While her husband and kids were enjoying their time in the Quidditch World Cup, Mia and her mother, Lulu, were back in Grimmauld Place eating dinner together.
“How long has it been since we last had the chance to spend a night together just by ourselves?” Lulu asked her daughter.
Mia shrugged. “I dunno. Years? It’s not like we could kick Harry and Izzy out of the house to do it when they were little…” She summoned a little bottle full of a white milk-like liquid from the counter, which she poured into her glass. Then, she reached for a flask of cocoa powder that was on the cupboard behind her and mixed a spoon full of it with the coconut water.
Lulu raised an eyebrow and read the little sign on the bottle. “Is that… is that coconut water you’re drinking?” Lulu asked her daughter in disbelief. “Oh that’s just… ugh! You hate coconut ever since you were a kid! And with cocoa?!”
She sighed. “I know, this pregnancy is driving me nuts. I hated coconut, now I love it, I loved apples, now I hate them,” Mia told her, taking a sip. “Want some?”
“I think I’ll pass,” Lulu replied flatly.
“Your loss,” Mia said as she put the glass down. “You know, Sirius actually tries not to look like he’s gonna be sick every time I make this odd mixtures – it’s a nice thing to do, you know?”
“Sirius makes an effort because has to worry about making sure you won’t kick him out of bed,” her mother told her in an obvious tone. “I, on the other hand, don’t have that problem with pointing out how weird your taste is, these days.”
“You know, a nice mother would be telling me that the weird cravings were nothing wrong. That they were just, I don’t know, a way to teach the baby what not to eat after he or she comes out or something,” Mia told her with a glare.
“Not this mother,” Lulu told her. “You should know by now that I tend not to follow the book. I’ll tell you, on the other hand, that I became very fond of turnips – don’t you dare laugh, Amelia – when I was carrying you.”
She had to bit her inner lip to keep herself from laughing. “Well, I’d say between turnips and coconuts, I’d definitely pick the latter, Lu,” Mia told her with a snicker.
“Oh, shut up,” her mother mumbled. “Believe me, that fondness for weird food will only get worse now that you’re in your second trimester. Maybe, you’ll see yourself asking your husband for turnips in the middle of the night eventually.”
Mia rubbed her stomach – she was only two or three weeks away from starting to show. “Oh, I can picture Sirius’s face if I asked him that. I wonder what he and the kids are doing now. Do you think the game is over yet?”
“I have no idea. But heard there was this World Cup that lasted nearly two weeks. They had to have the worst seekers in history…”
“Two weeks?!” Mia inquired in disbelief. This one was not gonna last two weeks, was it? The kids needed to go to school on the first. And she needed Sirius there to keep her… happy. “How did the players survive playing two weeks in a row?”
“I think they switched every few hours,” Lulu said. “But it’s probably not going to happen this time. They say Bulgaria has the best seeker in the world, after all.”
Mia reached for her pocket and took out the two-way mirror Sirius had given her. “Maybe I’ll just contact him to ask how the game is going…”
Before Mia could activate the mirror, her mother reached for it across the table and snatched the mirror right out of her hands.
“Hey!” she protested. “Give it back!”
“I’m sorry, but weren’t you the one who threatened your husband with a beating if he used his mirror to contact you?” Lulu asked her with a smirk. “It’s only fair you follow the rules two, Mia.”
“Lulu, don’t make me hurt you,” she threatened, getting up and trying to reach it across the table. “Give me that!”
Lulu shook her head. “Hormonal threats don’t scare me. And you complain about him being overprotective… You actually like it, don’t you?”
“I wonder why I like you at all.”
Her mother chuckled. “Because I’m very likeable. Besides, there’s no use using the mirror. You had your daughter hiding his, hadn’t you?”
Mia groaned, now reminded she had. She sat back down. “Damn it. I’d forgotten that,” she mumbled. “I just miss him already.”
Lulu smiled. “You’re so married. I can see the lovebirds flying over your head. But he’ll be back tomorrow by ten. Just relax and stuff your face in the cake Kreacher left in the oven. What’s a better way to get over missing your husband for a night than eating cake?”
“What sort of cake?” Mia mumbled, pouting like a little kid.
“Chocolate covered with more chocolate,” her mother told her. “Oh, and more creamy chocolate in the inside.”
She moaned, pushing her dinner plate away. “My arse will have two extra pounds by the end of tonight.”
Despite Victor Krum’s brilliant catch of the snitch, Bulgaria ended up losing the game to Ireland, to everyone’s surprise. The surprise, however, hadn’t kept the Irish from celebrating their victory with lots of booze and noise.
Inside the tent, Sirius chuckled as he heard the drunken cheers coming from the outside. It was past one in the morning and only he, Arthur Weasley and his two eldest sons were still awake. Elizabeth had been with them in the tent earlier along with her quite adorable kids but had left an hour before to her father’s place.
“There will be no sleeping for the Irish tonight,” Arthur Weasley said as the four of them sat on a small sitting are of the tent, enjoying a few butterbeers before bed.
Sirius laughed. “I look forward to see their faces tomorrow morning. They’ll have the mother of all hangovers.”
“I was sort of cheering for Bulgaria,” Charlie mumbled, taking a sip of his butterbeer. “They’re my neighbours after all. Plus, there’s this Bulgarian chick in the dragon reservation…”
“Wait, dragon chick or human chick?” Bill asked him mockingly. “‘Cause, as you seem to have the likes for both, I can never tell when you’re talking about one or the other…”
Annoyed, Charlie kicked him on the leg, which owed him a punch on the arm by his brother.
Their father cleared his throat. “Boys,” Arthur warned them in a stern voice. “Let’s make sure the two of you make it back home bruise-free. Or else, the three of us will have to hear from your mother. You don’t want that, do you?”
They groaned, recognizing having their mother yelling at them for brawling wouldn’t be such a pleasant thing, but despite making an effort not to go violent on each other, their glares at each other were almost as hard as a punch.
Sirius shook his head with a grin. “You know, you guys remind me of James and me,” he said. “We tended to mock each other a lot, though we rarely reach the part when we started hitting each other. Usually Judy Potter stepped in before we reached it. I can still see her giving us that angry look – hands on her hips, face as red as her hair – and yelling at us for the next half hour. Then, she would shoo us to the basement and make us clean it, and believe me it was never ending basement, without magic. Hell of a woman, she was. Treated me like I was her own kid. Bless her.”
“Well, doesn’t that sound familiar?” Bill asked Charlie and his father with a grin. “Wonder if she and Mum ever ran into each other.”
“Yeah, Molly does act sort of similar,” Sirius agreed. “Then again, so did Lily. Must be a redhead thing.”
“Probably,” Arthur agreed.
Bill coughed and sat straighter on his armchair. “So, Sirius, I’ve been meaning to ask you this, and you don’t have to answer if you don’t want to. How does it feel to be out of… you know… the pit.”
He was silent for a moment, wondering what he was supposed to use as an answer to that. “It feels… it feels like things are back on the way they were supposed to be – like the time I spent I spent in Azkaban is sort of like a big hole on the way.”
Bill nodded but, before he could say anything else, the noise outside grew to unbearable proportions.
What had been cheers were now desperate cries and heart-shattering explosions. Whatever was going on outside was not a celebration – it was terror. Charlie was the first to get up and make his way to the tent’s entrance to peak outside. His face was pale when he looked back at them.
“I think… I think it’s Death Eaters,” he said in disbelief.
Hearing that, Sirius practically leaped to the entrance too to check if Charlie wasn’t imagining things. The black cloaks and bone-white masks were impossible to miss. It was, indeed Death Eaters. For a moment, his mind flashed back to the war years ago before the fateful night when his godson had, somehow, caused Voldemort to vanish.
Sirius stepped outside instinctively. One of the tents was on fire and another, the one of the muggle couple who ran the campsite, was being levitated while its terrified occupants screamed. The children’s voices sounded like a punch in the gut, so impossible to miss.
“That's sick,” he heard Ron muttering behind him as he watched the scene along with the other kids, who had just come outside called by Arthur. “That is really sick…”
“We’re going to help the aurors!” Arthur shouted over all the noise, rolling up his own sleeves. “You kids… get into the woods, and stick together. We’ll come and fetch you when we’ve sorted this out!”
But Izzy ignored, taking a step on her father’s direction. Her face was covered with fear, which angered Sirius to the point of wanting to run to the bloody Death Eaters and beat the crap out of them for scaring his little girl. “What’s happening, Daddy?” she asked him, glancing at the cloaked figures. “Who are they?”
He shook his head and kneeled in front of her. “No time to explain. You need to do what Arthur said.” Sirius placed a soothing kiss on her forehead and turned to Fred and George. “Look after her and Ginny. They’re the youngest.”
The twins nodded but Izzy didn’t move. “What about you? You’re not coming too?”
“I’m going to help fighting them. I’ll be fine if I know you and Harry and are safe,” he promised.
George came behind Izzy and grabbed her hand as Fred already ran with Ginny. “C’mon Iz, we need to go.”
She gulped. “Don’t get hurt,” Izzy told her father before letting George pull her to safety.
Sirius watched as all the kids disappeared and took a deep breath before reaching for his wand and joining the fight. The Death Eater’s masked figures were all over the place. Sirius was almost hit by two stunners and a full body-bind before he had the opportunity to reach Arthur and Bill, who were trying to put out the fire that consumed one of the tents.
His only relief was that the Death Eaters seemed not to be shooting to kill. It appeared they were just enjoying themselves – what other reason could they have when their master was long gone? The screaming was music to their ears. As he, along with several aurors, helped the people escape, Sirius couldn’t help thanking for Mia’s lack of interest in Quidditch. The last thing he wanted to worry about was having his pregnant wife in the middle of that and Merlin knew what a strong stunned could do to an unborn child…
One of the aurors managed to stun a Death Eater but, even before the other aurors could move to capture him, another cloaked fugure got hold of his unconscious friend and apparated away. They were escaping, all of them, like sand between their fingers. He wasn’t sure how long it had passed before all of the Death Eaters disappeared, satisfied with the destruction they had already done, leaving the rumble behind them.
He then saw himself on the way to the woods along with Arthur only to stop when they saw a beam of light being shot to the sky from a few yards away and, all of sudden, their mark, the Dark Mark, was between the stars.
Then everything happened really fast. Something or someone moved not far from where the mark had come and the aurors showed up out of nowhere, aiming stunners at the moving shadows. The light of the spells illuminated their faces and Sirius saw, to his and Arthur’s disbelief, that it was Harry, Ron and Hermione.
The immediately sped in their direction. “Stop!” Arthur yelled at the aurors. “Stop! That’s my son!”
Everyone’s heads turned to them as they approached them. Harry, Ron and Hermione, who were ducking on the floor, looked up and their faces covered with relief. The three of them when they managed to get up.
“Are you all right?” Sirius asked them, making his way through the aurors and placing a hand on his godson’s shoulder. “Did any of you get hurt?”
They only managed to shake their heads before Crouch came closing into them. “Out of the way!” he told them aurors. His face was taut with rage. “Which of you did it?” he snapped, his sharp eyes darting between them as he pointed his wand at the Ron. “Which of you conjured the Dark Mark?”
“We didn’t do that!”Harry replied, gesturing up at the skull.
“Do not lie, sir!” the older man shouted, looking at them as if he was mad. “You have been discovered at the scene of the crime!”
“Hey!” Sirius shouted, stepping in front of the wand. Crouch… he’d been the one who had made the official order for him to be sent to Azkaban without any sort of trial. Him threatening Harry and his friends was only adding bits of rage to his already swollen grudge. “Watch who you point that wand to, Crouch!”
Crouch glared at him. “Step out of the way, Black. This is none of your business.”
“Oh, it is when you’re accusing my godson of conjuring the bloody dark mark!” Sirius replied angrily. “What are you going to do, Crouch? Send more people to Azkaban for life without a trial? You can bet your arse this is my business!”
Crouch pursed his lips but didn’t respond to that. “Step… out… of the way, Black,” he repeated very slowly.
“Oh, screw you, Crouch,” he replied.
“Sirius,” Arthur whispered warningly to him before turning to Crouch. “They’re kids, Barty. They’d never have be able to cast such an advanced spell. Lower your wand, please, and Sirius will help you clear things out.” He looked at Sirius again. “Won’t you?”
“Sure. If he drops the damn wand and loses the attitude,” Sirius growled.
The older man grumbled something to himself before lowering his wand and, seconds later when he was sure the wand wouldn’t come up again, Sirius moved to his godson’s side.
“Did any of you manage to see where the mark came from?” Sirius asked them.
Hermione nodded, pointing at the woods. “Over there,” she said shakily. “There was someone behind the trees… they shouted words… an incantation…”
“Oh, stood over there, did they?” Crouch asked Hermione sceptically. “Said an incantation, did they? You seem very well informed about how that Mark is summoned, missy…”
“Bloody unbelievable,” Sirius mumbled to himself. The man had to be completely out of his mind.
The aurors ignored Crouch’s accusation and proceeded to raise their wants again and pointed then in the direction Hermione had indicated, squinting through the dark trees. There was silence until the group of aurors made it back to the group, shaking their heads.
“We’re too late,” one of the aurors who Sirius recognized and Kingsley Shacklebolt announced shaking his head. “They’ll have Disapparated.”
“I don’t think so,” Amos Diggory said. “Our Stunners went right through those trees… There's a good chance we got them…” He squared his shoulders, raised his wand, marched across the clearing, and disappeared into the darkness. A few seconds later, they heard Diggory shout that he had found someone.
Sirius took one step ahead trying to see who it was and, to his surprise, he saw that the someone was, in fact, Crouch’s house elf, who had been at the top box with them during the game. Oh, the irony, he thought with satisfaction. That would set Crouch right.
Crouch stood frozen as Diggory deposited the unconscious house-elf at his feet. “This cannot be,” he said jerkily. “No…” He moved quickly around Diggory and strode off toward the place where he had found Winky, despite him saying that there was nobody else there.
As he saw the man desperately looking for evidence to clear his elf, Sirius couldn’t help wondering why on Earth and, especially, how an elf would conjure the Dark Mark.
“You don't seriously think it was the elf?” Arthur asked Diggory, voicing Sirius’s thought before he managed to do it himself. “The Dark Mark's a wizard's sign. It requires a wand.”
“She had a wand,” Diggory replied, showing it to Arthur.
“Hey! That’s my wand!” Harry said, pointing at it. “I’ve dropped it.”
“You dropped it?” repeated Crouch when he approached them again. “Is this a confession? You threw it aside after you conjured the Mark?”
“Oh, come of it, Crouch,” Sirius replied. “This is Harry Potter we’re talking about. Can you imagine anyone less likely to conjure the Dark Mark? You’re really looking forward to feed a kid to the Dementors tonight, aren’t you?”
“I said step out of this, Black,” Crouch growled.
“I said leave my godson alone,” Sirius countered angrily.
“I didn’t drop it there, anyway,” Harry stepped in. “I noticed I’d missed it right after we got into the wood.”
Hermione coughed. “Er… Winky was sitting right behind us during the game, saving that empty seat. Maybe… maybe Harry dropped it during the game and she cought it to give it back.”
Diggory didn’t believe it at all. After proving that Harry’s wand had, indeed, been used to conjure the mark, a series of accusations were thrown against the terrified house-elf, who pleaded, along with Hermione, for her innocence. Still in the end Winky had ended up sacked rather coldlt by Crouch.
“It was absolutely disgusting,” Hermione said as they made their way back to the tents. “The way they treated Winky. Like she was a thing. Disgusting.”
Sirius didn’t say anything. His relationship with Kreacher wasn’t the best either, though he had made an effort to be nice lately, which had only helped confusing the house-elf.
The sight in front of them was of horror. Tents burned, ripped clothes all over the floor, broken glass… It was an authentic battlefield.
“What happened to Izzy the others?” he inquired his godson.
“We lost them in the mob,” Harry told him. “But they were in front of us. I think they made it further into the woods.”
“We need to go fetch them,” he said. “They’re bond to be worried.”
“I don’t think we’ll need to,” Arthur stated, pointing at the tents. Bill, Charlie and Percy were a approaching with Izzy, Ginny and the twins.
Sirius sighed in relief as he saw his daughter making her way to him and wrapping her arms around his waist for comfort. “You okay?” he asked her, rubbing her hair.
Izzy looked up, still a bit pale. Her lack of response was enough by itself. “Are they gone?” she asked in a whisper.
He didn’t need to ask her who she meant – the Death Eaters. He placed one arm around her shoulders protectively. “Yeah, they’re gone.”
“Sirius,” Harry murmured. “Those were death eaters, weren’t they? His followers?”
He nodded wordlessly.
“What were they doing here?” Harry inquired. “He’s gone. They have no business here.”
“They’re a bunch of sick bastards, Harry,” Sirius told him. And he was ashamed that once his brother had been among them. “Their purpose in life is to terrify people. That’s exactly what they were doing tonight.”
“Mum’s gonna be worried when she hears about this,” Izzy mumbled.
He shook his head. “I’ll find a way for us to get home before she gets a wind of what happened… I don’t want her to get a fright in her condition.”
Arthur sighed. “Hell of a mess they made here. I haven’t seen this much destruction in years…”
Sirius nodded. At least nobody died today, he thought
A/N: Second part of the chapter is here - next one is already in progress. I hope you liked it - it was pretty hard to write with the distruction and all... Tell me what you think of it. Review.
Disclaimer: Dialogue from this chapter, namely mostly the situation with the Aurors has been quoted from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (chapter 9 - the Dark Mark). It was only introduced here for creative purposes and J.K. Rowling has ownership of such quotes and lines