Chapter 7 : Revelation
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There was a loud BANG.
Melody opened her eyes in time to see the tallest of the Death Eaters hurl through the air, falling with a loud crunching thud. The other three swore, whipping out their wands instantly. At the same time Melody was quickly swept up off of the ground and pushed to stand behind the person who had saved her. A man, she now saw, about her father’s age or perhaps slightly younger. Unlike Melody, the man was a skilled duelist with a vast arsenal of non-lethal though highly effective curses. He held his own and had the Death Eaters unconscious in only a matter of minutes.
Cowering behind him Melody had watched in awe, feeling just a tiny bit jealous of his composure and quick thinking. She very much wanted to thank him for saving her but could not find her voice. Her breathing was erratic and her limbs trembled so violently she could not stand without supporting her weight against the man. She felt like a child again; the way she used to when she saw a spider in her room and was too frightened to kill it on her own. It had always been her father who killed the spiders and after he had left them she had forced herself to hold back her terror and revulsion and take care of getting rid of the horrid creatures herself.
The man lead her over to a stack of crates where he carefully helped Melody sit. He had dark brown hair that clung to his forehead with sweat. His face was grimy with the ash and debris from the altercation, most of it collecting in the lines that crisscrossed his pale skin. His robe was torn and frayed in areas that had previously been patched up. Melody tried to find him in her memory rather unsuccessfully though he vaguely reminded her of her European History teacher but thinner.
She watched as he went over to the stunned body of her primary attacker, retrieving her wand from within his robe. She felt herself smile as the man gave the Death Eater a sharp kick in the gut, knowing that she would have done the same had she been able to move.
“What the hell were you thinking, eh, Corden?” he demanded when he returned, picking her back up. His voice was gravelly and had a Scottish accent thicker than both Mary’s and McGonagall’s combined which made it nearly impossible for Melody to understand him. She managed well enough. “Going up against for of those bastards on your own? Letting them disarm you?”
He seemed so familiar to Melody—not just because he looked like Mr. Richard—and it bothered her. Then she saw his eyes which were that peculiar yellowish hazel she had only ever seen on one other person before. Remus. This man had eyes the precise color of her friend’s though they did not hold the same warmth. It must have been his father, she realized, and at this she definitely saw the resemblance. The man’s features were quite similar though they possessed sharper lines and were not nearly as soft. Between his eyebrows was a deep line which Melody knew must have been a result of his perpetually stern, worried expression.
“Best get you somewhere safe.”
She nodded wordlessly and Mr. Lupin Apparated them away.
Remus sat in his room reading an article in The Daily Prophet about potioneer Damocles Belby’s latest advancements on the Wolfsbane Potion he was developing. It would not be a cure but if successfully concocted it would lessen the some of the unpleasant symptoms that came with lycanthropy. Belby claimed those who took the potion would be able hold onto their mental faculties, thus making them less of a danger. It was a thrilling prospect but disheartening as well. Remus knew that he would probably never be able to afford the potion and he was not nearly good enough to brew such a complex one on his own. Not that it mattered much. After so many years of living with the wolf, he had learned to endure it and his transformations. At least, as much as he could.
His gloomy train of thought was interrupted by a loud crack that sounded like a car backfiring only it had come from the backyard. Through the window Remus saw his father helping Melody into the house. Her clothes were torn and filthy, she was covered in blood, and looked on the verge of collapsing.
He darted down the stairs meeting them in the sitting room where his father gently laid Melody on the couch. Up close Remus could see the damage was even worse than what he had thought. This had not been the product of her clumsiness but an attack, and a serious one at that. With the full moon only a couple of days away his rage was stronger that it would have been otherwise though not entirely uncontrollable as his concern for the girl overpowered it.
“Hiya, Moony,” Melody greeted weakly, her smile immediately faltering at the sight of him seething.
He smiled back tightly, feeling a muscle in his jaw jumping. The smile did not reach his eyes and completely disappeared when he turned to his father, asking, “What happened to her?”
“Death Eaters at Diagon Alley,” he replied grimly. “If she’s the best dueler out of your little group then you lot are in serious need of practice. They managed to disarm her. She’d be dead if I hadn’t gotten there.”
“But...but that’s no possible.”
It made no sense, what his father was saying. Melody never let anyone get far enough to even try to disarm her and yet here she was bloodied and broken before him. It was the most heartbreaking thing he had ever seen.
Remus stretched his hand out for Melody’s unbroken one, giving it a squeeze. He needed to feel her, to know she was really there and really alive. Her pulse reassured him, weak as it was. She was not dead and she would get better and when she did would be stronger. He knew she would be. Feeling her cheek nuzzling against his arm made him feel better, warmth blooming and radiating throughout him. It probably wasn’t normal or healthy how much he worried about her, but he didn’t care. She was his best friend and if she gave him premature wrinkles and grey hair then so be it.
“Can I stay here?” she croaked, looking up at him hopefully.
“Course you can.”
His father nodded, looking down at his watch. “I’ll need be getting back to the Ministry now and help sort this all out.”
“But it isn’t you department.”
“I was a part of it and, quite frankly, they’ll need all the help they can get,” he said. “Take care of her, will you, lad?”
Remus had cradled Melody in his arms and carefully carried her up the stairs with such an ease one would have though she weighed no more than a rag doll. She lay motionlessly on his unmade bed watching as he dashed from one end of the room to the other collecting a number of things which she assumed were magical medical supplies.
“You could have just left me on the couch,” she said, feeling self-conscious. “I know, I’m pretty heavy.”
“That couch is murder on the back. Besides, I don’t think you’re heavy at all,” he said over his shoulder, rummaging through his desk drawers. “I’m going to fix you up and it will probably hurt so be warned.”
Melody rolled her eyes, but said nothing. She was certain that no pain could compare to the Torture Curse.
Remus eased her up gently to a seated position, apologizing when he saw her wince. There was a big reddish-brown splotch on her shirt right below her chest, complimented by similar yet smaller ones which seemed to orbit it like planets orbiting the sun with her every shaking movement. She had never been one to tolerate blood but felt unmoved by it then, even with the knowledge that all of it had come out of her. Her bravery was not an act, nor was it for either her or Remus’s benefit. She wasn’t brave, she just didn’t care. Probably because it had yet to sink in. It would only be a matter of time before the breakdown, before telling herself it was all a dream got old again. It was hard to believe it was a dream with Remus there. In his presence everything felt more real than real.
It had surprised her how strong he was even more than it had to find him shirtless. He wasn’t all that bad to look at, really. He was no Adonis, but not scrawny, either. Despite his lean frame he was made up of wiry muscles that corded through his arms and shoulders. His chest was sculpted, with a light sprinkling of hair, and his stomach was flat. Like the rest of him, this previously unseen skin was covered with silvery slashes. The largest scar ran around his left shoulder—a large, gaping bite made from a large animal. Fenrir Greyback’s bite which had, as a child, infected him with the affliction which would never cease to torment him.
It had been Remus’s gasp that made Melody realize she was running her fingers along its rough line; she had not even noticed when he had kneeled before her and begun healing her wounds. Blushing, she quickly drew her hand back and cast her gaze elsewhere, feeling embarrassed at having been caught shamelessly ogling his bare chest.
“So, are you a Healer now?” she asked quickly, hoping to distract him.
“No,” he said, “but I’ve enough experience with cuts and broken bones to know what I’m doing.”
“I can see that.” She glanced up subtly and noticed that he was flushed, too. “What is that you’re using?” she asked referring to the drops of liquid he was applying to her cuts after plucking all bits of glass from them. She watched in amazement as the skin immediately closed, the wound looking days old rather than recent.
“Essence of Dittany,” he said. He was finished with her palms and was now moving on to her arm. “I’ll need to buy more soon.”
Silence fell over them as he continued to work over her and Melody took the opportunity to examine her surroundings. When Remus had first carried her in he had seemed embarrassed about having her there. It was very messy which she had certainly not expected, though it didn’t smell bad the way some boys’ rooms did. His desk was cluttered with books and newspapers, and clothes were strewn all over the floor. The walls were mostly bare except for a cork board with a couple of note and pictures pinned to it. One of the pictures was of the two of them. In it they were at school by the lake and Melody had her arms wrapped around his neck, smiling widely while he looked sheepish and awkward with his arms at his side.
“Thanks, for helping me,” she murmured. “You must be really pissed off with me. I know what I did was stupid.”
“Yes, it was, but I’m just glad you’re still alive,” he said. The muscle in his jaw was jumping again. “Why didn’t you defend yourself?” he asked, his eyes begging her for an explanation. “I know you chose to study Healing instead of going into Auror training but it’s no excuse. You need to be safer, Melody. I don’t want to—I can’t lose you.”
Remus’s concern and sweet earnestness wasn’t what got Melody thinking (though it was nice to be cared about by someone other than her family). She remembered that on her first day waking up in this world Mary had told her that she was studying to be an Auror but that there was still time for her to switch to Healing. She had though it was a good idea only she hadn’t told anyone, not even Mary, so how did Remus know?
Outside the sun was shining and the birds were singing like a scene out of a Disney movie. It was too warm to be winter in England and she knew she wasn’t in California again because Remus was still right in front of her. She looked at the calendar on the wall opposite her only to discover it was July...of 1978. She had gone forward in time to when they had all graduated. Were they already part of the Order of the Phoenix? Was she? Would she stay there, in that place and time, now? She could never be sure.
“You’re arms all better now,” he said after a moment of silence. Melody looked down at it and nodded. “Any other injuries I should know about it?”
“One of them kicked me in my side,” She lifted up her shirt and Remus hissed. “I think he might have broken a rib or two.”
“I don’t know whether to hug you or have my own go at kicking your arse,” he said with an exasperated sigh. Pointing his wand at the bruised skin he muttered a spell Melody had never heard before, relief instantly flowing throw her body. “Now sleep.”
Melody grasped his arm, stopping him as rose to leave. “Stay with me.”
Hesitantly, Remus sat on the bed giving Melody an are-you-happy-now look but she sighed, easing him back until he lay completely flat beside her. The bed was only big enough for one person so Melody had to turn on her side and curl into Remus’s side to keep from falling off. He hooked his arm around her waist, holding her tight, and stroked her hair gently.
Ear pressed against his chest Melody could hear his steady heartbeat, the sound lulling her. The fact that his skin was so warm didn’t help keep her awake. And he smelled really good, too. She wanted to keep talking to him, wanted to keep hearing his voice.
“I feel safe when I’m with you,” she confessed.
“You really shouldn’t,” he murmured into her hair.
Edward Cullen much? Melody though. Not that he was hopelessly in love with her or anything he was just being so melodramatic.
“But I do,” she yawned as she felt exhaustion pulling her under.
About an hour later Melody was shaken awake. When she opened her eyes she was met with the sight of Neil’s worried hazel ones. Remus wasn’t beside her anymore but leaning against the doorframe, fully clothed, to Melody’s... disappointment? No, that couldn't be right.
“You’re an idiot,” said Neil.
“Nice to see you too, twin,” said Melody before being scooped into a bone crunching hug.
“Idiot,” said Neil again, though affectionately this time. “I’m so glad you’re okay.”
He thanked Remus for healing his sister and asked that his thanks be passed on to Mr. Lupin for saving her before they all exchanged their goodbyes. Melody felt a pang of disappointment at the thought of leaving though she knew she wouldn’t have been able to stay with Remus and his father forever. She hid it well as she hugged Remus, stretching up on her toes to kiss his cheek. She caught the edge of his mouth and blushed, darting out of the house after her brother.
“Always knew you fancied him,” said Neil, smirking down at Melody as they walked down the empty street. “About time you did something about it, don’t you think?”
“I do not fancy him,” she reiterated crossly.
At least I don’t think I do, she thought, biting her lip nervously.
“Whatever you say, twin.” Unconvinced by her lack of conviction.
“Are we Disapparating?” she asked as they turned into an alley. “I don’t think my stomach can take doing that again.”
“Worse, I’m afraid,” he said gravely. “We’re going Shift.”
Melody didn’t remember ever having read about Shifting in any of her Harry Potter books, and had no idea what to expect. She watched as Neil pressed his palm flat against the brick wall and took a deep breath, staring intently at the bricks as though willing them to change. She was about to ask what he was doing when she saw a flicker of bluish light peeking through her brother’s fingers. It grew, expanding into a large swirling circle big enough for both of them to walk through together. She gingerly outstretched her hand toward it and watched the light ripple like water though she had felt nothing but cool air. It looked like the opening credits of Doctor Who.
“What is that?”
“A portal,” said Neil. “We’re going to jump in, all right?”
Melody was about to protest when she felt Neil pulling her in after him. The moment they crossed the barrier everything went dark and she realized this was the in-between place where she had woken up that morning, believing herself to be dead. But when she had entered this space it wasn’t because she had opened up some portal, it had just happened without warning.
“An explanation is in order,” said Neil, sitting on top of a bucket.
Melody sat down on the dirt floor, pulling her knees up to her chest. “You think?” she snorted. “What the hell was that, Neil? What did you just do?”
“You can do it, too.”
“Not like that I can’t!”
“I know,” he sighed, rubbing the back of his neck. “It’s difficult to understand. I hardly understand it myself and I’ve been fully aware of it for as long as I can remember.” Melody said nothing but stared up at him expectantly. She noticed he had dropped the English accent and was talking the way he did in the real world. “Things have been weird for you these past few days, right? I’ve noticed and kind of felt it, too—it’s like that whole twin telepathy thing, I guess.”
“The point being?”
“You’re not dreaming and you’re not going crazy. This is all real,” he said, mentally bracing for a freak out. It never came which was perhaps even more frightening. Melody was too calm. “You may not remember but this isn’t the first time you’ve been in this world. The two of us were born here, grew up here just as we did in San Diego.”
“How is that possible?” asked Melody, her voice thick with incredulity.
Neil shrugged. “Just is. I’ve always been able to control it but you never have,” he explained. “I normally don’t do Shifts, though. I let it myself travel between worlds whenever sans Tardis, thanks very much.” He smiled smugly and Melody rolled her eyes. “It’s most common at night. You woke up here, didn’t you?”
“Yeah, only when I went back home it was Halloween,” she said, her voice trembling, “and then it was the party and then I fell into the middle of that Death Eater attack. I want to go home, Neil. Can’t you take me there?”
“I could, but your body would only send you back here. The way I see it is that we’re strings that make up the fabric of both worlds, only we are the anomaly. We are the error. Our strings were accidentally weaved to both and through us both words are connected. There’s no leaving one or the other entirely without those strings—our strings—snapping.”
“So if those Death Eaters had killed me I would have just woken up back home?” Melody inquired, almost wishing Remus’s father hadn’t showed up just in time.
“It’s a definite possibility,” reasoned Neil thoughtfully. “Of course, it’s just as probable that it would have been game over entirely. Fifty-fifty.”
“Why can’t I remember any of this? You claim I’ve done it before?” She was already feeling the warning signs of an impending freak out. The walls were closing in around her and it was getting harder to keep her breathing steady.
“I don’t understand it. You’ve never had trouble remembering before. It’s always been so seamless. In dreams, in daydreams. Time moves at different speeds though it feels the same. We can be here for days and it’s only been minutes back home and vice versa.” He looked just as worried as Melody felt. Obviously her memory loss wasn’t a good sign. “You’ve always kept journals here. It might help to read through them. Maybe with time you’ll start to remember.”
He didn’t sound all that convinced but it sounded like a good enough plan. The best plan Melody could think of, at least.
“Only our family knows...and Dumbledore.”
Neil’s face finally split into a grin. “The man knows everything, and he’s the reason mom agreed to let you go to Hogwarts. He promised to keep an eye on you.”
“Oh.” That was definitely news to Melody. She had only seen the Headmaster in the Great Hall at meals and never had it seemed like he was giving her special attention. He had hardly even looked at her and not once had he spoken to her. There had been a moment or two in the week when she had had a chance to greet him but chickened out and dashed away in the opposite direction before he noticed her. He was Dumbledore, after all. How could she talk to him just like that? Even in the book world the man was a legend.
“We have to keep it a secret,” Neil insisted, emphasizing every word. “Do you understand that, Mels? It is imperative no one finds out what we can do. Not Mary, not Jaime, not Lupin. No one can know.”
“I get it. I’ll keep my mouth shut.”
“Good,” said Neil, satisfied. He stood up and stretched, his stiff joints cracking loudly. “We should probably get out of here. Gran’s probably looking for us and I think we’re a bit too old for the hide-and-seek excuse.”
“Mamá Victoria?” asked Melody, her throat constricting. She hadn’t seen her grandmother in five years and since then there only contact had been the occasional phone call which never felt like enough. “She’s here?”
Smiling, Neil nodded and helped her back onto her feet. When he opened the shed door she was temporarily blinded by the light but when her vision adjusted she felt her heart bubble and overflow with pure joy. Perhaps she had not died, but she had still made it to heaven.
A/N: So there you have it, the nature of Melody’s bizarre week has finally been revealed. Were you expecting Neil having the power, too? Let me know! Though this is chapter 7 I suppose this is where the story really begins to take off as far as Melody’s involvement in the war, with the Marauders and so on. Now that she knows the wizarding world is really her world too that knowledge will most definitely be influencing future decisions. Questions? Comments? Drop me a line in the review box below. As always thanks so much for taking interest in my fic and staying for the ride. It only gets better. I promise.
Till the next update
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