As the summer slowly sunk into September, the marauders busied themselves with helping out at Diagon Alley and looking after Remus, who hadn’t been the same since his last transformation.
Roxy was even so engrossed in her life that she had almost completely forgotten about the task she had promised upon herself a year ago when she woke up to find her mother gone. Part of her could not believe that it had been a whole year already, while another part of her could not believe that only that amount of time had passed.
Not only had Remus’ behaviour changed however, everyone seemed a bit more edgy than usual, as the accounts of disappearances and murders (of both witches, wizards, and muggles) increased dramatically.
Every day the Daily Prophet brought more news that left the marauders eating their breakfast in silence.
Their days passed mostly in the same way. They would get up, make breakfast, the owl would arrive with the Daily Prophet, half of them would go work in Diagon Alley, while the other half stayed at home to mind Remus, who was still too weak to do any work.
The pattern in days broke however, one morning in the second week of September.
The door knocked loudly as Lily, James, Remus, Sirius, Roxy and Peter, sat around the table. They each shared a curious look as James went up to answer the door.
“Hello Mr. Potter,” a familiar voice said as James opened the door.
“Professor!” James exclaimed, “Come in!”
A few seconds later, Albus Dumbledore appeared from the hall into the kitchen.
James followed him excitedly.
Dumbledore looked around the room fleetingly smiling at them all. Roxy forced a smile back.
With a flick of his wand, a plush armchair appeared out of thin air, and Dumbledore pushed it up to the table where everyone sat.
James returned to his seat.
“As I am sure you are all aware, Voldemort is getting stronger every day, and his amount of followers are increasing and becoming more loyal. In a bid to help ensure the safety of the innocent, and as you are already aware, I am setting up an order which will aim to bring him down. Although I cannot take all the glory in that invention, as it was after all, Mrs. Decoy’s idea.” he said, nodding and smiling in her direction.
She gave him a small smile back.
“And so, as of today,” he continued, “I have collected about 30 people who are willing to help me. And I came to request that we can have our first meeting here, tonight? I see you have done a marvellous job of rebuilding it.”
He looked around the room, beaming.
“Of course you can,” Lily said eagerly.
“Well, that’s very nice of you Mrs. Evans, but I believe that decision is up to James,” Dumbledore said amusedly, raising his eyebrow at her. She blushed.
“Of course you can,” James said, “How many people will there be?”
“About twenty. Maybe more if we’re lucky.”
“We’ll move the table over and bring in more chairs,” Roxy said, looking around, “There should be enough room.”
Dumbledore smiled gratefully.
“Expect everyone at eight o’clock, although I am usually inclined to turn up early,” Dumbledore said standing up, “But for now, I have a lot to get done.”
With a flick of his wand his chair disappeared and he wandered out the door biding everyone farewell.
“Er, are that many people going to fit?” Sirius asked, looking around the room.
“Like I said, if we push the table against the wall there should be enough room for enough chairs.”
“Or if we bring the table in from outside, and put it at the end of that table, then everyone can sit around it,” Lily said.
“That’s a better idea,” James admitted, nodding.
“Hmph!” Roxy said, folding her arms and looking away.
“Who do you suppose is gonna show up?” Sirius asked.
“I dunno, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.”
That evening, after their dinner had been eaten and cleared away, Sirius and James dragged in the wooden table from outside, and pushed it to the end of the dinner table.
Lily and Roxy dragged the wooden chairs in through the porch door.
Remus was in the sitting room resting, while Peter sat on the couch nearby, ready to wake him up if he began to have another nightmare, which had happened every night since he had attacked Sirius and James. Sirius had grown increasingly worried as the time of the next full moon drew nearer. Dumbledore had assured him that the effects of the failed werewolf potion should not again appear, but he was still very apprehensive, and everyone was keeping an extra close eye on him.
They brought in the various chairs from around the house and placed them around the adjoining tables.
“Twenty three,” Lily said as she finished counting them.
She blew a loose strand off the side of her face, “I just hope it’s enough.”
“If it’s not, they can stand,” Sirius said, shrugging.
Lily scowled at him.
A few minutes later, Dumbledore arrived with a bright smile but grave eyes.
This time, instead of conjuring up his own chair, he sat at the head of the table, where Lily offered him some tea.
Dumbledore, of course, wanted a brandy.
Gradually as the day darkened, more and more people arrived. Sirius knew most of them, but there were some here and there that he did not recognise.
He was having a discussion with Fabian Prewett, when Dumbledore called for everyone’s attention.
Everyone’s eyes swivelled to Dumbledore.
“Although most of you know each other, I think introductions are in order, for if we are to be united, I think we without a doubt first need trust. I shall start. My name is Albus Dumbledore,” he said, unnecessarily, as every person around the table was invited by him in the first place.
“I am Edgar Bones,” said a tall greying man.
“Caradoc Dearborn,” said a black haired man next to him.
“Benjy Fenwick,” said small plump and young looking man.
“I am Frank Longbottom.”
“Alice Longbottom,” said a pretty girl who was sitting beside Frank and holding his hand.
Marlene McKinnon, Dorcas Meadows and Peter then introduced themselves, followed by Remus, who was barely audible.
“Lily Evans,” Lily said, proudly.
“James Potter,” James said grinning.
“Sirius Black,” Sirius said, receiving a lot of funny looks form those around him he did not already know. They were obviously well aware of his heritage.
“I’m Roxy. Roxy Decoy,” Roxy said nervously. Sirius squeezed her hand.
The next man to speak had a small scar running across his face. He was a big beefy man that Sirius thought he recognised.
“Alastor Moody,” he said gruffly.
Sirius nodded over in her direction. Molly was a distant cousin of his, and since her family were considered blood-traitors by the Black family, Sirius had only ever met her once. She gave him a kind smile in return.
“Dedalus Diggle!” squeaked a very excited looking man.
“Elphias Doge,” wheezed the next man.
“Arabella Figg,” said the last lady, just as a tremendously loud knock filled the house.
James leapt up and ran to the door.
“Sorry I’m late,” said a booming voice, followed by equally booming footsteps.
Hagrid appeared in the doorway, looking out of breath.
“I didn’ miss anything’ did I?” he asked, looking around.
“No Hagrid, we were just introducing ourselves,” Lily said kindly, pulling out a large chair from the corner with her wand. He sat down thankfully.
“Now, let’s get down to business,” Dumbledore said seriously, causing the room to tense up.
“I believe that what Voldemort is next planning, is the infiltration of the ministry. I would imagine, instead of going for an all out rebellion, he will try do it sneakily, and slowly. It could take many many years before he has enough inside followers to take over, but I do believe that that will be his eventual plan. I am therefore very grateful that I have some inside ministry people here today, and I am hoping that they will keep a sharp look out to anyone who may seem to be acting strangely, or even as though they have been put under the imperius curse.”
A few people dotted around the room nodded.
“As for everybody else, the best thing to do would just to be extra vigilant until the time comes for action.”
His exclamation was met with silence.
“And on a lighter note, I believe we need a name?”
Everyone looked at him blankly.
“Well, if the Death Eaters can have a name, then why can’t we?”
Sirius looked at Dumbledore, bemused.
“Well, since it was you who put it all together sir,” Lily said, “I think it should be you who gets to name it.”
Everyone around the table nodded in agreement.
“Well, if you insist,” Dumbledore said, elapsing into silence.
After a few minutes, Dumbledore’s face light up.
“Eureka!” he exclaimed, “I’ve got it!”
Sirius stifled a laugh, and turned to see that James was fighting one off too.
“Since I myself are rather fond of Pheonix’s, and as Pheonix’s are in general, a symbol of hope, then I put forth the notion of calling our cause, The Order Of The Pheonix!”
“It’s perfect!” Emmaline gushed.
“Brilliant idea!” Elphias said, nodding fondly at Dumbledore.
“Excellent!” said Arthur Weasley, grinning excitedly.
“Thank you, thank you, I thought so myself!” he said, beaming. “I do now however, have to now return to Hogwarts as I still have my duty upon my students, but until then, I thank you all for coming.”
He bowed and swiftly left the room, humming to himself as he went.
Immediately, everyone began talking amongst themselves.
“Do you really think he will try take over the ministry?” Roxy asked from beside.
“It looks like it,” Sirius said, wrapping his arms around her.
Sirius looked around the room at the faces of what was now, The Order Of The Pheonix, and despite the condition upon their meeting, everyone was smiling and talking happily amongst themselves and introducing themselves to each other more formally.
“Hello,” said a tall black haired boy from a little bit down the table. Sirius had forgotten his name already.
“I am Frank Longbottom,” he said, extending his hand while Sirius re-introduced himself.
He reached over and shook Roxy’s hand too.
“This is my wife, Alice,” he said indicating to the woman beside him.
“Hello,” she said nervously.
“Hello Alice, it’s nice to meet you,” Roxy said kindly, while Sirius waved feebly.
“We work as Aurors in the Ministry Of Magic,” Frank explained, “What is it that you do?”
“Er,” Sirius said, “Nothing as of yet. We’ve just finished school.”
“Oh yes, yes of course, Dumbledore said!” Frank said, beaming at them, “I think it’s great that you have gone a separate way from your family despite how hard that must have been.”
“You must be very brave to be able to stand up to your own flesh and blood like that,” Alice said appraisingly.
Sirius gulped nervously and forced a smile.
Roxy squeezed his leg reassuringly.
The room suddenly felt very hot, and Sirius excused himself to go outside for some air.
Darkness had completely fallen and a light rain was starting to fall, but Sirius ignored it, breathing in the cold fresh air.
A few seconds later, Roxy appeared at his side.
“Are you alright?” she asked, wrapped her arms around his shoulder.
He nodded, but said nothing. He wished people would stop mentioning his family constantly, everywhere he went.
He thought back to the man in Diagon Alley, and the look he had given him upon hearing his second name.
Sirius shuddered inwardly.
“Come on inside,” Roxy said softly, taking his hand, “It’s much too cold out here.”
Sirius was awoken the next morning by the sound of the fluttering of wings and a small sharp tap on glass.
He peeled his eyes open and looked out the window at a large brown owl sitting on the window sill. Judging by the light and the fact that Roxy was not beside him, he assumed it must be late morning or the early afternoon.
He rolled out of bed and wrenched open the window. The owl held out its leg and Sirius untied a small white envelope, bearing the Ministry Of Magic emblem. He frowned. It was generally not a good sign if you were receiving an owl from the Ministry.
He shut the window as the owl flew off and closed the latch. He stared at the envelope, confused.
Deciding to open it downstairs, he entered the kitchen where Lily was, as was usual in the mornings, cooking. Roxy was scanning through the Daily Prophet at the table with a bowl of cereal under her chin.
“Anyone we know die?” he asked.
Roxy looked up from her breakfast and smiled. “Morning! Only a few muggles from Manchester.”
“Where’s James?” Sirius asked.
“He’s outside, what’s that?” Roxy asked, spotting the envelope clutched in his hands.
“I dunno,” he said, deciding it was better if he was sitting when he opened it.
He broke apart the wax sealing it and pulled out a single white sheet of paper.
Mr. Sirius Black,
The Ministry requests your appearance in the office of the Wizengamot Administration, tomorrow, the 14th of September, at ten o’clock, to discuss the matter of the death of Alphard Black.
Yours, Griselda Marchbanks.
Sirius stared at the letter, astonished.
Roxy, seeing the look on his face, rushed over.
“What’s is it Sirius?” she asked.
“My uncle Alphard,” Sirius said, stunned, “He died. He was my favourite Uncle. Or rather, the only one I liked.”
Lily abandoned making her French toast and came rushing over, while Roxy rubbed his arm comfortingly.
“What happened?” Roxy asked, rubbing his shoulder.
“I don’t know, it just says I have to go into the Ministry tomorrow at ten about it,” Sirius said, looking away from the letter and at Roxy.
“Well, I am coming with you,” Roxy said firmly.
Sirius didn’t argue. It would no doubt be easier with Roxy there, whatever it was.
Sirius felt tears creep into his eyes. He couldn’t believe his uncle Alphard was gone. It had been so long since he saw him, but he never thought he’d never ever get to see him again.
Roxy pushed a bowl of cereal towards him, but he ignored it. He felt too sick.
“He was the only one who ever paid attention to me at family get-togethers,” Sirius said sadly.
“Eat,” Roxy said, motioning towards the bowl of cereal.
Sirius managed to swallow a few spoonfuls, but gave up after that.
The rest of the day passed in a daze. Roxy, Sirius and Remus stayed home from Diagon Alley, while the others went to help with the clean-up.
The work in Diagon Alley was almost complete. Most of the shops were ready to be used again, and the streets were now safe to walk on.
Civilians were even beginning to show up again to shop.
Most of the largest business’ were getting back on their feet, but a lot of the smaller ones were still struggling.
Gringotts, which hadn’t really been damaged in the first place, was the first building to re-open, shortly followed by Flourish and Blotts and the owl shop.
Sirius sat in the sitting room, curled up on the couch, reading a book. After being requested for him to be left alone, Roxy went out to the garden to plant some flowers, while Remus sat nearby to keep her company. He sat on the wooden outdoor chair with a blanket wrapped around him, shivering, even though the day was not particularly cold.
Roxy looked at him worriedly.
She knew he was still beating himself up about what had happened.
It was affecting his recovery, which was taking much longer than it should have been.
He was still weak, and was barely eating.
Roxy sighed and turned back to the overturned soil, pulling out a long green weed and throwing it into a nearby compost heap.
She rubbed her forehead with the back of her hand and pulled another weed free from the soil.
Her thighs were beginning to burn from kneeling down, but she pushed on, wanting to get rid of all the weeds before the rain came.
She looked up at the greying sky and was grateful she wasn’t at Diagon Alley that day.
It was much harder to do work when it was raining on you, either from being outside, or from holes in the roofs of the shops.
She pulled the last few weeds and wandered inside, closely followed by Remus.
She headed towards the sitting room but then hesitated. She knew Sirius wanted to be alone, but she very badly wanted to be with him.
She had had another dream that night about The Potters. It was same one with them sitting bolt upright in their bed, all burned and scarred.
She shuddered. When she had awoken, seriously freaked out, she didn’t have the heart to wake up Sirius. He had looked too peaceful. So she had just gone back to sleep and slept dreamlessly.
She glanced at the clock on the wall in the sitting room and saw that it was almost six, which meant that the others would be back from Diagon Alley soon.
“You wanna help me make dinner Ray?” she asked Remus, gently.
He shrugged and nodded, shuffling over to her, dragging his blanket behind him.
With a quick wave of their wands, the vegetables were being shopped, the potatoes were being peeled and the water in the saucepan was boiling.
Roxy’s wand skills in the kitchen had vastly improved in the past month. Since she was now cooking more often, she had learned how to do everything by magic, and had stop doing things manually.
A few minutes later, as the table was being set, everyone arrived home, soaked to the skin, but laughing loudly.
Surprisingly, it was Lily who was laughing the most, which was always a strange thing to hear.
James and Lily walked into the room with their arms around each other, and Peter trailed after them.
“The pet shop is completely renewed now. They have new cages for all the animals and they’re ready to open and sell again tomorrow!” Lily said excitedly.
Roxy smiled. That was another shop completed.
James beamed and took a seat at the head of the table, leaving Lily, Roxy and Remus to serve the food.
“Where’s Sirius?” James asked, noticing his absence.
“Sitting room,” Remus said, frowning, “He’s been there all day.”
Roxy looked at Remus taken aback. That was most he had said in almost a month.
This quickly reminded Roxy that there was a full moon in a few days. She shuddered. She just hoped that this time he would be able to be controlled.
She knocked softly on the door to the sitting room. When Sirius did not answer, she opened the door carefully and peered in.
He was lying down on the couch, with a book open in front of him.
It was one of the only books that had survived the explosion. She walked over and sat at the edge of the couch by his feet.
“Dinner’s ready,” she said.
Sirius glanced over the top of his book. He looked a bit more cheerful than he had this morning.
He nodded, “I’ll be there in a second. I just want to finish this chapter.”
Roxy smiled at him warmly and kissed his forehead before returning to the kitchen.
James was telling Remus about what happened at Diagon Alley that day.
“They’re going to have a grand re-opening tomorrow. They have a giant ribbon they're going to cut and everything. And they’re going to have refreshments outside for those who helped out. They can’t really celebrate inside because of all the animals.”
Remus sighed, “I wish I could have helped.”
He looked down at this plate sadly. Roxy could sense guilt in his eyes.
“It’s ok, there was hundreds of people there already. Some of them didn’t even have anything to do,” James said, carefully.
“But I feel so useless sitting here doing nothing,” Remus muttered.
“The most important thing for you to do at the moment is rest,” Roxy said kindly, but firmly, “Because getting you healthier again is much more important than anything else.”
Remus looked up and gave her a weak, thankful smile.
“Speaking of which,” Sirius said, as he entered the room, taking a seat beside Roxy, “The full moon is in a few days.”
Remus looked back down at his food again, sadly. Roxy threw Sirius a dirty look. He could be so tactless sometimes.
He ignored it and continued. “I say we just do what we did last month and keep him in my room.”
“But what if I turn violent again?” Remus said, so quiet it was barely audible.
“You won’t. Professor Dumbledore said that was just a side effect of the potion you took, and that it won’t happen again,” Lily said.
“But what if it does?” Remus said. Roxy could see his eyes were brimming with tears.
“Well, then we’ll deal with it the same way we did last week,” Sirius said, shrugging as calmly as if he was talking about the weather.
“But what if I hurt you again?” Remus asked.
“Well then I’ll be hurt. So what? That’s not important. The important thing is keeping you safe and making sure you don’t damage yourself,” Sirius said.
“You mean making sure I don’t damage others,” Remus said. The look on his face was heartbreaking.
“No, the room will be sealed. There’s definitely no way you’ll be able to get out. It’s just you we have to worry about.”
Remus said nothing to this, but kept his head down and played with his food with his fork.
“Anyway, did you hear any Order Of The Pheonix news while you were at Diagon Alley?” Roxy asked, changing the subject.
“Not really,” Lily said, shaking her head, “There were only a few members there and we have to be really careful about where we discuss thing incase we’re overheard.”
“And about tomorrow,” Roxy said, turning towards Sirius, “Do you still want me to come with you?”
Sirius nodded, “Yeah, I’ll need someone with me to remember what she says!”