A lot had happened between the last meeting, and when Cory had received word that there would be another one. She had been sent on one Dark Artifacts raid in Yorkshire, but other than that, nothing out of the ordinary had happened. It had been a Tuesday when Cory had been told by another Auror, Kingsley Shacklebot, that the meeting would take place that Saturday, August 6th.
She thankfully had had no run-ins with the crazy Undersecretary after the first, though she had kept true to her word and had already sent out a Ministry-wide petition to rescind the half-breed restriction. It had not made its way back to the Auror department, but she had hopes that when it did, it would be filled to the brim.
It was Wednesday the fourth when she had heard news (this time it was just Ministry gossip) that Harry Potter had been expelled from Hogwarts, and then the expulsion had been repealed, and a trial date was set. She didn’t know the full details, but she was sure that she would find them out at the next meeting.
On the morning of the sixth, Cory had decided that she was done living off stale cheerios, and had resolved to taking a shopping trip. Now, Cory couldn’t make much, actually, she couldn’t really do anything if it required more energy then heating it up in a microwave, so she settled with buying a bag of pre-made salad (just lettuce and sliced carrots, and some radishes, which she hated) and a rotisserie chicken…and another box of Cheerios, but in her defense, they were quite addicting. She bought a case of water as well, and a box of macaroni and cheese, thinking that she could at least attempt to make something worth eating.
After attempting to make the macaroni for lunch (and failing miserably) she decided to leave a little early to get to the meeting (and to escape the smell of burnt macaroni). She didn’t even know it was possible to burn macaroni…until the pot caught fire. She apparated about two blocks away from Grimmauld, deciding to walk the remainder. She was about 15 minutes early, and she wanted the time to air out her clothes anyway. Thoughts of Regulus and her younger years crept upon her as she walked the familiar pathways that they had walked so often as teenagers. Regulus never had the same aversion to muggles as his mother had, so they would often sneak away from the house in favor of heading up to the nearest cinema, which she knew to be about 5 blocks away from his house.
All too soon she found herself standing on the doorstep of number 12. She rang the doorbell (opting to avoid having her jugular displaced by Moody's wand) and waited patiently (as always) for someone to answer. To her pleasure, it was Molly who beckoned her in, before closing the door quickly.
"How lovely it is to see you again dear. How have you been? You're looking a bit thin, have you been eating alright?" She fussed over the girl as she dragged her into the kitchen. To her surprise, she found five sets of red hair and one large brown bush surrounding the dining table, all staring at her with amusement.
"As alright as I can be, I guess. I'm absolutely dreadful at cooking anything, so it's mostly been deli sandwiches…and Cheerios." She looked down. The brown bush was the only one who seemed to know what Cheerios were, as it let out a slight giggle at the thought.
"What are those dear? And you must come around for dinners then at least. We can't have you falling ill because you can't handle a spatula." She tutted before setting a kettle on the stove.
"Would you like tea, dear?" She asked before Cory had the chance to respond to her last question.
"Oh, no thank you. I've decided I'm not much for the stuff after all. It was nice when I was younger, but I suppose it's more of an acquired taste that I've lost over the years." She replied with a soft smile.
"Well if you're sure dear. How about you lot? Tea, anyone?" All six of the people nodded. As Cory got a closer look, she saw that she only knew four, Bill and Charlie (who were in the Order), and the two twins (Greg and Francis?) who had made of show of Moody's capture of her. The other red-head must have been a Weasley as well, because he greatly resembled the others, and the brown bush was actually a girl who looked to be about the youngest Weasley's age.
"So when's the meeting exactly?" She asked Molly quietly as she passed by, pouring tea for everyone. She knew that Dumbledore was trying to keep the Order on the down low, and she didn’t know how much the other two kids knew.
"As soon as the guard comes from retrieving Harry." She said aloud. Obviously everyone knew what the Order was then.
"Wait…Harry's coming, today?" Cory asked incredulously.
"Well, yes dear, you can't have expected us to leave him with the muggles until his trial?" She asked Cory as if she had grown five heads.
"Well, no. But now? And nobody told me? I could have gotten ready…or whatever." She finished lamely.
"Ready for what?" The brown haired girl asked curiously.
"Never you mind, Hermione. I'm sure Harry will tell you later." The girl named Hermione huffed, and Bill and Charlie looked at each other knowingly.
"They should be back shortly, anyway." Molly huffed as she sat down to sip her tea.
"Great." Cory rolled her eyes sarcastically before resting her chin on her hand.
"So, Ron, Hermione, this is Cory. Cory, this is our little brother Ron, and his best friend Hermione." Bill said conversationally, pointing to the other two.
"Nice to meet you guys." She said pleasantly. Ron nodded, not bothering to stop staring at her, while Hermione looked at her inquisitively.
"You're from America?"
"Erm…yes. Well…no. I'm from here, but I lived in America for the past 14 years." She looked away.
"So why are you back?" She asked a bit forcefully.
"Excuse me?" She looked taken aback.
"Why are you back? I mean, why are you fighting if you could have stayed in America?" She rephrased her question, but didn’t drop her blunt tone.
"I wasn’t going to let my friends get trampled over by some crazy man just because he's bent on taking over the world." She replied, just as blunt. Ron began to choke on his tea, but was interrupted by a new voice.
"That's funny, Corny. Considering all of your supposed friends are fighting for the other side." She looked up in surprise to see Sirius standing in the entrance way of the kitchen.
"It's also funny how of the three marauders left, one of them is also fighting for that same side. Hmm…sounds exactly like my predicament doesn’t it? The best friend, dead, one on our side, and one a Death Eater. Obviously us Slytherins are just like you Gryffindors." She glared as she stood to face him.
They matched each other in height, and after Sirius' 12 years in Azkaban, Cory now had more meat and muscle on her bones then he did, giving her the intimidation factor.
"Don’t talk about James like that." He growled fiercely.
"What, don’t care about your brother?" She matched his tone.
"Don’t care about yours?" He whispered menacingly. She drew back as if she had been stung.
"You don’t know what you're talking about." Her aggressive tone returned, full force.
"Oh, don’t I? I'm sorry; I was just under the impression that I was his best friend!" He yelled.
"He's the one who didn’t care about me! There's a reason I'm no longer apart of the family, Black!" She shouted.
"He did too care! It was just after your parents died that--" She cut him off with a glare.
"Don’t you ever talk about my parents, Black." She growled.
"Now really. Can you two ever be in the same room without tearing each other throats out?" Molly stood between them once again, tutting angrily.
"No." They both glared at each other again before they sat at opposite ends of the dining table. The kids (apart from Bill and Charlie who had witnessed the incident of the last meeting) were staring wide-eyed at the two adults.
Sirius looked about ready to open his mouth when the doorbell rang. Molly gave the two a fierce glare before stalking off to answer it. The tension in the air was thick, and Ron coughed a little to try and relieve it.
"So…erm. Cory, what is it that you do?" He asked delicately, as if waiting for her to explode.
"I'm an Auror, Ron." She smiled pleasantly before turning her sugary sweet smile on Sirius.
"At least I made it that far." She taunted. Sirius leapt up from the table, ready to pounce when Molly walked back in, this time surrounded by loads of Order members. Cory craned her neck to try and spot her nephew, but couldn’t find him underneath the taller adults.
"Really, do we need to separate you two?" She asked exasperatedly as Sirius settled back down, before jumping up again.
"Harry!" He shouted, breaking through the guard. She could hear the muffled reunion, before Remus spoke.
"Were they fighting again?" He glared hard at Cory, causing her to raise an eyebrow. She had never taken Lupin seriously, even in Hogwarts, and she saw no reason as to why she had to now.
"Yes, over who cared least about their brothers." She huffed. It was Remus' turn to raise his eyebrow as he looked at his enemy.
"Why?" He asked incredulously.
"Why not? It's Black, he's the idiot." She huffed before standing up.
"I assume we're in the drawing room then?" She made her way out of the kitchen, barely taking the time to kick Sirius' protruding foot as he attempted to trip her.
"Nice try, Black." She called back with a smile. She could faintly hear Harry asking who she was, and Sirius told him that he would tell him later.
Most of the Order was already gathered in the Drawing Room when she arrived. They were waiting on the Weasleys, Remus, and Sirius to enter, and when they did, Dumbledore began the meeting.
"We have intelligence that Voldemort is actively recruiting, so it is time we step up our efforts. Cory, how willing to you think the Americans are to get involved?" Dumbledore directed the question at the unsuspecting girl. She looked up with a start.
"Um…probably not very willing. Unlike the muggle government, the wizarding government has recently taken up an isolationist policy. We--They are trying to avoid international conflict, especially after the great loss in the War against Grindelwald." She looked deep in thought as she tried to think of whether or not she could convince the American government to join forces.
"Would you be willing to try?" He asked quietly.
"Well, of course I'll try, I just can't promise the results you're looking for, is all." She said quietly.
"Great, onto our next order of business. This week's guard schedule for the Department of Mysteries is up and congratulations to the guard for successfully retrieving Harry from his muggle home." The guard looked around with pride as the rest of the Order clapped for them.
"Charlie, I would like you to start recruiting when you return to Romania." The second eldest Weasley nodded in conformation.
"And to all Ministry members, keep an eye on any on-goings in the Ministry. Watch for corruption, and most of all, beware of being found out. Azkaban is the punishment for vigilante groups, and we need to be extra cautious in these trying times." He looked around with seriousness to all of the rooms occupants.
"That is all; the date of the next meeting is loosely set for this time next Saturday. Please stay safe until then." He said quietly as the room got up, checked the Guard schedule, and left.
Cory noted that she would be guarding on the coming Monday, before Dumbledore pulled her aside.
"What do you know about the prophecy of the Chosen one?" He asked quietly.
"Oh, you mean the one about Harry?" She asked with surprise.
"Yes. Who told you?" He asked quietly.
"Um…right after Severus said he was joining the Order, he told me about what he saw." She averted her eyes quietly, thinking of that conversation.
"So you don’t know the end of it?" She shook her head.
"Harry has a power that the Dark Lord knows not." He looked at her thoughtfully.
"Does he know?"
"Are you planning on telling him?" She practically shouted. "We went over this last time; Harry doesn’t do well with being kept in the dark."
"I know, and I will tell him, soon enough." He said quietly.
"Well…well, good." She huffed before turning on her heel.
"I'll see you next week then?" Dumbledore asked.
"Obviously." She retorted before stomping out of the room.
She made her way back to the kitchen, and was surprised to see two things. One was a head of stringy, greasy hair that she knew and loved, and the other was Sirius standing in the same room, not taunting or teasing the stringy head of hair that she loved.
She pulled out her wand quietly, an idea forming in her head.
"Blue!" A green jet of light shot out of her wand. It hit the back of the stringy head of hair easily, before the hair was suddenly waist long. He turned around in surprise, his lip curling upwards in a characteristic sneer.
"Orange!" A yellow light shot from his as Cory ducked to avoid what she was certain was a strong version of the tickling hex.
"Red!" An orange jet of light followed his as he jumped out of the way of the stinging hex.
"Black!" Red quickly flowed from his wand as she narrowly avoided the stunning charm.
"One!" A black jet flowed quickly. He cast a shield charm and it rebounded halfway, before meeting hers. It bounced between the two, before it slowly decapitated into thin air.
"DONE!" Her scream was just a half second faster than his before she shrieked with joy and tackled him to the ground.
"Failure!" She laughed happily as she hugged her old friend tight. Sev laughed aloud as well before he shoved her off, causing her to land with a heap on the floor.
"Ow! Jerk!" She groaned, nursing her elbow, as she stood. She held out a hand to her old friend who pulled himself up, before she pulled him into another hug, a real one this time.
"Long time no see!" She exclaimed when they parted.
"Yeah! Last time I saw you was Christmas of what…87?" He asked thoughtfully.
"Yeah, I got Drake that stuffed dragon that set the tree on fire!" She laughed at the memory.
"Oh, Cissy was in a fuss for ages after that." His black eyes twinkled reminiscently.
"Um…what was that?" She turned in surprise to see the kitchen full of wide-eyed Weasleys, Sirius, Remus, Hermione, and one boy who looked far too much like her brother to not be Harry. Hermione slapped Fred over the head angrily, muttering something about tact.
"That was two Slytherins getting their fun out of dueling, surprise, surprise." Sirius muttered angrily as he leaned against the wall. Sev slinked an arm around her waist, discreetly preventing her from pouncing.
"Says you who got your kicks out of levitating first years by their ankles." She huffed. Sev tightened his hold on his best friend.
"At least I didn’t serve the Dark Lord." He taunted. Cory didn’t know who the comment was directed to, but snarled out before Severus could respond.
"At least I didn’t spend 12 years in Azkaban because people thought I did, stupid Black." She growled angrily.
"And I never served that bloody bastard." Her British accent was peaking through a bit.
"Says you." He said pointedly. "A Slytherin who surrounded herself with Death Eaters in school. Everyone besides this…thing--" He pointed disgustedly at Severus "--has either ended up dead or in Azkaban. Unless you count Malfoy, who should very well be in Azkaban."
"At least he had the amount of cunning it takes to avoid incarceration, unlike some." She said bluntly.
"Why didn’t you serve the Dark Lord anyway? Were you too much of a coward?" He prodded, ignoring her last statement.
"Oh yes, I'm a coward, which is exactly why I'm choosing to fight him now. In case you forgot, Black. I was an Auror during the First War, I fought every fucking day. And what did you do? Laze about in a broom-shop all day, and working nights for the Order. Real productive." She growled. Sirius snarled at her and yanked out his wand. She met his in a flash, sparks flying from both pieces of wood.
"I could make you lunch meat so fast, you won't even know what happened." She threatened. Sirius laughed.
"That's funny, considering you can't even make toast without turning it black."
"I don’t need to turn it black; you've already got that part down. What with your horrid soul and all." She ground out.
"You couldn’t take me if you tried." Sirius provoked.
"Wanna bet? I could apprehend you without a wand." She taunted. A golden beam shot from his wand, and she let him take it from her.
"Let's see it then." She took one threatening step forward, and he sent a stunner at her. She rolled forward, avoiding the beam, before landing her foot into his shin. He hopped on one foot, nursing his injured leg.
She rolled over her shoulder and stood, before swiping her leg under his other one, causing him to land flat on his back. She kicked his ribs slightly, causing him to curl up, before she swiftly bent down and held his hands behind his back. She lifted him up easily and shoved him against the nearest wall.
"Now, should I take this piece of filth to Azkaban? What are the crimes now, hmm? Let's see, escape from Azkaban, spending two years on the run, attempted murder of a Hogwarts student, trespassing on school property countless times, and assaulting an Auror." She leaned in towards his ear, but said it loud enough so that the occupants of the room could hear her.
"Let him go!" Came a shout. She turned around in surprise to see the younger version of her brother standing before her. It took her a moment to regain composure at the shock of seeing him.
"Really, Cory, don’t you think this is a bit immature?" Remus asked as she let Sirius go. He massaged his ribs tenderly before shoving her out of the way. She kicked his leg and grabbed her wand.
"He started it!" She exclaimed. Severus came to stand beside her before glaring menacingly around the room.
"Really, Lupin, keep the mutt under control." He said coolly.
"Shut up, Snape." Came two voices, one was her own, and the other belonging to Sirius. Sev looked at her in surprise. She shrugged.
"Why do you two hate each other anyway?" Fred asked loudly. The boy obviously had no tact, as Hermione once again took a swing at his head.
"Who? Me and Snape?" Sirius asked loudly.
"No, you and Cory." He said as if it was obvious. Which it was, idiot. Cory thought with disgust.
"Well let's see, she's a Slytherin, she's friends with every Death Eater alive--"
"--Lies--" Cory cut in.
"--My family loved her far too much--"
"--Just like my family loved you far too much--" she said angrily.
"--And she betrayed my best friend." He finished with a growl.
"Oh no, you're thinking of that slime Pettigrew." She said bitterly.
"Like you care! You didn’t give a damn about James!" Sirius shouted.
"You don’t know a bloody thing! At least I cared enough about my brother and yours!" She shouted.
"My brother was Death Eater scum!" He shouted ferociously.
"Your brother was a good man! Much better than you are, anyway." She huffed.
"Enough! I will not have you two constantly fighting in front of the children!" Molly shouted angrily.
"Sorry, Molly." Cory looked shameful, as did Sirius.
"Wait, who was your brother?" This time it was George who lacked tact, as Hermione and Ron took swings at him (which he expertly avoided).
"There's no way he was related to scum like you." Sirius said bitterly. Remus carefully nudged him in the ribs.
"Who?!" George pressed.
"James! James Potter! Sirius can't get over the fact that I, Slytherin scum apparently, was related to such a kind and loving soul like him." Cory said impatiently.
"Wait, you're James Potter's sister?" Harry asked carefully, his eyes narrowing.
"Sadly." Sirius muttered.
"Shut UP BLACK!" She yelled loudly, causing all the occupants to jump.
"I am sick and tired of hearing your pathetic crap about me being related to James. Remember the first train ride to Hogwarts? Who did you talk to the entire time while James and Remus couldn’t even make a sound?!" Remus looked uncomfortable at the mentioning of his name, while Sirius just shrugged indifferently.
"I didn’t know you would grow up to be a Death Eater wannabe bitch."
"And I didn’t know you would wind up being a washed up jackass who can't get over the fact that if it hadn’t been for his stupid remarks, I would still be James' number one." She said angrily.
"What?" Harry asked quietly.
"Nothing, nothing that concerns anyone." She regained composure.
"So, Harry. You obviously weren’t supposed to find out about me this way, but what's done is done. I realize this may be a lot to take in right now, and I apologize for the way this sorry excuse of a godfather acts." She threw a glare at Sirius before turning back to smile sweetly at her nephew.
"Why didn’t anyone tell me though? I mean, Professor Lupin had the chance in third year! And I saw you all that time last year Sirius! Even Snape could have told me something! Why didn’t you guys tell me anything?" He shouted. Hermione and Ron looked over at each other quietly, before wincing slightly. He rounded on them next.
"And did you two know as well? Was this just some great big prank on me?" He howled.
"Of course not Harry--" Hermione started, tears shining in her eyes.
"Harry, they didn’t know who I was until just now. No one but the people in the Order knew who I was, and that was only until last week, so no one in here has had the opportunity to tell you besides Remus, Sirius, Sev and I." Cory stopped to take a breath, Harry watching her intently.
"Then why didn’t anyone say anything?" He had stopped shouting, and now just looked severely hurt.
"No one told you because I was disowned before you were born. Sirius and Remus were never friends with me, and I'm sure it was a sore topic whenever I was brought up. I left Britain after James died and only came back once or twice to spend Christmas with my friends. I wouldn’t be surprised if everyone but Sev forgot about me." She said truthfully. Harry searched her eyes for a moment.
"And you never thought to write, or anything? I mean, didn’t you care, at…at all?" He asked quietly, the pain obvious in his voice.
"Of course I cared, kid. It's just, well…what could I do? There was no hope to get custody over you, because I'm technically not a part of the family anymore. And as for writing, well…I thought that if you were told when you got into Hogwarts, why would you want to hear from the Slytherin aunt? If you're anything like James then you hate every Slytherin because they wear green. Something he took from this jack over here." She shoved her thumb in Sirius' direction, but Harry just shrugged her off.
"Oh, don’t worry, he's exactly like Potter." Severus spat out the name bitterly. Cory sent him a fake smile before stomping on his foot angrily.
"Don’t talk about James like that." She reprimanded.
"Sorry…" He muttered.
"So you and Dad didn’t get along then?" Harry asked sadly.
"We did up until our parents died, right after he married Evans. We both took it kind of bad, but James just stopped talking to me after that. Then he blasted me off that stupid tapestry and wrote me out of his will." She murmured angrily.
"I'm sorry." Cory searched his emerald green eyes but only found honesty.
"It's not your fault, it's that jerk Voldemort and his stupid slimy Death Eaters. But we'll get 'em back." She grinned at him. He smiled back weakly.
"Umm, do you think we could maybe, talk, sometime?" Harry asked awkwardly.
"Sure! I've heard loads of stories about you from Dumbledore. From the way he talks about you, I'm almost positive you're James reincarnated. Except for those eyes…Those are definitely Evans' eyes, huh, Sev?" She pulled an unsuspecting Snape into the conversation.
"Yeah." He muttered gruffly.
"You knew Mum too?"
"Obviously…Well, yeah. We weren’t really close though. She always did beat me in Potions." She sighed.
"I heard Mum was really smart." He said brightly.
"Oh, she was brilliant. As was James, he just didn’t apply himself in any place except for Transfiguration…where he beat me too." She sighed again.
"The smart gene must skip a generation then, hmm?" Sev drawled. Harry (and the Weasley children) looked up at Severus sharply.
"Shut up, Sev." Cory rolled her eyes before winking at Harry. He laughed back, obviously over being kept in the dark.
His laugh sounded just like James'.
A/N: THANK YOU FOR ALL THE REVIEWS!!!! It makes me sooooo happy to see all the reviews that I got for the last couple of chapters! Thank you for reading my story! Have a good day!!!