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Unforeseen by Neurotica
Chapter 16 : Rescues and Revenge
 
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Unforeseen



 By Neurotica



Rescues and Revenge



Breakfast had been demolished, dishes had been washed, and now James was just waiting. He’d been waiting a lot in the last few days, and every minute that went on, he became more and more anxious. When he’d returned from the Ministry, he’d greatly played-down what he’d gone through during his questioning.



Sirius had told him what was happening when Kingsley had arrived, but at the time, James hadn’t fully understood. Once at the Ministry, James had been taken from Kingsley’s custody, into Dawlish’s, and steered rather roughly into a holding cell where he waited to be taken to an interrogation room. Minister of Magic Millicent Bagnold had been waiting along with Amelia Bones, Paul Savage, and a witch sitting before parchment, ink, and extra quills.



They’d begun the questioning immediately by asking him where he’d been when Lily had been attacked. He’d furrowed his brow, but answered the question truthfully. The questions that followed were increasingly strange. Bagnold asked if he’d ever had any connections to Lord Voldemort (though she’d referred to him as ‘He-Who-Must-Not-Be Named’). He replied that the only connection he had with the Dark Lord was when he was fighting against him with the Order of the Phoenix. He admitted that Voldemort had wanted to recruit him when he left Hogwarts – there’d been a battle where Voldemort had cornered James and offered James riches and power beyond his wildest dreams. James attempted to cast Reducto on Voldemort, and his last memory was seeing the Dark Lord laugh at him. He’d ended up in the hospital for about a week after that battle. The questioners then asked if there was any reason whatsoever that he would’ve wanted to see his wife dead. Shocked and disgusted, James shouted ‘no!’, his eyes tearing up at the very thought. They questioned his relationship with Peter Pettigrew – James carefully left out the photos he’d received during his explanation.



That was when Amelia Bones had, very reluctantly in James’ opinion, pulled out a small vile of Veritaserum. They’d asked if he would allow the use of the truth serum; James agreed, just to get the horrible event over with. He couldn’t remember what they’d asked him, but once he’d come to after the serum wore off, Amelia Bones had told him very kindly that he was free to go, then shot a look of disdain to Bagnold. Bones had walked him out and he swore that as he was entering the Floo, she had apologized for what had just happened.



But James’ trauma hadn’t ended with the Ministry questioning. The hurt he’d felt after hearing his friends had known about Wormtail had been deep. After a lot of thought on the matter, however, James decided his friends had been right not to have told him what they’d discovered. He had absolutely been ignoring his responsibilities as a father while he tried figure out the mystery of the photos he’d been sent, apparently by Emmeline. Reluctantly, he’d admitted only to himself that if he’d known that Wormtail actually was alive and wandering around free, he would have become even more obsessed.



“Sickle for your thoughts, mate?” Sirius said, sitting beside him on the porch steps, looking out over the backyard. “You haven’t said anything in a while…”



James shrugged. “Just thinking.” He sighed. “You and Remus were right,” he said quietly, not looking over at his best friend.



“How so?” Sirius asked curiously.



The other wizard remained silent for a few minutes, gathering his thoughts. “You were right not to tell me about Wormtail,” he said heavily. “If you’d told me what Emmeline told you, Harry may have forgotten he even had a father. I don’t want that to happen, Sirius. I love my son. I loved my wife. I never wanted to see either of them hurt. I failed. Twice.”



It was Sirius’ turn to sigh. He put an arm around his best friend’s shoulder and pulled him into a one-armed hug. “You didn’t fail, Prongs. Not at all,” he said sternly. “Harry’s got the best father he could ever have. Lily had the best husband. You did everything you could to protect both of them, but you couldn’t control everything, James. I know you wanted to, but you couldn’t, there was no way. I know you’re still not over Lily’s death, and I don’t blame you. I hope I can love Dorcas just half as much as you loved Lily. But things happen that you can’t predict, no matter hard you try. But I promise you now, James, we will get Harry back, and he will be just fine. Like Remus said, Malfoy’s going down, no matter what happens. Do you believe me?”



James didn’t want to answer right away. He didn’t want to jinx anything Sirius had said. But his best friend was waiting for an answer. “I believe you,” he said very quietly. “I trust you with my life, Padfoot, and my son’s life. I trust Remus just as much. I know you two won’t let anything happen to either of us.”



“’Atta boy, Prongs,” Sirius said gruffly, kissing the top of his best friend’s scruffy head.



The backdoor slammed open. It was Remus. “Dumbledore’s just arrived; he’s got Snape’s results for the ward checks around Malfoy Manor.”



James and Sirius were on their feet immediately, following Remus into the house and towards the living room.



Dumbledore was standing in front of the fireplace, and James couldn’t help but feel awe towards the headmaster. He’d always known Dumbledore was powerful; he’d been taught by his mother and father that Dumbledore was the greatest wizard to ever live. And he’d had this feeling of awe before when the headmaster had been part of a battle against Voldemort and his Death Eaters. The moment Dumbledore arrived, and the Death Eaters and their master realized there’d been a new arrival, they’d Disapparated.



“What have you found out?” Sirius asked once they were fully in the living room.



“Severus has disabled the wards around Malfoy Manor temporarily,” the headmaster said briskly. “You will have a window of one and half hours to enter the property under Invisibility Cloaks and disguising charms. Severus cannot hold the wards open for longer than that window; if Lucius discovers his wards have been disabled, not only you will be in danger, but Severus as well.”



“Not all that fussed about him, to tell you the truth,” Sirius muttered under his breath.



“Sirius,” Remus said sternly.



Sirius backed off his anger with Severus Snape for the moment. James mentally chuckled at the effect Remus’ tone of voice had on his best friend. It worked with James just as well, actually.



“Shall we go, then?” Dorcas asked in a tone that suggested they were heading to the Leaky Cauldron for a few drinks. This caused the four younger witches and wizards to genuinely burst out laughing. Dumbledore watched in amusement.



Once they’d calmed down, they looked at each other in surprise. “What was that all about?” Emmeline asked, still chuckling.



“Lack of sleep,” Remus said, wiping a tear from his eye. “It’s the only thing that could’ve been.”



“Even Prongs laughed,” Sirius pointed out, patting his best friend on the back. “I haven’t seen him laugh in weeks!”



James glared at him, though his lips were twitching hard. “Come on, mates, let’s go rescue my son.”






Harry was really starting to hate this place. After that boy Draco had left, he hadn’t come back, not that Harry had missed him at all; that boy was telling lies about his dad and his mum, and Harry didn’t like that one bit. He knew very well that his dad hadn’t murdered his mum – that had been Voldemort and Wormtail. Harry didn’t know who told this boy those lies – he’d said it was his father – but that person was very wrong.



Harry missed his family. He missed Sirius telling him jokes and helping him play pranks on his dad. He missed Remus teaching him about different books. He missed Dorcas tickling him until he couldn’t breathe. Though he didn’t know Emmeline very well, he missed her too. And of course, he missed his dad. His dad was his best friend. His dad had taught him to fly and read and write. His dad read him bedtime stories until he fell asleep. His dad comforted him when he had a bad dream. Harry didn’t think that if he stayed here Draco’s dad would do any of those things for him. Harry had only seen Draco’s dad a few times, when he’d come in to see if Harry was asleep, but Draco’s dad scared him badly.



All Harry wanted was to go home. Was that really such a bad thing to want?



Dobby the house-elf had come in to give Harry some lunch, but he hadn’t stayed to give Harry company while he ate like he had the last few times. Harry liked Dobby. He wasn’t mean like Draco and his dad. He’d only ever seen a house-elf one other time: at Hogwarts. He and his dad and Sirius had gone to see Professor Dumbledore one day, and Professor Dumbledore had rang a little bell, and a house-elf had appeared with a tray of tea and the best biscuits Harry had ever had. Harry had told the house-elf that when it had returned, and the house-elf had blushed, bowed, and thanked Harry for his kind words.



Harry even wished he could go to Hogwarts right now. Anywhere but this place…






A group of five appeared in Wiltshire just as Harry was receiving his lunch. They were less than a mile from Malfoy Manor, but hadn’t wanted to appear inside Malfoy’s property. The group hid in the bushes where Dumbledore passed a Cloak to the four who didn’t own their own Invisibility Cloaks and helped them with Disillusionment Charms, and charms that would keep them from being detected by certain spells Malfoy may have placed within his home, like intruder detection. Unfortunately, these spells only held for thirty minutes at a time, so the group had to hurry.



James hardly waited for Dumbledore to finish the spells placed over him; he was off before anyone could realize he was gone. Sirius rolled his eyes before raising the hood of the Invisibility Cloak over his head. “James, hang on!” he called, unsure whether his best friend even stopped.



“Weren’t we supposed to wait until everyone was ready?” Remus asked rhetorically. “Aren’t you coming, sir?”



Dumbledore smiled. “I would love to, but it seems you three have taken all my Invisibility Cloaks.”



Remus smirked. “Are you telling me, sir, that you can’t make yourself invisible without a cloak?” he asked slyly.



The headmaster only winked and Disapparated.



“Strange man, Dumbledore,” Dorcas said conversationally. “Come on, you two, we better catch up with those two dolts.”






Sirius could only find James because his best friend’s shoe was showing. He was sure James had done this on purpose; the practice James had had hiding himself under an Invisibility Cloak had made him an expert on keeping his entire body covered. Sirius touched what he hoped to be James’ shoulder.



“Who’s that?” James’ voice whispered. “Padfoot?”



“It’s me,” Sirius whispered back.



James didn’t reply for a few seconds. “Harry’s in there… And I will kill Malfoy if my son has been hurt in any way.”



“I’ll help,” Sirius replied grimly.



“James? Sirius?” Remus’ whispering voice was a few feet behind them. Sirius turned and could see three sets of footprints in the slightly wet grass.



“Right here,” James said to them.



“Ah, I see your footprints.”



“Let’s hope Malfoy isn’t looking for footprints in his lawn,” Emmeline said very quietly.



“He’s probably too busy greasing up his hair to pay attention to his lawn,” Dorcas said. Sirius had to stifle a laugh.



“Okay, how are we doing this?” Remus asked. “Are we staying together, or splitting up?”



“Well, there are five of us,” James said slowly. “We can split up in three groups. Sirius and Dorcas, Remus and Emmeline, and myself. Remus and Emmeline, you take the basement if he has one. I’ll take the main floor, and Sirius and Dorcas take the upstairs. Anyone who finds Harry sends their Patronus to the others. No one shouts; we’re still not sure who’s in the house. Everyone agree?”



“You’re in charge with this thing, mate,” Sirius said, feeling his Auror training kicking in. “May I add something?”



“You may.”



“Anyone who finds Malfoy stuns him. Don’t fight if you don’t have to. Got it?”



“Got it,” the others said.



“Off we go, then,” James said.



They could all see his footprints head towards the house and followed. The door opened of its own accord, and for a few seconds, they all stopped and held their breath, Sirius reaching for his wand from inside his cloak. That’s when they saw Snape standing at the door, looking out over the lawn. He looked at the footprints in the grass, to the wet footprints on the patio, to where they stopped.



“Inside,” he said under his breath, his lip curled as they passed him. Sirius had the urge to kick him, but refrained. This was too important to ruin it with a duel.



Only for you, Harry, he thought.



Snape closed the door, and he disappeared into a sitting room where he met Narcissa, who seemed to be preparing to leave, rather enthusiastically and began chatting with her. Sirius thought vaguely that Snape was keeping his cousin occupied so they could do what they had to do.



God, I hope she doesn’t cause any trouble. But knowing Narcissa…



“Sirius?” Dorcas said very quietly. Her voice was barely audible, but once Sirius was out sight from Narcissa, he held his hand outside of the cloak so she could see him. She touched the hand lightly and he withdrew it, making it invisible again before proceeding up the stairs again and began quietly and carefully searching rooms for Harry. Unfortunately, there seemed to be more floors to this house than he originally thought.



A long search is worth it, though, if we find Harry in one piece…



On the second level, the fourth or fifth door down, they found a boy around Harry’s age that to be Malfoy’s son. Sirius couldn’t remember the kid’s name, but he stayed and stared at him through the open door longer than he wanted to. The boy was playing alone on the floor with wooden blocks, and he was the saddest thing Sirius had ever seen. He actually felt sorry for the boy, and he never in a million years thought he would feel sorry for a Malfoy. Sirius stood staring at the boy until Dorcas tugged on his arm, pulling him back to reality.



Sirius wanted to find Harry worse than ever.






Harry sat on the edge of the bed staring out at the window. He’d thought it was daytime, but the moon was out and he could see stars in the black sky. He wondered briefly if these windows were like the ones at the Ministry his dad had shown him, the ones that could be charmed to show different sorts of weather. He realized, though, that it really didn’t matter, and he really didn’t care, anyway.



He jumped about a foot in the air when the door began to open slowly. As quickly as he could, he scrambled under the blankets again, hoping it wasn’t that Draco or even worse, his father. But Harry’s hopes were shattered, though, when the blond man entered, staring down at Harry’s bed.



“Wake up, boy,” he said coldly.



Harry pretended to be asleep.



“I said, wake up,” the man said again, snatching the blankets away from Harry’s body.



Suddenly terrified, Harry opened his eyes, trying not to cry in front of this man. He sat up and pulled his knees to his chest. The man pulled out his wand. “You’re to live here from now on, as your worthless, murdering father has landed himself in prison.”



“H-he’s not a m-m-murderer,” Harry whispered. He’d wanted to shout it, but his fear of this man was overwhelming.



The man smiled a smile that sent shivers down Harry’s spine. “Oh, my dear boy, I assure you he is. And the Ministry feels that if he remains free and you were to remain with him, he would one day kill you the same way he killed your mother. You will live with my family – my wife will be your new mother, my son your new brother, and I your new father. You will grow to learn the Dark Arts, and once the Dark Lord returns, you will fight beside him and destroy that Mudblood loving ‘family’ of yours.”



Harry couldn’t help the tears now. He didn’t want to do any of those things. Why hadn’t his dad come for him yet?



Just as the blond man raised his wand at Harry, the boy happened to glance at the door and found his godfather’s head floating there, looking angrier than Harry had ever seen him. It actually scared him, so when Sirius put a finger to his lips to keep Harry quiet, it wasn’t difficult for Harry to continue looking frightened of the man in front of him.



Obliv–” the man began to say.



Sirius had crept up behind him, pulled off his Invisibility Cloak, grabbed the man by the shoulder, and spun him around. “Get away from my godson,” he growled before punching him in the face.



Harry scrambled out of the bed to keep from being fallen on by the man.



“Dorcas, take Harry and get out of here!” he yelled.



Harry looked around for Dorcas, but couldn’t see her until she, too, pulled off her cloak. Harry ran to her, grabbed her hand, and she picked him up, quickly taking him away from the room from which he could hear a fight between Harry and the man.



“Are you all right, Harry?” she asked.



Harry nodded, hugging her very tightly. He’d never been happier to see anyone he knew in his life. “M’okay,” he muttered into her neck. “I want my dad.”



She kissed his head, pulled out her wand and whispered something. Harry looked just in time to see a dog run out in front of them and disappear into the floor. “He’s here, Harry. You’ll see him very, very, soon, okay?”



Harry nodded before burying his head into her shoulder again.






James waited impatiently at the bottom of the stairs with Remus and Emmeline, waiting to see that scruffy head of hair he’d hated on himself when he was younger but loved on his son. It seemed to take forever, and just as he was heading up the stairs to see what was taking Sirius and Dorcas so long, he began to hear footsteps walking quickly. His heartbeat sped up to match them. Then, from around the corner, he saw them. Dorcas was smiling, probably at the look on James’ face, and whispering something to Harry. Harry turned his head so quickly from where it had been rested against Dorcas’ neck that James was surprised he hadn’t broken it. The smile on his son’s face made James’ heart melt just as it had when he’d first seen Harry when he was born. James wanted to run up the stairs to meet him, but for some annoying reason his feet seem rooted on the spot, and it took another eternity for her to reach him, but finally Dorcas had reached him and handed Harry over to him. Harry latched onto him like he never wanted to let go, and James was absolutely all right with that.



“Oh God, Harry, I’m so sorry,” James began muttering, hugging his baby boy tightly. He began muttering other nonsense things into Harry’s hair, unaware of the tears of pure happiness streaming down his face. Remus was talking from somewhere behind him, but James neither heard the words nor cared to hear the words right now. All he cared about was having his son back in his arms, thankful that he seemed to be perfectly fine, just as his friends had promised he would be.



“…still upstairs, fighting Malfoy. Sounded like he was about to modify Harry’s mind just as we got there,” Dorcas was saying.



James spun around quickly, the happiness in his heart quickly replacing itself with anger. “He what?” he growled.



His friends’ eyes widened, probably at the sudden change in emotion he’d just experienced. James was a bit surprised too. “Where is he?”



“Fourth level, last door on the right,” Dorcas said, her eyebrows raised.



“Harry,” James said, trying to release his son’s grip from around his neck. Harry was surprisingly strong for a six-year-old. “Harry, I have to go do something. I need you to stay with Emmeline and Dorcas for a minute. I’ll be right back, I promise.”



“No,” Harry said stubbornly. He increased his grip.



“Harry, please…”



“Harry, your dad has to go help Sirius so he doesn’t get hurt, all right?” Emmeline said soothingly. “Remus will go with him to make sure he comes back very quickly, sweetie. Right, Remus?”



“Of course,” Remus said promptly. “Your dad will be back very soon.”



Very reluctantly, Harry slowly released James from the death grip he had him in. James kissed him and handed him over to Emmeline before charging up the stairs, not bothering to wait for Remus. He reached the fourth level and charged down the hallway to where he could hear signs of a struggle inside the room Dorcas had said Sirius and Malfoy were in. And indeed, once he’d entered the room fully, he could see his best friend straddling Malfoy’s chest, punching every free area he could reach.



Malfoy was fighting back; he had Sirius’ throat and was apparently attempting to strangle him. James walked quickly over, pulled Sirius back by his shoulders, and continued where Sirius had left off, growling curses at the man who’d kidnapped his son, tried to have James thrown in prison for killing his wife, planned on taking Harry as his own, and for everything else Malfoy had ever done to him or one of his friends – calling Lily a Mudblood, Sirius a blood traitor, Remus a dirty half-breed, possibly turning Wormtail to the Death Eaters (though James really had no proof of that). James was letting out every ounce of anger he’d ever had out on the other man, and he would have easily killed him if Sirius and Remus hadn’t pulled him away.



“Geroff me!” he shouted at them. “He has to pay!”



“He will, James!” Remus panted from the effort of holding his struggling best friend. “He’s going to prison for the rest of his life!”“Not – good – enough!” James continued to struggle until Sirius was finally able to pull out his wand and stun Malfoy.



James stopped struggling and turned on his friends. “What did you do that for?” he yelled.



“Because we’re not letting you go to prison after you’ve just gotten your son back,” Sirius said calmly. “This piece of filth isn’t worth that.”



“Now, come on, James, Harry’s waiting for you,” Remus said, leading James by the arm out of the room. James wished he hadn’t had such a tight grip on his arm; he’d wanted to kick Malfoy in the ribs. “Are you coming, Sirius?” Remus added, turning around at the door.



Sirius shook his head. “No, I’m taking Malfoy to the Ministry, you two go on ahead. I’ll catch up later.”






That night, after a large meal prepared by Emmeline, Dorcas, and Remus – Sirius and James hadn’t been allowed in the kitchen – everyone was in the living room discussing every subject under the sun that didn’t have to do with what happened with Malfoy; they wanted to keep Harry’s mind off it, and since he hadn’t been touched in any malevolent way, the adults were quite all right with that.



When the boy’s head dropped onto his father’s shoulder, James looked down and said, “Come on, Harry, time for bed.”



“Will you read me a story and tuck me in?” Harry said, yawning hugely.



James smiled. “Of course, I will, buddy,” he said. “Go on upstairs and get ready, and I’ll be up in a minute.”



“Kay…”



“We should be going anyway,” Remus said. “It’s been a long, exhausting few days for all of us.”



James walked them to the door, but before he pulled it open, he said, “I can’t thank you lot enough for helping me find Harry. You don’t know how much it means to me.”



Sirius winked. “Well, Harry means a lot to us as well. We’d do anything to make certain he was all right.”



The others repeated the sentiment.



“Right.” James smiled. “Molly Weasley invited Harry and me over to the Burrow this weekend for a picnic, and she said you’re all invited as well.”



The look on Sirius’ face was nothing short of dreamy. “Ah… Molly Weasley cooking… There’s nothing better in the world…”



Laughing, James pulled open the door, said good night and thank you to his friends once more, and watched them head to the Apparition point, still laughing and joking with one another.



As he headed up the stairs towards his son’s room, James couldn’t help but feel both elated and afraid that he got to read his son a bedtime story tonight at all. Malfoy could have just as easily killed Harry rather than kept him alive and plotting to have James thrown in Azkaban so he could keep Harry as his own. The thought of that scared James more than anything. He knew there were still Death Eaters around who’d be more than happy to kill his son after Harry lived through Voldemort’s attack – Dumbledore had said the Death Eaters believed Harry’s death may bring the Dark Lord back to power. And after the last nearly three days of wondering whether his son was alive or dead, James couldn’t bear losing his son again. Just the thought of losing Harry broke James’ heart, even more than it had when he’d lost Lily. Not that he’d loved Lily any less, but that after losing her, Harry had become his universe, and if his universe was destroyed, what point was there to life at all?



No use thinking of that now, though, he thought. I have Harry, and from now on, I just need to keep a much closer eye on him. He grinned suddenly. At least until he gets a wand and I can teach him some spells and jinxes. A bat-bogey hex may not go amiss either…



When he entered Harry’s room, his son was already changed into his pajamas, and seemed to have a book out – it was a book James’ own father had read to him once: a fairytale, the Muggles called them, about a young boy who found a dragon and kept him as a pet. Harry was flipping through the book, looking at the pictures.



“Scoot over, kiddo,” James said.



Harry put down the book and did as told. Usually when James came in to read him a bedtime story, though, Harry would grin widely. It was a grin James adored and looked forward to.



James frowned and sat beside his son, putting an arm around him. “You all right, buddy?” he asked a little concernedly.



Harry sighed much too heavily for a six-year-old. “Dad,” he said, and hesitated.



“What’s wrong?”



He sighed again. “I didn’t think you were going to come to get me,” he said in a tiny, scared voice.



James’ eyebrows shot up and his eyes widened a touch. “Why did you think that?” he asked gently, increasing the grip on his son.



“Because…” Harry sighed again. “Because I thought you were going to prison.”



Biting his lip, James tried to regain as much of his composure as he possibly could. His anger at Malfoy was boiling again. “Who told you I was going to prison, Harry?” he said evenly, his voice only slightly shaking in anger.



“Well, first it was that boy,” Harry explained in a whisper. “He said his dad told him that… that you k-killed Mum. Then that man told me right before Sirius came in.”



“And did you believe them?”



“Well, no, not at first,” Harry said. “But when you still didn’t come get me, I didn’t know. And the man also said that you had to go to prison, because they were afraid one day you might kill me too, and that was why I had to live in that place.”



“Harry, look at me.” James gently turned his son’s face up to look him in the eyes. “I promise you, on everything in this world I hold dear, that I never would have done anything to hurt your mum, much less kill her,” he said just forcefully enough so Harry understood this without a doubt. “Nor would I ever do anything to ever hurt you. Do you believe that?”



Harry nodded. “I know,” he said in that small voice. “I was just scared that you weren’t going to come for me and that I wouldn’t ever see you again and that I would have to live with that mean man and that mean boy.”



He started to cry. James pulled him into his arms, comforting him and rocking him back and forth just as he’d done when Harry was a baby and was crying. “I’m so sorry you had to go through that, Harry,” he said, his voice cracking. “I wish I could have come for you sooner, but we didn’t know where you’d gone. But I swear to you, the moment we did find out, we came for you. And you’ll never have to see that man again. He’s going to Azkaban for a very, very long time. Not only did he do bad things to you, but he did bad things to a lot of other people. As for the boy… well, if you and he both go to Hogwarts, I’m sure you’ll have to see him. But I’m almost positive his dad was a Slytherin, and it sounds like he will be, too, so you don’t have to be nice to him if you don’t want to.”



Harry looked up at him and grinned shakily through his tears. “Can I charm his shoes to bite him like you and Sirius and Remus did?”



James raised an eyebrow. “Who told you we did that?” he asked, though he already had suspicions.



“Sirius,” Harry said dismissively, his tears slowing down and finally stopping.



James snorted. “Sure, you can do that when you figure out the spell.”



“Can’t you show me?” Harry asked, using his puppy dog eyes that he also learned from Sirius.



“Nope,” James said airily. “You’ll just have to look it up like we had to.”



“Dad…” Harry was using his pleading voice in addition to the puppy dog eyes.



James only grinned. “So, do you have your book picked out?”






Harry was asleep less than half an hour later. Apparently the last few days had had the same effect on him as they had the adults. James took the book and put it on the bedside table, tucked Harry in, kissed his forehead, and left the room, shutting off the light and closing the door halfway. He headed down the hallway to his study, switched on the light, and went to his desk, but didn’t sit. He’d come in here for one reason and one reason only.



The photos he now knew to truly be of Wormtail were sitting on top a pile of papers for work. James picked them up and flipped through them for what had to be the millionth time since he’d received them. He stopped on the closest shot of Wormtail of the bunch.



“I’ll still be looking for you, old friend,” he said to the photo. “You can absolutely count on that…” And then he took his wand from his back pocket, cast Incendio and set fire to them with the tip before dropping them in the small, empty, metal trash bin that was usually filled with balled up pieces of parchment. He watched them burn until the last of the fire went out, then he got rid of the ashes with a wave of his wand, went back to the door, turned the light out, and went to bed.


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