Brett woke up slowly, the way he had taught himself years ago to wake. First his arms and legs, then letting his breathing get a little faster, and once he found that nothing was threatening, he would open his eyes. Blinking slightly, he glanced at the clock, classes started in half an hour.
He showered and dressed before grabbing his normal cup of apple juice from his kitchenette. Some things, he thought, would never leave him. He walked into his classroom just as the first student was arriving.
“Good morning Professor,” she said sweetly, full of morning person spirit.
“Good morning to you as well Miss Volte.”
By the time the bell rang five minutes later, the room was full. The rest of the Wednesday proceeded as normal, until Draco Malfoy came in after dinner, looking the worse for wear.
“What’s happened? What’s wrong?” he asked as he dropped the papers he was grading and walked towards him.
“I don’t know, I really don’t. I woke up this morning with a bed feeling and I can't seem to shake it. I tried to tell Granger about it, really I did, but every time I tried, it just got worse and I couldn’t tell her. I just don’t know what to do.” He threw himself into the first seat and laid his head on the desk in front of him.
“Wait, something's wrong and it had something to do with Hermione?” He whipped around and started rummaging through his desk hurriedly.
“What are you doing?” Draco asked as he looked up at his friend and teacher.
“I'm looking for…. Got it!” He opened a file, nearly ripping it, and ran his fingers down it. He stared at it with angry eyes for a moment before dashing out of the door, quickly followed by Draco.
“Are you going to tell me what you think is going on?”
“No, not right now. I can't.” He spun around and grabbed Draco by the shoulders, “I'll tell you someday, but right now, I need you to go watch Hermione. Distract her, make her feel like everything’s ok. Please Draco.”
“Yeah sure, we have to talk to Potter and his friends. Make sure that, what ever it is you're doing, it isn’t going to hurt anyone.” Her name hung in the air, acknowledged but unspoken.
“I’ll do my best, but I can't guarantee it. Goodbye Draco.”
Draco watched Brett walk fast down the rest of the hallway before turning a corner, heading in the direction of the headmaster’s office.
“Oh Merlin, I hope he knows what he's doing.” And then he too turned around and walked away, back to his dormitory where he was supposed to meet Hermione.
“McGonagall, I have to go. But I’ll be back by tomorrow, I promise. But it’s an emergency.”
“Brett-” she was still slightly shocked from his barging into her office, eyes panicked, body hyped.
“No, please. It’s about my wife. It’s about Josi.”
“I’ll explain everything when I get back. I may bring her and her husband back here, it’s no longer safe where she is, she’s no longer safe where I put her. Look, I know that you’ve been looking for me, that’s why I disguised myself so you wouldn’t know who I was. Can I use the door?”
“What door? And you better explain everything when you get back.”
“The one that moves you outside the gate to the Grounds. It’s just behind the portrait of the first Headmaster. You open the portrait and then take the slide that's behind it. Then it plops you outside next to the gates so that you can get out of here faster. Please.”
“Of course, Brett. But I, I thought Josi was dead.”
“I’ll explain everything when I get back.”
She nodded and he moved to the door that would let him save the woman he had given everything he had to protect.
The moment he reached the outer walls, he Appaperated away.
“Jack! Will you get that?”
“I'm reading the paper, Beca.”
“Men,” she murmured and dried her hands on the towel at the stove.
“Hello, may I ask who you are?” she said a little accusatory to the man standing before her. When she looked at his face, her eyes were instantly drawn to his. She blinked after a moment, as if waking out of a trance, before slapping him in the face.
“Ok, I deserved that, actually I deserve a lot more than that, but Josi, just let me in. Voldemort is coming I think.”
She stood to the side and waved him inside, before she turned away and said “My husband’s in the living room. You damn well better explain yourself. I have to finish dinner.”
She left him standing in the front hallway, stupefied. That was definitely not the reaction he had expected. After a moment he followed her to the kitchen.
“What part of he’s in the living room did you not understand?”
“Actually, Josi, your husband is standing here in the kitchen with you.”
“You no longer count, Brett.” Her back was towards him as she set a pot onto the stove top.
“Well, I suppose that would be a good thing, Beca, but why in the world did he call you Josi?”
“Jack, well, he sort of has a lot of explaining to do. Why do you think Voldemort is coming?” she said as she started to chop up the food beside her.
“Well, for one, he is after our daughter, who happens to be the best friend of his worst enemy. Besides that, she is believed to be a Muggle-born, and you're her parents.”
“But why tonight?” she asked as she moved the chopped up food beside her into a boiling pot.
“Draco and I both have had a bad feeling all day that neither of us could shake. When he thought it had something to do with Hermione, I realized that he was right. I had to dig up your address, but I'm telling you, Voldemort is on his way here.”
“Ok, listen here Brett, I don’t know who you are, or what you think you're doing, but I’ll be damned if I let you try to scare my wife with some, some made up person!”
“Listen, Jack, Voldemort isn’t some made up person. He’s the wizard that has been terrifying the wizarding community for decades, even after his supposed death.”
Brett turned to look at ‘Jack’ and just stared at him with an empty expression. He watched the man blink for a moment and then his fist swung forward.
He stumbled backwards, reaching to catch his balance before holding a hand to his jaw, “I definitely deserved that one Bryan . Listen, I need to know where that black desk is. I promise I will tell you everything when we get back to Hogwarts, just tell me where the desk is.”
“Why do you need to know where the desk is Brett?” Bryan asked, his hands still fisted at his sides as he shook with anger.
Josi glanced back at them both and answered for him, “I expect that’s where he hid our wands. So they were always within reach when this sort of thing happened. Come on, I’ll show you.” Again she dried her hands on the towel in front of her and they followed her out of the kitchen into a den of sorts.
“There you go, but I'm telling you, Voldemort is not after us.” They all heard footsteps approaching in the silence that followed.
“It’s probably a salesman or something.”
“I've never known you to be stupid Josi. Biased, sure, but stupid? No.” He was running his hands down the sides of the desk, as if he were feeling for something. They heard the door break in and Bryan whispered, “Hurry up Brett.”
He found the small divots he was looking for a moment later and pressed. An instant later, two drawers opened that were just big enough for their wands. He pulled them out and handed each one to the owner.
“Did you want to fight?” Brett asked as he looked at them. Just then, the den door burst open and Bryan said, “No choice now,” and then the room was lit with so many different colors, it was hard to see each other.
After only two minutes of fighting, Brett heard Josi scream.
“Alright,” he whispered, and slid his wand down his sleeve, “You asked for it.”
He brought his hands together and thought of the ice rune, before he aimed his palms towards the Death Eaters and moved them side ways. The four in front of him froze instantly. Others were struggling with the cold. He rushed towards her and froze the one standing in front of her and pulled her up.
“I think it’s time we head to Moony’s house,” he whispered in her ear as he supported her body. She nodded and he let her go. A split second later, he heard the crack as she left. He moved back into the target of the Death Eaters surrounding Bryan when he heard Voldemort himself finally coming into the room. He held his breath as he seized Bryan’s arm and Appaperated to the Shrieking Shack.
“What the bloody hell are you doing Brett?” Bryan nearly shouted as he ripped his arm from the man’s grasp.
“Getting you out of there alive. Josi!”
“Over here Brett. Bryan?”
“I'm here with him. Where the hell are we?”
“We’re in the Shrieking Shack. It’s where Remus went on the full moon. By the way, why exactly did we come here?” she said as she entered the room they were in.
“It’s close to the school and it’s got enough room so that I can heal the two of you.”
“In case you’ve forgotten, I can heal the both of you real easy.” Josi said as she placed her hands on her hips.
“You may be able to help him, but you can't help yourself, nor can you help me. We discovered after Voldemort put me in that coma that you can't heal me anymore. Besides, you can only heal the skin which would be good for him, but first we need to find out if he’s hurt on the inside.”
“Wouldn’t it be easier if he wasn’t hurting on the outside anymore?” They had gotten in each other’s faces, both red faced with anger.
“Hey! You do realize that I am still here right? Well then, why don’t you let me choose?”
“Fine,” Josi said confidently.
“Ok, well then I'm going to go with Brett on this one because, as pissed as I am with him, he knows better than you do about healing people. You fixed them with a simple touch but he had to learn all the spells and everything.”
“Yeah, sure fine. Call me in when he’s done, since he’ll probably make you strip.”
“Yeah he needs to, but why are you leaving then? Surely you’ve seen him in less than his boxers.”
Bryan and Josi looked at each other with alarm in their eyes.
“Well, actually no, I haven’t.” She looked embarrassed.
“But you thought you were married and…”
“And it never felt right, ok? Merlin Brett, give it a rest. It’syour fault that everything got screwed up.”
“Sorry for trying to protect everyone I love,” he mumbled before saying louder, “If you're going to go, then go. I need to look him over as soon as I can so that if anything is damaged, it doesn’t get worse.”
She whipped around and walked swiftly out the door that she had come in a few minutes earlier.
“Brett, you really have to explain it to her. I guess, now that I’ve realized it was the only thing you could do, that I shouldn’t be too angry with you. But she never was the type.”
“I know. Now can I please look you over? I really don’t want you to remember that you're a wizard only to die a few hours later.”
“Josi I'm done.”
“Good.” She walked in, still furious, and gripped Bryans arm in her hands. She gently touched one of the larger cuts with her finger, only to have him gasp in pain.
“What, what did I do?”
Bryan glanced down at his arm, then to his fingers, then to the place every sore had been moments before, “I don’t remember you ever being able to do that.”
“Me either. That was not normal.” She looked over at Brett who was a little wide eyed but he managed to say, “Magic build up. You haven’t used any form of magic in nearly eighteen years, it would make sense that everything would work more easily and heavily now. But it should wear off eventually.”
“Yes, yes well-what was that?”
They all listened to someone coming in through the trapdoor a floor below them. Brett looked at the both of them and whispered, “Meet me outside of Honeydukes. We’ll take that way instead. Josi I’ll fix you up when we get back.” And with that he disappeared.
“Umm, what’s Honeydukes?”
“Hold my arm, I’ll get us there.” And then they too disappeared.
Ron Weasly would wander up the stairs a few minutes later to see nothing but dust and shredded furniture occupying the room.