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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 44: The Steps in the Saving

 (June 20th, 1981)


Marlene sat awkwardly in her childhood parlor. She looked around at the grand portraits that were covered by white sheets, hiding her from the judgmental stares of her ancestors. Her mother strode back into the room, carrying a tray of tea for the two to share.

“It’s strange to be back here,” she prompted, hoping that her mother would address her finally. When Mark showed up with her mother at their old manor, Marlene had the sinking feeling that her mother had not truly forgiven all. “It’s almost like the war doesn’t exist in here,” she said dreamily, looking around the dusty room.

At this her mother scoffed and dropped the tray onto the table unceremoniously. Marlene peeked at her mother as she set up their tea. She held herself as if it even really mattered; as if she and Marlene weren’t the only ones in the room.

“I’m sure you’d like to believe that. You and your band of insurgents. It’s very easy to pretend that your actions haven’t affected anyone else, Marlene.” Marlene cringed slightly as she heard her mother emphasize the beginning of her name. It made her feel criminal.

“Where’s dad?” Marlene asked with as much dignity as she could. She had learned well from her mother how to ignore the figurative elephant in the figurative room. “I was under the impression I was meeting dad.”

“Your father is on his way,” the elder woman said reluctantly, her eyes shooting to a large grandfather clock impatiently. “I wanted to speak with you before he could convince you to come back to live with us.”

Marlene swallowed at her mother’s impending gaze.

“I will not have you put this family in danger, Marlene.” Her mother sat down across from Marlene carefully.

“That is not my intention, mother. I didn’t even want to…” Marlene amended quickly before being cut off by her mother’s raised finger.

“We have suffered enough at the hand of your progressive nature.”

Marlene did not open her mouth to chance another bashing.

“Your brother has been ruined at Hogwarts. His childhood friends abandoning him at the word of their parents,” her mother continued, her nose flaring in the way that Marlene’s so often did. “We are scorned!”

Marlene knew that this outburst was not an invitation for her to speak her mind. She would do so anyway.

“I didn’t do that mother. You did that all yourself.”

Marlene’s mother did not acknowledge Marlene, but looked to the clock again. Marlene followed her gaze.

“What is wrong?” Marlene asked in confusion as her mother collected herself quickly from her seat. “You can’t just ignore what you don’t like!” Marlene cried at her mother as she stood stoically.

Marlene frowned nervously, her mouth hanging open as her mother stared blankly at the wall over Marlene’s head. Marlene’s eyes grew darker.

“Mother!” she screamed indelicately as the door to the parlor squeaked open behind her. Marlene’s stomach jumped immediately. A smile graced her face at the thought of her father, and then immediately fell as she turned to face the door.

“Margaret McKinnon has always been so compelling, don’t you agree Marlene?”

Marlene’s eyes filled with tears, but she would not let her mouth quiver as Amycus Carrow walked into the room slowly. Matthew and Mark floated in behind the other Carrow, and Marlene shot her eyes down to avoid the sight of her mutilated brothers.

“I hear you’ve inherited her drama,” Alecto added, a sneer gracing her face as she dropped the two McKinnon brothers on the floor cruelly. Marlene’s heart fell backwards in her chest at the sounds of her lifeless siblings hitting the floor. Marlene took a breath before speaking as the Carrows continued circling her.

“What are you here for?” she asked slowly as tears dripped off her chin and smacked the floor.

“What are we here for, Margaret?” Alecto asked curiously, suddenly addressing Marlene’s mother.

“You are here to kill Marlene and pardon my family,” she answered without hesitation. Marlene licked her lips as her mouth began to tremble.

“The wonders an Unforgivable Curse can do,” Amycus said, smirking and twirling his wand around the edge of Marlene’s hair. At this, Marlene gritted her teeth.

She ducked suddenly, disorienting the twins. Amycus advanced towards her, and she shot a Stunning Spell at him. He was knocked back by the shoulder, and Marlene felt powerful. If only for a second.

“Bellatrix!” Alecto screamed shrilly from the room, making the hairs on Marlene’s neck stand up. She trained her eyes and wand on the darkened hallway that led to the parlor, and let out an audible sob as Bellatrix came forward, struggling to hold her father’s bloodied body still.

“Marlene,” he spat out hoarsely, blood spewing from his mouth. Marlene lunged forward, but was held back by Amycus with ease.

“That’s the problem with you blood traitors!” Bellatrix cried out angrily, throwing Marlene’s father to the floor. “You care way too bloody much,” she huffed out, wiping her forehead of sweat.

“Anything else,” Marlene pleaded, now sobbing viciously. Her eyes watered uncontrollably, her mouth filled with saliva.

“Headquarters,” Bellatrix said simply, drawing a knife from the folds of her robes. She held it to Marlene’s father’s throat. Marlene’s eyebrows knitted together as the threat of her father’s death fell on her. She bit her lip to bleeding to stop herself.

“No?” Bellatrix asked mockingly. “Okay,” she said with the raise of an eyebrow.

Marlene struggled against Amycus again, but his grip only tightened.

“Avada Kedavra,” Marlene heard Alecto say lazily. She felt her own body go limp at the sound of her mother hitting the floor. Marlene closed her eyes and tilted her head back as she heard her father scream out in pain for the first time.

“One more chance?” Bellatrix asked. Marlene didn’t let herself look into her father’s deep green eyes. She thought of all the other eyes she knew. She sobbed audibly letting her body hang against Amycus. She was uncaring how pathetic she looked. She heard her father’s final gurgle as Bellatrix sliced a knife against his throat.

She thought about a bright grey that made her smile and laugh and cry and scream. She thought of the even brighter green that always made her feel like she was welcome. Like she was at home. She thought of the brightest blue eyes that could never be replaced in a million years; even though they were already gone.

She thought about the lightest pair of brown eyes she’d ever seen, and how they are so witty and quiet. She thought fondly of a pretty brown that once made her fall in love, and now betrayed her. She thought about another type of dusty brown that she could and would count on for anything. She thought back to the day that her favorite hazel eyes first told her she was his best friend.

“Last call,” Bellatrix’ voice said distantly. Marlene felt her breath leave her body.



(June 20th, 1981) 


He slammed the door shut behind him, and the picture of he and Dorcas fell from the shelf above it. The glass shattered, and Sirius screamed with an emptiness about him. He breathed deeply and loudly, through his nose. The dishes were already piled up in the sink, so Sirius went to the kitchen. He broke one against the edge of the counter, and picked up another. Marlene had gifted him this one when he first moved into the house. He threw it against the floor and as it smashed, tears pricked at the edge of his vision. 

Sirius kicked the broken ceramic to the side as he stormed out of the kitchen. He passed the living room and headed straight towards his bedroom. He opened the door. The door hadn’t been opened in eight days. Not since Dorcas. He inhaled the staleness that had grown in the room and leaned his long frame in the doorway. 

He pushed himself away from the doorway, and ran his hands through his dark hair. He tapped his foot against the wall behind him and stared into the empty room in front of him. He pushed off the wall, and launched himself through the door, standing at the foot of the room plainly. He took a long look around, his eyes stopping on the dresser, untouched since June 12th. He stepped over a pair of scrubs and dropped his leather jacket to the floor. As he reached the armoire, he slid his hand over the top of it, a thin layer of dust transferring to his hands. He wiped it off quickly on his pants, and leaned against the wooden furniture, his head in his hands. 

He screamed out again painfully, scaring a cat off the windowsill. His voice went raw as tears started streaming down his cheeks. He couldn’t deal with this. He couldn’t handle it. He pushed away from the dresser and opened the top drawer. He flung the clothes out of it, throwing them behind his head and all over the plain room. He ripped through them all. Shirts, bras, underwear, shorts. After all the clothes were thrown out, he took the drawer out of the dresser and threw that against the wall with the crack in it. The wood left a dark mark in the otherwise white wall. 

Sirius felt the room go still as he stood alone. Everything in the room reminded him of her. Of them. Of it all. It smelled like flowers and candy in one corner and liquor and cigarette smoke in the other. And then he looked at the bed. The unmade, dirty, all-knowing bed. It was unkempt, and a pillow was tossed on the floor. The worst of it: he really couldn’t remember who slept in it last.   

Sirius had never hated himself more than he did in that moment.

He thought about everything he could have done to save them. Step 1: Never let go of Dorcas. Step 2: Never let go of Marlene.

And selfish or not, that would have saved them.