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Race Against Time by Unicorn_Charm
Chapter 1 : Chapter 1
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 18


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It took a while, years really, but I finally did manage to get over him. I’ve learned to live with what happened, eventually moved past it and began to function like a normal human again. A month or so after Sirius betrayed James and Lily I was able to bring myself to return to work at the ministry. It was different. Even with the You-Know-Who gone, morale was still down for quite some time. We had lost so many. But I guess that is to be expected when you’re an Auror. Especially if you were an Auror who was a member of The Order of the Phoenix, like quite a number of us were.

Over time it got better. We gained some new members, started to genuinely laugh and joke again. Most of us completely immersed ourselves with our work, that way we wouldn’t dwell on what we had each lost. Years went by and I remained single. I couldn’t bring myself to let someone in only to be let down so horribly again. I had a nice flat in London, a job that kept me busy, my owl to keep me company and friends I loved. I led a simple, quiet life.

I woke up on a particularly hot day in July of 1993. Even with my window wide open and fan blowing on me, my hair was stuck to my face and neck. It must had been the uncomfortable heat that had woken me. I felt disgusting. After taking a cool shower and getting dressed, I made my way into the kitchen to make some coffee and a bit of breakfast. My morning routine has been the same for quite some time now. Very methodical and only focusing on the next step. Get up, shower, dress, eat, read the Prophet, then floo to work. It’s best if I don’t become lost in my head too much, as I used to so often years ago.

As I sat down with my sausage, eggs and coffee my tawny owl flew through the window with my paper. She hooted feebly as it seemed the heat had gotten to her, too. I pushed over a glass of water, which she dipped her beak into then nipped my finger in gratitude and took off to her dark corner of the living room. I flattened out the paper next to my plate. As I raised my mug to my lips, my hand began to tremble. He looked completely different, yet somehow still the same. Coffee spilled everywhere as I took in the picture on the front cover of the paper.

There was a shadow of the handsome man I once knew still there under the greasy strings of black hair, dirty skin, unshaven face and hollowed eyes. He bore his teeth and screamed violently, desperately trying to break free from his chains under a large black headline.

                                             
Sirius Black: First Person to Ever Escape from Azkaban Prison
Authorities Baffled


My heart felt as cold as ice. The breath seemed to be knocked out of me. “No!” I yelled out loud. My body felt like it had lost the ability to move. I was frozen. Tell me it’s not possible! I pleaded wordlessly. I knew that work would need me immediately, but it would have to wait. There was somewhere else I needed to go first. I needed to see the one other person who would understand. I quickly ran into my study, took out a piece of parchment and scribbled a quick letter.

 

Scrimgeour,

I’m going to be a bit late today. Personal Matter.

-Emmeline Vance

 

“Venus!” I called out after I had folded it and sealed the letter in an envelope.

She flew into the room and landed on my desk, hooting pitifully and looking at the envelope with disdain.

“Oh knock it off! I don’t have the time or patience for this right now!” I snapped.

Venus grabbed the letter out of my hand – taking time to clip my finger in the process and looked at me expectantly.

“Take it to the ministry, alright? Thank you.”

I didn’t wait to watch her leave, but ran out of the room and to my fireplace. I grabbed the pouch of floo powder off the top of it, took a pinch and stepped into the fireplace. I threw the handful of powder and called out “Remus Lupin’s!” through the green flames as I disappeared.

I emerged from the fireplace into an extremely messy living room. Clothes, pizza boxes and empty spirit bottles were scattered all around. It was completely silent save for the faint sound of someone snoring across the flat. I marched straight towards were the noise was coming from, drew my wand and blew Remus’ bedroom door open. The smell of stale drink and smoke nearly overwhelmed me. I would have thought the noise of nearly blasting his door off the hinges would have woken him up, but he barely stirred. I assumed he drank himself into another stupor the evening before.

I walked over to the side of the bed, stepping over empty bottles and more clothes on the way, and looked down at what used to be one of my best friends. His head was under his pillow and one leg stuck out from underneath his thin, holey covers. The poor guy really never recovered - never truly moved on. But I couldn’t afford to feel sorry for him at that moment. I had to be the one to tell him first. I took a deep breath – which I immediately regretted due to the awful stench – and kicked the side of his bed.

“Merlin’s beard, Remus, get up!” I yelled.

Remus groaned and pulled the covers up over his head while rolling away from the side of the bed I was standing near. I almost felt bad about what I did next. Almost. I drew my wand and warned him.

“Remus Lupin. I’m giving you until the count of three to get out of that ruddy bed! This is important!”

Still no movement or any other sign that he was listening.

I gritted my teeth. “Fine. You’ve asked for it.” I pointed my wand right at where I assumed his head was. “Agumenti!” I cried out.

It had exactly the effect I was hoping for. He sat right up and began calling me many names. Mostly things you would not want your mother to hear you say – at any age.

When he finished with his tirade, I threw the first articles of clothing I could find at him.

“Get dressed and meet me in the kitchen, Remus. Something’s happened.”

As I turned and walked out of the room, I thought I heard him mutter. “Pleasure to see you again, too.” Which actually made the corners of my mouth turn up in a small smile.

While I waited for Remus to join me, I began to tidy up his apartment a bit. I waved my wand and sent the scattered clothes into a hamper, the trash into the bin and the dirty dishes in the sink. It saddened me horribly to see the conditions in which he lived. It was like he had just totally given up.

Just as I finished getting the last dish in the sink, a quiet voice called out from the doorway.

“You didn’t have to do that, Emmeline,” Remus said, his voice raspy.

My brow furrowed and I took in his disheveled appearance. His robes had patched holes in them, they were wrinkled and looked very, very old. I began to feel sorry about not checking in on him more often throughout the years. Once Dumbledore had found out where he had run off to after James and Lily were murdered – which took months, mind you – I went to see him. Occasionally I would pop by and see how he was managing, but I haven’t been by in quite a while.

“Don’t worry about it, Remus.” I sat down at his small kitchen table and gestured at the chair across from me. “I’d suggest sitting down. I’ve got something to tell you.”

Remus cocked an eyebrow and slowly made his way towards me, yawning loudly while stretching. As he slowly sat down, he swished his wand and conjured up two tea cups. “Tea?” he asked through another yawn.

I nodded then he began to make a pot for us and we sat in an awkward silence for a few moments. For one thing, it had been a least a year since I had seen him. That and, I just did not know how to begin. I bit my lip and twisted my fingers together while trying to find the right words, but sadly, there were none.

Once we both had our cups in front of us, Remus looked at me expectantly.

“So? What is it you have to tell me that you nearly drowned me over?” he smirked.

I took a deep breath and felt my heart nearly pound out of my chest. Slowly I pulled out the Daily Prophet I received that morning, and placed it in front of him. "This," I said quietly.

As he took a look at what I laid in front of him, I watched his reaction carefully. Remus’ face slowly lost all color. I could almost hear him grinding his teeth and I jumped as he slammed his hand on the table.

“NO!” He shouted and stood up quickly, knocking his chair to the floor.

“Yes, Remus. He’s escaped. I don’t know how, but he has,” I whispered. It was difficult to actually say the words out loud.

Remus grabbed at his hair with both hands and shook his head back and forth. “I kn-“ he began, but quickly stopped.

I got up from my seat, rushed over to him and placed my hands on his shoulders. “You what, Remus? You know how he got out?” I demanded. My heart pounded.

Was Remus still in contact with him? Did he know of his plans to break out of prison? Was Remus a traitor as well? One who was never caught? A million thoughts ran through my head as Remus backed away from me. His eyes narrowed.

“Of course I don’t know how he got out, Emmeline! I haven’t seen him in nearly twelve years!” he growled.

I believed him.

Suddenly his features changed. His eyes widened and his expression went from furious to horrified.

Harry!” he barely choked out.

I haven’t even thought of that! He could be after Harry. If – it still hurt to think his name – Sirius betrayed Lily and James so You-Know-Who could get to Harry, maybe he had broken out to finish the job himself.

I looked Remus dead in the eye and said only one word. “Dumbledore.”

 

***

A/N - This is the first time that I've written for NaNo, or have written a sequel. I would love to hear your thoughts on this, especially if you've read Bruises. :D Thank you, Em, my wonderful BestestHPFFBFFSisterBrainTwin for looking this chapter over and offering me such wonderful advice. You're truly the greatest friend ever and I owe you until the end of time! 


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