He hated this anti apparition ward rule. Running was never his strong points, and he never thought he would have to run as hard as this in his entire life. Through one alley after another, his hoarse breathing rasped in his ears, and a pain was building in his left abdomen. His wand arm was completely swollen; he had barely managed to deflect the curse. Red, splotchy and feeling as if it wanted to drop off, the Leprosy hex had broken through his vaccination counter charm. If he didn't get it treated, it would spread in a matter of days.
Two days had passed since the botched job, and he needed to get the galleons quick before they caught up with him. He was good at slight of hand magic, good at bargaining deals. No one told him that the intended target was one of Lestrange's men. The Rodulphus Lestrange, in fact. He would have never gotten mixed up in that bunch if he'd knew beforehand who he was dealing with.
But of course, that’s the whole point, isn't it? Keep him in the dark… let him take all the risks. He was just another peon. Goddammit.
He hated running.
His pursuer was in better condition than he was, that's for sure. After curfew, the ministry's no tolerance rule was in truth a two bladed edge. No magic was to be performed in the streets, neither was apparition. The trick was, if you did break the rules, the Aurors came and get you using strategically placed port-key stations. On the other hand, if someone was attacking you, much like the position he was in at present, they'll take a while to bail your ass out.
Even though most likely if they do succeed in saving his life, they'll throw him in 'Rock anyway, probably throw away the key too. He grabbed painfully at his side as he rounded yet another dark alleyway, pausing a moment to catch his breath.
Damn, he hated stitches. Should have listened to Dung all those years ago and kept himself light. Too late for that now. A distinct shadow grew longer behind him, the harsh light from the streetlamp clearly showing that his pursuer was gaining. Dropping his forehead, he plodded on, throwing random old boxes and crates down in his wake to try and slow him down.
Dammit, he hated this running away shit. Should have cleaned up his act a long time ago -
"Holy shit!" he gasped, almost skidding to a halt. Another robed figure stood before him, his features indistinguishable in the post midnight darkness. The shape of the robes, and the make of the uniform- Thank Merlin! He was saved.
"Bloody facking hell, took you long enough. Look what he did to my arm- he's trying to kill me!" he gasped, stumbling forward on his last legs. His breath came in hard gasps now, relief and fear and exhaustion all combined as adrenaline peaked to a climax and came crashing down. He put his hands on his knees, trying to gather himself.
"Come on out, Jugson," the stranger said in a soft, deep voice. With almost a reverent attitude, he spoke over the wheezing wizard. "I'm surprised they sent you personally."
Jugson was leaning against the corner of the alleyway, his back to the wall. His eyes closed in frustration as he heard his name called. Gripping his wand tightly in his right hand, he brought it up to his chin, thinking down hard. He wasn't afraid of the Auror, just the fact that this man knew who he was disturbed him. He didn't plan for such eventualities, but sometimes things didn't always go out to plan. He just had a fight on his hands, that’s all.
He was once a Death Eater; he did not fear the ministry. This fool did not know who he was dealing with. Just as he was about to make his challenge and face him head on, a soft chuckle rumbled from the opposite direction.
Jugson froze. On his right, standing in the middle of the street, the strange wizard called out to him. This bastard knew the Replication magic? Pretty talented to have caught him unawares. And it would seem that he has been leglimized already. That was not good. Shutting his mind closed he separated himself from the wall, facing his opponent.
"Who are you?" he demanded, squaring off.
There was no answer as Jugson brought his wand to bear. Silently, he cursed the newcomer with an unblockable curse that found the most potent weakness in the individual's immune system and attacked the body from the inside out. A pungent smell wafted down the street, the only sign that there was powerful magic at work.
The stranger faltered to one knee, his hood covering his head as he seemingly succumbed to the curse. Jugson smirked as he felled his opponent so easily, only to check himself when the pungent smell disappeared and the stranger got back to his feet, his mannerism almost elated. There was another soft chuckle and Jugson was ripped apart into a bloody mess.
The stranger showed no emotion as the Sectumpsempra curse literally obliterated his opponent, his body reduced to nothing but a mutilated corpse. A silent, magical siren went off as the weight of his silent counterattack triggered all the Ministry alarms throughout the entire city.
At the same time Leslie Grensington gasped as a long line of blood splattered across the entrance wall to the dingy alley. Something was not right here, but he dared not go back outside and investigate. Backing up, he ambled closer to the ministry official. Panic slowly began to overtake him.
"Come on, don't lolly around, get me out of here, goddammit," he said urgently over his shoulder. He could not take his eyes off the entrance of the alley, even if he wanted to.
"Here," Grensington offered his wrists to be shackled. "Take me, I don't care, let's go!" he said, coming closer to his captor. His breathing began to speed up dramatically. He desperately wanted to get away from here as soon as possible. A large dog ran past in his peripheral vision, and he felt a sudden coolness wash over him. "Who are you?" he asked, deciding to look closer at the Auror uniform. As he drew close to inspect it, silence somehow blasted all sound out of the alleyway. It was unnaturally quiet in a heartbeat.
"Leslie Grensington," a soft voice asked from the bloodstained entrance to the alleyway. He turned back around, feeling lost, and now very scared. What was happening?
"OY! Who there?" he demanded, looking behind him once again for an escape route. Chillingly, the looming figure had vanished. The approaching man was carrying something in his left hand.
"Page 409, circa 1967 to 1977. Prisoner of Azkaban. You're name is in this book. So was his."
The stranger removed his blindfold, and Leslie looked into the most unnerving eyes he had ever seen. They glowed, almost like an angel’s, and he would have found it beautiful until he felt the crippling fear overcome him. With his last gasp, his heart failed, and he died on his feet, eventually toppling over facedown into the rubbish discarded in the drain. The robed stranger crouched low, using a sharp stone to make a faint outline of a small circle on the ground. Whispering something in between his lips, the circle magically expanded tenfold, encompassing the alley and the immediate surroundings. With a snap of his fingers, both bodies disappeared. The stranger followed suit mere seconds after, moments before Auror officials came racing around the corner.
"Dammit!" George 'G.I. Joe' Ignacio cursed, and then gasped as he realized the graffiti was actually blood staining the walls in vicious streaks. He almost felt sick. His squad, visibly repulsed, groaned their disgust. Professionalism eventually took over and Ignacio spat the names of two if his team, calling them to investigate closely. "We lost' em- what we got on the residual magic sigs? Where did he go?" Allison Schweinsteiger tapped an imaginary triangle in the air and a swirling mist formed inside. The lingering magic was immediately sucked in.
"We have one count of Desillopious and it's known counter Rejen. Shit, definitely some heavy hitters, whoever they were - they’re very complex pieces of magic," Allison frowned. "Wait- plus, no...There’s something wrong here. A duplication spell? What's that?"
Ignacio grimaced. That's right, they won't know about that one. They weren't around at that time. He tried to remain calm, even though his heart picked up even more pace. "It’s a body double, sometimes, depending on the caster, it could be almost like the real thing. What else?" Allison tapped her wand on the bloody wall and it hummed softly. A charmed quill began to scribble on her notepad.
"And...." this time Allison really frowned.”Now wait to you hear this Joe: the Sectumsempra curse- S rated. No wand trace. No vocal harmonics recorded. As if no one was here to incant it, it just happened out of thin air - and this strong. Mortal physical damage shouldn't be possible with that."
Another drew a dark mirror, pointing his wand at it. "Definite wizard fatalities in the air, the veil registered it at 0102 hours and 0103 hours respectively. Our guy took them down a few seconds from each other; he could still be in the immediate vicinity."
That possibility ran through the squad leader like lightning. Putting together those facts in a split second, he froze. For a moment, George couldn't dare breathe. Was he still here? He held his breath for approximately ten seconds. Nothing happened. Letting go a sigh of relief, Ignacio noticed a strange shadow on the ground. Quite strange, in fact. Looking up, he spotted it. His theory was confirmed.
"We need to get out of here," he said silently, almost reverently. It was him. No doubt about it. The Dark Lord himself. If they had arrived a few moments earlier, they may not even be standing here now.
"What?" another Auror asked. Pointing, they all followed the direction. A white owl sat on the top of the street lamp, its eyes watching them balefully. The next moment, it combusted into fire, and flew off into the night.
"What in the bloody hell was that?" Allison demanded, obviously shaken by the disturbing sight. Ignacio hustled along, heading back to the portkey station two blocks away.
"Believe me, Schweinsteiger, you don't want to know."
The First day of school was a weird one for Jacques Potter. No one spoke the night before as they climbed into their four-poster beds to retire. His brother took the bed in the middle, while had had taken the one near the window seat, leaving Apollo sort of like a physical bodyguard in between them. Four more boys (whose names he couldn't remember) had occupied the remainder of the male first year bunks.
When he went to use the boys' washroom the next morning, Apollo blocked the doorway, shaking his head. Conversationally he asked Jacques to give Marcus a few minutes. On enquiry, Apollo said the other Potter wasn't feeling well and needed some privacy.
Feeling no reason to argue the point, Jacques simply waited until his brother came out around ten minutes later. He did look a bit worse for wear, and he deduced that Apollo really was telling the truth and his brother simply just wasn't one hundred percent this morning. No problem.
"Feeling all right?" Jacques said as his brother walked past, his brow furrowed. Something was disturbing him. Ares stopped, looking at his brother in the eye.
"You slept okay last night?" he enquired, watching Jacques with mild annoyance.
"Yeah, I did. What happened?"
"Nothing, just felt a bit sick this morning, that’s all." Ares Potter smiled weakly and walked away. Apollo followed, shrugging his shoulders nonchalantly towards Jacques. Jacques looked at them quizzically, but did not pursue it further.
After he had showered and gotten dressed for breakfast, he dug around in his trunk for the box containing his wand. Taking it out, he pocketed the innocuous piece of carved wood and went down to follow the House Master as she led the Gryffindors down to the very first school breakfast of the rebuilt Hogwarts Castle.
He sat down away from the others this morning, trying to finally grasp what was happening to him. He didn't want to be part of the distractions or the conversations just yet. People were watching his brother and Apollo funny as it was, but he could feel the eyes trying to find him as well. He didn't even put on the hat but he was sorted into Gryffindor. Gauging from what all the other students had to go through, that definitely proved to be a bit weird. Avoiding making too much eye contact, he ate his breakfast in a comfortable silence until the housemaster (who he thought resembled a cat with grey hair and yellow eyes) dropped off a parchment with his timetable, the subjects charmed such that when he placed a finger on a particular class, a large arrow appeared on the page, pointing him where to go in the huge castle.
After breakfast, the bell rang and they got up to go to their first class: Charms. Taking out his wand and holding it awkwardly between his fingers like a large pen, he grabbed his book bag, and checking that he had the feather quills, parchment and his charms text, he prepared to leave. Upon reaching the stairs to go up to the fourth level, a group of about five joined him, a short boy with light brown hair walking up to match him stride for stride.
"Potter," the boy he recognized to be Thomas Calm said softly. "You didn't tell us you had a brother," he hissed. Jacques disliked the tone of his voice.
"Didn't ask, now did you?" Jacques countered smoothly, giving him a glance. "If it means anything to you, its still news to me as well..." Callista Calm gave him a sharp look.
"What, you didn't know?" she said sharply, somehow feeling betrayed.
"Up till yesterday, didn't know a bloody thing about him, and he didn't know me either. Really weird." Thomas Calm studied those words carefully. Now he knew that Krum had made a mistake. He had introduced them to the wrong boy! Thomas grimaced. He had no chance to correct his mistake last night after the sorting and dinner. Hopefully Potter won't blab to anyone about that picture and Selene's reference to them being cousins. Looking at the other Potter brother and the Lupin kid further up the stairs, his eyes narrowed.
Of all the times to screw this up....
"I'll wait a bit for Selene," Thomas said conversationally. “If you want, come and join us for lunch before the afternoon period." His voice was casual, but even so, Jacques did not get a good vibe from this crew.
"Okay, I'll let you know if I’m coming, cool?" he said uncertainly.
"Right," Thomas nodded, and without further small talk, Jacques continued up the stairs.
Apollo shadowed Ares closely all the way to Charms' class; looking over his shoulder a few times before he was satisfied that no one was spying or trying to eavesdrop on them.
"If you could call it that...It’s slipping though...no matter how hard i try; I’m losing the images...just find it hard to concentrate..." Ares said softly, his eyes fierce. The two boys walked a bit further along the hall, the clipping sound of their Leviathan hide boots ringing through the hall. Apollo took a deep breath.
"I've been thinking," Apollo said thoughtfully.
"Uh huh..?" Ares encouraged.
"Do you think Mom lied?" Apollo probed. Ares bristled; a bit affronted that Apollo would dare say something like that about their mother.
"Lied?" Ares said dangerously. “About what?" he asked, a forced calm on his face. Apollo gulped. He could see it in his eyes. He dare not get Ares seriously angry, that could mean a lot of trouble, especially since Rebecca wasn't around to control him.
"Well not lied, per say, more like...didn't know..." Apollo changed his tune slightly.
"Do you think that just maybe... dad is still alive? Maybe that’s what these last two dreams were about..."
"No, she couldn't hide that...And these dreams seem to be from the past," Ares denied. “Well, maybe at least the one last night.” Apollo frowned again. He did not expect to hear that.
"How would you know?"
"It doesn't feel like a vision, more a memory, unlike the one a few weeks ago…" Ares explained. “And all the faces are blurred, and I've never really had dreams about dad before...it's strange. I think I'd know if he was alive, mom and I could have looked him in the eyes remember? We had a connection before, now I don't feel that at all."
"All right then. Just let me know if anything changes," Apollo replied, his voice sounding disheartened. They continued on their way, the topic of conversation changing until they found the class.
"Here it is," Ares said, entering the double doorways into Flitwick's lecture room. Almost immediately the Weasley gang invited them over, Rose waving at them enthusiastically. Ares smiled at them, and made his way across. Apollo took hold of his arm and said something softly in his ear.
"Watch yourself, since this morning I felt something weird, like if you've been targeted."
"Targeted? Seriously?" Ares said it more with a hint of welcoming a challenge.
"Don't get your hopes up; it could just be a girl with a crush on the 'famous' Harry Potter's son, that’s all." Apollo said, distracted as he scanned the new faces in the class.
"Ugh, just know how to burst my bubble, don't you?" Ares complained.
"Just shut up and go and sit next to them, let's keep it cool and quiet, it's our first day. No showboating."
"Not even a little?"
"You suck!" Ares hissed.
"Yeah, but I'm better at charms, so I have rank. Wait, plus I am your older brother, so I always have rank."
"Yeah, keep it easy, remember...these are newbies," Apollo re-iterated.
"Oh, alright alright, I get you. I'm not going to do anything, so don't worry."
Just as they took their seats, Jacques Potter walked in, his fancy basketball shoes looking very out of place under his long Gryffindor robes. He paused, searched for a spot, and found that the nearest one available was a seat directly opposite his brother, on the other side of the class. He spotted the gang, and they smiled at him, Jessica giving him a little wave. He nodded, grinning at the Weasley cousins. The girls seemed to have enjoyed the attention, but he didn't notice because the sight of Flitwick had momentarily stunned him.
Who, or what the hell was that?
"Please sit, please sit!" the diminutive wizard said cheerily. "Oh yes, such a wonderful sight, all these young faces. Please, all of you, welcome welcome! Oh Dear, this is such an emotional moment for me; I'm so sorry, thank you all! I have been honoured to have been granted the first class of the new era of Hogwarts, and I daresay you all should feel privileged to be recognized as the first years of this new generation of witches and wizards! I am Professor Flitwick, and this will be such a great adventure as we begin to learn the basic fundamentals of all magic: Charms!"
By this time Jacques had taken his seat and was scanning the other faces in the crowd. Turning around casually, he spotted the Slytherin group filtering in on the highest tier behind him. They sat down, and Jacques got the impression that sat there on purpose so that they could look down on the others. He caught Callista's eyes, and he wagged his eyebrows. Callista smiled prettily, and Jacques couldn’t help but snicker at Thomas’ disapproving glare. Jacques turned back around, ready to start his first lesson in magic. Taking out his wand, he inspected it carefully. It was smooth, and almost jet black. He couldn't identify the make of the wood, but it did not particularly inspire him to be anything really worth the while, but hey, who was he to judge?
It was cool though, soon he would be able to do crazy things like take rabbits out of a hat and make a dove fly out of his hands. Yeah, and some nifty card tricks as well...
"Well, the first charm I’m going to show you will be vary basic- it's a rudimentary charm all wizards should know, and that is the ability to make something float, or levitate. Now class; hold your wands at a ten degree angle above the horizontal directly in front of you, and wave it in this manner: a swish and flick."
The class obeyed, some looking bored, while others were paying rapt attention.
"Now that we have that set, this is the incantation : Winguardium LLeviosa! “ Jacques’ jaw dropped at seeing the feather literally defy the laws of physics. Flitwick demonstrated for the class once again, and then instructed them to try it on the feathers placed in front of them.
Jacques tried initially and failed. Other students were already levitating theirs, some better than others. He glanced across the room. His brother and Apollo had theirs at perfect eye level, their feathers steady in the middle of the air. The Weasley troupe also had theirs off the desks, even though some were shakier than others. Jacques huffed, and tried again, still nothing. After numerous tries, he realized that the whole class had theirs afloat, while he was the only one who couldn't do it. Professor Flitwick saw his distress and came up to guide him.
"Don't worry about it son, you'll get it soon- " he froze midstride, doing a double take. He spun around, looking at Ares, then back at Jacques. "My word, you boys are almost identical! You definitely are brothers!"
"Yes sir," Jacques said uncomfortably. A broad smile stretched across Flitwick's wrinkled features for a moment, then his eyes dimmed, almost to the point of being on the verge of tears.
"I taught your father as well, he was definitely the most talented wizard I had ever met..." he said very softly so that only Jacques could hear, his cheery attitude deflating before his very eyes. He stared into Jacques' face, evidently searching for something. "You must be strong, Mr. Potter," Flitwick said in a very soft voice so no one could overhear. "You and your brother both...be very wary of the choices you make," he said in a troubled tone. After a moment of recognition on Flitwick's behalf, the wizard gave Jacques a nod of his head. "You have even more potential; I can see it in your eyes. Do your best, son." With those parting words, the professor walked off, inspecting the other students’ levitation exercises. Jacques frowned, his mind working furiously as those words sunk in.
The morning passed without incident for Jacques until lunchtime. Transfiguration, History of magic and Astronomy did not have practical exercises today so everything was basically theory, an introduction to those particular subjects. Apollo, Ares and himself barely talked, even though they sat at the same row for Transfiguration because Professor Troy was eying the three of them very warily, almost searching for any reason to question them or more precisely interrogate them about the Sorting Hat incidents yesterday. Luckily they made it out without any further troubles and the Gryffindor gang made their way towards the great Hall for lunch when the bell gonged twelve.
Jacques was a bit behind the group, hastily trying to put away his wand in its box as he didn’t feel comfortable walking around with it in his Jeans pocket as yet. Thomas and his group of Slytherins were hanging out in a group in the main corridor leading to the Great Hall, obviously waiting for someone. Apollo walked straight through, the Slytherins making way to let him, Ares and the Weasley gang pass unhindered, but quickly closed ranks when Jacques come up to them. He stopped, looking at Thomas with skepticism.
“What?” he asked.
“I thought you were coming to sit with us for lunch,” Thomas said evenly.
“I said I’d think about it,” Jacques countered.
“What’s there to think about?” Thomas said, his irritation growing.
“Well, maybe the obvious, like if I want to sit with you guys or not, hmm?”
“Potter, quit stalling, are you coming or not?” Thomas asked.
“I don’t think so…” Jacques said, a smile on his face. What was it with these brits? So stuck up and iffy. Thomas actually seemed to be offended or something, his colour was rising to his cheeks. Jacques nearly laughed in his face.
“Fine then. Don’t sit with us, ever.”
“Uh…okay?” Jacques replied, clearly not feeling any loss with that statement. He looked at the little troupe surrounding him. They looked pretty soft and spoiled, with their pouty faces. He smirked, who in hell gangs up to invite someone to sit with them? He found this situation laughable. “And I don’t like how you’re watching my sister, so stay away from her.”
“Callista? What’s it to you? Got your eye on her?” Jacques said, laughter in his voice.
Thomas paused, his eyes narrowing. “Don’t be a smart ass, just stay away from her,” he said arrogantly.
“And why should I listen to a pussy little rich boy like yourself?” Jacques countered, getting a bit pissed himself. He never
“What did you say?” Thomas said, as if not believing he dared speak to him like that.
“You heard me,” Jacques re-iterated, standing a bit more tensely now. “…you snot nosed little pussy...”
“You’re quite brave, or quite stupid, Potter, if I tell you to do something, you better listen, if you know what’s good for you,” Thomas said with an obvious hint of a threat. Jacques took offense to this, and stepped in close, their eyes level as he got all in his face.
“And you better get out of my way, if you know what’s good for you,” Jacques snarled. He knew he got into a lot of fights back home, but for him to get into one now, was a bit pushing it. Even so, he liked the adrenaline rush… and he was never one to back down.
“OH? And what if I don’t?” Thomas put his hand in his pocket. Jacques didn’t even pay that movement a second thought, he didn’t recognize that as a warning sign.
“I’ll make you move, that’s what I’ll do,” Jacques said, pushing him in his chest, hard. Jacques felt the sting before he realized he had just been jinxed from someone behind him. Cursing, he reached for the spot that felt like a knife sinking into his back, wondering what the hell was going on. Thomas drew his wand and said something unintelligible and the next moment he was down on the floor, his legs stiff as boards. He hit his chin painfully on the tile and felt his teeth jar his skull. Another flash of light and all at once he felt nauseas. Coughing, he threw up on the floor, the vomit splashing back up into his face. Pain washed up over him, as if he were feverishly sick for days. It was nothing compared to that fleeting nightmare that he sometimes felt when he dreamt about the boat, but it was enough to get him pretty angry. That, and having your own vomit over your mouth and cheeks would give anyone reason to get really angry.
How dare they?!
Looking up with fury in his eyes, he wished for them to get out of his way. The next thing he knew all five of them were repulsed forcefully away from him; either slamming painfully into the wall or falling hard on the stone tile. Jacques eyes bulged in surprise, he had never expected that to happen. Someone obviously had heard the commotion, and from the voices he could hear approaching, they most likely were teachers on the alert.
“Let’s get out of here!” Thomas said in a forceful hiss, and the gang of Slytherins ran past him, down the opposite direction of the main hall. The other boy he met in the compartment yesterday was limping heavily, and as he approached, he gave Jacques a sad shake of the head.
“You had to go and mess this up, huh?” he kicked his side nonchalantly. “What about him?” Francisco asked Thomas.
“Oh shit! Memory hex, or something…anyone here can do it?”
“Yeah, let me try...” another voice offered. There was some garbled latin and a buzzing in his head. Jacques felt a strong sense of Déjà vu, then a slightly out of body experience, then he was alone. Jacques lay frozen, thinking that he would be in a LOT of trouble, and most likely will have to be expelled, yet again. Another wave of nausea overtook him, and he vomited again. Without the use of his arms to prop himself up, throwing up at point blank range wasn’t the exactly pretty.
He couldn’t move from the neck down, and that knifing hex or whatever he got there in his back was quite annoying. He just wished he could have moved his face from the dastardly smell when dark brown boots approached. There was the sound of a deep, male voice above him, but he couldn’t see his face. Another flash of light, then a cool wave swept over him. Immediately he felt the nausea vanish. More footsteps, and he could see a pair of tall pointed boots and then witches heels enter his limited vision. Two more teachers. He was done for.
“Jack, are you okay?” the voice he recognized as Professor Krum’s said. The cat eyed lady bent over on her knees and looked at him closely. Jacques eyes were getting blurry from that dull, throbbing pain entering his spinal column.
“Mr. Potter? Who attacked you? What curse did they use on you?” the cat lady asked. Her silver grey hair was spiking in all directions, giving her an electrified kitty look. He coughed, trying to laugh, and the last bit of bile was dislodged from his throat. Just as Jacques thought he remembered and was going to call names, he opened his mouth and forgot.
“No, sorry, I don’t remember, he got me from behind.” Jacques pounded his brain. He really could not say it! What the bloody hell? Every time he tried, the name danced away from him “I don’t know what got me. It hurts, though. I can’t move.”
“Lay still, and even if you are able to move when I’m finished, don’t. We’ll let Madame Pompfrey check you out.” Jacques grunted in acknowledgement. It was getting even more intense.
Another flash of light and he felt his legs unlock and his arms fall more naturally to his sides.
“Whoever did it didn’t know exactly what they were doing it seems…the Petrifying curse stopped at his neck,” Krum said. Jacques didn’t think so. There was something sadistic about paralyzing him from the neck down only to have to endure non stop regurgitation. If he found out who had done this to him, he’d definitely have a score to settle. He turned towards the other teachers. “Must be just a bit of squabble between boys, though I must say Potter, I did not expect you fighting on the first day. I expected better from you.”
Jacques wanted to shout out his defense when a sudden tranquility arose within him, and he forgave the attack. Did he really forgive it? No, he shouldn’t; he was mad as hell, wasn’t he? He was not sure. Even with the attention mostly on him, Jacques was sure that at least SOMEONE had the presence of mind to investigate any suspicious actions of student’s nearby.
“Interesting, they covered their tracks, even used an anti-magical ward to prevent tracing the wand. Hmph,” Krum shook his head, disturbed. “These kids know too much of the wrong types of magic, I must say.”
“We would need to question the student body, discreetly if possible.”
“Much good that would do,” Krum grumbled. “If they were good enough to Obliviate Mr. Potter and cover their tracks, we wouldn’t get them unless they’re sloppy enough to boast about it,”
“Well just have to keep our eyes open, then.”
Bloody Hell! They weren’t going to do anything?!
“Ze question is: who would do such a thing?” Professor Vellineaux asked in his thick French accent. He crouched, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Mr. Potter, are you sure you did not zee who did zis to you?” .
“Such cowards,” Krum said, even though Jacques could have sworn there was a tinge of humour in that comment.
“The Punctusempra curse was mild, he’s lucky,” Professor Troy said solemnly. She gave the impression that it could have been worse, much worse. Krum whistled.
“Well, I think we can move him now, he doesn’t seem to have the customary muscle spasms.“ His housemaster helped him up to his feet, and held an arm around him as she took him to the hospital wing. Jacques limped at her side, his head buzzing with confusion and pain shooting up his spine. What the hell just happened?
“Hey, where’s Jacky?” Jennifer asked after probably five minutes into lunch. Apollo and Ares looked up, but seeing as they didn’t know either, they shrugged.
“Probably in the loo,” Richard explained, chewing down on a piece of chicken.
“Or maybe checking for that cute blonde from Charms,” Randalf added. Jennifer glared at him, and Randalf laughed, he couldn’t help but teasing those twins.
“He could handle himself,” Apollo said without much more ado. “I wouldn’t worry.”
“But I am worried!” Jennifer countered. Jessica nodded in agreement.
“When he shows, he shows,” Ares said, even though he was beginning to think now. He was not far behind them. He shouldn’t have taken so long to find the hall. Hopefully he was sidetracked and just got lost , or maybe a teacher wanted to see him, or something.
When lunch was nearly over and he still did not show, Apollo visibly straightened, as if something he had overlooked before now came to the light. He gave Ares the look that meant they needed to talk when they had the time. His younger brother nodded understanding. The girls were a bit anxious too, but seeing as it was only speculation, Apollo did not want to make them even more worried. When they left to go to the common room to retrieve their books for the next class Apollo and Ares made a detour and found an empty class. The two boys sealed the door, made it imperturbable, then vanished it so that if someone were to walk past, the brick wall would run continuously without interruption.
“Remember when I told you this morning that I sensed that you were targeted? I made a mistake. I think it was really Jacques. Somehow, I think I got the two of you mixed up.”
“Come on, you and I know you don’t make mistakes like that,” Ares said. “Maybe it’s just nothing, maybe he really did have to go to the loo or something. He doesn’t seem the overly social type, got scared of all the people. Why jump to that conclusion?”
Apollo shook his head. “I’m part wolf, remember? I can sense these things. Someone is on to your scent, so to speak. The Potter blood makes a distinctive magical signature: Dad’s, yours and even Jacques have something a bit different in the composition.”
“Why would anyone want to target him?” Ares asked, then felt immediately foolish. They weren’t trained since small to protect themselves for the kicks of it- their mother was constantly worried about them. He wondered if it were the same way for Jacques. Considering that he did not get the Levitation spell in class, he doubted it. He considered that Jacques was a ‘newbie’ in the true sense of the word. That would have to change. They would look out for him, after all, he was his brother, wasn’t he?
“Well, let’s say you are right, and he has been targeted, what would be our plan to do about it?” said Ares. Apollo looked pensive for a moment. He hated having to hold secrets.
“I don’t know. We need some time to think. One thing though: we’ll have to get to know him better, that’s for sure. You’ve been kind of distant y’know, for brothers.”
“I’ve just met him, he’s a more a stranger than a brother to me,” Ares said solemnly, his eyes focusing on a spot near the corner.
“Oh…okay.” Apollo dropped the subject.
“Come on, we’ve got to get to class.”
Jacques did not show up for classes for the rest of the day. Each class teacher that Rose asked told her that Jacques wasn’t feeling well and had to retire for the day. IF it weren’t for the unfamiliarity of the numerous classrooms throughout Hogwarts and the fact that she didn’t know how the teachers would react, she would have skived off to visit him between periods. She didn’t want to risk that on the first day of school though, so she grudgingly accepted the teacher’s explanation that he was fine and just needed some rest.
When the clock tower struck seven that night and everyone was having supper, Jacques was still in the hospital wing bedridden, and every couple hours or so a throbbing pain began to pound in his lower back and when those times came the gentle nurse offered him a sour tasting drink that tasted horrible, but it helped loads on his recovery. He hated not knowing what had happened to him, and more importantly, not knowing who had done it.
He tried to get rest in the hospital wing that night, embarrassed and angry at himself for being so thoroughly beaten on the first day of school.
That night, it was Apollo’s turn to dream. The images came hauntingly lifelike, and memories instilled in him in his younger days came back full force, as if he were reliving them again. Now that he was older, everything that happened that day made more sense. A sense of disturbing determination re-ignited in his chest. A sense of faith, of loyalty to another and his will. He slept fitfully, his eyes moving rapidly beneath closed eyelids.
There was a side to Harry Potter that Ares had no clue about. He doubted even Rebecca knew everything. The Dark Lord Azrael was his godfather, his sworn protector. He had protected him when he was small, and had nearly died trying to save his life. His real father, Remus Lupin, had trusted him completely, and Harry had treated him in kind, with the sort of respect that a king would give his most prized confidant during the middle of strife. Remus was the closest thing Harry had to a real older brother while growing up.
He remembered the Dark Lord whispering to him, telling him secrets. He was to young to understand the implications of these conversations, but now that it was re-iterated, he understood completely now. He remember how the Dark Lord had told him the combination of his parent’s physical attributes had made him into something special, something that he should keep secret.
For Apollo was a natural Animagus, and could turn into a wolf anytime he wanted. In this state, Apollo would walk into the woods and converse with his adoptive father, immune to his cursed eyes. It was only then he could he talk freely, it was only then he could try to regain his past. He had learnt a lot about magic in those sessions, heard stories of the armies he led into battle before and after he was cursed with the Eyes. From the days of paltry numbers containing five to fifteen mere students; all the way up to the thousands of men under his command in the last days in the ministry, and even beyond that when his select followers joined him on his worldwide quest for vengeance, Azrael commanded his forces with a ruthless efficiency. It was one of these meetings that came alive in his dreams tonight.
“Lupin, some words, if you may.”
The words were delivered by his messenger, a pathetic white owl that was nearing the end of it’s lifespan. The crown, and his wings and tail feathers were an ashy grey, almost as if the poor thing that been set afire. He was eight years old then, and lived for any chance when he could venture into the woods in his other form. His mother would not allow it normally, but in those rare and brief times then their father was around, Rebecca did not have the same tight grip on the reins. In fact, she turned docile, and accommodated any request Harry might mention.
The Dark Lord Azrael rarely spoke, so for Apollo to be summoned in such a manner was astonishing. Keeping it secret from his brother and Rebecca, Apollo sneaked out in the darkness after dinner.
With a familiar ease, Apollo transformed into a sandy brown wolf and used his excellent night vision to venture out into the woods two miles away from Godric’s Hollow. After fifteen minutes of running at full pace, Apollo paused, sniffing the air. Changing direction halfway to the left, he set off again. Within ten more minutes, he found him. The Dark Lord stood still, his hood pulled back from his face, his blindfold dangling y the fingers of his right hand. The Eyes were open, and were staring hard to the moon.
“Lupin, you have answered my summons without being caught, very good. I knew I could count on you.”
Apollo barked softly in response.
“I have something to confide in you, something that could only be known by the both of us,” Harry looked at Apollo, and in his peculiar wolf vision, Azrael's eyes were black Halos instead of the perpetually glowing flecks of light. “The time where I would no longer be with you and Ares is nigh. My powers are eroding my body, and the magic is proving too difficult for this shell to contain. I am dying , Apollo.”
Apollo sniffed the air cautiously, and making sure that no malice was in the air, he approached hesitantly. A Predator always pays his respect to a predator even more deadly than he.
“The lucky streak I have will only go so far, and then it would backfire on those who have aligned themselves with me, as it has done in the past. That is why I must speak with you, Lupin. Your father was a good man, and I hope you follow in his footsteps. I apologize for not remembering more, but of that fact I am certain.”
Another soft grumble of appreciation came from Apollo’s throat.
“You have resented your younger brother, my son, ever since you could talk. I know that you were jealous of him. I knew you thought I favoured him knowing that he was related by blood, and you are not. It is not so simple. Listen carefully, I will explain tonight.”
Apollo sat back on his hunches as the Dark Lord Azrael strode forward, and then sat down, crossing his legs Indian style on a fallen log.
“Rebecca prophesized about me, many, many years ago. It was the day I lost the duel against my undead father, the day I fell victim to Solidus’ magic. These are the words she told me: “You will live for a long time. You legacy will flourish, and your sons will be strong.”
Apollo remained quiet, his sandy coat reflecting the moonlight until it looked almost silver.
“I do not think it is entirely correct. If I cannot finish my task, or remove this curse, it would be only a matter of years before I am feeble and grey. My life will be truncated before it is time. However, the other part, I believe without a doubt. I have never referred to you as ‘son’, but you and Ares are definitely brothers. And when I die, my protection will be gone, and my enemies will slaughter this family when they eventually find them.
“Apollo, you are to promise me that you will not let this happen. You will protect my son and you will protect my mate with your life, and voluntarily die so that they could live, if need be. You will not remember my words clearly when you return to your true self, but when the time comes, you will remember. My legacy will not perish. My sons will survive me, and become world renowned. This is my promise to my soul mate, this is the continuation of a promise made between brothers in blood many years ago, a promise dedicated to my father by your father and my godfather.
“James Potter was taken before his time, through betrayal. However, that betrayal made the bond stronger between the Animagus Sirius Black, and the Werewolf, Remus Lupin. These men eventually died for my sake, both murdered by enemies who wanted me dead.
“You will do the same, Apollo Daniel Lupin. You will lay your life to protect my legacy. You are the chosen protector, you will do anything and everything possible to stop any threat falling upon my son, the wizard destined to become the God of War. If he falls victim to the horrors of the evil men, this world will be rent asunder with his wrath. Heed me well, Apollo, you must protect him. Do not let him destroy our race. You must protect my offspring from others, and protect him from himself. Do not fail me, Lupin, the future of wizards rests in your hands...”
Apollo shot up in bed, his face dripping with sweat. He couldn’t move, so conscious he was of that recollection of his past.
He couldn’t believe it. Turning slightly to his left, he stared at his brother sleeping in the bed not even ten feet away. Rubbing his hand over his drenched face, dropped back against the pillows, his heartbeat beating so fast he could feel the adrenaline surging through is veins.
That’s why he felt as if his brother was in danger. He had wondered how he had done that, but know he knew. The Dark Lord had instilled magic in him, instilled a lifelong mission.
Turning to his right, he saw the outline of Jacques Potter, another of Harry Potter’s sons. Did he ever know he had another? Did he care?
He could not dwell on that now. He had made a serious mistake today, he knew it. He had almost reneged on his promise to his Godfather. He had to protect them. He had to protect them both.
Dammit to hell.
On a remote island in the Mediterranean sea, two people were having a sober conversation.
“What do you suppose we do now, Angelo?” said the woman with the French accent. “Ramellie failed, most likely dead. She was the most likely to succeed without getting her killed.”
“You think I don’t know that?” Logan cursed. “It’s been nearly five years since Cardiff, you know if we don’t get the Granger witch soon, his soul would be consumed. He’d become a living entity, if you could call it that,” Logan said, his eyes narrowing. “He’d be an unstoppable demon of fire. The worst case scenario is he- well ‘it’ would simply draw upon the earth’s core and incinerate the planet.” Logan said easily.
“You’re joking,” the woman said. “Right?”
“Look at him in his comatose state, do you see the charts? He’s a freaking hot as a volcano. Think about what would happen if he were awake. Do you think I’m joking?”
Draco Malfoy floated limply in the centre of the chamber, on the brink of death. He burned nonstop, his skin and flesh burning away and healing almost at the same rate, leaving him barely a shell of a human. She could not believe it, could not believe that he had to endure this sort of pain for so long. Logan Ash insisted on keeping him alive. If he died, the Infernus would plague the land until it could not feed anymore and consume the earth itself, bringing the death of them all. Fleur Delacour looked at her husband floating in the two story high Chamber of Iralem, a huge fishbowl that bubbled randomly, sucking up magic at almost the same rate of the cumulative potential and kinetic energy of ten Niagara falls. She pressed her hands and face against the unbreakable diamond mesh glass, feeling his heat warm the surface at the touch, even though the murky liquid he soaked in was supposedly immune to heat.
“What about the other Summoners?” Fleur demanded. “Can’t they find her?”
“It took me ten years to find her the first time. You think this is easy?” Logan Ash said with a raised eyebrow. “Some have also gone off the deep end, trying something as delicate as that isn’t up their street. They lose control and wipe out hundreds of thousands. Definitely not who we want to capture her.“
“What can I do?” she whispered, her tone pleading desperation.
“Unless you’re willing to volunteer, the only thing we can do is wait. She’ll turn up soon.”
Fluer Delacour personally vowed that she would find Granger. One way or the other, her husband had to be restored to life.
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