Chapter 21 – Playing Jax Can Be Dangerous
Jax Potter was a tad disgusted by his current situation. He had made the critical mistake of trusting a woman who had fallen in love with him only because of his power and willingness to use it. He also miscalculated her actions after her grandfather’s reaction to her decision to fall in love with him after he threatened her life in front of the old man to get his way. Then the old man had decided to sacrifice himself in the spell that conjured the blue bottle on the beach. A bottle and an answer he had to leave behind.
Now he lay in a hospital bed waiting on one of his cousins to explain what changed to make him recognizable in the magical world. He was also hoping to find out the whereabouts of another less desirable cousin. The one he knew was responsible for his parents’ deaths. Jax Potter also suspected William Potter was responsible for the deaths of other Potters in line for the family title and holdings. If that was all he was after, then killing him would be so much sweeter a revenge, he thought.
“Well cousin, it’s…interesting to see you again,” Randal Potter said as he entered the hospital room.
“Interesting?” Jax asked, “How so?”
Randal stood wondering what his cousin expecting him to say. It had been no less than 20 years when they last saw each other. Randal was little more than a teen when his hot tempered cousin stormed out of the family conscious vowing to return one day and reclaim his birthright.
“Well there really isn’t anything for you to reclaim of your birthright, is there?”
Now it was Jax’s turn to wonder what his cousin was expecting. He decided it would be better to keep asking questions. Jax couldn’t remember exactly how old his younger cousin was the last time he had seen him, but he knew he was just a boy then.
“What exactly are you talking about, Randal?” he asked.
Randal sighed and approached the hospital bed.
“By wizarding law, you were dead,” he started, “You were caught under the same blood magic that rendered the Potters non-existent for eighteen years.”
Randal continued explaining the protection Professor Dumbledore cast after Harry’s parents were killed, but most of it Jax already knew. There was a great deal Jax knew that he wasn’t going to tell his cousin. At least not yet; and at this point in time, Randal really didn’t need to know.
“So you are not entitled to anything from the Potter Estates. That is why I said your reappearance is interesting.”
Jax knitted his brow and then smiled in recognition of what his cousin was talking about. “So you think I’ve returned to take away from your mighty Potter legacy then?”
“Well, no,” Randal said. “It’s not mine. I was caught up in the same spell…”
“While it is fortuitous that I, as well as the rest of the surviving Potters, were released from the blood magic, that is not my reason for returning.”
Randal cold not suppress his shock. He was sure there could be no other reason for Jax’ return if it weren’t to retake the Potter legacy. “Then, why did you return,” he asked. “If you were unknown, you could have continued your life as though nothing had happened once the blood magic lifted.”
Jax shook his head in disbelief. It amazed him how little the rest of the Wizarding world knew about what William Potter had been doing before and since Voldemort’s first fall. Jax had initially left his family looking to rebuild the wealth his father had denounced. But William had gone on a dark path to build power.
While Jax was travelling, he spent his first years learning some very hard lessons. While some witches and wizards may have been kind to him at first, others used kindness to lull him into a false sense of security. He had found himself naked and sickleless on several occasions in his first months travelling. Then later he found himself mired in what at first seemed like a chance to build his wealth and help others do the same only to find he was nothing more than confidence man working one scheme or another to continue his journey.
He was recovering from one of his less onerous schemes to finance his travels when he heard someone in the Near East was searching for the same magic he was looking for. Except, whoever this was, had already used its malevolence to bring hopelessness to an entire region. This magic affected magical and muggle alike.
“I’ve come back to kill William Potter,” Jax said matter-of-factly. “I found out what he was trying to do as well as what he had done, and know he must pay with the only thing he has of value to me – his life.”
Randal Potter stood motionless. It was yet another shock to find another Potter who was ready and willing to kill another family member. Jax saw his cousin’s confusion and shock and continued.
“You do know William was responsible for James and Lily’s death, do you not?” Jax asked. Before Randal could answer, Jax continued. “You are also aware that it was at his hand that your parents were killed as well, not to mention that he also killed my father before he could reconcile with the rest of the family.
“Oh wait,” Jax said as he thought back to what must have been the last time Randal saw him. It was during a disagreement with Randal’s father. “You must think that my father was never willing to return to the family.”
Randal was very aware of the strife the family went through concerning the light and dark. He was also aware that there were times when some of his relatives decided following the darker path could lead to better circumstances.
“My father was ashamed of his actions and the reflection they had on the family as a whole,” Jax said. “His decision was based on honor. He wanted to distance the Potters from what he thought were his transgressions. He wanted to prove he was still worthy of our family’s history and its legacy in the magical world.
“Yet before he was able to reconcile, William killed him. He killed my father and Angel shortly after I spoke with them about what your father had told me.”
Jax stopped and took a rattling breath. The memories of coming back into the home his father had made for him and his eleven-year-old brother and finding their tortured and mangled bodies ripped at his heart. The thought of young Angel Potter’s life horribly snuffed out after just preparing for the beginning of his magical education at Hogwarts was enough to break his heart again.
Randal watched and waited while Jax stared at the wall.
“It was assumed that you were responsible for that,” Randal said in almost a whisper.
Jax turned his attention back to his younger cousin. His eyes narrowed and his nostrils flared.
“Don’t you think I know that? Don’t you think that I know the whole bloody wizarding world thought that I was a killer? That I killed my father and my baby brother?
“I knew it, and I wasn’t going to stand for it…” Comprehension dawned on Jax face. “Wait on flipping moment, if you thought I killed them, then what are you doing here?”
Randal sighed. “I’m here to arrest you,” he said as two agents from Magical Law Enforcement stepped through the hospital room door.
Jax reached for his wand, but before he could reach it one of the agents hit him with a full body bind curse.
“I’m sorry Jax. There is quite a bit of evidence against you,” Randal said as the MLE agents gathered him up and took him away.
Hermione paced back and forth as she explained everything she had gleened from Ron about his latest visions.
It seemed that he had been able to do as Ginny has demanded and focused his seer abilities on to a certain person. He had focused on George.
While he wasn’t able to pinpoint his location, he was able to see that they were all alive and that they were struggling against someone Ron said could have been Harry. It confused Ron because he thought he was looking at his best mate in the future.
“Well, it’s making me a bit distraught,” Ron started. “Here I can see George, Iris, and James being tortured – mostly George, by my best mate.
“I know it’s not you, Harry…”
Hermione took over as Ron trailed off. She could feel his emotional overload and the toll it had taken on him as he had worked himself almost into exhaustion. He had spent the last three days pushing himself to find answers through his seer abilities. Ron had, what a few years ago would have been the unthinkable, spent the day and most of the night in the library researching everything surrounding seers and their abilities. While Hermione had only tacitly suggested, ‘someone has to know something about seers,’ Ron decide the place to start was the library.
It wasn’t until he had exhausted himself that he finally found the answer on his own. Ron was sitting up reading the fifth dusty volume of “Witches Ways to the Winds’ Wanderings – Seeing with the Inner Eye, by Edythe Bloodwyth when he looked over to see Hermione with her head down, eyes closed, and a faint trail of dribble pooling on the table.
“Must be nice,” Ron muttered to himself, “I’m here slaving away at these dusty books looking for an answer and all miss know-it-all can do is relax and …”
Just like most epiphanies this one struck Ron like a bag of hammers. “I’m a bloody idiot!” he shouted.
Hermione jumped at the commotion, her eyes wide open, presenting a most uncharacteristic morning face.
“What is it,” she asked. “Have you found it?”
Before Ron could answer she tore into her usual matter-of-fact speech.
“I knew it would be here. You see Ronald, I told you we were on the right track. Coming to the library was the best idea you’ve ever had…”
Ron reached for her and pulled her into his arms and looked into her eyes with a frenzied passion. “No, I didn’t read it. I felt it! It was when I looked at you sleeping. I was just thinking of how you’d just die if I mentioned you were a drooler when you slept and then it hit me. I need to relax and allow myself to see where them.
“I know it’s the answer. Every one of these books talks about how these seers were always in a trance or a dreamlike state.”
Ron slammed the book closed, “What better way to get into dreamlike state that to go to bed and try to sleep?”
It had been hours that Ron had been in the library trying to find answers. His eyes were burning as he trudged up to the common room on the way to his bed. Every joint and muscle ached from his unaccustomed library visit. He welcomed the idea of sleep.
Ron kissed Hermione on the cheek and found his bed inviting him to slumber. He didn’t bother with his normal rituals since he was so tired that he almost felt nauseous. He just put on the maroon track suit Hermione had given him for Christmas and jumped into bed. As his head hit the pillow the worst thing that could happen, happened. He couldn’t sleep. His mind and body refused to cooperate. No matter what he tried, his eyes refused to stay closed – his body refused to stay still. It was no use.
Frustrated, Ron decided to get up and take a page out of Harry’s book and wander the castle. It was way past curfew and without Harry’s invisibility cloak; Ron knew he’d need to be careful. Even though he was a seventh year, the rules still applied. Professor McGonagall had made it clear that even a Defender of the Light was subject to the rules of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. That meant only to him that if he were caught he’d most likely receive a more severe punishment than a normal student.
As he entered the common room, Ron reached out though his and Hermione’s link and found her peacefully asleep in her room. He decided not to wake her and continued out the portrait hole. The fat lady was half-asleep as well and only mumbled something about getting back to bed before she called Mr. Filtch.
He really had no idea where Harry went during his wanderings. That made it easy. Ron would head down to the kitchens and see what the house elves were doing. His stomach launched into protests as soon he had the though; mostly because he had totally ignored it the entire time he was in the library. Ron’s mouth started watering on his trip down with thoughts of the savory treats he was sure the elves would provide.
He found the portrait of fruit and tickled the pear to gain entrance. Once inside he saw what he pretty much expected – a small group of house elves were busily cleaning the kitchens for the next days meals. He looked around hoping to find a willing elf. Normally, he’d have come in with Harry. The elves adored Harry and Ginny and would practically row over who would be the one to bring either of them anything. It was another one of those things Ron thought was fun to watch as well as bloody helpful when he needed sustenance.
“Does the Keeper of the Light requires something,” croaked a familiar voice.
Ron turned to see Kreacher standing behind him. The old elf was clean and wore the Hogwarts’ house elf uniform – a tea cozy with the Hogwarts coat of arms embroidered on it. He noticed though there had been a slight alteration on this one. Underneath the were the words, ‘Most Noble House of Potter – Defenders of the Light’
“Uh, yeah,” he started, “I missed dinner and was wondering if I could get a snack to tide me over until breakfast.”
“The Keeper has missed more than dinner,” Kreecher croaked. “The Keeper was in the library for many hours. He and the Minder were missing from three meals. The house elves has already fed the Minder.” Kreecher continued talking as he moved back and forth from the hearth to a table where he set a large bowl of potato soup down for Ron. Kreecher beckoned Ron to sit and move away to get him bread.
Ron had never liked Kreecher. In the past he was sure the elf was just hiding his true feelings in an effort to find a way to kill Harry – something Ron thought you had to be pretty thick not to see. But, now, something seemed different about the old elf. Maybe it was something different about Ron.
“Kreecher,” Ron started, “why do you call me ‘The Keeper? Is it because of Quidditch?”
A facial expression that could pass for a smile appeared across the Kreecher’s withered face as he approached Ron with a basket of bread.
“No, you is the Master’s best friend. You is a Defender of the Light. And you is also The Keeper. You keeps the secrets.”
Kreecher lowered his voice as if he were the one with the secret. “You keep the secret of the futures, the past, and the today. You is the seer.”
It was surprising to hear Kreecher knew of Ron’s seer abilities but he decided to keep quiet while the house elf spoke. “You makes part of the Defenders of the light, same as the Minder. You are part of the strength the Dark Lord never knew.”
This new information was more of a shock. While Harry had let Hermione and him know about the prophesy, Ron had never really taken the time to dissect it the way Hermione had done with his first. And while he thought his relationship as Harry’s best mate was as close to being brothers as he could image, he had never thought of it as part of Harry’s strength. Ron thought about this as he brought another spoonful of soup to his lips. Before he put it into his mouth a question began burning in his mind.
“Kreecher, what about Hermione?” he asked. “I mean, I know Ginny is bonded to Harry, so she’s part of his strength…” Before Ron could finish his question, the old elf held up the basket of bread to Ron’s face and tipped the spoonful of hot soup on to his face.
“The Keeper knows the answer to this question. The Minder is the one who slows the Defenders down to think. She is the balance for you and the Master. She is also the Keeper’s bondmate. Most of all, she be the equalizer.”
Ron barely heard what Kreecher was saying due to his soup-burned lip and nose. Before he could ask the old elf to repeat himself Kreecher slipped away.
“Right helpful little bloke that one is,” said a familiar voice from behind Ron. Startled, Ron turned around spilling the rest of his soup on to his lap.
“Bloody Hell!” Ron yelled.
“Now Ronnikins, is that any way to greet your long lost brother,” Fred said as he materialized. “I dare say your most beloved would be shocked at your singular inability to hold your tongue.”
Fred put his hand to his chin while Ron tried to move his soup-soaked clothes away from his skin. “No, I think she knows better,” Fred finished.
“You know I love you Fred, but could you give a bloke a bit of warning before you pop in,” Ron said as he finished cooling himself down. “By the way,” he continued as he drew his wand and cast a cleaning charm on himself, “Mum was very happy with the gift you left her.”
Ron was referring to the Christmas tree ornament his brother had left just in case he was killed. It was later found by their mother and is now part of the Weasley holiday tradition according to Molly. She said she would put on this year’s tree when they were all home on holiday.
“I was right proud of that,” Fred said. “Fancy little piece of magic George and I learned, from of all people, Mundingus. I think it did the trick. I didn’t intend for Mum to fall apart like that…” George paused; his eyes seemed to glisten, and then he continued in a hoarse voice, “but, she seemed to like it.”
Ron couldn’t think of anything appropriate to say to his dead brother. “Yeah, I think she did.”
Fred quickly composed himself and turned to his brother. “And if we are going to keep any more Weasleys from my current situation, we need to get you moving.” Fred pulled up a chair and started explaining how Ron could better access his seer abilities.
“You were almost right,” Fred said. “The seer’s abilities are a bit of a bridge, if you will, between times. Time is the material you use to create the art you are making.”
Ron’s face showed the confusion he was experiencing at his brother’s words.
“Okay, that didn’t make sense,” Fred continued. “You remember the time-turners Hermione used, right? Well, anything that can be manipulated by magic has to be real – you learned that in magical theory. Well since a time-turner is a magical device, then it’s reasonable to believe time is something real and tangible.
“While the vast majority of magical folk just use time the same way they use the air they breathe, you, my dear brother, have found a gateway that leads to understanding and using time.
“I think it’s a bit like finding ways to use it as a tool. To stay with the air analogy: compressed air is potential energy. Or if you fancy swimming around like a muggle under water, it’s a way to go places they normally can’t.”
It started to dawn on Ron that his seer ability was more awareness than a gift. “So then, anyone can be a seer.”
“No,” Fred said hesitantly. “Well, technically, yes. What I mean is that, just like everyone can breathe air…except yours truly, not everyone has the awareness to understand it.”
Fred’s use of the word awareness prompted Ron to think he understood what his brother was talking about.
“Brilliant, then who can I find George and the others? If they are in the here and now, how do I make the bridge to them if I am in the here and now?”
“Blimey, you’ve actually been listening, haven’t you,” Fred said. “Not only that, you understood. My little bro is all grown up. I couldn’t be prouder.”
“Look Fred, I really don’t have loads of time to waste here…”
“Oh, but you do!” Fred said cutting Ron off in mid-sentence. “You see once you start actually ‘seeing,’ time sort of stops for you. It’s the same type of thing that happens when you enter your bond – something you and Hermione have not done as of yet – but that’s another story.”
“Hold on,” Ron started, “You mean I’m in the midst of seeing…right now…this moment.”
Fred rolled his eyes. “There’s the thick brother I know and love. Haven’t caught up yet, then? Don’t worry, I’ll wait for you.”
Ron sat still and pondered. It only took him a few moments to put his thoughts together.
“Take me to George,” he said to his brother. “Unfortunately, I can’t do that.” Ron’s heart and face fell.
“But you can,” Fred finished.
An instant later Ron was flashed into a brightly lit room with a cold floor. The three people Ron wanted to find were in the room. Iris was crying over a thoroughly pummeled looking George.
“Good job little brother,” Fred said from beside him. “Now all we have to do is figure out where we are AND when this happens.”