Chapter 1 : Lie To Me
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no one alerted you
The middle-age woman had never considered herself someone of great value to anyone. Perhaps she was humble, perhaps she had forgotten, perhaps she merely saw what was better than her. She had lived a quiet life with her husband, the late Alexander Bryce, and she had slipped away one humid May evening. In her later years, though she was hardly to be considered elderly in any way, she had moved into her son’s home, where there too, she seldom spoke a word to anyone, but still managed to slip out of the house every day for a lunch in a cafe and a walk in the park with her dear friend Margaret.
Her funeral was empty, except for her son and three men, each more mysterious than the last. Her son, who went by the name of Rex, thought their appearances to be strange, but the young musician thought nothing of it. After all, his mother was not one to wear her cards on her sleeve, and even Rex hardly knew her after what felt like years of handling her errands and making sure she had fed herself everyday following Alexander's death.
The first man, who was scrawny and had dark black hair covering most of his features, had come in just after Rex had taken his seat. Rex did not recall ever seeing him before the funeral, but after spending a moment looking at Josephine's body, he sat down next to Rex.
The second man, who was a portly gentleman whose hair must have been very dear to him many years ago, but now was a mere memory, walked briskly to where Josephine lay and he too did not say anything to Rex before sitting next to the first man.
The third gentleman to enter was much younger than the other two unknown guests. He had what Rex considered orange hair, though he figured it would be best to go with red as people generally did not respond well to random remarks about how orange their hair was.
After the man with the red hair took a moment to look at Josephine, he joined the others with a silent nod to Rex. “Bill Weasley sir, and your mother was one of a kind. I am honored to be in her presence, even now. It is a pity I did not have the opportunity to speak to her more." His tone was friendly, yet formal in a mix of what appeared to be greif and
The rest of the funeral passed uneventfully, with the possible exception to the soft tune Rex had played for his late mother. The tears were held back as he left the music say goodbye to Josephine for him.
While my guitar gently weeps
Rex had supposed that would be the last he would see of Josephine, but his mother had always said to prepare for the unexplainable by expecting the expected as well as the unexpected. "constant vigilance!" she used to say to him. Apparently someone from the Dark Days, something she had yet to explain to her son, used to say that, but she refused to tell him more.
Rex had never questioned his mother’s quiet life. After all, Rex himself had always avoided talking to others whenever possible and tried to make his presence as little known as he could, so it had never occurred to him that just a few months after her death would he come to question it all.
Still my guitar gently weeps
Felix was sure his plan would work. After all, Jo had never been as careful as others Felix knew, so how could he not have one of his plans work? The only problem would be getting around Frank Bryce, her only living relative who might raise any issues. The son Felix could deceive; but Frank would make a scene out of it, even if he did know what had happened to Jo. Sure, he knew not of magic or even liked Josephine as far as he could tell, but who knew what the war had done to him.
Finding this man might seem like a task that ought to have been difficult, but Felix knew his sources could quickly locate the Riddle Manor. Now, what to do with the artifact that must have died with Jo. That is the real question.
they bought and sold you
Everything was falling into place for Jonathon's plan. Once heavy monetary compensation was offered to him by his close friend and partner in getting at the issues the rest of the world found too repulsive to contemplate handling, Jonathon spent every second he could spare plotting his plans to find the artifact that must have died with Jo. She never spoke of it more than a mention here or there, but the artifact had died with her, and therefore, was fair game. Two can play this game, dear Felix.
Using a strong Dissillusionment Charm, Jonathon hoped that he would find no residents in the Riddle Manor, but to his luck, the door was open and a sense of abandonment filled the musty air once he was inside. Wandering around, the man found no signs of anyone currently residing in the manor, but there had most definitely been someone living there. But why would they leave? And what was that horrible smell coming from up the stairs?
His curiosity got the better of him and Jonathon made his way to the second level before completing his search of the downstairs. Everything seemed completely normal until he got to the room where the smell was the strongest and the door was creaked open, the layer of dust covering the visible floor much thinner than the patches around it. Someone was, or at least had been in there.
When the door was pushed open, Jonathon took out his notepad and quill, for his discovery was certainly one that deserved to be sent to Felix.
It appears that Mr. Bryce has been dealt with due to natural causes, or perhaps not so natural causes. The funeral is tomorrow you say?
Still my guitar gently weeps
Laurence was slowly but surely coming around to the idea of what he was to do. Felix had asked him to look for a man by name of Frank Bryce. Laurence had. Felix had told him to go to a stranger's funeral, and to lie if asked who he was. He had. Felix had always asked things of Laurence, and Laurence had always done them, no questions asked. Only now was it beginning to sink in that he was not running errands for Felix, but assisting in a powerful man's scheme to take something that would be incredibly valuable. As wrong as it all seemed, there was a certain alluring touch to it all, in being part of such a scandal. And of course, such a scandal could only revolve around the artifact that Jo often dropped into conversations, but dared not reveal anything about it. Of course it's secrets would be of interest. Perhaps Laurence could truly show Felix who he was by beating him to this artifact.
The night was falling quickly and Laurence knew not of the impact of what he would be doing. Felix could only speculate on it all and for the mastermind that he was, he was often wildly wrong. Laurence took a deep breath and climbed down from the tree he had been perched in. Tonight would be the night that he would make Felix proud. Tonight would be the night of redemption, revenge, and sweet surprises in the sickly sounding truths that riddled the past.
how to unfold you love
Curse breaking generally did not involve house visits. Then again, not much in the wizarding world required a house visit, so Bill was not sure that he would be in for, but he hoped whatever he would end up doing would be exciting, or at the very least be a good story to tell Fleur, who would thankfully be visiting him soon.
Bill Weasley walked along the hardly lit path, struggling to read the numbers on the house; much to his great dismay, he knew better than to use magic in this place. If only the streetlight would stop flickering though. After ten minutes of looking for the right house, he found it. The house that had gotten him out of his bed and into the whipping winds enveloping his exhaustion.
He could no longer feel his toes under his thick boots and well worn socks, but they somehow carried him to the door. He was a curse breaker, what great danger would this old place hold? Bill swallowed and knock on the peeling paint covering the splintering door.
"Hello?" a voice called out from the other side of the door held slightly ajar, obviously waiting for a visitor. "Is that you, Mr. Weasley? I received a letter from some bird creature announcing your arrival, and have been told to not leave or let anyone in. I think that's you, because you were there. At the funeral, weren't you?"
His breaths were shaky and uneven as he spoke, obviously confused and found something very off about this situation. Then Bill remembered why the poor man was so worried. He was not magical, and Jo had never told him of her powers. That would be what the owl had meant when it said to explain us, and ensure his safety.
"It is I, William Weasley, and I have come to you to ensure your safety and clarify this situation you are in. I cannot explain much right now, as I have been informed that it is crucial we not be overheard, but if you let me in, I will shed some light on this mess we're in for you."
Bill stood straighter and waited to hear a reply from the boy he assumed to be Rex. Who else would know him from the funeral he had attended just days ago? "Alright, come in." Rex whispered as the sounds of locks being undone filled the gloomy night in place of the conversation Bill would be having in just a few moments. Oh please, please let this go well. Jo couldn't have died with her secret, could she? The boy, who had looked hardly looked older than Bill himself, had to have been informed of the strange circumstances that every wizard and witch in the Curse Breaking department of Gringotts knew.
The door, which looked as if it would creak half way open and fall apart before Bill had even stepped in, silently slid open to reveal the same young man with the same grim and befuddled stare. Jo's stare.
"Come in, I don't like this, and if I have to wait by my door next to a chair I can chuck at impostors or murderers, or whatever the hell's out there, I don't much like leaving the entrance to the only safe place I can be in, according to that letter, wide open with you staring at me like I'm mental or something." Rex looked impatient and Bill quickly stepped inside and slid the door shut, careful not to let any rough edges dig into his palm.
"So, you're Rex, right?" he asked before looking around to see where this conversation would be best held. "Look, I need to tell you some things that may startle or shock you, so it would be best if we were somewhere sitting down and preferably with minimal windows. After I tell you about your mum, we've got a bit of searching to do, lies to uncover, and when you do what I do for a living, the truth is always messy."
Rex nodded and led him over to a small table hidden behind a kitchen counter. He flicked the lights on with a simple swipe of his hand and the nook became the perfect place for this. "So, Mr. Weasley, what exactly have you come to tell me about my mum, and why does anyone care? She was a boring person who likes to draw and read old dusty books and go to London all the time to meet her friends and have lunch or something. She's not exactly the type to do much, of anything."
"Actually, your mum was precisely the opposite, and bloody brilliant too, managing to keep you so safe for all of these years. Would you like to start with who she is or who she isn't?" Perhaps this would not be as difficult as he imagined. Jo's career was common knowledge to every Curse Breaker, and common knowledge would be easy to explain.
Rex paled. "You mean, she's not who I think she is? Then let's start with who she is. I want to know the truth before I know the lies."
His voice was steady, but Bill could tell he was still unnerved. Of course, it only got more shocking, but Rex appeared to have never been touched by Greyback, so Jo's plan had worked well. What if Bill ended up canceling out everything that she had worked for and threw her only son into the dangers that were lurking just down the road? What if he put Rex in danger? No. It would not happen. It could not happen.
"Alright, your mum was different from you and your dad. See, she could, she could do magic. And she was pretty damn good at it too. Anyway, your dad couldn't do magic, and neither can you. So Jo, that's what everyone in our department at the Wizarding bank, Gringotts, called her, wanted to keep you safe from our world and decided to hide that she could do magic from you. Alexander knew that she was a witch, but you and your Uncle Frank, who appears to be your only living relative, were never told.
"She still came into work though, and was one of the most effective curse breakers of her day. Oh, and I'm also a Curse Breaker. It means that we go into old tombs and try to get rid of the curses ancient wizards and witches placed on their tombs because there are some pretty nasty curses, and muggles, non magical people, that is, getting killed by these things is really bad for a number of reasons. Now, onto who she isn't."
All had gone well thus far, Bill supposed. Rex hadn't passed out, tried to harm Bill, cried, screamed, laughed, or appeared to have any real reaction to it. Then again, that was what was most worrying. Why was it not a surprise at all to the boy?
"Erm, so years ago there was this werewolf who she knew very well, and then Jo ended up with your father, obviously. But she never truly forgot about this werewolf, and she died with something from him, except we don't know where it is. Either Jonathon Carlisle or Laurence Cartora, two wizards who were in with said werewolf, have it, but we don't know where to trace it from there. And I need your help to find it from her tomb."
What was going on in Rex's mind?Had Bill done everything right? What were they even looking for? Only her son would know enough about Jo to be able to tell what was missing from her, but obviously this was a peculiar setting for him. What would happen if Bill were to mess up everything Jo had so brilliantly laid out for Rex?
Rex merely nodded and nudged his head towards the shadows where Jo's tomb must have been. "It is just down the road. We can go by foot, but it is rather gloomy outside, so perhaps we ought to travel by car?"
"No, not by car. We can't make any noise. I've been thinking about how young your parents died, and it is all quite strange, don't you think? We have no idea what is out there, just lurking about, waiting for one false step and then we could fall prey to a trap designed to kill or perhaps even worse. We will walk, and you are to follow behind me as silently as you can. Let's go, if we have any time at all, it isn't much."
While my guitar gently weeps
Bill knew he was scared. He was a curse breaker for Godric's sake! He could fight mummies and stop ancient magic designed to torture and make those entered plead for departure that the horrors their world possessed. How could the tomb of a brilliant witch who, in the grand scheme of things, must be fairly insignificant be so frighting? It was only Carlisle and Cartora after all, and though they were good at magic, it was Felix, their mastermind and boss, who was the one to be afraid of. And as far as Bill could tell, Felix was not involved. Then again, the man had a knack for remaining hidden, even to those in on his plan, or part of it at the very least, and the reveling himself when the shock would hurt the most. He never worked for the side of evil, though his full intentions could never be labeled good. It was more that he worked for power, and the greed for that showed no way of stopping him. Perhaps that was what was scaring Bill.
He made his way over to the tomb that Rex was pointing at and saw it had indeed been cracked down the center and opened. Inside lay an urn and an envelope that had been ripped open. The contents were gone. So what to do now? He was a curse-breaker, not a detective, but he had a case to solve. He knew not what those contents were, but they must have been powerful, and he needed them back.
"Should I save you the effort or make you work for that fat paycheck of yours?" A cold voice oozed out of the depths of the shadows and out strutted a figure in a chartreuse cloak. "Yes boys, I am Felix. And hello Rex. You don't know me, but I certainly know you. All she ever talked about, you were. Josephine," he spat the word Josephine as though it were venemous, though he could hardly allow himself to go on. A mix of emotions were coming off in his voice, but Bill could hardly tell which of his feelings was the strongest. Spiteful nostalgia it seemed was the most apparent, but it was obvious many other emotions lay buried inside of the man, only to come out now.
"You knew her? You knew my Mum and you didn't tell me about her? You just let her rot in misery for the last years of her life? What kind of a friend do you think you were?" Rex's frustration with Felix was hard to bare, but what would Bill do if he hardly knew his family and then a friend of his mother's came along and only cared to steal the contents of her tomb?
"Rex, Rex, Rex. Do you really think I was her friend? I certainly spent a great deal of time with her, but I don't recall ever being her friend. It was always Fenrir. He was the only one she would ever truly listen to, care about, protect when the world crumbled in her palms. Even Margaret, her best friend in the whole world until Death do them part, as they used to say, could never reach the level of knowing Jo like Fenrir did. No, I was never her friend, and now she will pay for it. She deserved to live in misery after that, that Alexander was killed! And now she will leave you to rot in the muggle world, caught between lies of lies and lies of truths, never knowing what not to believe. Yes, she deserved it."
Bill was shocked. How could anyone, someone who knew her much less, think of Jo Bryce as repulsive as Felix did? Nothing made sense anymore, and yet nothing was unclear. What was happening?
"What was in that envelope?" Bill asked slowly. He did not want to cross Felix, but it was his duty and his job to not let the man have it. What would his coworkers say if they heard that he, William Weasley, had let down one of the greatest curse breakers all because of Felix. The man knew how to cause trouble, but he was though of as only a mere pest. Not an enemy and certainly not someone who hated Jo like that.
"The envelope? It was her greatest possession. Her pocketwatch. Fenrir gave it to her for her seventeenth birthday, it was silver and delicate, yet somehow she kept it though all of those years. Fenrir had gone bad by then, she said she despised everything about him, said he was out to get her, but she still wore it every day, protecting it with everything she could muster. And now here I am, stealing away the greatest symbol of love she ever had. And with it will die her spirit. No one will think of her as beautiful, no one will remember her name. And neither will you."
"But, how, why, why do you want a symbol?" Rex sputtered out, obviously as confused about it all as Bill was.
"Because dear boy, I can. I am ripping her of the one thing she stood for in the end, which was him. He will come looking for it, and he will fall under the impression that she did not even think of him. Revenge is so much more than hurting the one who has scorned you. That would be much too kind, and Fenrir will get what he deserves. And Laurence and Jonathon? They too will come looking for Jo's one artifact that she would ever really treasure, and no one will know who has it. I will not keep it, so I do hope this travels near and far. Good night, and this will not be our last."
He disappeared into the depths of the night before turning to the tomb, then to face Bill and Rex. "If you get back in touch... if you talk to Laurence or Jonathon… just tell them... tell them I...Oh, they know…"
With that, the man faded into the shadows as though he was a creature of the dead, a figment, and a threat to plague not the world of the walking, but the world of dreams. Rex slowly turned to face Bill.
"So that was her secret? That she loved one man for all of her life and she was not the person she told me she was, but she wasn't who you thought she was? Will we ever know what it all is?" Rex's words echoed around Bill for a fleeting moment before they sank in. "What was her secret? Do you know what that one secret was?"
"No. We won't know. I suppose this is when we walk to the sunrise and say, 'Lie to me. Tell me your lies and I will take them. What else can I be fed in this great labyrinth other than a lie?' We will never know who she is, will we?" Bill hardly knew what he had said after the words escaped from his lips, chapped with the cool breeze and the icy truths that lay in the serenity of the night sky.
Oh world, he thought to himself, I look at you and notice you are turning. Lie to me and I will take your lies, your secrets, and your truths. But do not forget that I will move on. Weeping, yes, but I will move on.
A/N: I don't own any of the HP things you recognize, but the plot and to OCs are mine! Song is "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," by the Beatles. The last quote from Felix is from the episode of Doctor Who, The Satan Pit. Written for Olywn's Beatles Song Challenge and Raielle's Doctor Who Quotes Challenge. I absolutely adore these characters, especially the relationship I think Jo and Fenrir would have, so look for something more with these lovelies in the foreseeable future, but not too soon because I'm still thinking about what it would be about and you know, I have to write it first. Please review, I'd love to hear what you have to say on this, and I hope you liked reading it as much as I liked writing it!