“I’ll take it.” Jen said after a few seconds. She took the book from Hermione and turned it to the next page. “Ready?”
Lily took a deep breath. “As we’ll ever be.”
Getting nods from everyone else, Jen tapped the book with her wand, gripping Remus’s hand tightly.
“Looks like we might get some answers.” Regulus murmured, looking worriedly at his sister.
Three days later, Jessica was starting to get very angry with the wizards and witches in Harry’s life. They had to know what had happened, and yet no one was doing anything about it.
“That can’t be true.” Sirius said immediately, when Harry looked hurt. “We’re probably trying to work out how to get you to Headquarters safely.”
“But if Voldemort’s in hiding, he’s hardly going to jump out from behind a rubbish bin and do me in.” Harry protested.
“Better to be safe than sorry.” Addie said firmly. “They’ll get you out, Harry – I’m sure of it.”
Hedwig still hadn’t returned – and neither had any other owl – and Jess spent a good portion of her day in her spare bedroom, talking to Harry – or, rather, listening as he ranted about how unfair it was.
“Harry …” Lily began, then stopped with a sigh. “Never mind, I agree with you.”
Normally, Jess would have chided him about acting like a teenager – even if he was one – but she completely agreed with everything he said.
Lily chuckled. “Whoever she is or isn’t, I like her.”
“I guess the nightmares aren’t getting any better?” She asked softly, when he finally took a second to breathe.
Harry sighed. “No. Unless by ‘getting better’, you mean ‘getting worse’, in which case, yes.
“I think if she meant ‘getting worse’, she’d have said so.” Hermione said gently, reaching a hand towards Harry, who grasped it.
I don’t suppose you’ve had another dream telling me when I’m getting out of here, have you?”
Jess smiled. “No, but I did have another dream this morning.”
“That morning?” Harry repeated with a frown. “But Jess always dreams at night … and she never sleeps in.”
“This morning?” Harry repeated.
“This morning.” Jess confirmed. “I took a nap after breakfast for the first time in years.”
“Whatever it was, it’s important.” David said grimly.
“Must have been important.” Harry commented, his frown evident in his voice. “What …?”
The sound of a door unlocking sounded through the pipe …
“Come on!” Sirius whined. “I want to know what the dream was!”
… and Jess heard Harry stand, blocking the window from view.
“We’re going out.” Vernon Dursley’s voice said.
Harry snorted. “More like they’re going out.”
“Sorry?” Harry asked, his voice just polite enough to cover the coldness in it.
“We – that is to say, your aunt, Dudley and I – are going out.”
Jess stifled her snort. He hardly needed to elaborate – the Dursleys had never bothered taking Harry anywhere, aside from Dudley’s birthday trip to the zoo, and those few days before Harry’s eleventh birthday, when they had fled the letters from Hogwarts. She shuddered, remembering how worried she’d been.
“Worried?” Narcissa asked.
Harry smiled slightly. “Uncle Vernon didn’t exactly handle that week very well. He did more to draw the neighbours’ attention than the letters could ever do.”
“Fine.” Harry said dully.
“You are not to leave your bedroom while we are away.”
“You are not to touch the television, the stereo, or any of our possessions.”
“You are not to steal food from the fridge.”
“This is ridiculous.” Lily growled.
“I know, Lils.” James murmured, scowling himself.
Jess stood up and paced the length of the room, before whirling to glare at the wall, as though her gaze could pierce the brick and cement. No child should have to STEAL food from their own house just to be properly fed.
“It’s okay, Mum.” Harry said softly. “She’ll feed me when they’ve gone.”
Lily’s scowl softened a little. “I know, darling. But my sister should be doing that.”
“I am going to lock your door.”
Harry snorted again. “Like that’ll work. Fred and George taught me how to pick locks.”
“You do that.”
Jess covered her mouth, her glare softening into a smile. She could only imagine Vernon Dursley’s face at this lack of rebellion …
Harry sniggered. “That would be hilarious. He always thinks I’m ‘up to something’ if I don’t fight back.”
… and she forced the image from her mind until she heard the door lock again, lest he hear her laughter.
“Nicely done.” She said softly.
“Thanks.” Harry replied heavily, and she heard him sink back onto his bed. “Just so you know, I fully intend on picking the lock and coming over when they’re gone.”
“Good boy.” Lily whispered.
“Good.” Jess said firmly. “At least then I can make sure that you’ve got at least one decent meal inside you. Best come through the cupboard though – that new security system they’ve been bragging about …
“Security system?” Regulus asked.
“As in what is it or why do they have one?” Harry responded.
“Why do they have one?” Regulus elaborated. “I know what it is. At least, I know the wizarding version; it can’t be too different.”
Harry smirked. “Money keeps going missing from Uncle Vernon’s wallet or Aunt Petunia’s purse. Quite a lot, actually. They thought it was me to start with, but they searched my room and couldn’t find anything, so their new theory is that someone’s breaking into the house.”
Lily gasped. “Harry, if they …”
“It’s fine, Mum.” Harry interrupted. “It’s Dudley – he’s taking it to buy cigarettes and beer and stuff. But, of course, they won’t suspect their precious Diddydums.”
Lily shook her head. “Thank Merlin you turned out normal.”
… probably …”
She trailed off, hearing a loud crack from downstairs.
Arabella stiffened. “What was that?”
“Car backfiring?” Lily suggested hopefully.
“It wouldn’t mention that.” Mandy disagreed. “Must have been apparition.”
“It might just be the changing of the guard.” Sirius remarked.
James frowned. “That’s a good point – where was the Order member when the Dementors attacked?”
Fred, Hermione and Ginny looked at each other. “Dung.” They chorused.
“Must have been.” Sirius agreed darkly. “When I get my hands on him …”
“Easy, love.” Addie said soothingly. “It hasn’t happened yet.”
“What was that?” Harry asked instantly.
Jess hesitated. She knew that Harry wouldn’t have heard the sound as clearly as her – her bedroom door was open, while his was shut and locked.
She didn’t want to worry him – or, worse, get his hopes up – the sound was probably a car backfiring and nothing to do with the wizarding world at all.
“See?” Lily asked smugly. “Jess agrees with me.”
“Jess has never heard someone apparate before.” Mandy pointed out.
James sighed. “Mandy, let her hope please.”
“Probably one of my dinner plates.”
Narcissa frowned. “If she thought it was a car, why would she say it was the plates?”
“It gives her a chance to go and check without worrying Harry.” Jen answered immediately. “That’s what I’d do.”
Remus’s hand tightened around hers, but they didn’t dare look at each other.
Jess sighed, running a hand through her hair. “I stacked them rather precariously earlier. Give your aunt and uncle time to leave and then come through – I’ll tell you about the new dream then.”
Sirius sighed. “We’re never going to find out.”
“Patience, Pads.” Jen said mildly. “She’ll get there.”
“Alright, see you in a minute.” Harry called as Jess left the room. She hurried down the stairs and poked her head round the kitchen door, just in case.
Sure enough, her plates were still stacked on the side, as precariously as she’d left them, no china shattered on her tiled floor.
“Definitely not that then.” Arabella muttered.
She made her way into the living room and pulled aside the netting over her window. The Dursleys’ car was still in the driveway, but that wasn’t what caught her attention.
None of the street lights seemed to be working …
“You reckon it’s that ‘Put-Outer’ again?” Remus asked. “The one in the first book?”
“Possible.” Sirius conceded. “Let’s hope so, because that means Dumbledore’s in on whatever it is.”
“That’s a good thing?” Jen asked, slightly waspishly.
“Not necessarily.” Sirius admitted. “Better him than Voldemort or the Ministry at the moment though.”
… and ten people were huddled in the street, shrouded in the shadows of the houses across the road.
“Ten people?” Lily repeated, startled.
“Well, let’s assume it is the Order.” James said, frowning. “How many people would be sent?”
“As many who volunteered.” Sirius answered. “Moody will be there – he’ll want as many as possible. Moony’s probably there, and I’d be surprised if Dora hadn’t gone. Hestia and Emmeline have probably gone as well … Kingsley too, I should think.”
“That’s six.” Hermione concluded. “Dedalus Diggle has probably gone too. It’s the other three I’m not sure about.”
“We’re assuming it’s the Order.” Regulus said darkly. “It might not be.”
Her pulse quickened, her grip tightening on the net curtains.
Hopefully these people were here to collect Harry, finally, but what if his Ministry had decided not to wait for a trial before expelling him?
Or what if those Dementors had just been the opening act?
Lily whimpered quietly and James pressed a kiss to her head.
Jess was just about to run upstairs and warn Harry, when one of the people broke away from the rest and hobbled off down the street.
Squinting through the gathering darkness, Jess could just make out a carpet bag dangling from the figure’s arm and smiled.
“Gran!” Arabella said, breathing a sigh of relief. “It is the Order!”
Mrs Figg, which means they must be …
Her thoughts stuttered to a halt and she gasped aloud as another of the figures stepped close enough to activate her porch light.
“Or not.” Arabella amended, biting her lip.
“No, it’s the Order.” Harry said. “Mrs Figg wouldn’t be talking to anyone else. It’s probably Remus – she’d recognise him from her dreams.”
She knew that face – had seen it in one of her dreams when Harry was nine, albeit younger – and she knew who he was.
Harry grinned, proved right.
Hurrying to the front door, she pulled it open and stepped into her front garden. “Don’t just stand there!” She hissed. “If they think you’re here for Harry, they’ll never leave!”
Jen chuckled. “If she’s not me, you’d better take her with you regardless.” She told Remus.
Looks were exchanged, along with a whispered conversation, but the man she had recognised as Remus Lupin seemed to know who she was, and led his fellows up her driveway and into her home.
She ushered them into the living room, drawing the curtains closed.
“Smart move.” Lily said. “You don’t want the neighbours to see them.”
“Well,” she stated, “it’s about time you lot got here!”
“She’s going to tell them off.” Fred said, a grin spreading across his face. “Brilliant!”
“Excuse me?” One of the women asked, brushing her long dark hair away from her face.
“Emmeline.” Sirius concluded. “Which means Hestia’s definitely there.”
Jess leaned against the window, her arms crossed. “Three days, he’s been sitting up there, wondering if anyone actually gives a damn about the fact that he had to fight for his soul the other night! Would it have killed you to send him a note telling him you were on your way?
David shook his head. “One of the guard could have slipped it to him.”
“I was locked in my room.” Harry reminded him. “And owls could be intercepted. I wouldn’t mind being left out of the loop, if someone told me why I was.”
I mean, I’ve come to terms with the fact that you people don’t care what happens when he’s here, but this is getting ridiculous!”
“I don’t like what you’re implying, girl.” One of the men growled. This man she also recognised, from Harry’s stories rather than her own dreams, one rapidly spinning eye giving away his identity.
“Moody.” David stated, smiling.
Jess narrowed her eyes, refusing to be intimidated. “Yeah, well, I don’t like how Harry has to live; apparently we’ll both just have to get used to it.”
“I agree, Jen.” David said. “We could use her on side, Muggle or not.”
Professor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody gave her a twisted smile. “I like this one, Remus.
“And that’s not easy.” Sirius said, shaking his head.
How’d you meet her?”
“I didn’t.” Remus admitted, stepping between her and the crowd of slightly confused, slightly angry witches and wizards in her living room.
“Probably a good place to be.” Jen remarked. “People never like being told they’re wrong.”
“But Harry has. Her name’s Jessica – correct?”
Jess nodded, favouring him a smile. “Yes. Jessica Brown.”
“She knows about magic because Harry told her after his first year.” Remus explained. “She’s a true-dreamer.”
“Is it even possible for a Muggle to be a true-dreamer?” Another of the women asked sceptically.
Jess took a moment to admire the woman’s purple hair …
“Dora.” Sirius said with a smile.
“Right again.” Addie remarked. “You know them well.”
… before slipping past them to the writing desk in the corner of the room. “I have prophetic dreams as well, if you want to talk about things that shouldn’t be possible. And I had another this morning, if you’d care to see it.”
“I would.” Remus said, as the others murmured among themselves. He took the piece of paper she handed him, and read it aloud. “‘Hidden beneath a mask so fair, the only one with heart to dare, to go against the Lord of Light, and by that act bring down the night’.”
Jen tapped the book. “Oh, that’s not good.”
“What?” James asked. “There’s someone who can take down Voldemort – that’s a good thing!”
“Except it says that they have to go against Dumbledore to do it.” Jen said grimly. “How are they going to do that?”
“With difficulty.” Sirius answered. “Let’s find out, shall we?”
Jen nodded and restarted the book.
“Are they always that cryptic?” The purple-haired woman asked, sounding more interested now.
Jess shrugged. “I’ve only had three prophetic ones. The last one was – the first was three words repeated over and over again around an image of a large black dog.”
“The one Harry told Hermione about in the Forbidden Forest.” Lily whispered.
Apparently, everyone there recognised the description, but it was a tall bald, black wizard who spoke.
“Kingsley.” Sirius smirked. “Damn, I’m good.”
“What three words?”
“Innocence. Injustice. Betrayal.” Jess recited, unable to help feeling smug at the sharp intake of breath.
Jen smirked. “Not underestimating her anymore, are they?”
“I seem to recall Harry writing that you had clues last time.” Remus said, waving the piece of paper he was holding. “Words, I think?”
“That’s right.” Lily murmured. “I’d forgotten about them.”
“Not this time.” Jess sighed. “The only thing I got was the full moon, but that could mean anything. Maybe whoever it is will be found on the full moon, or they were hidden on the full moon, or they’re a werewolf, or they’re going to find a cure for lycanthropy …” she shrugged. “The list goes on.”
“Or they share a soul-bond with a werewolf.” Sirius said. “Good luck, Jen.”
“We still don’t know it’s me.” Jen said flatly. “Stop it.”
“Stop it.” Remus repeated, a stern tone in his voice. “We’ll find out when we find out.”
“How’d you know the illness that goes with the werewolf curse?” Remus asked. “Not something that usually gets passed around the Muggle world.”
Jess smiled. “I read Harry’s school books. He leaves them with me, just in case they decide to burn them all.
“Good boy.” Lily said with a smile.
Not that it does his homework much good when he’s locked in his room all day.”
“Why’s he locked in his room?” The third witch asked.
“No description.” Fred remarked. “But it probably is Hestia. Or Arabella or Mandy, I suppose.”
“No.” Hermione disagreed. “First of all, they’re in Europe. Second of all, they’d both be there and ‘the third witch’ implies that there were only three witches to start with.”
Jess scowled, though not at her. “Because they were reminded rather violently that the wizarding world exists, and they’re blaming Harry for it.”
The purple-haired witch was frowning lightly. “How accurate are these dreams?”
“Well, the last two prophecies both came true.” Jess told her. “And I’ve dreamed the events of Harry’s time at Hogwarts. And there’s this …” She searched in her writing desk again, and pulled out another sheet of paper.
“What do you think?” James asked his son.
Harry looked thoughtful. “It’s probably the picture of her dream when I was nine.”
“The one you said Jen’s not in?” Addie asked. “Let’s hope Remus pays attention to that.”
This one was bigger, and rather than writing, it was covered in carefully sketched pencil marks.
Jess wasn’t much of an artist usually, but the urge to draw the scene she’d dreamed one night six years ago had been too much, and her pencil had almost acted of its own accord.
“Impressive.” Regulus remarked.
She handed it to Remus, and his eyes widened as a gasp escaped him.
Jess knew why – that picture was the reason she had recognised him earlier. In it, he was sat on the bank of a lake, surrounded by several of his classmates, including (she knew now) Harry’s parents.
A minute later, his forehead creased in confusion, and he looked up at her. “Could I have a word with you? In private?”
“He’s seen it.” James concluded, grinning. “Let’s hope he can get to the bottom of this.”
Jess was surprised, but shrugged. “Alright.” She led him further through the house into the kitchen, shutting the door behind them, before dashing to the sink as the pile of plates threatened to topple over. “Whoops!”
“Allow me.” Remus flicked his wand and the plates soared back into their cupboard, stacking neatly.
Jen smiled at her boyfriend, who returned it weakly.
“Thanks.” Jess sat down at her kitchen table and gestured to one of the other chairs. “What did you want to talk to me about?”
Remus sat down opposite her and very carefully set the picture and prophecy in front of him. He pointed to the picture. “Do you remember having this dream?”
“That’s it, take it logically.” Sirius said. “Step by step.”
“You do realise this hasn’t happened yet, don’t you?” Remus asked, sounding slightly amused.
Jess frowned. “Well … yes. Not vividly, obviously – I have a lot of dreams, and it was six years ago. There wasn’t much to it though – just you and your friends on the bank of the lake. It was … James I was most drawn to.” She admitted.
James smirked. “Can’t say I blame her.”
Lily rolled her eyes. “Prat. It was probably because you looked like Harry.”
“He looked so much like Harry … for obvious reasons, but I didn’t know that then.”
“Were you there?” Remus asked. “Or were you just watching?”
“I was just watching.” Jess answered. “At least, I assume so. None of you talked to me anyway … although you did keep smiling at me.” She added pointlessly, gesturing to the picture.
“Or at someone behind her.” Jen pointed out, when the others looked triumphant. “I might not be in the picture because she couldn’t see me, not because I wasn’t there.”
Sure enough, whilst the others were silently laughing amongst themselves, Remus was smiling directly out of the paper.
“At you?” Remus asked. “Or someone behind you?”
James sighed. “Sounds like Remus is thinking the same way.”
Jess shrugged. “Could have been either. Why?”
“And there wasn’t anyone else with us?” Remus pressed.
Jess leaned back in her chair, thinking hard. “No.” She said finally. “No, I drew it as I saw it. Or rather, my pencil drew it as I saw it – I didn’t really have much of a say in the matter.”
“So I might have been there out of sight.” Jen concluded.
“Or not.” Regulus frowned. “If the pencil was acting of its own accord, I should think what she saw was inconsequential.”
“Because there was someone else.” Remus told her in a whisper. “Someone else who should have been there, because we were never by the lake without her.”
Addie nodded to herself, confirming that Jen would definitely have been there.
“Okay …” Jess said slowly. “What does that …?”
“You know what I am?” Remus asked over her half-formed query.
Jen rolled eyes. “Who, sweetheart. Not what.”
Jess raised an eyebrow. “I know you’re a werewolf, if that’s what you mean.” She said calmly. “Harry told me. But I don’t think the dream was talking about you, if that’s what you’re wondering – I got the feeling it was a woman actually.”
“Another point in your favour.” Alice said.
Remus closed his eyes, but couldn’t hide the emotion that passed across his face. “Her name was Jennifer.” He said slowly, his voice barely audible; she had to lean forward to hear him at all. “The woman missing from the picture. She was Sirius’s sister, Harry’s godmother … and I love her more than anything.”
Jen rested her head on Remus’s shoulder, closing her eyes.
Jess didn’t miss the sudden change from past to present tense. “She’s …?”
“Missing.” Remus finished. “Presumed dead. But we shared a soul-bond. I’d know if she was dead … although that in itself makes no sense, because I should have been able to find her if that were true. Because of the soul bond, she could help me keep control of myself during the transformations. Do you think it could refer to her?”
“Please say yes.” Sirius whispered. “Even if you’re not the same person, please say yes.”
Jess hesitated. “Well … that does make sense,” she said carefully, “because normally when I dream about the full moon, it’s chaotic and pain-filled and …” she broke off with a grimace.
“This was calmer.” Jen finished, opening her eyes. Her heart was thudding in her chest, as she finally allowed herself to hope.
“You dream about the full moon a lot?” Remus asked.
“Keep asking.” Addie murmured. “Keep asking about the dreams …”
“Not so much about the full moon.” Jess amended. “It’s more that I dream on the full moon. Nightmares, really, more than dreams.”
“How long have you had these dreams?”
Regulus smirked. “Good question. As long as she mentions the amnesia.”
Jess raised an eyebrow. “Harry didn’t tell you that bit?” She sighed. “A little over fourteen years. That I can remember.”
“That you can remember?” Remus repeated.
“I have amnesia of sorts.” Jess explained. “I can remember that things happened, I just can’t remember them happening.”
“Sounds like a Memory Charm.” Remus said, frowning.
“Yes!” James grinned. “Well done, Moony – we got there!”
“Why hasn’t it lifted though?” Jen asked. “If he’s there and she’s me …”
“It doesn’t work like that.” Sirius said with a sigh. “There needs to be physical contact. Not much – just skin-on-skin; a handshake would do it, but …”
“They haven’t.” Jen grimaced. “And they’re unlikely to now; they’ve already met.”
Jess stiffened. “A Memory Charm?” She whispered. “Is that … Is that easily fixed? I mean, can you tell easily?”
Now it was Remus’s turn to lean back in his chair, regarding her curiously. “Most Muggles would panic if they thought a spell had been cast on them.”
Jen snorted. “Hardly a normal Muggle, love.”
“I’m not most Muggles.” Jess told him with a humourless smile. “Besides, I don’t believe what I do remember. None of it makes sense. I want to know who I am.”
“Now that sounds more like a Memory Modification.” Remus frowned. “Easier to fix, harder to confirm.”
David frowned. “I’d forgotten about that.”
“Can you?” Jess asked.
“I can.” Remus said slowly. “It’ll mean using Legilimency.
“Can you?” Narcissa asked.
“Not at the moment.” Remus admitted. “My Occlumency’s quite good; it helps with the lycanthropy.”
Mind reading.” He elaborated, when she looked confused.
“It’s not …” Addie began, but Sirius clapped a hand over her mouth.
“Except it’s not mind-reading, and Addie would give me a two-hour lecture on calling it that.”
“Not two hours.” Addie disagreed, smirking at her future counterpart, who was glaring at Sirius. “One hour, maybe, but not two.”
He tapped the picture and she glanced down to see that he was pointing to one of the girls talking to Harry’s mother.
Jess shifted slightly in her seat. “It’s not that I don’t trust you to go rifling through my head,” she said carefully, “because Harry trusts you and that’s good enough for me, but … at the moment, I’m just assuming that I know who you are.”
“Warrants an introduction.” James said hopefully.
Remus chuckled. “Of course – we were never properly introduced, were we? Remus Lupin.”
Jess took his offered hand …
Addie stopped glaring at Sirius and they looked sharply at the book.
“If you’re wearing gloves,” Sirius said slowly, “I may never forgive you.”
… and a jolt of static electricity shot through them.
Everyone looked at Addie and Sirius, since they were the only people who knew anything about the soul bond.
“Could just be static.” Addie admitted slowly.
“Hell of a coincidence though.” Sirius muttered.
She let go quickly, barely hearing his rueful apology, as her head seemed to explode with a hundred thoughts and memories and feelings and fears.
Sirius’s face broke into a wide grin. “It’s her!”
“Not necessarily.” Addie cautioned, before anyone could get too excited. “Once someone knows about a Memory Charm, it’s easier to break – it may just be that their magic reacted. That can happen without a bond.”
Sirius shook his head. “No, it’s Jen. I can tell, Ads.”
A few things rose to the surface, however, vying for attention.
First and foremost was the man sitting across the table from her, now looking quite worried that she seemed to have retreated into her own mind.
“I suppose I would be.” Remus murmured, his eyes fixed on Jen now, praying to every deity that existed.
Second of all was the sudden crushing realism of Sirius’s incarceration – it was one thing to be told what Dementors were like, but now she remembered …
“There aren’t many people who’d care.” Addie whispered, her eyes wide.
Speaking of Harry, there was also the growing anger that Harry had not only been abandoned with his aunt and uncle (and James and Lily definitely didn’t request that) …
“There aren’t many people who’d know.” James said, his smile widening.
… but that there were wards and charms around the house or on Harry himself, that prevented people from interfering, even if they knew he was being abused and neglected.
Not even the reminder of that little detail could dampen the spirits of the readers right now, but they were still holding out for irreconcilable proof.
Finally, there was the knowledge that one thing still remained a mystery – who had hit her with the Charm in the first place? Whoever it was, she remembered turning her back on them, which meant – to top it all off – it was someone she trusted.
Yes, Jennifer Black was not happy, and someone was going to pay.
James and Sirius let out whoops of joy and leapt to their feet, pulling Jen into a bizarre hug-slash-victory-dance. Lily burst into tears, and the other girls didn’t look like they’d be far behind. Narcissa waited for James and Sirius to release Jen, then embraced her cousin herself.
Jen felt a little overwhelmed. She had just come to terms with the fact that she was dead, and now she … wasn’t.
“Alright, that’s enough.” Regulus said, shooing James and Sirius away. “Let her breathe.” He kissed Jen’s forehead softly. “I’m just glad you’re alright, Jenny.”
“Yeah,” Jen whispered. “Me too.” Her eyes found Remus, who hadn’t moved, but was watching their antics with a smile so relieved that it looked as though he’d been let off of a death sentence himself. He caught her eye and reached out to her, and she almost fell into his arms, burying her face in his shirt.
Remus took a shaky breath, holding her tightly. “I love you so much.”
“I love you too.” Jen whispered.
It took several minutes for Jen to regain her composure and even longer for everyone else to settle down. Finally Jen let off a few cracks from her wand to cut through the chatter.
“Look, I’m as happy as you are.” She said frankly. “But apparently, I’ve got the fate of the wizarding world on my shoulders, so can we find out how I handle that please?” Without waiting for a response, she tapped the book again to start the reading.
“You were right.” She whispered hoarsely, suddenly aware of how different her voice sounded.
“Of course.” David murmured. “There must have been some kind of spell changing her voice or Remus would have recognised it.”
“You were right. I remember.”
“How …?” Remus frowned.
“C’mon, Moony, catch up!” James grinned.
Remus rolled his eyes. “I was probably just expecting her to know where Jen was, not to actually be her.”
“There’s no way it would have lifted from just shaking my …” He trailed off. “Hidden beneath a mask so fair …” he repeated slowly. “I assumed a glamour, but … it was more than that … it was the guise of a fair-haired woman … Jen?”
“There we are.” James said, his grin softening.
Looking up, Jen was tempted to reach out into his mind, but resisted, unsure of the state of the link – as he’d said, he should have been able to find her, which suggested the bond had been tampered with in some way.
Jen grimaced. “Why does that make me feel sick?”
“Because it’s an intensely private and intimate connection.” Addie answered. “It’s like someone snooping through your underwear drawer – it’s a violation in more ways than one.”
The thought caused bile to rise up in her throat and she choked it down, holding out her hand. “Wand?”
Remus handed his over without a second thought …
David shook his head. “At least ask a security question.”
“Give him a break, Dad.” James said. “He’s in shock.”
“Plus he’d know.” Sirius added. “Now he knows … he’d know.”
Addie chuckled. “Somewhere along the line, that made sense.”
… and she aimed it at her face. “Finite glamouri.”
He shook his head. “Nothing.”
Jen frowned. “That’s … Is it because it’s Remus’s wand?”
“Must be.” Sirius answered. “There aren’t many people who could place a charm that you couldn’t remove.”
Jen sighed in frustration. It wasn’t the wand, she knew that …
Sirius raised an eyebrow. “Clearly she knows something I don’t.”
… she’d always been able to use his wand as easily as hers.
“Really?” Regulus asked.
Jen shrugged. “I’ve never tried.”
“Whoever put this glamour on me is more powerful than me then.”
“That’s not many people.” Addie murmured.
Remus raised an eyebrow. “That’s not many people.”
Addie rolled her eyes. “I said that already.”
“I know.” Jen tapped the wand against her throat and murmured a second incantation. “Did that one work?”
Remus smiled as her voice returned to normal, cementing the fact that it was definitely her. “Yeah. Yeah, that one worked.”
“That’s something I suppose.” Jen muttered.
“We’ll figure something out.” Remus whispered. “I shouldn’t think I care less what you look like by that point.”
Jen cracked a smile. “Yeah, you’re probably right.”
“Good.” Jen returned his wand. “Then you can start by telling me that my brother’s alright after twelve years in hell.”
“I’m fine, Lena.” Sirius said immediately. “I promise.”
Her voice cracked and he had suddenly rounded the table and pulled her into his arms. “He’s fine, Jen.” He whispered. “Still has nightmares, thinner than I’d like, but fine.”
“That doesn’t sound fine.” Addie said worriedly.
“Relax.” Sirius said breezily. “We all have nightmares. And it’s taking me a while to regain weight – that’s normal as well.”
Addie didn’t look convinced and, glancing at Hermione, she wasn’t the only one.
“Thank Merlin and Morgana.” Jen breathed out, resting her head on his shoulder. “And Peter …?”
Jen shook her head. “It must be strange. Taking everything Jess already knew from Harry and then looking at it from my perspective.”
“I hate to be devil’s advocate, but this could actually be a good thing.” David said. “You’ll be more open-minded to different approaches.”
“Yeah.” Remus confirmed darkly. “Peter.”
Jen lifted her head to meet his eyes. “Is Mandy alright?”
Mandy smiled sadly. “Thanks, Jen.”
“She’s coping.” Remus answered. “Are you alright?”
“I’m angry.” Jen admitted in a low voice.
“Uh oh.” Addie murmured. “An angry Black is never a pretty sight. I’m fairly sure that’s where the phrase ‘blacklisted’ came from.”
Sirius gave her a small smile. “Probably.”
“Very angry. Whoever did this …”
“… they were on our side.” Remus finished. “Peter?”
“Could he?” Mandy asked, sounding terrified.
“Definitely not.” Sirius answered. “Not enough power.”
Jen shook her head. “No. No, Peter had more power than any of us gave him credit for, but he wasn’t more powerful than me.
Sirius nodded in agreement.
Nowhere close. Whoever it was, they weren’t in our generation of graduates.”
Remus nodded. It had only been a few weeks ago that he’d had a similar discussion with Hermione, about the research in the Department of Mysteries that had listed the Hogwarts graduates of his generation in terms of power.
Jen had topped the list, followed closely by James, Sirius, Addie, and Lily.
Jen shook her head. “I still can’t believe that.”
Although, as Sirius had remarked at the time, he could never remember which way round he and Addie came.
“Do you remember?” Sirius asked Addie.
“I remember Mum talking about it.” Addie said, frowning thoughtfully. “And I remember us being together, but I can’t think of the order either. It’s possible we’ve got the same level.”
“I’ll need my wand back.” Jen commented, frowning. “Harry mentioned something about Hermione having a second wand and it coming from Sirius’s vault. Can I assume it’s mine?”
“That’d be a good guess.” Sirius said cheerfully.
“You can.” Remus helped her to her feet. “It’s at Headquarters. I assume you’re coming with us?”
Jen snorted. “No, I thought I’d stick around Privet Drive and prune the roses.”
Jen snorted. “As if I’d do anything else.
“You’re less sarcastic in the future.” Alice observed.
Where …?” She broke off at the sound of a car engine starting up. “The Dursleys are leaving. Come on.”
They returned to the living room, where the various witches and wizards had made themselves at home. Jen smiled, as her eyes travelled over them, now recognising them as old friends and fellow Order members, until they alighted upon the purple-haired witch.
Jen smiled. “This should be fun.”
Jen didn’t recognise her from the original Order – she was too young to have been a member – but her heart-shaped face was all too familiar.
“Andie.” Jen and Sirius chorused.
“Guess who was under a Memory Charm?” Remus asked lightly.
“Oh please.” Jen said, rolling her eyes, as everyone reached for their wands. “As if I’d ever join Mouldy-Shorts.
Regulus coughed. “Jen …”
“What?” Jen asked innocently.
“Never mind.” Regulus sighed.
I don’t have my wand anyway, and I’ll leave the glamour on for now.” She winked at Remus, who grinned, knowing that she’d rather have that conversation with Sirius in private.
“Thanks.” Sirius said. “I’d rather you didn’t give me a heart attack.”
“Oh, I’ll do that anyway.” Jen said cheerfully. “I’ll just do it in private.”
“And don’t bother breaking in next door. Harry will be over soon anyway; you may as well wait. So, Nymmy,” she addressed the youngest witch, “what are you up to now?”
“That’ll be enough to convince her.” Sirius said with a smile.
“Don’t call me …” Nymphadora Tonks, daughter of Jen’s cousin, Andromeda, paused mid-sentence. “Wait. There’s only two people who ever called me that. And you’re not Sirius.”
“Good to know her observation skills are up to par.” Jen said.
Jen raised an eyebrow. “I should hope not.” She suddenly found herself with an armful of cousin and hugged her tightly. “It’s good to see you too.”
“Nymphadora!” Mad-Eye barked.
Sirius snorted. “He’s brave.”
“Haven’t I taught you better than that?! Constant vigilance, girl!”
Jen rolled her eyes. “When I was thirteen-years-old, David Potter took me, James and Sirius to work with him. You told him that I’d either be the best auror you’d ever worked with, or your worst nightmare.”
David chuckled. “I remember that. He was ranting about Dark Magic, and you told him that, for the most part, it was the user that made the magic Dark and that some of it could be used to take down Dark Wizards.”
Regulus was beaming with pride, which made Jen smile all the wider.
Mad-Eye looked momentarily stunned, before his face formed a twisted smile. “Good to have you back, Black. Had us all worried there.”
“That’s about as close to a hug as Moody will get.” David remarked. “He must really like you, Jen.”
“There’s an understatement.” Dora muttered, pulling away to wipe her eyes.
“Well?” Jen prompted her. “What are you up to now?”
“I’m an auror.” Dora answered proudly.
Jen shook her head. “Still can’t believe that. She was having a tea party last time I saw her.”
“Good for you.” Jen tugged a strand of hair. “It was blue last time I saw you.”
Dora shrugged. “I like variety.”
“Your mum?” Jen asked.
“She’s fine.” Dora assured her. “So’s Dad. They’ll want to see you.”
“That’d be nice.” Narcissa said softly, wanting to hear about her older sister.
“I’ll try to call by and see her at some point this week.” Jen said, hearing a tapping noise on the other side of the wall. “And that’s my cue.”
Pushing a coffee table out of the way, she grasped a nick in the wall and tugged sharply, causing a small door to swing open.
“Gets smaller every year.” Harry remarked.
“You get bigger every year.” Hermione corrected.
“Just.” Fred added.
Harry crawled through the opening and straightened up, stretching. “Thanks, Jess; I …” He trailed off and looked around the living room, making eye contact with everyone there. “What’s going on?”
Draco snickered. “You must be so confused.”
“Thanks for the concern, Draco.” Harry said, rolling his eyes.
“It’s alright, Harry.” Remus told him with a smile. “We’ve come to take you with us.”
“That sounds ominous.” James joked.
Lily rolled her eyes. “It sounds wonderful.”
“How long do we have?” Jen asked, causing Harry to frown slightly at the use of pronoun.
“Long enough.” Remus told her. “You explain; we’ll get his things together.”
“I’ll go!” Dora volunteered brightly, disapparating.
“That won’t set off the security, will it?” Regulus asked.
“Not how it works.” Hermione told him. “Muggle security tends to be attached to the doors or windows so if they’re not opened with a key, an alarm goes off.”
Remus sighed. “I’ll go and fix whatever she’s broken.” He informed them, before vanishing himself with a crack.
Jen laughed. “Sounds familiar.”
“Jess?” Harry questioned, as she chuckled fondly – apparently Dora hadn’t changed a bit. “What’s going on?”
Jen put a hand on his shoulder and guided him through to the kitchen, where the two pieces of paper still lay on the table. “I had another dream, Harry.”
“Yeah, you said.” Harry picked it up and read it through. “Sounds like one Hermione heard last year.
“It does.” Jen groaned. “I’d forgotten about that. So I need to go against Dumbledore, take down Voldemort and become the new leader of the Light.”
“All with a distinctly Grey approach to things.” Addie said, grinning. “Good luck.”
Who is she, do you know?”
Jen took a deep breath. “Me. It’s me, Harry.”
“You seem to be taking it better in future.” Mandy remarked.
Jen shrugged. “I’m older, I suppose. And I haven’t had as much time to get my head around it yet.”
Harry looked up, looking bewildered. “But … But you’re not a witch.”
“Yes, I am, Harry.” Jen sighed. “I just didn’t know until about ten minutes ago. I was under a Memory Charm; my magic was escaping me.”
“You’re a witch.” Harry said softly. “You went to Hogwarts?”
Jen chuckled. “I did. I was a Gryffindor.”
“Well, that makes everything better.” Harry said, grinning.
Harry grinned at her. “Does that mean you’re coming with us?”
“It does.” Jen smiled back. “It also means you don’t have to go back to the Dursleys.”
“I hadn’t thought of that.” Lily whispered. “Thank you, Jen.”
“Don’t worry about it, Lily.” Jen said, smiling weakly. “I only wish I could do it before.”
Hope blossomed in Harry’s expression for a second, before his face fell. “But … Dumbledore …”
“Albus Dumbledore has no say over where you spend your summers, Harry.” Jen told him, more sharply than she had intended. “Besides, I have the legal high ground here.”
“That’s true.” David agreed, smiling.
“How?” Harry asked quietly, sounding as though he wished he could believe her, but doubted it.
Jen’s smile softened. “Because I’m your godmother.”
The book fell silent and Jen checked the page. “That’s the end of the chapter.”
“And we got you back.” Remus added, kissing the side of her head. “That was a good chapter.”
“It really was.” Lily agreed, smiling.
“You know, I’ve just realised.” Harry said softly. “This means that you did raise me after all.”
Jen was stunned for a few seconds. It was an obvious statement, but one she hadn’t thought of.
“He’s right.” Lily said finally. “Even when you didn’t remember him, you looked after him.”
Jen rose out of Remus’s arms, and crossed the floor to embrace Harry tightly. He clung to her more tightly than she expected, breathing in her scent, and she realised that she was suddenly the most familiar person in the room to him.
“You were there.” He whispered.
Loosening her grip, Jen drew back slightly and brushed his hair back, gently kissing his forehead. “Thank Merlin.”