Chapter 24 : Recruitment
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12 Grimmauld Place. Shay was sure that she would never be in that place again yet she found herself standing in the front hall of the house. Albus Dumbledore had somehow talked her into coming here. She knew this is where the Order of the Phoenix had been reformed. She also knew that Sirius was using his former home as a halfway house of sorts. It should be known that Shay hadn’t seen Sirius since that November night nearly a year and a half ago. But Sirius had proved his innocence, not to the Ministry, but to the people that count.
Shay was taken aback by the rambunctiousness of the old, weary house. Two identical redheads were giving their mother a run for her money.
“George! How many times to I have to tell you to behave during meetings? I swear you boys will turn my hair gray by the end of the summer! I can’t wait until school starts!” Molly Weasley exclaimed to one of her twin boys.
They reminded Shay a lot of Fabian and Gideon.
“You’re persecuting the wrong man, Mum. I’m George,” the other twin said from behind Molly.
“Liar,” a small redheaded girl said casually from behind a quidditch magazine.
“Oi! This is an adult conversation. You seem to keep forgetting that Fred and I are of age now, Ginny,” George said righteously.
Ginny scoffed at the word “adult”.
“Ok, then. How’s snogging Angelina Johnson?” Ginny asked with a smirk.
“Well, it’s mag…”
“Don’t go there,” the real George spoke up and threw a glare at Fred.
Molly threw her hands up in frustration and was about to start a full-blown rant when Shay cleared her throat. Everyone’s head turned to her.
“Shay? It’s great to see you! It’s been years,” Molly said with a big smile and looked genuinely pleased to see Shay.
“It has. I see the family is doing well,” Shay said and acknowledged the children in the room.
“After raising seven children, it’s inevitable that you reach the end of your rope. Follow me Shay. Everyone is waiting for you in the kitchen.”
Shay followed Molly into the kitchen and found more people than expected. Some she saw often such as Kingsley, Tonks, Remus, Mad-Eye, Severus and Emmeline Vance. There were also some people she hadn’t seen in years. Sturgis Podmore, Minerva McGonagall, Arthur Weasley, Elphias Doge, Dedalus Diggle and of course Sirius.
“Glad you could make it, Shay. Albus should only be a few minutes,” Arthur said and pulled out a seat for her.
“I hope I didn’t interrupt anything,” Shay said with a weak smile.
“We were all just talking,” Remus explained and sidled up next to her.
He could tell Sirius’s presence was making her uncomfortable.
“About what? If I may ask,” Shay inquired.
“Who else but Potter,” Severus said, acting as if the name was acid in his mouth.
“Is he here?” Shay asked, trying not to show too much excitement.
“No. Albus thought it would be best if Harry stayed away from the wizarding world this summer,” Arthur said and Molly nodded in agreement with what her husband explained.
“Even with what happened at the Triwizard Tournament? If the Dark Lord is back, it seems that keeping him with muggles, especially muggles like the Dursleys, wouldn’t be the best bet for the boy,” Shay stated and looked up at Severus for back up on how awful Petunia was.
“What Albus says goes,” Mad-Eye chimed in.
“And how are you Alastor? I hope Barty Jr. didn’t bang you up too much,” Shay asked with a concerned smile.
“It will take a lot more than that slimy bastard to get me off this earth,” Mad-Eye said with a proud smile and his eye buzzing about.
“So does anyone know why I’m here? I have to get back to the Ministry soon.”
“A favor to be asked, as usual,” Dumbledore said and scared half the room.
“Long time, no see, Albus,” Shay greeted the elder wizard.
“Yes, Shay. It’s always such a pleasure. I’m sorry that I’m late but I just got word that there were Dementors in Little Whinging,” Dumbledore said with a tinge of worriment.
“Little Whinging? That’s a muggle town. Isn’t that where Harry lives?” Shay questioned rapidly.
She stole a quick glance over to Sirius and saw that his attention was fixed on Dumbledore and his brow was furrowed with anxiety.
“Yes and that’s where the problem lies. It seems that Harry produced a Patronus charm to save himself and his cousin. The Ministry has already expelled the boy.”
“Oh, Albus. Is Harry all right? This just can’t happen!” Molly worried and was subconsciously clutching the front of her blouse.
“Yea, that’s crap! Harry was just defending himself. They should reward the kid for being able to do such a strong Patronus at such a young age,” Tonks interjected.
“I will take care of the Ministry. Myself and Harry are not favored there at the moment but I still have a lot of pull,” Dumbledore explained softly.
“But I digress. We have that favor to ask of you. Shay, I would be honored if you would join the Order of the Phoenix once again.”
Shay wasn’t surprised by the offer but she was going to stand her ground.
“No, I’m sorry. I can’t do it this time,” Shay said apologetically.
“Why not?” Sirius spouted from the other side of the room.
Shay refused to acknowledge him and spoke directly to Albus.
“I went through hell the last time. I have too much to lose now.”
That’s when Sirius saw a shiny diamond on her left ring finger. It definitely wasn’t the ring he gave her all those years ago. He couldn’t help but feel his anger and jealousy rise.
“What if we disguised you, Shay?” Kingsley asked and Shay raised an eyebrow at her friend.
“What do you mean?”
“Severus has offered to make you a Polyjuice potion. Mundungus got us some hair of a muggle woman and if you agree your identity would be hidden from the Death Eaters,” Dumbledore explained.
“We all understand your apprehension Shay and would understand if you said no,” Emmeline assured and Shay gave her old friend an appreciative smile.
“You’re one of the most talented witches I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. You would be a much-needed addition to the Order. The target on your back from the last war hasn’t gone away. You-Know-Who must know that you’re alive, especially with Pettigrew at his side,” McGonagall said.
Shay took a moment to herself before speaking again.
“Can I at least think about it?” Shay asked quietly.
“Of course. Take your time. You know where to find me Shay,” Dumbledore said with the glimmer in his eyes that Shay hadn’t seen in many years.
“I will leave you all now. I have many things to deal with,” Dumbledore announced and was gone as fast as he came.
“I have to go too. Scrimgeour is expecting me back any moment,” Shay said hurriedly.
“You will consider it, won’t you?” Tonks questioned.
“Yea, of course,” Shay answered somewhat uncomfortably.
“Everyone have a lovely day. Severus, quit being such a sour puss. You’re around a bunch of wonderful people not Death Eater drags. And Remus,” Shay said and bent down to whisper to him, “Tea at my place at 7. I suppose you can bring a guest.”
Shay made one more glance at Sirius before exiting the house quickly.
“Why didn’t anyone tell me that Shay was married?” Sirius seethed at Remus as soon as they had a lone moment.
“You never asked,” Remus said with a small shake of his head and kept his eyes on the article he was reading.
“I think it’s obviously information I would have liked to know a while ago,” Sirius said, pacing about the kitchen.
“Sirius, she’s a beautiful woman. Did you really think that she wouldn’t find somebody?” Remus questioned and set his paper on the table.
“The only other person I could ever imagine her with is you and you’re in love with my baby cousin. Who is it? Whom is she married to?”
Remus tried to not laugh.
“What are you going to do? Fight the bloke?”
“No, I would just like to know who the man is that the love of my life married,” Sirius said indignantly.
“Ask her yourself. We’re going to her house for tea at 7,” Remus said and left the kitchen.
Sirius’s heartbeat quickened. He felt the sudden need to make himself look presentable. He wanted to look like the man Shay used to love.
“You ready for this?” Remus asked the black dog next to him after he wrung the doorbell
Padfoot answered with a small bark.
Shay flung the door open a little too quickly and gave them both a smile, Sirius receiving the wearier end of it.
“Come in,” Shay said and stepped aside for them to enter.
Shay closed and locked the door. When she turned around, Sirius had transformed. Shay could tell that finally brushed is hair.
“I just started the pot. Let’s go in the den,” Shay said and the pair followed her.
“Thanks for having us Shay. I hope you didn’t feel bombarded this afternoon,” Remus said and took a seat on the sofa with Sirius.
Shay sat opposite them in a chair.
“No, I basically knew what I was there for. But you guys have to understand that I need time to think about this.”
“Why? You were so gung hoe the last time. What’s changed?” Sirius asked.
“I have. Sirius, I’m going to be 35 years old and I can’t go blindly into these things anymore. It feels different this time around,” Shay explained.
“What about Harry? Don’t you feel the need to help him?” Sirius asked, trying to figure out what had changed her.
“I worry about Harry constantly but at the end of this all, everyone has to rely on Harry. And all I can think is ‘That poor boy’. He didn’t ask for this, but we’re all asking so much from him. I love Harry and I loved his parents so very much, but I have other people I need to think about now,” Shay explained with all seriousness.
“Like your husband?” Sirius questioned harshly.
Shay made brief eye contact with Sirius then continued the conversation with Remus.
“You understand my reservations, don’t you?” Shay asked Remus.
Remus nodded his head.
“Completely. It would just be reassuring for the Order to know that you’re backing us up. You’ve been through the trenches before. You know how tragic it can be but you also know how rewarding it can feel.”
“The kettle’s ready. I’ll be right back,” Shay said and quickly exited the room.
“Will you ease up on her Sirius? At least let her explain herself,” Remus whispered.
“I can’t help it. She’s so…different,” Sirius said with frustration.
“She’s not that different. We’re all a little different. I would hope so at least. We’re not kids anymore. Just give her time to open up. I’m surprised she even has you here to begin with,” Remus finished when he heard Shay entering the room.
“I had a long day at the Ministry. The whole building was buzzing about the Dementor incident with Harry. It’s so frustrating that Fudge won’t believe what’s truly going on,” Shay said and set the kettle down on the table between them.
“Mostly everyone that works there remembers the first war and how terrible it was. They won’t believe what they don’t see. Cornelius Fudge is doing a good job of covering up what’s really going on,” Remus said.
Shay nodded in agreement but then an awkward silence fell over the room.
“Should we just get it out in the open?” Shay interjected suddenly.
Sirius perked his head up and Remus looked a bit uncomfortable.
“How much do you know?” Shay asked Sirius.
“Nothing. I just figured out this afternoon that you’re married. Our friend here decided it wasn’t important to ever bring that up,” Sirius said bitterly.
“Well, I am in fact married. I have been for six years now,” Shay admitted with a small smile.
“Who is he?”
Shay couldn’t help but let out a small, nervous laugh.
“Jude Borchardt. That’s who I’m married to.”
Sirius looked at her incredulously.
“Your student? But you hated him.”
“He obviously wasn’t my student anymore when we began dating. And hate is a strong word. Plus, Lily didn’t like James at all for years,” Shay stated.
“He’s a good guy, Sirius. He’s treated Shay so well,” Remus added and Shay smiled at him for the support.
Sirius looked at him as if he was a traitor.
“Jude is an Unspeakable. It’s hard because we both work at the Ministry but we don’t get to see a whole lot of each other these days.”
Sirius didn’t want to hear about their marital problems.
“So you’re not Shay Calhoun anymore?” Sirius asked quietly.
“I’m still Shay. I just have a different last name. Please don’t take this too hard Sirius. I had to move on. I hope you understand.”
“How am I not supposed to take this hard? Why didn’t you tell me this two years ago when I told you I still loved you?” Sirius questioned and got up from his seat.
He couldn’t help but be upset.
“Because it was none of your business. For the second time in my life, you had left me Sirius and I wasn’t going to wait around for you anymore. I’m sorry but I moved on and found someone who truly loves me,” Shay replied harshly.
Sirius felt as if he could set fire to the room with his eyes.
“I can’t listen to this anymore,” Sirius announced and barged to the door.
“Sirius,” Remus called and got up after him.
“Mom. What’s going on down there?” a voice called from the top of the stairs.
Sirius stopped dead in his tracks and it felt as if his stomach dropped through the floor.
The person belonging to the voice wandered down the stairs when no one answered. It was a preteen girl who so wildly resembled her mother that Sirius thought he was in a memory for a second. Except the girl had gray eyes that matched his own.
“Remus! Mum didn’t tell me that you were stopping by,” the girl said excitedly and it seemed that she didn’t even register that another man was in the room.
“It was a bit unplanned,” Remus said with a small smile.
“Jayme, can you just give us a few minutes?” Shay asked her daughter.
The girl finally scanned the room and saw Sirius standing by the doorway. She seemed to recognize him for all the wrong reasons.
“Mum, what’s going on here?” she asked with a panic.
“Please, I’ll be up there in a few minutes and we’ll talk. Everything is fine here. Remus and I are just catching up with an old friend,” Shay stressed and walked towards her daughter.
It was obvious that the girl could tell her mother wasn’t telling the whole truth and that seemed to upset the child.
“Fine,” the girl said and ran back up the stairs in a flash.
“Sirius, I’m so sorry,” Shay apologized quickly after seeing Sirius’s face.
He looked confused, distraught and panicked. But Shay thought she caught I small fleck of joy shoot across his face for a second.
He had to sit down.
“Sirius, talk to us,” Remus said and followed Sirius back into the den.
Sirius just held up a hand to stop him from continuing. He just couldn’t register what had just happened.
“You weren’t supposed to find out like this,” Shay said and Sirius saw that she had tears rolling down her face.
“I want to hear it from you Shay,” was all that Sirius said.
Shay looked to Remus, who could only wrap an arm around her shoulders to give her some small form of comfort.
“Sirius, you have a daughter.”
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