Anyway, the Wizengamot let Fiona go since the evidence was so flimsy, but Dumbledore agrees with Sirius that it's time to get Fiona out of the country (though he doesn't say it, probably before they realize they don't really have any other suspects, and start poking around again and seeing what there is to see). Remus, Sirius, and Dora have cooked up a scheme to get the Brodies to Brazil by Side-Along Apparating their way around the world.
Table of Contents and Summary So Far
As the fire had left the Brodies with very little to carry with them--just the clothes Dora had given them, really--there was nothing to dawdle over, a fact which seemed to bother Fiona more than the leaving itself.
"I've spent my whole life here," she said, fretting at the clothes in the small valise. "There should be more to pack!"
"You'll build a whole new world of things," Dora said, putting her hand on Fiona's shoulder gently. "You have your girls, and some pictures, and all the stories you can think to tell."
"You'll see to it that they give Dougie a proper burial?" Fiona asked for the third time.
Fiona sat down on a plush chair and put her head in her hands. "There must be something else. I'm forgetting something."
"The boat," Kirsty suggested. "Daddy's boat."
"I'll send it when we get you settled," Remus said. "It's still docked on McManus Island. Once we know where you are, it's simple enough to send it magically."
"Aren't there laws?" Fiona asked.
Dora snorted. "Try enforcing them. We've a few wizards who've made big Muggle fortunes smuggling things across borders. Devilishly hard to catch."
"What happens when you do?" Sirius asked, mainly trying to shift the conversation.
"St. Mungo's tends to get large and sudden donations, then they all disappear somewhere. We're thinking the Cloaked Islands--not the big ones, but a few of the little ones. Kingsley and I found a few when we were looking for you there."
"When are we going home?" Elspeth asked. "Won't Phineas be sad?"
Dora smiled and knelt in front of her. "I think Phineas will be quite sad, but I'm sure he won't say so. But we're going to go to a new home. I went last summer, and it's warm and nice there. It's like a holiday all the time. Are you ready?"
Elspeth, trembling, nodded.
Dora looked at Fiona, who looked to Sirius, then gulped and nodded. "Let's go. Before I think of whatever it is I'm forgetting."
"Daddy's boat," Kirsty reminded her crossly. "I don't want to go. I'm going to Hogwarts next year."
"I'll find out what the situation is," Remus told her. "We'll see. But for now, are you ready to go?"
Kirsty pressed her lips together tightly, then shrugged.
"All right, then," Sirius said. "Dora, why don't you take Elspeth?"
"I'll take Kirsty," Remus offered.
"And I'll bring Fiona."
Fiona looked down. "I should have learned to Disapparate!"
"A lot of witches don't," Dora told her. "It's a bother, sometimes. Now, where will we stop first? I don't trust more than a thousand miles at a jump."
The most logical thing to do would have been to go to the Brodies' home island--now abandoned, perfectly safe--but no one mentioned it. Instead, Dora the Wizenmoot, an old site in the highlands where Scottish wizards had once met in council. They all knew it. She and Elspeth disappeared, followed by Remus and the sullen Kirsty.
"This is it, eh?" Fiona said. "Just head out, not say goodbye."
Sirius took her hands. "Not everything," he said, then pulled her to him, then pulled her along. They were pushed into darkness, and came out on the rainy hilltop, where Remus was reading the informational tablet to Elspeth, who was still in Dora's arms. Dora looked calm and happy.
"Now where?" she asked when she noticed Sirius.
Sirius shrugged. "We'll have to start island hopping. Does anyone know Iceland well enough to hop there?"
Remus took Kirsty by the shoulder and said, "Well, my parents took me to a Healer outside Keflavik--there's an abandoned inn." He twirled his wand, and a sea-worn building on a hill appeared. Sirius and Dora studied it carefully, then Remus pulled up coordinates and disappeared with Kirsty. Sirius followed with Fiona, and Dora and Elspeth joined them. The air was wet and salty, and a dreary rain was falling, but for the first time since re-opening Number Twelve, Grimmauld Place, Sirius began to feel a curious sense of lightness in his chest. He was outside the bailiwick of the Aurors (other than Dora), and if the mood took him, he could run. He had no intention of doing so, but the possibility was intoxicating.
From Keflavik, Remus sheepishly offered a destination near Nuuk, Greenland--"I used to be quite obsessed with Greenland, and my Dad took me after a particularly bad transformation. He thought I'd be disappointed, but I... well, I was nine. It seemed perfectly magical to me."
Sirius failed to see anything particularly marvelous in the dirty little seaside town where they ended up--it was full of houses with roofs that sloped all the way to the ground, and beyond it was tundra leading to a glacier--but unless he was badly mistaken, Remus still looked weirdly taken by it. No matter; it was just a stopping point. From there, Dora took them to the island that housed the Snowleaf School in Nunavut, Canada--the school was actually underground, and they saw no one except a startled boy practicing hockey up above. Dora waved to him cheerfully, and he waved back, apparently deciding that they must belong here--the security was, as she suggested, lighter than security at Hogwarts.
After Snowleaf, they landed in Quebec, near a place where Sirius and Regulus had gone one summer holiday to practice French, and from there, in what seemed a much bigger jump--but which Dora assured them was actually shorter--to a very loud venue near Charlotte, North Carolina, where a huge crowd had gathered for appeared to be watching cars drive in circles.
Dora shrugged. "Mad-Eye brought me once, believe it or not. We were chasing a Muggle-born wizard... well, it doesn't matter. Next?"
"Next" turned out to be Cancún, another suggestion from Dora after measuring distances and deciding that Jamaica was a bit too far and Cuba not the safest destination in the neighborhood. From Cancún, they went to Panama City--Remus had interviewed for a job there once, for some reason--and then to a little town outside Caracas, where Fiona insisted that they stop for lunch.
"I'm dizzy," she said. "I haven't the foggiest notion where I am!"
Sirius transformed into a dog, and they went into Caracas's small wizarding district. None of them had a very firm grip on Spanish, but Remus managed to get there from the Latin and get them food while Dora explained their route to Fiona, who seemed dazed and unable to believe they were most of the world from home.
After lunch, they went on to Cayenne, French Guiana, where Sirius and Buckbeak had stopped on the original flight here, and from there to São Luis. The terrain was now familiar to Sirius--he'd flown over it to exercise Buckbeak quite a lot. The jungle seemed warm and welcoming, full of colors too bright to be real.
"Last one," he said, and showed them an image of the quiet forest path that was sometimes used by young wizards trying to fight the boiuna in the river, but was otherwise deserted. It was midday, and far too hot to do that, so he thought it would be safe. They took the last leap.
The steamy, fecund scent of the rain forest filled Sirius's head, making him giddy. They'd landed beside a huge red flower. Fiona blinked at it dazedly.
Two soft pops announced the arrivals of Remus with Kirsty and Dora with Elspeth. Elspeth slithered down as soon as she was certain that they'd stopped, and leaned in to smell the flower. She wrinkled her nose. "It doesn't smell good," she said.
"No, but it's pretty isn't it?" Dora tried.
Elspeth nodded. "Where are we going next?"
"We're here," Sirius said. "Now, we need to find you a place to stay, and get you all snugged in."
"We're living here?" Kirsty asked.
"Well, not right here in the path," Sirius said. "You'll like it. I promise. I loved it here."
Kirsty looked at him, not entirely understanding, then shook her head and said, "No... it's beautiful! I love it!" She smiled.
Fiona's eyes widened in surprise, then she said, "Well, I'm glad. Because I haven't the faintest idea how we'd get out of here if you didn't."
The Brodies looked at each other for a long time, then laughed nervously.
Fiona turned to Sirius. "You'd best transform," she said. "I can't live in a tree, and I don't want someone turning you in because he happened to see you helping me find a flat."