Chapter 19 : A Weapon Yet to Espy
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And he did.
He went back to work. It had been awkward at first. Everyone in the Department of Mysteries, especially his assistant, babied him upon his return, asking him constantly if there was anything they could do for him. It took him hours to convince everyone that he was capable of functioning, but by the end of the day, they seemed to treat him normally once again.
His first day back had drained him, though. He hadn’t thought it would require so much energy, yet it had. So when he went home to his flat that evening, he slouched in and dropped into his favorite arm chair in his flat. He dropped his bag full of files, agendas, and other important paperwork onto the ground and groaned, rubbing his eyes.
He didn’t even notice Norah slip into the room until he heard her sweet and gentle voice. “Jamie?” she asked quietly. “How was your day?”
He pried one of his eyes open to look at her. She was wiping her hands on a dish towel, her head tilted to the side as she awaited Jamie’s answer. He closed his eye again and then felt her soft hands on his knees. She squeezed them gently and then he felt the weight of her in his lap. His arms went around her, knowing where her every curve rested against him.
“Are you gonna talk?” she teased.
“Do I have to…?” he asked, half-joking, half-serious.
Norah smiled and pressed a kiss to his parted lips. “Not if you don’t want to.”
“I’m just exhausted,” he said of his own accord. “I thought I was ready to go back, and I suppose that I am. I just…It was more draining than I expected it to be.”
“That’s understandable,” she said, and she reached around him to massage his shoulders.
“Today,” he said again, “it made me realize something. Al wouldn’t want this. For any of us. I spent two weeks doing nothing but mourning him. And Dominique is still with that bastard. She could be dead, too, for all we know.”
Norah understood James’s point, but she didn’t see it quite like he did.
“That’s true,” she agreed, “but you needed to take that time to mourn. Everyone has to stop and mourn the ones we lose. It’s what makes us human, and Al deserves the mourning we gave him. Dominique wouldn’t want us to not mourn Albus because she’s missing. You took the time you needed, and she’ll understand that. Your dad has been working night and day, and so has Teddy. You also have to know that she isn’t dead. She’s fine. You have to know that. Namken said to choose between Al and Dominique. Al’s gone now, and his mum is still in confinement in the Ministry. Dominique is his only leverage until he makes his next move. He wouldn’t risk getting rid of that leverage. He’ll keep her around to make sure he gets what he wants.”
“I know…” muttered James, “which is why we have to get her back. If we don’t act first, he’ll strike again.”
“James,” encouraged Norah, “like I said, your dad is doing everything he can.”
“But I haven’t been doing everything I can,” he emphasized.
“But you’re not an Auror,” Norah said seriously. “There’s only so much you can do.”
“But I can do more.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean,” said James slowly as he thought about it. He hadn’t given it much thought till today. In fact, the idea hadn’t even crossed his mind until he sat down, but as he thought about it, he didn’t see why it was a bad idea. “It may sound mad, but Dad isn’t getting any closer to finding out where Dominique is. I have to do what I can. And I was thinking…I demanded to know Al’s fate. Whatever part of me that predicts the future, I demanded it to tell me if he would live or die. It took a lot of effort, but it worked. I made a prophecy about his death. What if I could do the same again? What if I could demand to know where she is?”
“James,” whispered Norah, her voice barely audible. She grew still in his lap, turning so she could better look at him. James didn’t like the look she gave him; her eyes were wide in shock and fear. She shook her head. “You can’t. Lily and Scorpius had to shake you awake. Scorpius had to carry you—even pour your elixir down your throat for you. I wasn’t there to see it, but from the stories, I know what could happen. Jamie, you could die…”
“So?!” he blurted.
Norah jumped up from his lap then, her eyes widening. She pointed a threatening finger at him. “Don’t you dare say that. You don’t mean that.”
James sighed and rubbed his forehead. He knew Norah was right. “Ok, you are right. I didn’t mean that. Of course I care. But…It’s a risk I’m willing to take. I didn’t die the first time; shouldn’t it get easier each time?”
Norah diverted her eyes to the floor as she thought. She supposed he was right, but why would he risk such a thing? She shook her head repeatedly, her eyes swimming with tears, and she was suddenly panicking, and she didn’t know exactly why.
“I can’t, I can’t,” she begged. “We’ve already lost Albus. I lost you once. I know what that’s like. Can you imagine, James? Can you imagine what it would be like if you lost me?”
“Of course I couldn’t,” he said desperately, understanding her point. The idea of losing her was too much to bear.
She wouldn’t let him speak any more, though. She continued to rant. “Just think for one moment what it would be like because you couldn’t possibly understand the pain and emptiness I felt when I thought you were dead! I can’t lose you again.”
“All right,” he whispered fiercely, jumping up from his chair and going to her. He cupped her face in his hands and rubbed her cheeks with his thumbs. He wiped away her tears as he did so. “Okay, okay. I understand. I won’t do it unless you’re okay with it. Just please…”
“No, James, I couldn’t bear it,” she cried again.
“Just hear me out,” he quickly begged. “Please, Norah. She’s my cousin. My best friend. It’s because we’ve already lost Albus that I feel like I have to do this. Please.”
Norah’s lips trembled, her eyes looking as if they were made of glass from her tears. She wrapped her arms about her body, holding herself as if that would make the conversation any less painful.
“If–If you die,” she began to stutter, “I swear to Merlin I’ll kill you all over again.”
James grew still as he listened to her. What did that mean? Did that mean she approved? Did that mean she was okay with it? He grasped her elbows, his eyes questioning and begging for her to explain herself.
She sighed, shaking her head.
“W–What does that mean?! Are you…?”
“Do it,” she whispered. “I understand. Do it, but I swear, James, if you die…”
“I won’t!” he cried out, just happy that he had Norah on-board with the idea. “Okay. Then let’s do this. Now.”
He sucked in a deep breath and looked about the sitting room in his flat, unsure of what to do next. He had done this once, and it had been intentional, but he almost hadn’t expected anything to happen. Now that he knew he could do it under the most desperate circumstances, he didn’t quite know where to begin.
He walked back to his chair and sat down, exhaling heavily as he did so. Norah uneasily approached him and she knelt down in front of him. She looked to him expectantly and placed her hands on his knees, squeezing lightly.
“How do you do this?” she asked uncertainly.
“I’m not sure. I didn’t expect anything to happen the first time. So I don’t really know…” he said, feeling just as unsure as Norah sounded.
“C–Can I do anything to help?” stuttered Norah.
James shook his head. He closed his eyes and latched onto his head. He massaged his temples, focusing on what he wanted to know. If Dominique was okay. If they could save her. How they would save her. He forced his mind to run through those thoughts over and over, pressing on his head.
He winced, rocking back and forth in the chair. He felt Norah squeezing his legs for reassurance, and he bit his lip, tasting blood but still focusing only on what he wanted to know. On what he needed to know.
He began to mutter to himself as he rocked back and forth.
“Come on,” he whispered quietly as he pressed his index fingers to his temples. “Tell me, tell me. Help me save her. Show me how.”
He felt his head begin to grow heavy, the pressure increasing as if his head was shrinking, getting smaller and smaller by the minute. His headache intensified, and he groaned with the pain. Growing frustrated and impatient, he finally shouted out, enraged, “COME ON!”
Then it happened.
He felt his body seize up. He stopped rocking, and he felt the blood in his mouth thicken and grow as he bit down harder on his lip. Then he felt blood elsewhere, but he couldn’t concentrate on where it was coming from. It wasn’t until he was able to register the damp feeling of blood on the skin above his lips did he realize where it was coming from. His nose.
His eyes snapped open, and he was able to register Norah’s panicked expression. He could see the fear on her face, her eyes swimming with tears, and her lips trembling. He wished he could reach out to her and convince her that everything would be fine, but he couldn’t. He found that he couldn’t move, for his body was refusing to cooperate.
Then his mouth opened and he let the words flow.
“Her health remains, but your time wears thin. With each passing moment, her spirit grows weaker. You need not seek the means to save her, for he and she reside in your domain: the one who is silent and the one who loves her dearly, a weapon you have yet to espy.”
James felt the weight leave his body as the prophecy ended, and he let out a heavy exhale, slouching into the chair as his body returned to him. His eyes fluttered open, and he looked to Norah. She was busy unstoppering his elixir, and she moved to pour it down his throat. He tried to lift his hand, finding himself too weak to do so. He sat there panting and trying to analyze his words.
He opened his mouth to speak, but his energy failed him. His eyes drifted shut, and he drifted into unconsciousness before the liquid could touch his throat.
He didn’t know how long he was unconscious for, but he came to some time later. When his eyes opened, Norah jumped about quickly. She reached for his elixir and poured a fair amount of it down his throat before he could even speak. He swallowed gratefully, welcoming the cool liquid. He immediately began to feel the effects of it and he felt a small amount of strength return.
He heaved himself up into a better position, but Norah quickly put her hands on his shoulders. “Slowly,” she said encouragingly.
“I did it,” panted James.
“You did,” said Norah seriously, nodding. James watched her stopper his elixir and then pick up a notepad.
James recalled what he had said and he began to analyze his words, but as he did so, he didn’t believe he had ever given a more cryptic prophecy.
“What the hell did all that even mean?!” he blurted, his words slurring from his lack of energy.
Norah held a pen between two of her fingers, and she tapped it against the notepad she held. She finally looked to James and began to speak quickly.
“I wrote it all down while you were unconscious. I’ve been trying to figure it out.”
“You what?!” asked James. “You’re a genius, Nore.”
“Yeah, I know, now listen. Let me say it to you again. Her health remains, but your time wears thin. With each passing moment, her spirit grows weaker. You need not seek the means to save her, for he and she reside in your dominion: the one who is silent and the one who loves her dearly, a weapon you have yet to espy.”
“Okay,” nodded James. “So let’s work from the beginning. Her health remains. That could be obvious. I was focusing on finding out if she was safe and unharmed. So that could be Dominique. She’s safe, she isn’t hurt.”
“My thoughts exactly,” commented Norah as she read over his prophecy. “The next part was but your time wears thin. Obvious. We had to have known that Namken would do something to her eventually. So, okay, she is safe now but not for long. Next part. With each passing moment, her spirit grows weaker.”
“Obvious as well,” muttered James. “Anyone’s spirit would grow weaker.”
“Next. You need not seek the means to save her.” Norah furrowed her brow as she said this. “What does that mean? Give up on her because she can’t be saved? Or…”
“No, say the next part again.”
“For he and she reside in your dominion.”
“Okay, so that doesn’t mean give up. It means we don’t need to find the solution because we already possess the solution. It’s in our reach.”
“But he and she?” questioned Norah. “That means a man and a woman are the key to finding her.”
“But who? That could be anyone. Namken and Clancy?”
“I don’t think so. You said the one who is silent and the one who loves her dearly, a weapon you have yet to espy. Neither of them ‘love her dearly.’ Clancy could be silent, but I don’t think it’s her.”
“Okay…” said James quietly in deep thought. He was never good at thinking these cryptic things through. He considered himself lucky that it wasn’t his job to think through every prophecy he made and figure out what they meant. He would have gone mad from doing so.
“Who is within our reach that is silent? If they are silent, then it’s probably because they know something. Something important. The key to finding out where she is.”
“That’s the thing!” blurted James in frustration. “Everyone we have access to would say something if they knew anything at all!”
“I know…” groaned Norah.
“Wait,” muttered James as he realized his words weren’t exactly true. “There is someone who knows something. And she’s silent.”
Norah’s eyes went wide, and as James looked to her, he knew she was convinced. She nodded quickly as the thought sunk in. “You’re right. It’s got to be her. I don’t know who else it could be. Okay, so Pansy Namken is the silent one. So there’s still someone who loves her dearly, a weapon you have yet to espy.”
“So someone who loves Dominique. And it has to be a man because Pansy is the she. It could be family, friends,” mused James. Then he groaned as he realized there was an abundance of family and friends. The list was far from short. “She has a lot of loved ones.”
“But it has to be someone useful. Someone with power. Or a hold over Namken’s mum.”
“Why can’t these things be straightforward?!” James shouted in frustration.
“Come on,” encouraged Norah. “We’re almost there. Just one more part. Someone who loves her. Male. A weapon we have yet to utilize.”
“Right,” nodded James. He could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. He felt as if they were finally getting somewhere. They were so close. All they had to do was finish the puzzle. “A man who is a weapon. Someone who loves her. Who can make Pansy talk.”
“James!” Norah burst finally. “James, I have it! I have it! I know who! I know who the weapon is!”
“Who?!” James cried out. He could feel his heart racing. He didn’t feel lethargic at all anymore. He was too caught up in figuring out how they would save his best friend.
“Don’t you see?!” Norah said enthusiastically with a smile. She reached out and took James’s hands into her own. “A man who loves Dominique, who can make Pansy talk. Someone who really is a weapon and we’ve just missed it this whole time! Because we’ve never seen him that way! A man who can trick Pansy into talking. Maybe by turning into someone Pansy cares about, by turning into Parker, and using him as bait! A metamorphmagus! James, it’s Teddy! Teddy is the weapon!”
A/N: Edited 9.25 for grammar and accuracy.
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