Okay, so this chapter may be a bit confusing. I had half of it written since several months ago, and I only added on to it, but I wanted to take this opportunity to let everyone know that I made a bit of a mistake so I had to go back and fix some things-- it's simple really, I made the boys a year older than they should be right now, so now they are four years old instead of five. You dont have to go back to read the other chapters-- all I did was fix numbers a bit. So without further ado, please read on to chapter 30!
In the weeks after they came back to Britain, Sirius and Liz finally bought their very first house—technically they already owned half of one in Venice… Mrs. Vetterli had died some years previously and as promised, had left them half of everything she owned, leaving the rest to her nephew. Sirius and Liz had exchanged letters with Paulo for some time before they all finally agreed that Paulo should take the house, since he was in need of a home, and Sirius and Liz would take money instead—Paulo would hear none of their taking none of it.
It was Sirius and Liz’s first house, and they couldn’t be happier. They were only a few blocks away from Godric’s Hollow, where James and Lily lived, and the new setup was ideal for these friends to be together at any time of any day. The house was large enough for five to live in, as everything the Blacks planned for nowadays was for five, with two flours, a large kitchen, and many rooms.
As had been done the last time the Blacks were here, Sirius and Liz attended the meetings, and Max and Dru were allowed in despite their young age. Missions continued to be planned out, and Sirius was part of a great many of them—he was a good fighter, and had an excellent instinct that almost never let him down. He also had good insight into many of the ways of the Death Eaters, not only because he had grown up around them, but because he had been running from them ever since he’d married Liz.
Never once did Sirius resent his situation—he continued to love his wife as much as ever, he loved his children, even though sometimes it felt like he couldn’t get along with them, and he loved his friends, even though they had obviously grown somewhat apart in the years that Sirius had gone abroad—all this was unavoidable, but he still acted the same as ever, and for that, many were thankful. Despite their circumstances, Sirius and Liz had not really been subject or victims to tragedy.
“Max, Dru, do you both remember Auror Moody?” Sirius asked his sons before the beginning of an Order meeting. Both boys nodded their heads.
“They’ve got good memories” Moody commented. “It’s a good thing; helps to keep—“
“Constant Vigilance!” both boys chimed in unison. Moody found himself looking down at the boys in surprise, and Sirius couldn’t help but laugh—it had been this, if nothing else, that had been ingrained into their memories. Max and Dru, he was sure, would remember that particular motto for the rest of their lives.
“Boys, go and see if James needs any help with that” Sirius said, pointing the boys toward the struggling figure of James carrying too many papers in his hands. Max and Dru stood straight, clicked their heels and saluted him before leaving.
“Yes Sergeant!” They ran off and took a bundle off James’ arms each, leaving a much more comfortable load for him to handle.
“They remembered” said Moody, more or less in surprise.
“Well, it’s like you said—“ Sirius told him, “—they’ve got good memories” he said proudly.
“When do you think they’ll be back?” Lily asked, looking out the window for the millionth time. Remus had grown tired of telling her they weren’t due back for another few hours, so he had taken to silence for the past hour now. Moody, Sirius and James had all gone on a very important mission that morning, and Remus had decided to come over to Godric’s Hollow, where both Liz and Lily were spending the evening together.
Just as Lily was about to get up to get up to check the window again, they all heard a kncking at the door. Lily’s complexion paled, and so it was Remus that went to the door. As he did so, he was rather surprised to find his two best friends, looking tired and worn and altogether exhausted, both with several cuts, and besides all that, they were carrying—or dragging rather—Alastor Moody’s fighting body. Remus opened the door wide and helped them the rest of the way into the living room, all the while listening to Moody’s shouts and James’ explanations.
“We were almost finished with the mission—“
“I’ll not be dragged like this!” Moody shouted.
“—We were attacked. We thought we could handle it and we were until someone threw a bombing curse at Moody—“ James said.
“Let me go!”
“—After that, they left so we brought him here—“
“UNHAND ME!” Moody shouted, and as he did, he flung his wand, causing James, Sirius and Remus to go flying several feet away from Moody. He fell to the floor with a loud thud and the other three crashed heavily onto the opposite wall. It was only at this point, when Remus was standing up again, that he realized why Moody hadn’t been able to carry his own weight in the first place. There was a trail of blood all the way to where Moody lay now, quite still, and as he further inspected Moody’s body, he saw what was so terribly wrong. He had cuts in several parts of his body, many spots were beginning to bruise up very badly, one of the man’s eyes seemed to be entirely gone, a large chunk of his nose had also been blasted away, but the absolute worst part of it was the missing leg—which was the source of most of the blood.
“Alastor, we have to try and cure some of these wounds” said Sirius, who had, by this time, reached the spot where Moody had dropped again. Moody gave a short nod, giving in—no doubt the pain was beginning to be too much. James and Remus joined him and together they closed most of his injuries, though some, they knew, would need professional help.
“We have to get him to St. Mungo’s” said James.
“No!” Shouted Moody “No, I’ll be fine here”
“Alastor, you’re badly injured, you can’t stay here, you’ll bleed to death—“ Sirius tried to explain.
“—You’ve lost enough blood as it is” said James.
“No! I will not—“
“Alastor, you’re badly hurt.” Somehow, Liz had joined the group unnoticed, but her sweet voice was welcoming and no one there seemed keen on making her leave the sight of so much blood. “You should let them take you to the hospital” but not even Liz could persuade Moody to go.
Thankfully, Poppy Promfrey had been asked to attend the meeting that was to be later that day and had arrived early. She walked in on the sight of all that blood just like Liz and never faltered, but instead, went about healing the terrible injuries as best she could. As she did this, the small face of Max, curious as always, had appeared out of nowhere. In all the commotion, no one noticed as Max had made his way nearer and nearer to the invalid, becoming more and more aware of what was going on in this room. Liz finally caught sight of her son, inspecting Moody’s eye-socket, for that was all that was left of his left eye, but just as she was about to take him away, the conversation started again.
“Alastor, I hope you’re thinking of retiring soon” said Poppy quite suddenly. Moody growled as he always did.
“Why would I?” he asked gruffly.
“Because your leg isn’t going to grow itself back” she answered him. “It is one thing to re-grow a bone, and completely another to re-grow an entire limb.” She, of course, meant the incident of a few months earlier where Moody had been forced to drink a substantial amount of Skele-Grow to re-grow all the bones in his right arm.
“The leg I can live without; as long as you tell me I can get my sight back, I’ll be just fine” Moody growled. Poppy opened her mouth to speak, but then closed it abruptly. Her inability to tell him what he wanted to hear did not go unnoticed, however. “Poppy, what can you do about my eye?” Moody asked, this time more carefully. Still, Poppy didn’t answer, but continued to mend what little was left of his leg. “Poppy?”
“Alastor, it’s not that simple… the eye is a very complex body-part… it’s like I said, you can’t just re-grow entire limbs… or organs…”
“And eyes count as organs?”
“Yes, Alastor, they do” Poppy said, uncharacteristically quietly. Moody lay there for a moment. This was not as it was supposed to be.
“You need an eye?” Max asked, still standing where he had been at the beginning of the exchange. For the first time, everyone in the room noticed he was there. Max was so small that he could easily sneak in anywhere without being noticed—this had always been a particularly frustrating fact at Order meetings, where they preferred the children to be kept away; but as any clever child would, Max always found a way in and often heard a lot more than he should.
“Yes, boy” Moody growled. “That is what happens when you get yourself into a sticky situation”
“What would you want it to look like?” Max asked, apparently unfazed by t he fact that he was being stared at by everyone and he was in a room that seemed to be overflowing with blood.
“Max, stop asking questions like that” Sirius picked up his son and was carrying him out as Moody shouted after him.
“I’d like it to be blue, like yours!” Moody shouted maniacally “I want to be able to see through walls and tables and even the back of my own head!” Max was already in his room by now, but there had been enough time to hear what Alastor Moody had said, and Max was not one to forget.
It was many hours before Moody finally fell asleep. Promfrey had not wanted to give him a sleeping draught in fear that it might react badly with some other potions she had given him. By then, all the adults that had assisted him were very tired—especially Sirius and James, who had refused to go rest until they were sure Moody would be alright.
As much as everyone hated to admit it, and as much as most Order members tired of hearing Moody’s constant badgering of “constant vigilance!” they all knew that he was a crucial member to the Order. Had it not been for him, many battles would have been lost, many missions would have failed, and many people would not be alive today. Moody had acquired much respect in the Order through the years, and the idea that he was now badly injured—that he might decide to leave the Order now that he had suffered such dreadful bodily losses—was creating a bit of panic through the remaining Order members.
The meeting that night was short and to the point and only a few stayed for dinner. Peter had not appeared all day, but that hardly surprised anyone lately—many people had taken to avoiding too much contact with others.
No one knew how long they could last if Moody wasn’t around to protect them—to keep his constant vigilance over them, and to remind them constantly to do the same. No one could imagine what would happen if he decided to leave. No one seemed to think this wretched war would end if Moody wasn’t around to save the day. These were the thoughts that went about the heads of many Order members as each lay wide awake in their beds that night.
The Blacks decided to stay over that night with James and Lily—partly because they were worried something might go wrong with Moody, and partly because James had nearly begged them to.
There was only one worry on Alastor’s mind as he fell asleep. How will I live the rest of my life with only half my sight? He wasn’t exactly happy to have lost a leg, but he could think of ways to compensate for it. His eye, however… how could he possibly compensate for his eye?
Max was, as always, wide awake while everyone else replenished their much needed rest. Max never needed such things like rest and food—he took them if he got them, but could gladly have lived the rest of his life without. He had resolved to help the man downstairs tonight, and he was going to do it just as he thought the man would have wanted it.
Everyone in the house was awakened the next day not by the blinding summer daylight outside, but rather the gruff shouting downstairs. Several woke with a start—among them, Sirius and Liz, who had trained themselves to sleep lightly, always ready for attacks. It took a moment for both of them to realize that their surroundings were those of the safe and cozy Godric’s Hollow and that no one could have found this place unless Dumbledore had allowed it, just like all the other homes for Order Members. It took yet another moment for them to realize that the shouting downstairs sounded oddly similar to Moody’s voice and something quite like
“Whooping?” said Sirius. They each dawned some quick clothes and proceeded downstairs, where they found James and Lily staring at Moody, who bore an electric blue eye that looked a little too big for him, for it stuck out rather oddly. Alastor was, at this moment, seemingly playing with the new eyeball, for he could spin it around at any angle.
“It’s just like I said” Moody told them, “I can see through anything.” As he said this, his eyeball, which had been moving constantly and very eerily, came to rest upon something behind Sirius. Everyone instinctively turned to look where he was, and found two pairs of blue eyes looking back from two short figures. Max and Dru had been awakened as well by all the noise and had proceeded downstairs as so many others had done. And then Moody did something he rarely ever did—he smiled. Sure, it was a gruff, uneasy-looking smile, especially considering the fact that Moody had only half a nose now, but nonetheless, it showed he wanted those boys to be here. “You boy—“ he said as he pointed to Max, “—come here.” Max did not falter for a second, but made his way gingerly through the several pairs of legs to get to his target. “Did you do this?” he asked, very seriously. For a moment, Max looked uncertain, as if hesitating to answer. “Did you?”
“No captain” Max said.
“I want the truth from you boy” Max said nothing. “I remember telling you that I wanted this yesterday. I want to know if you did this overnight”
“Not overnight, captain” said Max suddenly.
“It takes longer, so time had to stop” Max explained awkwardly, obviously very aware of many pairs of eyes staring at him hard—particularly the eyes of his mother and father behind him.
“You stopped time and grew me an eye?” said Moody, trying to grasp this boy’s meaning. Again, Max did not answer.
“For Merlin’s sake, Max, did you do it or not?” said Sirius impatiently. Max turned to his father, and very slowly, began to nod his head. Only Moody seemed to be happy about this, because everyone else was now trying to understand how a boy of only four years old could have done such a deed seemingly easily when not even Dumbledore could have done it without the use ofvery advanced tools.
“Thank you, Max” it was the first time Moody had ever addressed Max by his name, and that, more than anything brought th two couples back from their reverie.
“But it didn’t come out exactly right—“ started Max.
“Don’t you worry about that—“ said Moody, patting Max’s head gruffly “—I’ve got myself a mad eye now; my sight is better than it ever could have been because of you” he said. Max smiled one of his rare smiles—a Gastby smile.
“I only have one question, though” Sirius said. Max turned to look at his father, so did everyone else. “Why does he get to be captain if I’m only a sergeant?” Dru laughed behind him. “Do I get promoted now?” both boys shook their heads slyly.
“A private can’t promote a sergeant, sergeant” Max said. Sirius looked gobsmacked, and Moody rolled his mad eye.
A/N: I changed the numbers around a bit and now Max and Dru are four years old instead of five.
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