Chapter 15 : The Ultimatum
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“Potter,” hissed Parker as he lowered his hand. “I should have known! When did you speak to him?”
“T–Today,” she answered, terrified of him.
“What did he tell you?!”
“H–He told me who you really are,” she answered between her cries. She would tell him what he wanted for her own sake, but she wouldn't tell him that a piece of him was living inside James. She couldn't do that to James. “He told me, and I didn't believe him. I didn't want to believe him, Nolan, because...It's not true. Please, tell me.”
She requested this from him, but she knew she wouldn't hear the answer she wanted, for she had already received her verification. She was standing before Parker Namken. She had fallen in love with Parker Namken. A demented, thought-dead killer.
The anger was still evident in Parker, but when he finally stopped to observe Clancy's actions and emotions, he felt it diminish. Instead, he felt sad and guilty. The very things he had hoped not to feel when Clancy knew the truth. He didn't know what to say, but he felt his shoulders slacken as his anger faded and he grew sad.
“You weren't supposed to find out this way,” he told her honestly. “Really, I was going to tell you. Today even, but I got...held up...”
“Held up with what?!” she demanded to know. She was surprised that this was her question, out of all the possible questions. But something inside her told her it had to do with James' wounded brother. As that thought crossed her mind, she became fearful for what the answer would be. Did she really want to hear it?
“You want the truth?” he asked, for he knew he could lose her forever with the truth. He wouldn't let her escape from him, though. He had a plan, and she was coming with him. No matter if she wanted to or not.
“Yes,” she answered, her voice shaking.
“Fine,” he said sternly, and before he spoke again, he turned away from her. He left the living room and went into their bedroom. Clancy followed on his heels, as Parker had anticipated, and he pulled out a bag from her closet and gave his wand a wave so her clothes began to stuff themselves into the bag. “I was making preparations. For you and my mother.”
“What sort of preparations?” she asked uneasily, unsure of why he was packing her things into a bag, but she was too scared to question him or demand him to stop.
“Living preparations. We're leaving,” he said.
“What?” she gasped. “No!”
She was ready to defy him then. It didn't matter if she loved him or not. He was a killer, and she knew it. She couldn't trust him no matter how badly her heart still wished she could, but she didn't know what he would do to her. Would he use her? Would he hurt her? She had never believed he ever would, but she had watched him raise a hand to strike her, so who knew? Maybe he was planning on using her as a means to get to James Potter, so maybe she truly meant nothing to him at all. She couldn't go with him.
That was when she bolted. She ran out of the bedroom and into the living room. She was headed for the door, but she was aware of Parker behind her. He was shouting for her to come back, saying she wouldn't get away with it, and of course it was of no use. He was taller than she was and far faster; he reached her in a matter of seconds and he snatched her up into his arms, holding her small form tight to his long and broad one.
She kicked, desperate to get away from him. “No! Let me go, Nolan! Please let me go!”
“No!” he argued, and he carried her with ease back to their bedroom, where her things continued to pack themselves. “I'm sorry, Clancy, but I can't do that. That's not part of the plan.”
“Nolan, no! Please!” she beat at his chest as he carried her, but Parker refused to budge.
“And you can call me Parker now,” he said dully.
He dropped her onto her bed. She plopped down onto it in surprise, her long, black hair a distorted mess about her face from being carried, and before she could comprehend what had happened, he had pulled her wand from her pocket. He shoved it into one of his own pockets for safe-keeping. When he saw her bewildered glance, he rolled his shoulders. “Sorry, Clancy. You brought this upon yourself. I was hoping you'd want to come with me, but now that I know you'll be a flight risk, I guess I'll have to make necessary precautions.”
Parker watched her for a moment longer. He could tell she was trying to apparate, so he gave her a sympathetic smile. “Sorry, baby. I put up those charms before I even walked in the door.”
Clancy's shoulders fell in defeat. She watched as the last of her things were crammed into her bag, and then Parker shrank it, dropping the bag into the pocket of his jeans. He reached out a hand to her, and he watched Clancy eye it in disgust.
“Come on, baby,” he groaned impatiently. “Do I have to carry you again, or will you be a big girl and cooperate?”
She seemed to be in pain when she finally took his hand, and for that, Parker hated himself, but he knew this was necessary. He should have known all along this was how it would be. With her hand in his, he pulled her to her feet. She reluctantly yet obediently followed behind him as he pulled her through the flat and out the front door. As soon as they were outside, she was aware of the fact that Parker was apparating them out of there, for the familiar sensation in the pit of her stomach quickly arose.
They arrived on the porch of a large house. She tried to take in the appearance of it, but Parker was already tugging her inside after muttering some sort of incantation, which she didn't quite catch, against the door. It opened with a click, and he pulled her in. She looked about the interior of the house. The walls were a peaceful tan color, and the floor was of dark wood. It was large yet homey in a way that strangely made her wildly uneasy. What was this place? Was this his childhood home? Or somewhere else? His headquarters for his evil doings? There were a few people in the living room before them, lounging around and having a good time while in conversation. Some looked their way upon their entrance, but others minded their own business.
One man rose from his spot on the couch, and he approached Parker. He nodded in greeting, and Parker only said to him as they passed, “Be ready to do your part this evening.”
The man nodded as they passed by, and Parker continued to drag her by the wrist through the house.
Once again, she tried to look about the place, but Parker was quick and cognizant to allow her as little time as possible to take in her surroundings. It was as if he didn't want her to see any of it, which made her even more uneasy.
The majority of the house was off to the left, where there was a large grand staircase, and she assumed they were headed for that direction, but that wasn't the case. He yanked her down a long hallway off to the right, clearly more secluded quarters, where he then pulled her up a long staircase. At the top, another hallway exposed itself, but there were only two doors in the entire hallway.
She didn't like this. She didn't like this at all. Why were they in the secluded part of the house? Why here? What was he going to do with her? She started trying to fight him again, and she tugged desperately on her wrist, trying to free herself from him. Her fighting was to no avail, though; Parker only dragged her more violently down the hall.
“Nolan!” she begged. His false name was still embedded into her mind, and so it was simply second nature to call him by it. Calling him Parker would require time for her. “Nolan, please! Let me go!”
“No,” he disagreed. “Sorry, I can't.”
“Why not?!” she demanded to know.
He whipped around then, his face alive with anger. “Because I don't trust you to not go running to James Potter's side!”
She continued to beg, saying anything to save her own skin. “I wouldn't! Please, Nolan, I wou—”
“Oh, save it, Clancy!” he snarled. “I know you slept with him! I know you have feelings for him!”
She gasped in disbelief. How did he know that?
“I know you did,” he said again. “I know you took him into your bed. I know you've been intimate with the man I hate most in this world! I was watching you before you met me. So I know, Clancy, I know.”
Watching her before they met? So had he really planned their meeting? James had been right; none of this had been a coincidence. It had all been carefully calculated by Parker.
They reached one of the doors, and he opened it. Clancy got a look inside before he said or did anything else. It was a bedroom, plain and simple, but what she noticed first was how there were no windows.
And then she knew what he was going to do. He was going to lock her up.
He pulled the shrunken bag out of his pocket, returned it to its normal size, and tossed it onto the large bed in the middle of the room.
She tugged on Parker’s grip again in an attempt to free herself. “Let me go, Nolan!”
“Save your breath,” he breathed coolly, and he violently shoved her inside.
And then he slammed the door on her. He gave a wave of his wand, and he heard the sound of the door locking. After the definitive click, he could hear and feel Clancy's panic. She began to beat at the door from the other side, screaming her demands to be freed. Surprisingly saddened by what he had to do, Parker fell against the locked door and pressed his forehead to the warm wood. He ignored the fact that his head would shake with each pounding Clancy gave the door on the other side.
“I'm sorry, Clancy,” he whispered genuinely, even though he knew she couldn't hear. “I was supposed to get to you before him. We were supposed to be in this together.”
Dominique stood at the sink in the master bathroom of her and Teddy's small, cozy home with her toothbrush half-hanging out of her mouth. She was listening to her fiancé’s musings about Al's stabbing, but no matter what he said, she couldn't seem to accept it.
“I just don't get it,” she said, gurgling as the toothpaste foamed in her mouth.
Teddy pulled off his t-shirt, opened up the closet, and tossed it into the clothes hamper. After he shut the door again, he walked up behind Dominique and placed his hands on her hips as he watched her from the mirror.
“Me either, but Harry must have his reasons for not telling us anything,” said Teddy.
“Like what?!” Dominique demanded to know as she spat out the minty foam in her mouth and took a swig of water.
“I don't know, Dom,” answered Teddy in a defeated voice, “but he's Head Auror. He's smart about this stuff. Maybe he's just taking the time to figure some things out.”
“Al doesn't have time,” said Dominique sourly, and she turned to face Teddy. She wrapped her arms around his neck lovingly. “Al needs phoenix tears now. Harry doesn't have time to think things through. I think he knows who hurt Al, and I think he's purposely keeping that from us.”
“Maybe,” said Teddy with a roll of his shoulders, “but we have to have faith in him.”
Dominique nodded. “I do,” she said honestly. “Of course I do. I think I'm more terrified by all of this than anything else.”
Teddy scooped her up into his arms and carried her to their bed in the connecting room. He fell onto the large, plush mattress with her, and together they simultaneously slipped under the covers and wrapped their arms around one another.
Dominique loved this part of the day: crawling into bed beside Teddy. It was always so perfect and comforting; she loved sleeping by his side at night, how they would hold one another, how she perfectly molded against him. She was never one for the mushy stuff, but since their engagement, crawling into bed with him always reminded her of their impending winter wedding for some reason. Perhaps it was the fact that she would soon be able to call this man her husband.
“Don't be terrified,” Teddy soothed as he reached out and ran his fingers through her hair.
“It is terrifying, though,” she said in a defeated voice. “Al was just walking home, and he was stabbed—and quite strategically, too. His attacker has an agenda, and I know it. It's scary. It makes me fear for their safety. All of the Potters. All of us Weasleys. For you, and for me.”
“Don't worry, Dom,” he whispered, and he kissed her in the darkness of their bedroom. “I will never let anything happen to you.”
Dominique savored his words as she lay there, his arms around her and hers around him, his lips moving gracefully along hers and down her jaw as he spoke.
“You know that,” he said again. “You should know by now I'll never let anything happen to you. I've saved you before, and I will always, always save you.”
Dominique smiled, and she gave him a deep kiss. When she pulled away, she said sweetly to him, “I can't wait to marry you.”
“Only a few more months, and then you will,” he grinned. “Now, stop worrying. Nothing's going to harm you. Go to sleep.”
She grinned and nodded. “I love you, Teddy.”
“I love you, too, sweetheart,” he said lazily as he nuzzled himself into the crook of her neck.
Teddy was always quick to fall asleep. She didn't know how he did it, but he would always be asleep in a matter of minutes when they fell asleep together. When she thought she heard his gentle snore, she turned over and pulled the covers up higher. Just as she was situating herself further into bed, the covers were abruptly yanked away from her. She gasped and scrambled into a sitting position, knowing it wasn't Teddy, but the room was too dark to see anything else.
She looked into the shadows, trying to make out anything. She looked to the duvet, now lying on the floor of their bedroom.
Teddy stirred from his asleep, and he lazily awoke. “You always hog the covers; give them back,” he drowsily complained, his hands stretching out to seek purchase on the covers that weren’t there.
“Teddy,” she whispered frantically. “Teddy, that wasn’t me! What happened?”
Then there was the sound of footsteps on their wooden floor, and a figure moved from the shadows and into view. It was a man. A man she had never seen before—standing in their bedroom and approaching them with a menacing look.
Dominique yelped, and both she and Teddy immediately fumbled around for their wands on the bedside tables. The man raised his wand to Teddy and said quickly, “Petrificus Totalus!”
Ted's body was frozen on the spot, and Dominique screamed out in fear, jumping about and trying to grab hold of her wand. But before she could do so, the man pointed his wand at her. “Locomotor Mortis!”
Dominique felt her legs lock together, and she gave out another scream. The man jumped forward and grabbed her about her wrists, pulling her from the bed. With her legs heavy and immobile, they hit the ground and he continued to drag her away from the bed where Teddy lay still. She twisted her torso to look back to Teddy, tears rolling down her cheeks.
“Teddy!” she begged loudly even though it would do no good. “Help me! Teddy, please!”
Even though his body was still, his eyes moved about quickly in their sockets. She met his eyes, and she found them to be apologetic and desperate, filling with tears. She could tell he was trying to move despite how useless his attempts were, and she could hear him grunting within his mouth. The sound made a deep rumble in his chest, and she knew he was trying to scream.
She tried to pry herself from the man's arms, but she knew she couldn't. She screamed out his name one more time as they held eye contact, and then, when she felt the pull in her stomach, she knew her abductor was taking her away from her home, away from her fiancé. She felt tears roll down her cheeks as she looked to Teddy, and then the world she knew with the man she loved faded away from her.
“I don't understand,” commented James as he sat on the couch in the living room of his childhood home. He braced himself with his elbows on his knees, his hands clasped together with the tips of his fingers rubbing his forehead.
It had been a long day. The longest James had ever remembered. The hours had dragged on and on as he had sat by his brother's bedside. The wait for his father to bring back the phoenix tears had been excruciating, and now he found himself waiting once more. After being shoved out of Clancy's flat, he had returned to his home to fill Norah in on what had taken place. After he had shared, they had come to the agreement that this needed to be shared with Harry.
Since then, both he and Norah had been at the Potter home, waiting for the owl from Clancy that would give them some sort of hint. The hour was late, and it was well into the evening. A million different scenarios, all ending badly, filled his head. Was she all right? Had he hurt her? Deep down in the pit of his stomach, James knew the latter to be true. Parker had hurt her. Or he was planning to, at least.
James finally jumped up from the couch, aware of the eyes of his girlfriend and father on him. “I can't take this,” said James harshly. “I should have heard from her by now! I can't wait any longer. I'm going to see her.”
“James, wait,” said Harry quickly, rising from his spot across the room. “You can't just barge into the flat of a sociopath who has a vendetta against all of us!”
“I can if he's hurting my client!” blurted James.
Harry fumed with his lips pursed together and his nostrils flaring, his mind trying to take hold of an idea on what to do. His mind had been everywhere today. He had to think strategically at work and tell truths he never thought he would have to say. All in one day. It was a lot to handle; it was almost too much strategizing for him. He thought he was beginning to work out a plan with the Auror Department, but this was something else. This wasn't a part of the Aurors’ work. This was personal with James, but Harry still had the right to implement his thoughts as an experienced Auror.
Harry pinched the bridge of his nose as he tried to sort out his chaotic thoughts. “I know you'll go over there even if I tell you not to. So what's your plan?”
“I don't know. I just need to see if she's okay...” admitted James in a defeated voice. He was aware of Norah looking tense about the situation from where she sat, but James tried not to let that bother him. And despite how tense she may feel about James worrying so much over the woman, Norah knew she couldn't complain about his kindness and she felt guilty for being so on-edge; the woman's safety was truly in danger. Luckily, though, Harry didn't know about James' history with Clancy, nor did he notice how uncomfortable the mention of Clancy's name made Norah feel.
“Fine, then,” said Harry. “You can see if she's okay, but I'm coming with you.”
James bit his lip. He didn't quite want his father to come with him, but he knew it was the best idea. He wouldn't win this one, so he just accepted that. “Agreed.”
“Then let's go,” said Harry without another moment's delay.
Harry went to stand by his son's side and he took his arm. James gave Norah a grateful and understanding look before apparating himself and his father outside Clancy and Parker's flat. When they steadied themselves, James raised a hand and knocked loudly on the door. After many moments of no answer, he tried again. Unsure, he looked to Harry for a notion of what to do next. Harry jerked his head toward the door, so James took it as a sign. He reached for the handle and pressed down. He was fairly surprised when he felt the door give way from the pressure. It wasn't locked.
It swung open, and the two peered into a dark and empty flat. They stepped in, closing the door behind them to avoid any curiosity from any neighbors, and switched on the lights. Seeing that it was empty, they wandered about the flat, James calling out for Clancy. He quickly meandered to the bedroom, which James knew the location of from his night of intimacy with Clancy. He was grateful that Harry didn’t seem curious about James knowing the location of the bedroom. Harry was none the wiser that James previously a romantic relationship with the woman.
With the bedroom empty, James moved to the closet and opened the door. He had a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach; he just hoped he was wrong about it. The door to the closet opened to reveal its emptiness.
“Dad,” James called to his father as he looked elsewhere in the flat, “she's gone.”
“How do you know?” called Harry.
James turned and left the bedroom. “Her things are gone.”
“Of course she's gone,” a third, unexpected, and cool voice joined in.
Both the Potters gave a jump and quickly ran to the source. They entered the living room, where Parker Namken was relaxed in an arm chair. He had his feet propped up and his hands folded in his lap; he actually wore a smile on his face.
James felt the purest hatred he had ever felt quickly surge through his veins. “You!” he snarled, and before he could think, he leaped forward with his hands outstretched and with the intention of mauling his face.
But Harry snagged James' elbows and pulled him back before he could do so. Parker chuckled and nonchalantly rose from the arm chair.
“Let me go!” James demanded of his father. “Let me at him! You bastard!”
“Now, now,” cooed Parker, “listen to your daddy, James.”
James glowered but stilled. He fought his urge to attack Parker right there on the spot and instead turned to face the matter of helping those who could be in danger and those who already were.
“Where is she, Namken?” breathed James.
“She's safe,” Parker commented. “You can trust me on that.”
“Can I?” snarled James.
“Of course you can,” said Parker, his voice all too comfortable and happy for such a matter with his enemy in front of him. “Because here's something we have in common, Potter: we both have feelings for her. Well, you used her as a one-night stand. I, on the other hand, happen to love her. So yes, of course she's safe. I would not harm her.”
James grew still and felt his face grow hot. He could feel his father's surprise as his gaze moved to him. He tried to ignore Harry's surprise. He didn't need his father knowing that. Parker was wrong in one thing though: he didn't hold the feelings for Clancy that Parker assumed he did. James only cared for her; his infatuation with her had been a momentary thing.
“I think you would hurt anyone to get what you wanted,” said James.
“You're quite right,” agreed Parker with a roll of his shoulders. “There are but two exceptions.”
“And let's see, one of them is your mother. You momma's boy,” snarled James. “And oh, wait, we've already got her.”
Parker was clearly taken aback by James' taunting in that moment. His hands dropped to his side, and his mouth fell open. In that moment, both Harry and James could see his humanity peak through his dark exterior, for the concern for his mother was evident in his expression.
“You're lying,” dared Parker.
Harry watched James carefully; James clearly wasn't one to strategize before speaking, but Harry knew this was a delicate situation. They had to work it the right way if they were to best him in any way. Harry didn't know where James was planning on going with his taunting, but the mention of the capture of Pansy clearly pulled Parker's humanity to the surface, so Harry let James continue to play the cards.
“We're not,” snickered James. “She was picked up this afternoon by the Aurors. Seems like you left too large a breadcrumb trail, Namken. Considering that your plan has only been activated for less than 24 hours and we're already got your mum, it seems like you're doing a pretty poor job with this whole revenge thing.”
“You shut your fucking mouth!” roared Parker. He didn’t need this taunting. “Don't test me. Do not push me. I am the one calling the shots here, Potter. Or do you need reminding? Shall I remind you that your brother lies in a hospital with no means of being saved? Need I remind you that I am the only one who has the power to save him?! I'd be careful what you say because all I have to do is stab another family member—perhaps leave the wound a little deeper this time—and they'll be wiped off the grid like poor Albus soon will be.”
James gave a snarl but had nothing to retort. This seemed to satisfy Parker, for he sneered. “Exactly, so do not think yourself so high and mighty. Do not think that you have power over me. Do not think that you can best me. In fact, let's see how you cope under some real pressure.”
Harry and James both tensed at that statement. What did he mean by it? Parker's lips tugged up into his perfected smirk, and he pulled a coin from his pocket. He rubbed it twice with two fingers, and it began to glow in his hand. Only a few moments later, the familiar crack of apparation sounded the arrival of another party, having been summoned by Parker's coin call.
A man with long brown hair appeared. His clothes were mangled, and he needed a shave, but neither the Potters could worry about the man's appearance or the Dark Mark blazing on his left arm.
What mattered was Dominique in his grasp and on her knees in front of them.
She had tears running down her cheeks, and she was magically bound with her legs contorted beneath her.
“Jamie!” Dominique cried out, but before she could say another word, the man who had taken her captive silenced her with a wave of his wand. She frantically looked about her surroundings to take in where her captor had taken her. When she recognized Parker, she tried to give a wild scream even as her mouth was magically clamped shut. She thrashed and tried to get away, but it was to no avail.
“What are you doing with her?!” roared James. “Let her go! She isn't a part of this! Leave her out of it!”
“I don't think so,” suggested Parker. “In fact, I think we'll keep her for a little leverage.”
“What sort of leverage?” asked Harry. “What do you want from us? We're willing to negotiate if your terms are reasonable.”
James shot Harry and incredulous look, wide-eyed and his mouth agape. “Like hell we are, Da—”
Harry raised a hand and gave him a stern look to silence him. Bewildered, James clamped his mouth shut. Parker, however, quickly interrupted them.
“No,” said Parker quickly, shaking his head. “This is not a negotiation. There are no terms to negotiate in this. This is revenge. This is me taking back what you damn Potters owe to my father! This is me in charge: no negotiating, just the plan, and just those in your abundance of loved ones whom I have condemned to die!”
At Parker's last statement, Dominique let out a muffled cry, sinking further to the ground and squeezing her eyes shut as her tears escaped. James hated seeing her like this; she was one of the fiercest people James had ever known, strong and courageous. He thought nothing could scare her, and so seeing her truly terrified was a genuine reality check.
“Here is where you have a choice,” suggested Parker. “You can give me back my mother, and I'll give you back the Weasley here—or is it Lupin now? Or you can give me back my mother, and I'll show you the way to the phoenixes. Either way, you’re giving my mother back to me. You just have one choice to make, so which will it be? Al's life? Or Dominique's?”
A/N: Edited 9.24 for grammar and accuracy.
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