Tarheel DeadRecipient: lyottoFandom:
The Marauders, Kinsey, Trevor. There's some R/S in the background, and Peter totally has a crush on James, but the story isn't pairing-centric.Rating:
The Marauders go on holiday.Length:
The Marauders belong to JKR. The other stuff belongs to Poppy Z. Brite. Only the crack is mine.Notes:
Written for lyotto
. I'm your pinch-hitter, so this was written pretty quickly; apologies if it seems a bit rough, but I hope you like it! I had a pretty good time writing it. For those of you unfamiliar, Drawing Blood is a novel by Poppy Z. Brite, but this should make sense even if you haven't read it. Title from the saying, "I'm a Tarheel born, I'm a Tarheel bred, and when I die I'm a Tarheel dead." Feedback is more than welcome.---June 1978
Peter hates North Carolina. It's beautiful, certainly, forests and fields of lush, exotic green, almost painfully picturesque. Unfortunately, it's too hot to enjoy it; every time he steps foot outside he can feel the air, heavy with heat and moisture, pressing against him, suffocating him.
He'd thought it would be fun, traveling around in a hired banger twice the size of anything any of them had even seen at home, but it isn't. The heat forces them to drive with the windows down, and hot air churns through the car, destroying Peter's chances for a good time. It's loud, so there's no hope of conversation, and it's blowing Peter's hair into his eyes, so he can't even enjoy the scenery—not that there's much point in trying. North Carolina roads are full of steep hills and dangerous curves, and Sirius is going so fast that Peter's stomach drops every three minutes. Much more of this, and he's going to be sick.
James and Sirius sit half-naked in the front, oblivious to the heat and to Peter's misery. They're singing along loudly and badly with the radio—the Bee Gees, Peter thinks. He hates the Bee Gees, and he hates this particular song, which the radio insists on playing often enough that they all know every word within a day. This is day five, and Peter is thoroughly sick of it. "Life goin' nowhere," indeed.
He and Remus swelter and sweat in the back, and Peter takes some small comfort in the fact that Remus hates North Carolina, too. He checks the time, sighs and rummages around for a book, which he uses to smack the back of James' head.
"Oi!" James yells, more out of reflex than anything else. He doesn't turn around, and Peter has to lean over the front seat to get his attention. He points to an upcoming sign, and Sirius finally turns the radio down and rolls up the window.
"Missing Mile," James reads, and then twists around to look at Peter. "That it?"
Peter glares and wipes the sweat off his brow with the back of his hand. "I said as much, didn't I?"
"No need to get snippy," Sirius says. "Missing Mile. Odd name, that." But he pulls the car off the motorway and follows the signs.
They travel at a slightly more reasonable speed down country roads which all seem to be named after churches. Remus looks over at Peter. "What's in Missing Mile again?" he asks, and Sirius turns the radio down a bit more so he can hear the answer.
Peter flips through his book and reads: "Missing Mile, North Carolina. The Murder House. On June 14, 1972, cartoonist Robert McGee bludgeoned his wife and three-year-old son to death with a hammer before hanging himself in the bathroom of their house on Violin Road. His other son, five-year-old Trevor, was left alive. McGee, creator of the modestly successful underground comic 'Birdland,' had not published anything in some time, but had no friends or family who could say whether that may have helped lead to the tragedy. The house on Violin Road still stands empty, and local residents say it's haunted."
"I should think so," Sirius says.
Remus lets his head fall forwards until it crashes into the back of Sirius' seat. "Remind me why we're doing this again," he mutters.
James reaches back and smacks the back of Remus' head lightly. "We're investigating haunted houses, Remus! Who better than the four most talented wizards in all the world?"
"If you're so talented," Peter snaps, "why haven't you put a cooling charm on the bloody car?" He knows the answer, but that doesn't stop him from complaining about it.
A long-suffering sigh comes from Sirius' seat. "We're not to draw attention to ourselves, Wormtail," Sirius says. He sounds almost apologetic. "Take your shirt off. It's much nicer with no shirt."
Peter snarls at Sirius but doesn't say anything. He doesn't want to take his shirt off. It's not a problem for James and Sirius, all lean muscle and perfect skin. But Peter doesn't look like they do, and he just feels ugly in comparison. Plus he'd feel bad for Remus, who wouldn't go shirtless in public for a million Galleons.
"Oh, cheer up, mate," James tells him. "I'm sure there's a lake nearby we can swim in, get cooled off, charm some lovely American girls."
Now Peter snarls at James. "Like you would," he says under his breath.
"I can't help it if I'm charming, Wormtail," James says, grinning over his shoulder. "My love for Evans is obviously true and pure and eternal, but the lovely American girls do go in for the accent. What's a poor bloke to do?" He sighs dramatically.
"Shut up," Peter supplies. Remus smacks him in the back of the head, Sirius laughs, and James pulls out a map.
There's silence for a few minutes, broken only by the incomprehensible speech of the radio host, a rambunctious man with an accent so thick Peter can only make out every fourth word. Peter hangs over the front seat and watches for signs.
"Turn up there," Peter says. It's another road named after a church, which is the least surprising thing to happen all day.
James frowns at the map. "Are you sure? I think we need to go the other way."
Peter rolls his eyes. "There is no other way, Prongs. You've got the map upside down."
James balls it up and throws it at Peter's face. "Stupid Muggle maps," he mutters. "Don't orient automatically." Peter snickers, and Sirius turns down Burnt Church Road. ---
Kinsey Hummingbird is walking down Firehouse Street on his way to work when a car turns off Burnt Church Road, drives a few hundred yards, and turns into the parking lot of Potter's Store. It's not a car he's ever seen before, so whoever's driving it must be new in town. He watches as four boys tumble out, two of them bare-chested and the other two sweaty and rumpled.
Kinsey's always curious about newcomers, and as he doesn't have to open his club for a few more hours, he changes course slightly and heads for Potter's Store. The four boys disappear inside, but it doesn't take long for two of them to come back out. One of them, tall and pale with long dark hair and lean muscles, is tugging the other one along. The brown-haired boy, one of the rumpled ones from the back, seems pretty half-hearted about his protests, and he finally lets himself be led around the corner to the back. Kinsey smiles to himself.
As he reaches the parking lot, the other rumpled boy comes out of the store and flops down on the ground, kicking up a cloud of dust. He doesn't look happy about this, but he didn't look very happy to begin with.
Kinsey walks up and sits down next to him on the ground. "Hey," Kinsey says. "Everything all right?"
The boy looks over at him, startled. "Er, yeah," he mumbles. "I'm just—I'm waiting."
Kinsey notes the English accent with surprise. They don't get a lot of visitors from across the pond, and he says as much. The boy seems uncomfortable, his small eyes darting around nervously. He draws his knees to his chest, and wraps his arms around them.
"We came to see the haunted house," he says.
"Ah." Kinsey nods thoughtfully. "Well, we've sure got one of those. But how'd you hear about it?"
"It's in my book," the boy says as if it explains everything. Kinsey wants to know which book, but doesn't ask.
"You said you were waiting," he says instead. "What for?"
"Oh, my friends. I'm here with some friends." His eyes move constantly, looking for them. He hasn't looked at Kinsey for more than a split-second at a time.
"Ah," he says. "I'm Kinsey, by the way. Welcome to Missing Mile."---
James emerges from the charity shop clutching a brown paper sack stuffed with random gifts for Evans. He isn't sure what she'd like, so he got her a wide selection, and she can keep whatever she wants. If she doesn't want any of it, he figures he can get her to tell him what she does
want, and he can go get it for her.
Peter's sitting in the middle of the car park talking to a blond man James doesn't recognize. He doesn't see Remus or Sirius, but maybe that's for the best. The two of them have been arguing a lot lately, and James really wishes they'd stop. They're not even arguing about anything important
--it all seems to be about Remus' books or Sirius' music or what to have to drink.
He heads over to where Peter and the man are sitting, and drops to the ground to join them. "Who's your friend?" he asks Peter.
Peter makes the introductions, which is not the natural order of things, but James doesn't mind so much. Kinsey runs a pub called the Sacred Yew, and he offers to make them something to eat.
"Brilliant! I'm always hungry," James says with a grin. "But we've two more with us. I'm not sure where—oh."
Sirius rounds the corner first, and he's almost strutting; he's got a huge smile plastered on his face. Remus follows, looking nervous, upset, and a little disheveled. James sighs; they've probably been arguing again, and Sirius has won, by the looks of it. When Remus notices everyone staring at them, he freezes in wide-eyed horror; Sirius keeps walking. He strides right up to Kinsey and reaches down to shake hands. "I'm Sirius," he says. "Sirius Black. This here's Remus." He looks round and finally notice that Remus hasn't followed him. He rolls his eyes. "C'mon, Moony," he calls. "He doesn't bite!" He looks sideways at Kinsey. "Er, do you?"
Kinsey smiles. "Not usually."
"This is Kinsey," Peter says to Sirius, a little too loudly.
"Kinsey?" Sirius repeats. "Kinsey what?"
"Kinsey Hummingbird? Are you a w—oof!" James elbows him in the side, cutting him off. Kinsey Hummingbird does rather sound like a wizarding name, but one can't just come out and ask a question like that. He's still not sure what wizarding culture is like in the U.S.; they've not met any others in the time they've been here.
"Kinsey says he'll feed us," James tells Sirius, and glares at him for good measure.
"Excellent!" Sirius exclaims. "I haven't eaten in hours!"
James stashes Evans' gifts in the car, and then they all walk to the Sacred Yew. Kinsey tells them a little more about the haunted house they're here to see. He met the family not long before the tragedy happened, he says, and didn't notice anything wrong with any of them. He hasn't tried to go into the house since it happened, but he knows a few people who have. They don't talk about it, but they don't go back.
James exchanges a look with Sirius. This might be it. They're trying to figure out what makes a house haunted. They've left Hogwarts, so Moony doesn't need the Shrieking Shack anymore, but they're worried about letting it stand empty. If it's too quiet for too long, people might start investigating, might find out about Remus. They know it's a bit of a long shot—they did all the cleanup they could, which was quite a bit. But all of them, Sirius especially, are paranoid and protective when it comes to Moony. They'd tried to get the headmaster to tear the place down, but he wouldn't; he'd said someone else might need it later. So they're trying to haunt it for real.
Of course, they don't tell Kinsey any of that. They say they like haunted houses and that Remus has relatives in North Carolina and they're mates from school on holiday seeing the sights. James doesn't think Kinsey believes a word they say. ---
Peter's nervous. This house, this murder house, sounds like the real thing. They've visited a dozen haunted houses already, and none was actually haunted. Not a bit of magic anywhere. No ghosts, no poltergeists, nothing. But there's something trustworthy about Kinsey, and Kinsey says the house on Violin Road is haunted. Peter's having second thoughts.
"Bugger," he says. They're halfway back to Potter's Store from the Sacred Yew. Only Remus turns to look at him. "I left my bag with Kinsey. I'll run back and get it."
"Right," James says. "Want company?"
"Remus, why don't you—"
"Never mind," Peter cuts in. "I'll just go." He turns and jogs off before James can say anything else. He doesn't jog very far—it's far too hot for that kind of exertion—but he makes his point. No one follows him.
He knocks on the door to Kinsey's pub and lets himself in. Kinsey looks up from mopping the floor and smiles. "I thought you'd be back," he says. "Bag's on the bar."
"Er, thanks," Peter says. But he just stands there, looking uncertainly at Kinsey.
Kinsey keeps mopping, but he asks, "What's on your mind?" He sounds like he wants to know, and Peter wants to tell him.
"I—I don't know," he says, and feels stupid. "I'm just not sure I want to go to the house." Even if he hadn't been worried about the house, he'd much rather stay here with Kinsey, in the air-conditioning.
"So don't." It sounds very simple when Kinsey says it.
"But—my friends all want to go."
Kinsey plunges the mop into the bucket of water and fixes Peter with his blue stare. "You don't always need to do everything your friends want you to do, Peter."
Peter's uncomfortable under that stare, and looks at his feet. "Yeah, I know. I just want—" He breaks off.
"I know," Kinsey says gently, and Peter believes him. There's silence for a while, as Kinsey returns to mopping. Then he says, "Well, I could use a hand here."
Peter smiles tentatively. He doesn't know the first thing about American Muggle nightclubs, but he appreciates the offer. Maybe he could wipe down tables. That can't be hard. He nods. "All right. I'll be back."
He grabs his bag and leaves. It takes all of two seconds for the heat to curl around him like a warm blanket. He hates North Carolina. He wipes the sweat from his forehead and starts down the road towards Potter's Store. He doesn't get very far before Sirius pulls up in the car and yells for him to get in.
He shakes his head. "I'm not going," he says apologetically. "Kinsey needs help in the pub, and I said I'd do it."
Sirius looks at him, just looks. Everything's quiet for a while. Then, "Are you taking the piss?"
"No," Peter snaps. "But he needs help."
Remus rolls down his window and leans out. "What's going on?"
"Wormtail here doesn't want to help you out, Moony."
"That's not true!" Peter protests. He hadn't thought they'd see it that way. He does
want to help Remus. He would help with the haunting part. But they're better at investigating than he is, and he doesn't see why he had to be along for that part.
Remus frowns. "Then what's going on?"
"I just—well, Kinsey asked me to help him out with some things. And you lot don't really need me, do you? It's probably going to be just like the others, boring and disappointing." He hoped so, anyway.
Sirius snorts. "Peter, what help can you possibly be to Kinsey? Do you know anything about Muggle pubs?"
"Get in the car."
"If it's boring and disappointing, we'll be done in an hour and you can come back and bollocks up whatever Kinsey wants."
"Prongs," Sirius says, and turns his head.
Peter gets in the car.---
James is a bit nervous about going to the house. He listens to Sirius argue with Peter about coming along, and he doesn't really blame Peter for wanting to stay with Kinsey. Still, it'll be better with all four of them. Once Peter gets in the car—and James is grateful Sirius handled it—Sirius actually drives slowly, and James stares out the window.
They head down Firehouse Street, watching as the town deteriorates into boarded-up buildings and sad-looking storefronts. They go over some train tracks and leave the town, passing through some dead fields that look strangely out of place, nothing like the rest of North Carolina. Kinsey'd said some of the older residents thought they were cursed, but Kinsey thought it was more likely they'd just been overplanted. They look plenty cursed to James.
The knot of apprehension in his stomach grows as they turn down Violin Road, a barren dirt-road landscape of scrapped cars and kudzu. They round a bend, and there it is: the murder house. It looks as if it's about to be overrun with kudzu any day now, and the grass probably hasn't been cut in years. Sirius pulls the car over and hops out, James and Remus right behind him. Peter's a bit slower, but all four of them head up the long path together.
James' heart pounds in his chest as they approach the old, decrepit farmhouse. It looks a bit like someone put an Engorgement Charm on the Shrieking Shack. A few of the front windows are broken, and there's a 'For Sale' sign half-buried near the front steps.
He looks at his friends and tries to smile. "Right, then. Ready?"
They all nod hesitantly, and James takes a deep breath and pushes the door open. The details of the place slowly resolve; the light filters in strangely through the broken windows and holes in the ceiling. James stands in the living room, his friends at his back, and waits. He's not sure what he's waiting for, but nothing happens. So far it just seems like another abandoned house, shadows and dust and the kind of ghosts that aren't magical at all. He takes another step.
There's a doorway in front of them that leads to a hallway, and James moves towards it. As he gets closer, something seems to shift in front of him. The shadows change, flicker in and out, and James goes for his wand. The doorway itself is creepy; it's splintered in several places, and something that Peter'd read comes to him: Bludgeoned to death with a hammer.
There are several deep gouges in the wall that look like they were made by fingernails, and there are dark spots on the walls that could only be bloodstains.
He hears Sirius clear his throat behind him. "I thought they cleaned up after—after."
"Me, too," Remus says. Their voices ground him for a minute, and everything goes back to normal. But then there's another flicker, and the house isn't there at all. James is back in England, standing in the ruins of a small house, and everything is bathed in bright green light. Evans' eyes
, he thinks. It's beautiful. The vision flickers in and out like a film, like a mirage, and James can feel it pulling at him, drawing him in. He takes a step towards the ruined house, but nothing happens. He doesn't get any closer, so he tries again. Soon he's running, but nothing's happening. He's still not moving, and nothing's going anywhere. He hears a scream, high-pitched and terrible, and he doesn't want to leave.
There's someone chasing him. James doesn't understand what the problem is; he isn't moving. He can't be hard to catch, and he isn't. He's tackled to the ground, and for a minute he sees stars, just like they do in cartoons. Then his vision clears and he's back in the haunted house, with Peter on top of him.
"What?" He says, and runs his hand through his hair. Peter's white as a sheet and his eyes are huge. He pushes himself to his feet, extends his hand to help James up.
"We have to get out of here," Peter says insistently. James could not agree more, and he follows Peter out of the house at a dead run, Remus and Sirius on their heels.---
"Well," Sirius says later, when they're back at the car and have caught their breath and not said anything about what happened in the house.
"Well," Peter repeats at the exact same time Remus does.
"Let's go—what the bloody hell—" James points.
A large brown owl is circling the house, getting lower, and it heads right for the four of them. Sirius and James exchange looks, and James goes to the car to rummage for a treat. Sirius unties the letter from its leg.
"Fuck," he announces.
James emerges from the car with a half-eaten biscuit and offers it to the owl, but it hoots disdainfully and flies away. Peter doesn't even want to know what's in the letter. He drops to the ground and leans back against the side of the car.
Sirius rips the thing open and scans quickly. "Fuck," he says again.
Remus rolls his eyes. "Just read it, Padfoot," he says, impatient.
Sirius clears his throat. "To Messrs. Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs," he reads. Peter closes his eyes. This can't be good. "As you now have some interest in and knowledge of the former occupants of this house, we would like you to do us a favor and deliver the enclosed missive to Trevor McGee. He is a ward of the state, currently housed at the North Carolina Boys' Home, which is warded against magic and owls. Kindly do so as soon as possible."
"Bugger that," Peter says, and opens his eyes to see how this goes over.
"It's not signed," Sirius says with a frown, turning the letter over and inspecting it.
"Bugger that," Peter says again.
"Yes, Peter, we heard you," Remus snaps.
"What's the missive we're supposed to deliver?" James asks.
Sirius shrugs and starts to open it, but Remus stops him. "You can't open someone else's letter," he says.
"But—why not? We've got a right to know what we're getting into."
"I'm with Padfoot on this one," Peter says.
James nods, and Remus is overruled. "Fine," he says, though he is clearly unhappy with the decision.
"Er—it's a Hogwarts letter," Sirius says once he's opened it. "Well, a Jackpines letter, but it's the same idea."
"I've never heard of Jackpines," Remus says.
Sirius looks at him and raises his eyebrows. "Do they talk about American wizarding schools in Hogwarts, A History
"Oh, shut it, both of you," James says. Sirius looks taken aback, but Remus offers up a weak grin. Peter's with James; he wants to get away from the house and go back to Kinsey's. The sooner Sirius and Remus stop bickering, the sooner that can happen. James grabs the Jackpines letter and waves it around. "What are we going to do with this?"
"I think we should take it to him," Sirius says. "Jackpines, whatever it is, has got to be better than the North Carolina Boys Home."
"Don't you want to help Remus?" Peter asks, feeling nasty. No one's talking about what happened in the house, and he hadn't wanted to go in the first place. It had been terrible. The place had sucked him in and disappeared, leaving him in a dark, decaying forest, hunted by masked men. He'd been terrified, and yet he hadn't wanted to leave.
Anger flashes through Sirius' gray eyes, but Remus takes one look at him and steps in. "I don't need help," he says. "I don't—whatever's in that house, it's not something we should mess with. I'm with Sirius. We should find the boy and give him his letter."
James agrees, and they pile in the car and head back into town. Just like that, and Peter knows they're finished trying to haunt the Shrieking Shack.---
They don't take very long to come back, and Kinsey isn't sure whether to be surprised by that. There was something strange about the four of them, and he thought if anyone had a chance of making it into the house to explore, it'd be them. But they roll up in their beat-up Oldsmobile two hours later, pale and sweaty and shaken, just like all the others.
Kinsey's ready for them with meatloaf, beer, and air-conditioning. He doesn't ask them what they saw, and he doesn't say anything to Peter about not coming back to help. He hadn't actually needed him anyway.
"Right," James says after they've eaten, and stands up. "Thank you, Kinsey, for everything, but we've really got to be going."
The boy's unsteady on his feet, his hazel eyes dilated and drunk. "I don't think you boys are in any condition to go anywhere," he says. "Stay here tonight. You can crash on my floor, and leave in the morning."
The four exchange nervous glances. Peter giggles nervously, like he's got some secret, something he wants to let spill. He nods frantically at James, who rolls his eyes and finally nods back. "All right, then," he says to Kinsey. "We accept your offer."
They spend the evening drinking at the Sacred Yew, but Kinsey notices they don't seem to get very drunk. He'll think they're gone, and then they'll disappear to the bathroom, and come back fine. He shakes his head, but it's Friday night and the place is full of Carolina students and he keeps losing track of his guests. He can't quite figure them out, but he doesn't have much time to try.
Women are all over James and Sirius, and Peter and Remus sit and sulk like jealous lovers. Remus, Kinsey thinks, is probably exactly that, but he isn't sure about Peter. It's so hard to tell with Brits. Regardless, when he gets them all back to his house, he puts James and Peter on the living room floor and Sirius and Remus in his bedroom. He folds himself onto his couch and falls into an easy sleep.
When everyone's up, he realizes he was right about Remus and Sirius. Sirius has that relaxed, just-laid vibe to him, and they both reek of sex. James and Peter don't seem to notice.
Kinsey feeds them omelets, tries unsuccessfully to get them to stay a while longer, and sends them on their way. He writes down his phone number, just in case.
"Just in case what?" Remus asks.
Kinsey doesn't say anything. ---
Trevor McGee is tiny and clearly terrified by the sight of him. James tries to be charming; he grins and laughs and is really very nice, but the boy just stares at him with those strange eyes, ice-blue rimmed with black. Remus and Peter don't help matters any. Trevor just curls into a corner in his room and stares.
The room is covered in drawings, all of them quite good and more than a little bit grotesque. If James hadn't just been in that house, he might have worried for the boy. As it stands, though, he's amazed the boy isn't just a gibbering wreck. He wonders how you tell someone he's a wizard.
Just as he starts wondering, Sirius walks in, and things change. Trevor perks up, and some of the fear leaves his eyes. He stares at Sirius, and even James has to admit Sirius is looking rather good. He's in a tight white t-shirt and cut-off jeans which ride low on his hips. His dark hair is wild and unkempt; he doesn't usually bother to tie it back while he's driving, and it's constantly in knots. Somehow it works for him. His pale skin gleams.
"Hullo, Trevor," Sirius says with a smile, and the boy offers a small smile back.
James looks at Peter and Remus and jerks his head back, and the three of them retreat to the doorway to let Sirius handle this.
"Hello," Trevor says, unfolding himself a bit more. "Who are you?"
"My name is Sirius Black," he says, and James notices the boy's eyes widen as he hears the accent. He grins. It gets everyone. He's pretty sure it's the only reason they were even allowed to visit the boy. "These are my friends," Sirius says. "We're here to talk to you a little bit, if that's all right."
Trevor eyes them nervously, and then looks back at Sirius and nods.
Sirius first asks the boy's age; predictably, he's eleven. Sirius nods. "Have you ever—have things ever happened around you?"
The boy frowns. "What kind of things?"
"Well—I don't know. Odd things. Something might appear or disappear for no reason, or—er—well, anything, really."
Trevor thinks and then nods, but doesn't say anything else. "Er, right then. Trevor, do you believe in magic?"
"Yes," the boy says firmly.
"What would you say if I told you there was a school where you could go and learn to do magic? Would you want to go?"
Trevor's eyes narrow. "No."
James frowns, and so does Sirius. "No? Why not?"
"I don't want to go to Birdland."
Sirius frowns, and James remembers that Birdland is the name of the comic the boy's father drew.
"Er, well, the school is called Jackpines," Sirius says. "You won't have to go to Birdland."
Trevor just shakes his head firmly, as if he doesn't even hear what Sirius says. Sirius sighs and takes a step closer. "Do you like it here?"
"Don't you want to leave?"
"I'll be out soon," he says. "When I'm eighteen."
"Trevor, that's seven more years."
"I can do math," he snaps.
"I know you can," Sirius says, instantly conciliatory. "But—I don't understand why you don't want to leave, now you've got the chance."
Trevor wrings his hands and fidgets. "I just don't," he says, and then the blue eyes widen as an obviously horrible thought occurs to him. "I'm not going to Birdland. You're not going to make me, are you?"
"No!" Sirius says quickly. "No, we're not going to make you do anything you don't want to do."
The boy relaxes visibly and lets out a sigh. "Good."
Sirius' shoulders droop and he looks at Remus, who shrugs helplessly. "We can't make him go if he doesn't want to," he says.
"But he should want to," Peter whispers, a little too loudly.
"Well, I don't," Trevor says.
"I know," Sirius says. He sounds sad, and looks around the room, clearly at something of a loss.
"Er," James says. "We should probably go, then."
"Yeah," Sirius says. "Trevor, are you sure you don't want to come with us to the other school?"
Trevor gets a far-away look in his eyes and repeats, "I don't want to go to Birdland."
Sirius says goodbye and the four of them trail outside and get back in the car. ---June 1985
Trevor digs $100 out of his pocket and shoves it across the counter. "Where can I get with that?"
The woman working the ticket counter glares at him and hands him a rate card. "Where to?"
"Uh…" Trevor scans the list of towns, intent only on getting as far away from North Carolina as possible. He doesn't really care where he goes, and is a bit irritated at the woman for not just giving him a random bus ticket. He closes his eyes and runs his finger down the list. He stops at random, checks to see if he can afford the ticket—he can—and then looks at the name of the town.
A memory tugs at the corner of his brain and he tells the woman that's where he's headed. "Name," she says, uninterested.
Trevor thinks of the young man who showed up one day and wanted to take him away. "Black," he says. "Trevor Black."