Chapter 13 : Repercussions
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The Way You Kiss Me
London was changing on it’s daily cycle, the high streets were closing, the blood red skyline had been injected with a growing darkness, and the nocturnal inhabitants of the city were prowling the streets. But the usually buzzing room on the top floor on the Department of Sports and Games in central London was deathly quiet. One passing outside of its gleaming oak doors with golden gilding would have been forgiven for thinking someone had died inside. But as each of the London Lions players quivered with trepidation in their plush seats the excruciating silence was shattered by the shrill, scandalised voice of Regina Fontaine.
‘Do you have ANY idea what kind of image this gives us? Or what damage your drunken idiocy has done to this establishment!? How will we ever fix this!’ Regina screamed, slapping this week’s glossy issue of witch weekly down on the glass coffee table in front of Jennifer Strainthorpe. The glossy front page sported a blown up picture of a scantily-clad Jennifer lobbing a platter of Swiss Roll directly at Minerva McGonagall. ‘What I don’t understand Jennifer, is why the hell you were drinking in the FIRST PLACE! Have you not paid any heed to our last meeting?! If you’re going to cast your responsibilities aside like a piece of trash then maybe you shouldn’t be on this team! Does it mean nothing to you!?’ Regina’s elegant features, contorted with rage were mere inches from Jennifer’s terrified face. She meekly shook her head, praying silently that this whole ordeal would end.
But Regina was far from finished. ‘You’re all banned. Banned from drinking anything that isn’t advised, banned from celebrating, banned from takeaway, from sweets, coffee, tea and chocolate, if I so much as catch wind of caffeine anywhere near you, I’ll beat you to a sorry pulp. There is a list of advisory foods and beverages by the door, make sure you take one on your way out, eat anything that isn’t on that list, and you’re asking for trouble. You’ll all increase your exercise regime by two, I’ll know if you don’t. Miss Strainthorpe, get your agent on the phone to witch weekly, and fix this mess. Next training is Saturday week, 7:00am, be there, or you’re off the team. Forgive me, for calling a meeting so late in the evening, but these urgent matters came to my attention only hours ago, they needed to be addressed. You’re all dismissed.’ Regina finished angrily, throwing a contemptuous glare back at the trembling blonde.
As the final few players filed out hurriedly, Jennifer grabbed James’s arm and dragged him into a secluded corner, behind a rack of pamphlets about scabies. ‘Isn’t this romantic?’ Jennifer chirped. James eyed the nearest pamphlet with raised eyebrows.
‘We need to talk,’ Jennifer began, tossing her silky yellow tresses behind a small shoulder and batting her long eyelashes at him. James was beginning to dislike this girl more and more as each day passed.
‘Jennifer, how can I say this in the nicest way possible?’ James pondered aloud, ‘I don’t want anything to do with you! Please, don’t call me, don’t look at me, don’t think about me, or I’ll sue you.’ Turning on his heel James briskly swept across the room, grinning at a slightly more cheerful Regina and slipped through the oak doors, just in time to miss the flurry of hexes that ricocheted of their glossy panelling.
A crack issued throughout the cavernous interior of the Potter Mansion as it’s youngest inhabitant materialised, apparently, from thin air. ‘Mum? Dad?’ called James, unbuttoning his Abercrombie travelling cloak, ‘Claudia? Clarisse?’ Almost instantaneously two withering house elves in tailored red velvet togas appeared from the kitchen. ‘Where are my parents?’
‘At work Master James,’ Claudia, the taller of the two creatures ventured, bowing low with her pruned companion. James frowned, his parents didn’t usually work weekends. As if sensing his puzzlement, the taller house elf, Claudia spoke up once again ‘an urgent call from Minister Huber.’ She explained in her usual shaky tone.
James nodded dismissively, ‘I’ll be in my room.’ He announced, climbing the gleaming staircase. James’s room was at the very end of the corridor, he padded along the Persian carpet and as he twisted the brass doorknob of his bedroom door, he stopped. Something was wrong.
Frowning once more he gazed back up the hallway, with it’s numerous identical white doors, and back down again. Opposite James’s bedroom was his fathers study, a room James had only ever been in once before. That particular door was eternally locked, whether the room behind it was occupied or vacant, and only his parents had the key. On this particular occasion, the door was ever so slightly ajar. As James slowly reached for the brass doorknob, he noted it’s colour, it’s usually golden sheen had disappeared and it was now a dull bronze hue, as if heated immensely, and all around the handle itself were scorch marks, seared onto the virginal white door. James couldn’t comprehend why he hadn’t noticed them before.
With an excruciatingly loud click the door swung open. Almost immediately, a muffled crack issued from inside. James swiftly withdrew his wand and slammed his hand on the light switch. A few sheaths of paper fluttered ominously to the ground.
Lily examined her diamond wristwatch, her mother would probably be in the middle of a piano lesson, Petunia would be out at some classy restaurant with her friends and Vernon’s credit cards and her father, no doubt, would be living in his apartment in the city by now.
Peering through the rippled glass of the pine double doors Lily could see the blurry outline of the sliding French doors beyond, and the familiar sound of the grand piano in the lounge met her ears. Her heels clicked on the terracotta tiles of the hallway as she slipped in, discreetly shutting the door with a soft click. She swiftly deposited her coat and cashmere scarf on the coat rack and slid the white French doors open. A blast of warm air hit her in the face and the signature winter scents of cinnamon and mulberry filled her nostrils.
Deciding it would be best not to disturb her mother during a lesson; Lily slipped into the Kitchen and poured herself a brandy. Downing it quickly, she helped herself to another and sat at the breakfast bar, pulling one of her mothers muggle magazines towards her and leafing through it. She peered out the window, the misty winter darkness pressed in against the double glazed windows and the ominous sky promised of more snow before the morning.
Fifteen minutes later, Lily was so deeply immersed in a lengthy article about the latest Celebrity scandal that she did not hear the sound of the piano cease, the crunch of tyres on the gravel driveway outside and her mother’s student leave with a cheery gooble. So it came as quite a shock when the brandy glass was snatched from her fingers, just as she pressed it to her lips.
‘I wasn’t aware you were of the legal age to drink, Lily,’ Grace Evans said raising her eyebrows and scrutinising her youngest daughter through bemused brown eyes.
‘I am in the wizarding world Grace,’ Lily grinned. ‘How’re things? How’ve you been since Daddy left?’ Lily demanded, wasting no time with unnecessary etiquette. Grace emitted a small sigh before smiling.
‘Well I’m not sure exactly how much Petunia has exaggerated the situation in her letters, but both your father and I have been perfectly fine since we decided things weren’t working. He’s living in the city now; I’m going over there in a half hour, if you want to come. Regardless of who Petunia told you was to blame for this, it was a mutual decision to end things and we’re still very good friends. Your father and I feel that divorce is the best option for all of us, so despite what Petunia says and does, there’s absolutely no reason to blow this entire situation out of proportion. Now that we’ve settled that, are Carly and Julianne coming for Christmas?’ Grace explained. Lily nodded, trying to process this new information.
‘Oh, well that’s great news!’ Lily announced, beaming. ‘Yeah, Carly’s coming in a few days, but Julianne’s in India with Jack, they left this morning, she told me to wish you a Happy Christmas, though. Oh, and she bought you this gorgeous bracelet, it’s in my bag, but Carly has my trunk so, you’ll have to wait a few days for that.’
‘That’s so nice of her,’ Grace smiled, before leaning towards Lily over the breakfast bar, ‘so who’s Jack? And what happened to Julianne and Remus?’
Lily sighed, raising her eyebrows, ‘Well, that’s a long story, if ever there was one. So I guess I’d better start now…’
Soon, James was weaving through the mass of people that frequently clotted level one of the Ministry of Magic at the end of the day. He slid the monochrome doors at the far end of the atrium open and emerged into the artificially brightened corridor beyond. The collective grumble of Ministry employees dwindled away as the doors shut behind him. At the opposite end of the corridor was the Ministers Office, James hurried towards it’s intricately carved door but turned right just before it into a large antechamber, that was his fathers office.
‘James, honey what’re you doing here so late?’ Chanel Potter inquired, looking up from the desk where she stood. There were two other people present in the room, his thoroughly puzzled father, and the Minister for Magic, Eric Huber. Despite his company James explained with a sense of mounting urgency.
‘Dad your office, someone’s broken into it. The safe… it’s gone, there are documents everywhere,’ James told them hurriedly. ‘I noticed the door was ajar, and I could hear someone inside, so I opened the door and they disapparated.’
‘How long ago?’ Chanel asked, her guttural voice panicky and higher than usual.
‘Um, a few minutes, I apparated straight here,’ James told them.
‘From inside the room?’ Chanel demanded, bright blue eyes widening.
‘No, the hallway,’ James told her, puzzled as to what relevance this had at all.
‘Nick, we can trace that apparation, if it was only just now and no-one’s apparated in the room since then,’ said Chanel quickly, glancing at James for reassurance of his last statement. James nodded and looked at his father hopefully.
‘James, you’re sure the safe is gone?’ Nick asked, frowning urgently at his only child. James nodded. ‘Eric,’ said Mister Potter, turning to the pensive Minister, ‘the order documents were in that safe. If Voldemort has those…’
‘We have to alert Dumbledore,’ Huber said, habitually running a hand through his downy white hair. ‘Nick, go back to your house, trace that apparation and follow it as far as you can, backup will be right behind you, Chanel, alert the Auror’s Office, I want every Auror in the Ministry on this case, I’ll go straight to Hogwarts, James, you’re coming with me.’
‘What? No! I can help, I want to go with Dad,’ James protested. He was seventeen, not seven. Didn’t that mean he was of age? That he was an adult in the eyes of the Wizarding World? Then why the hell was the Minister treating him like a child?
All of a sudden, James felt the familiar sensation of being pushed through a tight rubber tube, and before he could process what was happening, he was standing outside the gates of Hogwarts next to the hassled Minister. ‘Sorry about this James, but as of five minutes ago you’re in grave, grave danger, this is the safest place for you right now.’
‘Minister Huber? I don’t understand how am I in danger?’ James puzzled aloud, as he followed the Minister on their trek towards the looming giant that was Hogwarts.
Twenty minutes later, James found himself sitting at Dumbledore’s desk, as the Headmaster re-entered the room, having seen Minister Huber off. His face was pained, his handsome features were laced with worry and his twinkling eyes were anxious. James had never seen such emotion in him. ‘Professor?’
‘The documents that were contained within the safe in your father study, were for a secret society, called The Order of the Phoenix. In a nutshell, it’s an organization of witches and wizards, not necessarily Aurors, dedicated to fighting Voldemort. I founded it. Anyway, those documents contained a list of names; members, information sources, spies … potential members. James, all of those people are in danger. You and your friends are on those documents; Lily Evans, Carly Van DerCoup and Julianne Adams are all on those documents. Do you understand?’
‘How can I help?’ James asked, leaping to his feet determinedly, he was ready to leave if Dumbledore tried to reprimand him. Instead, Dumbledore grinned and nodded.
‘Bring them here,’ Dumbledore told him, James nodded, and dashed out of the office, down the staircase and through the deserted corridors of Hogwarts.
‘No way!’ Grace shrieked, as Lily recalled the incident at the Christmas Ball the day before. She glanced at the clock and gasped as Lily giggled ‘Oh look at the time! I should definitely be leaving; your father will be waiting. Are you coming?’
‘No mum, that’s ok I’ve got things to sort out, and I promised I’d write to Carly, Rachel and Julianne. I’ll see you when you get back, give Daddy my love,’ Lily grinned as her mothered pecked her on the cheek.
‘Bye sweetie, if Petunia comes in tell her there’s a parcel from Alexandra Dursley on her desk,’ Grace instructed, before donning a knee length beige coat and wrapping herself in a pink scarf and matching gloves. Pinning her silken auburn hair up with a butterfly clip Grace grabbed her purse and dashed out the door.
Lily made her way up the polished mahogany staircase as the sound of her mothers BMW M5 rolled out of the gravel driveway with a crunch. Her spacious bedroom hadn’t changed since August, the fading smell of jasmine still lingered in the lilac drapes, and her white four poster was still as fresh and crisp as when she’d left it. The dazzling white décor of her room was accented with touches of dusty pink and lilac; splashes of colour on a blank canvas. Lily fell through the floaty white hangings of her four poster and onto the flawless sheets of her bed, inhaling deeply, the scent of lavender toyed with her senses. She smiled.
Yawning, Lily fell into the white leather tub chair in front of her whitewood desk and drew her stripy light purple and white comforter tighter around her. Pulling a fresh sheet of parchment towards her she began writing to Carly.
Mum says it’s alright if you come around on Monday, she’d love to have you. The only problem she’s got is that Julianne wont be there, I’m sure she’ll manage somehow. Mum’s scandalised about the entire Julianne/Jack thing, I think she was totally rooting for Remus on that one, I dare say there’ll be words when she next sees Julianne. That’ll be one worth watching.
It turns out that Petunia was totally blowing the entire divorce situation out of proportion, in her letter she made it sound as though mum and dad would kill each other if they had the chance. That’s actually not the case; they’re still friends, in fact, mums around there right now. I don’t get it, but if they’re happy… whatever. Mum told me it was a mutual agreement to divorce, and they’re both really ok about it. I don’t understand my parents in the slightest.
Have you seen witch weekly? Oh my god, that picture is hilarious. I bet what’s her face isn’t so smug now. Anyway, I gotta go, still have to write to Julianne and Rachel.
‘LILY!?’ a voice roared from downstairs. Lily’s stomach jumped, as did she. Who the hell was that? Pulling out her wand Lily crept to the top of the stairs, and no sooner had she peered around the corner to see who was there than she was bowled over by James Potter.
‘You have to come with me!’ James said, pulling her up. Lily frowned at him and glanced down at her skimpy green negligee. It hung just above her bosom and barely reached mid to upper thigh. She tossed her mane of fiery read heir over her shoulder in protest and James grabbed her wrist. ‘So sorry,’ he announced, before they both disappeared.
‘James!’ Lily shrieked as they appeared outside the gates of Hogwarts, they were ankle deep in snow and Lily was wearing nothing but risqué lingerie and underwear. ‘Are you crazy? I might DIE before I reach the castle.’
‘You better start walking.’
‘I could kill you.’
‘You might die first.’ James mocked. Lily smacked him, and tore his cloak off before draping it around her and casting a warming spell on it. By the time they reached Dumbledore’s office Lily’s teeth were chattering in spite of the cloak and enchantments. Dumbledore sat at his desk, opposite the other potential members of the order, they looked up as James and Lily entered.
Dumbledore gestured to the two remaining seats on the other side of his desk. ‘Now that you’re all here I have a few things I need to tell you. The rest will wait until morning. You’re all in grave danger, for reasons which we shall discuss at length tomorrow. You’re to sleep in your dormitories tonight, you’re not to leave the grounds, or go home. Is that understood?’ Dumbledore said, pacing in front of them. Despite their obvious puzzlement (minus James) they asked no questions. ‘I have written to your parents explaining your whereabouts. Go straight to your dormitories.’
As the others filed out, Dumbledore placed a hand on James's shoulder. 'James, there are things we must address,' Dumbledore told him, as Lily closed the door behind her. James nodded, and sat down in the high backed chintz armchair.
All of a sudden the door of Dumbledore's office burst open, and a dishevelled Minerva McGonagall swept in urgently. Breathlessly she announced; ‘Albus, you're needed at the Ministry; Nicholas Potter is dead.’
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