Disclaimer: I do not own the characters –except the main one- or the universe, J.K. Rowling does. I merely play with them.
Alternate Universe, during the second war –sort of during OotP but no specific time-line.
Set at various points during OotP
It was a sunny, although cool, day of November and some students were enjoying themselves in the grounds. They were throwing a round object and trying to catch it. A small young woman was watching them, laughing.
“Ah, I see our muggle studies assistant has brought a Frisbee. Playing with them the muggle way can be rather tricky, but the students seem to be enjoying themselves.”
The headmaster was standing next to the potion master, looking out of a window on the first floor.
“The students seem to like her.”, pointed out the man clad in black robes.
“Yes, they do, and they are not the only ones I think…”
The potion master waited a moment, not wanting to rise to the bait, before asking “Are you really going to indulge her in bringing Black to the castle?”
“If it can save his sanity, as I believe, then yes. Alex and Amicus, her centaur friend, seem to have found a way for him to be safe. On Saturday there is a trip to Hogsmead, the castle will be mostly empty, and it will be the perfect moment to have him join us.“
Severus Snape knew better than to argue with the headmaster when he had decided something, so he just stayed silent, letting him go first.
As he enjoyed the view of Alex, alive and well, laughing, he suddenly realised he felt … something inside, something he thought he’d never feel again. It wasn’t what he had ever felt for Lily, of course, but it was still something. It was better than being numb with pain.
Hogsmeade weekend had finally come.
A big black dog was walking along side Alex across the ground, in the direction to the forest. A man was watching them from a window, unknowingly to them. They reached the forest and disappeared from his view, so he left his vantage point.
As soon as they reached the Oak, the Deva came out to greet them.
“Good day, children! Your friend is waiting for you at the first fork along this path. Do not stray from it and you will be safe.”
Alex changed into the wolf and they resumed walking. The overgrown wolf cub was sniffing on the edges of the path, coming back to the dog who was keeping to the middle, before going off again. The black dog was watching him with what seemed like a grin on his nuzzle.
Amicus was already there when they reached the fork. They followed him as he took the left path and they walked further into the forest for a while, keeping to the left at each fork.
They eventually reach the side of a mount; at the bottom of which was a stream and slightly higher up was a cave.
The cave was big enough for them to change back but they didn’t. They had a lot more fun as a dog and wolf cub than they would have as man and woman, running around, chasing each other, chasing squirrels who indulged in letting them catch them…
They spent a wonderful day out in nature before coming back to Hagrid’s before the sun set. Alex went back to the castle for dinner whilst Sirius waited for night time to come back to her apartments’ to floo back to Grimmauld Place.
Since her first meeting with the order, Alex had gone back to Grimmauld Place several times. Sirius had suggested during a meeting –and all had approved- that she’d be brought up to date on Voldemort, their work, but also their past. She had been admitted to their meetings as a member of the Order.
Sirius had explained to her, in private, why he had ended up in Azkaban; and Lupin had agreed she’d be told of his curse.
Now that she knew everything, Alex thought she had inkling to what the “résistance” had felt during the Second World War: planning in secret, going about their everyday life as if everything was “normal, hiding innocent people, keeping their families and friends safe…
She was certain of one thing: she wanted to do her part. If, as Dumbledore seemed to think, her magic could help them, she would do everything she could to help those she now considered her friends.
“You’ll never believe this!” Alex said, barging in the lounge of Grimauld Place, absolutely fuming.
Sirius, who happened to be dozing off over a book, nearly fell off the couch and pointed out his wand. “What!?!”
“The effing toad has been made Hogwarts High Inquisitor! She’s got power to judge teachers and throw them out if they don’t rise to her so called high standards and she’s talking about keeping an eye on students’ groups. I bloody hate the woman!” Alex was practically shouting, gesticulating like only the southerners know how.
Sirius was on his feet in a second. “This is bad. Fudge is so scared that Dumbledore might want his place that he’ll let her do anything.”
Alex dropped in an armchair “Yes, how long before she takes the headmaster’s place?” She sighed “What can I do? We can’t let her win!”
“The only thing you can do is keep on her good side, follow Professor Burbage’s lead in that I guess.”
The young woman didn’t seem convinced “She’s bound to point out I have nothing to do there, and even less so as a teacher. Thing is, I am really bad at lying and making things up.”
Sirius had walked up to her, put his hands on the chair’s arms and bent towards her “Don’t worry, we’ll work something out, we’ll talk about it at the meeting tonight, ok?”
The simple fact of having told Sirius, of knowing they would find a solution together, was enough to reassure her. She nodded, too scared of saying something stupid with his face so close to hers.
He stood up again, holding out his hand “Come on, let’s get some tea and I’ll contact the rest of the order.”
They made their way back the way Alex had come and went to the kitchen. Leaving her to look at which tea having – she had previously brought several types as she enjoyed varying – Sirius went to the fireplace and contacted Molly first. Soon, all they had left to do was waiting for the evening’s meeting.
Sirius was looking at his cup thoughtfully before breaking the silence “I might know of something that could help you in school.” He looked at her and she saw the twinkle in his eyes that predicted of another happy story telling. “When we were at Hogwarts, James, Remus, Peter and I made a map of the school; an enchanted map. On it were all the floors, rooms and stairs..”
“Which, considering they move, is quite something!”
Sirius raised a hand to stop her “Yes, but it has a lot more on it: people.”
Alex starred. “People? What do you mean?”
He grinned and let her think it through for a while.
Her eyes widened “You don’t mean… students and teachers, where they are and who they are?”
He laughed, the sound setting off the butterflies in her tummy “Oh yes, and even better: the secret passageways and passwords of the castle!”
“That’s just… wow! Do you still have that map?”
“No, unfortunately it was confiscated and stayed in Hogwarts. The Weasley twins had it for a while before giving it to Harry two years ago.”
“You don’t intend to ask him to give it back, do you?”
“Of course not, not as such. But it would definitely help us if we had the original to make a copy.”
“Do you think he’ll agree to it and, more importantly, are you going to tell him why it’s for?”
Sirius looked in space for a moment “No, I don’t think I should. I’ll talk with Remus tonight, see if he has an idea; otherwise I’ll just say I want to check which spells we put on as I can’t quite remember – which is true. He’ll probably think we want to do another one for another place.”
“Wouldn’t doing one of the Ministry help?”
“I had considered it, but then thought it wouldn’t replace the patrols we do there anyway. But I’ll make sure to keep in mind somewhere which spells are used for it, in case we need it.”
During the emergency meeting, as Alex had secretly named it, they had all decided that, just like they had spies in the Ministry, Alex would be a spy within Hogwart.
Minerva, who was here instead of the headmaster, was adamant about it “The students love you; they would rather come to you than even their own heads of houses if they need help. If you two can redo that map you mentioned, then we have our perfect insider. If anything happens to Albus and I; Alex can lead the students to safety and contact the rest of you.”
Sirius would send a note to Harry, telling him she was to be trusted, regardless of appearances. He would insist Harry go to her should he have any more nightmares and the headmaster’s not be available. Although he was supposed to have occlumency lessons with Snape, those weren’t going well apparently.
The other part of Alex’s mission, was, of course, to stay in Umbridge’s good books, so that at least one member of the order would be always in the castle. It hadn’t been too hard; since she could just pretend she didn’t know anything about Voldemort and follow the Ministry’s directions for Muggle Studies Teaching.
Harry had had such a scary vision during his exam. He had to check on Sirius, but for that he needed a fire. He wasn’t sure she had it, but Alex Martin –moldue assistant- was his last chance before having to break in Umbridge’s office.
He knocked on her door, almost expecting no reply, when she opened the door.
“Harry? What is it?”
He was surprised and stuttered “I… I… Do you have a fire?”
“Yes, why do you need it?” She asked, moving out of the way and letting him enter the room where a big black dog was coming in through another door.
Harry stopped dead in his tracks and looked at the dog, then at the professor –who was closing the door.
“I think you know Padfoot? Now, tell me, why do you need my fire?”
“Pad… Padfoot? What? What are you doing here? I just saw you at the Ministry, Voldemort has you!”
Sirius changed back immediately “Do you mean he planted a vision in your mind? Haven’t you been doing occlumency lessons with Snape?”
“Yes. No. I stopped after seeing in his mind. It’s a long story. What do you mean he planted a vision?”
Alex, sat on a couch, answered “Voldemort meant to trick you into going to the Ministry. He wants something only you can get for him. But he failed, because we anticipated this move. Kreacher was supposed to tell you Sirius wasn’t home when you asked through the fire – Buckbeack has been injured and was to keep Sirius busy. But I saw everything in a vision and we were able to prevent it from happening. Sirius flooed here just moments before you came.”
Sirius took over “Now, I am going to warn the rest of the Order and we will go to the Ministry. We will be able to arrest the Death Eaters there and maybe even finally waking the Minister up.”
“I want to come, to fight, to help.” Pleaded Harry
“Harry, no, let them deal with it” intervened Alex
Harry glared at her but addressed his godfather “Please, let me go with you!”
“No Harry, I’m sorry but Alex is right. You know I am the first one to want you involved, but not this time, not with what Alex saw. There will be other times, but not now.”
Harry threw a dark look at the professor and walked out, fuming.
Alex and Sirius looked at each other and she pointed out “You know he’s going to try something himself, right?”
Sirius sighed “I know, he’s just like James. Look after him, please?”
She stood up and went to him, taking him in his arms “You know I will, and Snape’s here too, isn’t he?”
Sirius held her tight “As much as I dislike him, he will help you, I know that.”
She looked up, surprised “You trust him?”
“I trust Dumbledore. And I’ve seen how Snape looks at you. He’ll keep you safe.”
She kissed him. “Please be careful. I love you.”
“I love you too. I promise you I’ll come back.”
“Please, don’t make promises. Just do your best. I won’t hold a grudge if you can’t come back, not against you anyway.”
He smiled at her, kissed her forehead and went to the fire where he threw some floo powder “Grimauld Place”
And he was gone, leaving her behind to try to protect from themselves a bunch of teenagers. She sighed and took the map out of her pocket, saying the password they had agreed on.
As suspected, Harry was meeting with Hermione, Ron and some of their friends in the Gryffindor common room. She went to the fire.
“The Dungeon! Ah, Professor, are you alone? Yes, it’s in motion. Yes, I’m tailing them. OK. Please, be careful! I will.”
She watched as they made their way downstairs. She left her apartments just after they passed the first floor, following them outside.
She found them outside, walking towards Hagrid’s. She followed, glad it was dark. They stopped eventually and seemed to be arguing. She noticed, now, that there weren’t just Gryffindors there, Luna was in the group.
“So, what are you lot trying to do, then?” They all jumped and turned to face her.
Harry was the first to react, holding his wand out to her “I don’t care that Sirius trusts you, you’re not stopping us!”
Alex just held out her hands “What are you about to do, Harry? Curse me so I can’t stop you?”
He looked thoughtful for a moment. Hermione lowered his hand.
“No, sorry. But I know you don’t want me to go. I won’t let them fight my fight!”
“One, it’s not “your” fight, Voldemort” most students cringed but she kept going “ is just using you to get what he wants. It’s his fight. Two, it’s a war, not a fight, and wars are fought by adults, not childrens or teenagers. Three, if you intend in going, I’ll come with you.” Alex stood there waiting.
Harry was shocked. “You’ll come? Why? Sirius and you didn’t want me to come, is this some sort of trick? Actually, what is happening between you and Sirius?”
“I’ll come to watch over you, I promised Sirius I would and if it means following you there I will. As for what’s between us, I’d rather you asked him about it but for now know we are good friends. Anything else?”
“Yes! How are you planning on protecting me since… well…?”
“Since I’m a muggle? With muggle magic, believe it or not. Now, either I come along or you’re not going, what’s your choice?”
Harry looked at Hermione, who nodded, and Ron, who shrugged. “I’m not going to ask you how you would have stopped me from coming. You might as well come. If you can protect me with your magic, you can do other things too, right?”
Alex smiled “Right. Now let’s go, we’re wasting time!”
They all climbed on the Thestrals and left the ground. Alex thought she was going to die of fright, being as scared of height as she was. She wasn’t the only relieved one when they reached London though. They all squashed in the phone box and went down underground, into the ministry.
The group followed Harry into the lift and down to the Department of Mysteries, since that’s where his dreams always took him. They didn’t need to look far as the door they needed to go through was already open and sounds of battle and broken glass could be heard inside.
They followed the sounds but they seemed to come from further away. They moved into another room and were greeted by the sight of black and white blurs moving around the room.
The kids quickly moved into the fighting, firing spells, hexes, jinx and avoiding those coming their way. Alex could only watch at first, mesmerized by the speed at which they were reacting. They were as good as the adults there.
A couple of times, she held out her wand to deflect a spell, unnoticed by the fighters. She seemed to have become invisible the moment they had moved in the room.
She followed them as they moved to yet another room, with an arch in the centre. She could hear the murmurs and she knew, then, what it was. The wizarding world hid a doorway to the spirit world in their ministry!
She had no way to warn the Order or the students, as it would also warn the Death Eaters. So she watched carefully the fight, standing against a wall.
She saw it happening in slow motion: Harry fighting side to side with Sirius, Sirius hitting Malfoy with a spell and Lestrange shouting her spell.
Alex screamed, pointing her wand “NO!” Sirius and Harry slumped to the floor, pulled down by roots that had come through the ground, and the spell went through the arch.
Everything stopped and they all turned towards her, but all she could do was look at the arch. The whispering was growing louder and the veil was moving as if agitated by a wind that was getting stronger.
“We have to get out.” Alex realised no one heard her, or was moving, so she shouted “Get out, now, all of you!”
Everything went blurry and she felt herself fall, before blacking out.
When she went back to herself, Tonks was getting her out of the room.
“Alex, wake up!”
“I am awake. Leave me here, get the kids out!”
“Are you mad? Have you seen this?” the young woman pointed out being them, at the arch.
“Yes, I will deal with it. Now go!”
Alex stood her ground as a wave of spirits reached her. She held out her hands palms in front of her.
“Your place is not here!”
The spirits seemed surprised that she could see them, talk to them or dare standing in their path. They slowed down.
“We have disturbed you and I apologise but you must go back to your rest.”
They didn’t seem convinced, though. She heard screaming behind her, people telling her to get out, fighting, but she stood there, closed her eyes and took a deep breath.
“I am a spirit walker, a soul’s guide. Your place is not here. You must go back to the other side” she opened her eyes and pointed out her wand “Now!”
Light shoot out of her wand, hitting each spirit in turn before connecting with the arch. Slowly, each spirit was absorbed again into the passage, before the veil shivered and hung loose again. The light went off and Alex felt herself falling, thinking “Not again!”
This time it was Sirius who was talking to her when she came back to herself.
“Alex, come on, wake up.”
“I’m here… What did I miss?”
“The Minister is here, the Death Eaters have been arrested. And they now believe Albus since Voldemort was here when they arrived.”
“What? And what about you?” Alex tried sitting up but had to hold on to Sirius.
Everything was spinning.
“Voldemort battled Harry and Albus. As for me, Albus requested I’d be left in his custody. I have a special hearing tomorrow.” He helped her stand up “Let’s get back to Hogwarts, you need to see a healer.”
“I don’t think Lily would have wanted you to spend your life waiting for death to see her again. You need to live, Severus.” Alex was, once again, trying to convince her colleague and friend to try to move on. She hated seeing the pain in his eyes.
“What would you know about it!?! How can you say that? Do you have any idea just how painful this is, still?” Snape was, once again, disagreeing with her.
“Yes, I see it every day in your eyes. Once, I was like you, I hoped for death to take me. Now I am glad to be alive.” She had never told anyone here, except Sirius, about this but she felt she could trust Severus with her heart.
“What do you mean?” The man seemed open to listen to her.
“I once lost the man I loved, in a war, too. He was a soldier. I kept on living, grieved for months until I realised all he had wanted had been to see me happy. Grieving didn’t make me happy, living does. And loving again too.” There, she said it.
Snape had the reaction that she should have expected of him: “You are betraying his memory!”
Alex raised her voice, clearly annoyed now: “No, I cherish it, I celebrate it by remembering all the things we liked to do together, but I don’t think he would have wanted to see me alone and grieving for the rest of my life.” Her voice softened “Severus, what would Lily tell you? What would she think about it?”
Sev passed a hand on his face. “Do you have to be right?” He looked up at her with tears in his eyes.
She walked up to him and hugged him tight.
“I’m here, you’re not alone, you don’t have to be. Let me heal you.”
“What of Black?”
“Let me deal with him.”
Just at that moment, Sirius walked in.
“Will you two stop!” Alex was standing now, fuming.
Snape and Black were facing each other, wands drown. They’d been shouting insults at each other for the past few minutes, ever since Sirius had walked in on Alex and Snape hugging.
Sirius turned to her “Don’t get involved, it’s between him and I!”
She took a few steps and stood between their wands “And now? You are in my room, both of you!”
“Alex, stand aside. He is too stupid to realize the luck he has to have you anyway.”, from Snape.
She growled a wolfish sound. “Shut up, both of you. Shut up and listen carefully to what I am about to tell you, I won’t say it again.”
The two men stared at her but remained silent.
She carried on. “Your fights remind me of boys and girls in love with each other. Don’t bother replying. If you do, I change and walk out.” Since the two men stood silent, she went on. “Severus, you followed Sirius that day because you hoped for something. Sirius, you kept teasing him like a boy who doesn’t know how to show his feelings. It turned out badly and you ended up hating each other. But hate is only the other side of love. Now you fight for my attention, as if I am the new link between the two of you. I am OK with that notion, but only if it’s in love, not in hate. I care about both of you. Sort yourselves out and come to find me; I’ll be at the cave Sirius knows about.”
She looked at both in turn. They were statufied, in shock, until Severus spoke:
“You are not going anywhere. You want us to tell each other the truth but you are too scared to stay?”
He waved his wand at the door, which locked. “I’ll go first, then. Yes, I waited for years for “The popular Sirius Black” to notice me, or rather to realize there was more than what he focused on.” Sirius nearly choked then, but Sev went on. “No, I don’t see you as the link between us. I like you for who you are, I liked you the moment you got here. You are the only person -except for Albus- to try to get through my walls. And I have to say, I prefer it when you do it. Now, tell us, what did you mean by being the link between us? You can’t surely mean what I think.”
Sirius joined in “Yes, what do you mean, actually? I am not sharing you with him!”
“I am not yours to share anyway, since you don’t own me, Sirius. I was suggesting we tried something the three of us. Was that what you thought, Sev?”
“That’s what I feared, you mean. Black, you look like you’re wondering which one of us to kill first. I’d suggest myself, if only to save the woman I love.”
Alex and him shared a glance before looking back to Sirius, who lowered his wand and walked the remaining distance to Snape, grabbed his collar… and kissed him. The man stood surprised for a second before hugging the man as tight as he could.
Alex smiled and walked back to the couch were she settled, watching the men finally give in to their feelings. After a while, as the kisses were becoming heated, she interrupted them.
“Erm… Guys? This is an awesome sight but is that a “yes” to my suggestion or do you want me to leave you two alone?”
Sirius looked at her, confused for a minute. “Oh… Sorry…” He dropped his hands, making to take a step back but Severus stopped him.
“For me it’s a yes, what more could I ask for than having both people I love in my life?” Snape looked from Alex, who was smiling, to Black, looking rather surprised.
“You what? We’ve always hated each other and…”
Alex cut him “And you just passionately French kissed him –and he replied- because you hate each other maybe?” She was grinning.
Sirius just stood there, looking from one to the other. “I… I… I give up. You’re both manipulative…”
He never finished his sentence, however, as Severus kissed him again. Alex made her way to them and wriggled her way between them before being rewarded by both finally paying attentions to her.
She shared her first kiss with Severus as Sirius hugged them both. She felt safe and at home between the two men, as if she had finally found her place.