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The Witch of the Westmoreland

Started

10 February 2009

Completed

21 February 2009

Chapters

11

Followed by

Going Home

The Witch of the Westmoreland is an AU of the Dangerverse with a hint of crossover with canon.

SummaryEdit

Based on the folk song, no lyrics. Opens in canon Marauder era: Remus has been cursed, and the Marauders have a week to save his life. Acting on a tip from an unlikely source, they set out on a quest that will change the war, and their own lives, forever.

–Summary on FanFiction

Opens in canon Marauder era: Remus has been cursed, and his friends have a week to save his life. Acting on a tip from the unlikeliest of sources, the Marauders set out on a quest that will change the war, and their lives, forever. Based on the folk song of the same name. Companion piece to Going Home.

–Summary on Fanficauthors

SynopsisEdit

Chapter 1[1]

Remus has been struck down with a curse, intended for James, which causes him immense pain if he does or handles magic: as a werewolf he is inherently magical and therefore his next transformation will be fatal. Severus offers Lily a faint hope, a rumour of a healer who does not use magic, but can cure anything short of death.

What Severus has found turns out to be a kind of riddle giving directions to the healer. Although his fellow Marauders are suspicious of anything from Severus, they are willing to risk it for Remus' sake—even revealing their Animagus capabilities to Lily. They work out that Remus will ride on Prongs, with Peter above on a broom, followed by Sirius. They have to find a family of red-haired males—probably Weasleys—and thereafter someone "small with great eyes".

Lily takes the riddle to Remus, who is reminded of something that he asks her to research.

The Marauders are ready set out to find the biggest Weasley family—five boys whose mum is Gideon and Fabian Prewett's sister—but not before they eat.

Chapter 2[2]

They set out as the sun sets. Lily and Dumbledore bid them farewell, the latter adding something to their baggage without fanfare, the former holding a mirror with which to keep in touch with James. She asks permission to visit Hogwarts to research something.

Remus dreams while they travel, of a woman singing and dancing while another plays guitar, and wonders who she is.

They arrive at the Burrow, but their instructions tell them to pass it by: Remus is still asleep but speaks aloud giving them further directions. Although they are tired and achy his three friends press on.

As dawn breaks they arrive at a house shaped like a tower. Remus approaches on foot while the others rest: he follows a small owl and is met by a woman who asks him what he seeks. Satisfied with his answer she gives him yet further directions…which at this point make little sense.

Although they are tired, the Marauders agree to continue: Remus has been told the path will only work this way. Sirius makes a token protest before subsiding, and Remus shows them a horn which he has to blow at a certain point. When they hear it, they have to help him catch the witch, but without harming her: apparently this quest has only ever been successful when a group like theirs has attempted it. They still do not know why Dumbledore included the mysterious black object in their supplies.

As they plod wearily onwards, Sirius imagines how he would have reacted in Remus' place: the scenario which comes to mind is eerily familiar to the reader…

Chapter 3[3]

They arrive at their destination, and Remus leaves his friends while he walks into the strange valley towards the lake. He has not told them that he will have to conjure a gift for the Witch, fearing they might try to help him: he feels certain he must do this for himself. He resists the temptation to simply pluck a spray of the particular flower required and casts the spell, enduring the intense pain caused thereby. The Witch appears from the lake, and he is momentarily distracted by disappointment that she is not the girl of whom he has been dreaming—not to mention she is apparently naked—only to see her change into a black horse and take off. He sounds the horn and his friends arrive to help him.

Peter is overhead, watching as Padfoot catches up with the horse—which suddenly sprouts wings and takes flight. He is not comforted to realise that it is all down to him now…and Sirius mutters something unhelpful into the bargain. His first attempt to order her down results in his wand being dislodged, and he delves into the bag attached to his broom, looking for some rope. He is startled to find something metallic—a silver sword—which he brandishes at her, demanding that she help his friend. After the briefest of standoffs she plunges to the ground, landing next to the Marauders fully-clothed. She bids Peter sheathe his sword and Remus his wand. She is willing to heal Remus if he is willing to pay the price: this is the first that his friends have heard about any "price". It transpires that in return for his healing, Remus must promise to "remain with the one who performs it, to serve her all his days and never leave her side again".

James and Sirus do not take this well, and while they yell at the Witch Remus wanders off around the lake. He is happy to observe that it is a beautiful place, and that he checked with the Witch how she lives her life. He also wonders who else lives here…

Sirius is especially cross on his friend's behalf, and he engages in a shouting match with the Witch. The friends are dismayed when she reveals that she has healed Remus' body, but the wounds to his soul are beyond her. Just then a message comes in over James' mirror: Lily has arrived close by and has something Remus needs. James sends a Patronus to guide her in, and clings to the faint hope that whatever she has brought might make the difference.

Chapter 4[4]

Remus encounters a second woman along the lakeshore, who is carrying the flowers he conjured for the Witch: she wears a dress like the Witch, but blue rather than red. His mind very quickly narrows down to but a single thought:

She's real
and it turns out that she is just as pleased to see him for much the same reason.

In no time at all they are locked at the lips, ignoring the cold water dribbling from the flowers. When they separate she reveals that she was able to get to know him from the flowers, and that she can give him corresponding knowledge of herself through the same medium. He plucks a flower, and they watch her life so far.

In the meantime the argument between Sirius and the Witch is getting ugly. She is furious when he accuses her of being in league with Voldemort and asks how she can know that none of them will betray her. James objects on behalf of his friends, stating that he would trust all of them with his life…with Lily's also. She turns to him and tells him that he would have done—and that he and Lily would have died. At this point Lily arrives, breathless, and James demands to know what the Witch is talking about. She reveals that she is speaking of a possible world in which Remus was not cursed, because James managed to dodge the curse himself, where none of those present would have lived to be 40 years old. When Lily asks how that could be, the Witch tells her that she needs to speak to James and Sirius about the other reason—besides their treatment of Severus—that she resisted loving James for so long. Lily is initially dismissive, but the Witch warns that this would have led to many lives being lost or blighted. James is confused when she turns to Peter: she asks him whether she is right that he hoped to hide the pain until it went away, and he tearfully agrees. Lily confronts the two others and Sirius scoffs, at which point she explodes: this is exactly her point, that Peter is supposed to be his friend, but when he is not ignoring him he is running him down. She accuses James of being no better: no wonder it took her so long to become his friend when she could see exactly how he treated someone he called a friend. Sirius protests that it was all in fun, but James is staggered when he realises she is correct. The implications are sickening: Voldemort specialises in finding someone's weak points, and Peter could have been sucked in deeper and deeper until he could see no way out. He and Sirus come to the same conclusion: they would have deserved what they got for letting down a friend. They move over to where Peter is sitting with the sword: Sirius has been wondering where it came from. Peter asks for his wand, which James retrieves, and says he doesn't really hate them, but… James ruefully admits that they aren't nearly as funny to anybody else as they think they are, and cuts Sirius off before he says something rude when the Witch interjects. Peter turns the sword over and is astonished at the engraved name thus revealed. Sirius suddenly begins to laugh and is followed by the others when he manages to gasp out what is so funny. Once James has recovered enough he looks around for Lily, and discovers that she is with Remus. When they realise what Remus is doing they are staggered: Sirius in particular is suspicious that things have moved so quickly. While they watch the woman in blue accept the ring that Remus is offering her, the Witch tells Sirius that he does not understand "love", that he can in fact "love" only himself. While Sirius splutters, lost for words, Lily rejoins James. It turns out that there was more to the story than they had realised, which prompted her to visit Remus' father who gave her the ring—the same ring he had given Remus' mother—and she followed the directions from that other source to arrive in the nick of time. Sirius recovers his voice enough to protest, and bemoan the lack of help available. When Remus queries this, Sirius bitterly tells him that the Witch cannot help him, at which the girl with Remus giggles. When Sirius rather rudely asks who she is, the Witch reveals that this is her sister, who will actually be the one to heal Remus.

Chapter 5[5]

Sirius is speechless but Peter greets the new girl, who says she has no actual name. Remus is happy to set this aside for the moment, asking James and Lily to be "the other two witnesses". Sirius makes one last token objection to the speed of all this, and wonders whether the two women are even human considering how they were discovered. It turns out that they are, but they use a different sort of magic owing a great deal to this place where they, and their mother, were born: they might have a distant ancestor who was not human but her blood has been thinned by all the human men who came for healing and fathered children.[Note 1] Remus suggests that they get on with things and Lily concurs: she will lend him the broom she used to get to his father's place when he's ready. James is willing to carry her, but his back still aches from carrying Remus: the Witch is willing to fix that if he stops grumbling and takes his proper place. He does so, and Remus and his intended make their vows…and vanish in a cloud of golden flowers! Peter and Sirius set off to put up the Marauders' tent, while the Witch heals James in his Animagus form. Exhausted he leaves the girls to talk and staggers over to the tent where the three will sleep. Sirius is curious as to how Lily knew to bring the ring for Remus, and Peter speculates as to the method of curing the curse. They are almost too tired even to laugh about that, and quickly fall asleep.

Remus and his new wife are in a cave under the lake. While he has fallen asleep, she is tracing the various curses upon him and devising revenge upon those who caused them. She giggles at the thought of striking at just the right time: after all, she has married a prankster…

Lily and the Witch are discussing what the latter revealed about her history: it turns out that the lady who provided the boys with directions is a distant cousin, descended from a second daughter who moved out of the valley. The current Witch's sister was unusual for remaining, but it makes sense now. She approves of Remus, and so does Lily, who might actually have fallen for him if not for James. Lily asks about their lack of names: their mother called the Witch "truthful one", because she could not tell a lie, and the sister "danger-seeker", because she had no sense of fear.[Note 2] They discuss children: Lily would like a boy, the Witch would like a girl, and her sister has no preference: Lily suggests twins so she can have one of each.

Sirius wakes up and makes a decision.

He announces to the Witch that he will prove to her that he can love someone other than himself. She challenges him to prove it, and he makes an interesting start by kissing her soundly—and getting slapped silly as a result. She explains that he needs to learn to show kindness, and he mutters that he's not actually sure how. She overhears him, to his surprise. To his greater surprise, she offers to teach him.

Remus and his wife, who has decided to call herself "Pericula" or "Peri for short", leave the valley the next day bound for his father's house in Surrey.[Note 3] James, Lily and Peter leave later that day, wishing Sirius luck. The Witch, who has picked the name "Veritas" or "Veri" for short, tells him that she is going to make him do what he hates the most until he gives up. He challenges her and he thinks that the look he receives borders on admiring…

Peri and Remus arrive back at HQ on 16 September 1978 and she makes herself at home in the kitchen while he works at the table. James arrives to remind Remus what tonight is, and Remus pretends not to understand.[Note 4] Remus writes down a couple of lines from the source material unearthed by Lily and Dumbledore which cause James' eyebrows to rise but assuages his confusion: he congratulates Moony who smiles at Peri.

The tale says that no one can harm the one who wins the Witch’s healing. And a werewolf transformation does plenty of harm.
Chapter 6[6]

James and Lily set their wedding date—23 June 1979—and Sirius arrives on the day of the wedding with Veri in tow: Remus and Peri are possibly the only two not surprised. Veri is happy to see her sister, who is pregnant, and the boys are happy to see Sirius so that they can finish writing his Best Man's speech.

The wedding is a success, as is Sirius' speech. Veri joins the Order as a healer and Sirius resumes his Auror training. The following month she persuades him to visit his childhood home.

He nervously knocks on the door and is greeted by his brother Regulus, who invites him in, wanting to talk about something. He looks up something in a book and shows it to Sirius, asking if it fits Voldemort's style: it does indeed, and Regulus knows "where it is and how to get it". He has no wish to follow someone who would do that, or who would torture a house-elf and leave him to die. He was about to go after "it" himself, a suicide mission, that very evening: he takes his brother's arrival as a sign. Sirius tells him to fetch a travelling basket for Kreacher and sends his Patronus to Dumbledore to set up a meeting at the Hog's Head inn.

The mission is successful: the locket is brought back to HQ where Regulus, who had insisted on drinking the security potion himself, is tended by Sirius and Veri. Peri is able to confirm that it contains a soul and that it is steeped in evil. James, Lily and Peter bring various maps and scrolls to the kitchen and retire, leaving Peri, Remus and Dumbledore to their work. She is able to indicate the rough location of HQ on the map of the British Isles, even though it is Unplottable. Dumbledore coats her fingers with red dye and asks, with some trepidation, if she can likewise locate the other pieces of the soul in the locket. She is worried, because she can sense that the soul pieces are hungry and likely to defend themselves, but she is willing. Grasping Remus with her free hand, she marks the map in London, Yorkshire, Wiltshire and somewhere indistinct up north.[Note 5] She reaches for the centre of the map and screams: Dumbledore stabs down with his wand and her scream cuts off. She collapses into Remus' arms and Dumbledore sends a Patronus: it appears that she was able to locate Voldemort himself, and he does not like eavesdroppers. Veri arrives with Sirius in her wake and instantly deduces what has happened: Peri was able to escape the killing blow for herself, but she was not alone. Not even the Witch can raise the dead. Remus stumbles out of the kitchen and up the stairs but registers nothing until his father arrives to share the pain. He swears vengeance against Voldemort for the sake of his daughter.

Sirius asks Dumbledore if the result of the exercise was worthwhile: the latter answers yes, but if he had known the price… He can only pray that Remus and Peri will forgive him. He cannot tell them in any detail what she was doing, only that she was seeking items without which the war is hopeless. It is only fair, he says, that they be given first refusal of helping to locate said items, and suggests they fetch Lily.

Sirius begins to boast of their ability to create maps before James interrupts him: Dumbledore feigns deafness as is his wont. They look over the map that Peri was using. It would seem that most of the places she marked can be resolved down to building level, but the one up north is all smeared out. Lily suggests that the location is Unplottable, and they all know somewhere "in the north and Unplottable" so that one's relatively easy.

Chapter 7[7]

Severus is musing in the park where he gave Lily the clue to the Witch: he is confident that he has done no harm thereby. He is interrupted in his thoughts by Lily and Remus, who arrive with information and an offer. They inform him that they have found a way to destroy Voldemort, and he deduces that they wish him to perform a task. When he asks what price might be set on his freedom, Remus passes him a Recording Sphere: they need him to record Voldemort saying "open" in Parseltongue. They need it without Voldemort knowing that they have it, and Remus says they would prefer that Severus remain alive to give it to them, with which Severus concurs. They wish him luck, and he expresses regret to Lily over the way they parted in school. She agrees, but he cannot see how that could help him now she is married to James.

James is revealed to have been hiding under his Invisibility Cloak, and Wormtail was lurking in the undergrowth. They briefly discuss the various reasons why Severus won't betray them, not least the fact that he is sane enough to want to stay out of Azkaban. This inevitably leads to thoughts of Bellatrix which makes Sirius' skin crawl: he cannot believe that she and Narcissa are Andromeda's sisters.

There is a girl, captive in a small cellar room, recounting how she got there, trying not to listen to the screams of her fellow captive. She was kidnapped off a station platform by a man wearing a dress and waving a stick, who killed her mother and another girl on the same platform and took her away. He has been torturing her since, and she thinks that he is about to try a new tactic, probably involving making her take her clothes off. She tried not to think about it, but is so disappointed that magic did not live up to her dreams. Another dream sneaks up on her, an imagining of flying high above the clouds with a boy who would never hurt her or let anyone else hurt her… She is interrupted by a small sound and is understandably startled to see that a rat has got into the room. The rat just watches her calmly, and she speculates that it might be a pet: she holds out her hand and it scampers across the room to sniff at her fingers. She strokes it and wonders whether it would stay if she could find something to feed it: she could do with a friend, but doesn't want it to get hurt by her captor. The door to the cellar bangs open and the rat hides in the shadows. She hears her captor coming down the stairs, and he unlocks the door. He comes into the room and tells her that the other girl "barely lasted an hour" but he is Stunned from behind before he can finish threatening her. The young man who has suddenly appeared across the room is about the girls age, maybe a little older, and he too has a wand. His is pointing at her captor, however, and he uses it to tie the man up and consign him to a corner. She only just manages to register that the young man has approached her: he tells her that his name is Peter, and that he was looking for her captor who is a dirt-bag named Rabastan Lestrange. He offers to take her home, but she breaks down crying because both her parents are gone now. Peter holds her, but awkwardly as if he's not used to holding girls, and the incongruity makes her laugh and cry. When she cannot stop, he lifts her up and holds on more tightly: everything goes black for a moment and then they are somewhere else. She panics momentarily when other people turn up and separate her from Peter, but he reassures her: these are his friends and they will take care of her. He introduces her to Veri, a Healer, who turns out to be a girl about his age. Veri asks her for her name, and it takes her a moment or two to recall:

“Evanie,” she said. “My name is Evanie.”
Chapter 8[8]

James bursts into the kitchen where Remus and Snape are talking with Peter, yelling for the latter. It transpires that Evanie, now firmly established as Peter's girlfriend, is unexpectedly good at darts and is busy trouncing him, Sirius, Regulus and the Prewett twins. Remus points out that she had ample motivation to get very good at it, since acquiring food was sometimes dependent upon her success. James appeals for sympathy only to receive an acrid reply from Snape. Both sets of brothers snigger at the byplay.

This conversation is overheard in the cellar below by Lily, Peri and Veri who are busily brewing a potion, very carefully. Lily is sorry for James, having to put up with Severus for so long, although they are looking at a little house in Godric's Hollow. Peri wants to know why she hasn't yet told James that she is pregnant: she doesn't want him distracted. She says the news will keep for another month, when the potion is ready and they can deal with the items locked in a safe in the corner of the room:

a jeweled locket, a tarnished diadem, a heavy ring, and a delicate cup

There is another item to recover from Malfoy Manor but they don't yet know what it is. Veri looks forward to seeing Dumbledore dealing with that family, having been much impressed by how he persuaded Rabastan to fetch the cup from his vault: promised immunity for being a Death Eater or using Unforgivable Curses, Rabastan was soemwhat shocked to be arrested instead for breaching the Statute of Secrecy for murdering Evanie's mother and the other girl. The three girls are impressed with Evanie herself, and confident that she will end up marrying Peter: talking of which, Peri would like to know when Veri and Sirius are planning to further horrify his mother. Veri does not know, and Lily suggests banning him from her bed until he tells her, but she cannot see why she should be punished for his failings!

Lucius Malfoy contemplates the results of "an evening's recreation" and determines to ensure that Narcissa stays home from now on: it would not do to risk their child and heir. His thoughts are interrupted by a sound from outside: he sends his colleagues home (Avery, Nott, Crabbe and Goyle) and stays to conjure the Dark Mark over the house. He is on the point of returning home himself when Narcissa explodes back into the house: their home is full of Aurors and she barely escaped. He sets a new rendezvous behind the Hog's Head: as he leaves Lucius spies a face at the window and is surprised at how young it seems. The two arrive together and Lucius decides that he had better ask the Dark Lord for help on his own: it would be safer if even he did not know where Narcissa has gone. As she Apparates away he hopes that the three of them can meet again soon and safely: it does not do to assume anything of the Dark Lord.

Narcissa arrives at her sister's house, prepared to ask a favour which would have been unthinkable even a few minutes before.

Young Dora cannot sleep, having heard her aunt's arrival, and eavesdrops. Narcissa is explaining why she is convinced she needs help: the Aurors would not dare act against Lucius, with all his "influence" at the Ministry, unless they had solid proof. Furthermore people have been disappearing: Regulus, Severus and Rabastan have all vanished over the last few months. She wants to save her child. Even if she could hide away, what kind of life would that be for a child? And if she were caught, exposure to Dementors would cause her to lose the baby and his soul would be devoured. At this point Dora loses her balance and reveals her presence with a crash. Andromeda tries to send her to bed, but she has an idea: what about Veri and Peri who came to visit the previous week? Narcissa is willing to wait while her sister makes a firecall and decides to use the time to become acquainted with her niece. The first thing she notices is that Dora's hair has changed colour: Dora turns it pink just to rub it in. Narcissa is exasperated: of all the children to inherit Metamorphmagic from their great-grandfather it would have to be this one.[Note 6] Dora seizes the opportunity to ask some questions of which her mother does not approve: why does her aunt dislike her and her dad? They exchange words before Andromeda returns reporting success and advising Narcissa to be polite to the visitors who are about to arrive. Narcissa asks why she should allow "creatures who are not even human" to examine her, and Andromeda snaps at her: Aunt Walburga has the wrong end of the wand, as usual. These people are as human as anyone, they simply express their magic differently, and even that is by reason of training. At that moment Veri arrives with Peri, and Dora is happy to be greeted using her shortened name before they turn to her aunt. Veri approaches Narcissa and explains that they will require payment for their services: when Lucius finds Voldemort he will inform her of their location, and she must share this information. In return, they will save her son and do their best to ensure that he lives out his full lifespan. If she thinks that having him raised with different philosophies is an insurmountable barrier, that is her choice…

Chapter 9[9]

Veri and Peri arrive back at HQ and summon everybody to the hallway. James is brandishing a small black book which has been taken from the Malfoys and Dumbledore wants Peri to heck it: she confirms that it is indeed what they were after, and Remus comforts her. Sirius announces with great glee that they found loads of other incriminating evidence at Malfoy Manor, but that Narcissa escaped before she could be arrested. Veri says that she has been caught, and revealed something of great importance. Lily interrupts to ask whether this is more important than their potion being ready a week early. Veri quashes the celebrations by relaying Narcissa's news, which consists of just four words:

Voldemort strikes here tonight.

Peri reveals that there have been Death Eaters stationed around HQ for hours, only awaiting the sisters' return. However their master has forbidden them to enter without him, and he is not here yet. They still have time, so James leads everyone to the cellar…

The ten gather round the cauldron and Snape instructs everybody to be ready with Shield Charms: if one drop of the potion, named as "Animattero", touches the fire everything within a 60-foot radius will be obliterated. Peter opens the safe and retrieves the items therein which are passed around the circle. Peter and Evanie destroy the cup, the latter invoking the memory of her mother:

This is for my mum[…a]nd for everybody else like her they ever killed

Severus activates the Recording Charm which opens the locket

For the abuse of power
and Regulus consigns it to the cauldron
For the misuse of gifts[…]and the torture of innocents

Remus drops in the ring while Peri speaks:

For parents left without children, and children without parents

She whispers to Remus that she will have good news if they survive the night. Veri and Sirius lift the diadem together:

For knowledge and wisdom, turned to evil purposes

Finally Lily lifts the little black book:

For every life ever touched by this war, or by any war[…t]hat they might all be won so easily as this

At this point the potion erupts and James applies his Shield charm just in time as the cauldron shatters. Remus douses the fire and Sirius conjures a basin to catch the spilled potion. They have scant time to recover: Lily has only just Vanished the potion and basin when a door slams upstairs. James starts deploying people, sending the three non-combatants (Peri, Veri and Evanie) to shelter behind a workbench in the corner. He arranges the others around the walls, but Severus points out that Voldemort might be able to incapacitate or even control him and Regulus through their Dark Marks. Regulus suggests putting them in front where they can be Stunned, to which Sirius raises strenuous objection. They are forestalled when Peter indicates that they are about to have company. Remus takes one last look at Peri and seems to hear her voice in his head. Then the Death Eaters arrive, Apparating in noisily, to be followed by the silent arrival of Voldemort. He is not impressed:

Two traitors, two animals, three freaks, and three foolish young wizards who resist the obvious.

He makes one final offer to anybody who cares to join him. Remus now hears a different voice in his head, along with visions of Peri suffering, but a vision of her smiling face ejects the intruder. He rejects the offer and is rewarded with a Killing Curse which he dodges.

Veri pushes herself into the corner and chants silently, directing the curses aimed at her friends not to harm any of them.

Sirius and Regulus fight back-to-back. James and Severus are side-by-side with Lily shielding them both. Remus and Peter are defending the counter and Evanie starts throwing glass vials which cause sufficient pain and disruption that at least three Death Eaters are taken out. Remus takes a quick glance and counts eight enemy bodies on the floor already. His jubilation is broken by a hex which brings him to his knees. A female Death Eater advances towards him with a colleague, laughingly suggesting a "wolf hunt". Peri is having none of this and flings something at them which freezes them in their tracks: Remus mercifully renders them unconscious. Once again he seems to hear Peri's voice in his head, but that's something to deal with later when they're not in so much danger. Voldemort is now dueling James, Lily and Severus, while Regulus has become separated from Sirius. Remus manages to trip one of the three Death Eaters threatening Sirius, Evanie clouts one of the two chasing Regulus in the face, Regulus hexes his other opponent… Voldemort suddenly blasts his opponents into the walls, knocking Lily senseless. He rounds on Regulus and casts the Killing Curse. Sirius bellows denial and slams into Regulus as Padfoot just as the Curse strikes. Evanie then hurls Wormtail across the room: he transforms in mid-air and takes out the last two Death Eaters, allowing Remus to tie them up. James hauls himself to his feet, as does Severus whose wand is broken. Evanie hurls a dagger at Voldemort which he fends off negligently. The voice in Remus' head makes a suggestion which he follows gladly, casting a Summoning Charm. James confronts Voldemort and they circle each other exchanging taunts: the latter is puzzled by the lack of effect his Death Eater's spells were having. Behind him, Remus—who is sneaking across the room—grins at Peter: that would be Veri and Peri at work. Suddenly Voldemort spins, casting a shield: he catches Lily within it but is surprised when Severus is there also, defending her. Voldemort is taken aback, but not so much that he fails to notice James attempting to breach his shield. What he does fail to notice is Remus running up to James with whatever he Summoned, and Peter arriving next to them. At the moment he casts the Killing Curse, Lily shoves Severus aside thus impelling herself to safety also, and casts Expelliarmus. Voldemort is taken by surprise, losing his wand and shield. He staggers backwards, tripping over Peter who crouches behind him, and James stabs him in the chest with the dagger.

Chapter 10[10]

Remus slowly comes to the realisation that they have won—and that most of them are still alive. He turns to see James offering Severus his hand, thanking him for saving Lily: he is not at all put off by Severus being grumpy. Remus exchanges a wry look with Lily just as he catches sight of movement from the far corner. Evanie, Veri and Peri emerge from their cover, and Remus is pleasantly surprised that he can still hear the latter in his head. Peter moves to comfort Evanie as Veri advances towards the Black brothers, expressionless. Remus is still working out what he can feel from his wife, but he realises that while she is worried for her sister, she is not grieving for Sirius: something is obviously going on. Veri kneels beside the brothers and pulls them apart: Regulus coughs and splutters, and Remus realises that Sirius must have been quick enough to take the Curse upon himself. Regulus is not exactly overjoyed to find himself alive at the expense of his brother, and points out to Veri that:

…going to it freely doesn't make you any less dead!

Her response is that other things might: Lily understands, Evanie tells Peter, Severus mutters something, and James is hopeful. Remus thinks he might have an inkling as to what is afoot and shows his memory to Peri. In the meantime Veri walks around Sirius, singing gently, and rolls him onto his back. As she reaches the appropriate line, she strokes Sirius on the cheek, upon which he awakens in typical fashion.

Public shervice ‘nouncement. Shag y’girlfriend t’night… Life y’save might be yer own. D’we win?

Veri is happy to tell him that they did, and that Regulus is safe. Remus is interrupted in his ponderings by Peri wanting a hug, while everybody else is celebrating also. He recalls that she said something about having good news and asks: she says that it's related to what Lily is telling James. Lily is indeed telling James something: Veri and Evanie seem to know what it's about while everybody else is bewildered. She reveals that she is pregnant, due new the end of the July, and he is taken aback. Everybody is busy congratulating them, and Sirius wants to be godfather. James is taken with an idea and asks whether a child can have two godfathers: Lily and Sirius guess who he means, but have very different reactions. James looks over his shoulder at Severus and tells him he deserves it, for saving them both. Severus is about to reply when Evanie glares at him, and he subsides: Remus wonders what that might be about.

Severus acknowledges that Evanie is correct: he is not about to hurt Lily just to get at James. He ponders for a moment: James is usually thoughtless rather than cruel, and in this instance he is grateful that Lily and their child have been saved. This is therefore likely an effort to honour him rather than mockery of his childless state, and he should respond accordingly. He manages to thank James sincerely but points out that he would not be able to fulfil the primary role of godfather, that of providing a home in case of disaster. He is almost undone by the shining joy in Lily's eyes but manages to suggest that he would serve best as a "friend of the family". James accedes with a smile: maybe they could name the child after him? Severus is not impressed, given the taunting that James and his cronies managed to inflict upon him. James and Sirius acknowledge the hit and proceed to discuss what the child should be called. Severus smiles at Lily and seeks refuge on the cellar steps while he ponders how life will be different now.

Remus professes to be surprised that Severus can smile at all, but Peri reminds him that she has some news. He remembers her saying that it related to what Lily was telling James, and begins to ask if she is pregnant, but she stops him. She reminds him of how their little girl died: what she couldn't say at the time was that while her body died, their daughter's soul lived on. Because of their blood relation and shared magic, she was able to "take refuge" within Peri and has been watching and listening ever since, postponing the inevitable. This was not an arrangement that could have lasted, and any solution would have required Peri and Veri to use their powers in a manner forbidden them, until the opportunity came to benefit somebody else. She explains how the sisters found a female Death Eater who was willing to give them information in return for the life of her own unborn child. They have a debt to repay, and will do so shortly. When they return Peri will be with child, or rather with children. Remus is overjoyed at the thought of twins: their little girl is alive after all and they will be able to rescue a little boy who would have died… He suddenly realises that there aren't many female Death Eaters, and fewer still with children: she confirms his suspicions, having seen in his mind the face of the one who Cursed him. Remus laughs out loud at the irony.

Narcissa is trapped in a nightmare, running from her enemies, trying to save her child: in her mind he is about a year old. Distracted by anger at those who made a bargain and have failed to keep it, she trips and falls. She curls round her son to shield him, but at that moment she hears voices and a bright flash of light drives away the darkness. Footsteps beside her and a touch on her arm prompt her to look up to see that Peri is there, apologising for arriving late She is also carrying a small child—a girl about the same age as Narcissa's dream-son. Veri explains that they have come to pay their debt and Narcissa weeps with relief. She kisses her child and hands him over, his appearance changing to match the little girl. She begins to worry about what the Dementors will do to her when she returns to her body, but Veri advises her that she has exhausted herself fighting to save her son. Peri points out a range of hills in the distance: that is the way she should direct her path now that the Dementors are elsewhere. She sets off, without looking back, feeling lighter with every step.

Epilogue[11]

Veri is standing outside the Potters' little cottage in Godric's Hollow, holding her new baby. Inside she can hear the sounds of toddlers playing and deduces that Peter is playing with them again:

They do love trying to catch the rat.

Sirius joins her, wanting to know why she's been quiet all evening. It turns out that this is Halloween 1981, and she reminds him of the alternate world she once mentioned, in which this would have been a most important night. Sirius would like to hear more, not least because it provides an escape from the racket inside. It sounded like a good idea, introducing their children to Gideon and Fabian's nephew and Frank and Alice's boy who will be in the same year as Harry, Hermione and Reynard, the latter having been born early enough to join them. However Veri's "cousin"—who helped them find the secret valley—also has a baby, and there's Ron's little sister: Sirius purports to be glad that his little Pearl doesn't make such a noise.[Note 7] Veri points out that she does, actually, only he isn't awake to hear it. She hands over the baby in question and asks whether he really wants to know more of the world in question, which would have been very dark in parts, not to mention painful. He says he would, because he always liked telling stories and the need for Aurors is much diminished now so he's wondering whether he could take that up again. If he does decide to become an author, he's thinking to use a pen-name just in case it doesn't take off, but he's been wondering what to write about. This alternate world she describes sounds like a good choice: it lets him use people he knows but in different situations, giving him leeway to get things a bit wrong without making anyone too mad. She warns that she can only give him the most important events: the long stretches of time in between will be left to his imagination. That's fine, he says, he enjoys talking about feasts, Quidditch, and trouble in the halls. So she begins to tell him how it starts…

Harry begs his mother to read more of his favourite book:

More about the Chamber of Secrets and the shiny sword I pulled out of the Sorting Hat like Uncle Peter and Fawkes and the basilisk and Tom Riddle and saving Ginny.

She says she'll do one more chapter, but when the new baby arrives they won't be able to do this so much. He says that's OK, Neenie and Ray are teaching him to read bigger words so he can read the books for himself. She hopes he will by the time Uncle Padfoot brings out the next one, where Harry is afraid of him. The boy in question scoffs at the very idea, but Lily points out that in the book he thinks that his parents died because Sirius gave away their Secret. James arrives just in time to remind him that the other Harry doesn't find out the truth until right at the end of the book; nor does he know about Moony and Wormtail, chimes in Lily, but he does find out. Harry nods solemnly and asks her to read…please! So she does:

Chapter Seventeen. The Heir of Slytherin

Reynard Lupin closes his book and wonders whether the Triwizard Tournament will ever happen again for real. Hermione, busy doing homework, tells him he won't be in it. When he objects to her being bossy, she points out that as his twin she would feel it when he got hurt, like she shares his bad dreams about the black monsters. When he shudders at the reminder she gives him a hug—which she won't be able to do in public for much longer, because he's getting to that sensitive age. For now he is content to hug her back, while speculating how he could block off their twin-bond to protect her. He promises to ask her first, which makes her laughingly agree. He also wants to win it. not like the book's version of Harry with the fake Moody helping him, but fair and square. Not, he remarks with a grimace, that his character ever does anything fair. Hermione reminds him that he was the one who wanted to know why he wasn't in the books, it wasn't Padfoot's fault.

Ron is lurking outside Ginny's door, counting down. Sure enough there is a shriek and she bursts out clutching Padfoot's latest book, swearing to find him and kill him. It turns out that she has just finished Order of the Phoenix which she throws on the bed in fury. Ron points out that it would be worse if he really died because then they'd never find out what happens at the end. She slams the door in his face.

Severus fire-calls the Black household and calls for Veri. When she appears he asks whether Sirius might be available and she deduces from his tone that he has managed to get hold of the sixth book. It turns out that he borrowed a copy from Regulus the previous night, and he wants an explanation now rather than waiting another couple of years for the final volume. Veri intercepts her youngest daughter, Susanna, and sends her off to find her father. In the meantime she reassures Severus that his story will be told truly towards the end, it's just that Sirius wanted to do the job properly…

Neville finishes the last book and wonders whether this year is likely to be anything like that. Ron is amused but Hermione doesn't think that it can, mostly because they're missing some of the vital players: Voldemort isn't around for one, and Ray isn't "Draco". Also Peter has Evanie and isn't Dark, while Severus is at Flamel College rather than Hogwarts. Most importantly their dad isn't about to leave their mum and marry Tonks, not least because she's with Charlie, who as Ginny points out has learned some nasty tricks from the dragons! Meghan pipes up that she's not in the books: apparently Cho Chang is a bit like her but isn't really very important…nor is she any good for Harry, whether in the books or in real life. Harry groans at the reminder: in the books it was Romilda Vane who used love potion, not Cho, and he didn't get dosed. Ron grins at the memory, happy that it was Harry making people laugh this time. Luna, lying on Ray's lap, is somewhat sad that she only turned up in the fifth book, but supposes it made sense story-wise…although she wouldn't have minded being locked up in Ray's cellar provided he visited her lots. He concurs: he was not impressed at being matched up with Astoria Greengrass. Neville is congratulating Meghan on the clever way Sirius had the first book released in the Muggle world starting from when they got the last one. Apparently Sirius is auditioning for an actress to pretend to be the author: Regulus recommended getting a blonde to take the heat for all his silly mistakes, and Sirius wants her pretty rather than beautiful so he won't be tempted to fall in love! Hermione is confident that between Veri and Peri he'd be OK. Ray concurs and raises the question of when they are going to play through the latest volume if they're going to do so before school starts. They settle on the day after Harry's birthday: 1 August 1997 will be the day that Harry defeats Lord Voldemort.

Unless his mother called him home for dinner first, of course.

SequelEdit

The story of what happens when he tries is told in Going Home.

NotesEdit

  1. At this point yet another Dumbledore joke makes an appearance!
  2. Yes, those do sound awfully familiar, don't they…
  3. Presumably this is 17, Privet Drive.
  4. It's the full moon, the night that Remus was expecting to die.
  5. The cup, in Gringotts; the ring, in the Gaunt house; the diary, at Malfoy Manor; the diadem, in Hogwarts. Remember this is based on canon, not Dangerverse.
  6. I wonder which Black this would be, or even whether it is from the Black family at all…
  7. So in this 'verse, Pearl is the same age as Ginny and Luna.

ReferencesEdit

  1. The Witch of the Westmoreland, Chapter 1 on FanFiction
  2. The Witch of the Westmoreland, Chapter 2 on FanFiction
  3. The Witch of the Westmoreland, Chapter 3 on FanFiction
  4. The Witch of the Westmoreland, Chapter 4 on FanFiction
  5. The Witch of the Westmoreland, Chapter 5 on FanFiction
  6. The Witch of the Westmoreland, Chapter 6 on FanFiction
  7. The Witch of the Westmoreland, Chapter 7 on FanFiction
  8. The Witch of the Westmoreland, Chapter 8 on FanFiction
  9. The Witch of the Westmoreland, Chapter 9 on FanFiction
  10. The Witch of the Westmoreland, Chapter 10 on FanFiction
  11. The Witch of the Westmoreland, Chapter 11 on FanFiction

External linksEdit

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