Prologue – Parental Pacts
had been a member of the Order of the Phoenix for
over a year. To say that Lily Potter hadn’t been happy when he had suggested it
was like saying that Severus 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 had known
in the back of his mind that she would never be assigned a high-risk post.
Later, he knew she would be 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. He had already closed the
drapes; it wouldn’t do to have the nosey Pratchett
woman across the street seeing chairs floating in their front room.
ignited with a whoosh, signalling their Floo connection had been activated.
Sirius Black shot out of the grate and dusted himself off with loud slaps
against his leather jacket.
“Shh,” admonished James. “Lily’s putting the baby to bed.”
immediately. “Sure thing.” Then with a wicked smile,
he added, “You old softy.”
“Knock it off,”
James warned good-naturedly as Remus Lupin 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.”
Sirius chuckled. “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,”
and Sirius chorused as Peter Pettigrew slid into the room through the still-lit
what?” Peter asked, 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?”
and James could tell from over nine years of knowing him that he was caught.
“Maybe,” Remus temporized. “Or 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?”
Remus said, leaving out the implied yet.
“Well, you all
look like you’re thirsty, gabbing about like a bunch of prattling
school-girls.” The four men turned to see Lily descending the stairs. Her voice
still caused James to shiver. She was looking pointedly at her husband and had
a very awake Harry in her arms. “He must have heard you talking with this lot
and refused to go to sleep,” she explained and held out their son to her
Harry 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 help you
go to sleep.”
Lily rolled her
eyes and kissed Harry on the cheek.
protested. “No kiss for me?”
“I don’t kiss
prats,” she replied and saucily stuck her tongue out at him. Then, turning to
the other occupants of the Potters’ living room, she asked, “What’cha fancy tonight? Butterbeer?
Peter made a
face at the former and Sirius did so at the latter. “Right,” Lily said and
swept into the kitchen.
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 their respective assignments. Everyone
had a drink in hand as Lily moved back and forth between 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 produced a parchment that presumably held the agenda and said,
“Let’s bring the meeting to order, if you please?”
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 hardened wizard.
ranged in topic from current efforts to discern Voldemort’s tactics and how the
Order would counter them. There were a few husband-and-wife teams at the
meeting and James mentally went through each one. Craig and Angela Dervish,
curse-breakers who had joined at the same time as James and Lily; 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, who was famous for wanting to work alone and had
the scars to prove it, but there was also a new fellow that James knew only 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.
said Dumbledore. “We need a team to investigate a suspicious gathering in Surrey. It
appears that there is a Death Eater 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.
and I are busy with the operation you assigned last week,” Remus ventured.
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
There were rumours that Voldemort was trying to attract many dark creatures to
join his cause and werewolves like Remus were at the top of that list.
Arthur Weasley offered. “I haven’t been on a proper assignment yet and have
been anxious to go. The only problem is I don’t have a partner.”
watching 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 met
Dumbledore said and made a notation on the parchment. “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 not to 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. Since Arthur
only needed his glasses for reading, they wouldn’t help him stick out any more
than he already did.
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.
Now that 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 not to 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, and 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.
Apparate,” James said at once as Arthur caught up with him. “I would have heard
take a side of the alley and look for clues,” Arthur offered.
There 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 Charm, nodding at
James to take the lead.
the building and were immediately presented with a flight of rickety stairs.
Another Silencing Charm was cast and they ascended.
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
reward you for your service, if you are found worthy,” said a man in a gravelly
the hall, their backs flat against the peeling wallpaper, they got as close as
spoke up with what only could be described as a whine. “But
what about the Aurors? I don’t want to go to Azkaban.”
the first man. There was a period of quiet where Arthur was sure he could hear
whispering, and 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.
softly beside him and Arthur could barely see the faces of three menacing
figures through the spots in his eyes.
“What do we
have here?” drawled a woman somewhere to Arthur’s right.
“Looks like a
couple of meddling fools,” said someone from the left. “A little Cruciatus will
teach them not to butt into our business.”
coherent now and had his wand held loosely in one hand, pushing himself up
slowly with his right. Arthur tensed, his vision slowly clearing.
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.
A loud slapping
sound knocked all three of the Death Eaters 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
A dozen wizards
appeared in the stairwell, dressed in all black, with white masks. James
grabbed Arthur and pulled him through 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.
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!”
on the front hallway and twisted his wand. Nothing happened. “Can’t – it’s
warded,” Arthur said with a note of panic. “We’ll have to fight.”
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?”
Arthur said. “That’s restricted to more senior Ministry officials.”
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.” There was brief tenseness
in the air as James continued to stack stone in front of the door.
that James was thinking the same thing that he was – he needed something to
focus on, something that he could use to inspire him to fight in the face of an
increasingly bad situation. The difference was that Arthur already had six
children and James barely had time to be with the one he had. No wonder the
offer had been so seriously given.
his own bits of rubbish into stone, Arthur 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.”
the last of the stones against the door and gave Arthur an oddly sombre look.
“Fine, fine,” he said, holding out his hand. “Do we have a deal?”
Arthur took it
and felt a surge of power. He was about to ask if James had felt it, too, when
the stones that were keeping them safe exploded with the force of a small bomb.
Arthur’s vision, but he could hear struggling off to his right. “Stupefy!” came James’s voice followed by
A 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 and 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 several nicely placed Stunners.
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 its job.
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 Binding hexes.
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
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 as his
partner pulled the hand in an arc towards the remaining attacker. The hand
caught the Death Eater in the back and propelled him into the wall, knocking
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.
said through clenched teeth.
“Thank you,” Arthur replied. “I don’t think I
would have lasted much longer.”
“Oh, 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-spell for the Anti-Apparation Ward and offered a hand to James. “Think
you can Disapparate?”
“Do I have a
as he rolled his shoulders. “I could always leave you here and bring Lily back
for help,” Arthur said with a wry grin.
James said at once. “I’ll take my chances with a splinching.”
then,” offered Arthur.
“See you at St.
Mungo’s.” Then with a modest crack,
James was gone.
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:
Potter – DOB 31/7/80
Child Weasley – DOB –unknown- estimated at 14/8/81
A/N: This story 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 betas, Sherry and Ara Kane.