sam_storyteller: (Alternate Universe)
sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-15 12:55 pm

The Spell Journal

Rating: PG-13
Summary: The spells pass from generation to generation.
Warnings: Some instances of mental tampering; nothing super-harmful.

Also available at AO3.

***

"What is it?"

A leatherbound book. The paper edges were yellowed, though the centres were still creamy white. Crisp, brittle cover. Pages well-thumbed.

"It's a journal," Harry said.

Ron made a face. "Oh hell, not another one of those," he said. "Get rid of it before it tries to eat you."

"It's not that kind of journal."

"Well, what kind then?" Hermione asked, peering at it cautiously. Harry opened it, and turned it around, showing them the first page.

A True And Detailed Account of
The Goings On of Four Loyal Friends
While Attending Hogwarts School
As Recorded by Sirius Black, Esquire
With Scurrilous Lies Added
By His Lordship James Potter
And The Continued Disapproval
Of Messrs Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew.

"That's...that's Sirius' handwriting, isn't it?" Hermione asked, uncertainly. Harry nodded. "It sounds like some sort of records-book."

"We found it this summer when we were...going through Sirius' things. It took me a while to get it unlocked," Harry said. "Lupin doesn't know I've got it."

"Harry, this is probably -- " Hermione began, but she was interrupted by Ron.

"Have a look at this!" he said, having flipped a few pages in. There were photographs attached to the page -- one, a big black dog with a small brown rat sitting on his head, the other an obviously much younger Remus Lupin, with his arm draped across the neck of a stag, waving at the camera.

"I think Sirius started keeping it when they did their Animagus transformations," Harry said quietly. "It's like...it's like a journal of all the spells they did together."

"Lupin would never have let you take this, Harry," Hermione said disapprovingly. Harry and Ron exchanged a look.

"That's why he didn't tell him," Ron said. "What sorts of things are in there?"

Harry shrugged. "I haven't finished it yet. It starts on Halloween, during their fifth year, and stops..." he flipped to the back. "They did one last spell together the day they graduated. Just about two and a half years. There's a whole big section on how they made the Marauder's Map."

"December ninth," Ron read. "Preparations for Christmas. Going to do some fire tricks on the twenty-third. Fire magic not as easy as it sounds; Potter singed off eyebrow yesterday, and the fake one Moony made for him keeps jerking. Has been slapped by three girls already." He grinned, and Harry gave him a smile in return.

"Why's this one marked?" Hermione asked, flipping to a page that was dogeared on the bottom, instead of the top like most of them.

"That's Halloween, Seventh Year," Harry replied. "I...I thought you might be interested in it."

Hermione smoothed the page, fussily, and read aloud. "Halloween. Going to do some Divination of our own, as Divs professor has proved entirely useless in teaching us anything. As usual. Moony found a spell, but is being wet blanket. Wormtail also. Not sure how I ever made friends with two wet blankets." She frowned. "Then there's a different handwriting."

"Keep reading," Harry replied.

"I am not a wet blanket, Black, and I'll thank you not to leave this bloody thing lying open on my bed with the announcement that I am. Big hugs and kisses, Moony." She sighed, and kept reading. "Now that Moony's had his say, am firm in the idea that he ought to lead the ritual. Potter going to kill me. Can't be helped. Harry, what's that supposed to mean?"

"Keep reading."

Hermione rolled her eyes. "It looks like a recipe from there on."

"That's the potion. Skip it."

"Potion made. Moon waxing, fortunately not full moon. Have recruited said One (1) girl as required for spell. Evans not best pleased, but easily bribed. Details of ritual to follow." Hermione and Ron both made 'ooooh' sounds in unison. "Preparations made. Evans and Potter to lead, much against Evans' will, but Moony staunchly refuses to cooperate. (Sounds like a scandal there, Harry.) Insubordination has been noted. Must conclude now, as Potter is being a tit."

Hermione pulled a wry face, and continued.

"Report after ritual, as per usual: Must have gotten the potion wrong. Entire gang was knocked unconscious, somehow made it to hospital wing from which I write this. Wormtail whinging about something, am not sure what. Def. this is not for the faint of heart. Must report failure. Much self-flagellation to follow for at least two minutes. Will suffer MONTHS and MONTHS of Moony gloating. May be forced to suffocate Evans with pillow. And then it's signed, S. Black." Hermione closed the book. "Why'd you have it marked?"

Harry took the book back, fingers spreading over it possessively. "Earlier on, Sirius talks about doing a divination spell to see what their future's like. This was supposed to be the spell, but it didn't work. I thought maybe we ought to try it."

"Harry, don't be foolish. If a group of seventh-years couldn't do it, we certainly can't," Hermione said crossly.

"Well, they did something wrong, didn't they?" Ron asked. "Be good to know what it was."

"Who cares? We don't want to get blown up!"

"Bet you could figure it out," Ron said, wrinkling his nose at her. "You just don't want to spend the time trying."

"Give me the book," Hermione commanded, sharply. Harry and Ron grinned at each other as she stuffed it in her bag. "You just wait, Ron Weasley," she said. "I bet it's something stupid like a missing potion ingredient."

***

"Listen, I just don't think this is wise."

"You're the one who found it!"

Remus Lupin leaned in the chair, dangling his head over the edge of the back, to look up at Sirius, standing behind him. "I meant it as an intellectual curiousity, Sirius. Not everything I show you two is an invitation to try it out."

"And that's your problem," James said, feet propped on the table in the Common Room, book open on his lap. "Intellectual curiousities. You spend too much time in your head, Remus."

"As opposed to the pair of you, who are determined to have yours detached from your body?" Remus asked. He tipped the chair back on two legs, the heels of his shoes caught on the edge of the table. "It's dangerous, James, and I'd be more comfortable if we did something a little less life-threatening for Halloween."

"That's the point of it!" Sirius said, exasperated.

"I agree with Lupin," Lily put in.

"Backed by the Head Girl, there's credit for you," Sirius gestured at her sarcastically.

"Not helping, Evans," Remus sighed.

"Listen, you need me more than I need you," Lily continued. "I'm only doing this because you promised you'd not make trouble for an entire month, Sirius."

"Or at least not get caught," James murmured.

"I heard that, Potter. You're Head Boy, you should know better."

"I thought for sure you'd want in on this," Sirius said earnestly. Perhaps a little too earnestly. "Think of the prestige. Think of the accomplishment!"

"Think of the grievous bodily harm," Peter added, bent over his books, next to Remus.

"It's just so chancy," Lily said. "This potion has hallucinogens in it, for pity's sake."

"What's a hallucinogen?" Sirius asked.

Lily glared at him. "You're not making me any more confident about this."

James waved a hand irritably. "It's just belladonna, we've used it dozens of times in potions before."

"Not ones you had to drink. It's poisonous too, you know."

"It's just a tiny amount, it's harmless," Sirius said. "You've got no reason not to trust us, we're doing better in Potions than you are."

Lily opened her mouth to reply, but couldn't refute it. "What about safety? Who's going to be keeping an eye out while we do this?"

"It's not as though we're going out and getting drunk in a Muggle pub or something," James said. "We take a little sip. That's all."

"You know I'm not so sure I want to see my future," Remus said suddenly, as Lily rolled her eyes and wandered over to the fireplace.

"Liar," Sirius replied. Remus rubbed his forehead, closing his eyes.

"I'm in on one condition," he said finally. "We're not doing it...in the usual place."

Sirius gave Lily a sidelong glance. "Oh," he said.

"We'll do it in the castle, in that trap-room James found below the library," Remus continued, too softly for her to hear. "At least there, if something happens, it's contained."

***

"I recognise this potion," Hermione said, over breakfast a few days later. She had the journal out, and was making notes on a sheet of parchment as she ate. "It's famous."

"It is?" Ron asked, glancing at Harry. "Wait, let me guess, it's mentioned in Hogwarts, A History."

"Shakespeare, actually," Hermione said loftily.

"Who?" Ron asked. Harry and Hermione exchanged a look.

"They really should teach a Muggle literature class," Hermione sighed. "It's a famous spell from a play about a king. They perform it onstage."

Ron looked intrigued. "So...what's it say?"

"Well, for one thing," Hermione said, "It'll tell us what they might have done wrong, making the potion. And you know it says here someone has to kiss before the spell goes."

Harry and Ron glanced at each other. "You kiss her," they said in unison.

"Oh, thanks ever so," Hermione rolled her eyes. "It also says there have to be two witnesses, so we need one more anyway. We can either pick a girl and one of you two utter, utter gits can kiss her, or we can pick someone I want and I can kiss him."

Ron scowled. "We'll pick another girl. Someone who can keep mum."

"What about Ginny?" Harry asked. "She'd be in for something like this, and I wouldn't mind kissing her. Kissing Hermione'd be weird. Kissing Ginny'd be like kissing a sister."

"And that's not weird?" Ron asked. "I wouldn't kiss her and she IS my sister!"

Harry gave him a pointed look, and Hermione kicked his shin. His mouth formed a small 'o' of amazement.

"Sister-fancier!" he accused, in a hushed voice. "If you lay a hand on her I'll strangle you, Potter!"

"How about a lip?" Harry asked, and ducked the bread thrown good-naturedly at him.

"She's a good person to have along," Hermione agreed, thoughtfully. "She'll keep quiet and she's really good with potions."

"She is?" Ron asked, grudge against his sister-fancying best friend forgotten.

"Yeah. Even Snape said she 'wasn't atrocious'," Hermione remarked, dropping her voice to imitate the Potions Master. "The potion isn't too hard, I can do it, but I'd feel better if she was along as well."

"It's settled then," Harry said. "You'll make the potion, I'll kiss Ginny, and -- "

" -- you'll do what now?" Ginny asked, passing. Harry blushed bright red.

"Shh, it's for a spell," Hermione hissed. She pulled her down to the bench and the two bent their heads together as Hermione explained it. When she was done, Ginny looked at Harry speculatively.

"All right," she agreed. "You can't be any worse at it than Dean Thomas is."

The two boys were struck speechless while Hermione and Ginny giggled.

***

"You can take the blindfold OFF her now, James," Remus said, for the third time. "And lift that ridiculous deafness spell, it's perverse what you're doing."

James had insisted that Lily be not only blind but deaf for her trip to the trap-room, a cool, dry, boarded-up classroom accessed only by a secret stairway hidden in the library floor. Now he was walking her in apparent circles, using his arm to guide her. Peter blocked him, and James sighed.

"Spoil my fun," he said, removing the blindfold and tapping her ears with his wand. She glanced around.

"This is quaint," she said finally, taking in the locked door, empty dusty shelves, and squashy, battered furniture the boys had hauled in to make the place more comfortable. Sirius, sitting cross-legged nearby, grunted as he wrote in a small leather bound journal.

"We've got to do one more thing," James said. "There's supposed to be two leaders and at least two witnesses. We've got three, so that's not a problem. Evans has to lead because one of them has to be a girl. Which of us is going to do it?"

"I nominate James," Peter said promptly. James shot him a crooked grin.

"I want Remus," Lily replied.

"Why?" James asked indignantly.

Lily scowled. "I read the ritual, I know there's a kiss."

"So?"

"So Lupin's not going to try to stick his tongue down my throat like you would."

"Shows what you know," Remus said, grinning. "I'm afraid I'm out. Not qualified."

"Why not?" Lily asked.

"Reasons," Remus replied evasively.

"Scared of kissing me?"

"No. But James is better at this sort of thing than I am, anyway."

Lily put her hands on her hips. "Potter, if you so much as move your lips, I'll stop the ritual and eviscerate you."

"I love it when they talk dirty," James said with a grin. "Come on, let's set up."

There was a magical fire to kindle under a small cauldron, and a dozen different ingredients to add, in a certain order. They let Remus handle it, while Peter stoked the fire and James set out five cups, stolen from the Three Broomsticks. Sirius was still working in the notebook, and Lily watched the potion, mistrustful of Sirius' research, or perhaps just sullen that it was James she was going to have to do the ritual with.

When it was ready -- a strange, almost incandescent golden colour -- Remus measured five careful spoonfuls, one into each glass, and handed them around.

"Sirius, stop writing slanderous lies and get over here," James said. Sirius held up a finger, continued to make one last notation in the book, and closed it. He took a glass from Remus, and found his place in the circle round the cauldron.

"All right. We drink, and then James and Lily have to read their lines," Sirius said, handing them each a crumpled but legible sheet of parchment. "Then you two kiss, and then you sit down."

"And then what?" Peter asked. Sirius rolled his eyes.

"And then we see the future," he said. "Ready everyone?"

"Bottoms up," James said, and they all downed their potions at the same time.

***

"Where're we gonna do it?"

The four of them sat in deep contemplation in the common room one evening, a few days later, Hermione making notes about the spell, Harry reading Sirius' spelljournal idly, Ron sorting out small jars with the proper ingredients. Ginny watched Ron, chin in her hands, and asked the sensible questions.

"What do you mean?" Harry asked, looking up.

"Well, we can't do it in your dormitory room," she said disdainfully. "And we know we can't do it in mine or Hermione's. The common room is out, anyone might walk in on us and it's generally frowned upon to be drinking potions with belladonna in them, so I don't want to get into trouble."

"Famous last words," Hermione muttered.

"We could use the Room of Requirement," Harry suggested. "If we need it to, it'll have a locking door."

"Are we sure it won't hinder the spell? It's a magical room," Ron asked.

"Never hurt us when we were doing Dark Arts lessons there," Hermione replied. "I think it's a good idea. As much as any of this is."

"Come on, Hermione, you've done all this work, let's at least find out if it's done right," Ron coaxed. "Besides, Harry's got investment in it now."

"Two sickles for ingredients from Knockturn Alley that we couldn't get from our potions supplies is hardly investment," Hermione sniffed. "Anyway, if it works we can show up that old fraud of a Divinations professor as well."

"You're not going to tell her we did it, are you?" Ron asked, brows drawing together.

"No, but I'll know," Hermione said smugly. "And me knowing is almost as good."

"So when can we try it?" Ginny asked. She picked up one of the bottles Ron was sorting through, shaking it. "I'm all for doing it as soon as possible, I want to know if I pass all my OWLs."

"I don't think it works that way," Hermione murmured. "I don't think we get to ask."

"Well, if we do, that's what I'm asking," she retorted.

"I was thinking..." Harry said slowly. They all looked at him. "Well, they did it on Halloween. I thought it'd be nice if we did it then, too. It's only a few days away, and we can sneak up to the Room of Requirement after the feast."

"We're really going to do this," Ron said, placing the chosen bottles in a soft leather bag, and packing the rest back into his supplies case. "What do you think the future'll be like?"

"Or we could blow ourselves up like they did," Hermione sighed. "Still, it might be nice..."

She looked slightly wistful, and Harry wondered what it was Hermione wanted to see. Ginny wanted to know if she would pass her OWLs, a pressing concern for a fifth-year; Ron had confided to him the night before that he wanted to know if they were going to be Aurors. He'd agreed, though he also...

A deep dark part of him also just wanted to see if they'd survive to graduate. After all, said the little voice he tried hard to ignore, the odds were stacked against it.

***

"I conjure you, by that which you profess answer me -- even till destruction sicken, answer me," James said, reading from the parchment.

"Speak, demand, we'll answer," Lily replied. "Say if thou'dst rather hear it from our mouths, or from our masters'?"

"Call 'em, let me see 'em," James said unsteadily. The potion was beginning to make his head spin. He could already see Peter propped against one wall, knees drawn up against his chest, arms resting on knees, wary but relaxed. Sirius was sitting cross-legged a few feet away, and Remus -- advanced spell work always exhausted him -- was curled up, head resting on Sirius' thigh while Sirius stroked his hair comfortingly, almost as though he was enjoying the feel of Remus' hair as much as Remus enjoyed the feel of his hand.

"Come high or low," Lily's voice was trembling too, "Thyself and office deftly show."

James put his parchment down and swayed forward, and saw her walking uncertainly towards him. He caught her by the hip, and after a few false starts, kissed her chastely on the lips. She barely kissed back.

They toppled to the ground, James leaning back on his hands, Lily next to him, head resting on his shoulder, red hair spilling over his shirt.

"What happens now?" Sirius asked, in a slow, measured voice.

"Dunno," James answered. "Remus, what'd it say?"

"Wait," Remus slurred. "It'll happen."

The flames under the cauldron were the only illumination in the room, and steam was beginning to pour off the surface of the remaining liquid; they watched it, idly, until it began to swirl upwards, into a column.

"Wicked," Sirius murmured.

"Wizard," James replied, with a grin. Lily and Peter laughed, then fell suddenly silent.

The strange foggy column was moving, and a form was appearing inside it. They watched as it solidified into a tall, grey-haired man, with a gaunt face and shabby, patched clothing.

Sirius' fingers tightened in Remus' hair.

"That's Moony," James gasped, staring hard. "Don't you look ill..."

Remus, still resting against Sirius, closed his eyes as if to blot it out, then re-opened them. The man still stood there, staring at them. He had deep hollows under his eyes, like Remus did just after the full moon, and he looked almost...haunted. And very, very alone.

"What's it mean?" Lily whispered. The man moved, suddenly, pointing a thin hand at Peter.

A finger was missing. The hand had a sort of silvery sheen to it, as well, that was hard to see in the dim light.

"Traitor," he rasped. They all turned to Peter, who was almost gibbering with fear.

"I am not!" Peter said defiantly.

"Traitor, Judas traitor!"

"No, I never did anything -- "

"You! You betrayed them."

"What did I do!" Peter wailed, but the man flipped his hand over, and suddenly it was whole again. Flames leapt up from the palm, and it moved to illuminate Sirius' face.

"So sorry, Sirius," he said, in that same hoarse voice, though more gentle now. "Twelve years in Azkaban. I am so sorry."

Sirius' eyes widened, and he clutched Moony, whose fingers were digging into his knee. The hand closed, making a fist, dousing the light. The fingers opened again, and hovered over where Sirius' hand rested in Remus' hair.

"The last one," the older man whispered, sadly. "Last, last, last. Dead or turned traitor. Only you. Only me."

"No," Remus whispered back. "No, you're wrong -- "

"No," the man echoed. "I am right. But..." he drew back, standing harshly upright, and looking at the ceiling, sharp jaw thrown into high contrast by the light of the cauldron fire. "See what is left to you..."

His body faded, and in its place another one appeared, shorter, with tousled black hair --

"James!" Sirius cried, looking from the James in the fog to the James sitting next to Lily. The boy didn't seem to see them.

"No," James said softly, looking at the boy. "He's too young, and he's -- "

He turned to Lily, suddenly. "He's got your eyes," he gasped. Lily was looking hungrily at the boy, as if he were an unclear memory seen for the first time.

"Mum?" the boy asked, voice echoing strangely. "Dad? It's Harry. I miss you. Sirius is gone too..."

Sirius let out a heartfelt little moan.

"And it's his fault," continued the young, echoing voice. "Peter. He did it all..."

"I didn't!" Peter cried out. "I haven't done anything!"

The fog faded, suddenly, as the effects of the potion began to wear off; James lunged for the boy that looked so much like him, but he faded into air as quickly as he'd come. James sprawled on the stone, picking himself up slowly. Remus was pushing himself to his feet, offering his hand to Sirius. Both were staring at Peter.

"My god Peter, what did you do?" Lily asked softly.

"Nothing!" Peter gasped. "I swear! I'd never betray you."

"He said you went to Azkaban," Remus said, facing Sirius. "Why would they send you to Azkaban?"

"I haven't done anything!" Peter was almost hysterical. "James, tell them!"

"He won't have to," said another voice, and all five of them started. A bearded, berobed figure loomed out of the shadows.

"Dumbledore!" Sirius breathed, at the same moment the Headmaster said firmly, "Obliviate!"

***

The Room of Requirement had prepared itself for them; the walls were lined with huge, comfortable couches, and there was a place in the centre of the floor with a cauldron already waiting for them. Harry read over his lines again as Hermione and Ginny prepared the potion, Ron hovering and trying to help by handing them the ingredients.

Hermione dropped the last one in, and the potion glowed golden. Harry pushed himself off the couch and came to see. Four glasses had appeared, along with a measuring spoon, on the rack behind Hermione.

"Ready?" Hermione said, breathlessly, as she measured out the doses. "Remember, if you get sick, tell the room what you require."

They nodded in unison, and on her cue, tipped the glasses back, letting the bland liquid slide down their throats. Hermione folded herself into a corner of one of the couches, and Ron settled onto the floor, back against the arm she was leaning against.

"I conjure you, by that which you profess answer me -- even till destruction sicken, answer me," Harry read, careful not to stumble.

"Speak, demand, we'll answer," Ginny's high, nervous voice replied. "Say if thou'dst rather hear it from our mouths, or from our masters'?"

"Call 'em, let me see 'em," Harry said, slower now. He felt dizzy, and glanced back at Ron and Hermione, who were giving him encouraging looks.

"Come high or low," Ginny read, the paper wrinkling as she clutched it tightly, "Thyself and office deftly show."

Harry bent and knocked his nose against hers, clumsily pulling off his glasses to give her a quick, perfunctory kiss. Her tongue slid against his lip briefly, and he pulled back, stumbling into Hermione's couch and falling onto it. Ginny, grinning, slipped in between him and Hermione. Her hand fumbled for his.

"Here's where we find out," Hermione murmured. "Look..."

Steam, pouring off the top of the cauldron, funneled out into the room and began to form columns, almost like the frame of a stage. Figures began to appear, rapidly, and Ginny gasped, squeezing Harry's hand tighter.

That was Kingsley Shacklebolt, he saw, not much changed, a little older-looking, blood crusting the side of his face. He held something in his arms, like a bulky coat --

"Ginny!" Hermione blurted. She was older but unmistakeable; her head, hanging over the older man's arm, was turned to face them. Harry felt his chest tighten, then release slowly when he saw the vision-Ginny draw a breath. Kingsley laid her body in front of them, where it lingered for a minute before fading with him.

Coming behind him were Tonks and Remus Lupin, with Ron's arms around their shoulders. Ron appeared to be missing a leg, and behind him, a patch-eyed Bill followed, carrying the body of a silver-haired girl who certainly wasn't breathing. They left Ron and Fleur -- it had to be Fleur -- where Shacklebolt had laid Ginny, and Harry saw Lupin glance quickly at Tonks before looking away, as they faded.

He could hear Ron's breath catch; the next person to appear was Hermione, horribly scarred, rocking a small child with red hair and green eyes, who looked at Harry intently.

"Why did you leave your son?" Hermione asked him, and Harry felt the real Hermione shift uncomfortably.

Then there were two more figures in the mist, barely visible, one with his hand on the other's shoulder.

"Voldemort," Ron cried, scrambling backwards against the couch.

"Harry!" Ginny exclaimed, as the other figure became clear. Harry, older, with broader shoulders, glasses gone, green eyes blank and cruel. The vision-Harry looked up at the horrible caricature of humanity that was Lord Voldemort...

...and smiled.

"NO!" Harry shouted, leaping forward, but the steam was dissipating, and he only stumbled into the cauldron, catching himself and pulling away quickly as it burned. He turned to the others, chest heaving, and saw them staring at him.

"I wouldn't..." he gasped. "I never would -- "

"That was your child," Hermione said, shocked.

"Bill's eye...and my..." Ron was murmuring to himself.

Ginny merely sat, pale and wide-eyed, staring at Harry.

"It's not true!" Harry repeated. "We did something wrong -- "

"Perhaps," said a deep voice. They all started and turned. Albus Dumbledore emerged from the shadows, his face a mask of sorrow.

"Why must every generation insist on knowing more than it should?" he sighed. Hermione made a small noise of discovery.

"They didn't do anything wrong," she said softly. Dumbledore shook his head. "They did it right, and saw what they were supposed to, and then..."

"I thought it was for the best," he said. "I still do..."

Harry and Hermione both went for their wands, but his was already out; the Obliviate fell on them just before they could draw.

Well.

On three of them.

Harry fell to the floor, and Hermione collapsed against Ron. Ginny, bracing for it, stared at him in shock.

"A...aren't you going to obliviate me?" she asked, in a small voice. "Am I in...extra trouble?"

"In a way, my dear," he said, and she winced. "Unfortunately...I learn from my mistakes."

She watched him as he sat on the edge of the couch, facing her. "What your predecessors failed to understand, or to impart to you four, was that time is important when one is divining. Halloween..." he shook his head. "It shows us a future, yes. This is a night of darkness, do you understand that?"

She nodded.

"It shows our...darkest futures," he continued. "The only misfortune is that, in the case of those who last performed this ritual...the darkest future is the one which came about."

"Oh," she said quietly.

"And the mistake I made last time was to allow the memory of that future to fade entirely," he sighed. "This time I will not."

She didn't understand, for a moment, and then suddenly she did.

"They won't remember," she said, "but I will?"

He nodded.

"The weight is on your shoulders," he said. "And I know that is a heavy weight to bear, but Harry has his burdens, and Ron is not strong enough."

"And I am?" she demanded.

"Yes," he said calmly. "You are. Hermione could not do so ruthlessly what you can. Ron could not do it at all. Harry..."

"...doesn't deserve to have to," she finished.

"You chose to see the future," he reminded her, and did not reach out to comfort as she put her face in her hands and wept.

"Remember these things," he said, his voice now low and a little harsh. "They are yours to prevent. Be stronger than you were in that future."

She found a handkerchief pressed into one hand, and she wiped her eyes with it, thrusting it back at him quickly.

"Now you must help me bring these three to the hospital wing," he commanded, and she stood, glad to have something to do. "They will wake with splitting headaches, I daresay, and Harry may have a nasty bruise on his elbow..."

***

When Madam Pomfrey checked on the children that night, who were still as confused as to how they'd arrived there as she was, she found most of them asleep, but Sirius Black was still awake, shoulders hunched, working on something. He'd asked her if he could send someone to fetch a book and writing instruments from his trunk; she thought he wanted to work on homework, and had allowed it.

"What're you working on, then?" a soft voice said, and she realised Remus was awake too, though lying down.

"Journal," Sirius grunted.

"I thought you finished recording our unutterable failure already," the other boy said. Pomfrey listened closely for a clue as to what they'd been up to, since they wouldn't tell her.

"I did. This is my own journal."

"I didn't know you had one of your own."

She saw the boy's silhouette nod. "I talk about stuff in it."

"What kinds of stuff?"

"Dunno. Stuff I think. Like, you know how we messed up this evening?"

"Yeah?"

"Well, I mean, do I really want to know? Cos then I'm trapped, like. If I see what's going to happen is there anything I can do about it? No. And that's no good. So I think I'm just as happy not knowing."

"Oh," said the brown-haired boy, softly. "I...I wouldn't have minded knowing some things."

"Like what?"

"Like, am I going to have a good life, and fall in love, and the rest," Remus whispers. "But maybe I don't want to know."

Twenty years later, give or take, she's reminded of that night, she's not sure why; perhaps it's because Dumbledore has again brought children to her door with strange injuries, warning her not to tell them how they got there. Again a dark-haired boy, James' son, has sat up in the night, this time to read a book she can't identify. And again there is that voice from the next bed over, in the dark.

"Harry," says little Ginny Weasley, "you should sleep."

"I want to know what we did wrong," Harry answers. "Maybe later on he wrote about it."

"Maybe it's not a spell that you can do right," Ginny says. "Maybe it just plain doesn't work."

Harry answers her with a sigh. "I just wanted to see..."

"But what if it was awful?"

"But it won't be," Harry says with confidence.

"You don't know that," Ginny answers, and she sounds close to tears.

"Here, why're you upset?" Harry asks, and Ginny sniffles in reply. "Do you want me to call Madam Pomfrey?"

"No," Ginny says, and there are definite overtones of grief in her voice now.

Pomfrey hears Harry shifting and climbing out of the bed; normally she would stop a student from doing this, but she has been a Healer for many years, and knows when her own powers to stop pain are less than another's. She can see Harry climb onto Ginny's bed, on top of the covers, and wrap the girl in his arms, and she doesn't stop it. Instead she turns, and leaves them to whatever private mourning is between them.

"I'm scared," Ginny says, into Harry's shoulder, and he feels her tears where her face is pressed to his neck.

"Don't be scared," he says awkwardly, because he has never really realised that Ginny might have thoughts different from him, or from Ron, or her other brothers.

"Don't be scared," say two voices, one twenty years gone, one very present and real, and comforting. "Don't be scared of the future."

END

[identity profile] coconutspy.livejournal.com 2005-08-14 06:14 am (UTC)(link)
I loved this for so many reasons.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2005-08-14 05:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Thanks :) I had fun with it.

[identity profile] terrybell.livejournal.com 2005-09-01 05:31 pm (UTC)(link)
oh. and oh.

and then, robert frost.

I don't think there are any buttons left for you to push now.

[identity profile] ryuuhi.livejournal.com 2005-10-31 06:14 am (UTC)(link)
Beautiful and chilling.

[identity profile] jazmin-firewing.livejournal.com 2006-05-28 04:42 pm (UTC)(link)
Much much love. Even for the creepiness. Nay, maybe especially for the creepiness. Very fitting, very cool.

[identity profile] drgaellon.livejournal.com 2006-08-10 02:33 pm (UTC)(link)
Wow. Wowza. And Robert Frost. Marry me! :)

(Anonymous) 2007-01-17 10:28 am (UTC)(link)
I thought Halloween would affect the spell... That was great

[identity profile] issahime.livejournal.com 2007-04-29 06:53 am (UTC)(link)
It's sad to think that the Marauders had some warning of what would happen here, and Dumbledore blew it all to hell. Makes me not like him very much at the moment... But, a wonderful little story. Dark and... Halloween-esque, I suppose. And you ended it with Robert Frost, so bonus points.

[identity profile] complexphoenix.livejournal.com 2007-08-31 03:35 pm (UTC)(link)
Very haunting. I like!

[identity profile] jkivela.livejournal.com 2008-05-08 03:01 pm (UTC)(link)
Very awesome, and a good version of manipulative!Dumbledore.

Can you tell I'm doing nothing but reading your fic at work these days? :)

[identity profile] jonaht.livejournal.com 2009-09-17 09:52 pm (UTC)(link)
I recently copied that exact bit of poem in my journal. It's a bit odd when I see something I had posted appear elsewhere around the same time frame. Even if this was posted long ago. I just had a conversation about the possibility of time-traval and when reading your old posts I feel like I have in a way.

I really love your Remus/Sirius combos. Excellent stuff.

And good Lord, has drgaellon been proposing for all these years. Rofl.
sivaroobini: (Marauders)

[personal profile] sivaroobini 2013-05-03 06:20 am (UTC)(link)
Oh my god. I was not expecting that, though I should have. I really, really loved the interaction between the Marauders and Lily and, later, the Trio and Ginny. And I loved that it was the spell from Macbeth; hidden from the Muggles in plain sight, eh? I wonder how many other supposed silly fake rituals would actually have been real spells in the magical world.

It hurt so much, to realise that the Marauders had had a vision of exactly what would indeed come to pass and they knew, they could have prevented it and they would have been together and alive and Harry would have had a family and the idea of everything that could have been hurts. And oh my god, the dark future that Harry and the others saw. Some part of me was screaming in denial at the idea of Harry abandoning them and joining Voldemort. And Dumbledore, you bastard. And oh, poor Ginny, my heart ached s much for her; that's a horrible burden to bear. And the last lines, oh my goodness, they really brought home the parallels across twenty years and the pathos and I was on the verge of tears.

And Robert Frost. Good gods. THE FEELS.