Death Eaters and Dementors spilled from the opening, targeting Muggles and wizards
alike. There were screams all around
him, and another building fell. Sirius
dodged a Killing Curse and cast one of his own—there was no time for niceties
and there were too many enemies, far more than he’d have ever thought
possible. He was shivering, he knew, too
close to too many Dementors, but there wasn’t time to care. He could only cast spells and dodge wildly,
praying that Lily could get the others to safety and that his companions would
be all right.
And Voldemort kept laughing.
Sirius caught sight of Rabastan Lestrange
on his left, and barely managed to dive out of the way before a red jet of
light could hit him. He risked a glance
around, then, and quickly wished that he hadn’t; the scene was pure insanity. A Dementor bent over a Muggle policeman, and
several other Muggles lay dead nearby. A
child was screaming to Sirius’ right; foolishly, Hestia dragged the little girl
aside, only to be struck by a curse for her troubles. But the Auror only staggered and did not
fall, snarling back defiance at her attacker and sending the Death Eater
Another building collapsed to its
foundations. Spells filled the air, far
too many of them striking home against his Aurors and not enough hitting the
enemy—there were only four of them standing now: Sirius, Kingsley, Dawlish, and
Hestia, who was wobbly and unsteady on her feet. Oscar was still down, and even as he watched,
Alice Longbottom collapsed with a scream.
The street kept shaking, even though Voldemort had already broken
through the hastily constructed wards.
Bodies covered the ground, now, both magical and Muggle. They weren’t very different in death.
They were fighting a losing battle. Even though he hated to admit it to himself,
Sirius knew it was true. There were
simply too many Death Eaters, too many Dementors—and he was down to four Aurors
plus Lily, who hadn’t had the sense to get out while she could. Reaching out as she approached, Sirius
grabbed her arm. “Are you crazy?” he
“Not without you!” Lily glared green
daggers at him, and Sirius could only growl.
He knew that look.
“You’re not trained for this!”
In response, Lily fired off a curse that
took an unsuspecting Death Eater down.
She didn’t even have to give him a triumphant look to get the point
across; besides, Sirius hardly had the time to argue. Curses were flying too fast, and the Aurors
were too busy—and deep down inside, he knew they were going to lose. It was only a question of how many of them
were going to die before they did. He
felt so cold.
Death Eaters in
Muggle London. The
thought wouldn’t leave him alone; he couldn’t bear to leave them alone. Dementors in Muggle
London. It made him feel
empty inside, especially knowing what he had to do. Screams still filled the alley, bouncing off
the few still-standing buildings. Those
who could flee had—but what would the rest do?
The Muggles couldn’t see the Dementors, and several had run right into
their arms… Sirius shuddered, and then Kingsley went down. Three Aurors against a
legion of Death Eaters, plus the Dark Lord. Sirius would gladly lay down his life to save
the innocent, but he knew that wouldn’t work.
For a moment he toyed with the idea of challenging Voldemort outright,
but he knew that the Dark Lord wasn’t such a fool. Sirius would never get the chance to fight
Sirius shouted, spinning around and dragging Lily out of the way of a curse as
he did so. There was nothing left to do
but run. He hated to, but he had to save
those he could—and sacrifice those he couldn’t.
He met Lily’s eyes. “Get out of
Without waiting for a response, he
sprinted away, heading for Kingsley Shacklebolt’s unconscious body. Never leave a friend behind. The Aurors did not abandon their own, not
unless they had no choice—behind him, Sirius heard a crack, and devoutly
hoped that his best friend’s wife had fled while she still could. Far away, he saw Hestia grab Oscar, who was
regaining consciousness, and caught a glimpse of Dawlish dragging Alice aside before Apparating
away. This is it, he thought
angrily. But it isn’t over!
The screams had died down, now—the
Dementors and Death Eaters had used up all the ready targets except for the
Aurors. The remaining Muggles were
either dead or soulless, and Voldemort was beginning to concentrate on his
fleeing enemies. Suddenly, a chill raced
down Sirius’ spine, and red eyes met his own—
But he Apparated before Voldemort had a
chance to act.
Peter had conjured a stretcher up for
James because it was easier for him to control than a floating body, but he was
still bouncing his friend off the walls every now and then. Above them, the shouts were growing louder,
and Peter knew the Death Eaters were searching for someone—he could only pray
it wasn’t for them. Unfortunately,
though, he knew that Voldemort wanted James dead. And me, Peter thought honestly. And we’re both really great targets right
now. His hands threatened to start
shaking again, but Peter stilled them before James could see. He had to be strong right now—both for his
friend and for the unknown witch who he’d somehow gotten roped into saving.
“You’re doing fine, Peter,” James
suddenly said quietly. “We’ll be out of
Peter stole a glance at his friend before
squinting down the dark tunnel once more.
“Am I that easy to read?”
“After this long? Yeah.”
“Are we going the right way?” the witch
asked quietly. At least she seemed to
share his fears. James sounded entirely
“I think so,” Peter replied,
swallowing. How can James do this all
the time? His hands were trying to
shake again. “It shouldn’t be much
They continued walking in silence, their
footsteps echoing ominously against the cold rock. The tunnels were old and dusty; Peter doubted
that anyone had been in them in centuries.
When he’d asked James how he knew about them, his friend had only
answered that Aurors were always certain to know everything about the
Ministry. Unfortunately, that everything
didn’t extend to an infallible sense of direction, so they were still left
guessing…and not knowing if this was the path that would lead to salvation or
death. With my luck, Peter
thought ruefully, this will be the dead end.
But at least he wasn’t alone.
James’ presence was reassuring, even though his friend was incapacitated
at the moment. At least he wasn’t alone.
“Peter?” James suddenly said
quietly. His voice was tight—with pain,
Peter thought incorrectly. “I think we’d
He frowned. “Why?
It can’t be much further.”
“Can you hear that?”
“Hear what?” the witch asked nervously as
Peter strained to listen over the sound of his own beating heart. He was certain that the thunder in his ears
wasn’t the sound of someone approaching, but then what was that rattling
“Peter, get down!”
An awful black shadow swept out of the
darkness at him, and Peter barely had time to jump aside. The witch screamed and he heard her fumbling
for her wand—James cursed and rolled the ground with a thump…but all
Peter felt was cold, cold voices echoing in his head.
“There’s no way out, Pettigrew… Unless you prefer death, of course. I’m sure that our Master would be happy to
arrange for that, after all…” Dark.
father’s dead, Peter. I’m sorry, there was nothing we could do…”
He shivered, pulled back. Laughter echoed in his ears; Voldemort’s
laughter. He remembered realizing that
it was too late, that there was no way back—and that he’d doomed his friends
instead of saving them. He’d tried to
protect them and failed yet again—No!
Peter’s eyes flew open. Sudden
clarity leapt into his mind at the thought of his friends, of James. There were two Dementors, and one was almost
on top of his friend, who could not back away.
James’ wand was raised, but they were too close.
“Expecto Patronum!” Peter shouted.
But only silver mist drifted out of his
wand’s tip, and the closest Dementor turned to him, now, away from the
witch and drawn to his defiance. Fear
threatened to close Peter’s mind off completely. He’d always been terrible at advanced
magic. His Patronus hadn’t ever been
well defined at all, even when he wasn’t under pressure… Out of all his friends, he had always been
the worst at everything…
The thought was like a fire in his mind,
and suddenly he saw James’ face. He saw
Sirius and Remus, as everything had once been, laughing and joking as if the
world was theirs’ for the taking. They
were unbreakable. Friends. Brothers.
Without warning, a stag leapt out of his
wand and charged the Dementors down.
Almost before Peter could blink, the creatures had fled, and he was left
to watch stupidly as his stag dissolved into midst. He could hardly believe it. That was the first real Patronus he’d ever
created, the first one that had a shape and meaning to it… Peter blinked, and
then smiled a little bit. He’d never
imagined that his Patronus would have wound up to be
He spun, searching for where his friend
had fallen off the stretcher, which still floated placidly in the air. James wasn’t far away, blinking and snarling
angrily under his breath.
“Are you all right?” Peter asked,
kneeling by his side.
James scowled. “Sorry I wasn’t
much help there, mate… I just…”
It happens,” he replied more casually than he felt, carefully levitating
James back on to the stretcher. Then he
turned to face the witch as she pulled herself to her feet. “Are you okay?”
She nodded shakily. “Thank you.”
“No problem.” Peter smiled wanly, noticing with vague
amusement that his hands were shaking again.
“Let’s just get out of here before something else sneaks up on us,
James responded in a tight voice that told Peter that he was furious
with himself, but unfortunately, he didn’t have time to deal with his friend’s
feelings. James simply hated feeling
helpless, but he’d get over it, Peter knew.
He always did.
Several silent moments passed as the trio
traveled, each straining their ears to pick up the sounds of anything approaching,
but as they trekked further into the tunnels, the silence merely grew
deeper. After ten long minutes, Peter
began to despair, wondering if they would ever escape—but just as he was
screwing up the courage to voice his concerns, the proverbial light appeared at
the end of the tunnel.
“Do you see that?” the witch asked
“Yeah.” Peter grinned. “I see it.”
Thunk. His distraction had led him to temporarily
forget his friend, and the stretcher bumped into the rock. Still, James’ tone was amused, “Do mind the
By unspoken consent, they quickened their pace, heading quickly for the
promise of freedom. Finally, they
reached the narrow metal door; its small and dirty window had issued the light
that they had spotted from further away.
After a moment of fumbling, Peter managed to force the rusty hinges to
operate, and they stepped out into the sunlight—and surprisingly, into Diagon
Alley. Dumbstruck, it was all Peter
could to do stare for a moment; he hadn’t realized that they had come so
far. The small doorway emerged right
next to Gringotts.
He turned to James, who looked horribly
pale in the light of day. His hands
hadn’t stopped shaking yet, which told Peter that things could still get
worse. “We’ve got to get you to St.
“No,” his friend replied with a patient
frown. “We’ve got to get to
Hogwarts. It’s safe, and I know that’s
where Albus will go—”
“St. Mungo’s,” Peter cut him off
firmly. “I know you’re worried about
everything, but for once, James, please don’t play the hero. We need to get you healed first.”
James scowled deeply, but Peter wasn’t
about to quit. Finally, the Auror
growled out his reply. “Fine.”