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Valour by blackballet

Format: Novel
Chapters: 45
Word Count: 100,067

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Strong violence, Scenes of a sexual nature, Substance abuse, Sensitive topic/issue/theme

Genres: Drama, Horror/Dark, Romance
Characters: Dumbledore, McGonagall, Lupin, James, Lily, Sirius, Pettigrew, Voldemort, OC
Pairings: James/Lily, Remus/OC, Sirius/OC, Other Pairing

First Published: 08/07/2013
Last Chapter: 06/05/2016
Last Updated: 01/12/2017

banner by me 

Life goes on

But so does death


          Innocence and arrogance combine in a story about eight newly-graduated revolutionaries. 

Chapter 24: The Loss in the Trust: Part III

 (May 1st, 1980)


“I can’t believe you!” Sirius leaned against the sink as Marlene aimed her wand at the door to the bathroom, locking it effectively. The row of sinks were impeccable, as if no one had ever washed their hands before. “How can you be so flippant after just being asked to rejoin?”

“It’s in my nature, Marlene,” he grumbled with irritation.

“You never used to be like this! Even in school, at least you acted like you cared! Now it’s just everyone for themselves, I suppose,” she accused brutally. Sirius glared back at her contemptuously. “You couldn’t care less. I should report you to Dumbledore.” Marlene crossed her arms, and her chest heaved against them.

“I can’t sit here and pretend they’re not sickening! How can you listen to those people talk that way?” His jaw flexed visibly under his skin as Marlene’s gaze intensified. “How can you sit there while he objectifies you and, and looks at you like that?”

“I swallow it. Just like the rest of us.” Marlene clenched her fists at her side as Sirius stepped forward to stand up straight.

“It’s pathetic.”

“It’s strong!”

“It makes me choke!”

“It makes you completely obvious.” Sirius leaned over Marlene menacingly as their eyes battled furiously. Sirius opened his mouth to argue back, but left it hanging. He let out a huff of breath, and the corners of his mouth turned up. Marlene zipped her mouth shut tighter and furrowed her brows deeper.

“You should yell at me more often,” he finally countered, letting out a breath as he spoke. Marlene tilted her head and let out an audible gasp.

“You are ludicrous,” she growled, pushing Sirius’ chest back with both hands. She dug her hands into the lapels of his robes. He stumbled backward over his feet as Marlene pushed her palms against him again and slammed him into the stall door. “I am not yours to toy with!” She took her hands away and pushed them into his chest again angrily.

“I’m not! You really should yell at me more often!” he explained in defense, doing his best to grab Marlene’s wrists as she pulled back again and aimed to hit him on the chest. She circled her hands around, and Sirius’ mouth turned up as she avoided his grasp.

“Stop it!” She swatted Sirius’ hands away from hers, and he relaxed his arms and she persisted pushing at his chest, her palms turning to fists.

 “McKinnon. Give it up,” he moaned as she continued.  

“No you give it up!” she yelled desperately, throwing her hands by her side. “Give me up! Stop doing this to me! I can’t take it anymore. I really can’t.” Marlene shook slightly under the tremor of her voice. She pulled her hair back away from her face and ran her hands down her neck. Sirius didn’t make a move, but Marlene could tell he was struggling not to. “What happens when Dorcas finds out? How do you think she’d feel?” Sirius finally looked down directly into Marlene’s eyes. They were greener than normal, and it probably had something to do with the redness that invaded the whites. “Not if, not maybe, when. When she finds out, she won’t speak to either of us again.”

“She won’t-“

“She will. Because I can’t keep it from her anymore,” Marlene pleaded, poking at her chest with her index finger.

“Don’t be ridiculous, Marlene. You’re the queen of keeping secrets,” he dug at her. Marlene’s hand whipped up automatically, and Sirius’ hair flew to the side along with his head.

“How can you use that against me right now?” she hissed. Sirius licked the corner of his mouth as blood trickled out of his cheek.

“Well aimed,” he said, scoffing as Marlene crossed her arms. “I can use that against you whenever I bloody well want, by the way.” Sirius shouldered past Marlene, and took out his wand, unlocking the bathroom door from across the room.

“So I guess you know exactly how Dorcas would feel, then.” Sirius put his hand on the doorknob, but didn’t turn back around to face her.

“Clean yourself up and get back out here. I’m not going to get in trouble because of you again.” Marlene leaned her head in her forearms against the wall to her left, and her body shook through her quiet sobs as she heard Sirius’ feet head back into the ballroom.

Marlene heard the lock on one of the stalls slide open, and she screwed her eyes shut in anticipation. “No, no, no,” she whispered to herself, her fist pounding against the marble wall.

“Marlene?” the voice asked from the far end of the bathroom. Marlene opened her eyes slowly, and a few tears fell out. She could recognize the voice, but she couldn’t believe it. And then she looked up from her dampened arms, and would swear she was hallucinating. She wiped her eyes, rubbing the dark makeup she adorned over her face in the process.

But it really was her. Lighter hair. No makeup. None of her usual lipstick. Thinner maybe, but still that same girl from Hogwarts. Definitely thinner. Gaunt even.

“You know you’re saying that aloud, don’t you?” Marlene clenched her jaw and breathed heavily through her nostrils.

“It can’t be. You can’t be,” Marlene said quietly, raising a shaky and mascara-stained finger to point at Emmeline Vance. Emmeline tilted and head to the right and looked Marlene up and down. She let the door to the stall swing shut.

“You look worse for wear, too,” she said defensively, crossing her arms.

“What are you…?” Marlene trailed, clutching onto the slippery wall as Emmeline approached her.

“Doing here? I’ve come to dance.” Marlene’s eyes widened as Emmeline adjusted the strap on her dress.

“Are you kidding?” Marlene sputtered out, backing herself up towards the door.

“Yes, I’m kidding. It’s called sarcasm, Marlene.” Marlene slid herself down the wall, and her dress pooled in her lap. “You stole my look,” she said lightheartedly, twirling around for Marlene to admire her similar black garb.

“You’re supposed to be dead,” Marlene susurrated from the floor into her lap. “You should be dead.”

“Well thanks,” she scoffed, taking a seat next to Marlene on the cold floor. “But I’m not.” Marlene looked up from her knees and stared blankly into the open stall in front of her.

“Where have you been?” she asked to the room, fiddling with her fingers. Emmeline leaned her head back against the wall.

“That is the million-dollar question, isn’t it,” she mused to herself.

“The what?” Emmeline chuckled lightly.

“All you purebloods get lost on the muggle colloquialisms, don’t you?” Marlene didn’t answer Emmeline, but continued sniffling into the crook of her arm. “Mostly in the States. I spent some time in South America, but that was short lived. The wizarding community isn’t so developed there.”

“I, I don’t understand.”

“That’s not unlike you. And seriously, Marlene? Black again? You really are so predictable.” Marlene shook her head and wiped her eyes with the back of her hand.

“Does Mary know?” Marlene finally blurted out. Emmeline’s head snapped forward suddenly, and her eyes hardened.

“No. She doesn’t and she can’t.” Emmeline swallowed carefully and licked her dry lips before she spoke again. “Mary’s on the wrong side,” she said quickly, glancing to see Marlene’s reaction out of the corner of her eye.

“No. You’re wrong.” Marlene shrugged and shook her head rapidly. She blinked again as her eyes filled with tears.

“I don’t like it either-“

“”No!” Marlene yelled. She stood up and brandished her wand at Emmeline. She held up her hands slowly in defense. “Tell me what’s been going on! Why are you alive?”

“Marlene,” she attempted. Her head slammed into the back of the wall as Marlene threw a non-verbal Impedimenta jinx her way.

“You are to answer my questions,” Marlene warned, stepping closer to Emmeline as she cradled the back of her head. “Nothing more, nothing less. Do you understand?” Marlene crouched down, placing her wand over Emmeline’s heart. Emmeline nodded slightly, her mouth trembling as blood seeped down the back of her head. “Did you set the fire to your house?”

“Marlene, no!” Emmeline clamped her mouth shut as Marlene pushed her wand further into her chest.

“What house was Mary sorted into?” Marlene snapped abruptly, as if trying to catch her off guard.

“Ravenclaw.” Marlene’s eyes narrowed. “Originally?” Emmeline questioned timidly. Marlene nodded and raised an eyebrow at the cowering girl.

“I’m sure she told you,” Marlene said slowly and with calculation.

“Slytherin,” Emmeline amended immediately. Marlene squinted at Emmeline immediately, but her shoulders relaxed. Very few people knew that about Mary.

“Okay, fine. Do you have proof about her?” Emmeline nodded slowly again, and blinked as tears threatened her eyes.

“When you say wrong side,” Marlene trailed off, leaving Emmeline to answer. Emmeline frowned at Marlene slightly and opened her mouth. “You get two words,” Marlene explained, relaxing the pressure of her wand on Emmeline.

“Death Eaters.” As the word death left Emmeline’s lips, Marlene began shaking with anger. She pulled her hair back away from her face again and took a deep breath as Emmeline pat the back of her head to check for blood.

“Show me the proof,” said Marlene finally, settling back onto the floor. Emmeline moved warily to her pocket, her deep brown eyes peeking at Marlene. She unfolded a small book of photos, and Marlene grabbed it without hesitation. She flipped through it quickly.

There were photos of Mary. All dated. Marlene rubbed her thumb over the date to make sure it wasn’t doctored. It blended seamlessly with the photo of Mary walking into Knockturn Alley with Igor Karkaroff. The next was a picture of Mary hunched over her desk as a dark figure moved back and forth behind her.

“This is not,” Marlene stuttered. “I mean,” she attempted to explain. Emmeline put a shaky hand over Marlene’s.

“You think I don’t know? The pain?” Marlene seemed to marinate in the realization for a minute before sliding her hands out from under Emmeline’s gently.

“I have to tell Dumbledore,” she let out immediately. Marlene picked herself up from the floor, but Emmeline reached up and caught her wrist.

“Wait, you can’t!” she pleaded. “No one can know I’m alive,” she whispered. Marlene looked at her uncomfortably, but helped drag her up from the floor. Marlene turned her around roughly and aimed her wand at the back of Emmeline’s head.

“Then what are you doing back here? Go off into hiding!” she growled as she mended the cut under Emmeline’s hair that had cauterized itself with dried blood.

“I had to tell one of you about Mary. You can’t trust her!” Emmeline emphasized again, stomping her foot on the ground. She turned around to face Marlene. “You treat her like family but you have no idea what she’s doing!”

“If it’s this serious, I have to tell someone,” Marlene said stubbornly, placing a hand on her hip.

“She’s not giving away information on you or anything!” Emmeline defended. “She’s just keeping You-Know-Who out of the Prophet.” Marlene threw her head back to keep her hair out of her face, and returned to look down at Emmeline skeptically. “No one can know I’m alive, Marlene.”

“Well I can’t stop Mary. I don’t know what type of power you think I have!” Emmeline swallowed thickly, and avoided Marlene’s gaze.

“I just, I just thought you should know. Just stop inviting her around for dinner and Christmas and all that!” Marlene rolled her eyes, and scoffed.

“You think it’s that easy? Peter’s bloody well obsessed with her!” The knock on the door sobered the two up immediately.

“No. Don’t even think about it,” Marlene hissed as Emmeline scrambled toward the far stall again in an attempt to exit.

“Marlene. No one can know,” she whispered desperately. Emmeline shut the door behind her and left Marlene standing in the middle of the bathroom, listening to the incessant knocks of a woman on the other side. She heard the toilet flush, and knew that meant that somehow Emmeline was long gone. Marlene fell forward, stumbling over her feet. She leaned on the sink, putting all her weight into her arms as her legs went numb.

“You’re fine,” she growled at her reflection, taking a few quick breaths before lifting her wand to her face and siphoning the running makeup off. She reached out, and turned the faucet on. She took another deep breath, and held her wand around the corner. “Alohomora.” Marlene quickly stuffed her wand down the neck of her dress and pushed her hands under the water.

“Well it’s about time!” an elderly woman exclaimed as she bustled over to the first stall. “Bloody teenagers think they own everything!”