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Heading Out to the Highway by CambAngst
Chapter 1 : Decompression
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 17

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Heading Out on the Highway by Judas Priest (Halford, Downing, Tipton - from the album Point of Entry - 1981)

The characters herein belong to JK Rowling.

Well I've said it before, and I'll say it again
You get nothing for nothing: expect it when
You're backseat driving, and your hands ain't on the wheel

To hell with them! Every last bleeding one of them! If theyíre determined to follow the rest of the pureblood fanatics over the cliff, thatís their problem!

I storm away from Number 12 Grimmauld Place, slamming the old door with all my might to see whether I can get the whole bloody building to shake. Anything to piss off Orion and Walburga. The fury is boiling inside my chest, ready to explode at any moment. I nearly bowl over three muggles on the pavement outside, but I donít even spare a glance of apology. Lord have mercy on anyone who gets in my way tonight because I am not in the mood.

Thereís a rubbish bin full of empty cups and old newspapers sitting underneath a flickering streetlamp and I kick it as hard as I can, sending it crashing into the street. Then I kick it across the street for good measure. Lily would not approve of how Iím acting right now, but she can sod off. Her parents are muggles. Iím pretty damn sure they never punished her with hexes when she was little or convinced her sister to join the Death Eaters. Thatís not such a bad idea, though. If that shrill, horse-faced bitch took the Dark Mark it would be a great day for our side.

It's easy to go along with the crowd,
And find later on that your say ain't allowed
Oh that's the way to find what you've been missing

I canít handle other people right now. I have to get away from everyone. If I go back to Mr. and Mrs. Potterís house like this Iíll just wind up saying something stupid and making Lily upset and then James will get mad and Iíll have a right mess on my hands. Gotta calm down first. That, or turn around and curse the hell out of those bloody fools. The cowards would throw every dark curse at me they could think of, but that doesnít matter. I spent the first sixteen years of my life being terrified of my parents. Iím done. If they want a fight, theyíll bloody well have one!

Itís Moonyís little voice in the back of my mind that convinces me not to do it. Fucking Moony, as though he isnít enough of a bother when heís actually around. But the little voice has a point. One thatís at least good enough to pierce the crimson haze clouding my brain. Going after Orion and Walburga isnít worth it. Theyíd just twist it around and make it seem like I attacked them for no reason. Poor Reg doesnít need to see that. Heís fucked up in the head enough as it is. Plus theyíd call the Ministry and it would be a first rate headache for Jamesís parents to pull strings and call in favors to smooth it all over. There, are you happy now, Moony? Great, furry wanker...

I turn into an unkempt alleyway, feeling slightly more in control of myself. A flick of my wand lifts the Disillusionment Charm and there she is, my pride and joy. Which is a damn good thing, because if anything happened to her while I was wasting my breath on those miserable prats then I would have gone back and cursed the lot of them no matter what Moony thinks. A flip of a switch and a kick later, the bike roars to life and the painful tension in my chest begins to ease a bit. Thereís something soothing about the hum of the engine. Just sitting on the bike makes me feel free. God, I sound like a bloody girl.

So I'm heading out to the highway
I got nothing to lose at all
I'm gonna do it my way
Take a chance before I fall
A chance before I fall!

Locking the front brakes and leaning in, I gun the engine, bringing the back of the bike around in a white cloud of tire smoke. The noise and the feeling of barely contained power and the smell of burning rubber are exhilarating. As pissed off as I am, a wicked grin still sneaks across my lips as I let go of the brakes and the bike lunges forward. I keep the throttle wide open as the busy street at the end of the alleyway gets closer and closer. Certain nights are made for dancing with the devil.

At the last possible second, I pull back on the handlebars and the bike roars into the air. Iím never absolutely certain that itís going to work because I did the enchantments myself, but thatís part of the thrill. The back tire strikes the top of a passing lorry and the bike twists violently to the right and pitches forward. For a few seconds, weíre completely out of control. I can feel the bike fighting me as I yank the handlebars around and gun the engine, straining muscle and magic alike. I bank hard to avoid crashing into the building across the street and end up sort of driving along the wall until I reach the corner. Most people would probably be freaking out at this point, but once I get the bike righted I throw my head back and laugh. You can try to be crazier than Sirius Black, but nine out of ten Healers do not recommend it. The tenth was just too bloody old and deaf to understand the question.

You can hang in a left or hang in a right
The choice it is yours to do as you might
The road is open wide to place your bidding

Itís a beautiful night as I gain altitude and turn to the west. The wind whipping through my hair and my beard feels so fresh and crisp. Nothing like the musty, stale air inside my parentsí house. I can almost feel the stench of Grimmauld Place being scoured away. Another hundred miles or so and it might even cleanse my mind of Orion and Walburgaís bullshite.

The tension is back as soon as I think about them and I swallow hard and force my hands to relax on the controls. I should have realized they'd do this to Reg after I left. They've been grooming him for it his whole bloody life. All he ever heard was, "sorry, kid, you're sucking hind teat until your big brother either dies or screws up royally." That was how they controlled him, how they kept him hungry for their approval.

When I met James and got sorted into Gryffindor, Reg saw his chance. The whole family was up in arms and he was determined to make the most of his opportunity. Just as Uncle Alphard had finally managed to talk everyone back into their tree about my sorting, Annie up and runs off with that muggle-born chap from Hufflepuff. I love Annie to death, but her timing sucks.

Naturally, my parents pretended to be as barking mad about it as the rest of the family, but truthfully they were thrilled. Uncle Cygnus and Aunt Druella gloated incessantly and rubbed their noses in the fact that I wasnít a Slytherin. When Annie ran off, it was payback time. After Reg got sorted into Slytherin, they did everything short of throwing a fucking parade. The rivalry didnít end there, though. All the while, Bellatrix was torturing and killing her way up through the ranks of You Know Whoís followers until she finally earned her mark. Since Bella became the first Death Eater that the Dark Lord could shag on the side, my parents were hell-bent on Reg becoming the first Death Eater who was too young to shave. That's my family for you. They compete to see who can cock up their children the worst.

Now, wherever you turn, wherever you go
If you get it wrong, at least you can know
There's miles and miles to put it back together!

Poor Reg. Itís not my fault that he ended up like this, but the disappointment grates on me anyway. When we were kids, I couldnít get the little wally to leave me alone. He was like a bloody shadow. Thing is, Reg is still a kid in a lot of ways. He grew up on a spoon-fed diet of pureblood supremacist horseshit. We both did, but once I got to Hogwarts I figured out that halfbloods and muggle-borns can be more talented and way more fun than most of the purebloods Iíd ever met. Reg got sorted into Slytherin so his brainwashing never missed a beat. Now he spends all his time hanging out with Travers and Jugson and the rest of the dungeon muppets. My brother may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but heís a towering intellect compared to the company he keeps these days. Sadly, that only makes him cockier and more sure of himself.

As the lights of London begin to recede in the wing mirrors, I lean into the handlebars and head for the ground. Flying is a brilliant way to avoid all the slow-moving traffic in the city, but Iím not in a mood to play it safe tonight. Iím looking for a dark, twisting back road where I can get out all of my aggression. I need hairpin turns and steep hills and muggle drivers looking at me like Iíve gone stark, raving mad. I want close calls and near misses and the sound of my heart pounding in my ears. Fortunately, I know just the place.

The bike jolts a bit as I set down on a narrow stretch of tarmac surrounded by drooping willow trees. The surrounding area looks like unspoiled farm country, but appearances can be deceiving. The farmers who used to work these hills are long gone. London society types bought out the family farms and built opulent manors where rough hewn cottages and barns once stood. The neatly paved drives and meticulously manicured grass are dead giveaways. They come out here because they get tired of the bustling, claustrophobic streets of London. They wanted to get away from it all. Well the poncey wankers are in for a rude surprise tonight. The it they moved out here to get away from is about to come calling.

And I'm heading out to the highway
I got nothing to lose at all
I'm gonna do it my way
Take a chance before I fall
A chance before I fall!

The roar of the bikeís engine echoes through the little valley as I pour on the speed. Part of me wonders whether itís too late for Reg. I hate to think of him that way, but if Iím being honest about it, there isnít much hope. He has that bloody shite stain on his arm now, Iím sure of it. You Know Whoís little maniacs arenít in the habit of showing it off to outsiders, but the smug look on his face when Walburga was going on about what an honor it is to be marked as a Death Eater didnít leave much room for doubt. The stupid little git doesnít have a clue what heís gotten himself into.

The more I think about it, the angrier I get. Reg is sixteen years old and my parents handed him over to a bunch of murderous psychopaths just to make a point. Sixteen years old and now heís expected to hold his own in a bunch of bloodthirsty, sadistic nutters who kill for the fun of it. If she deigns to help, maybe Bella can keep him safe for a little while. I doubt that even many of the Death Eaters would cross her. Sheís completely fucking mental. But the minute You Know Who decides that Reg has worn out his welcome, sheíll probably kill him herself. And he will wear out his welcome sooner or later. Reg is a lot of things, but heís not a killer. All he wanted to do was make his family proud, and thatís eventually gonna cost him his life. Itís all so fucking pointless.

It gradually dawns on me that Iím not just angry at Reg for being such a prat, Iím scared for him. Yes, heís a Slytherin and an arrogant pureblood nutter and a complete cock-up but heís still my little brother. Part of me feels like I was gallivanting around Hogwarts with my friends when I should have been watching out for Reg and knocking some sense into him. I had him hundreds of miles away from Orion and Walburga for four bloody years and I pissed it away. Why? Because I was too busy having fun and I knew my Gryffindor friends wouldnít want anything to do with him. Some brother I am.

Making a curve or taking the strain
On the decline, or out on the wain
Oh everybody breaks down sooner or later

My tires are struggling to hold the pavement as I tear around a curve. I can just make out a pair of tail lights topping the next rise and I open up the throttle. Some gormless muggle blighter is about to get the shock of his boring little life. I feel light in the seat as I top the rise myself, giving me a pretty good idea of how fast Iím going. I havenít bothered to look at the speedometer; the distraction could be deadly at this speed. Iím closing fast on the car I saw. It looks like a 1960ís Jaguar E-Type convertible. I remember reading about them in some old car magazines that Jamesís dad keeps around his study. Theyíre lightweight, powerful and bloody fast. I feel a bit of grudging respect for the muggle behind the wheel. Until I get a look at him, that is.

I ease up on the throttle as I pull up alongside of the Jag and thatís when I see it. Heís wearing a bloody ascot. Who the hell does that? The tweed jacket and flat cap arenít helping the effect either. If the colors were a little more mismatched, Iíd think he worked for the Ministry of Magic. He turns toward me and we lock eyes for just a moment. His lip turns up dismissively and his chin tilts noticeably higher as he floors the accelerator. This guy has got to be the biggest wanker Iíve ever seen! That does it. Iím making James buy a bike and weíre driving down here every bloody weekend just to terrorize this bunch of tossers.

We'll put it to rights, we'll square up and mend.
Back on your feet to take the next bend!
You weather every storm that's coming atcha!

The Jag has a lot of power but the tweedy doorknob behind the wheel is afraid to really turn it loose and pretty soon Iím back on his rear bumper. We both dive into a sharp turn, tires squealing and brakes whining in protest, then accelerate into another long, gradual rise. I swerve right to pass him- holy shite! The arsehole just cut me off! Who in the bloody hell does he think he is? I move back into our lane and he swerves in front of me again. We run out of straightaway and brake into the next turn. This is where I know Iíll get him. The Jag may have the power to compete with the bike, but itís nowhere near as maneuverable. He shades as far to the center of the curve as he dares, but I still cut inside of him. If thereís a car coming in the direction, well... Iíll deal with that when it happens.

Fortunately, there isnít a lorry waiting to splatter my innards all over the pavement and we come out of the curve side by side. The guy in the ascot is pushing the Jag as hard as it will go, unwilling to concede. He nudges the wheel dangerously in my direction, but I refuse to flinch. Sizing him up, Iím pretty sure that his mates at the Wanker Bank of London wouldnít be too pleased if he got arrested for running a motorcycle off the road while racing his car. Of course, for all I know he stole the Jag after escaping from prison and nicked that outfit from some charity shop. Either way, he's not gonna intimidate me.

What is a bit intimidating is the narrow bridge that just appeared as we came around the bend in the road. Thatís gonna be a problem. I can't pull far enough ahead of the Jag to go in front of him and I'm damn sure not gonna back down. That means I either have to run him off the road, which isn't bloody likely with my two wheels against his four, or...

Oh, this is brilliant. Mean-spirited. Cruel. Borderline muggle-baiting. But brilliant, nonetheless. First, I have to give an award-winning performance. I turn toward the Jag and start waving my free hand and making all sorts of faces and rude gestures. A flash of anxiety passes over him, but he shakes it off and pretends he doesnít see me. He obviously knows the bridge is there and only one of us is going to make it across. I continue to act like a complete yob, shouting insults that neither one of us can hear over the roar of the engines. This is actually amazing stress relief. Maybe I should start following football.

When weíre about halfway to the bridge, he loses his nerve. He turns toward me with an alarmed look in his eyes, thrusting his finger toward the windscreen, trying to get me to look forward. Instead, I bite my thumb at him and pull a few more choice faces. Heís frantic now, gesturing wildly. In my head, I know we canít be more than fifty paces from the bridge. I give him one last two-finger salute and then turn forward, pretending that Iíve only just noticed the problem. My whole body tenses up, which isnít really an act because this is going to be a tricky maneuver.

The little bridge spans a ravine thatís probably a hundred feet wide. On either side of the bridge, the ground quickly drops away into darkness. I steer the bike off of the pavement so I donít hit the side of the bridge and then I throw my arms over my face for maximum dramatic effect. As soon as I feel the ground disappear and the bike starts to fall, I grab the handlebars and take flight. Banking hard to the left, I swoop underneath the bridge and then soar out of the other side of the ravine. My tweedy chum is already on the other side. From my vantage point fifty feet above the ground, I see him look over his shoulder, probably expecting some sort of explosion like you see in muggle films. Just when he gives up and makes to flee the scene, I drop out of the sky beside the Jag and pull the scariest face I can manage. Not that he could hear it, but I even yell, ďBoo!Ē

Iíve never had much use for cameras, to be honest. A lot of my most cherished memories arenít the sort of thing where Iíd want there to be photographic evidence. At the moment, however, Iíd give half the gold in Gringotts for a picture of this wankerís face. The combination of confusion and shock and fear is absolutely priceless. He slams on his brakes and the Jag disappears in my wake as it fishtails to a stop. The responsible thing to do would probably be to go back and try to modify his memory, but why should I start acting responsibly now? Besides, whatís he going to say? I was drag-racing some bloke on a flying motorbike. Theyíd toss him in the drunk tank and throw away the key.

I blow out a long, slow breath, feeling the last of the angry tension leave my body. Iím ready to talk now, at least to James. Maybe by the time I get to the Pottersí house, Iíll be ready to talk to Mr. and Mrs. Potter as well. Lily... well, letís hope she takes the hint and just listens for a change. I donít know why, but Iím sure theyíll all be waiting up for me when I arrive. I never mentioned that I was going to see my family, but somehow Mrs. Potter always seems to know. Maybe thatís just how real mothers are.

Maybe I should fly the rest of the way. It would probably cut a good half hour off of the trip. But whereís the fun in that? Itís too nice of a night to get in a hurry about anything. With this war going on, who knows how much time any of us have left. Might as well enjoy it while it lasts.

And I'm heading out to the highway
I got nothing to lose at all
I'm gonna do it my way
Take a chance before I fall
A chance before I fall!

So there, I did it. I wrote a song fic. I always felt like Sirius fit really well with this one, so it was a joy to write. If you enjoyed it, reviews are always appreciated!

Thanks to Jami for helping me edit and to Lauren for giving it a quick Brit-picking.

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