Chapter Two: A Voyage
Summary: We find out what's upset Charlie, learn a bit more about
hang around with some very hip dragons and a confused French
Pronunciation guide: Joshi- just like Yoshi. My favorite derivative
Johannes. Pretty cool, eh?
Now, those who were living just tried to
In a mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
Though around me the corpses piled higher
Still staring somewhat dumbly at the article, Charlie let his
wander. Who could have done this? Or what? On the somewhat
sheet of newsprint in front of him was a black and white photograph
a house, burning brightly, beside a caption which was at the same
confusing and gut-wrenching.
Two Killed in Ireland House Fire
Ministry officials are befuddled by the house fire which started
4th for causes as yet undetermined. A source indicates
the fire was totally preventable and should not under any
have caused death for the occupants. The Shee, James, and his Muggle
Johanna Dickinson, the former of which should have been able to stop
fire, perished in the inferno. Their infant son managed to escape
and will be taken care of by a neighbor until his legal guardian can
reached. The sole witness of the blaze was unavailable for
An icy knot settled into Charlie's stomach and suddenly he felt
ill. Although there were no obvious Dark ties to the article, there
some classic aspects- Shee were creatures of the Light side by
and although highly mischievous, possessed powers which did not
a wand and were difficult for even witches and wizards to
Add that on top of the mixed marriage, and it was almost a typical
killing. And then there was the burning house and the surviving
And James Dickinson.
It was a coincidence, and Charlie knew it, but there was something
about the whole thing. James was the name of Harry Potter's father,
Harry's mother had been Muggle-born. Both of them had died, but
had lived… Like Harry's parents, the Shee were supposed to be
A house fire couldn't possibly kill off a full Shee.
What was it Anya had said about the ancient charms that protected
The full impact of the name 'Dickinson' hit Charlie full on. Oh,
he thought. Anya.
Charlie found her in the small study, flipping through a novel at
annoyingly quick pace. He knocked gently. "Can I come in?"
Anya looked up, a bit startled, and grinned uncertainly, probably
his somewhat bleak mood. Under normal circumstances she would have
with, "If you dare," but instead she just pulled her feet down from
other chair and gestured him towards it. "Sure."
Charlie sat somewhat awkwardly, fidgeting with the piece of paper
his hands. "I- um- I know you aren't really keeping up with news
in Ireland," he said quietly. "But I- I thought you should see
He slid the clipping across the table. "I- I'm sorry,
Anya took her time reading through the clipping and then swallowed
her fingers curling into helpless fists around it. "Oh God," she
"Is that the boy's name?" Charlie asked softly.
"Oh God, Charlie, that was my brother- and Johanna was the
thing ever to grace the Earth- Charlie, he's only nine months old!"
head dropped and she curled up in her chair, rocking back and forth
"I can't- I can't-"
"It's alright," he said in a mostly successful attempt to be
"I mean- it's not alright, but it will be, Anya. You'll see." He
one of her hands away from her face, rubbing it soothingly.
"You don't understand," she said, apparently exasperated with him.
was my brother- I already told you that my father died before James
born… and James' mother became an alcoholic after- alcoholic Shee
very depressing- so she didn't live for much longer- Charlie,
am I going to do with a nine-month-old baby?"
This had obviously never occurred to Charlie. And I thought I
having a lousy day. "Oh, Jeez," he said simply, feeling somewhat
"I'd forgotten about that. Just try not to worry too much. You'll
a great surrogate mother."
"I don't want to be a surrogate mother- Leon deserves his
parents; what child doesn't? No one should have to grow up with half
"I know," Charlie said softly. "If anyone knows, I do."
Anya sniffed once and looked up at him. "I'll have to quit my job,"
said wistfully. "It's far too dangerous for a child."
Charlie shrugged. "So do I. I've just received a somewhat urgent
from England and I haven't any home leave time left. But I have a
that where I'm going isn't even going to be as safe as it is here
Anya closed her eyes and pulled herself to her feet. "Well,
pack your stuff. We should leave before it gets any darker."
Don't bother with contacting my father. I'm sure he's busy
with the state of chaos the Ministry is presumably in. We- that is,
friend and I- will be coming straight to Hogwarts. We should be
sometime today or tomorrow.
"So how are we getting back to England?" Charlie asked a half an
later, finally catching up with Anya in the yard. "It's too far to
or Apparate, and we've got too much luggage to take a Portkey out of
"We are going in the height of style," Anya informed him, keeping
her brisk pace. "Jacques! Damn it, Jacques, where are you?"
"'Ere, Anya!" he called from the edge of the forest. "I am
ze ride- you will be careful, hien? Jacques does not want to be
you off any mountain somewhere. Zis is a delicate operation, yes?
'ow zey say, falling asleep at ze wheel."
"Why do I have a bad feeling about this?" Charlie asked, just as
turned to the forest and yelled, "Bring 'im 'ere, eh?"
A great shadow fell across the ground as a magnificent beast lit on
ground beside them. The dragon was relatively small compared to
and Alonzo, roan red and fiery orange in color. Charlie supposed he
an adolescent; the harness on the beast's neck was worn in spots but
obviously been readjusted recently. There were also a few huge
hanging loose on his flanks- he had molted recently, which explained
"Allo, Joshi!" Jacques called cheerfully, presumably to the dragon.
geht's, wie steht's?"
'Joshi' snorted, plumes of rich-smelling smoke spewing from his
"Tres bien," Jacques said. "Alors, Charles, Anya, adieu. Good-bye,
amis, au revoir, bon voyage, arrividerci, and- as zey say in
Still a bit shocked, Charlie climbed up into the saddle. There were
seats in the harness, in front of which hung two enormous saddlebags
which they stashed their belongings. Anya called a final farewell to
other dragon keepers, then clucked loudly in Joshi's ear, and they
Adolescent dragons, Charlie soon discovered, were extremely fancy
and Anya was loving every minute of it. She let out ecstatic whoops
laughter after every daring turn and was soon kneeling in the saddle
than sitting with her legs bent beneath her and to her sides, as she
meant to. She had her arms out at her sides for balance and her eyes
apparently reveling in the feel of the wind in her hair.
Charlie looked over the side, swallowed hard, and held on tighter.
a broomstick was one thing; dragons were quite another. Especially
ones who seemed to delight in taking swooping dives over valleys and
Eight hours later, Anya was calm again, watching the endless waves
below them. She was stretched full-out, resting her head on part of
crest and her feet in the saddle.
"Er… Anya," Charlie said, finally voicing his concern, "How
did Jacques tame this guy?"
"Mm? Oh, not him, Charlie. Not exactly… Well, I suppose I
tell you. It looked like Jacques was controlling the dragon,
he really just has a soft spot for him. We raised Joshi from almost
hatchling- Simon and Ralph dropped him off when he was a month or
old. It should have been impossible to keep him under control, but
know Shee magic-" she shrugged. "It pops up at the most opportune
In other words, Joshi's a wild dragon. Just not around Jacques and
"Oh," Charlie said. Then, "Jack's not Shee."
"No," Anya answered simply, suddenly sitting up straighter. "Do you
land over there?"
Joshi did. Even as Charlie turned his head to look, the dragon
to port, causing Charlie's stomach to lurch. "Oh boy. Anya… you
happen to have an incredibly strong anti-motion-sickness charm up
sleeve, do you?"
"Oh!" She sat up suddenly, still perfectly balanced. "I'm sorry,
She passed her hand over his eyes, and the queasiness subsided
"Thanks," Charlie said, the color returning to his face.
Joshi swooped once more, and suddenly there was land beneath them.
didn't we just skip a large piece of sky?"
"Probably the Skyspace bindings keeping the isles closer together,"
answered. "When they put in the Broomstick Network last year they
some… modifications… to the magic skyway. There was a lot of chaos
first because it interfered with Muggle air travel, but then Renee
developed that Exception Charm."
Anya looked at him strangely. "I have no idea what you're talking
but I'll take your word for it." She squinted into the setting sun,
the skyline for familiar landmarks. "Is that Hogwarts?"
Charlie looked where she had indicated. "I think so… yes, and
the lake. You don't mind if we go there first…?"
Anya shook her head. "We've flown long enough. Let's get down and
our legs for a bit."
Charlie remembered her 'using her legs' while they were somewhere
Scandinavia, but said nothing. Anya leaned forward to whisper to
again, and immediately they began their descent. Charlie felt his
lurch as they dropped down through and scattered a flock of geese
tongue flicked out and ensnared a few), thanking Anya once again for
anti-motion-sickness charm. Then Joshi landed, with a muffled thump
a crash, between the lake and a large clearing near a cabin.
if Hagrid's still here or if he's gone on that mission…
Charlie's unspoken question was answered with a friendly- and very
greeting and a nearly bone-crushing hug. "Charlie!" Hagrid roared,
yeh doing? Yeh didn' tell me you were comin'! And yeh've brought…
brought a visitor!"
"Hi, Hagrid," Charlie wheezed. "This is-"
Charlie was about to introduce Anya, but Hagrid was looking right
her as she unloaded the saddlebags. "Norbert!"
Who? Oh, the dragon. Hagrid had attempted to throw his huge
around the dragon's front leg, and Joshi was looking at him quite
"Erm- Hagrid, that's Joshi, and the lovely woman who's unloading the
for me- stop that, by the way, I'll get it later- is Anya
"Charlie, yeh never told me how big he'd got- he's got to be a
of the way through adolescence- Hullo, Anye." Hagrid paused to
a great hand. "I, er- I have ter go tomorrar," he apologized roughly
Charlie. "Business for Dumbledore, y'know."
"Oh," Charlie replied, a bit disappointed. "Well, to be honest,
why we're here. Why I'm here, anyway. Anya's here
Anya put a hand on his arm. "I'm here to visit my family," she said
reproving Charlie for his babbling. "We should go see
"Right," Charlie acquiesced. "Well, maybe I'll see you later,
Keep in touch. Oh, and watch out for Joshi- er, Norbert's
If he steps on your foot, it'll have to be re-grown."
Hagrid bid them goodbye, already preoccupied with 'mothering'
and they grabbed their things and turned towards the castle, silent
They reached the headmaster's office and found that they could go
further, as neither of them knew the password. "I remember the last
I was here," Anya said wistfully. "Snape was so mad- I'd enchanted
of the suits of armor to speak absolute nonsense. The one in the
across from the kitchen used to sing The Jolly Beggerman whenever
walked by. I still don't know how he figured out it was me that did
Charlie grinned. "Sounds like something typical of my brothers-
enchanted the toilet seats in the Prefects' bathroom to bite
Anya laughed. "No, no- that's a practical joke. It has a definite
those poor Prefects! I only deal in shenanigans- no victim,
gets hurt, and nobody gets angry or vengeful. Unless you're a sore
That was as far as they got, because the gargoyle slid aside and
voice could be heard. "And Fletcher, Arabella- spread the word,
you? Or we'll have trouble no matter what we try to do.
no way we can get anyone to join up if they think we're conspiring
By the sounds of things, the whole group was drawing nearer. Anya
Charlie exchanged glances, then peered into the stairway.
And the world was turned upside down. "Get back, Charlie!"
shouted, and a blast of pure white light illuminated the
There was the muffled sound of swearing, and four people were drawn
the corridor, one of them pinned to the wall. "Damnit, Moony, I
you we should've been more careful-"
"Shut up, you great prat, and start thinking of a way out of this,"
one of the two free men. He had startlingly blue eyes, a
face, and hair streaked prematurely with gray.
Charlie pulled himself up off of the floor. "Merlin, Anya, are you
to kill me?"
"No," she replied through gritted teeth, hardly moving a muscle.
he might be."
Black swore again. "Uh, Headmaster? A little help here would be
Charlie turned to the Headmaster, who had just appeared from his
"Good evening, lady and gentleman," he said, the usual twinkle
absent from his eye. "I see you've met my visitors."
Anya lowered her arms and looked at him curiously. "Visitors?" The
pinpricks that had fastened Sirius to the wall disappeared. She
over a bit, as if exhausted. "You- but- he's…" She breathed deeply
a few moments. "He's innocent, isn't he?"
"Very good," Sirius said dryly, shaking his hands out to rid them
the nasty tingle. "What tipped you off? The fact that I was in
visiting or the fact that I was with two noted ex-Aurors? Or was it
my breathtaking good looks?"
"Your fly is open," Anya said.
"That tipped you off?" Sirius asked, half-turning to correct the
Anya shrugged. "My mental image of a raving, mass-murdering lunatic
involve leather pants."
"Your mental image of a raving, mass-murdering lunatic is lacking
Sirius muttered to himself. He looked up at Dumbledore somewhat
"Back to the drawing board," he said, sighing.
Dumbledore's other visitors- who turned out to be Arabella Figg,
Fletcher, Remus Lupin and Sirius Black- spent the rest of the
explaining everything. 'Everything' ranged from Peter Pettigrew's
to the newly revived Order of the Phoenix to why Sirius was wearing
in the middle of July. "So now that you know everything," Dumbledore
tapping his wand lightly on the desk, "I must ask you to
"Decide?" Anya asked blankly.
"Yes," the Headmaster replied. "We can't have anyone knowing of our
they are still unsanctioned by the government and we can't risk any
You'll have to decide- will you aid us in our cause?"
"What happens if we decide we don't want to?"
Dumbledore shrugged sadly. "No one can be sure. I'll have to wipe
memories of this conversation. Charlie could go back to Romania. You
get on with other things in the world."
Anya reflected on the days when she'd been younger, barely grown up
a world of utter chaos, and wondered if her children would have to
through that. She sighed. "Can we sleep on it?"
"Of course," Dumbledore replied. "I might have guessed you'd be a
tired. Perhaps it would be best if you stayed in the castle after
There are other things I shall need to discuss with you in the
Most of the Professors are still here for the summer- they'll join
at tomorrow's meeting- so I'm afraid you'll have to stay in the
Gryffindor Tower should suffice- the password is 'oddment.' I shall
you all in the morning."
Thanks go to Lyta Padfoot, Dennis, LillyPhoenix, Liza, Ginny, Lady
the Lillies, Hermione_Misty, alistaer, Hermione_77_, Fallen, tl and
Mancini for reviewing, and to Zsenya for beta-reading.