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Book One: Prophecies, Pack and Pizza
Chapter 1: The Storm of Diagon Alley And Its Aftermath

by Alex Collins

Author Notes: Thanks to Scott and Tim and Anne, as ever, for their help when it was given for this chapter. Thanks also to Hestia, whose encouragment was a godsend.

Before you plunge into the chapter, I'm going to state a few things about the Meledon Phoenix universe, which will continue on beyond Book One: Prophecies, Pack and Pizza.

1. This story will cross Anne Walsh's Dangerverse (based off Joanne Kathleen Rowling's Harry Potter) with Power Rangers, created by Haim Saban, produced originally by MMPR Productions, Inc., which was a subsidiary of Saban Entertainment. Saban Entertainment then became BVS Entertainment when the Walt Disney Company purchased the franchise—and as far as I've made out, Disney still owns the Power Rangers rights, so there you have it. Except one must consider that as of The End Of The Power Rangers, Part II, MMPR Productions, Inc. ended and was taken over by Village Roadshow, which apparently changed its name to Ranger Productions, Inc. between the end of Power Rangers Dino Thunder and the start of Power Rangers Space Patrol Delta so if and how that affects anything, I don't know.

2. I've borrowed a concept from Terry Pratchett's Discworld—the personification of Death, to be exact. It fits in with an idea I've had about the Deathly Hallows.

3. The Power Rangers series are commonly accepted to take place in the year they air, unless the series explicitly contradicts that, as in Power Rangers Space Patrol Delta. Not so in here—whilst I will obey canon up to a point, I have pulled forward events, hence the first team of Rangers are called into service nine years earlier than canon.

4. I'm operating on a very sped up Ranger timeline: the first three years/seasons of MMPR are finished in a little more than a year from recruitment to what will be A Zeo Beginning. Part of this is that the Rangers are fighting to save the world—yet in the series, their opponents are little more than pushovers. Honestly, it's like anyone could just take them on if they had a Morpher. That changes here—the Rangers are up against pure evil and they're going to know it.

5. Yes, Voldemort and his Death Eaters are also going to be much, much worse. This is war, my friends. Evil is powerful and evil never fights fair. Deal with it.

6. I realise full well the sentai from which Power Rangers is adapted likes to emphasise the all powerful Red Rangers with Battlizers, or the awesome cool 'extra' Ranger/s and whatnot. That also will not happen in here—some Red Rangers will get powered up, but getting powered up will not be limited to the Reds alone. The extra Rangers will merely add extra strength—there'll be none of this 'I'll come and save the day because I'm better than all of you put together' crap. Also remember: a Ranger is nothing without their powers.

I admit full well that I am biased towards certain Rangers and in studying the story, you will no doubt see my particular biases. And for the record, I am not a Justin hater, so don't expect me to write him off.

7. Whilst no wizard or witch will be straight off the bat powerful, the wizards and witches of the Light are going to have chances to become powerful—but all of the chances are going to come with a price (for example, Harry may learn Parsel magic, but at the cost of having the soul fragment that makes him a Horcrux affect him in some fashion). Some are going to require hard work. Others will require greater sacrifices. Bottom line is that I intend to try and make my characters believably powerful—that is to say, if you're willing to put in the work, you can become this powerful.

8. Yes, I have Original Characters, though I do not consider them Mary Sues. Example: Adira Wasserman starts out evil and powerful. However, as stated above, she'll be powerful because she's evil. If the Rangers ever get around to breaking the hold evil has on her, she will lose all her power and become just like the other good Rangers. I don't see the point in giving an evil Ranger powers they get to keep after turning good—you might as well just make them good from the start.

9. Characters and events will be skewed through my perceptions—you're getting what I see the characters and events as. This may extend to downplaying/playing up certain things about the characters and the character's states.


Meledon Phoenix: Prophecies, Pack and Pizza
Chapter One: The Storm of Diagon Alley And Its Aftermath


Paul Gryffindor Interferes

The Founders had many different universes to view, all with various purposes—the main universe, control universes, side-worlds and more. In all of those universes, however, their part in it was clear: to help in varying levels. But there were some universes that needed nothing from them. In quiet times, the Founders might go and observe events in these universes—Alex had once likened it to television; although he got withering replies and glances, he was right. All they had to do was watch and let it play out.

It was in one of these universes that Paul Gryffindor found something to interest him. It was purely by chance that he found it—he had been looking through random universes, searching for something 'interesting'. What he saw nearly gave him a heart attack. After he'd recovered, he ran a few tests and was forced to conclude with his original observations.

In this world, there appeared to be a small, select group of Muggles who could use magic, or rather an aspect of magic. It was not an inherent ability—rather, it seemed to be drawn from various talismans of power. From Paul's perspective, it was quite limited in range and scope, but as expected, the Muggles found it amazing beyond their dreams, always finding that it would do what they needed. The real kicker for Paul was that the women wore spandex as a requirement of using their powers.

Paul found himself coming back to this universe, watching as these Muggles prevailed against dark odds and darker times. Many times he felt tempted to step in, offer some help, but he did not, for several reasons. First, this was not a universe he had any claim to. Second, the help he was permitted to give in the case of it being a universe he did have claim to was limited to wizards and witches. Which none of them were—there had been times when he suspected that one of them might be magical, but he could not prove it.

He was so caught up in observing the spandex-clad females, though, that he had never thought to check up on the state of the wizarding world. If he had, he would have seen that the war was beginning to spill out into the Muggle world. As it was, there were problems with universes the Founders did have claim to and for a time, Paul forgot all about Spandex-World.

When he had time to return, what he found was a world decimated. There were few survivors of the Light. Evil reigned, even going so far as to hunt down the last few members of the Light Resistance. This was wrong, so it seemed to Paul Gryffindor. Acting with the recklessness and impetuousness that so characterised the Gryffindors, Paul attempted interference with this world.

"It was going alright when you left," Paul muttered. "Then turn back time, bolster the side of Light and give them what they need to win!"

Using a simple hand gesture, he directed his power to begin the first step of rewinding time, watching events as cause followed effect. He got so lost in events that he never noticed that another presence joined the room until the magic slammed into his, beginning to fight what he was doing. Alarmed at the attack—for the magic did not feel in any way like the magic of his fellow Founders, Paul fought back. It was a natural response, yet stupid—Paul knew very well that interference in worlds not assigned to you could bring repercussions aimed solely at preventing your interference—but he was lost in the heat of the fight.

Two things happened almost simultaneously.

There was a snap which echoed through the room.

And Paul collapsed to the ground, ropes of yellow energy wrapping around him.

"Stupid, impulsive Gryffindor!" a voice said, sharp but feminine.

As Paul watched, a pretty woman—Asian in heritage—stepped over to him, glimmers of yellow energy flickering about her form before they dissipated. Her black hair was flowing about in the wind created by the energy, but it settled down against her yellow dress once the energy had been cut off. She carried no visible sign of power, but Paul could feel it radiating out from her. Now that he was not battling against the power, he could recognise it felt strange to his senses. It was different to what he was used to in infinite ways, but there was a sense of familiarity as well. The most puzzling thing to him was that—to his senses—the power felt yellow.

"You are Paul Gryffindor, one of those who swore the Founders' Oath and as such, earned the right to be here, in the Founders' Hogwarts, yes?"

"Yes," he said, regarding the woman with caution. "But who are you?"

"I am the one who has responsibility for the universe that you just interfered in," the woman said, looking towards the screen that showed the universe. "Imagine my surprise when someone else tried to do something. And that it was one of the Founders, who I had been told would have no say in my experimentation."

"What do you mean?" Paul said with confusion in his voice.

The woman sighed and extended her hand. "Trini Kwan, Yellow Ranger. One of Zordon's Chosen. I must speak with all of you at once. It is important."


The Founders' Hogwarts—The Great Hall

The atmosphere was charged as the Founders gathered. Rowena did not seem pleased to see Trini, Godric and Helga appeared neutral and the remaining Founders were confused.

"What's going on?" Alex said, looking around. "And who's the new girl?"

"This is Trini Kwan," Rowena said. "She also has command over several universes, none of which have anything to do with us—"

"Tell that to Paul," Trini said. "He was the one who interfered."

All eyes swung onto Paul, who looked nervous. "The world had magic! Wizarding magic! That falls under our purview, doesn't it?"

"Yes, I know," said Rowena. "I gave her permission for the wizarding magic."

"...you did?"

"I did. You would know these things if you'd thought to come check with us first."

"Perhaps," said Adam, "it would be best if Miss Kwan could explain her position to us?"

Trini nodded, watching as Godric conjured chairs for them all in their respective House colours, leaving her a white one. As she sat down, the chair turned yellow and Helga turned an eye on her.

"Not a Hufflepuff, I'm afraid. I would be more inclined to Ravenclaw," Trini said. "Where to begin..."

"The beginning's always a good place to start," Alex said.

"In my world, I was a Ranger," Trini said, closing her eyes. "I drew on the power of the Saber-toothed Tiger to become the Yellow Ranger. After a time, I was selected to attend the Teen Peace conference in Geneva, Switzerland, along with two of my friends. It was therefore necessary that I transfer my powers to another person and once it was done, I left Rangering forever—or so I thought."

"What—oh, you're here?" Alex said.

"As Rangers, we knew things that we would need to know in order to use our powers effectively—because to have held the Power is admission to the Morphin Grid upon your death, so that your knowledge may be used for future generations of Rangers," Trini said. "I was given a choice, though. I could go to the Morphin Grid—or I could take a seat on the Morphin Masters' Council. I chose the Council."

"And the Council does what we do?" Maura said.

"Yes," said Trini. "I had been experimenting with worlds, trying to create conditions that would see an end to the need for Rangers. This has been going on for far too long, for many of us—we have a Council Member who is over twenty-thousand years old. There is something to be said for the Rangers of Earth: as little respect as we get from the Council of the Morphin Masters, the end of needing Rangers start with the Earth Rangers."

"The Council of the Morphin Masters?" said Alex. "I'm confused."

"There is Hogwarts and the Founders' Hogwarts," Trini said. "There is the Council of the Morphin Masters and the Morphin Masters' Council. They're analogous to each other."

The Founders nodded and encouraged, Trini went on. "As I said, any point earlier than the formation of the original Earth Rangers did not work as I wanted it to. So I began to look at points after said formation. I experimented with varying things. I looked in at other universes to see what I could choose for my Rangers."

"And you saw that one of your Rangers was a wizard and therefore came to me to see what could be done," Rowena said. "I gave you what you requested. What happened?"

"It got out of my control," Trini said, her tone matter of fact. "The Voldemort war, the Rangers' battle... you gave me the wizarding world and yet you failed to give me any way in which I could affect it! You also did not tell me that the introduction of the wizarding world would integrate itself so completely that there would be no removing it if it was not what I wanted."

Silence descended on the group, giving Trini a few moments to work out her thoughts.

"Miss Kwan, are you alright?" Maura said, noticing the blood had drained from Trini's face.

"Lily Evans..." Trini said.

"What about Lily Evans?"

"...nothing," Trini said, calming herself. "I appear to have been mistaken. It is of little consequence."

"I admit that I did not inform you of everything, but truly, I did not know it myself," Rowena said, her voice quiet. "As to your inability to affect the wizarding world, I apologise for that, but I did not expect that you would be unable to affect it."

"Accepted," Trini said.

"Do you know what you are planning to do?" Rowena said.

"Yes, I do. I believe that I now know every single variable I need to have in play to make this universe go as the Council needs," she said.

"Because of my own oversight—and Paul's interference—we will help you, if you wish it," said Rowena.

"Thank you," Trini said, inclining her head. She closed her eyes and in a flicker of yellow energy, the world opened before her. "May we begin?"


Thursday, January 24th, 1980.

The Storm of Diagon Alley

Lily Evans hated being pregnant.

It wasn't that she suffered from any of the complications of pregnancy—all but morning sickness were easily cured with potions and she'd only had a light case of morning sickness for the first trimester, which had ended a week ago.

No, it was simply that Rufus Scrimgeour had assigned her to a desk job.

"Oh, I know his reasons were official, Letha," Lily said as they walked through Diagon Alley. "It's textbook procedure—any Auror may remain in active duty until the second trimester, though at the discretion of their superiors, they may be removed from active duty earlier."

"Go on," Aletha said. Only years of being Lily's friend enabled her to keep a tolerant tone.

"But the way he did it—gah! You'd think that completing a three year program in two and a half years would be worth some respect!"

"Lily, Scrimgeour's not worth worrying about," Aletha said. "You admitted it yourself—you were going to be taken off active duty anyway. Let it go, Lily. Besides, you're going to be gone start of May on maternity leave. Now, as your friend, allow me to say this: shut up, enjoy your day off and start planning for your baby. Do you know the gender yet?"

"No—James and I are waiting to see. We want the surprise," Lily said. A window display at Flourish and Blotts caught her eye. "Letha! Look! A new Potions book!"

Aletha allowed herself to be dragged over, thankful that Lily appeared to have taken her advice. Behind them, the sky began to darken, a wind beginning to pick up. That was the only warning before any items that were remotely magical within Diagon Alley gave off a burst of magical energy and then became defunct. Lily's instincts—Auror honed—had reacted at once as she spun around, dropping into a crouch. Magical energy hummed through the air, crackling and snapping.

"Lily, what is it?!"

"I don't know, Letha! This can't be the Dark Lord or his Death Eaters—they're not even here!"

"But what else could it be?" Aletha called as the storm worsened. She fought her way to Lily's side, noting the deserted street. "My wand's not working!"

Lily muttered a magical detection spell—the first spell to mind—but nothing happened. "Mine isn't either—"

A burst of magic exploded.

Then all Aletha knew was oblivion.


Diagon Alley—Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour

"Lumos!"

A faint spark issued from her wand. Alice cursed—she'd been trying for the past ten minutes to get a response.

"Lumos!"

Her wand tip burst into light and with a grim smile, Alice Longbottom exited Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour, scanning the street. She fought the desire to run to the crumpled form near Flourish and Blotts—if this was the work of the Dark Lord, doing so would be fatal. However, she was soon able to say that whatever had happened here was not the work of the Dark Lord, for it simply did not match up with his modus operandi and there was also a lack of Death Eaters.

"What happened here?" she said, drawing close to the crowd that had gathered around the crumpled form. Several voices tried to answer at once and little by little, the pieces began to fit together as Alice conducted interviews.

Lily Potter and Aletha Freeman had been looking at a display in Flourish and Blotts, before the storm had come out of nowhere and the magical items had failed. There'd been the sound of an explosion—no shockwave though, Alice was quick to note—and when they came out there, all they'd found was an unconscious Aletha Freeman.

"Someone floo-call St. Mungo's and have them await us," Alice said as she noticed Aletha beginning to stir. "Easy now, Aletha." Alice knelt next to the young woman. "Are you hurt?"

"Just dizzy," Aletha said. She sat up—and then rolled over and heaved up everything. This did appear to make her a lot better, for her eyes were clear as she sat back up again. With an absent look, she waved her hand, cleaning the cobblestones with a non-verbal spell and without her wand.

"Can you tell me something?" Aletha said.

"What?" Alice said, looking impressed with the display of magic.

"How did I get here?"


St Mungo's

"Where's Aletha Freeman?" Sirius said, his tone rushed and demanding as he dropped the Portkey that had taken him to St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries.

"Spell Damage, fourth floor," the receptionist said in a bored tone. Sirius had bolted off before the first word was even out of her mouth.

The Healer was not impressed when Sirius Black burst into the room.

"Sirius! You're here, finally!" Aletha said.

"Well, that answers that," the Healer said.

"What's wrong with her? I heard what happened at the Alley, but what's wrong?"

"Well, she's got a lot of excess magic in her system, so she'll be overpowering her spells for a week or so and she'll also be more capable for about the same length of time—I understand she performed a non-verbal spell wandlessly," the Healer said.

"And?"

"Well, she's got the symptoms of having been Obliviated. Except she wasn't Obliviated, not by any means we know about," the Healer said. "Furthermore, this Obliviation is strange: Aletha knows who people are; knows everything she was taught at Hogwarts—everything you'd expect her to know, in short."

"But?" Sirius said, too skilled in half truths and evading the point from his time at Hogwarts to not recognise it here.

"I can't remember anything before I woke up and Alice Longbottom brought me here," Aletha said.

"What?!" Sirius said.

Aletha shrugged. Sirius crossed over to her and held her hand.

"I've never had a case like this," the Healer said. "It's not a straightforward Obliviation—there's nothing to undo magically. That said, she may recover her memories. She may not. I'm sorry I can't be more help. We want to keep you overnight, Aletha, to monitor your excess magic."

"Excuse me," Sirius said, feeling his pocket beginning to vibrate. He stepped off to the cast, casting a privacy charm before pulling out his mirror. "Prongs? What is it? What happened to Lily?"

"How's Aletha?" James said, evading the question.

"She's fine, I'll give you more details later. Now stop evading my question. What happened to Lily?"

With a resigned tone, James began to recount his conversation with Alice.


"Come on through, Alice," James said, stepping back from the fireplace. After the woman had come through, he looked at her with a frown. "What's wrong?"

"I was shopping in Diagon Alley today, as were your wife and Aletha Freeman," Alice said. "A magical storm or some equivalent came out of nowhere. It rendered all magical devices inoperable for the duration, Obliviated Aletha and caused Lily to disappear."

"Disappear? How could she disappear?"

"I don't know," Alice said. "The only thing I am certain of is that You-Know-Who is not behind this, as he was not present, nor were any Death Eaters."

"Are there any theories?"

"Probably loads of them by now," Alice said. "Diagon Alley had a fair share of people present."

"But what do you as an Auror say?"

"As an Auror?" Alice hesitated. "I don't know what to say. My instincts tell me she's dead, my heart's telling me I just have to find her."


"What do you think, Prongs?" Sirius said. James didn't respond and Sirius growled in his throat. "Stay there and don't do anything," he said. Shutting the mirror off, he cancelled the privacy charm and looked at the Healer. "Where's a Floo I can have?"

The Healer gave him directions and Sirius dashed off to firecall Remus. James was going to need his friends.


Unknown Location—Voldemort's Headquarters

"Come in, Lucius," Voldemort said.

"My lord, I bring news," Lucius said, kneeling to kiss Voldemort's robes.

"What news do you bring?"

"There was an event at Diagon Alley this morning—a magical storm that whipped out of nowhere," Lucius said. "Current reports suggest that the mudblood Freeman has been Obliviated, although the extent is unknown. Also, the mudblood Potter married has vanished."

"Vanished, Lucius?"

"The mudbloods were in the Alley when the storm came, my lord. When it died down, only one—Freeman—remained."

"Who are they blaming for the storm?"

"They were blaming you at first, my lord, but then they realised neither you nor your servants had been present. I believe the Ministry is going to try and research the cause of the storm."

"I require more information," Voldemort said. "You will find this out for me."

"Of course, my lord," Lucius said.


Time passed, as it does.

Lord Voldemort had ceased his attacks since the Storm of Diagon Alley; it was believed that Voldemort was waiting. For what, none but the Death Eaters knew: Voldemort did not believe it was a good idea to make any attacks before he knew exactly what the Ministry did about the storm. Although his spies were spread through the Ministry, Voldemort did not expect to find out the hows of controlling the storm, but he was confident of finding out if controlling it was possible. If the Ministry could find some way to harness this storm and use it against him, he wanted to know about it before they did.

The Order of the Phoenix was still as active as it had ever been, though the schedule had been relaxed. A single word, an inkling, that something was wrong and they would react, the schedule snapping into a higher gear.

The Ministry and the wider magical community were taking the reprieve from the attacks for granted, some would have said. Others thought it was only understandable on the part of the wider magical community. The Ministry was not wasting time, however—the months of calm had been spent preparing for the time when the war would start up again by part of the Ministry.

The Department of Mysteries had spent the time analysing the storm. The results themselves were less than pleasing—they led ever further down a path of complex Arithmantic equations.

As for the Marauders, Peter was never around, Remus was drifting from job to job, Sirius was helping Aletha Freeman to regain her memories—when she wasn't working hard at her healer training—and James... well, James had thrown himself into work, trying to avoid his grief for Lily.


Friday, June 13th, 1980.

Albus Witnesses The Prophecy

Albus Dumbledore muttered darkly to himself about the foulness of the weather as he hurried into the Hog's Head. Is it worth it to continue Divination? he thought to himself. It is a very imprecise branch of magic, after all. He nodded to Aberforth, who acknowledged him before Dumbledore was left to his thoughts again. Filius and Charity believe I should give just one more applicant a chance. She is the great-great-granddaughter of a very famous and gifted Seer, after all—it is at least common politeness to meet her.

Half an hour later, Albus was disappointed and more than a little mad at both Filius and Charity. Sybill Trelawney seemed to have no trace of the gift herself. Yet, she seemed desperate to gain the position, having tried palmistry, Tarot and crystal gazing, not to mention the five cups of tea Albus had been forced to drink in order that Sybill might read the dregs. Nothing of what she had said seemed very prophetic or even possible.

"Thank you for your time, Miss Trelawney," said Albus. "Whilst I appreciate your application, I believe you are not suited to the post. I wish you luck." He rose and turned to leave.

"With the shift of the Untouchable Flame, worlds collide..."

Albus turned back, looking at Sybill with wide eyes.

"...the same eight will form down a different path..."

Albus' brain was churning, trying to rapidly assimilate everything.

"...as war encroaches, the choices of a few determine the fate of all... one hope remains, three hypercubed to eighty-one... by an alliance of magics will fate fall... with the shift of the Untouchable Flame, worlds collide..."

Albus was still pondering over this Prophecy when Trelawney interrupted.

"I'm sorry, Professor. I must have drifted off."

"It's fine, Miss Trelawney. Thank you for your time. I will be in touch."

Albus left, receiving a nod from Aberforth—they had not been spied on in the course of the meeting—and made his way back to Hogwarts, his mind mulling over the prophecy. It made no sense to him. The only thing he could make sense of was that the hypercubed reference was possibly an Arithmantic equation of magical power—it was well known that multiple people raising wards could get a more powerful result.

As he passed through the doors of Hogwarts, he caught sight of the Arithmancy professor, Septima Vector.

"Septima!" he said, lengthening his strides.

"Yes, Albus?"

"Concerning Arithmancy, what do you know about hypercubing?"

"You are aware of how in maths, a number can be multiplied against another for a higher number, yes?" Septima said. At Albus' nod, Septima continued. "When a number is multiplied against itself, that is squaring the number. If you did it three times—one times one times one—that would be cubing."

"And hypercubing?"

"Well, that's when a single number is multiplied four times over, though at four and higher, we tend to say to the nth power," said Septima. "We study exponential power in runes for wards, as one example. The runes are able to take the portion of power used to activate them and increase it exponentially to become powerful—the more power, the more powerful. It is one of the reasons Hogwarts' wards have always been so strong."

"What about in more normal cases?" Albus said.

"The result can only be squared," Septima said. "Let us say that Godric could expend twenty percent of his power and raise wards for four minutes over an area of two meters by two meters. If Rowena stepped in and assisted, remembering her own power is just as great as Godric's, the wards would either last sixteen minutes or cover four meters by four meters."

"Why can the result only be squared?"

"Basic magical limitations," Septima said. "It's an Arithmantic fact multiple people can expend less energy per person in creating wards, to continue with our example. You can raise any ward you want, covering as much as space or lasting as long as you want, but it takes power you might not have, which is where using runes come in. As best as the greatest Arithmancers have been able to discover, trying to get cubed or higher results creates magical explosions unless stabilising influences like runes have been worked into it from the start."

Albus thanked the pretty Arithmancy teacher and watched her depart. It was evident that the hypercube reference could not be magical power. He didn't see how one hope could remain on achieving the impossible, seeing as hypercubing would end in an explosion.

Unless it is meant to create an explosion.


Daily Prophet, Friday 1 August, 1980
HARRY POTTER: THE BOY-WHO-APPEARED!
By Rita Skeeter, Special Reporter

It can hardly be believed—indeed even this reporter cannot believe it—but the facts are incontrovertible, verified by Albus Dumbledore, Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and Headmaster of Hogwarts, Andromeda Tonks, a Healer at St. Mungo's and several other authorities.

Healers at St. Mungo's were surprised on July 31st when an empty room in the maternity ward began displaying magical energy similar in type to the magical storm of January 24th this year that Obliviated Aletha Freeman and heralded the disappearance of Lily Potter. Unlike the first magical storm, this was gentler and quieter in nature; however, Aurors were still called to the scene as a precaution.

After several hours, the storm faded into nothing, leaving behind a child who was not more than a few minutes old. Naturally this came as a surprise to the Healers and Aurors. Andromeda Tonks had this to say.

"The last thing we expected was a newborn child. We took care of him—had I not known that it was impossible, I would have sworn a woman had given birth to him and then disappeared out of the hospital—and then I cast a spell to try and determine anything at all about his parentage. Imagine my surprise when it told me his parents were Lily and James Potter."

When asked how that was possible—for only the Goblins at Gringotts know the secrets of determining lineage, for inheritance purposes—Andromeda shrugged.

"I'm well aware of that. The spell was more composed of intent and power—and I suspect it was helped along by the fact that Harry was exuding some of the same magic overflow that Aletha Freeman had displayed after her own incident with the same magical energy."

James Potter confirmed that Lily Potter had been pregnant at the time of her disappearance, but could offer no ideas on how this had occurred; simply stating that he had been fortunate enough to gain back even a small part of his wife and he was going to appreciate the son he had thought was lost.

His best friend Sirius Black told us that "anyone bothering James will be answering to my wand and I know some really embarrassing spells".

The disappearance of Lily Potter raised many questions and answered none of them. The appearance of her son, on the predicted due date raises even more. What happened to Lily Potter? Where is she now? How was Harry able to appear out of literally nowhere? Was Harry with Lily?


Saturday, August 2nd, 1980.

Hestia Jones Resigns

Hestia Jones signed her name to the letter and waved her wand, watching the letter roll up and seal itself with wax. She gave the letter to the owl, watching it fly away. When she could no longer see the owl, Hestia slumped against the wall, running a hand through her raven hair.

"I've done my bit for the war," she said, hearing the words ring hollow in her ears. No matter what Hestia said, the truth was that she was running away from the war. After three years of fighting against Voldemort as a member of the Order of the Phoenix, three years of seeing friends injured and killed, three years of just avoiding injury or death herself... Hestia was worn out.

She took one last look around her apartment before tapping her trunk. It shrunk into an anklet, which Hestia secured before Disapparating.

It would be a week before Hestia's landlord came to find the apartment deserted.


Diagon Alley—Mad Jack's Portkey Palace

"Where's the Portkey headed?"

"Doesn't matter," Hestia said, looking at the witch sitting behind the counter. "Just give me a portkey to anywhere." Hestia slid the moneybag across the counter along with her passport, watching the witch count out the Galleons and Sickles before waving her wand. A stack of paper hit the counter and the passport glowed.

"Just sign the top paper and give that back, please," the witch said. "You'll find your airline tickets and such in the remainder of that stack. You should keep it all for twenty-four hours before disposing of it. There should be no trouble within that time period, but if there is, the stack will resolve it. For problems beyond that time period, your visa and passport should resolve them. Your visa is with your passport. Keep the visa, else you'll find yourself kicked back to England."

Hestia nodded, taking the stack of papers and replacing her passport in her pocket.

The witch handed her a feather. "Thank you and enjoy Amsterdam."

"Amster—!"

When Hestia regained her bearings, she found herself in a standard Portkey arrival area, attached to the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol. Unlike most arrival areas, there was no way out and a large screen that displayed the time and a countdown of six minutes. Hestia sat down and was soon joined by another Portkey arrival, a wizard she estimated to be in his late thirties.

"What's the countdown?" Hestia said, indicating the board which now read under a minute.

"Every fifteen minutes, the immigration officials come here to see who's arrived and take them for processing," the wizard said. And just as he had said, two officials Portkeyed in as the countdown ended. Hestia went with the witch, who whisked her through the required channels with ease.

"Um... where's the other guy that was in the room?" Hestia said.

"Getting processed," the witch said. "Amsterdam has the most famous red light district in the world and the last thing we want is some wizard preying on the Muggles via magical means. All magical arrivals arrive here, regardless of where in the Netherlands they're travelling to. All wizards have to attend a class on the Muggle sex industry to help prevent breaches of the Statue of Secrecy and have a magical tracer attached to them while they are in the country. Plus, there's about seven hours of forms to fill in. You wouldn't believe the amount of wizards who still try something. All of this costs Galleons: if they don't pay, they get sent back to where they came from. Your friend in there is probably going to end up paying about twenty thousand Galleons in the end. And that's not mentioning the exchange rates."

"What about the exchange rates?" Hestia said.

"Worldwide, there are two exchange rates of wizarding currency into Muggle Dutch currency," the witch said. "Females pay the base rate and males pay quadruple the base rate."

"How will he have anything else left for the exchange rate if he's paying twenty thousand Galleons just to get in?" Hestia said.

"He's been here before; he knows the ropes," the witch said. "Enjoy your stay."


Monday, August 4th, 1980.

Amsterdam—De Wallen

Hestia had been somewhat amused at the hoops a wizard had to jump through to visit Amsterdam, but was never more grateful for them as four Aurors Apparated into the street, their wands pointed at her. Their wands shifted to cover the body lying on her feet as they took in her trembling wand and pale face. One of the Aurors said something to her partners and came over to Hestia, who let herself be led along the road and escorted into a building.

They were given a small room and a pretty girl came in with a cup of tea for Hestia and a plate of biscuits, giving a nod to the Auror. Once Hestia had eaten a couple of biscuits, the Auror spoke.

"What happened?"

"I was just walking around here," Hestia said. "I suppose he thought I was a prostitute, going to my work. He cast a compulsion charm or the Imperius Curse, for all I know. He just wanted me to go with him for some 'fun'. I broke through the spell and stunned him before he could react and then you were there."

"We respond very fast to those kinds of attacks, providing they're initiated by a wizard who has a magical tracer," the Auror said.

"Where are we?" Hestia said.

"Wands and Heels," the Auror said. "Magical business. I'd suggest staying here a while; they'll be glad to take care of you. You've had a nasty shock."

With a crack, the Auror was gone. Hestia took another biscuit and just finished it when a girl entered the room.

"Hello," she said. "You are the girl the police brought here?" At Hestia's nod, she went on. "Come, let me take you to the girls' room."

As they walked along, Hestia noted the hallway had lush carpet, but bare, grey tiled walls. Then the girl opened a black door and Hestia stepped into what felt like a whole new world. The carpeting and the walls remained the same, but there had been use of an Expansion Charm, possible several times over. Hestia didn't know how else to explain the multitude of couches, a dozen fridges and fifteen doors scattered throughout the room, most of which had 'Bathroom' written on them.

"New girl?" someone said in the ensuing silence. "Metamorph, I assume. No way she's a Veela."

"That's a very... unassuming form for a Metamorph," someone else said.

"You're one to talk—besides, you know not everyone comes here looking for huge tits!"

Hestia blinked.

"She's not working here," her guide said. "She was attacked."

"Forgive me, but what is here?" Hestia said.

"Wands and Heels," her guide said. "Otherwise known as the premier wizarding strip club and brothel. We are primarily known for hiring Veela and Metamorphs, though we do hire regular witches. Unlike many wizarding businesses, Muggles can see the business and do come here. This room is one of the few rooms in which we can freely perform magic, unless the client is known to have knowledge of the magical world."

Hestia nodded. "So you're all..." She broke off, realising that it was a stupid question. "But aren't you..." Hestia closed her mouth, shaking her head.

Her guide took Hestia to a chair, sitting next to her. "I'm Roxie," she said. "You are?"

"Hestia."

"Well, Hestia," Roxie said, "to answer your questions: yes, we are, and no, we're not." She looked around the room at the other girls. "It's a strange claim in Amsterdam, where many of the women working as prostitutes are forced into it for one reason or another—we've all seen them, we know they exist—but you won't find anyone here who doesn't freely choose to be."

"Well... if you're not being forced into it and aren't doing it because of bills or rent or some such," Hestia said, "why are you doing it?"

"You understand about the money," Roxie said. There's also the power: the client wants you, so much that he'll pay to have you. We charge by the hour—and we charge a lot. And some of us just like sex, really."

"And how can you be so sure that the witches and such here aren't being Imperiused?" Hestia said.

Roxie smiled. "We couldn't be; it was just something we grew to have an instinct for," she said. "There was this girl in England who recently crafted a way of identifying and removing the Imperius Curse and since then, the standard procedure is to have the spell cast on us when we arrive, just to be sure."

Roxie looked at Hestia, raising an eyebrow at Hestia's pleased look. Putting it out of her mind, she stood up and escorted Hestia out of the building.

"Do you mind if I return?" Hestia said, once they had reached the exit.

"I guess not," Roxie said, watching Hestia leave.


Amsterdam—Wands and Heels

Hestia did return, though if asked she would not have been able to explain why. Part of it was that as a pureblood, she was more comfortable amongst the wizarding population of Amsterdam, but that was not the entire answer. She was more concerned with why they let her return, but even that seemed to become less and less important as the days passed.

After two weeks, Roxie came over to Hestia.

"You going to do something with those cards, or what?"

Hestia looked down at her deck of cards. "What do you want me to do?"

"Do you know how to play poker?" Roxie said.

"Uh... yes," Hestia said.

"Yeah, we thought so," Roxie said, levitating a case over to Hestia. "Go get a game started."

Hestia took a look inside the case, not at all surprised to find rows upon rows of poker chips. "What's in it for me?" she said.

Roxie tossed her a bag of Galleons, which Hestia judged to be about seven hundred by the weight. "You're the Wands and Heels representative. There's your bankroll. You win twelve Galleons, you get to keep five. You lose that seven hundred Galleons, you're out of a job."

"So I get fired if I don't do well?" Hestia said, her eyes narrowing.

"Yes, but only because we don't have a bankroll to give you," Roxie said. "And furthermore, say that you lose six hundred of it tonight and then win twelve hundred Galleons tomorrow. You've just won yourself five hundred Galleons."

Hestia raised an eyebrow. This offer of not having to replenish the bankroll before she got her cut was very tempting, but if they did it that way, someone would lose out eventually.

"If the bankroll's not being replenished from somewhere, I'll be out of a job sooner rather than later," Hestia said.

"True," Roxie said. "But I don't have an answer. Now go out and get a game started. I'll have an answer for you later. Go out into the stripping area; we've set up a table for you."

Hestia shook her head and headed out as instructed, only to be called back by Roxie.

"Um, honey... I think you need a change of clothes."

"What do you mean?" Hestia said.

Roxie waved her wand, changing Hestia's clothes into a pair of heels and a knee length red lace nightie. "Now you fit in, though it's not quite as racy as the rest of us."

Hestia rolled her eyes and went off.


Wednesday, November 5th, 1980.

Amsterdam—Wands and Heels

Hestia could then be found at the table every day, though business was more frequent in the evenings. Hestia knew how to play poker, but there was still a fair bit to learn here: she needed to win enough to make herself a profit, but she also had to lose with the right frequency to keep people coming back, without looking like she was an incompetent dealer.

"All this work, just to balance out two simple facts of human nature," Hestia said, shaking her head.

"You sound annoyed," said Trixie.

"I am," Hestia said. "People play poker with the expectation they'll win—if they do not win, they'll stop, even if that's only once they've reached a limit they've set themselves that they can 'safely' lose. That's assuming they do not convince themselves that their luck will turn around, that they're just getting screwed right now and they can win if they keep playing."

"'Safely' lose?" Trixie said.

"The concept of leaving after 'I've won/lost thirty Galleons tonight' is Hippogriff manure. It does nothing to minimise losses or maximise wins," Hestia said. "If the game is good, stay in it if you're winning. If the game is bad, get out of it."

Trixie nodded and rifled through her locker.

"And that second fact," Hestia said, "is that when one person is winning a lot—if not all—of the time, people won't play with that person anymore. They'll find a game where their chances of winning seem much more even."

"You're not happy here, are you?" Trixie said.

Hestia shook her head. "It's nice enough and everyone's good, but if I'm going to play poker for a living, I can't stay here. But I don't know where to go from here."

"I can get you to Las Vegas," Trixie said. "But it'll cost you. And it might not happen for a while."

"Anything," Hestia said.

Trixie fixed Hestia with a look. "Come on, then, let's go shopping."


Saturday, March 7th, 1981.

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol—Portkey Exit Area

"Thanks, Roxie, Trix," Hestia said.

"It's been no trouble," Trixie said, leaning in and kissing Hestia's cheek. "Just remember, you've always got a home here."

"I'll remember," Hestia said.

"Good," Roxie said. She handed Hestia a letter. "That should help you find a job; I know you want to make a living playing poker, but you'll need a job before you can delve into that side of things, right?"

"Yeah," Hestia said, hugging Roxie. "Thanks."

"You're welcome," Roxie said. "You have your stuff?"

Hestia checked her anklet and then nodded. "Goodbye," she said, closing her eyes and activating the Portkey.

Vegas awaited.


Daily Prophet, Monday 2 November 1981
THE BOY-WHO-APPEARED NOW THE BOY-WHO-LIVED!
DEATH EATERS CAPTURED!
By Rita Skeeter, Special Reporter

In a series of events that startled the wizarding world just two scant days ago, You-Know-Who was vanquished by little Harry Potter.

From the information we have been able to gather, James Potter, Sirius Black and Remus Lupin had decided to spend October 31st in Diagon Alley, with Harry Potter. What should have been a calm outing turned sour just a quarter after two in the afternoon, when You-Know-Who, along with several of his Death Eaters began an attack on Diagon Alley. Aurors were called immediately, responding within minutes.

They got there in time to see You-Know-Who cast the Killing Curse on James Potter. As a result, Harry was dropped to the ground, where he began crying. You-Know-Who then cast the Killing Curse on Harry Potter, "as though he was some annoying bug", eyewitnesses later said. Eyewitnesses also say that the green light of the Killing Curse hit Harry on the forehead, glowing white before it rebounded on You-Know-Who and killed him.

Harry Potter was left with nothing more than a lightning bolt scar.

Everyone in Diagon Alley was shocked, but none more so than the present Death Eaters, all of whom were rounded up by the Aurors. A full article on this can be found on page four.

There is only one question and unfortunately, as with his appearance and his mother's disappearance, there are no answers, either in whole or part. How is it possible that You-Know-Who could kill so many witches and wizards and yet find his doom in a fifteen-month old child?

At the present moment, no one knows where Harry Potter is—Sirius Black asserted his right as Harry's godfather to take him away from the commotion of celebration that inevitably started as the last Death Eater was taken away to Azkaban. The Ministry is holding a mail collection for Harry, as within the hour of the defeat of You-Know-Who, mail started flooding in for the young hero.


Friday, November 6th, 1981.

London, near Grimmauld Place

The woman hurried along the streets, a cloak pulled tightly around her head to hide her face. She knew all too well what had been happening since the defeat of the Dark Lord—the Death Eaters were claiming Imperius and ignorance of whom other Death Eaters had been. Although, of the Death Eaters captured—Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix, Rodolphus, Rabastan and Barty Crouch Jr.—only Lucius and the male Lestranges seemed likely to get away with it.

Bellatrix is much too insane and the Crouch boy is hardly any better—his protestations of innocence are highly overwrought, the woman thought as she crossed into the property line of Number 12, Grimmauld Place. Summoning up her courage, she knocked on the door, not even blinking as it was opened by Remus Lupin.

"I, Narcissa Black Malfoy, do so wish to speak with my cousin, Sirius Black," Narcissa said, her words formal but cold. "I invoke my right as a member of the House of Black to see Lord Black, the Head of the Black House."

"Your wand," Remus said, not that he expected her to give it up. He hid his surprise when she gave it with no complaint and led her into the sitting room. "Wait here."


Narcissa Makes Her Choice

"You let her in?" Sirius said, looking incredulous.

"She has surrendered her wand," Remus said. "She also invoked her rights as a member of the House of Black. By her own words, she cannot cause harm to anyone in this dwelling by either direct or indirect means. I might also remind you that she cannot falsely represent herself whilst she has invoked those rights."

Sirius conceded the point and handed Harry to Remus. "Come with me, then."

Narcissa rose as Sirius entered the sitting room. "Lord Black, I greet you."

"Narcissa Black Malfoy, I greet you," Sirius said. "What business do you have with me, the Head of the House of Black?"

"I have much business, my lord. But before we speak of it, I would address a personal matter—a debt that I have owed and not yet repaid."

"Was this debt owed to me, or to the House Head?"

"I owed it to you, my lord."

Remus translated the Marauder sign-language—a fist, the thumb inside, then transferred out: what the hell is this person talking about?—that Sirius made and gave a mental chuckle.

"Go on."

"Once, when we were at school together, I stated my opinion that love was a fiction and a folly and that no truly strong or pure wizard would allow himself to be tainted by it. You took exception to this and we would have duelled, had we not been restrained by others."

Narcissa looked down at her hands before looking Sirius in the eye. "My lord, I wish to apologise. I was wrong."

Remus saw the next sign—a fully open hand and then the thumb and little finger touched together: this is one for the record books—and in laughing at it, almost missed Sirius' reply.

"Apology accepted. I would ask, though, what brought about your change of heart."

"I never expected a child to change me, my lord," Narcissa said, her voice soft, almost dreamlike. "My mother told me about the process, of course. She warned me about both the pain and the emotion that came with childbirth. I was prepared for the pain. For the emotion, I was not." She paused, gathering her thoughts. "I was unprepared, as I say, for the... feeling which came to me on the birth of my son. I would have given my life for him. I would have done anything for him. My lord, gradually I began to realize that others felt this way as well... and that the feeling had a name, and that name was love."

She laughed, though there was no humour in it. "I tried to deny it, then to fight it, but it was too late. I loved my son, my lord. And nothing in the world or beyond it could change that. Soon after I discovered this, the Dark Lord fell." Her eyes flickered once to Harry—to Harry's scar.

"What of his fall?" Sirius said.

Narcissa hesitated, but drew back her left sleeve, exposing the Dark Mark—a skull with a serpent issuing from its mouth. It was much faded even now and would no doubt fade more, but it was plain enough.

"Some of my fraternity were captured, Lord Black. They will no doubt try to escape their deserved punishment."

"You propose to do something," Sirius said. It was neither statement nor question, but a blend of the two.

"I know the names of all the Death Eaters and much of their crimes," Narcissa said. "It is my intent to turn them all in—myself included—to face the judgement we deserve for what we have done."

"You felt it was necessary to inform me of this," Sirius said, his tone still the same.

"I cannot pretend that I will escape Azkaban," Narcissa said. "All that is left to me is my son, Draco. I ask you, Lord Black, to take my son. Give Draco your name—our name—and make the house of Black great again."

Sirius looked at Narcissa, his demeanour changing. "Is that all you ask of your Head?" he said.

"It is."

"Have you spoken the truth before your Head?"

"I have."

"I will help you, Narcissa," Sirius said. "Your words have spoken to me of a desire to make reparations for the wrongs you have committed. Therefore, I offer you this. If you will speak out against the members of your fraternity, admit to your own crimes and allow me to revoke your marriage to Lucius Malfoy, I will use my influence on the Wizengamot to help you avoid Azkaban."

To her credit, Narcissa Black Malfoy showed no surprise. If her marriage was revoked, she would become a ward of the House of Black. As the Head of House, Sirius would be able to restrict the usage of her wand, restrict her money... really, she would be no better than a house-elf, if he so wished it. She would have no power or recourse to stop him.

"I accept your terms, Lord Black," Narcissa said. "If I may ask, when will my marriage contract be revoked?"

"I can do it now," Sirius said.

"Wait," Remus said. "Wait until Lucius is in Azkaban. If you revoke it now, Lucius will know."

"He's right," Narcissa said. "Although he is detained, he is not officially a criminal. There would be a formal notification sent to him if Lord Black did it now."

"He'd learn about it at some point, but if he's in Azkaban, that could take a while," said Remus.

"Come on, Narcissa," Sirius said. "Let's go see Crouch."


The Ministry of Magic—Bartemius Crouch Senior's Office

Bartemius Crouch, Senior was having a week that he would have described as a really good week—You-Know-Who was defeated and they had five Death Eaters captured—had it not been for the fact that one of the said Death Eaters was his own son. When Sirius arrived and wanted to talk to him about 'unspecified issues', he was somewhat glad of it. Crouch hoped that he could avoid having to think about the troubles the Department of Magical Law Enforcement was encountering with said Death Eaters.

A hope that seemed crushed when Sirius Black and Narcissa Malfoy came into his office.

"Good afternoon," Sirius and Narcissa said.

"Good afternoon. To what do I owe the pleasure?" Crouch said.

"You currently have five Death Eaters in custody, some of which may get off," Sirius said. "You must know there were more than five Death Eaters. I doubt that the Death Eaters you've got are all that willing to cough up names and crimes."

"They're not," Crouch said. "We have them in custody. Mark my words, Black, we will find them guilty."

"I can make that process a lot faster and easier for you," Sirius said, cutting straight to the point.

"And what do you want from me, Black?"

Sirius gathered his thoughts before gazing at Crouch, his gaze level. "Ideally, I want a complete pardon for my informant. If that isn't possible, my informant will be willing to be subject to restrictions such as being tracked, having their magic monitored, an Anti-Apparation anklet... as long as the restrictions aren't unfair or extreme, my informant will not complain."

"Anything to avoid Azkaban, Black?"

"Anything to continue being a parent," Sirius said. "Anonymity is requested as well."

Crouch looked at Sirius. He hadn't failed to notice that Narcissa had not said a word since greeting him. Putting the pieces together, he smiled.

"I think we can come to an agreement," Crouch said. "Your informant will be anonymous. The list of restrictions shall be as follows: a tracking and Anti-Apparation anklet; an approved escort when leaving their residence, which the Ministry will be informed of. If leaving the country or moving residences, the Ministry must be informed six weeks previously of this. The date of return to England will also be filed with the Ministry. If your informant casts even one Dark Spell or entices others to the Dark, the Kiss will be administered. Is that acceptable?"

"Yes," Sirius said.

Crouch nodded, turning to look at Narcissa. "Then please, tell me all you know, Narcissa."

Narcissa took a deep breath and began. It took many hours—to the point where Narcissa had no voice left—to name the Death Eaters and link them to murders, rapes, kidnappings, cases of the Cruciatus and Imperius curses, robberies... the list was longer than either of the men expected and the name of Peter Pettigrew shocked them both. It was what Crouch needed, though. The Death Eaters would pay for their crimes.

When Narcissa fell silent, exhausted of both information and strength, Sirius looked at her. Narcissa shook her head. The restrictions upon Narcissa Malfoy, soon to be Narcissa Black had been processed and activated as she gave her testimony.

"I believe we're done here," Sirius said. "You have the information. I'll take Narcissa to get a potion for her throat and we can go home."

With that, Sirius and Narcissa were gone, leaving Crouch to start forming his plans to round up the Death Eaters and confiscate their properties.


Sirius and Narcissa Reach An Understanding

"What now, my lord?" Narcissa said as they left the Ministry.

"I am going to be visiting Aletha Freeman," Sirius said. "You may return to Grimmauld Place or to your Manor, to attend to your son. On that note, Narcissa, this is your one and only warning. Your pureblooded superiority crap ends now. I remember you as a child and a teenager—you were much more in line with Andromeda with your thinking, before our parents made you conform to their will. I want that Narcissa back. I will not stand for the crap."

"How about sitting for it?"

Sirius looked at Narcissa. She looked back with a blank expression, however, after a couple of seconds, she was smiling, a mischievous look on her face.

"Narcissa..." Sirius said, shaking his head. "That was terrible."

"My apologies, my lord." Narcissa said, the smile still on her face, before looking at Sirius. "I understand and submit to your terms."

"What are your plans?"

"I believe I will return to Malfoy Manor and take care of my son," Narcissa said. "May I bring him to Grimmauld Place?"

"Of course, Narcissa."


Aletha Joins Sirius

Aletha waved her wand, setting the dishes to wash. A few more waves of her wand and her place was cleaned up, the boxes piled up against the wall, containing everything she owned. Now that she was ready to await Sirius, her thoughts wandered over to him as they often had in the past months. Ever since the loss of her memories, he had been there for her, helping her as she adjusted. Healers had discovered that there was a white haze in her mind, which they postulated as the reason for her loss of memories. With Sirius' help, she had managed to recover some memories, but most stayed hidden behind the white haze.

Aletha twisted the ring on her finger.

Not that any of that had mattered to Sirius. He'd proposed to her only three weeks ago. A little 'pop!' signified Sirius' arrival and before Sirius could move, Aletha had him bound in ropes.

"I thought I told you: I live in a Muggle area. You will arrive and depart like a Muggle."

"Um... oops?"

"Before you go, how's Harry?"

"He's fine."

Aletha released the ropes and Sirius Disapparated.

Ten minutes later, Sirius knocked on the door.

Aletha opened the door and greeted Sirius with a kiss.

"How are you?"

"I'm getting sick of my mother's house. I've ordered Kreacher to stay in his room—not that he pays attention half the time—but he's still a pain in the..." Sirius said, trailing off as he saw Aletha's warning look. "I'm thinking of moving. I just don't really know where we'd go. It's not like we'd have any privacy."

"Why not go into the Muggle world?" Aletha said.

"The Muggle world?"

"Well, if you won't have any privacy living within the Wizarding World, why not disappear into the Muggle world? No one would know you were there."

Sirius nodded, thinking about the idea. They would be six people. Four of them could use magic—any dwelling they found could easily be charmed to give much more space than it would at first appear. There was a bonus in the fact that no one would expect them to make this move. It would afford protection of a kind—after all, he had been hiding in his mother's house to avoid the general wizarding populace.

His eyes focused suddenly on Aletha's boxes.

"Letha?" Sirius said, confused. "Why is everything packed up?"

"Take me with you when you leave tonight," Aletha said.

"Why?"

"We're getting married, Sirius."

"I thought you planned to stay here until we were married."

"Plans change. It's a woman's prerogative."


Grief

That night, at Number 12, Grimmauld Place, the last of the Marauders were nowhere to be seen. They had retreated into a room to grieve together, for one of their own was dead and the other was good as dead, having betrayed what the Marauders stood for by joining Voldemort.


Saturday, November 7th, 1981.

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry—The Great Hall

An owl fluttered down to Snape as he ate breakfast. Opening it, he frowned.

"Severus?" Albus said.

"A summons to the Ministry," Snape said. "From Crouch Senior."

"What about?" Albus said. He was worried—Crouch's position as head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement had given him quite a bit of leeway during the war and where Death Eaters were concerned, Crouch had no sympathy or compassion.

Snape made an indistinct noise in his throat.

"I will come with you," Albus said.

"He expects me in half an hour," Snape said. "I will get ready."


Between A Rock and A Hard Place

"Professor Dumbledore, Severus Snape," Crouch said. Although he did not show it, he was pleased that Albus had turned up—Snape was Albus' pet, after all.

"Bartemius," Albus said, conjuring seats for himself and Severus.

Snape nodded, but did not speak.

"Severus Snape," Crouch said. "Were you a Death Eater in service of You-Know-Who?"

So it is finally over, Snape thought. "Yes, I was."

"What were your services for You-Know-Who?"

"I brewed potions for the Dark Lord and worked on magical theory. I was also ordered to partake in raids and revels, though my dislike of such things was well known and I was more often than not excused from joining them."

Crouch nodded; that confirmed what Narcissa had said. "I have it on record that you performed several Unforgivables from the period of February 1980 to October thirty-first, 1981. Do you deny this?"

"I cannot deny it," Snape said, his tone calm, though his body was tense.

Albus cleared his throat. "Those accusations are true, Bartemius. However, long before Lord Voldemort's downfall, Severus came to me and repented, turning spy for us, at great risk to himself." Albus ignored Crouch's distaste for the name 'Voldemort' and went on. "The use of Unforgivables is easy to explain. Voldemort's servants were expected to know them. Severus could not refuse to use them, else he would have been found out."

Crouch smiled. Sirius had confirmed that Snape was a spy and the relative time period. "And when did he come to you, Professor Dumbledore?"

"January twenty-eighth, 1980."

The trap was set and Crouch smiled again. "Very well. The Unforgivables will not form part of his record, seeing as they were performed as part of being a spy for the Light."

Albus looked very relieved, as did Snape.

"However, I have it on record that before that date, Severus Snape had used the Killing Curse and the Cruciatus Curse on multiple occasions dating from June 1977 to January twenty-eighth, 1980. As you know, the use of an Unforgivable carries with it an automatic life sentence in Azkaban. There is no excuse or pardon for the Unforgivables performed in this time period."

Both Albus and Snape looked dumbstruck.


Monday, November 9th, 1981.

The First Prophecy

The young woman was curled up in bed, images flashing around her mind as she dreamt. A voice was speaking, the words resonating.

Unearthly storm changed all you knew,
For darkness comes, one more than two.
Be wary of the storied year,
Though answers come, there is much fear.
She will not come home, though you ask,
Accept it, for she has her task.
Even so, do not lose sight of home,
For without check, evil still does roam.
War converges—ally as one,
The Phoenix and the Meledon.
Look within for way of defeat,
Victory comes, it's bittersweet.
Then has the age of hope begun,
And peace comes to all those who won.

As soon as the voiced ceased, she woke up. Reaching out, she grabbed a pen and pad, writing down the lines that echoed in her brain.

"What does it mean?" she said, frowning as she finished the last lines, feeling it leave her head. "And why do I have to know it?"

She closed her eyes, letting the images from the dream wash over her. Images of people, none of whom she knew. Some of them were magic and some of them weren't. The kaleidoscope shifted and changed into a movie reel and she watched as a storm blew up, trapping two young women in its midst.

With a gasp, she opened her eyes, breaking the movie reel. She had seen these things before—she did not want to see it again.

A cry from the other room had her bolting out of bed to attend to her baby sister.

Once her sister was set up at the breakfast table with a fresh diaper and a box of cereal, the young woman took stock of her situation.

Her sister needed new diapers; new clothes and they both needed food.

She had all of a hundred dollars to achieve this. The past two months had been hard—her parents had been murdered back in the middle of August. Since then, she'd seen more money go out than in, though that had slowly changed once she had gotten a job.

"Which still doesn't help me," she said. "Neenie needs food and diapers now, not this bloody Friday."

She looked at Neenie, who grinned and threw cereal at the wall.

"Come on, Neenie," she said—she knew by the time Neenie started throwing her cereal around that she'd eaten as much as she was going to—"let's go shopping."


Many people have speculated on whether or not fate is real and if fate is real, is she an actual being and if so, what is her mailing address?

After all, there are many reasons why people say fate's a bitch...


Werewolf and Dreamer

"We need diapers," Remus said. "With Draco, our supply got used up faster than expected."

"Why not conjure more?" Narcissa said.

"No, Lily always said that buying them was better for the baby," Sirius said.

Remus nodded. "She did. And I guess that means it's me who'll go out buying supplies—Aletha and I are the only ones with experience in the Muggle world."

"And I'm working today, so have fun, Remus," Aletha said.

With a nod, Remus accepted the money from Sirius and Disapparated. He found himself in an alleyway that was only a couple of blocks from a Muggle supermarket—if he could trust his memory. Not having been here for several months, Remus took a guess and turned left, segueing into the stream of people heading in the same direction. Some twenty minutes later, he was forced to conclude that he had gone in the wrong direction.

As he turned around, he caught sight of a young woman with curly brown hair, almost far too much for one person. Then a mass of the hair moved and Remus caught sight of an infant's face, tear-stained and red.

"Oh, Neenie, I know you're hungry," the woman—her mother?—said. "I knew you hadn't eaten enough cereal. But I don't have any food right now. Please, Neenie, please calm down... Danger can't go shopping with you crying."

Neenie wailed again. She wanted a proper breakfast and wasn't going to stop crying until she got it.

Well, this Danger's in a catch-22, Remus thought. Not exactly sure why he was doing this, he made his way over to Danger and tapped her shoulder.

"Excuse me, Miss. Would you and the little miss like to join me for breakfast?"

Danger turned around and simply stared at Remus.

"I married you last night," she whispered.

"What?"

Her eyes went very round. "Oh my Lord. Oh my Lord, I did not just say that out loud. I did not. I did not. I did, didn't I?"

"Yes, you did."

"Oh my Lord. I'm so sorry. What a way to start a conversation. Please, can we start over?"

"Certainly. I was just wondering if you and the little miss would like to join me for breakfast."

Danger considered Neenie and then the street. No one was around—so they didn't see you making a fool of yourself, Danger—but perhaps it would be best to get more privacy than a street afforded.

She chuckled and looked back at Remus. "Please. Neenie here has been quite the handful."

They procured a booth at a pancake eatery and after they were served, Remus discreetly cast a spell to ensure their conversation was private.

"I'm sorry, but I've just realised I don't even know your name," Remus said.

"Call me Danger. It's my nickname, I answer to it faster than anything else," Danger said. "You know Neenie."

"Nicknames? Then I'm Moony," Remus said.

Danger smiled, helping Neenie with her pancakes before looking at Remus. "I need to ask something and I need you to tell me the truth."

Her gaze pinned Remus with its intensity and Remus gestured for her to go on.

"Is magic real? Because I dreamed of magic when I dreamed of you—and of other things, too. You're real and here in front of me."

Remus didn't speak, though he never looked away. It was against the law, but there was so much pain in her face. That, in the end, was what decided him.

"Yes," he said. "It's real."

"Thank God," Danger said, her breath expelling in one long release. "There was no other explanation."

"For what?"

Her eyes closed for a moment. "I was at school. I went to get Neenie from day care, then I went home. And there were my parents, lying in the living room, dead. They had these expressions on their faces..." She broke off. "I can't describe it."

But Remus could. "It was pain. They died in pain. Cruciated, then hit with the Killing Curse."

It was blunt, but she deserved to know—and judging by the look on her face, needed to know how her parents had died in order that she might find closure.

"Yes." Danger's voice choked. "They never did anything wrong. Why them? Why?"

Remus ignored his pancakes; he'd not wanted them in the first place. "A little more than a week ago, the leader was defeated. You say you dreamed of more than just our wedding; perhaps you dreamed of an alley and a green curse rebounding from a child?"

"I have dreamed that, yes," Danger said.

"We call non-magical people Muggles. The leader promulgated the eradication of Muggles, as they were not magical," Remus said. "There are those who fight against him and his followers—I am one of them. Was, really. It's all over now, of course. Please believe me when I say that I wish I could have stopped them."

Danger looked back at him and nodded. When she spoke, her tone was decisive. "I believe you. Thank you. So, after that, I got custody of Neenie, I got a job and life went on. Things are dicey, as I'm sure you've figured. We survive—my parents were professionals and the money they saved up helps us out—but I've had moments like today when I'm clear out of food and Neenie wants it now far too often."

Remus nodded, squeezing her hand sympathetically.

She smiled, looking grateful. "I started dreaming the night my parents were murdered. Images, words and then... last night, a story and as crazy as it sounds, what I believe is a prophecy."

"Our wedding?"

Danger nodded. "Our wedding. I was the bride, not that I knew anyone except my maid of honor. That would be my best friend when I was little, her name was Aletha—"

"Aletha Freeman?" Remus said—Aletha wasn't that common a name in his limited experience.

Danger's eyes went wide. "Yes. Is she a witch as well?"

"She's a witch. I know her well," Remus said. "I'm living with her and my best friend Sirius—they're engaged."

"So I got the altar, looked at the groom and it was you," Danger said. "I was so happy to see you that I forgot I didn't know anything about you—and suddenly I did know all about you."

"Not everything?"

"Oh, no, I knew everything. Like why you don't hold down a job for very long, in either of our worlds, because of your being 'away' for a couple of days per month."

"I'm surprised you came to breakfast with me."

"Not everyone's a bigot," Danger said. "I know you're a good man."

She had intended the statement to be light, but it hung over the table, carrying far too much meaning and emotion than would have normally been appropriate. Yet neither seemed too bothered by it.

"Do you believe me?" Danger said after a few more minutes of silence.

"You said you knew everything," Remus said, evading the question. Danger nodded. "How do you activate the Marauder's Map?"

"You touch your wand to it and utter the phrase, 'I solemnly swear I am up to no good'," Danger said. "'Mischief managed' deactivates it. You lost the map in your seventh year at Hogwarts. Good enough, Remus John Lupin?"

Remus nodded, too stunned to articulate, but he deactivated the privacy spell. "I think you and Neenie should come with me to see my friends."

Danger nodded. "Mind if I do the shopping first? I have a feeling that meeting your friends might take up all of my free time." She paused, smiling. "For when we meet your friends: Gertrude Kelly Granger and Hermione Jean Granger."


Number 12 Grimmauld Place

"Took you bloody—who the hell is that?" Sirius said as Remus, Danger and Hermione arrived by Portkey.

His answer was forestalled by the arrival of Kreacher, who took one look at Danger and spoke. "Master lets the Muggle filth into Mistress' noble home."

"My lord, may I?" Narcissa said before Sirius could explode—Kreacher's attitude had been grating on Sirius since he entered Grimmauld Place. At Sirius' terse nod, Narcissa spoke to Kreacher. "Kreacher, go to Malfoy Manor and report to the head elf there."

Kreacher made a face, but disappeared.

"Good riddance," Sirius said. "But now we have no house elf."

"And we had one when Kreacher was here, Sirius?" Narcissa said.

"Granted," Sirius said. He turned to Danger and Remus. "My apologies."

"Sirius Black, Narcissa, meet Danger Granger and her sister, Hermione," Remus said, dumping the bags to the floor. "We need to have a meeting."

"You didn't tell me the Portkey would be like that," Danger said, shelving her questions for the moment.

"You brought a Muggle here?" Narcissa said. "What about the secrecy laws?"

"She's not like other Muggles, Narcissa," Remus said.

Danger eyed Narcissa and spoke up. "She is perfectly capable of speaking for herself. I have prophetic dreams."

Everyone in the room shut up.

"Thought that would get your attention," Danger said with a smirk. "Is there a place I can put Neenie?"

Narcissa nodded and took Danger to the room off the living room that had been designated as the playroom for Harry and Draco. The four of them met up in the living room, observing each other.

"So... if you three are wizards and witches, how about giving me a crash course in your world?" Danger said. "And what was that house elf thing?"

She wasn't disappointed—in the next two hours, Danger received a basic grounding in magic, the wizarding world and its culture.

"You'll need to know more," Narcissa said, "but you should not be quite so lost for now. You said you have prophetic dreams?" At Danger's nod, Narcissa continued. "We will have to test this, but I think you may have magic yourself." Narcissa extracted her wand from where she kept it and handed it over. "Test it."

Danger waved it, with no results. Handing it back, she took Sirius' outstretched wand and waved it, producing nothing.

"Third time lucky?" Remus said, offering his own wand.

Danger waved it. A burst of golden sparks flew from the tip, leaving Danger stunned.

"You are magical," Narcissa said. "Unsurprising, given that you are a true-dreamer; that is, you see things in your dreams that really happened. And some, as you say, are prophetic, giving a glimpse of the future. That is a magical gift. Perhaps you would care to fill us in?"

Danger gave a weak smile, but filled Sirius and Narcissa in on what she had shared with Remus.

Silence fell once Danger had finished talking, which she broke.

"That said, I don't understand how I can be magical. I never got a letter to Hogwarts."

"You're magical," Sirius said with authority. "You proved that by using Remus' wand. There is a theory of latent magic—magic that is undetectable because it isn't active. It would take some kind of shock to activate that magic such as..."

Remus elbowed Sirius into silence, but Danger picked up the thought.

"Finding your parents dead in the living room?"

Her only answer was a sort of embarrassed silence.

"When I found my dad and mum, I screamed. I screamed so loud they heard me on the next block. And things broke. All the light bulbs, all our glass lampshades, even the glass in the windows shattered. Was that magic?"

"Yes," Sirius said. "Accidental, but magic all the same."

Danger was rescued from having to answer by crying coming from the other room and soon, Narcissa had Draco, Danger had Hermione and Sirius had Harry as they calmed their charges down.

"You say you dreamed a prophecy?" Remus said when the children were calmed.

"Last night, I did," Danger said. "Let's see..." She scrabbled in her pockets, pulling out the pad where she'd written it down and read it out.

Unearthly storm changed all you knew,
For darkness comes, one more than two.
Be wary of the storied year,
Though answers come, there is much fear.
She will not come home, though you ask,
Accept it, for she has her task.
Even so, do not lose sight of home,
For without check, evil still does roam.
War converges—ally as one,
The Phoenix and the Meledon.
Look within for way of defeat,
Victory comes, it's bittersweet.
Then has the age of hope begun,
And peace comes to all those who won.

The room was silent as they processed the words.

"That makes no sense whatsoever," Narcissa said.

"You didn't take Divination," Sirius said.

"And now you see why. Divination is very imprecise."

Remus had taken the pad, looking over it. "A lot of it makes a certain amount of sense, but it's not enough because we have no meaning behind the words."

"How does it make sense?" Danger said.

"Fifth line, 'she will not come home, though you ask'. That's straightforward and easy enough, but who is this she referenced?"

"Point, Remus," Sirius said. "So we need to know more. And finding out more is going to be hard. It's not like we can walk up to people and just ask: are you the she we need to find?"

"As amusing as that image is, it doesn't help us," Narcissa said. "Besides, I think I know what the first two lines mean."

The others looked at her.

"The unearthly storm refers to the Storm of Diagon Alley," Narcissa said. "And darkness is coming... I think in three periods."

"But we've just had a period of darkness," Sirius said.

"Yes," Narcissa said. "However, the lines say—or at least imply—that three periods of darkness are coming, therefore the one we just had doesn't count."

Sirius conceded that. "And we're not to lose sight of home? Why would we? And what evil roams? The Death Eaters are all in Azkaban. Crouch acted with swift judgment on Narcissa's information. Every single last one of them is locked up."

There was silence. "We'll have to wait," Remus said at last. "We need more information."

"Then let's leave it aside and get lunch," Danger said, feeling her stomach growl.


Narcissa Educates Danger

Danger observed Narcissa as she alternated between feeding herself and feeding Hermione. The woman interested her—Narcissa seemed to be friends with both Remus and Sirius, with a particular deference to Sirius, but there was a sense of a higher culture emanating from her, as though she was better than all of them. It was, in a word, confusing for Danger.

Narcissa would have to have been blind to miss the looks that Danger gave her. Therefore, when lunch was over, she rose gracefully from the table and nodded at Danger.

"Please come," she said. "You have questions that I should answer."

Blushing, Danger followed Narcissa into the living room.

Narcissa took a seat, waited for Danger to follow suit and then spoke. "You wish to understand why both Sirius and I are purebloods, yet I act differently to him. You also wish to understand why I am friends with Sirius, yet accord him deference. And you also wonder how I can have contributed to the defeat of the Dark Lord and his followers."

"Yes, that would sum it up," Danger said.

"You recall what we said on the blood status within our world, yes?"

"Muggles; Squibs; Muggleborn; half-bloods; purebloods."

"Purebloods form the basis from which all other magical people come from," Narcissa said. "There are traditions, rules, expectations and more formed by the culture and society of purebloods that must be adhered to. I was brought up in these traditions, as was Sirius. The difference is that he rebelled against all that he was taught, I did not."

"How do purebloods form the basis of all magical people?" Danger said.

"Magic had to come from somewhere," Narcissa said. "What many of the purebloods try to ignore is that before the point in history that we accept as the end of where purity of blood can be traced to, somewhere in the mess of ancestors are Muggles who gained magic."

"So purebloods don't like those who aren't pure?" Danger said. Remus had spoken of it, but she'd thought that was only unique to this Dark Lord person.

"There is a split in the pureblood faction," Narcissa said. "Some couldn't care less about your blood, it's the attitudes and your abilities they value more. For some, blood is all—if you are pureblooded, that makes you automatically superior in every way to a half-blood or a Muggleborn, regardless of any evidence to the contrary. In some cases, there is quite a lot of evidence."

"Where do you fall?"

"When I was a child, it mattered not to me. The Blacks, however, were a family aligned to the Dark and to them, blood was all. As I grew, I fell in with what they taught me—it was expected I would," Narcissa said. "Much changed when Draco was born, for I learned of love. For love of my son, I turned against the Death Eaters who had been my comrades."

Danger blinked and Narcissa pushed up her sleeve, exposing the Dark Mark. "I was one of them and I would have turned myself in with them," she said, covering her arm when Danger looked back up to her. "Sirius has given me a chance to come away from the poison my family created, the mistake that I made and bring the House of Black to greatness again."

Danger nodded thoughtfully. "The House of Black?"

"At the point in history—some three millennia ago—that we begin to trace blood purity, there was the Convocation. Magic was very much widespread through the people then, so you can imagine how many magical people turned up for this. It was they who declared all magical people pureblooded. During that convocation, eleven distinct groups formed into a body we know today as the Eleven Pureblood Houses."

Danger nodded.

"If a House was wiped out, a new House would replace it. Therefore, all pureblood families observed and copied the way the Eleven Houses functioned, but with a noted difference: Sirius Black is Lord Black, Head of the House of Black, as the Black Family comprises one of the Eleven Houses. If it did not, he would just be Lord Black, Head of the Black Family."

"So what does a Head do?"

"They run the family. One thing of relevance that they have power over is marriage contracts—actually, I should remind Sirius to cancel my contract now that Lucius is in Azkaban. That's the wizarding prison," Narcissa said, noticing Danger's blank look. "With my contract cancelled, I am Sirius' ward and he has power over me."

"Power?"

"To use a distinction you will understand, if Lord Black wished it, I would be no better than one of the slaves Muggles used to have," Narcissa said, her words and tone blunt. "Thankfully, all he has demanded of me so far is that I leave my 'pureblooded superiority crap' behind, something that I am perfectly willing to do as it will allow me to stay with my son. As my Head of House, I owe him deference and respect, even if he allows me to be his friend, like Remus. Now, does that answer all your questions that you have been too polite to ask and yet conveyed with every look at me?"

Danger assimilated the last pieces of information and blushed. Narcissa laughed.

"I think we will be good friends, Danger."


Wednesday, November 11th, 1981.

Number 12 Grimmauld Place—The Second Prophecy

"The full moon is tonight," Sirius said as they finished dinner.

"Tonight?" Danger said. After Monday, she'd been issued a permanent invitation to visit them anytime and given the food situation she'd found herself in, Danger felt only a little guilt in turning up around mealtimes. It also provided ample opportunities to catch up with Aletha, which could only be a bonus. "How do you know?"

"I always know," Sirius said. "You don't spend seven years in a dorm with Remus and not learn how to know what phase the moon is in."

"Is there a safe place here for him?" Aletha said.

"There can be," Narcissa said. "The Dark Lord had a werewolf in his service—"

"Greyback," Remus said, baring his teeth.

"Indeed," Narcissa said. "There were times when the Dark Lord had a need to contain Greyback. I was one of those would be called on to cast the spells to contain him."

"What do the spells do?" Remus said.

"Creates a ward of some type," Narcissa said. "Any non-human can pass into it, but not out of it."

"Is it Dark?" Sirius said.

Narcissa shrugged. "It's old, comes from the Malfoy libraries and requires a lot of power to cast. What do you think the Ministry would classify it as if they knew it even existed?"

"...Dark," Aletha, Sirius and Remus said.

"We'll clear out a room, cast the ward and it should be fine," said Narcissa.

Danger set down her fork, feeling strange.

See, by her touch his mind is whole,
Balance reliance on her role,
For she alone is not the way,
The star too, must with the wolf play.
With once enemy, answers lie,
But on him you should not rely.

When it had passed, she looked back up at the table, all of whom were staring at her.

"What?"

"You gave another prophecy. Guess we'll need to get used to that if we're keeping you around," Sirius said.

Remus passed her over the pad and she read the prophecy, raising an eyebrow.

"Sirius," Aletha said, her tone dangerous, "is there something you want to tell me about playing with werewolves?"

Sirius sighed and moved away from the table before disappearing. Danger blinked, Narcissa raised a hand to cover her mouth and Aletha was muttering, "I will not kill him, I will not kill him..."

"Pa'foo!" Harry said, looking at the big, black dog.

"They discovered my secret," Remus said. "They started trying to become Animagi—succeeded in my fifth year. James was a stag, Wormtail was a rat."

"Rather fitting," Narcissa said.

"He's in Azkaban where he belongs," Sirius said. "And well rid of him. That's how I know the moons—every month, we were out in the forest, being idiotic teenagers."

"It helped," Remus said. "Under their influence, the werewolf was calmed."

"And if Danger's prophecy can be trusted, I've got to keep doing it," Sirius said. "But what about the first bit?"

"I assume if one of us touches Remus when he's transformed, something will happen to negate the mental transformation," Narcissa said. "Remus can't rely on that person alone, because Sirius must do what he can. There's someone else who can provide answers, but we can't rely on him."

"That makes no sense," said Aletha. "Where's the point in getting the answers from this person if we can't rely on them?"

"Who cares?" Danger said. "Someone female in here needs to touch Remus once he's transformed. Let's solve that problem first, please?"

"I can adjust the wards to box Remus into a space," Narcissa said. "We will just have to approach him and touch him one by one."


Touch His Skin...

"So, did the revoking of the contract go through?" Danger said to Narcissa as Aletha approached Moony, who was growling.

"It did; I am once again Narcissa Black," Narcissa said. "Luckily for me the Ministry found it acceptable to give me the Malfoy fortune, so Draco will be able to make use of it in the future. I left one knut in the Malfoy vault. Should Lucius ever return, it will be quite aggravating for him."

Aletha reached out, her hand sensing the humming of the wards before it brushed the back—

—and she jerked back as enraged growling erupted from Moony.

"Okay, it's not me," Aletha said. "Which is just as well, I don't know how Sirius would take me being off with another man every month."

Danger smiled somewhat at the joke and approached Moony fearlessly, her own hand coming to rest on Moony's back. A shock jolted through both her and Moony before they collapsed into unconsciousness.

"Figures," Aletha said.


...Hear Her Mind

Remus came to his senses some time later, after having gone through the same wedding dream that Danger had spoken of. Like her, he had taken her hand and instantly known everything about her. It was only with a little surprise that he noted he was still in his werewolf form.

This woman is perfect for me, he thought.

Glad you think so, came another thought, which did not come from him.

Danger?

Remus?

I love you.

I love you too.

Want to get married?

Thought you'd never ask.

Is it odd that we're speaking mind to mind and not even questioning it?

After the past two days, I was accepting it as part of the deal of being magical. You mean this is something odd?

I have no idea. And it's not like I have any secrets from you anymore. Being able to talk like this is just a bonus.

Good attitude. I agree. Can I stop touching you or would that be a bad idea?

Give it a try—the wards are still active, so what harm can it do?

Danger removed herself from Remus' vicinity, but nothing changed to her eyes. Are you okay?

I'm still here.

"Well, this is a fun development," Danger said. "You wait there; I'll go find Cissa so she can remove the wards."


Friday, November 27th, 1981.

Visiting Grimmauld Place

Albus finished his breakfast and looked around the Great Hall at the students who were involved with their breakfasts. His eyes fell on Severus Snape, who was thankfully free of Azkaban, though it had taken all of his influence to persuade Bartemius Crouch Senior to let Snape return to Hogwarts, free of any measures that Crouch had wanted to inflict on him. With a nod to Minerva McGonagall, Albus went to his office, from where he flooed to Number 12, Grimmauld Place.

He arrived in the middle of barely controlled chaos.

"Greetings, Professor Dumbledore," Sirius said, chasing after the three children.

"You warned me that things were chaotic, but I had not expected this," Albus said, looking about them at the boxes and such that were strewn about. "Surely the Blacks had a house elf that could assist with the packing?"

"Yes," Remus said. "And it was the same as not having one, so Narcissa sent him to Malfoy Manor. Come with me—the kitchen's the only safe zone in this mess. Sirius, get the others."

Albus gathered his thoughts as he waited for the other adults.

"Your owl said you wanted to speak with us," Remus said when they were all gathered. "Why?"

"You are raising Harry Potter," Albus said. "I had thought that I would not disturb you, but changed my mind and decided to offer help, should you want it."

"Why would you think we need help?"

"The mailing rooms at the Ministry are still overflowing with mail directed to Harry Potter and the mail for you and Sirius has become so numerous that you also had the Ministry redirect your mail to their rooms." Remus nodded and Albus went on. "I would be willing to have some of the Hogwarts house elves sort through it for you so that you need not concern yourself with it."

"That would be appreciated—we've been worried about that."

"Your letter indicated that you were moving to a Muggle neighbourhood. Had you considered warding?"

Remus nodded to Narcissa.

"The standard Anti-Apparation and Anti-Portkey wards, as well as a variety of others," Narcissa said. "We have little desire to be approached by the Dark Lord's servants, or those with dark intentions."

Albus nodded; it seemed they had considered everything. "But his servants are in Azkaban."

"For how long, Albus?" Sirius said. "Azkaban is not impenetrable."

Albus studied the five young adults before him. They seemed to have the idea that the Death Eaters in Azkaban would escape—perhaps they thought that Voldemort would return? He considered his response for a moment.

"You think that Voldemort will return?"

"That is our belief," Remus said. "We will take precautions to ensure our protection. But we will not live our lives in fear—the moment we allow fear to rule our lives, he has won."

"I share that same belief," Albus said. "Nevertheless, for now he is gone. As you say, Remus, let us not live in fear."

"Agreed," Remus said. "On that note, may I introduce Gertrude Granger, commonly called Danger? My fiancée."

"A pleasure to meet you," Danger said, keeping herself neutral. Albus did not fail to note this.

"Likewise."

There was a noise from outside the kitchen and with a glance at Albus, Aletha collected Harry, Hermione and Draco.

"Say hello to Professor Dumbledore," Aletha said.

"'lo," they chorused.

Harry looked at Aletha. "Huggy."

"Again?" Aletha said. "And you two?"

"Sees?" Hermione said.

"Sees!" Draco said.

"No sweets," Narcissa said, ignoring their pouts. "And don't you dare, Albus."

Albus smiled and put the lemon drops back in his pocket.


Albus Realises

As Albus prepared to depart, Sirius walked with him to the Floo.

"I need a favour," Sirius said.

"Indeed?" Albus said.

"Narcissa needs to give six weeks notice to the Ministry before moving residence. I escaped to this house to regather—never intended to stay here permanently."

"And now that you have a house elsewhere, you do not relish the idea of staying here for a further six weeks."

Sirius nodded. "That's it."

"I will see what can be done, Sirius."

When he was back in his office, Albus considered. He would of course honour Sirius' request, but it did answer the question of who had been Crouch's informant—there was no one else who would have had such detailed information and the will to come forward.


To Dream The Future, Part I

A fire blazed up in the clearing, sending out warmth and light. A stag stumbled into the circle of light, collapsing dead.

A wolf cub howled, coming into the clearing after the stag, only to be picked up by a large black dog, who was accompanied by a lion. The two pulled the wolf cub between them, protecting it.

A twig snapped in the underbrush as a coral snake came along, pursued by a pack of taipans. Just before the coral snake reached the circle of light, it turned back and in a flash of light, the taipans were gone and besides the coral snake was a fox cub.

The fox cub was placed with the wolf and the coral snake, dog and lion formed a protective triangle around it. The triangle became a square when a black pegasus flew down from above.

A whimper sounded. Then another whimper was heard, quieter than before.

As they waited, they were joined by a wolf, which carried a kitten by the scruff of her neck. The kitten joined the wolf and fox cubs and the square transmuted to a pentagon. Lines of power glimmered between the five animals, rising high into the air.


Sunday, December 6th, 1981.

Interesting dream, Remus said.

There was no prophecy, Danger said. Do me a favour? Remind me never to move ever again.

Danger, never move ever again.

I thought having magic would make it easier for us.

Five adults, three children and three houses packed of belongings still takes time to decide on what to take and where to put it.

Danger conceded the point and looked up at the ceiling. Remind me why I'm marrying you again?

You're in love with me?

That works.


The Years Pass

With their move into Oxford, the group was finally settled and ready to bring up the three children in their charge. Aletha continued on with her work at St. Mungo's, Sirius returned to his work as an Auror, Remus and Danger found part time work at a bookstore in Muggle London and Narcissa was left as the primary caretaker, at least during the daytimes when the other four were working.

Remus and Danger took a trip into Diagon Alley in early January 1982 to purchase her a wand—maple and unicorn hair, ten and a half inches—and commenced Danger's magical training soon thereafter.

March and April passed, bringing with it the respective weddings of Remus to Danger and Sirius to Aletha.

The May full moon was their sixth Den-night with Remus tamed by Danger's touch.

"Friends," Narcissa said, her words unsure. "There is something we have neglected. Concerning Remus."

Concerning me? Remus said.

"What is it?" Sirius said.

"Danger's second prophecy," Narcissa said. "The one that said that Danger could tame Remus, but Remus could not rely on her alone, for Sirius should too with Remus play."

Remus and Danger swore in unison.

"Language," Aletha said, though her own anger at forgetting was also evident.

"Okay, we can't change the past," Sirius said. "We've remembered. We'll fix it up. What about her first prophecy? Does that make any more sense?"

And although they puzzled over it until they fell asleep, they still could not figure out what it meant. But they decided that full moons would always be Den-nights, though on alternating months, Remus and Sirius would be absent from the home.

The May Den-night was also the Den-night when the deal of equal shares in the children was struck and the name of Pack was coined for their little family.

Come the June full moon, the werewolf was savage, having been denied for seven months, but as months faded into each other, an uneasy balance was struck between the wolf and Remus.

Meanwhile, a certain stack of letters grew higher every now and again, as the Pack adults—excepting Danger—would write letters to Lily. It was a tradition that had begun after Halloween of 1981, but none of them could really say why they did it. But it helped, as Aletha said to Sirius. It kept hope alive.

The children themselves were growing, beginning to push their boundaries, both in physical and magical ways.

Aletha would never forget coming home from work and finding a disgruntled Sirius chopping up vegetables for dinner, whilst the rest of the Pack laughed their heads off.

"What happened?" Aletha said, sitting down at the table. She glanced at Sirius, wondering if his hair was green, or if it was a trick of the light.

"There is no doubt these three are magical," Danger said, gasping for breath.

Aletha raised an eyebrow.

"They wanted Padfoot, but Sirius didn't feel like obliging them," Narcissa said. "So they threw a fit."

"And they did accidental magic?"

"Yes, they did," Remus said. "The results were amusing—and took forever to undo."

"And what did you do?"

"What else was there to do?" Narcissa said. "I went and got the camera."

Danger passed a set of photos to Aletha.

Aletha flipped through the set—Sirius in Animagus form, fur turned green and doing some sort of tap dance—and they all gave into laughter once again.

Toilet training three children was the next challenge that presented itself, around the same time that Aletha announced that she was pregnant—the combination of which no one was none too happy about. Three toilets amongst nine people—three of whom were being toilet trained and one of whom was pregnant and would therefore experience a greater need to use a toilet in her last trimester—was a disaster waiting to happen.

A disaster that thankfully never occurred—and when the sixth month of 1983 was born, so was Meghan Lily Black, also called Pearl. For the time being, she slept in her parents' bed, charms ensuring she would not fall out. When she was old enough, she would move to her own bed—"Or she'll move in with Draco, Harry and Hermione," Sirius said once.

Her addition to the Pack didn't bother the three older Pack-cubs—they welcomed her. After all, if it was not for her, they would not have a brand new toy to play with. Of course, explaining this to Danger only got them lectured—and several times at that.

"Meghan is not a toy," Danger said, shaking her wooden spoon at the cubs. "Understood?"

"Yes, Dayger," Hermione said, echoed by Harry and Draco.

"Good. Now go and play—and leave Meghan alone."

They scampered out and weren't seen until dinner, when the issue came up again, due to their short memories.

"We play with toy!" Draco said, with evident proudness.

"DRACO REGULUS BLACK!" Narcissa said, glaring at Draco. "How many times must we tell you Meghan is not a toy?! All three of you will be having no dessert for a week!"

"We no play with her!" Hermione said, glaring back as best as she could.

"We play with toy!" Harry said, nodding.

The adults exchanged a look.

I think we were too hasty, Danger said.

Agreed. Let's find out what they mean, Remus said. He turned to the cubs. "What do you mean?"

The cubs looked at each other and then scrambled out of their chairs, followed by five bemused adults. The cubs led the adults up the stairs and into the room that would one day be Meghan's.

"There! Toy!" Harry said.

As realisation percolated through to the adults, they gave into laughter.

The toy in question? Meghan's as of yet unused crib.

Books became a staple item for all three older Pack-cubs as October passed. It was this that signalled the start of lessons every day, as Danger and Narcissa taught them shapes and numbers and the alphabet—though these lessons never lasted more than ten minutes, since the cubs would run off for some type of game or another. Still something of these lessons stuck with them, for by Christmas time, all three of them were pointing out the letters in books that were read to them.

Meghan began teething in January of 1984, to the severe displeasure of the cubs and Aletha, who suffered bites on a fairly regular basis. The cubs learned fast not to let Meghan grab hold of any limb, for she would bite on anything she could.

The winter melted into spring and with spring, came an issue of Witch Weekly that Sirius seemed all too interested in.

"What, you want us to read this?" Remus said, taking his issue from Sirius, who distributed copies to the other Pack-adults.

"Hannerlore's Descent, by Valentina Jett," Aletha said.

Silence fell as they read the story—or at least the first part of it.

"This is quite good," Narcissa said as she closed the issue.

"Hannerlore's in a bit of trouble, though," Danger said.

"I wrote it," Sirius said, his voice so soft it was almost inaudible.

"What was that?" Remus said.

"I wrote it," Sirius said, raising his voice and looking at his friends.

"So that's what you've been doing with my typewriter," Danger said. "I'd wondered. Well, go write some more. I want to know what happens next!"

Sirius grinned and bounded off to obey.

All in all, the many months had been kind to the Pack.

Author Notes: Hope you enjoyed and please, review; it encourages me with this massive undertaking I've attempted. There's a link at top to the Yahoo!Group.
Dangerverse belongs to Anne Walsh, who based it off Harry Potter, belonging to JK Rowling.
Power Rangers belongs to Disney, so far as I know.
Discworld belongs to Terry Pratchett.
Anything else belongs to Alex Collins.
Layout modelled after the Fanfic Authors layout, but was coded by Alex Collins. © 2009, all rights reversed.