Chapter 3 : Vengeance
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—Three Years Ago—
Parker Namken came to in a dark and chilling place. His body was wet, and he was numb to his very core. His cloak was frozen to him. He could feel the dirt and mud caked to his clothes and body, coating his cheeks and mixing with his blood, creating a foul smell.
This wasn't right, he realized. None of this was right. Wasn't the last thing he remembered James Potter shouting the Killing Curse with his wand pointed at his chest? Yes, that was right. He remembered taking a step back, losing his footing...
He remembered falling, falling into nothing, falling into infinity. Then he had hit the water. It had felt like stone when he hit it, snapping his bones. It lapped at him; the cold, ice water sucked him under and pulled him with the waves. He remembered fighting for dominance over the cruel waves that had frozen his limbs and jabbed needles into his lungs.
Then he remembered bursting through the surface, air greeting him kindly, and the waves pushed and pulled him away from Azkaban.
That was it.
Did that mean he was dead? Or alive? What was he? If this was the afterlife in whatever form it should be, was it supposed to be like this? He imagined something much more joyous, but maybe he didn't deserve the joy.
He analyzed his physical pain, the sharp jabs all over his body, the numbness. He was alive. He had to be.
He coughed, breathing slowly, taking it easy as he willed the warm air to reach his numb lungs. Uneasily, he turned onto his side to see the ocean. His legs still remained in the chilly water, and he slowly inched his way out of the water. He scanned the horizon and the vast ocean. Then finally, far off in the distance, he saw nothing more than rubble protruding from the ocean. Parker didn't need to think twice about what the rubble foundation had once been; it was Azkaban and what remained of it.
A desolate wave washed over him, and he resisted a sharp cry as he thought of his father. Elias Namken was dead now; there was no denying it just by the sight of Azkaban. And which Potters remained? Had they died in the demolition as well? They had to. He desperately hoped they had. If they weren't dead, he would take care of it himself.
He pulled his hands into his chest and rubbed quickly, trying to send even the smallest amount of heat back into his limbs. His teeth chattered as he shivered, and he continued to rub fiercely.
When he could feel his fingers and toes once more, Parker turned onto his stomach, his cheek pressing against the dark, muddy ground. Slowly he pulled himself away from the ocean, digging his nails into the muddy earth and pulling himself up the hill. When the ocean was no longer lapping at his heels, he tried to pull himself onto his knees, begging for his strength to return.
Gathering his bearings, he looked to the ocean, where he had truly lived a nightmare, and he bared his teeth as he thought about those damned Potters. Then something along the shore caught his attention. It was a large, limp, black mass. Like Parker had been, the mass had been washed up by the cruel waves, and now half of the black mass lay resting on the sand with the waves pushing at the bottom half.
He didn't need to look twice to see what it was. Or who it was. It was a body wrapped in a black cloak, and he recognized that black cloak...
With his teeth chattering and body shaking, he scrambled over on his hands and knees, pleas forming on his lips. He dug his nails into the dirt as he pulled himself along.
“No, no, no. Please...” he moaned desperately.
To close the remaining distance, he let his chest collapse on the ground, and he let himself roll down the hill until he bumped into the cold mass.
“No,” he cried out, his voice not daring to be any more than a whisper. After being so cold, his voice was still unwilling to participate.
He reached out and touched the black cloak, a new wave of cold washing over him. Mustering his strength, he clenched the cloak and pulled it off of the limp form. Then, beneath his hands, the body of his father was revealed.
Elias Namken's dead body was blue with the cold, and ice sickles had formed in his father's black hair, his grey eyes open and staring into nothing. Parker grabbed Elias abruptly by the shoulders, shaking him as if he could will the life back into him.
“No, Dad!” Parker cried out. “No! Those Potters killed you. I'm so sorry; I could have done better. I could have done better! I could have killed the seer during that Quidditch match! I could have made sure Dominique Weasley didn't survive! I could done it all so much better. I'm sorry, Dad. I'm sorry!”
He pulled his father's body into his lap, rocking it back and forth. His tears froze against his cheeks just moments after leaving his eyes. His body went numb from the cold and the sorrow, but he was immediately warmed with the sweet surge of vengeance.
“I'll kill them, Dad. I'll finish what you started. They deserve to die. All of them.”
James Potter should have made sure he did his job well, made sure that Parker Namken was good and dead, for now James Potter had so much more to fear. Vengeance was swiftly upon him.
Norah gave a pleased groan the next morning as she was pulled from her sleep. She was aware of a rustle somewhere in the room, and she could feel the sunlight spilling in, warming her bare back. She had the greatest sleep since the breakup. She tried to reach out for James' body but found herself alone in the bed. Confused, she swiped her curls out of her face and lifted her torso up from the bed. She pried her groggy eyes open and saw James stumbling into a pair of slacks at the end of the bed.
He glanced to her as he became aware of her watching. “Go back to sleep,” he said calmly.
“Naw. Come back to bed, Jamie,” she whispered, patting the mattress beside her.
“I've got to go to work.”
He straightened as he buttoned his slacks. He then moved to his closet and shuffled through his shirts, pulling out a navy one. He spoke to Norah as he pulled the thing over his head. “But I'm sure you remember your way around the kitchen. Help yourself to some coffee and breakfast.”
“Sure,” she said in disappointment but understood his commitment to work. “I'll see you later, though?”
“Umm,” he said uneasily as he adjusted the collar of the navy shirt. “Yeah, sure.”
Norah didn't pick up on his apprehensive tone. Instead, she just watched him dress with a smile on her face. When he stood after tying his shoes, Norah reached out for his hand with a seductive grin on her face. “Kiss goodbye?”
“Um...” he said uneasily and faltered, rubbing his wrist.
“What?” she asked in a whisper. Had she done something wrong? “What is it?”
“I...Listen, Norah, you mind not telling anyone about this?” he finally asked.
Her brow furrowed in confusion, and despite how much she wanted to nod, she couldn't unless she knew the reasoning behind such a request.
“What? Why?” she asked, startled. When he didn't answer, she added on for good measure. “We are...back together, right?”
She blanched. Her jaw dropped, and she bolted up from where she lay in the bed. “Are you kidding me?! You just wanted to sleep with me? You're just having a one-night stand with me?! Out of all the girls you could have done that with?! Are you serious?”
“We what, James?!” she roared. She jumped from the bed, pushing back her curls, and she began to pick up her disposed clothing from the previous night. She found her knickers hanging on the end of the bedpost and her bra by the door. She stumbled into both, turning to him with a look of fury, demanding an explanation.
“It's not that I don't want to get back together, Nore. I do. It's just...Last night I acted on impulse. I thought I was going to lose you for good—”
“So you slept with me to get me to stay?!”
“Let me finish!” he demanded. “I'm not ready to lose you. It was an impulse. Momentary lapse! We...I do want to date you again, but I'm not ready to let it go that you kissed that Kiernan guy.”
“Look, James! I don't want to lose you either, but you can't just sleep with me when you want until you're ready to let it go! I only kissed Kiernan! You slept with that Clancy O'Dell! Is this what you do now? You listen to your momentary impulses and bring girls back to your flat?! Am I just some one-night stand now?”
“No, Norah! You—”
“I wouldn't have slept with you if that's what I thought you were doing!”
“Norah, listen! I just want to talk things through before we start dating again! Having sex once isn't going to mend our problems! We have to talk about this before we date again,” he said sternly.
“Well, that's rich! You were the one who kissed me and brought me back here! You were the one who was ignoring me and refusing to talk. Now it seems like you're all ears!”
“Norah, would you cut it out?!”
“No, I don't get it. I—”
“Look, I can't do this right now. I have to go to work.”
“I don’t give a damn. You don’t get to keep avoiding me. We will talk about this,” she hissed.
“Yes. I fully intend to.”
“No, tonight's no good. I'm going out with Lorcan.”
Wow, he thought. After months of having nothing to do, he had to suddenly turn down arrangements due to other plans. Right now, though, he was thankful that Lorcan was his excuse. At least he could talk to Lorcan this for his thoughts on all this.
She squeezed into her jeans and went to rummage through his closet. She snatched a t-shirt she could wear due to her ripped blouse now in shreds on the floor of James' living room. “And until then, I have no problem at all keeping to myself how I'm just your one-night stand.”
“Jamie, Jamie, Jamie,” sighed Lorcan as he shook his head in disappointment, taking a big swig of his Fire Whisky.
The two men sat together at their usual booth in the far corner of a pub outside of London. Lorcan was already on his third Fire Whisky, but James was taking it slowly with his first. It had been a while since he had the opportunity to hang out with his old friend, and he was glad to be spending time with him. After they had eaten dinner and had a few laughs catching up, Lorcan began to pester James as to why he disappeared from the party last night without a goodbye to anyone. James had gone from there to explain how he and Norah had slept together.
“I know, right?” James groaned in defeat. “I messed up! I should have just told her 'yeah, we're back together,' but we still have a lot of ground to cover.”
“That's exactly what you should have said, and you're just realizing that now?!” huffed Lorcan. He couldn't believe it. “I swear, Jamie. That office of yours is making you dim-witted.”
“Is not!” James scoffed. “I just...I just didn't think last night. I'm not like that—one-night stands and all that—and I didn't mean to upset her. I just…I wanted her. Right then. And I knew I would lose her for good if I didn’t. So I did what I had to do to keep her in my life. But I'm not going to date her until we talk about it.”
“All right,” said Lorcan, trying to soothe his worked up friend. “Can't change it now, you selfish idiot. Just make sure you think things through tomorrow. Don't do anything stupid. You've already messed up big time.”
“Thanks, Lorcan…” He downed the rest of his Fire Whisky and turned to Lorcan. “Can I get you another Fire Whisky?”
“Yeah, I'll take another.”
James took his mug and dismissed himself briefly from their booth. He approached the bar and requested two refills. As he waited, he rubbed his wrist as it began to irritate him. Ignoring it, he took the mugs back from the bartender and approached the table.
Only a few feet away from the table, a shooting pain ripped through his entire right arm—from his shoulder blade down to his fingertips. It grew blazing hot, searing his skin to the point where he felt as if his blood was boiling. He lost control of his right hand, and the two drinks went clattering to the floor. The amber liquid spilt all over the stone, and James grabbed onto his right wrist with his left hand, stifling a pained cry and rubbing the source of the pain.
Lorcan jumped up from their booth as he spotted the commotion. “James! Hey, hey. You all right, mate?”
“No, I—” he began uneasily and tried to shake off the pain. He bit his lip until he drew blood. As he shook his wrist, the scorching pain only escalated. He yelped and retracted his hand into his chest, aware that he had gathered unwanted attention from others at the pub. “Merlin, it hurts like a bitch.”
“Did you bend it wrong? The Whisky, was it too much weight?” asked Lorcan. He pulled out his wand and gave a flourish so the shards of glass from the shattered mug and spilt liquor could clean itself up.
“I don't think so. It just...started hurting. Burning, even,” he exhaled as he grit his teeth.
Lorcan waved to the bartender, signaling that they would need two more drinks, as the ones James had just received were now soaking the floor. Lorcan wrapped his arm around James' shoulders, pulling him into his side to escort him back to the table. James continued to hold his wrist, groaning in pain as he tried to figure out just what had happened. They pushed their way through the crowd, stumbling into people here and there who slowly began to mind their own business once again.
Lorcan turned back to face James when he bumped shoulders with a man. Lorcan quickly looked up to the man he had stumbled into, ready to apologize, when the hooded man had already begun to scold him.
“Hey, watch it, dumbass!” he shouted.
Lorcan watched in surprise as James still held onto his wrist. He looked at the man, tall and broad shouldered, and while he wore the hood of his jacket, Lorcan could still see his long brown hair that hung into his eyes and the somber expression. Lorcan swallowed and stuttered out as he tried to pull James away from him.
“S–Sorry, man. H–He’s just having a rough night. Really, we meant nothing by it.”
“Be on your way,” he snarled and Lorcan nodded.
He hurried James past the temperamental stranger, but as soon as they took a step away from him, James let out a howling scream. He clamped onto his wrist and began clawing at his flesh as if he could rip out whatever pain he was feeling. Falling to his knees, he grit his teeth and scratched at his skin. He slipped out of Lorcan's grasp as he reached the floor, grunting and hissing about how it burned. They attracted everyone's attention once again. People stared in questioning as Lorcan tried to heave James off the ground.
The man Lorcan had bumped into jumped back in shock and fell away from the crowd, fading into the back as others peered around to see what was the matter.
Lorcan called out to the pub, “Sorry, sorry. No need to worry. Rough night, is all.”
He slung his arm around James and pulled him up. He then made haste for the door. They pushed their way through the crowd, and outside, Lorcan let James fall against the side of the pub.
As soon as the fresh summer air hit them, James seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. He breathed heavily and ceased his screams, gazing down at his wrist in fascination.
“It's gone,” he muttered. “I–It doesn't hurt anymore...”
“James,” breathed Lorcan, “is everything all right? What's going on with that?”
“I don't know,” sighed James, shaking his head. “It hurts a lot. More so these days than normal, but in there—just now—that was excruciating. It's never hurt that badly.”
“You really need to get it looked at,” pressed Lorcan, standing before him with his hands on his hips.
“Fine,” grunted James. “I will. Only because you're the hundredth person to tell me that.”
They entered a quiet conversation as people slowly filtered out of the pub. They didn't want to head out just yet, wanting to give James a few minutes to recover. As they sat there, the man Lorcan had bumped into stumbled out of the pub with a woman in tow. They quickly walked past them, the woman turning briefly to look at the two people leaning against the pub.
“Shut up,” the man said quickly, grabbing the woman's hand and pulling her onward. “Come.”
“What's the big deal?” she questioned as they walked down the street, the pub fading into the background. “I know him. He's an Unspeakable.”
“I know very well who he is,” the man snarled.
“All right, so why couldn't I talk to him?” she pestered him as they walked further and further away.
Finally the pub was just a speck in the distance with a golden glow illuminating its windows. They turned down a street in the village, the woman following on his heels in questioning.
The man sought an answer. He didn't know what to tell her. He wasn't ready to share his darker ulterior motives with her just yet. Knowing he was out of sight from anyone who may recognize his face, he took off his hood and stared down the woman. “Because I said so,” he hissed.
“I'm getting tired of your 'because I said so' excuses, Nolan,” she snapped.
“Shove it, Clancy!” he snarled, glaring her down and running his hands through his long, brown hair.
He was irritated enough. He didn't need Clancy's pestering.
James Potter wasn't supposed to be there. Sure, it was a public place, but Nolan knew for a fact that James Potter had become a recluse over the past few months. He went to work and then he went back home; he was hardly ever seen in public. He wasn't supposed to practically run into James Potter or anyone else who was associated with him, for that matter. This threw a curveball at him, and when Lorcan Scamander had stumbled into him that evening, he had been caught off-guard.
Clancy O'Dell nodded and stepped forward. She knew Nolan Paxton had a temper more often than not, and over the past few months, she had learned to deal with that. Sometimes she set him off—some days more than others—but she knew how to assuage him.
Nodding, she stepped forward and held his face in her hands. She stroked the stubble on his cheeks and then resulted in running her hands through his hair. He let out a heavy sigh, turning his head into her palms, his eyes closing.
“All right,” she whispered quietly. “Okay, fine. I didn't need to say hi to James Potter. You're right.”
He sighed heavily, glad the moment was past. He had his reasons for wanting to keep Clancy O'Dell away from James Potter for the night—while he was around her, at least.
He couldn't go blowing his cover. Not yet. Not after years of careful, cautious, tedious planning.
He couldn't go ruining it just because silly Clancy wanted to say hello to her Unspeakable. The world may think his true self to be dead, but with a face such as his that had caused true horrors in James Potter's past, he would surely recognize him.
James Potter would have recognized the man he went to Hogwarts with, the man who aimed a bludger at him with every intention of killing him, the man who had tried to kill him that day at Azkaban prison.
Although years had passed and he had fashioned himself a new name that people had yet to fear, Parker Namken was not going to let Clancy O'Dell ruin everything after three long years.
He also wasn't ready to share what he had planned. Not yet. He had managed to gain her trust without force. Of course, there had been lies involved, but she willingly spent her time with him, falling into his lies and traps when she didn't even know it. She didn't even know that he had intentionally crossed paths with her on the day of their meeting after he had learned of her diagnosis as a seer; she didn't even know that he was dating her just so she could be his pawn in his grand scheme of a chess game.
“Nolan,” Clancy said quietly, seeking his attention.
Parker Namken didn't respond. He lost himself as he thought only of Clancy's fingers running through his hair.
“Nolan?” she pressed again, and this time Parker shook his head, his eyes shooting open as he remembered the false name he now responded to.
“Yeah?” he answered.
“Deep breath, okay?”
Parker nodded and listened to Clancy once again.
“How do you know James Potter?”
“Erm,” Parker grunted, thinking quickly. “I went to Hogwarts with him. Different year, of course, but he's Harry Potter's kid. We all knew who he was. He was an ass.”
Clancy nodded, still busying her fingers in his hair. His words didn’t upset her; Nolan knew she was a seer, and he knew she often visited with an Unspeakable to discuss the changes she was going through—that Unspeakable being James Potter—but Nolan didn’t know she had slept with him. That had happened before she and Nolan had become an item, and the two of them were already on a need-to-know basis, and as far as Clancy was concerned, her sleeping with James Potter didn’t fit that category.
She watched him turn his head, moving with her fingers, his eyes closing. She grinned as she watched him. She nodded. She didn't need to know any more than that. “Well, let's just let this go. Don't get all worked up because you saw my Unspeakable and someone you went to school with. Let's just go home, Nolan, okay?”
“Okay,” Parker said, grinning. “Sounds great.”
He felt Clancy tug on the back of his neck, pulling him to her. He let her pull him down, and he graciously accepted her kiss. She wrapped herself around him, and Parker forgot all about how Clancy was just his little pawn. She had a way with making him forget anything else mattered.
A/N: Edited 9.18 for grammar and accuracy.
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