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Quantas ut Pendere by Slytherin Project

Format: Short story collection
Chapters: 9
Word Count: 31,463
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Strong Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme, Contains Spoilers

Genres: Drama, Horror/Dark, Angst
Characters: Voldemort
Pairings:

First Published: 08/27/2007
Last Chapter: 04/17/2010
Last Updated: 04/17/2010

Summary:
“It’s all about stopping Voldemort, isn’t it? These dreadful things that are happening are all down to him…”



One brilliant student - that was all it took - an outcast even as a child, who grew up to be the most feared wizard in centuries. These are the stories of the murders, tortures, kidnappings, and disappearances caused by Voldemort and his dreaded Death Eaters. These are their stories. Banner by ciararose!


Chapter 1: Frank and Alice Longbottom
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‘…their lives, like so many of those around them, were drawing to a close.’ OOTP, pg. 178

“Look at Madam Bones, look at Emmeline Vance…it could be me next, couldn’t it? But if it is…I’ll make sure I take as many Death Eaters with me as I can, and Voldemort too if I can manage it.” HBP pg. 77

“Think, and try for some remorse, Riddle…” DH pg. 741


Chapter One: Frank and Alice Longbottom
By Adelaide Merrefield


“Where’s my darling boy?”

Alice Longbottom, a fair-haired woman about twenty-eight years old, waited a few seconds before crawling to the back of the sofa, where a little one-and-a-half-years old boy sat, giggling as soon as he saw his Mum’s face.

“Found me!” he shrieked, clapping excitedly. Alice laughed, gathering Neville in her arms as he bounced around. “Again!”

“All right, sweetheart,” she cooed. It had been a long time since Alice was this content and living without any fear. Ever since three days prior, when Lord Voldemort had been defeated, Alice, Frank, his mother, and Neville had been without any worries. The Death Eaters on the loose didn’t worry them at all – they would be caught soon enough. It was horrible, however, that Lily and James had died. And poor Harry, off to live with his dreadful Muggle relatives; Alice wouldn’t have wished such a fate on her own son. No, she would watch him grow up and attend Hogwarts, and so much more.

Neville had disappeared again; judging from the sounds of tiny little feet stomping on the floor, he was heading towards the kitchen. Alice got up immediately. Though she loved playing these games with Neville, he was very accident-prone and she didn’t want him to get hurt. As soon as she arrived at the kitchen entrance, Neville, excited when he saw his Mum, didn’t look where he was going and ran right into a cabinet. Falling down onto his rear end, tears began forming in his eyes and he began screaming and crying.

“My poor baby!” cried Alice as she rushed over to him, pulling him onto her lap as she patted his head. Content with his mother's attention, Neville placed his thumb in his mouth and began sucking. Alice heard the door open and slowly got up, trying not to agitate Neville, and went back to the living room. It appeared as though Frank had come back from work.

Alice quickly went over and kissed him on the cheek, asking, “Any captures?”

“Avery,” he said shortly, smiling at his son.

“Dada!” he shrieked, extending his pudgy arms towards his father.

“Hey there, Neville,” he said, picking up his son and flying him in the air, much to Neville’s delight. “You’re going to visit Grandma today! Won’t that be fun?”

“What?” Alice asked, frowning. “We’re visiting Augusta today?” Truth be told, Alice never really felt comfortable around her mother-in-law. Her formidable hat with the stuffed vulture always put her off, not to mention that Frank all but shrunk under her commands.

“Not us,” he explained. “Neville. We’re going to have a night to ourselves.”

“Oh, really?” countered Alice, a smile tugging at her lips.

“But of course,” he replied, looking at his wife with unbridled love. They were both silent, staring into each other’s eyes for a few seconds, until Neville sneezed.

“Good aim, Neville,” said his father, not enjoying the mucus on his face. Alice doubled over with laughter and, Neville, spotting his mother, began to laugh along with her. Frank couldn’t help but smile at his son’s shaking body as giggles erupted from him.

Evanesco,” whispered Alice, and the mucus disappeared from Frank’s face.

“Thanks. We better get going; it’s almost dark.”

“Right. Floo powder?” suggested Alice, glancing at her son.

“Yeah, better not risk Apparation. Neville might get hurt,” he agreed, holding his son tighter in his arms. He followed his wife to the mantel place, where she threw in a pinch of Floo powder.

“Shall I take Neville?” she asked as she stepped into the emerald green flames. Nodding, Frank handed her the baby, who promptly began screaming at the unfamiliar sensation. He had only traveled by Floo Powder once before, and he didn’t enjoy the sensation. However, it was the safest way.

“Longbottom Manor.” Alice’s voice was hard to hear due to Neville’s incessant screaming. Praying they wouldn’t get out at the wrong grate, Alice and Neville disappeared. Frank waited a minute before adding another smidgen of Floo powder and traveling to his mother’s house. He was not surprised to see his mother had already snatched Neville from Alice, who was looking a bit disgruntled.

“Frank,” his mother said by way of greeting upon his arrival. She nodded at him from her place on the gold sofa. “It is nice to see you.”

“Thank you, Mother,” Frank said politely, not worrying about his mother’s lack of affection. She wasn’t the emotional sort of woman – rather, she kept her feelings in check as to appear dignified. He knew that she really felt relieved at seeing her son and his family once again, as they had been in hiding for over a year.

“I was just speaking with Alice about your appointment tonight.” Frank stifled a laugh when he saw the indignant look on Alice’s face at the word ‘appointment.' “Be assured, Neville is safe with me.” Frank was sure he was when he saw his son eyeing the vulture on his grandmother’s hat warily, as if seeing if it was threat, before slapping it mightily.

“Neville Frank Longbottom!” admonished Augusta. “That kind of behavior is inappropriate in the Longbottom household.” At that moment, Neville began crying, and his mother hastily scooped him up from her mother-in-law’s arms. She shot a glare at Frank, who cleared his throat and looked at his mother.

“Er…Mum, you shouldn’t really be y-yelling at Neville like that. I mean, he’s only one…” He drifted off at the look on Augusta’s face.

“Have I reared children?”

“Y-yes, Mum,” he answered hastily.

“Don’t you think I know how to handle a one-year-old?”

“Of course, Mother, what I’m saying is –”

“Be quiet, Frank. Alice, hand him over.” Frank opened and closed his mouth, looking a bit like a fish. Alice, uncertain whether she should hand her son over to this She-Devil, relented. She craved a night out with her husband.

“Remember to read him a bed-time story,” said Alice desperately after she kissed her son.

“Of course, Alice dear.”

“And don’t let him eat any carrots! He swells up otherwise…”

“Don’t you worry, Alice.”

Evidently, Alice could not think of anything else to say, for she just stared at her precious baby. Eyes glistening a bit – she had never left her baby alone before, for the dangers of war prevented her from doing so – she ran over and hugged and kissed her child, whispering, “Mummy’ll be back soon, my Neville. Don’t you worry.” Neville smiled, reaching out to hug his Mummy. “Oh Neville…my darling Neville,” she sobbed, before Frank pulled her away to the fireplace.

“Come on, Alice.” He went first, eyeing her in sadness as he enunciated, “Number sixteen, Upper Flagley, Yorkshire.” As soon as he got home, he knew something wasn’t right. For one thing, he and Alice had not left the kitchen lights on; for another, he was pretty sure he had shut the closet door. Frank slowly took in the empty butterbeer bottle near the sofa, one of Neville’s toys lying broken near the front door, and his missing cloak.

As he saw a shadow cross the hallway, he knew this was a trap. He ran back towards the fireplace, trying to prevent Alice from coming, but she arrived as soon as he got there.

“Alice,” he whispered, a frantic look on his face, “we have to leave. It’s a trap.”

“What?” Alice gasped, unable to believe it was true.

Before they could reach the Floo powder, they heard shouts of “Petrificus Totalus” and “Expelliarmus” coming from all corners of the room and they were unable to move, immobilized. At that moment, they heard a cruel, high-pitched laughter, clearly belonging to a female.

“Crouch – did you place Anti-Apparation wards?”

“Yes, Bellatrix.”

“What about the fireplace? Did you block it?”

“Doing it right now.” Alice and Frank watched in fear as a pale young man, with hair the color of straw and a few freckles adorning his neck, muttered an incantation. The fireplace turned a ruby red before becoming normal again. Sensing the two watching him, Crouch looked down at them and sneered, spitting on Frank’s face.

“Well, well, well,” came a voice directly behind Alice. “Look what we’ve got here. An itty bitty Auror and his pretty wittle wife.” Suddenly her laughter became maniacal and had Alice been able to, she would’ve shrieked at the face that appeared suddenly in front of her, a grin creating a disturbing look on an otherwise beautiful woman. “Thought you could get away with it, did you, filthy traitorous Purebloods you are?” Alice whimpered as Bellatrix jabbed her in the side with her wand. The feeling was suddenly gone, for Bellatrix had stood up and was conversing with Crouch and two other men. They heard laughter; Alice, terror in her heart, felt tears leaking out of her eyes as she thought of Neville and how she was never going to see him again.

Finite incantatem,” incanted Bellatrix, and Alice and Frank immediately got up, clinging to each other in fear and desperation. All four Death Eaters laughed shrilly at the expressions on the Longbottoms’ faces – they looked like rats cornered by four hungry cats. With a wave of her hand, Bellatrix stopped all laughter.

“Where is the Dark Lord?” she asked softly, looking from Frank to Alice. “If you tell us, we’ll make your death quick and painful.”

“Like hell you will!” cried Frank, spitting at Bellatrix’s feet. Enraged, she levitated Alice out of the way, motioning for one of the men, thickset and resembling the other unnamed one, to subdue her. Once that was over with, she turned her attention back to Frank, an evil grin darkening her features.

Crucio!” she shouted, closing her eyes as she waited for Frank’s screams. However, nothing came. She opened her eyes in shock and confusion, only to see the Auror twisting in the ground in pain, refusing to look at her. She smiled when she heard Alice sobbing, pleading for her to stop. At least one of them was useful.

After about a minute, she lifted the curse. Frank lay on the ground, unable to move what with the pain engulfing his body.

“Well, Longbottom,” she sneered, turning Frank on his back with her shoes. “Ready to spill?” Frank didn’t answer immediately. He gazed over at his wife, who was looking at him fearfully, shaking her head. He turned back to Bellatrix.

“We don’t know,” he said simply, though it required much effort on his part.

“Rubbish!” cried a thin man who looked to be the brother of the man currently subduing Alice.

“Quiet, Rodolphus!” snapped Bellatrix, turning towards her husband. Frank took this moment to grab onto Bellatrix’s leg and cause her to fall, buying him time to grab her wand in the process. But when he was inches away from it, he was once again blasted by the Cruciatus Curse, this time delivered by Barty Crouch. This time, Frank couldn’t control his screams. The curse, the second in such a short amount of time, nearly caused him to black out in pain. Alice was shouting now, screaming at them to stop torturing him and to take her instead.

“A tempting offer,” drawled her subduer, Rabastan Lestrange.

“Indeed,” agreed Bellatrix, who had already stood up. “Bring her over here.”

“No!” cried Frank, but it only came out as a whisper. Rabastan shoved Alice against her husband, and Bellatrix stooped down to their level, tracing her wand against Alice’s milky white collarbone.

“Wouldn’t this be so nice,” she commented, “severed and void of blood? What do you think, Barty?” Alice shook fearfully, clutching Frank, but not too hard, as he was still injured.

“Perhaps,” replied Crouch airily. “But wouldn’t it be so much better if we murdered the child in front of them?” Bellatrix’s face lit up at the mention of torturing a baby.

“Don’t you dare,” cried Alice. “Don’t you dare touch my child!” Bellatrix laughed suddenly at the look of ill-disguised horror and disgust on Alice’s face.

“Rabastan,” commanded Bellatrix, “search the house for the boy…Nathan, is it?”

“Neville,” spat Alice, enraged. What kind of monster was this woman?

“Ah, well, details,” smirked Bellatrix. “Meanwhile…Crucio!” Alice screamed as pain invaded her body. It felt as though she was being burned and stabbed at the same time, and she suffered for more than a minute before Rabastan came down the stairs and Bellatrix lifted the curse.

“Well?” she demanded, looking at Rabastan’s empty hands.

“He’s not here,” he explained. “I searched everywhere.” Bellatrix turned towards Alice.

“Where is he?” she asked in a low voice, eyes ablaze with fury only a couple of Cruciatus Curses could extinguish.

“I’ll never tell you!” shouted Alice, as Frank supported her. “Never, you horrible, demonic, wretched woman!” Bellatrix’s eyes flashed in anger at the sight of this woman, this weak, filthy blood traitor, defying her. She, Bellatrix Lestrange, most devoted servant of the Dark Lord!

“How dare you!” she hissed, nearly spitting on Alice as she spoke. “CRUCIO!” This time, the curse was worse, as it was accompanied not only by pleasure, but with rage. Alice’s screams drowned out Frank’s whispered pleadings to please, let his wife go, and kill him instead.

“Kill you?” laughed Bellatrix, as she turned towards her husband. “Look at them, Rodolphus! Begging for death like common Muggles. What a disgrace!” She kicked Alice hard, as if she were a stray dog, on the last word, shrieking in delight as the woman doubled over in pain.

“No, we’re not going to kill you,” came the softly spoken words of Crouch. “We’re going to torture you beyond your imagination. We’re going to break your minds under the sheer, unimaginable pain. We’ll have you lying on the floor, bleeding from every fiber of your body. And best of all? When we’re through with you, you won’t remember a thing.” Alice and Frank recoiled, with difficulty, in horror as the young man (or was it boy? was he not so young?) laughed quietly, his face aglow with excitement as he looked upon the couple. It made Alice want to throw up.

“And if we tell you?” gasped Frank, clutching his bleeding leg in pain.

Crouch smiled, though it did not reach his eyes. His tongue jutted out quickly as he said, “Then we’ll only kill you.” Alice moaned softly. They were doomed.

“So, Longbottom,” jeered Bellatrix, turning Frank on his back while ignoring his moans of pain, “you have one last chance. Where is the Dark Lord?”

“Death first,” he snapped defiantly, managing a grin at the enraged look on Bellatrix’s face. He turned towards Alice with great difficulty, pulling her face towards his. “I’ll always love you,” he whispered, and kissed her. They heard cruel laughter explode all around them as they kissed, knowing it was the last time they would be together.

“Look at the filthy blood traitors,” laughed Rabastan, pulling Alice away from her husband. She started sobbing, holding on to Frank’s hand until Rabastan gave a rather hard pull. “Give me a kiss, love?” he asked, laughing at Alice’s teary eyes and involuntary shudder.

“Quiet, Rabastan,” admonished Rodolphus. “There’s time for all that later. First, make her watch.” For Bellatrix had her wand aimed at Frank, mania distinct on her face.

“Is his wife watching?” asked Bellatrix quietly, turning slightly towards Rabastan.

“Yes,” he replied, tightening his hold on the woman.

A smile appeared on Bellatrix’s face as she heard the woman’s soft sobs. Then: “CRUCIO!” For about twenty minutes, Bellatrix repeated the curse over and over, long after Frank had slipped into unconsciousness – for long after his mind was fully gone, his body still responded to the horrors of that curse. Alice endured her husband’s screams of mercy; watched his bones jut apart; watched blood seep through his clothes and onto to the formerly spotless carpet from all parts of his body; watched him slowly lose his mind, shouting coherent thoughts to just quieting and quieting, ripping at his hair and curling into a ball as best he could under the damage inflicted on his body. She could not stop crying at the way Bellatrix’s face lit up at every scream, at the way Crouch and the two Lestranges watched attentively, as if they could never get enough of the pain and torture.

Soon enough, Frank was broken, and it was Alice’s turn.

“Can we have a bit of fun with her?” asked Rabastan, leering as he grabbed one of Alice’s breasts.

“No,” said Bellatrix sharply, grabbing Alice from her brother-in-law, much to his dismay. “Someone’s going to come soon enough, and God knows you’ll take all night.” Rabastan glowered at her, but didn’t say anything. It could easily be him in Frank’s position if Bellatrix lost her temper with him as well.

Alice didn’t feel grateful at all that Bellatrix had saved her from a terrible rape. She’d rather be dead, anyway. Frank was gone, Neville was…

Neville.

Alice cried harder at the thought of leaving him practically an orphan. She knew Augusta would take good care of him, but it killed her inside to know that she would never see her precious baby ever again. And if he ever saw her…well, she didn’t want to think of that right now.

I’ll always love you, my precious Neville.

All four laughed at Alice’s tears. They let her, however, go towards Frank on her hands and knees, cupping his blood-matted face one last time.

I’ll always love you, my dear Frank.

She kissed his burst lips one last time before being cruelly pulled away by Bellatrix. “Have a nice life,” she whispered cruelly before bellowing, “CRUCIO!”

Alice could not think anymore. All she knew was that she was screaming as her bones began breaking, as her body began feeling as though it was being shot, stabbed, and beat for an endless amount of time. The curse was lifted. Then, just as suddenly, it was cast again and Alice wanted to die, for anything would be better than this. She heard the shouts of laughter coming from all around her and she just wanted it all to stop. It did again, but briefly, and it was back, and Alice began to lose consciousness. Her mind was slowly fading. She couldn’t remember why she was screaming.

Where am I?

She couldn’t remember her name. She heard voices retreating, and then she was left alone in silence. She couldn’t see anything. She felt terribly alone.

She began screaming. She felt around the room, but she couldn’t focus. She felt her clothes, which were ripped, and felt something in her pocket. What was it? She held it close to her face.

She cried heavily when she realized it was in some sort of code. There were all these letters that she didn’t know, but she still clutched it tightly. It was the only thing that was safe because it was with her.

She felt around the room once more, and then felt a warm body. It was another person! She peered at his face, but he seemed to be asleep. She decided to lie down next to him, for he and the object in her pocket were the only things she felt were safe. For she felt that this man was safe, and he would protect her. Closing her eyes in bliss, she snuggled up next to him and fell asleep, unaware of the tragedy that had just taken place.

---

It couldn’t be true.

Augusta Longbottom trembled as Amelia Bones, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, sat her down and explained gently what exactly had transpired last night. The only words she took in were “Death Eaters” and “Cruciatus Curse” and “lost their minds." Frank and Alice were both gone, and her grandson was in orphan.

She forgot all about propriety and how one ought to act and began sobbing on the woman’s shoulder, questioning why her son, why her family? WHY when they were all supposed to be safe? She had been worried when Frank and Alice had not arrived at the time they stated they would. After an hour, she had Flooed to their house and had discovered them there, alerting the Ministry at once. Now it was all crashing down on her.

At that moment the two women heard a large cry. Augusta had charmed her home so Neville's cries could be heard wherever she was in the manor.

“That’s…that’s my grandson,” said Augusta quietly, slowly lifting herself off the couch, where only last night Frank and Alice had dropped Neville off. She gazed wistfully at the fireplace, tears still in her eyes, before she gazed away and walked towards the stairs.

She would teach him. She would tell him the truth about his parents as soon as he could know. She would make sure that he would avenge his parents on whomever did this to them.

She would do whatever it took.

Author’s Note: Thank you to SerpentClara for beta-reading this chapter. Thanks to lia for the story title, which means ‘The Price to Pay.' Please review!

UPDATE July 9, 2008: Thanks to the efforts of LovlyRita and stargazer, this collaboration is undergoing a revamp. Keep your eyes peeled for even more one-shots!

Chapter 2: Moaning Myrtle
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Chapter Two: Moaning Myrtle
By Onceuponatime2


As Myrtle Thomas entered the Great Hall, she hung her head, knowing that people were staring at her. It was always the same. After four years, she still could not bear the whispers that always came whenever she walked in to a room. “There goes ugly, fat Myrtle” or “Run, it’s the beast!” or sniggers of “I don’t know how she can live looking like that!”

Even as a child Myrtle had been picked on. At her Muggle elementary school, all of the kids in her classes whispered or just shouted insults about her plain-ness. She was always the odd one: reading books well beyond a normal child’s level and content simply sitting in a corner, hating herself and her miserable existence.

Myrtle came from poor parents. Her father was a Muggle salesman whose ugliness had plagued him. With a lack of confidence, it made it difficult to sell anything at all. Her mother was a waitress in a run-down diner on the outskirts of London. Her heftiness coupled with her greasy, lank hair and rude attitude caused the scarce diners to not even leave her tips. Yes, Myrtle’s life was most definitely one to be pitied.

At the age of seven, she became even more of an oddity, a freak to most people. It was around that age that Myrtle began discovering her magical abilities. She could sometimes make objects come to her or make her many enemies’ toenails grow at an alarming rate for revenge. It was not until the age of eleven, however, that she unearthed the true meaning of these things.

She had been sitting in her room, seriously contemplating ending her pitiful excuse for a life, when a knock came upon the door. Her mother answered it. Within a few moments, there was a yell for her to come to the sitting room. Myrtle despised company; visitors’ eyes always widened at her ugliness. This time, however, was different.

Seated in the large, but filthy armchair was a man she did not recognize. He had a very long auburn beard to match his long hair and was extravagantly dressed in an electric blue suit. This time, it was Myrtle’s eyes that widened. And people thought that she was strange. He quickly stood and stretched out a long-fingered hand to her. “Hello, Myrtle. My name is Professor Albus Dumbledore.” She took the hand and grasped it gingerly before taking a seat next to her mother on the dirt-stained sofa.

“Now, what is it you want?” her mother asked baldly.

“You may have noticed that your daughter possesses rather curious qualities.”

“What do you mean?” She turned her chunky face sharply towards her daughter. “Do you know what this bloke is talking about?” Myrtle shook her head but could feel her face getting hot.

“I’ll get to the point, Mrs. Thomas. Your daughter is a witch. She has magical abilities. It is very rare in a case of non-magical families, but it is true.” Her mother opened her mouth to speak, but the odd man held up a hand. “I have come to offer Myrtle a place at my school, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. I am a wizard and a professor at the school. I will demonstrate if I must.”

Her mother found her voice. “Now what kind of sick joke is this? Don’t you think that we have enough to be going on with without all of this nonsense? Besides, I am quite sure that you have made a mistake. Myrtle is normal, she doesn’t have any special abilities or whatever you want to call it, Mr.—”

“Dumbledore. And I assure you that she does; otherwise, I would not be here.” He removed a rectangular, yellowish envelope from his inside suit pocket and handed it to Mrs. Thomas. “Here is all the information that you need. Please read it over and if you have any questions, feel free.”

As Mrs. Thomas read through the various papers, a slight flush came upon her plump cheeks. “Say I do believe all this, how much does this school of yorn cost?”

“There is a fund at Hogwarts to help those students who need assistance if it is required.”

After about an hour of either silence or sharp questions from her mother, Myrtle was asked, “Do you believe all of this? Is it true what he says? That you’re—magic?”

Myrtle’s eyes stared at her knees as she mumbled, “Well, I can do some stuff.”

Her mother’s eyes narrowed at her. “Like what?” she asked sharply.

“Well, if I don’t feel like getting up and get a book from across the room, sometimes it will just come to me. Or if the other kids at school are making fun of me, sometimes I can hide to where they can’t find me, like I’m invisible.”

Mrs. Thomas was silent for a few moments. “So how does she get to this school?” she asked Dumbledore.

“There is a train that leaves from Kings’ Cross station on September 1st. But, all of that information is enclosed as well.”

After haggling with her mother and her father when he arrived home, Myrtle was given permission, after great hesitation, to go to Hogwarts.

Myrtle had been under the blind and somewhat stupid impression that Hogwarts would be different, that she would no longer be picked upon or be an outcast. She found out quickly just how wrong she was. Her first day had been horrible. She had sat alone in a carriage on the Hogwarts Express, the scarlet steam engine that was taking her to Hogwarts. She had taken out her copy of Transfiguration for Beginners to read again, when a snotty-looking, but very pretty blonde girl came in. The girl giggled and then let out a fake scream and said, “Guys, you do not want to come in here!”

The two girls behind her asked why. “Because,” she answered them, “there is a hideous creature who seems to have stolen a student’s books and wand! I’ve never seen anything like it!” Myrtle hid her face behind her book so that the girl would not see the tears swimming in her mud-brown eyes before slamming the door.

Even after four years, Olive Hornby was still teasing her and making her life, if possible, even more miserable.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Olive Hornby was no belle of the ball, but she was a right sight better looking than “Moaning” Myrtle, and she knew it. That was why she picked on Myrtle so often – to make herself feel better. Besides, Myrtle was just too easy to tease. Olive barely had to work at insults at all before Myrtle was running to the nearest bathroom in tears, moaning and moping over her pathetic life. Olive always thought that Myrtle should have been Sorted into Hufflepuff (and of course told her so) with the way that she carried on.

It was a particularly gloomy Thursday and Olive was bored. She hated just sitting in the common room, especially if she had been a good little Ravenclaw and finished all of her homework, which she had. Olive was just considering going to find some new boy to chat up when no other than “Moaning” Myrtle came through the door. Oh, how Olive loved when she walked into a room.

Myrtle’s lank hair was covering her hideous face as she walked, head bowed, through the room. She heard Olive give a shout and looked up.

“Myrtle!” Myrtle tried to ignore her. “Oh, Myrtle! Please come here?” Myrtle stalked over carefully, wand gripped in her hand in her robes’ pocket.

“What do you want?”

“I just wanted to say that I’m sorry for being mean to you all the time.” Myrtle looked at her suspiciously. “I’m sorry I called you a pimply-faced retard.” Olive’s voice grew louder, yet Myrtle was frozen to the midnight blue chair. “And I’m sorry I called you a lard-ass butt sniffer and a freak of the not-even-human nature.” Myrtle finally made to get up before this could go any farther, but Olive was too quick. She whispered, “Petrificus Totalus! and continued her insults with a smug look upon her face. “I’m so sorry I called you half an acromantula and then said that you were much too hairy, spotted, ugly, and fat to be only half of one. And finally, I am sorry that you are so hideous no one wants to look at you, or even be within five feet of you, Moaning Myrtle.” Tears leaked out of Myrtle’s frozen eyes. Olive whispered the counter-curse. “Are you going to go mope and moan in the bathroom now, Mudblood?” she asked in a whisper.

More tears began to pour down Myrtle’s cheeks unbidden. She jumped from the chair and ran out of the room, but not before she heard the shrieks of laughter coming from the people behind her.

Myrtle ran until her plump legs could carry her no farther. Her eyes were puffy and red, but no more tears leaked from their murky-brown depths. She looked up to see where she was. A corridor on the second floor. She was turning to go back the way she had come, when she noticed something pale and unmoving a little way ahead. She walked cautiously towards it. About five feet from it, she let out a scream of horror. A boy that she recognized as a second-year Hufflepuff lay motionless, seemingly dead, upon the ground. Myrtle screamed and screamed until Professor Slughorn rounded the corner. With fresh tears in her eyes, she shrieked, “There’s a boy—dead—over there! Please, you have to help him! I-I-”

“What’s that?” Slughorn moved to see. “Oh, my. Hurry, fetch Headmaster Dippet!”

Myrtle ran to the Headmaster’s office. The sneering gargoyle asked for the password. “I don’t know! I don’t know!” she sobbed. “Please, it’s an emergency—”

“Myrtle, what has happened?” asked the long figure of her Transfiguration teacher.

“There’s a boy-a boy-I think he’s dead! Professor Slughorn sent me to get the Headmaster,” she told Professor Dumbledore.

A few moments later, or so it seemed to Myrtle, she was in the hospital wing being given a Calming Draught. After she was questioned heavily, she was given a dreamless Sleep Potion to take when she got to her dormitories.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The next few weeks saw the entire castle in an uproar. No one knew what or who had caused a young boy to be Petrified, so everyone became wary of everyone else. The situation was so bad, Olive Hornby had actually taken a break from teasing Myrtle. After a while, however, people began to calm down. After all, no one else had been injured, and so it was widely assumed that the boy had just accidentally cursed himself.

Myrtle sat in Potions, her eyes darting between her bubbling stew and her watch. Just as she was about to add her crushed Gurdyroots to the potion (it was imperative to do it precisely seven minutes after adding the snake’s skin), Olive Hornby whispered “Boo!” into her ear, making her jump and spill all of the ingredients. Her potion sat bubbling worthlessly as Olive cackled with her friends.

In Herbology, Myrtle was partnered with Olive. They were supposed to be watering some very angry-looking red flowers without sustaining bites. However, Myrtle’s hand was shaking so badly from having to listen to Olive insult her under her breath that the flower apparently thought she was food and lunged at Myrtle.

After she got out of the hospital wing, Myrtle went to History of Magic, where the only free seat was next to Olive Hornby. Myrtle did not think her day could get much worse.

Myrtle sat on the one of the toilets in the second floor bathroom, sobbing. She quieted a bit upon hearing someone come in. She did not need another reason for people to call her “Moaning” Myrtle. She heard whomever it was speak, only it was no language that she had ever heard; it involved some weird hissing and spitting noises. Myrtle knew that it must be a boy who was in there and unlocked her door to tell him to go and use his own restroom.

A flash of yellow eyes and a rigid feeling was the last thing that she felt, truly felt, and remembered.

Myrtle looked down at herself, or lack of herself, for she was transparent and floating above her body. She glided over to the mirror to see if she looked any better in death. She began to sob, loudly, very loudly. She was even ugly when she was nothing but an imprint of her soul left upon earth to roam forevermore!

Suddenly, a thought came to her. Now, she could finally get revenge on Olive Hornby. After all, who could tease a ghost?

Author’s Note: Please read and review.

Chapter 3: Bill Weasley
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Chapter Three: Bill Weasley
By Starving_Author


Fenrir was awake; too awake for the hour. Unlike most werewolves, Fenrir got restless just before a full moon. Like an addict who was counting the hours until his next fix, Fenrir had trouble finding things to occupy him in his small home. He lived in a single bedroom house, just outside of Surrey. Both fortunately and unfortunately, there were not too many neighbors. There were too few to notice a missing person every month, yet just enough to tease his appetite when he visited the market. Fenrir stopped in front of a mirror.

“Calm down, handsome. You’ll worry yourself into old age,” the enchanted mirror replied to a question Fenrir didn’t ask. He jerked away from the mirror with a huff.

“Fine, be pouty.” Fenrir found himself in his kitchen. For the first time, he noticed he was hungry, but nothing seemed edible. In fact, it all seemed completely inedible at the moment except for that roast in his icebox – that tender, juicy, delightfully rare roast. He reached up and opened his cupboard, nearly tearing the door off its aged hinges in the process. He grabbed a pewter plate and a fork from the silver drawer. Setting the plate on his table, Fenrir opened the icebox and stabbed the roast with his fork. He brought the slab of meat over to his plate and without a second’s thought, sunk his sharpened incisors into the raw flesh.

Minutes later, Fenrir was seriously considering licking the remaining blood from his plate. The lingering taste in his mouth convinced him otherwise; it tasted too dead. Too weak. It wasn’t thick and syrupy. Most of all, it wasn’t warm. Fenrir sat there, staring at his plate, trying to will it into a saucer of warm blood. When he was close to the point of madness from staring at the plate, he noticed the pocket watch glowing on his kitchen table.

“Perhaps, tonight is the night?” he thought. He stood, Summoned his cloak, and Disapparated to the usual meeting place. He found himself amongst the usual people; Crabbe, Goyle, Alecto, and Amycus. They all had met several times now, planning something huge. Fenrir turned his attention to his Master. Voldemort was standing behind a dark wooden chair, his pale fingers gripping the back of the seat in what Fenrir couldn’t place as anger or excitement.

“It is almost time. Draco informs me that he has discovered the perfect way to slip you all into the castle. We just have a few. . . details. . . to take care of.” Voldemort eyed all his followers closely. His eyes paused slightly longer on Fenrir. Alecto began to grin and shift excitedly in her spot.

“Raid the castle! Raid the castle!” she whispered. Fenrir resisted the urge to roll his eyes at her immature behavior.

“When shall we be ready to attack my Lord?” Crabbe asked. Voldemort looked at him through slitted eyes.

“That is yet to be determined. And you shall not be attending. Nor you Goyle.” Crabbe and Goyle looked at each other in amazement. “I have others that are less. . . attached to the occupants in the castle.” Voldemort was of course referring to their sons. He had made that a sort of unspoken rule as of late. No family was to work together unless Voldemort wanted them to. Whatever details Voldemort chose to share were discussed and the group was dismissed.

“Greyback.” Fenrir stayed behind at Voldemort’s command. The Dark Lord sat in the chair he had been gripping so tightly and shifted so he was comfortable. “Come my servant.” Fenrir approached him and sank to his knees . Voldemort examined his face.

“Your time is close. I needn’t check the moon or an astrological calendar to tell me that.”

“Yes my Lord,” Fenrir said, bowing his head.

“You’re getting desperate. I can still smell the raw meat of,” he sniffed the air to be sure, “mutton?” Fenrir kept his eyes on the scuffed wooden floor. With a passing thought, Fenrir wondered how he could smell anything through those tiny slits that made up his nose. “Perhaps this will help sustain you longer. In four days time, you will be quenching your thirst. I had promised you prey for your services, had I not?” Fenrir looked up at Voldemort in surprise.

“Yes my Lord. You did.” Voldemort chuckled.

“Yes. And I always reward my loyal followers.”

Four days passed and Voldemort had kept his word. Fenrir literally found himself waiting alongside Voldemort one night, at the entrance to a dungeon. What he had been doing since his meeting a few days ago, Fenrir honestly could not say. Just the thought of young flesh had been occupying his thoughts.

“As I promised. You’ll find him down the stairs. After you transform, I’ll open the door to let him out. I know how you like the hunt almost more than the kill.” Voldemort stepped aside and opened the door with an unspoken spell. Fenrir couldn’t hold back his grin as he started to the steps.

“Fenrir!” he paused to hear what else Voldemort had to say. “Try not to mangle him up too much. He still has much to do.” Fenrir nodded, confused as to what Voldemort was talking about. The door slammed shut and Fenrir quickly made his way down to the bottom of the steps. What, or rather who, he found there took him slightly off guard. He blinked, staring at the thin boy cowered in the corner.

“Him!” Fenrir shouted, half laughing at his fortune. He quieted his laughter and glanced at the moonlight on the floor just inches from his feet. “Face your fears boy, and become what scares you the most.” He stepped forward, letting the chilling lunar rays start the tingle of transformation over his entire body. Sure, it was still painful after all these years, but it was a pain he had come to enjoy. He could just barely hear the boy’s screams over the sound of his own heartbeat and howling.

Again, just as Voldemort had promised, a door had opened seconds after Greyback had fully transformed and the boy fled. After he had got up, Greyback saw he was a little older than he would have preferred. But he wasn’t about to turn this down. He waited a few seconds, then set after the boy.

Greyback lifted his nose in the air and sniffed. A young, nervous scent filled his nostrils when he turned south. Like a house elf running after his master, Greyback was flying through the trees surrounding the house Voldemort had led him to. Greyback could sense the autumn crispness that was just permeating the late summer air, as only a werewolf could sense it. No human being could sense this slight change. No mere human could see things they way he could, smell what he could. No human stood a chance against him in his true form.

Greyback charged through the trees faster yet, his adrenaline coursing through his veins like Felix Felicis at this thought. He felt his power growing with each pace of his paws, each beat of his heart. The small part of his subconscious that remained aware during the full moon began working out a way to sustain this form even when there wasn’t a full moon.

He suddenly stopped and turned to his left. That’s where the little brat was hiding. Just under that fallen tree up there. Greyback slowed his breathing and crept silently around moss covered trunk. The boy’s heart was racing and Greyback could hear every valve slapping shut. It was a beautiful melody that only a werewolf could appreciate.

It had been months since that night. Fenrir still looked to that night as one of his most satisfying. But now, he was just as restless as ever. This time nothing will be handed to him. He ran his tongue across his teeth, feeling each sharp point scrap across his taste buds. He had taken extra special care to sharpen them to their finest point that night. A tinge of blood seeped from a scratch and Fenrir swirled it across his palate, savoring every bit of it. It was just a matter of minutes before the Death Eaters could enter the castle. The door to the cabinet swung open and the Death Eaters followed Fenrir through their secret entrance.

He wasn’t in this transfigured state, but Fenrir didn’t need that. The halls were empty as Fenrir ran up to the tower to send up the Dark Mark. He quickly accomplished his task and returned to the halls of his childhood school. It was not the same hallway he had just run through. Word travels fast in a closed campus and this night was no exception. Fenrir took a moment to walk through the crowd as if he was enjoying a spring afternoon. Several students saw him and quickly evaded him. If only they knew he wasn’t in a killing mood tonight. Just a simple mangling.

His eye was drawn to a particularly vocal girl. Long black hair, pale skin. She ran screaming down the hall past Fenrir and he followed her around a corner. This was her. Young, lively, still very impressionable. Fenrir strolled after her, knowing eventually he would take her. He always wanted a daughter. Soon he was jogging after her, creeping around the corners, spying her every move, although he was certain she knew he was after her.

“Hey! Hey! Calm down! You’ll be alright!” Fenrir was shocked to hear an older man’s voice from around the corner where his adoptive daughter had just ran. Fenrir followed the voice to see a man with a long red ponytail calming her down. His hands were on her biceps, steadying her as she caught her breath. Both became quickly cognizant of the werewolf approaching them. The man, no doubt a Weasley, Fenrir thought, pushed the girl behind him.

“Weasley, am I correct?”

“Does it matter?” He pushed the girl away and she ran off. The Weasley man pointed his wand at him. “Expelliarmus!” he shouted and Fenrir’s wand was no longer in his hand, but bouncing off the nearest wall with a high plinking sound. He kept advancing though, he didn’t need his wand. Bill Weasley hardly got the chance to protect himself any further when Fenrir pounced. Greyback took over momentarily as the intoxicating nectar filled his mouth and spilled down over his chin. He couldn’t even hear the man’s screams as he lapped up every drop.

“Fenrir!” Amycus yelled as he ran past. Fenrir paid him no mind, as he was rather occupied. “Fenrir!” Amycus tried again, this time grabbing the dominating man’s shoulder. Greyback flinched, turning quickly toward Amycus. His teeth were bared and bloody and his eyes were dangerous. Amycus knew one didn’t want a werewolf to be looking at him the way Fenrir was looking at him right now. Was it Fenrir or was it Greyback that was looking at him? Amycus really could not tell, not when he was like this. “Dumbledore’s here! In the tower!” Amycus headed off toward the tower. Fenrir got up, leaving the body behind as if it were a devoured chicken bone, and followed. His thoughts returned to the girl that was supposed to be his tonight.

“Oh well, another night perhaps,” he thought. It took him and Amycus a while to reach their destination. A few straggling students impeded their progress and Fenrir was once again united with the girl with long black hair.

“Hello, sweetie!” he said menacingly. The girl shook, her brown eyes wide with fear and glittering with unshed tears. A taller light haired boy ran past, grabbing her around the waist and carrying her to safety like a sack of potatoes. Fenrir watched them escape, vowing that it wouldn’t be long before they all meet again. Perhaps just in time for the next full moon.

Fenrir saw Amycus and his sister running up a spiral staircase. He followed them up the cracked and stony stairs, his steps a little heavier. He always got a little depressed when he was denied his prey. Fenrir allowed himself the chance to glance back down at his old school. The halls were empty now, rank with blood, sweat, and fear. Wait, that blood smell was coming from him. Fenrir’s tongue darted out to partake in the fruit of his labor.

“So tonight wasn’t a complete waste of time,” he thought, tasting some more of the quickly cooling syrup from his upper lip. Turning his back on that part of the night, Fenrir took the steps two at a time. Upon entering, he was greeted with a sight he never thought he would have seen. After exchanging pleasantries, Fenrir grinned, showing his teeth, lazily licking his lips. He savored the last of the blood he found there before speaking.

“But you know how much I like kids, Dumbledore.”

Author’s Note: Thanks to LovlyRita for beta-reading this chapter. Please read and review!

Chapter 4: Gideon and Fabian Prewett
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//Chapter Image//LittleMiss//


The heat sweltered around a modest house on a grassy green hill. It was difficult to breathe, but despite the rather uncomfortable conditions, a family joined together to share a meal at the recently purchased house. Situated around a rickety old table were three men around the same age, all with fiery red hair, a frazzled looking woman with hair just the same, two young boys playing with their food, and a small baby, secured tightly in his mother's loving arms. The cause of the untimely celebration was the purchase of the house, which was the first for the young couple and their children. The woman's twin brothers were there to spice up the celebration with their wit and insight, and also to keep the children occupied.

Gideon and Fabian Prewett were good uncles to their nephews, Bill Weasley, age six, Charlie Weasley, age four, and Percy Weasley, who was only days away from turning one year old. The boys' mother, Molly Prewett Weasley, was tired and strung out, but so happy to have her brothers dine with the family. Arthur Weasley, the head of the household, beamed with pride as his son Charlie used his fork to scratch an awful melody into his plate.

"Charlie! Please stop doing that, it hurts Mummy's ears," Molly said, giving her son a stern look. "And Bill! Stop egging him on and eat your vegetables so you'll grow up nice and tall like your father."

"Molly, you'll repress their inner creativity if you keep scolding them!" Gideon said with a laugh, winking at his nephew.

"Yeah, Mother never said anything to us, and look how well we turned out!" Fabian added, elbowing his sister. Molly gave her brothers equally scathing looks, but her eyes were warm as she scoffed at them.

"Well, you might've turned out decently, but poor mother always had those headaches. Don't you remember? And I don't want to spend my days with a cold compress on my forehead. Don't give me that look, Bibi, you know it's true, you drove mother bonkers, the both of you!"

Fabian's mouth turned down into a small frown as he eyed his well-meaning sister. "You know I hate that name. My grown little sister shouldn't be calling her mature older brothers "Bibi and Dede" anymore, don't you agree?"

"I only do it because it gets under your skin," Molly said with a smile, as her sons began a glorious chorus of "Bibi and Dede, Bibi and Dede!"

"Oh now look what you've taught them!" Gideon said.

"Boys!" Molly said, quickly remembering her mothering role. "Stop that this instant. Bill, if I have to tell you again to finish those vegetables..." Her voice was lost in the chatter as the men began to discuss work.

"So how are things in the Auror office nowadays? Is Alastor keeping you busy?" Arthur questioned, taking a bite of his dinner.

"Oh, the same, I suppose. Mad Eye Moody'll keep ya busy, even if there isn't anything to do, really," Fabian said, his brother nodding in agreement.

"Seems to think he can keep us on task one hundred percent of the time. I've got news for him, though, because my attention span isn't that long!"

"Mad Eye Moody? He sounds real mean!" Bill chimed in, once again ignoring his mother's directions to eat his vegetables.

"Oh, Mad Eye? Not as mean as he thinks he is. Talks about the war constantly, mostly because he doesn't have anyone to talk to when he goes home at night. He's more...disturbing than he is mean, what with that magical eye and all," Gideon told his nephew.

"Magical eye? Is there such a thing?" Charlie asked quietly.

"There is, there is! And he can see behind his back, in all directions. A bit loopy, but very good at what he does," Fabian divulged dramatically. The boys' eyes were wide, and suddenly their vegetables looked more appealing than continuing the conversation about a man who could see in all directions.

"But enough about that, how are things in the Muggle Artifacts office? Just got hired on, eh?"

"I did, and I've never been so happy at work! Interesting creatures, Muggles. I've just learned about something so exciting, I can barely contain my enthusiasm. Fortunately, I've secured one of the objects in question, and I am proud to say I can show you right now!" Arthur reached down deep into his robes and pulled out a modestly sized stone. His face was flushed with excitement as he laid it on the table for the dinner party to view.

"What is it?" Gideon asked, wrinkling his eyebrows.

"I've recently learned that this is all the rage in Muggle circles in America. I've been informed that it is called a "Pet Rock," and Jamison Frindeling, who is on a reconnaissance mission there, imported it to us. It seems that Muggles teach these rocks to sit and stay. It's quite fascinating really," Arthur said.

"But...does it move at all?" Molly asked incredulously. "American Muggles aren't really...that dull?"

"I've not tested its full capabilities, but it does leave me baffled. How very curious!"

Molly patted her husband's hand and quickly changed the subject away from the pet rock.

"So, actually, there's a reason I've called you here tonight, other than the fact that we've just purchased this beautiful new home for our family."

"Really? And whatever could that be?" Fabian asked.

"Well, Arthur and I...we're going to have another baby. Another...two babies, actually," Molly beamed.

"Planning that far in advance? You're on much more of a schedule than I could ever be," Gideon joked.

"No!" Molly exclaimed, color rushing to her cheeks. "I mean to say, we're pregnant with twins."

"Twins! But Molly, you've just had this one!" Gideon pointed to Percy, who gurgled on Molly's lap and snuggled closer into her chest.

"Oh brother, when the twins are born, Percy will be a year and a half at least. Besides, I've always wanted a lot of children. And you'll be around to take them when I need a break!" Molly laughed, flattening her youngest son's hair lovingly.

"Oh will we?" Fabian asked, a wide smile stretching across his face.

"Of course you will! The boys are always asking for one of you to come around, preferably both. And I just- Bill and Charlie, if you don't stop banging those forks, so help me-"

"Boys, why don't you go play in the garden, and leave us to talk," Arthur commanded, freeing his sons from their chairs. They ran off like a flash of lightening in the night, tripping over each other in their happy freedom.

While the proud parents watched their sons play in the dim light of the setting sun, the Prewett brothers eyed each other, well aware of the news they still had to deliver. Clearing his throat, Gideon commanded the attention of the table.

"Fabian and I, we're being sent on a mission by the Order of the Phoenix." Molly paled as she sat Percy down in his high chair.

"What kind of mission?" she asked faintly, knowing full well the danger her brothers were in.

"It's a stake-out of sorts. Dumbledore thinks he might have located Voldemort's headquarters."

"Well, you'll just tell him you won't go! I mean, you've got...you've got things to take care of, and...and I'm sure they have someone with...less to lose...to stake out his house!" Molly cried, her voice becoming more frantic as each syllable left her trembling lips.

Fabian smiled warmly at his sister, nodding his head as she finished. "Molly, dear, we know this news is difficult, and we know it's a dangerous mission, but we actually have less to lose than some of the others. We're not married, we've got no children, and we're very proud and honored to accept this mission. Besides, no one said it was a death wish, you're just catastrophizing in your head. We'll be fine."

"But you have a family! You have us, and...and, Fabian...Gideon...why you two?" Her eyes clouded with tears, but they did not fall.

"Because we're the best, aren't we, brother?"

"Indeed we are, brother. And this mission deserves the best. Besides, we're Aurors anyway. We knew what we signed on for when we accepted it, and Dumbledore sought us out personally to deliver the news. This could be big, Molly," Gideon said, nodding his head toward his little sister. "If this is indeed the headquarters of the Death Eaters, then we'll know when they're coming and going. There won't be anymore surprise massacres. We could save lives."

"And you'll have back up to call, won't you? If something does go wrong?" Arthur spoke up finally.

"Arthur! How dare you say such a thing! Why would they need back up when they will be home later that night!" Molly cried.

"Yes Arthur, James Potter, Remus Lupin, and Frank Longbottom will be standing by at a location miles away. They'll take the information to Dumbledore, should one of us require the use of the patronus."

"Well, when does this silly mission take place?" Molly asked.

"Tonight. At midnight," Fabian said sadly.

"T-tonight? Tonight? I...but...no! I won't let you go!" Molly stood suddenly, looking ten years older than she actually was against the pink hues of the sunset. "You'll have to get through me first! You two are...you're my brothers, and you can't! You can't go. You just can't."

The brothers stood and moved to their sister, enveloping her in a hug as tears finally spilled over her eyes. "What'll I do if I never see you again? What will the boys do?"

"The boys will be fine. They've got a beautiful, loving mother, and a warm, caring father. You'll raise them right. And we shouldn't even be talking like this! There's a chance we'll walk away!"

"A chance? I want certainty! Promise me you'll come home, promise me!" Molly said quietly to them.

"We can't promise you, Molly dear. But we will try our hardest to come around for supper tomorrow night." Gideon yelled to the boys, who came stampeding, clothes filthy from dirt.

"Be strong, won't you, lads?" Fabian said, ruffling their hair.

"'Course we will, Uncle Fabian!" Bill replied always the leader.

"Yeah!" Charlie chimed in.

"Well good. Now run along, and we'll be seeing you later!" Gideon said enthusiastically, which was the opposite of what he actually felt.

"And Molly, thanks for the meal. We've got to run now, but we love you."

"But-"

"And we'll keep you and your family in our thoughts."

"But-"

"Pray for us."

And then they were gone, Apparating to an unknown location, away from their sister and her family. Molly collapsed in tears, fearful that the last of the Prewetts would be gone forever.

~*~

"Do you see it?" Fabian whispered, trying to feel his way through the inky black landscape. No moon was apparent in the sky, and to cast a lighting charm would be deadly.

"No, but let's keep moving, we should- there!" Gideon said a little too loudly, pointing ahead at an old house afflicted horribly with age. Outside, two death eaters roamed, keeping watch over their makeshift fortress.

"Something's not right," he whispered, stopping in his tracks. "I can sense it. Something is definitely not right. They know we're here."

"How would they know? How could they know? Maybe we should fall back."

"We can't send our patronus yet. Let's just...poke around. Besides, the two they've set to guard are probably the dullest of the lot." Suddenly, a hand firmly grabbed Gideon's shoulder.

"Going somewhere, are you?" Fabian spun around to see a tall death eater, wand raised. Quickly stunning him, Fabian bound him and threw him under some bushes.

"Well that was close. We've got to move before they wonder where their little friend has gone," Gideon said bitterly, side stepping the area and moving behind a tree.

"So what's our plan, exactly? What do we wait for? Clearly this...ridiculously creepy place is the headquarters. Why do we stay?" Fabian said quickly, his patience thin.

"We've got to get a clear view. And we've got to stay to find out the information for Dumbledore. We'll just stay here, hopefully without disturbance, and watch for a while. We knew what we signed up for. Dumbledore was quite plain in his directions. I'd give it another hour, and then we'll Apparate back to headquarters.”

The two sat, still as death, and watched the scene unfold. About five death eaters, their faces obscured by masks, congregated outside the doors of the house. There was some chatter among them until a leader spoke up.

"The Order of the Phoenix is on the move. Dumbledore has been foolish. The clues left for us should be enough to take out at least ten of them, which will be a major blow to their operation. Should we succeed tonight, the Dark Lord will not only honor us, but we will have achieved a great victory against them! Lestrange, Black, I don't want to hear any whining out of you this time. This is a matter of grave importance. Now come, we march a mile off the grounds and then Apparate. I will instruct you from there." The voice was hoarse as it spoke, cold and unforgiving with minimal inflection.

"Dolohov is leading them," Gideon whispered. He recognized the voice from his nightmares.

"Oh great. Well, we can't let them go. I don't know how they found out about it, or even if it is a real lead, but we can't risk them finding Dumbledore. We can't let them kill our friends, Gideon. We'll have to...we'll have to make a stand."

Gideon nodded solemnly. "Tonight, we stand for our friends."

"Tonight, we shall defend."

As the group of Death Eaters began to move, Gideon sent a stunning spell over their way. One of them dropped suddenly, signaling the rest of the crew to stop.

"Where did that come from! Where?" Dolohov demanded loudly, his head turning in every direction.

"I think it came from over there," a female voice issued, pointing dramatically toward the brothers.

"Ready, brother?" Fabian asked quietly.

"Ready, brother," Gideon replied. Catching their nemeses off guard, the two jumped up, spells shooting out of the tips of their wands. Outraged, the Death Eaters began their attack.

"Lestrange! Over there!" Dolohov yelled directions. Their spells didn't touch the brothers as they effectively employed a balance of shield charms and defensive spells.

"Fabian! Now...would be a good time!" Gideon yelled through gritted teeth, dueling with Dolohov, the woman who he assumed was Bellatrix Black, and Rabastan Lestrange at the same time. A great cheetah erupted from the tip of Fabian's wand, carrying the message of a possible attack on the headquarters of the Order and the exact whereabouts of the enemy headquarters. The second it took for Fabian to produce the patronus, the other two death eaters had cornered him. Dolohov turned his attention to Fabian, who could only manage to shield incoming threats. With a great roar, Dolohov issued a spell unknown to both of the brothers. A jagged purple light shot through Fabian's shield, and he fell, dropping his wand.

"Fabian!" Gideon shouted, pain shooting through his heart as he watched in horror. "What did you do to him!"

"He's not dead...yet. But that'll teach you, won't it?" Dolohov laughed, and soon it was five against one. His brother’s painful cries were not ignored as Gideon dueled the five. It would prove to be too much, however, and Gideon fell beside his brother, a victim of the jagged purple spell.

"Aww, look, Dolohov, they're brothers!" Bellatrix cooed cruelly, poking Gideon's neck with her wand.

"Leave them, Black! The first I hit will be dead in about a minute and the second has about three. That's my favorite spell, don't you know? It causes massive internal injuries!" Dolohov laughed wildly before stepping over the bodies of his victims.

"Fabian...are you still there, brother?" Gideon forced out, his breath ragged.

"I-I don't know," Fabian replied faintly, to which Gideon laughed softly.

"You won't be waiting long, and I will be there with you." Reaching out, he grasped his brother's hand and squeezed it, cherishing the mimicked muscular movement. It wasn't until the grip loosened that Gideon felt a tear fall down his cheek. His twin, his other half, had breathed his last breath. Using what little energy he had left, he reached up and closed his brother's eyes before collapsing upon his chest, where he died minutes later. Their bodies lay there until Frank Longbottom, James Potter, and Remus Lupin, who had received the message in time to inform the order and move them to a safe location, were able to return to Voldemort's headquarters and retrieve the brothers’ remains safely.

They died like heroes, defending their friends and allowing them enough time to escape a surprise attack.

~**~

April 1, 1978.

"They're beautiful, Arthur, look at them," Molly Weasley said, wiping tears from her eyes. "Two more boys to add to our wonderful family. What should we call them?" Arthur smiled down at her and patted her shoulder lovingly.

"You're so great at naming them, I think you should do the honor," Arthur said.

"Well, how about Fred and George? I've been thinking it over a while in my head. Fred Gideon Weasley and George Fabian Weasley. Then they'll have opposite initials...FGW and GFW. And I'm sure...I'm sure Gideon and Fabian would be honored." Despite the happy moment, a sad tear slipped down her rosy cheeks.

"They would have; I know it, dear. The twins will carry their name in memory, and we'll be sure to tell them all about their brave uncles. You won't let them forget, I'm sure."

"No," Molly said quietly, "I won't."

Author’s Note: Hello everyone! It's been my absolute pleasure to write this story, I had a great time writing these characters. I do hope you'll choose to read and review!! Thanks for stopping by to the Slytherin Story Collaboration, we've put a lot of time into this and I hope you'll stay with us through the end :) ~LovlyRita

Chapter 5: Igor Karkaroff
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image||littlemiss





Igor Karkaroff
By lia_2390



It had been over a year now that Igor Karkaroff had abandoned the Dark Lord and pretty much everyone else. He had feared his return ever since he felt the black tattoo on his left forearm tingling. Sitting at a small table in a dilapidated shack, he began to recall how he got to this place.


On the night of the third and final task of the Triwizard Tournament, he sat in the stands with his students after leading his school champion to the start of the maze. They sat at the top, while the Hogwarts teaching staff, was sandwiched between them and Beauxbatons. Unfortunately, he could not pay attention to the night’s proceedings; he was too preoccupied with the mark on his left arm. Since his talk with Snape, it had gotten clearer, so clear, in fact, that one could actually see what it was. He was so caught up in his thoughts, that he did not notice the red sparks that had scattered into the air.

“Sir!” one of his students nudged him.

Snapping his head up, he glared, “What is it?”

“Red sparks, Sir, it means that someone is in trouble.”

“I know what it means!” he growled.

His eyes flickered to see who was coming out of the maze. From the gasping of the Beauxbatons students, he gathered, that it was Fleur Delacour. Everyone set their eyes upon the group of French students now, who were muttering in their native language. Every now and then, Fleur glanced up at the Durmstrang students. After a while, he shifted his gaze to the entrance to the maze, his right palm, placed on his left arm.

“You teach your students to cheat, Igor?” roared Madame Maxime, making everyone stare at him.

He merely glanced at her in irritation, “What are you referring to, Madame.”

“Your champion, Krum, attacked Fleur!” she shouted.

A piercing scream stopped him from replying. It was a scream he knew well, he heard his victims scream the in same way whenever he cast the Cruciatus Curse.

“Look!” someone shouted, “more red sparks!”

He watched McGonagall and Flitwick run into the maze, with their wands at the ready, after a few minutes, they emerged, with someone he did not want to see.

“There’s Krum!” a tiny first year pointed to the hunched figure being held up by the two teachers.
“How observant of you.” Karkaroff growled as he made his way down, pushing people aside as he went.

They had lay Krum on the cold earth and bent over him. He was still unconscious.

“It looks as though someone stunned him.” Remarked Flitwick, “Where’s Poppy?”

“Get out of my way!” Karkaroff barked, shoving Flitwick aside, kneeling, he slapped Krum’s face lightly, “Viktor?”

“He has been stunned, Igor.” Said Dumbledore calmly pointing his wand at Krum’s chest, “Enervate.”

Krum’s eyes fluttered open, he looked unusually calm, but his eyes were glazed over.

“Headmaster,” came the thick voice of Karkaroff’s aide, “Look at his eyes.”

“Imperius.” Karkaroff breathed, looking questioningly up at Dumbledore, who was staring intently down at Krum.

“Headmaster-
“No, do not try to speak, now, Viktor,” said Karkaroff cutting him off, “You need to rest.”

Getting up, he mumbled some orders to his aide and in his native tongue, the aide called to some select students, who came and lifted Krum and stood waiting for some sense of direction from their teacher.

“Dumbledore?” Karkaroff said shortly.

“Not to worry, Igor,” said Dumbledore quietly, “The nurse is on her way, please; let Mr. Krum rest over there.”

Nodding, he ushered his students over to where Fleur was being tended to and he settled himself down in the row he previously occupied, tapping his foot, nervously. The winds blew up around them, making them shiver, but Igor Karkaroff was not shivering because of the cold wind, he had been living and teaching in the Atlai Mountains of Siberia for years, this cold did not bother him the slightest, he shivered because of something else...something was wrong. Judging by the murmurs of others, they sensed it as well. The Potter boy and Diggory had been in the maze for almost an hour, while Krum and Fleur only lasted twenty minutes.

While listening closely to the rambling of others, he suddenly felt a sharp pain in his left arm, making him wince. Discretely, he rolled up his sleeve to find the Dark Mark, glistening maliciously on his pale skin. He rolled it down and looked wildly around for Snape; when he did, Snape was staring at him, his usual pallor got paler and he was instinctively clutching his left arm.

“I’ll be back.” said Karkaroff to his students, “stay here!”

Karkaroff walked briskly away from the Quidditch Pitch, trying not to make himself seem so obvious. If there was one thing he learnt from being a Death Eater, was that if you ran, you made yourself look suspicious. He was almost to the edge of the forest when he heard someone call his name.

“Igor!” a voice shouted.
Karkaroff whirled around to see Snape hurrying up to him, his black robes billowing furiously behind him.

“Severus, did you feel it?” he hissed.

“Igor-
“Severus, he has returned,” Karkaroff yanked up his sleeve, “Thirteen years, Severus, it has never been this clear in thirteen years.”

Snape looked at him, willing himself to not say a word.

“We have not been to look for him,” Karkaroff continued, “He will punish us all!”

“Will you not go to him?” Snape asked quietly.

“I cannot,” Karkaroff confessed, “but why are you not rushing back to his side, Severus?”

Snape considered him for a moment, “I have my orders.” He answered stiffly.

“You’ve seen him?” hissed Karkaroff, going white.

“I did not say that.”

Karkaroff tapped his foot, “I must go, Severus.”

Without another word, he ran off into the Forbidden Forest.

Igor Karkaroff had changed a lot since that time. Rising from his spot at the table, he walked out of the room and over to the grimy window and looked out to see large, black clouds forming in the west. He had to leave soon; despite that the country was known for its extreme climate changes, it was summer, rain wasn’t expected for months. Those black clouds were not a force of nature. They were magic. Heaving a sigh, he slumped back into his chair and let his memories consume him again.



The journey from England to Durmstrang’s castle, deep in the Atlai Mountains of Russian Siberia was not exactly a pleasure cruise. While his students got the ship, he had to rely on apparition and on one occasion, he had stolen a broomstick to fly across Europe in five days, of course, it seemed impossible, but at this point, he was desperate. He hardly ever stopped for rests; for fear that someone would always be a step behind him. While flying across Germany, he felt extreme hatred for his students who were currently on board a ship, which should be crossing Barents Sea at that point to the Gulf of Ob, then following the Ob River, which lead into the mountains.

It was mid afternoon, on the fifth day, since he left England, when he arrived in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Using his wand, he shrank the broom and placed it in one of the inner pockets of his cloak, he might need it later. He walked slowly across Palace Bridge to Palace Square, trying to seem as normal as possible, but, what was normal, for a wizard? He kept his head slightly bowed for most of his walk, only raising it, at The Alexander Column, located in the middle of the Square. He smiled wistfully at The Winter Palace, it was a museum now. He was not much older than twenty- five, when he first visited the Palace, for a ball, hosted by a very affluent, Russian wizarding family. It was, incidentally, the same night, he met The Dark Lord, along with other pure blooded families, that either supported him, or, went along because their children were about to join his ranks, if they already had not. He remembered being anxious and excited at the same time.

Wasn’t it interesting now, that many years later, he was at the same place, but not having the same enthusiasm that he had, more than two decades before? If he had known what he was getting into, he probably would have joined anyway. He would have been dead if he did not. He chuckled hoarsely at the irony of his thoughts. Wasn’t life funny?

He continued his walk, more briskly now through Palace Square, the feeling of nostalgia suddenly disappearing, as though it were like a leaf that was whisked away by a strong gust of wind. As he got to the exit, he turned around to feign a last look at the Palace, while trying to spot anyone that seemed out of place. The square was fairly empty at this time of day, as most people would be at work. He didn’t see anyone out of the ordinary, so he walked on, not stopping to look at anyone, until he came to a dark alleyway. He had to walk past it about three times until it appeared; he’d honestly thought that he had lost his way in the historical city. With a sigh of relief, he raised the hood of his cloak and entered Vesper’s Grove.

Vesper’s Grove, was the Knockturn Alley of this part of Russia. It contained the same dodgy shops and shady characters and you could get the same things, but at a much cheaper price. He hadn’t been down here in years, not since the Dark Lord had fallen. It was amazing that a place like this did not stand out in the always immaculate city of St. Petersburg, but then again, that’s what the magic protecting it was for. The place he was headed was at the end of the alley. A three storey, gothic looking building stood looming menacingly over him. It was made of stone, but after years of extreme temperature changes, it was weathering. The building was built in the late 18th century and used as a hotel; it was basically the same today, the ground floor was the bar, the first floor held a few rooms and the top was the office. Fingering his wand inside his cloak, he tentatively stepped inside.

The sight that greeted him, was as he expected, quiet and completely undisturbed. The few that were there, only eyed him mildly, before continuing their conversations. He passed them quickly and headed for the stairs to the top floor, where he came to a black, wooden door at the end of the hall knocked and entered swiftly, without waiting for a reply from behind the door.

The man seated at the desk, was so immersed in his papers, that he did not see Karkaroff enter, nor did he even seem to hear the knock.

“Why don’t you ever lock your door?”

The man started, but recovered quickly and whipped out his wand.

“Who are you?” he hissed.

Karkaroff lowered his hood and stared placidly at the man.

“Vladimir.”

“Igor?” he asked, still not lowering his wand, “What are you doing here?”
“I need help.”

“Are you out of your mind?” Vladimir hissed, “The Dark Lord will have my head.”

Karkaroff paled, “What are you saying?”

“I’m saying, Igor,” said Vladimir evenly, as he walked slowly around his desk, “that you must not be here. You betrayed too many of us. You are a marked man!”

“So you will not help me?” The man shook his head.

Karkaroff’s jaw slackened and he suddenly felt sick.

“You cannot go to the others,” Vladimir continued, his eyes secretly searching the shadows instead of Karkaroff’s face, “They will not help you either and I cannot think of anyone else who can.”

Karkaroff was shocked, he turned to leave the office without another word to the man he once considered a friend. Out on the street, he found a small piece of paper that had blew away from somewhere and he turned it into a portkey. While waiting, Vladimir’s words echoed harshly in his head - “They will not help you”. In other words, he, Igor Karkaroff, had become blacklisted, cut off from all of his contacts on the continent, for fear of the Dark Lord’s wrath if they helped him and their own faithfulness to him.

One would ask the question as to why didn’t he stay at Hogwarts, and then return to Durmstrang on the ship with his students. If he needed protection, Dumbledore would’ve surely given it to him, but he could not. If someone had put Viktor Krum under the Imperious Curse, what would that say for the rest of his students? Or even those at Hogwarts, despite Dumbledore’s watchful gaze?




By the time he got to Durmstrang, his students had already arrived and word had spread about Voldemort’s return. Unlike those fools in the English Ministry of Magic, the Russian Wizarding Government did not think it was necessary to cover up such a thing. Some feared that this war would be worse than the one, thirteen years before.

After locking himself in his office, he sat behind his desk, thinking of his next step. He couldn’t very well stay at the castle and he could not go home either. The Dark Lord would be sending people to look for him. Assassins. If he sent more than one, he, Igor, would be done for.

“But you were one of them, once upon a time, Igor.” Hissed a little voice in his head, “You can defeat them.”

Clapping his hands on his face, he rose from his chair and walked around his desk. A sharp crackle startled him. Whirling around, he found that the fire was lit and there was a piece of singed parchment on the desk. Puzzled, he snatched it up. He read and re-read the note, each time, his face getting paler and his eyes widening. It was a letter he wished he had never received.

I am disappointed, Igor. You, like everyone else, know the rights you forfeited when you joined. Don’t let me find you, Igor. Don’t let me find you.


He dropped the letter on the floor as it burst into flames. He really should’ve remained at Hogwarts, in spite of the risk, at least there; he had a much better chance of being safe. He scrambled over to his desk and yanked open the drawers; with his hands shaking violently, he grabbed the money he had hidden there and stuffed it in the pockets of his trousers. He quickly pulled on his traveling cloak. With a flick of his wand, the window opened, letting in a rush of cold air. Taking the broom from his pocket, he enlarged it, mounted it and flew away. Where he was going, he wasn’t quite sure.

Igor Karkaroff, sat at the little table in the shack, tracing the outline of the dark mark on his forearm, with his long, index finger. Being a Death Eater was a ‘do or die’ business. Many of the young men that night, joined, because they were forced. None of them wanted to end up like the other pure blooded families who refused.


He had been Eastern Europe for months. He made sure to stay away from his usual haunts and he even managed to stay from the Underground, he had his enemies there too. For money, he traded in his galleons and knuts, for muggle currency. His appearance had changed too. He found that casting glamour charms, were useless, so, he did the unexpected. He changed his appearance without the use of magic. He saw a muggle dying his hair in a store in Oslo, so, he went in and got his dyed as well, however reluctantly. Instead of black, it was grey. This was another aspect of his life that he found funny, he would’ve scorned any wizard who dyed his hair the muggle way. His beard also got significantly longer and had turned grey, so that he now resembled an old man. He transfigured a bone he found, into a staff, thus, completing his new look. He often found himself in places throughout Europe, which he knew housed wizards, so he spied, what could be a better disguise than an old beggar, sitting on the steps of a shop?

He had traveled to many places since he received the threatening note from The Dark Lord. On one particular afternoon of his wanderings, he stumbled upon a small, quaint town, east of the Olt River in Transylvania. It wasn’t the town in particular that he noticed, but a very familiar face. It was the face of a small woman, wearing a plain brown cloak and her once immaculate raven hair, was tied up in a loose knot at the back of her head. In one hand, she carried a large wicker basket and in the other, she held up a ripe, plump tomato to show a toothless, hunched old woman, who appeared to be the vendor.

“Alina.” he breathed.

He quickened his pace and soon enough, he was standing next to her, pretending to inspect some fruit that was set out at the old woman’s stall. Clearing his throat, he gestured to the fruit.

“Do tell me,” he drawled, “what do you recommend? I am not so good at picking such things.”

She turned around to suggest something to him, but as she saw his eyes, her hand flew to her mouth and she dropped all that she was holding. The soft contents of the basket, including the tomato, hit the ground with a sickly splat.

Regaining her composure, she muttered quick apologies to the old woman and set about cleaning up the mess. He bent down to help her.

“Igor, what are you doing here?” she hissed in a thick accented voice.

“I need your help, Alina.” she raised her eyes to look at him, he met her gaze and clutched her hand, “Please!”

Hesitantly, she murmured, “There is an old shack, out beyond those trees, meet me there.”

Without another word, she rose from her position, paid the old woman and walked away, disappearing among the hoard of people, leaving Karkaroff to smile after her. After lingering in the market, he set out towards the grove of trees, allowing his thoughts to drift back to Alina. He did not seek her out purposefully, it was mere coincidence. He was surprised that she decided to help him, he even went to lengths and said “Please” and Igor Karkaroff always got what he wanted. Never once did he ever say “Please”, but everything always happened differently when it came to Alina. Alina Dalakis was the brown-eyed wonder that stole his heart, several years before. Another reason why the Winter Palace was so memorable to him.

After a while, he came to stand in front of an old, dilapidated shack, which was located in a small clearing in the middle of the grove of trees. He remained outside for a while, looking at it, even though the door was ajar. The roof of the shack was worm eaten and it looked as if it would cave in, at any time and the windows were so grimy that you could barely see through them. There wasn’t even a chimney, but he figured that it was a good thing; no one would know that the place was inhabited. Sighing, he pushed the door open a bit more and stepped carefully inside. The floorboards were loose under his feet, making a loud creak. Cringing, he stepped quickly onto a rust looking threadbare rug. He closed the door behind him and looked around. The old structure only had two rooms, separated from each other, by a thin wooden wall. Both rooms appeared to be extremely small and cramped, it looked as if it would take five strides just to cross it. There wasn’t much furniture either, except for an old armchair in the corner, by the window and a tiny coffee table. Beyond the thin wall, was an even smaller room, which, probably served as a kitchen or bedroom. The house only had one door.

“Why did you stay outside so long?” asked an annoyed voice.

He whirled around sharply to see Alina standing by the window, staring at him pointedly.

“Don’t you think that I had a right to inspect my surroundings?” he asked, raising an eyebrow, “especially in unfamiliar places?”

Her eyes narrowed at his smug, self-satisfied expression, turning away from him, she walked towards the back of the little shack, and his heavy footsteps followed her. She sat in a small desk chair in the back room, with her hands clasped tightly together on a rickety old table.

“Why did you come here?” she asked quietly, her arms hugging her chest.

“I didn’t seek you out, intentionally if that’s what you mean.” he answered, leaning against the wall, looking at her.

She turned around and sighed, “What’s wrong, Igor?”
“The Dark Lord has returned.” he said flatly, watching her eyes widen in shock.

“Are you serious?” she squeaked.

“Have you been living under a rock for the past months?” came his clipped reply.

“Why have you not returned?”

“Now it’s my turn to ask if you’re serious.” he hissed, “You know that I cannot go back, do you know how many of them I sent away, siding with the Ministry? They’d rather see me dead!”

“So you ran.”

He nodded at her.

“You seem unnaturally calm about all of this.” she observed, still with her arms folded, noting his actions. His shoulders were hunched and his once cold eyes, were sunken and glazed over, fitting the wizened old man description perfectly.

He shrugged, “I suppose that during the time I have traveled, I am prepared to face the inevitable - that they will find me and kill me, but, that is a paradox in itself, because I am still running.”

She placed her hand on his shoulder tentatively and looked up at him. “You would’ve never had to run, you know.”

He resisted the urge to roll his eyes in irritation and simply sighed. They had this discussion before, which always ended in her throwing things at him and him blasting them into bits with his wand. Now, fighting was the last thing on his mind, he needed her help.

“Alina,” he began patiently, “You know why I made those choices, even if it was beyond you. Right now, I need a place to stay, to hide and I need food, if you can’t provide me with either, I’ll leave.”

Considering for a moment, she stepped around him and stood in the middle of the small shack, spreading her arms.

“You can stay here.” she said quietly.

“What?” he looked at her with surprise, “Here?”

“What’s better than the least likely place?” she reasoned and he was inclined to agree.

A loud creak woke Igor Karkaroff from his sleep and he instinctively whipped out his wand. The hairs on his neck prickled uncomfortably as he rose from his chair. From what he could tell, it was way past nightfall and he had unfortunately fallen asleep. He had wanted to leave since he saw the clouds, but he was too tired, he had not slept properly in months. The creak could’ve been anything, but he knew better; it was the creak of the floorboard at the front of the miserable little shack, which meant that someone else was there. It couldn’t have been Alina, she had returned to the city a few weeks earlier.
He walked as quietly as possible to the wall and peered around it, raising his hood as he did, to hide his face. He heard someone cry out in pain as they bumped into the table, by the window. The moonlight crept in from behind the trees, shining through the window, faintly illuminating the face of the intruder, but in this case there were two of them.

“The Carrows.” he thought to himself as one of them lit their wand.

“Stupefy!” He hissed as two beams of red light shot out of his wand in quick succession, hitting the intruders in their chests. The lit wand fell limply from its owner and rolled under the table.

“Amycus and Alecto Carrow.” Karkaroff spat, walking around them, “He sent you two after me?”

“No,” came a cold voice from behind him, “He sent me.”

Karkaroff froze, “Fenrir?” he breathed.

“You know Igor,” growled Fenrir, “It would’ve made a lot of sense, for you to disapparate when you heard the floor creak.”
Fenrir Greyback walked in front of Karkaroff and eyed The Carrows with distaste, as Karkaroff, stood, white in the face, staring at him with shock.

“I could’ve done this by myself, without him sending these two,” he said to no one in particular, nudging Alecto’s leg with his foot.

“How did you find me?” Karkaroff managed out.

“If you must know,” he said, grinning maliciously as he turned his attention away from Alecto and licked his lips, “I was told of your whereabouts, by a pretty little songbird, who tastes as delicious as she looks.”

Karkaroff’s wand dropped to the floor with a clatter, his face losing the little color it had left. He held up his hands in defense as Greyback raised his wand.

“Please, Fenrir,” he begged as the werewolf made a tutting sound.

“After you ratted out so many of us, you dare stand in front of me and beg, Igor?” he sneered.

Karkaroff stepped back as Greyback slowly followed him, crushing his victim’s wand under his feet as he passed.

“Please Fenrir, please, have mercy!” Karkaroff cried, on his knees now, shaking.

“Have mercy?” Greyback spat, “Crucio!”

Karkaroff’s ear splitting screams pierced the night as he now felt what his victims always felt - pain like hot knives penetrating the skin. He lay panting on the floor, slowly getting his bearings as Greyback looked down at him.

“Had enough, eh?” he asked mockingly.

Karkaroff slowly brought his hand up to his face only to find that it was drenched, not with sweat, but with tears.

“A pathetic old sod, you are Igor,” Greyback murmured.

Karkaroff, with the aid of the table, slowly got to his feet and continued to plea with his old colleague who shook his head.

“You’re lucky that The Dark Lord didn’t come here tonight, Igor, because I assure you that he wouldn’t have been as lenient.” Greyback raised his wand and a flash of green light hit Karkaroff square in his chest, blasting him into the wall. The shock still etched on his face as his now, lifeless body slid onto the floor, his cold dark eyes staring up at the ceiling.

Greyback whirled around and stalked into the next room to get the Carrows, then, as the rain began to fall, they apparated from sight. People always said that you deserved it when you died with your eyes open, but Igor Karkaroff never really knew how true that was.



Author's Note: I've never written a minor character before so this was an interesting experience. I hope you enjoy reading it just as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Chapter 6: Severus Snape
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Cado of Procer: The Fall of The Prince

by Celtic_Dreamer7


The darkness hid him well. Severus Snape sat amongst the shadows, listening intently. The battles fought within the walls of Hogwarts reverberated throughout the Forbidden Forest like shards of glass cutting through the very soul that he claimed to no longer own.

"The end may be here sooner than I expected, Severus."

A bright flash lit up the night's sky as Dumbledore's words echoed in his ears. Allowing himself to escape to his memories, he thought back to earlier that evening not realizing it would be his final night as Headmaster.

He was sitting behind the Headmaster's desk, Dumbledore's portrait unceremoniously hung behind it. He never thought of it as his office. He never felt it was his right to be there. Upon his word to Dumbledore, however, he swore to protect the students. Being made Headmaster was the only way to accomplish that.

The students, resilient as they tried to be, were all in their beds for the evening. The night's darkness covered the school like a thick fog. The castle, he thought, was still and silent. The Dark Lord's final order had came the night before: Ravenclaw Tower was to be guarded at all times. Use of the Mark was to be used only for confirmation of the boy's capture. Nothing else. It felt, to him at least, like final preparations were being made. . . for what, he feared to even think it. The atmosphere was charged with an energy very different than he had ever felt. His nerves were on edge as the greatest Headmaster of all time spoke to him once more.

"Far sooner than we feared," he heard the portrait whisper. He glanced out the window at the stars. "I'm afraid to say it, Severus. But we aren't as prepared as I had hoped."

The branded mark on his arm burned with a sharp, deep pain. They have him! He winced not only from the pain, but also from the realization. "I am afraid you are right, yet again, Headmaster," he spoke gravely. Holding his arm close to his side, he glanced from one portrait to another before settling on Dumbledore's solemn painted face. The sparkle behind his blue eyes had long been gone but Severus knew what little hope the Headmaster held onto, quickly faded into the darkness now surrounding them. Their only hope was to find him and . . . . .

"He must know," Dumbledore's portrait stated. "It is the only way. He must." They exchanged glances as Severus put on his black cloak. "Do what you can."

"Of course, Sir," he replied as he placed his wand in his pocket. "As always."

He walked quickly down the stairs. The night's stillness was unnerving. The entire castle felt different, on alert. He made his way past various classrooms before stopping at the entrance of the Great Hall. A small flicker of light caught his eye and although he should have ignored it, he couldn't help but glance inside.

Peering in, he thought back to his very first night at Hogwarts; where he stood, how she stood near by, both anxiously awaiting their turn under the Sorting Hat. It doesn't seem all that long ago. . . His thoughts then fell on his students as he turned towards the Slytherin table. He could recall his days sitting there and his favorite chair: hidden between what few friends he did have and with a good view of the Gryffindors . . . He glanced towards the staff table, and the chair he sat in his very first night as Head of Slytherin House. How the view is different from up there. He walked up the center aisle towards his final chair: the Headmaster's. A position he never wanted, but one he was forced to accept. All because of promises for her.

The light flickered in front of him once more as a gust of wind whipped through the Great Hall, causing him to shiver. It's begun. He glanced to the Gryffindor table and her favorite chair. He remembered her eyes. And her smile. For a second he thought he saw her again, but the memory quickly faded as the moonlight flickering through the windows became blocked by the ever growing darkness.

He thought of her and then of her son. He knew what little hope there was but . . . He had promises to keep and until his final breath he vowed to try. For her. . . . With one final look around his former home, he knew what he had to do.

Making his way through the corridors, he quickly headed towards Ravenclaw Tower. There may still be time if I could just get to him. Speak to him . . . at least explain why. . . he must know everything before. . .

It was then he saw her. Minerva, dressed in her sleeping gown, followed by someone. He's here. It has to be him. For a moment, he felt his luck might be changing. He tried to reach out to grab where he thought the boy was, but was stopped by Minerva. He fought back but to no avail. Professors Flitwick and Sprout had joined in the battle. Where did they come from?! Former colleagues fighting against him. He never realized how much he was hated until that moment. He had to escape. He retreated into a nearby classroom and with no other choice, he jumped. He felt the glass shatter around him and heard the insults being called from above but he continued on, racing through the darkness towards the perimeter wall. Coward! Ha! If they only knew . . .

What followed became nothing but a blur, as a loud boom shook the forest floor beneath him. Bloody memories! What good are they now? He shuddered as he glanced down to his tattered clothes, his left arm showing from his elbow down to his wrist. The mark's outline still burned as he sat, mesmerized by the sight of his own blood oozing down his arm. He never realized how high that window had been, until he was forced to jump out it. He could still hear them yelling at him as he escaped. Names he had been called many times before but they still hurt, especially being said from those he protected as best he could all year.

He began to clean and repair his wound when he noticed it. . . the blood was coming from the mouth of the serpent - right through the middle of the mark. How fitting. Split in two . . just like my life. He felt the inside of his shirt pocket to feel the photo still there. Along with the letter he took from the Order's headquarters not too long ago.

A loud blast ripped through the night and he glanced back towards the castle. Another wall had been blown away and the people within could be seen. He squinted to see if he could spot the boy, but his attempt was futile. They looked like little specks running around, trying to regroup.

"Well, Dumbledore. . . what is the plan now?" he spoke aloud to no one. With his escape from the castle, his plan was unclear. How was he to find the boy now? I know he was there! I could sense it! Damn that Minerva! If only I could have found him before . . . .

"Snape! Severus Snape!"

He jumped at the call of his name. Lucius Malfoy.

"Severus Snape!"

An eerie sense crept over him, but he thought nothing of it. Emerging from the shadows, he walked forward to face his one-time school prefect. "Yes, Malfoy," he stated calmly. "You called for me?"

"The Dark Lord," Malfoy replied, stumbling a bit in the dark. "He is asking for you."

He took in his appearance. Still swollen and bruised from a previous punishment the Dark Lord found fitting, his clothes were dirty and ragged. His once elegant and noble demeanor had faded into that of someone far beneath him. He looked nothing more than a mere shadow of his former self.

"For me?" Severus glanced back towards the castle as a loud boom rang overhead. Surely Potter hasn't . . . this quickly? He paused deep in thought for a moment before nodding to Lucius.

Another loud boom was heard overhead as the south wall of the castle was destroyed. The ground shook as it tumbled to the earth's darkness below taking not only bricks but people, both dead and alive, along with it.

"My son," Lucius whispered as he too glanced back towards the smoldering school.

Severus knew what little hope Draco had to survive the night. After his failed attempt last year, it was known by all Death Eaters he and his family were no longer welcomed in the inner circle. This, added to the fact that the Malfoy's were beginning to question what was truly right, made them marked targets for all.

"Where is the Dark Lord?" Severus questioned.

"The . . the Shrieking Shack," Lucius replied, his eyes fixed on the school they both once called home. "What have we done, Severus?" he asked, barely audible.

"More than any of us care to admit, Lucius," Severus stated, matter-of-factly. He glanced back to the castle before turning toward the overgrown pathway leading to the shack.

"Severus."

He glanced back.

"Good luck," he whispered, his eyes never leaving the school.

Many of their fellow Death Eaters had been summoned before. . . most never returned. Knowing this far too well, he knodded. Slowly, he walked down the pathway and through the little clearing which lead towards the shack. There was no sense in rushing. He knew what awaited him. Either Potter had been captured or killed or . . . . he shuddered at the thought.

The battle could be heard in the distance. The booms of far away spells, students and teachers alike, fighting side by side to defend their school. Their home. A home he was no longer welcomed in.

He approached the Shrieking Shack cautiously. He took one long look at the castle as one of the far off towers crumbled to the ground. Giants, spiders and creatures from all over had now joined in the battle, no one really knowing which side they were on. The forest floor shook once more as a powerful curse ricocheted off one of the remaining castle walls.

He made his way inside, expecting to see the worst. To his surprise, and relief, he glanced around to see no one but Him, the serpent like creature he was forced to call 'Lord'. He was sitting behind a table, the light from the window behind him outlining his demonic like features, his red eyes even more prominent.

"Come in, Severus."

No Potter? he thought as he entered and closed the door behind him. There is still a chance . . . if I could just get to him. . . His eyes caught sight of something sparkling above. He glanced up to see Nagini, suspended in mid-air and protected by some unseen force-field. He was right. Dumbledore was right.

The fact that the boy hadn't been caught yet and that the snake was being protected . . . there is still a chance of defeating this darkness. It was then he saw it: the Elder Wand, rolling between the fingers of its new master. He knows. Severus paced back and forth as best as he could, trying not to let the Dark Lord see he was nervous. He must have figured it out! His mind searched for the proper words but his mouth was dry. He would never fulfill his promise to keep the boy safe. Never tell him all Dumbledore meant for him to know. He had failed. In a final effort, he pleaded to go find the boy.

"No!" He shouted at him with the utmost power and authority, which he had held over him for so long. He stood as his red eyes bore into the soul of his follower.

Severus glanced above at the coiled serpent and tried to remain calm.

He knew. The Dark Lord knew. As did his servant, Severus Snape. He figured out the wand and the final steps that must be done in order to conquer it. Knowing it might be his last chance, he pleaded once more but to no avail. He thought about apparating away or trying to run but knew any attempt would be futile. He would never make it to the castle or even escape to the Forbidden Forest before being attacked by the Dark Lord or another Death Eater.

"You have been a good and faithful servant, and I regret what must happen." *

It was the last words he heard spoken. The sphere encased him. There was nothing he could do. He felt a sharp sting as the fangs of Nagini pierced his neck. The pain shot through his body like a knife, unbearable as he fell to the floor.

He did not see his former master leave nor did he realize that the sphere had released him. He was quickly losing all feeling in his legs as he tried, in vain, to get the wound on his neck to stop bleeding.

His breathing became impaired as blood oozed from his nose and mouth. He began to cough. Tears threatened his eyes, but he would not permit them to come. He thought back to that night on the astronomy tower. If only he had stunned him and not killed him. If only he had not made the promise to Dumbledore to look after the son of his lost love. If only he had not become a Death Eater at all. Maybe the end would have turned out differently. If only. . . .

He thought he heard something behind him but he was unable to move. His hearing and eyesight were starting to fade. Slowly, the figure of a young man appeared before him. The young man he had watched grow from a small child. The one he vowed to protect. . . for her.

His mind raced back to the conversations he had with Dumbledore and his portrait. All the information he needed to succeed. There was no other way. He was running out of time. He began to release all the memories the young man needed, including the precious few he held close to his heart.

Lily, he thought as the light began to fade. The love of his life appeared. She was calling him.

"Look . . . at . . . me." **

He stared into the eyes of the young man. Green . . . just . . . like . . . hers .

The darkness surrounding his life diminished and the light overtook him. His promise kept, his oath fulfilled; Severus Snape was gone.

Deep within the Hogwarts Castle, a gust of wind swept throughout the dungeons and the Slytherin common room, extinguishing what few candles still burned. Up in the Great Hall, the final emerald from the broken Slytherin hourglass fell to the floor. The Half-Blood Prince . . . was home.

~The End~

*Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, pg 655.
**Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows, pg 658.

~ A big note of thanks to my lovely beta, notreallyblonde44, who re-read and re-read this entry more than a dozen times! (Well, more like four, but you get the message!) ~

Chapter 7: Marlene McKinnon
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

Marlene Mckinnon by CrazyBibliophile
Beta'd by Spadfoot Marauder

***

Marlene slammed to the floor, the taste of blood heavy in her mouth.

She dragged herself forward through the loose soil, coughing ominous red splatters onto the dark brown earth. Her breath came hard and fast and she struggled for air, wheezing and gasping.

Her eyes stung with unshed tears, but she stubbornly refused to let herself break down – it wasn’t safe to cry yet, not here.

She staggered to her feet, her breath rasping in her throat, and glanced over her shoulder. She couldn’t see them, but that didn’t mean they weren’t there. That didn’t mean she was safe.

She would never be safe.

***

“Five OWLs,” said Em proudly, holding up the flimsy piece of paper. “Five of them! Bet you can’t beat that, huh Marly?”

A slow smirk spread over Marlene’s face. “Actually,” she said smugly, “I got eleven.”

Jack burst out laughing at the horror-struck look on Emily’s face. “What did you expect, Em? Marly’s a freak.”

“B-but,” stammered Emily, “but you barely even studied! You spent all your time hanging around Dorcas Meadowes, hoping to get invited to one of her crazy illegal parties!”

“Guess I’m just smarter than you,” said Marlene wickedly. Jack sniggered.

“Now, now,” said their mother reprovingly, “don’t be mean, Marly. I’m sure you both did very well.”

Marlene shrugged. “It’s a twin thing. One of us is very smart, one of us is stupid. I’m the smart one.”

Em narrowed here eyes. “Oh, you’ll
pay for that,” she snarled, whipping out her wand. Marlene yelped and ducked under the table as Jack laughed even harder, tears of mirth streaming down his face.

“Stupid, am I?” screeched Em. “At least I know how to handle a wand!
Furnuncu –”

“Save me, Jack!” howled Marly, hiding behind him. “Hex her! Stun her! Do something!”

“Now why would I do that when it’s so funny just watching you get beaten up by a little girl?” said their older brother, adopting an innocent expression.

Emily froze. “What did you just say?” she asked coldly.

“Well, you’re tiny,” shrugged Jack. “You both are, you’re practically garden gnomes. It’s no wonder you’re both rubbish at Quidditch – you’re probably too scared of the height to fly properly…”

As one, the twins turned to face him, their enmity forgotten.

“Are you thinking what I’m thinking, Em?” said Marlene sweetly.

“I think I am, Marly,” said Emily, an evil glint entering her eyes.

Jack gulped and backed up until he was trapped against the wall. “Er…you know I didn’t really
mean that…” he said nervously.

Emily glared at him. “You’re such a –”


***

Marlene shuddered, a violent spasm ripping though her body. She couldn’t think of them. It was too painful.

But still, the cruel memories played over and over in her mind, relentless…

***

“So what’s for dinner?” asked Jack cheerfully.

“Boiled toads and grass,” spat his mother, brushing sweaty hair out of her eyes. She waved her wand and summoned plates out of the cupboard, a harried expression on her face.

Jack wisely chose to stay silent, recognising the stress in his mother’s eyes. It wasn’t safe to antagonise her when she was like this – you’d only end up hanging upside down from the ceiling, and then he’d never get to eat. Better to keep his mouth shut.

Maybe it was safer just to order take-out…

Marlene sighed, and went to help her mother. “I’ll finish up,” she commanded, disarming her mother with a quick flick of her wand. “You go look after Marcus.”

“Marly,” said her mum fervently, “you’re my hero.”

Jack was consumed by a sudden fit of coughing. “Suck-up,” he managed, disguising the words with very loud and very fake coughs.

Marlene stuck her tongue out at him.


***

A single tear escaped and slid down her face. Marlene swiped it away furiously, disgusted with herself. She wouldn’t cry for them. Not yet, at least.

She ran unsteadily onwards, running and falling and getting up and running and falling and running, knowing that she had to keep moving – whatever the cost. Sooner or later she’d fall and then she wouldn’t be able to get up again. And that was unacceptable.

The thin sliver of moon in the sky shone down, casting an ethereal, silvery light on the eerily silent woods. The dappled shadows looked even darker in contrast with the ghostly glow of the crescent moon, darker even than the oppressive night sky.

Marlene stumbled on.

****

“So what’s this guy’s name?” frowned her father, placing baby Carol in her cot.

“His name’s Carson, Dad, I’ve told you a million times before,” huffed Marlene, rolling her eyes.

“But how do I know this bloke’s good enough for you?” asked her dad suspiciously. “For all I know, he’s a Death Eater.”

Marlene exploded. “My boyfriend is not a freaking Death Eater!” she shrieked.”Don’t you think I’d
notice?!”

“Well how should I know?” grumbled her father.”He could be trying to spy on the family through you.”

“And what would he spy on?” scowled Marlene, her dark brown curls frizzing out like an enraged cat. “A baby, a seven year old, two Hogwarts students, two retired Aurors, a crotchety old bat and a useless twenty year old working with Magical Maintenance?”

“You never know,” mumbled the older man, his ears turning pink at the edges. “They could be conspiring to discover your mother’s secret recipe for apple pie.”

Marlene blinked, then visualised a bunch of Death Eaters huddled around a set of blueprints to her mother’s kitchen, then collapsed into hysterics.


***

A bramble tore through her sleeve, ripping through her arm. Hot blood dripped down on to the ground, leaving an unmistakeable trail for her pursuers. Marlene didn’t stop to fix her arm or obliterate the trail. She didn’t have time.

She had to save him.

****

“Isn’t it a beauty?” said Jack, grinning like a maniac. Dad whistled in awe and stroked the side of the shiny blood red motorcycle, gazing at it reverently.

“Where’d you get it from?” the old man asked, looking as if he desperately wanted one for himself.

“Sirius Black introduced me to a car dealer in Diagon Alley,” said Jack proudly.”I got this for half the usual price.”

Marlene stared at him. What was all the fuss about? It was just a
motorbike. Who needed bikes when Apparating was so much easier?

“And the best bit,” whispered Jack conspiratorially, “is that the bike
flies.”

“It flies?!” said Marcus in disbelief, amazement shining in his innocent young face. “No way! I want one!”

Marlene and Emily sighed heavily, exchanging looks of deepest disgust.

Men. They were all the same.


***

Marlene collapsed against the garage door, jerking it aside. More blood dripped down her fingers as the sharp metal edges of the door cut into her hands, but she couldn’t care less.

The house was trashed, but she’d expected that. After all, the Death Eaters had been here, and destruction was in their very natures. She could only hope that they’d left the garage intact. Surely they wouldn’t have bothered to break in – surely not –

A strangled cry escaped from her throat as she saw the scene that awaited her. Tools were scattered over the floor, dark stains were splashed across the walls (was that blood or petrol?), and the ceiling was smashed in – but worst of all, the bright red motorcycle was lying twisted and beaten on the ground, the tyres ripped off and the metalwork dull and scratched. Jack’s pride and joy, mangled beyond repair. Her last burning hope, torn to shreds.

She’d have to go by Floo.

****

“You’re WHAT?!” yelled her father, turning purple in the face.

“I’m getting married,” repeated Marlene calmly, clasping Carson’s hand tightly in her own. She smiled determinedly up at him, a hard look in her sparkling hazel eyes. He smiled nervously back, still looking rather intimidated by her father’s violent reaction.

“But you can’t!” spluttered her father.”You’re only twenty one!”

Marlene raised an eyebrow at him. “You married Mum when you were nineteen,” she pointed out. Her father’s face darkened.

“Oh, honestly, Graham,” scolded her mother, looking exasperated. “Don’t be such a drama queen. I’m sure it will all turn out perfectly fine –”


****

Everything was far from fine.

Sure, she’d done some stupid things in the past – like letting slip to Jack that she secretly wanted to be an apprentice Healer at St Mungo’s (he’d laughed at her for weeks about that) – but never anything as dumb as this! Using the Floo network when she had Death Eaters on her tail? She’d be lucky if she survived five minutes. She’d be lucky if survived five seconds.

They’d be able to track it, of course, but hopefully she’d be able to get there before them. The only problem would be getting out again. They should be able to escape in time if they got past the anti-Apparition wards quickly enough – assuming that the wards were still up, of course. If the wards had fallen, then both she and him were doomed.

Than again, they were probably doomed anyway.

****

“Where are we going?” whined Marlene, half-annoyed, half-giggling as she was dragged up to the attic of the house.

“You’ll see,” laughed Carson, tugging her along. She followed reluctantly, wondering what he was playing at.

“Look,” whispered the tall blonde, pulling her through a door and drawing her aside.

Marlene gasped. “It’s… it’s beautiful,” she breathed.

“I know,” said Carson smugly. “That’s why I brought you.”

She whacked him on the arm distractedly, staring around her in wonder. “Shut up, you big idiot. Don’t spoil this.”

He smiled at her lovingly, watching as she ran her hands over the medical equipment, an awed look on her face. “How did you know?” she murmured.

“It’s your dream, isn’t it?” he asked, watching for her reaction. “To be a Healer. I thought you’d appreciate it.”

“Bruise balm… headache potion… hangover cure… charmed stretchers…Wolfsbane potion… antivenoms… essence of Murtlap… where did all of this
come from?!” Marlene exclaimed.

Carson looked pleased. “I’m glad you like it,” he said happily, wrapping an arm around her waist.

“You didn’t answer the question,” she observed. “This must have cost a fortune, Car.”

“Oh, a friend of a friend helped me out,” he said off-handedly. “Besides, that stunned look on your face makes it all worth it – you look like you’ve just been run over by a Hungarian Horntail.”

Marlene tried to be irritated with him, but couldn’t help but smile.


***

She very carefully avoided looking at the debris surrounding the fireplace. If she thought about the debris, she’d think about the violence that came with it, and then she’d never be able to stop herself from breaking down.

Unfortunately she couldn’t help but notice little details – like the fact that Jack’s favourite shirt was draped across the stairs, ripped into pieces and soaked with blood. Or the fact that the vase her mother had given to him as a housewarming gift was shattered across the floor, tiny pieces of heartbreak broken into vicious shards. Or the fact that the awful carpet in the living room had been entirely burnt away. Or the fact that this was Jack’s house, Jack’s house, and it was devastated beyond recognition.

She took a deep breath, and threw the pinch of glittering green powder into the flames. The fire sputtered momentarily and then shone bright emerald green.

Marlene shut her eyes, stepped into the fireplace, and yelled out the name of her destination.

*****

“Hey Mum, have you seen my keys?” asked Marlene, wandering into the kitchen. “I haven’t – Mum? What’s wrong?”

Her mother was slumped at the kitchen table, a black envelope with a Ministry seal clutched in one hand and a half-empty bottle of Firewhiskey in the other.

“Mum,” whispered Marlene, her voice cracking, “what happened? Who’s that note from?”

She knew the significance of the black Ministry envelopes, of course. Everyone did these days, what with the war and all – everyone knew someone or several someones who had been lost, or who had lost someone close to them.

Black Ministry envelopes were not a good sign.

The older woman ignored her, staring blankly into space with hollow eyes. Two glistening tears made their way down her cheeks.

“Mum, snap out of it,” Marlene said shakily, walking over and trying to see the letter for herself. “Tell me what the matter is. Tell me what’s wrong, dammit!”

Slowly, her mother looked up, meeting her daughter’s panicked gaze with dead and empty eyes. “Jack,” she said emotionlessly. “It’s Jack.”

Marlene’s legs crumpled beneath her, and she fell to the ground. “No, no,” she said. “No! No, it can’t be!” Her voice rose in pitch until she was nearly hysterical. “What’s wrong with him? Where is he? Was it Death Eaters?”

“He’s dead, Marly,” said her mother, in that same blank tone. “He’s dead.”

Dead.


Dead.

The word rang in her ears, obliterating all other sound. Dead. But it couldn’t be – not Jack – not her idiotic older brother – it couldn’t be –

The door banged open and Marlene jumped, only just realising that she was crying. She pulled her sleeve across her eyes, drying her tears, feeling strangely numb. This wasn’t happening. It was some sort of mistake – her mother had misunderstood – Jack was only twenty three, for God’s sake –

She turned to the door and saw Carson standing there, looking panicky and devastated all at once. But that couldn’t be right – Carson was at work –

Her fiancé gazed at her in sorrow, understanding and pity etched into his face. He took a tentative step towards her and reached out to hug her, looking deeply worried and concerned. “I’m – I’m so sorry Marly – I just… I just heard about it – there was too many of them, there was nothing the Aurors could do –”

Marlene jerked roughly away from his touch. She didn’t want his pity. After all, Jack wasn’t dead – it just wasn’t possible. He’d been teasing her about her new status as a Healer just yesterday. Besides, the Order wouldn’t have let this happen – Jack was a member too, after all –

“Marly?” came a quavering voice from upstairs. It was Marcus. Little Marcus, just eight years old, not even at Hogwarts yet – how could he understand what was wrong? How could he understand that Jack just couldn’t be dead? “Marly, what’s Carson doing here? I thought he was working today? Marly, what’s the matter?”

And that’s when she broke down.


***

She couldn’t afford to break down now, of course. Too much was at stake. Yes, she’d already lost almost everything, but not him. Never him. Not while Marlene was still breathing.

They would pay for what they’d done.

***

Marlene stared at the two men in black business robes, an uncomprehending look on her face. Why were they here? She’d never met anyone from this department of the Ministry before – why now? Dad would be home any minute, and she was supposed to have dinner ready so that he and her mum could go out later tonight. How long was this going to take?

The taller official gazed at her solemnly, an equally sombre look reflected on his colleague’s face. Marlene still didn’t get it. What was going on?

Ah. Now she understood. The uniforms were from that new Ministry department they’d set up – the one that dealt with letting people know about Death Eater attacks, because there had been complaints that the black letters were too impersonal. But that couldn’t be right – there’d been no attacks recently, so there was no reason for them to be at her house.

She remembered now – her neighbour Mr. Farrell worked in this department. They must have picked the wrong house.

“I’m sorry, but I think you’ve got the wrong address,” she said politely. “The McKinnons live here. You’re probably looking for the Farrells, they live next door –”

“Are you Marlene McKinnon?” asked the shorter Ministry official, the one with the large moustache. He looked rather like a Puffskein, she mused to herself. A Puffskein with orange fur.

“Yes,” she answered, frowning at him in confusion.

He bowed his head. “We regret to inform you that there has been a Death eater attack on Diagon Alley, just three hours ago…”

The words faded away, and Marlene’s eyes widened. She swayed dizzily, unable to believe it. Not again. This couldn’t be happening again…

“…during the battle, many lives were lost, and your parents were among the most seriously wounded…”

No, this was some sort of sick joke. They’d already lost one family member, they couldn’t lose more. It just wasn’t possible.

“…unfortunately passed away in St Mungo’s immediately after the attack…”

No.

No.


No.

Her eyes drifted over to the taller one, who was now wearing a sympathetic look that seemed entirely fake.

“We’re very sorry for your loss,” finished the short one, as if completing a rehearsed monologue.

“Right,” said Marlene numbly, as her insides shrivelled and her heart froze. “Thank you for coming here. Thank you… very much.”


***

It had only gone downhill from there. Attacks became more frequent, Death Eaters became bolder, people became deader. Friends. Enemies. Acquaintances. Strangers. People she’d seen once in her life and then never again. Her grandfather. Her aunt. Carson’s parents. Her best friend’s little sister. The Prewett twins. Dorcas Meadowes, who used to throw fantastic parties in her dorm at Hogwarts.

And then Emily McKinnon.

Marlene wasn’t even there when it happened. In fact, she wasn’t even there when the news went public. The Ministry was far too busy now to send representatives, or even letters. When Marlene’s twin died, she was on the opposite side of the country.

Somehow, that hurt more than if they’d died fighting side by side.

****

“Chin up, Marly,” said her grandmother determinedly, as Marlene stared off into the distance. “You’ve still got Marcus and Carol. They need their big sister to look after them – goodness knows the little brats have been through enough recently.”

“Yes,” agreed Marlene blankly. “More than enough.”

The old lady’s gaze softened, and she pulled Marlene into a warm hug. “Don’t give up hope,” she whispered into Marlene’s hair. “Never give up hope. They wouldn’t have wanted you to fade away after they left you.”

“No,” said Marlene hollowly. “No, they wouldn’t.”

She turned away, so that her grandmother wouldn’t see the traitorous tears that threatened to spill over her lashes. She’d promised herself that she wouldn’t cry any more. She was done with crying.

Crying didn’t solve anything.

****

Days, or maybe weeks later, another attack came.

And this time they couldn’t escape it.

“Do you hear that?” asked Marlene, a slight frown creasing her brow. Some sort of banging noise in the general vicinity of the front door. Maybe it was Kneazles?

“No,” said her grandmother bluntly.

Marlene smiled faintly, the first positive emotion she’d shown in months. “No, I could swear I heard something. When did Carson say he was coming over?”

“Not until tomorrow,” said the old lady, the merest hint of suspicion entering her expression. “You don’t think – the Unplottable Charm?”

Marlene shook her head.”But you’d need inside information – and the only people who know are Order members.”

The door rattled loudly. Marlene and her grandmother exchanged frightened glances, and simultaneously crept over to the window to see who was trying to break in.

Marlene’s blood ran cold.

“Death Eaters,” she said softly, as a shocked hiss of air escaped her grandma’s lips. “It’s Death Eaters!”

So. The charm had failed after all.

Her grandma turned and swiftly left the room, retrieving a small heavy bracelet from the jewellery box on the mantel. “Emergency Portkey,” she explained in a rushed whisper. “Already set to the destination. It should activate within a few seconds of saying the spell. Go see if the doors will hold – I’ll get the children.”

Marlene nodded silently and tiptoed downstairs, staying as quiet as possible. If she cast a strengthening spell the front door should hold for longer – long enough to get away, at least.

“Marly?” said Marcus, his little face pale in the dying light. It was getting late – the most vulnerable time for Death Eater attacks. “What’s the matter?”

“It’s okay, it’ll all be okay,” Marlene assured him, hoping desperately that she was telling the truth. “Some nasty people have come over. We just have to go to the Order Headquarters for a little bit, see? It’ll all be fine, just come along and touch this bracelet.”

The nine year old hesitantly came forward but stopped as another blasting spell rocked the house. “What’s going on?” he asked, his eyes wide and fearful. Their grandma began to descend the steps, little Carol snoozing lightly in her arms.

And then the back door burst open.

“Marcus!” yelled Marlene desperately. “Touch the Portkey! Grandma! Come on
, hurry!”

“Well, well, well,” came a taunting voice from behind the broken door. “If it isn’t a bunch of filthy little blood traitors, all holed up with nowhere to go…”

“Rivera,” spat Marlene, hatred suffusing her gaze.

This was the man who had killed her twin sister.

“Marly dearest,” said Rivera in a sugary voice, “can it be that you’re not pleased to see me? Why, I’m shocked.” Another Death Eater standing beside him sniggered as if it was the most intelligent thing anyone had ever said.

She’d thought the Aurors had caught him! He’d tortured her sister in front of seventeen of them – you’d think they’d have been able to get him while he was distracted! She hated to think of anyone as truly evil, but this man was worse than Voldemort. Andreas Rivera was a sadist who loved to see his victims in pain – in school he would bully the younger students just because he could get away with it, and he was never caught. Just like now.

He was tall, and handsome; this man who’d taken everything from her. He had curly black hair, and dark eyes; he was tall and well-mannered… but he had a sort of sallow look to his face, and his mouth had a cruel twist to it. She hated him more than anything. More than anyone.

“Get away from my family, you *****!” snarled Marlene, fear tainting her vision and making her dizzy. Things were getting hazy; all she could see was that her grandmother and her little siblings were far too far away.

“Travers,” said Rivera silkily to the Death Eater beside him, “this one’s
mine.

Marlene’s gaze locked with her grandmother’s, and she saw something terrible.

Determination.

Her grandma lifted her wand, and yelled the incantation to unlock the time delay on the emergency Portkey. Rivera’s face twisted in fury, sensing that he was about to be denied of his prize kill. Baby Carol woke up with a start and began to wail loudly.

Rivera’s eyes narrowed, and he pointed his wand at the old lady.

“NO!” screamed Marlene desperately, as the Portkey tugged her away and bright green light filled her vision.

She landed in the forest near Jack’s abandoned house, hitting the hard ground and curling up into a ball, harsh sobs grating through her throat and ripping her chest apart from the inside. All of them. All of them were dead now. She and Carson were the only ones left.

She’d wondered, sometimes, why she kept surviving while everyone around her was killed. Sometimes she blamed herself. Most of the time she blamed Voldemort.

They’d be coming for her soon. It was only an emergency Portkey, they didn’t have as much power. And they were traceable. For some reason her family was being targeted, probably because of their notorious pro-Muggle leanings and connections with the Order of the Phoenix, and now Carson was in danger. The Death Eaters would find her, and then they’d find Carson, and then they’d kill them both. Her because she was a blood traitor and because Rivera would find it amusing, and Carson because he was a Muggleborn.



No.

Not Carson. Not him, never him. Marlene wouldn’t allow it. She’d stop them first.

They’d kill him
over her dead body.

She slowly rose to her feet and staggered forwards, in the direction of Jack’s house. It was only a mile or two away, she recognised this section of the forest. She could find his flying motorbike and use it to get to Carson’s house, which was only another twenty or so miles further on. They wouldn’t be able to track the bike, and it was fitted with a Stealth Charm. She’d get there before the Death Eaters. She had to.

And then they’d be sorry.


****

Marlene fell out of the fireplace, wheezing and panting. She’d always hated travelling by Floo – the ash always seemed to find its way into her lungs, and she was sure that it was bad for her. Carson thought it was funny.

She stepped into the living room, looking around frantically for signs that she was too late. The house wasn’t damaged, which probably meant that Death Eaters hadn’t yet visited. Still, it was better to be safe than sorry. If she underestimated the opponent, she’d wind up dead – and worse, so would Carson. She couldn’t let that happen.

The house was strangely quiet. Carson was a heavy sleeper, sure, but shouldn’t her undignified entrance through the fireplace have woken him by now?

A nagging feeling of doubt wormed its way into her heart, but she suppressed it quickly and shook her head as if to dispel unwanted thoughts. Carson was fine. He was just snoring too loudly to hear anything else.

And yet… something was off.

It took a few moments for it to register, but when she noticed her heart almost stopped.

The photo on the wall was broken…

Carson had been so happy when she’d accepted his proposal. He’d been taking snaps of her every movement, until it became insanely annoying and she’d stolen the camera and hid it in the backyard pond. But one photo had stood out – one of Marlene and Carson, sitting on a Muggle swing and grinning at each other with lovesick expressions. Her mother had framed it and hung it on the wall in Carson’s house, and he’d been as proud of it as Jack was of his motorbike.

And now the photo was lopsided and hanging half off the wall, and the glass was smashed. Carson never would have left it like that; he would have fixed it with a charm within seconds of breaking it. Something was definitely wrong.

It was at that exact moment that Marlene noticed the trail of blood leading into the kitchen.

For one terrifying moment she stopped breathing, and the world spun dizzily around her. The house wasn’t trashed, and there was no Dark Mark hovering over the street – she’d have seen it even from Jack’s house, twenty miles away. Which could only mean one thing.

The Death Eaters were still here.

But maybe – maybe she was jumping to conclusions? Maybe it wasn’t Death Eaters at all – there was probably a perfectly reasonable explanation –

No. That was wishful thinking. But she’d hoped, she really had hoped that Carson could escape the curse on her family…

Heart in her throat, she stepped lightly towards the kitchen, following the drops of bright red blood shining against the bone-white tiles. A low gasp reached her ears and she slowed, grasping her wand tightly in her fist and casting a quick Disillusionment Charm on herself.

A cry of pain came next, followed by a quiet whimper.

A sick feeling flooded her stomach. They were torturing him! She’d come too late…

Marlene cautiously nudged the door open a fraction, making sure to keep her wand at the ready. At the moment, all she had to her advantage was the element of surprise – they probably outnumbered her, and they had Carson in a position of vulnerability. It was a blessing that she’d managed to arrive at the house undetected – the wards she and Carson had put up must have worked in her favour, since the Death Eaters didn’t seem to realise that she was there.

Tactical manoeuvres and possible escape routes whirled through her head, but as every second ticked by her sense of foreboding increased. She was beginning to doubt that she or Carson would live past this night.

A sickening crack was heard, and dark laughter echoed through the house.

Marlene was having physical difficulty in stopping herself from storming in there and cursing that evil Death Eater’s legs off, followed by his arms, ears, nose and all other extremities that could be detached with a wand. The only thing preventing her from doing just that was the knowledge that rash action would get Carson killed. Her Healer training had involved the standard self-defence course, and she was an Order member – she knew what not to do.

She peered around the edge of the door, careful not to make any sounds that would alert the Death Eaters to her presence. What she saw made her suck in a sharp intake of breath.

Carson was lying on the floor, beaten and broken, surrounded by no less than seven Death Eaters. The kitchen was splattered with blood – so much blood – did Carson even have that much blood in his body?!

Marlene’s stomach rebelled, and she had to fight down the urge to vomit – this was the man she was going to marry, lying there on the floor –

To put it simply…this was very, very bad.

And, a second later, it became even worse.

“Petrificus Totalus!”

Marlene stiffened and threw herself away from the door, hitting the wall with a thud and cursing loudly. The spell missed her by inches; a throaty laugh sounded from the corridor. Marlene cursed under her breath. This had been a terrible mistake – so caught up with the thought of saving Carson, she’d lost all thought for her own safety – how could she have been so stupid as to think they wouldn’t have sentries watching out for her?! This had to have been the first place they’d expect her to go! She should have – used the Floo to the nearest Auror office, or something –

And now she was dead.

A man in long Death Eater robes stepped forward from behind her and grabbed Marlene’s wrist, pulling her roughly into the kitchen and throwing her to the ground. She glanced up, and the blood in her veins turned to ice.

Four Death Eaters were assembled in the broken and ruined kitchen, lounging against the wall and relaxing in chairs as if they were attending the theatre. One was standing over – over –

Carson.

He was conscious, but only barely – a dark stain trickled from the corner of his mouth as he coughed weakly, raising his eyes to meet her horrified stare. His beautiful hair was wet with blood and she could only imagine the extent of the injuries that were concealed by his leather coat. His eyes fluttered open, and she saw that his pupils were heavily dilated, and his brown eyes were wild – he’d been under the Cruciatus.

She would kill the men who did this to him.

“We’ll get out of this,” she promised him softly, crawling across the blood-soaked floor so she could be that much closer to him. She was trying desperately to ignore the sniggering Death Eaters standing two feet away, but the disgust rose in her like a tidal wave – how dare they stand there and laugh at Carson’s pain?! “We’ll get out of it, I promise – we’ll live through this–”

“Marly,” he whispered brokenly, “they went after your grandmother and – and the kids. They – they said –”

“Shh,” she sobbed, “I already know, it’s okay. It’s alright, don’t worry about it, Carson, just – just don’t worry about it.”

“Run,” he said suddenly, passionately, his voice as hoarse as if he’d been swallowing sandpaper. “Get out while you still can, they haven’t cast the Binding Charms on you yet and the Apparition wards are down – Marly, get out while you still can, leave me behind, you have to live –”

“Shut up,” spat one of the Death Eaters, stalking over and delivering a vicious kick to Carson’s prone body. The blonde man didn’t even react to the violence; just closed his eyes wearily and reached out for Marlene, holding her slender fingers tightly in his warm hand.

“Well, well, Marly,” said the Death Eater, smiling wickedly, “I knew you were stupid, but I didn’t think you were this stupid. Honestly, if you had just left him to die, then you may have lived… is this your precious Gryffindor bravery?”

She snarled at him wordlessly, recognising the harsh tones of Andreas Rivera. The *****. He’d probably Apparated straight here. He’d known all along what she would do…

He laughed then, a strange sound in the chill of the moonlit cottage.

“You can’t win,” she said flatly.

Rivera stopped laughing, and looked at her in confusion; a slightly condescending look entered his expression. “But Marly dear, I’ve already won,” he informed her lightly.

“You can’t win,” she repeated slowly, ignoring him entirely, “because for you to win, I have to lose. And the Light side will never lose, Rivera, not while we have the world on our side, not while we have – not while we have Albus Dumbledore and, and Alastor Moody and James Potter! You’ll never get it, will you? You just can’t win. You never beat me in school, Rivera, and you won’t beat me now, not when –”

He slapped her across the mouth, effectively shutting her up.

She spat in his face.

Anger suffused his gaze then, but then melted away, to be replaced by something akin to amusement. He snickered at her and straightened up, twirling his wand in his hands before pointing it at Carson and muttering something under his breath. Acid green light emanated from the wand-tip and hit her fiancé; he stopped breathing instantly and his eyes took on a glassy, surprised quality.

Marlene screamed in shock and fell forwards, cradling Carson in her arms. Her mind was oddly blank, but at the same time filled with chaotic, whirling emotion – this couldn’t be happening, it was impossible, it couldn’t be happening

“No – no, Carson, baby, wake up,” she cried, rocking him back and forth. “Wake up, I love you! We’re getting married, remember, you have to wake up – I promised you I’d marry you, wake up – wake up, wake up, Carson wake up, I love you, wake up, wake up, you have to wake up…”

“This is taking too long,” came the bored tones of one of the Death Eater minions. “Just kill her already – not that it isn’t amusing to watch her weeping over the Mudblood and all, but we have a schedule to keep.”

Marlene finally tore her eyes away from the still form of her fiancé, and stared uncomprehendingly up at the cloaked figures, complete loss of hope in her expression. The words slipped out before she even realised she was speaking.

Why?”

Rivera leered down at her. “Why? Because I enjoy it, Marly, and because filth like you don’t deserve any better.” Again he laughed cruelly, enjoying the broken look in her eyes. She was perversely reminded of a comic-book villain standing over the damsel in distress, just waiting for the hero to come and save the day – but no, the hero was dead, and this was real, and painful, and no one was going to live happily ever after.

A single tear slipped down her face.

“So how about it, Marly?” smirked Rivera. “You going to do what your lover said? Run away like the cowardly little blood traitor you are?”

No. No more running.

No Carson, no Emily, no responsibilities – nothing left to live for. No point.

Nothing except… revenge.

Marlene’s expression hardened. If she was going to die, then by God, she was going to take Carson’s murderers with her. Or at least she’d do her best, and die trying.

Her gaze flicked towards Rivera, and then to the wand in his hand. So arrogant, so sure of his superiority, he hadn’t even bothered to tie her up like Carson… In a flash she snapped upwards and snatched it away from him; a blindingly green flash later and he was dead. The ice cold water trickling through her veins was replaced with blazing fire, and only one thought occupied her mind.

Revenge.

Revenge for Carson, for Marcus, for Carol; for her feisty old grandmother and her doting parents; and for her twin, the other half of her soul. Revenge for the Downe family, for the Prewett twins, for Dorcas Meadowes and for all those nameless Muggles who’d been killed without a thought.

It was funny, really; she reflected as sickly green light lit the cottage once again, how easily a life could be snuffed out, a soul snatched away. She’d never cast it before in her life, but… What was it they said about the Killing Curse? You had to mean it.

Within a matter of minutes, the only sound in the cottage was her own harsh breathing. She was a killer now, but she couldn’t find the strength within her to care.

All that mattered was Carson.

She knelt beside his body once again, pressing a gentle kiss to his cold lips and stroking his cheek. He could have been sleeping, if it weren’t for his unnatural stillness. He would never breathe again, never laugh at her odd jokes, never play with baby Carol, never catch her after work and treat her with a surprise dinner at a fancy restaurant. And there was no one to remember him.

No Carson. No family. No one left to live for. She wasn’t going to be the sole survivor again, not for anything. It was a shame, really, that she wouldn’t get to see the end of the war – but her part was done. She’d taken her revenge, there was nothing left for her here. It was wrong, what she was about to do – hugely wrong – but she couldn’t find the strength to live on. Maybe, when they found the bodies, they’d bury her with Carson.

For the sixth and last time, aiming the wand at her heart, she whispered lovingly –

Avada Kedavra.”

Chapter 8: Barty Crouch Jr
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Barty Crouch Jr by Slytherin_Girl_24
Beta'd by Burke

**

Barty came round what he thought was shortly after the others had left him, but he could not be sure. He was now tied up and placed under guard. Still a little groggy from the stunning, he shook his head. It helped a little and his thoughts became slightly clearer. He tried again, though he didn’t know why he bothered. He would rather die than go back to Azkaban, no doubt that was where he was going to be sent, and he didn’t really fancy having a clear mind there. He would find a way to jump out the window right now if it weren’t for the fact that Minerva would never let him. Besides he had full confidence that his master would rescue him. Now that the Dark Lord was back in power, he would be favoured above everyone. There was no way his master would allow his most faithful servant to remain in Azkaban!

A smile stretched over his face at the thought of his master. How grateful he was that he was back! Now finally things could go back to how they were before the damn Potter boy came along.


***

The boy sat at the kitchen table still in his pyjamas. He appeared to be deep in thought staring into his breakfast bowl, but he was actually straining his ears to listen to the fight coming from his parent’s bedroom right above him.

“He is a 16 year old boy!” His mother said, exasperated. “You seem to expect him to behave like he’s 30!”

“I know how old my son is!” His father thundered. “These immature acts that do not show his age is what I have a problem with! I was not turning my father’s hair blue when I was 16!”

The boy sighed. Of course he wasn’t. His father had an apprenticeship at the ministry secured when he was 16. His father was supporting his family when he was 16. According to his father standards, the boy was a failure.

He could still hear the shouting and thumping upstairs when someone knocked on the door and walked in uninvited. The boy spun around to confront the visitor and their lack of manners, but stopped short when he saw who it was. The Minister. Wonderful.

“Hello Barty,” he said gravely. “Is your father around?”

Barty Crouch Jr. scowled. How the minister knew his name he had no idea. Barty sure didn’t know his. Hiding his displeasure at their unexpected visitor, he pointed upstairs with a raised eyebrow.

The Minister, noting the noise, made a sound somewhat close to ah. He walked up to the stairs and called, “Barty! I really must speak to you, if you could please give me a moment.”

Barty could hear his father’s footsteps pounding down the stairs and a second later he appeared. Barty couldn’t help but let out a snigger at his father’s half repaired hair color, earning a scorching glare from the blue haired man.

The two men disappeared into the living room and shut the door. Barty could hear their murmurs for a minute or so followed by two loud cracks upon which he visibly relaxed. Abandoning his half eaten porridge, he raced up the stairs and quickly changed into his casual robes.

Sticking his head in his parents’ bedroom, he saw his mother still in bed. “Father’s left for work,” he told her. When she nodded he continued. “I’m going over to the park. A couple of my friends are meeting there for a game of Quiditch. “

His mother frowned. “Okay,” she said slowly, “just be careful please. There has been too much bad stuff going on for me to be comfortable with you going anywhere alone.”

Barty sighed. “I’ll be fine mother. Don’t worry.”

She looked sharply at him. “Oh, very well,” she said quietly, “go ahead.”

He grinned and darted outside. The brisk morning air whipped across his face and he smiled exuberantly. Now, what he had been waiting for all summer…

He set off quickly down the street in the opposite direction of the park. Whipping into the first alley, he checked for onlookers and turned on the spot with a loud crack.

When he arrived at the desolate, dusty coffee shop, Bellatrix was waiting for him. The 18 year old smirked at him. “That apparation’s useful, isn’t it?” she asked.

He smirked back. “Very. And I owe it all to a very royal someone sitting in front of me.” He gave her a mocking grin and bowed comically.

She burst out into that throaty laugh that he believed very few people had heard. Smiling, genuinely this time, he dropped into a seat across from the still laughing woman. He ordered two coffees from the waitress and sat back. Bellatrix, once calmed down, was the first to speak.

“So,” she said quietly, “I suppose you really mean it. You really do want to join, don’t you?”

Barty raised an eyebrow at her, “Bella, really! How long have you known me? It’s going on the seventh year! How long have I been talking about joining?”

“A while,” she muttered, but then grinned. “Wonderful!” She whooped. “This will be so much fun! But we have just a couple little problems. The first, I really must make sure that you’re not just doing this to rebel against your father. You aren’t, are you? Because if you are you won’t last long, alive that is.”

“Yeah right!” Barty snorted. “If I wanted to rebel all I would have to do is mention you. I would be locked in my room for a week by my father.”

Bellatrix chuckled. “Very well, but that brings us to the second problem. Your father. The Dark Lord needs to be able to trust that his followers will not be caught. Living in the house of one of the-I hate to admit it-best dark wizard catchers does raise the chance of that.”

Barty was thoughtful, “Well,” he said, “I think this situation is more of a benefit than it is a risk. My father pays no attention to me. He assumes I spend my entire day inside studying for my N.E.W.T.s already. However, any time there is anything important that happens at the ministry, at least things involving my father, the Minister himself comes over to tell Father what happened. They go into the living room to talk and then apparate to the ministry. It would be so easy to spy on them.”

Bellatrix considered that for a moment. Seeming to come to some conclusion, she looked at him. “Very well, I think we’re set here. Come by E132 Country Lane, London next week Thursday at 8:00am. The Dark Lord will make his judgment then.”

Barty grin faltered at the realization that it was still possible he wouldn’t get in. But, it was quickly back again as he decided that he wasn’t going to let himself be kicked out. He would become a Death Eater if it was the last thing he did.

***

Barty walked quickly down the lane. He had to take the floo network since he had never seen the place before and he was just a bit annoyed with how long it took to make the walk from his friend’s house to this distant place. He didn’t really expect that the Dark Lord would appreciate him showing up in the fireplace of his headquarters, if that was really what it was. When Bella had told him to come here, he had expected some location in the heart of London, not this godforsaken place in the middle of the country. He didn’t even know why it had a London address.

He stopped short in front of neat little house with a whitewashed fence around it and he snorted. Whoever had built the place had no taste at all; or they were American. This was E132; this was the place he was supposed to be.
He silently opened the gate and walked up the path leading to the front door. The door was cracked open and he could hear faint voices coming from inside the house. He pushed open the door and walked into the bright white hallway. He noticed that all doors in the hall were open except for one. This was where the voices were coming from. Barty’s heartbeat sped up as he slowly walked down the hall. He tapped on the door and the speaking stopped.

After a moment he heard Bella’s voice ring out. “That will be him,” she said.

The door opened and he walked into the kitchen of the house to find three Death Eaters, Bella, and what he guessed to be two brothers probably near Bella’s age. They were all looking at him and after a moment one of the young men spoke.

“A Crouch?” He spat, “you brought a Crouch here?”

Bella just chuckled. “Rodolphus, relax! He isn’t the typical Crouch. He could be a good spy for us!”

Rodolphus just scowled. The man next to him glared at Barty.“He was put up to this by his father!”

At that comment Barty felt a terrifying anger well up in him and he drew his wand on the man.
“My. Father. Did. Not. Put. Me. Up. To. This,” he snarled at the man. Bella grinned.

“What did I tell you!” she said, “He is clearly a different person!”

“We’ll see about that!” Rodolphus said menacingly.

Bella ignored him and turned to Barty and he slowly lowered his wand. “We are waiting here for a blood traitor family. They spent the night in London with some relatives and should be home soon.”

Barty nodded and the room grew quiet.


It felt like forever that they waited, but before long they heard two voices coming from the hallway.

“Would you like a cup of coffee dear?” a woman asked.

Her companion must have nodded because they soon heard her footsteps moving toward the kitchen. When the doorknob turned Barty was sitting on the counter with Bella standing next to him. The two others were sitting at the table, facing the door. As the door was pushed open and a middle aged woman walked in, Barty jumped down. As she looked around the room her eyes went wide and her mouth opened, letting out a piercing scream. A moment later a man Barty assumed to be her husband appeared behind her. Barty glanced sideways at Bella and saw a smile growing on her lips and he felt her elation himself. These two would finally get what they deserved.

Bella sauntered forward, still smiling. “You do realize that the Dark Lord has declared the death penalty for anyone aiding mudbloods, correct?” The couple’s faces grew stony as Bella advanced. She continued, “Now, if you are good and decide to join us we may just let you go with little permanent damage, but should you refuse, we may just have to drag this out, and maybe we’ll kill you.” She walked behind them and closed the door.

“We will never join such an evil movement,” the woman spoke with conviction, but it only made Bella and the rest of the Death Eaters smile more.

“Oh, good!” Rodolphus sneered, “we were hoping you would say that!” He motioned to Barty. “You can start.”

Barty stepped forward and both pairs of frightened eyes turned to him. Once again his heart sped up as he grew nervous. He knew that if he failed this he would never join the Death Eaters and most likely would never leave the room. It was a chance he was willing to take. It was what he had dreamed of for years.
Barty motioned to the woman. “You first,” he hissed. The man’s face collapsed as he desperately tried to grab his wife’s hand, but Bella was faster. She had her wand out and the man pinned to the door faster than he could move.

“It really is too bad that you left your wands here while you were gone. Too bad for you anyway, it was quite the stroke of luck for us,” Bella mocked them.

The woman took a bold step forward and looked Barty directly in the eye. “How old are you?” she asked him in a quiet voice, “no more than seventeen I’m sure. You have so much life left to live. Why give it up so quickly? You could do so much good with your life instead of wasting it serving these evil things.”

The room was silent as everybody waited for Barty’s response. “Evil is helping those that belong to us as slaves. Evil is to bring power to muggles when the world so rightly belongs to wizards. Evil is someone like you,” Barty said quietly, but with a conviction that he felt deep to his bones. He held onto that feeling and raised his wand. He knew he had to really want to hurt this woman to do the spell, and he did. He wanted her to pay for everything she had done to stop the right way of the world.

“Crucio,” he hissed and her scream filled the air.

***

There was a pounding on the door and Barty heard a man’s voice call in. “Minerva!” it called, “Come out here.”

She pursued her lips and looked down at Barty.

“I’m not going anywhere,” he drawled, nodding to his bindings. She opened the door a crack and stepped out. She started speaking to the man outside the door. Barty assumed it was the Minister, but he really didn’t care. There was nothing he could do there anymore; Dumbledore had found out about all there really was to know. Cornelius probably didn’t believe Dumbledore though.

The door burst open and the minister stepped in followed by a dementor, and Barty smiled. Now his master would have his return as he had planned; a violent surprise for the rest of the world. As the dementor swooped down Barty took his last breath and whispered the words he had held so dear to his heart for so many years.

“My master has returned.”

Chapter 9: Ted Tonks
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Blanketed Dreams by JacksonRobles

Ted smiled, grinning down at Dean. “So then what happened?”

Dean shrugged, casting out his line again. “She left me. It never really worked out to begin with, you know? I mean, we had fun sometimes, but really, we weren’t meant for each other.”

“You believe that?” Ted raised an eyebrow. “You believe you two weren’t meant for each other?”

Dean simply shrugged, gazing pointedly out to the creek. “I don’t know. She didn’t want me—and we really didn’t work. No,” he added suddenly, flicking his wrist and making the line jump, “we didn’t work out.”

Ted stood. “If you say so, I’ll let it go,” Ted made to put at hand on Dean’s shoulder but thought against it. He left the boy and Gornuk to the fish, walking loftily toward a small knoll Dirk had turned to a bedroom. The tall grass waved brightly in the dusk light, the wind pushing it softly as it rippled. They were on the edge of a forest, the warm air reassuring them all.

“We should really set out soon,” Dirk whispered, his eyes shut. “We don’t want to wait in one place too long.”

“I know that,” Ted replied heavily. “But let the boy fish some, will you? He’s getting close to catching something, I just know he is . . .”

Dirk let out a short laugh. “Are you kidding? Tonks! That boy wouldn’t be able to catch a fish if it jumped in his lap. Why do you encourage him?”

Ted shook his head slowly, still stunned at Dirk’s methods. “Why? Dirk? Why do I encourage him? I wonder. That boy is seventeen years old, running for his life day in and day out. He shouldn’t have to be going through this, not at his age. He needs something to take his mind off things. Hell, he just needs something, you know?”

Dirk took the opportunity to turn over, his arms hugging his body. “Whatever, do what you will. He could just as well catch the things with a spell. That stupid hook and line is a waste of time.”

Ted smiled.

“He’s right you know.”

“Wha—Gornuk! Why don’t you sneak up on me!” Ted had a hand to his heart.

“Sorry,” he didn’t sound sorry.

“Yeah, you’re very sorry, I know all about it.” Ted sighed.

“We should move on soon—Gornuk and that boy aren’t going to catch anything, they never catch anything.”

“Doesn’t matter, Gorny, who cares if they catch anything? There’s just something about fishing that calms you down. Turns things innocent, you know?” Ted smiled ruefully, his eyes on the water below.

“N0—I don’t care.” Gornuk stalked away, his eyes on the swaying grass beneath him.

Ted returned to his thoughts, his mind vaguely elsewhere. Andromeda—Nymphadora? He tried not to think about them. He needed to keep his mind in the moment, in the moment he was living, and he couldn’t hope to do that if his mind was always on his son and wife. He sat down, Dirk grumbling something incoherent next to him. He had to keep them alive. He had to keep alive. His wife—and, though he wouldn’t like to admit it, his son—were counting on him to survive.

And, if he were honest with himself, well, he wanted to stay alive for a selfish reason; seeing her face one more time. The woman he loved since the day he laid eyes on her. She was his everything. He sighed. Those thoughts did him no good now. He looked around the clearing, knowing it was pointless; if anyone was going to come they certainly wouldn’t sneak up on them.

“I liked fishing.”

Ted smiled. “So did I.”

“But once you’re allowed magic to fish . . . I stopped. My dad . . . he was too old—didn’t want to do anything. And, well, I haven’t had a son to take with me.”

“I was the same way. Fishing was always . . .”

Dirk turned over, a nostalgic smile gracing his face. “Yeah, I know.”

“CAUGHT SOMETHING!” came an elated cry a few feet away.

Dirk sat bolt upright, looking around. “What?”

“They caught something?” Ted stood, almost laughing.

“They did?” Dirk got to his own feet as well, looking curiously skeptical.

“We did! I don’t know what it is—a cod? But we have a fish!” Dean held the rod at arm’s length, shaking it happily as Griphook fought to get a hold of the grip. “It bit!” He was like a small child.

Situation aside, Ted felt as though his son had caught this fish. He was exuberant in his praise for the young boy. That’s what he was, really—just a boy—at least, that’s what he should have been.

“Hold still, boy!” Griphook growled as Dean’s shaking nearly let the fish free. It wasn’t a large fish by any means, but everyone understood that fact.

“That fish is miniscule,” Gornuk had returned, his frown happily in place.

Ted sighed inwardly, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. He rounded on Gornuk. He wasn’t going to take this from Dean. “If you say—”

“Who asked you anyway, yeah?” Dean curled his lips, looking defensive. “You can’t have any, how’s that?”

“I wouldn’t want any . . .” Gornuk stalked off sinisterly, his back arched and his pride intact.

Dean scowled at that same back, willing the walls to crumble; to no avail. Griphook shrugged, gripping the fish firmly and ripping it’s face from the hook. Dirk appeared at Ted’s side, his thoughts placid.

“S’small fish, innit?”

Ted visibly shrunk a few feet in defeat. Dean bristled. “You don’t have to have any, if it’s so small.”

Dirk turned, heading back toward his sleeping hole. “Wouldn’t want any of that little thing anyway . . .”

Dean’s happy air had been visibly blown away. He looked at the fish in Griphook’s hand with a small air of satisfaction, quickly dissipating. Ted longed to say something. He had to fix this—somehow—anyway, really.

“Don’t worry about them,” Griphook threw the fish into a small pan he had in his rucksack. “This fish looks plenty tender. I’d prefer it raw, but I know how you wizards are. I’ll have it ready in a few minutes,” with that, Griphook lumbered away, care in his hands.

Dean didn’t look convinced by any means, his hands shuffling aimlessly around, as though they wanted to do something but couldn’t understand how. “I know that fish isn’t anything,” he fell onto the bank, looking out at the small stream with glazed eyes. “But, you know, I caught the thing didn’t I? Without magic, without any help. I caught it. Me.”

Ted fell beside him, wondering whether it would be acceptable to place his arm around the boy. He decided against it. “Yeah, that’s just what I was thinking, actually. Who cares if it feeds us or not?”

Dean smiled. “I’m sorry your wand doesn’t work with the fish . . .”

Ted shook his head, waving the comment away effortlessly. “It’s all right. I don’t really like fish that much anyways . . .”

“Oh . . . you don’t?” Dean looked slightly crestfallen.

Ted wasn’t sure how to respond to that. He was about to speak when Dirk appeared near his shoulder, looking down with drowsy eyes. “Yes? Dirk?”

“Griphook’s making one hell of a ruckus over there with that pan trying to make a fire. He refuses to ask for help . . . I don’t understand him sometimes . . .” Dirk shrugged, taking a seat next to Ted.

Dean looked unhappy about this.

“Look kid, I didn’t mean it,” Dirk instantly began his two part apology. “And that fish wasn’t really that small . . .”

“I know that,” Dean replied quickly, sounding soundly disinterested. “You meant nothing by it, I guess?”

Dirk nodded quickly, plopping himself next to Ted, picking at the small tufts of grass poking through the creek bank. “So . . . when d’you think we should move on? Soon, yeah?” he was trying to speak to Ted, but the mumble came out as less than audible.

“You know, Dean, I think we should eat the fish and get to moving again. Somewhere up in Ashnashellach, maybe—been wanting to go back there ever since I camped there as a kid . . .”

“Sounds good to me,” Dean nodded thoughtfully. He had no idea where that was; Scotland, right?

“Great then! I’ll go see how Griphook’s coming with that fish . . .” Ted jumped to his feet, leaving Dean and Dirk alone for a few moments.

“Oh! I’ll help too, wait up!” Dean raced after the smell of fresh cod.

Dirk shrugged, looking wistfully out onto the riverbed. The water was completely see through. Fish of all shapes and sizes meandered lazily just beneath its surface. He pulled out his wand one last time, pointing it at a particularly attractive looking salmon. “Accio Dinner!” Dirk felt a wave of cold river water soak the edge of his legs as he disrupted the water. He stood, pocketing his useless wand. “Guess I deserved that. Very well—stay in there! I’m not really all that hungry anyway!” he spat at the fish, feeling quite confident with himself. His stomach began rumbling nearly instantly however, and he nearly started sobbing with melodramatic anguish.

Near the blazing fire, however, the rest of the group was having a much more pleasant time of it. “Now, understand,” Griphook began callously, “there isn’t much of this fish. I’d prefer it medium rare, if you don’t mind.”

Ted furrowed his brow. “Medium rare? Grippy—how do you cook a fish medium rare? I always thought that you cooked it until all the grey and red went away . . .”

“Humph. Like a wizard would know proper culinary technique . . .”

“Grippy, from the looks of things, you don’t even understand how to properly gut a fish—have you worked in that bank your whole life? Ever gone camping?” Ted took the pan tentatively from Griphook’s bony fingers, pulling his wand out to repair the damage.

“Why would a goblin go camping?” Gornuk had returned, his eyes as dismissive as ever.

“Where do you keep going?” Ted asked in minor annoyance, surprised at the pointy man’s return.

“You didn’t answer my question,” Gornuk repeated, taking an exhausting seat on the log next to Dean, who looked exasperated at the company.

“It’s not like I know the answer to it—I just as assumed you were being rhetorical.”

“I was.”

Ted nearly slipped from his log, barely catching himself on the grass as the pan sailed into Dean’s lap. “I’ll never understand goblins,” he muttered, apologizing for burning Dean. “I take it you’re back for the food? Or is that where you keep going, Ol’ Gurny?”

“I’m keeping watch, aren’t I?”

“Watch—for—what?” Ted looked pained as he removed the excess of the fish and threw it into the fire. “You think they’ll sneak up on us, Gorny? After last time, I don’t think they’ll make the same mistake.”

Dean smiled proudly. They had bested four Snatchers that day. The goblins ran for cover—but Dirk, Ted and Dean all dueled their hearts out, running and cursing. Two would have been taken to St. Mungo’s—Dean showed no mercy.

“I just think it’s smart to stay smart, don’t you?” Gornuk snapped back. “How long until the fish is ready?”

“So you’ll have some then? Wonderful—more for all of us . . .” he trailed off cynically as he put the pan over the tumbledown fire. They would eat better than they ever had before on their travels.

Quickly it became night, as the sun set slowly, casting yellow, orange then pink cascades over the clouded sky. Eventually gray took the dark blue sky into blackness, and stars overtook the clouds from their nesting place. The four companions were all talking quietly, Dirk occasionally throwing his thoughts into the conversation from the riverbank.

“I just think that—given proper training, Wood could lead the United to a championship,” Dean argued seriously, having fought tooth and nail Ted’s opinions.

“And I keep telling you—their Seeker has nothing going for him; he’s farthest from the spectrum of Krum—I don’t know what you’re thinking . . .”

“Are you kidding?” Dirk called lazily, his voice drowsy. “He’s saved the Chaser’s embarrassment, that’s for sure. Caught five Snitches out of seven games—that’s not bad.”

“But the injuries! He can’t keep crashing into the stands—he’s such a sporadic flier!” Ted couldn’t understand their point; that was the end of it.

“Are you three going to argue Quidditch all night?” Griphook glanced to Gornuk carefully, completely bored with the conversation. The fire illuminated their faces and not much else, the fish having been completely devoured hours ago. They were hungry, and as soon as the sun came up they knew they would have to move camp again.

“Well—why not? What else would we talk about? The different lengths of goblin noses? Or the current exchange rate of Galleons to Royals?”

Dean shared a laugh with Ted, but Dirk sounded oddly quiet. Ted noticed this, but didn’t think to act on it.

“Stupefy!” The spell hit Griphook square on the nose, flinging him backward over the log onto the soft grass and out of sight.

The three stood to see its caster, but the darkness showed nothing. A voice, however, made its palpability known not long after.

“Good to see you again—Teddy!” Fenrir crept into view as a green light shone in the distance, illuminating the river. “Oops—looks like Mr. Creswell resisted. You won’t resist, will you Teddy?” Fenrir smiled, showing sharpened teeth.

Two more snatchers appeared at his side.

“Last time you were able to get away—we won’t be so forgiving this time.” Fenrir’s smile looked horrifying. Ted nearly shook from fear.

Dean drew his wand, holding it in front of his chest like some kind of shield. Ted knew better. He put his hand to the wand. He couldn’t let this boy die. Then again, he couldn’t let the boy he taken hostage, either.

“And you won’t be escaping. You Disapparate—we’re coming with you. And we will kill you—either you come with us, or you die, like little Cressy, here,” Fenrir brandished to the small man’s corpse. Two more Snatchers were dragging him by his feet to the fire.

“What do you mean—you’re coming with us?”

“Won’t you find out? Try it—I dare you,” Fenrir’s eyes weren’t lying. Ted was petrified of those claws; he wouldn’t tempt them. Apparation wasn’t the answer. But it was dark. Perhaps, if the proper diversion could be manifested . . .

The fire was the obvious choice.

“So you’ll come quietly?”

Ted slowly took his wand out, smiling himself now. The two Snatchers looked to be idiots; just like Fenrir. Weak with a wand, they were broke and probably former blueblooded Purebloods. One had a handlebar mustache, while the other, slightly less cross-eyed, looked at both Gornuk and Dean at the same time.

Ted meticulously pointed his wand at the fire, purposefully covering it with his free hand. The moment was soon—he’d grab Dean’s hand and run. They’d escape. They just had to run.

However, something could go wrong. And it did. Gornuk was a fighter. But he was also a coward. He took off running as the Snatchers moved forward—both bolted after him and Fenrir bared his claws.

“Ha-ho-ho! Is that you? Is that you Teddy? Oh how I’ve missed you! It’s so good to see you again.”

While Gornuk’s escape caused a slight hiccup in Ted’s plans, it was Fenrir that was aiming for the kill—Gornuk had managed to get rid of four potential problems. Fenrir wasn’t an impossible obstacle—and there were two of them, after all.

“Fenrir—it’s so great to see you again! I trust you’ve not yet found yourself a suitable shaver?”

“Talk all you want Teddy!” His laughter was forced. “Let’s get this over with.” He leaned forward, ready to charge.

“Then come at me—see if you can finally catch me.” Ted held Dean carefully at arm’s length, his hand covering the wand that could cause problems. His own wand was pointed directly at Fenrir.

“I’ll tear you apart. Finally reap that seed I sowed all those years ago when I bit that boy. You’re his dad now, aren’t you? Heard about that—yeah, I have. Little Nympho and Remus—are you worried about your grandkids? Think they might be . . . monsters?”

“What are you talking about?” Ted was honestly curious, the line about Remus causing tangible damage to his will. That poor boy . . .

“Won’t it be amazing to discover that your first grandchild is poisoned—think what you want about Werewolves, but I promise we’re all forgotten souls.”

“I’ll never feel that way about my grandchildren. No matter what.”

“Say that again when you see him in his true form! You won’t accept him for what he is—you’ll always be praying for a cure every time you look at him—I just know it!” Fenrir began to shake with anger.

“Why would I wish such pain upon my son?”

Fenrir scoffed, having heard quite enough. Dismissing Ted with a wave of his hand, he instantly began forward, his wolf-like speed astounding Ted. He froze—unable to curse the fire. He could only look into his soon-to-be killer’s eyes. They were yellow. Yellow eyes. Yellow eyes were going to kill him. Yellow eyes were going to be the last thing he would ever see.

“CONFRINGO!” Dean had wrenched himself free from Ted’s grip and blew the pit into fiery splinters as Fenrir jumped over it. “Come on!” He gripped Ted’s hand and yanked him from the campsite, off into the high grass.

Ted could only allow Dean to pull him. His mind was frozen—those eyes. They were murderous eyes, without remorse—without worry. This was a man who had intention of eating them. Feasting on them like they had the fish. And not a single qualm? Not a worry? Not a subtle showing of regret or remorse? What was Fenrir? What kind of monster could he possibly be? Ted couldn’t understand.

“I think we’re clear . . .” Dean led them into tall bushes to hide, a great distance from the campsite. “We should be safe here . . . maybe we could keep going deeper in . . .”

Ted wasn’t listening. He didn’t care—he understood everything very clearly now. Fuck. He hadn’t swore in ten years. Fuck. He hadn’t had any reason to—fuck. They were going to die. Both of them. Like Dirk Creswell. A flash of light and nothing more. That’s all he ever amounted to—a flash of green light and a smile on Fenrir’s face. Intimidation. And what of Gornuk? Those bastards were probably torturing him into insanity, just for kicks. Because—while they were idiots—they were the most ruthless human beings imaginable. They were compensating for their lack of intellect, Ted figured.

“HEY! GUYS! WHERE’D YOU GO?” Fenrir sounded beyond angry, as his voice was filled with joy. Only with joy came the true anger. “WHERE THE FUCK DID YOU LITTLE SPITS GO? Think you can hide from me? I’ll fucking find you—fucking tear you to shreds, yeah, that sounds good. Because you can’t run from me. There’s nowhere to go—you know that, right? NOWHERE TO GO!” Fenrir’s voice moved around a small distance away—he was pacing in the field.

Ted began to panic, his breathing rising and falling. Death—he was going to die. Fenrir was going to feast upon his flesh. Tear him limb from limb—he was going to die. He couldn’t die—

“Mr. Tonks—Mr. Tonks!” Dean hissed, barely audible, tugging at Ted’s shirt. “Mr. Tonks! What should we do? What do we do?”

Ted didn’t answer him. Fuck. They were going to die.

“Maybe I should tell you about me, boys. While you wait in hiding for me to find you—would you like that? Want to know a little bit about your killer? Let me tell you about the many children I’ve turned. Like it’s my fucking job or something—I guess it is. Fourteen kids. Ten are still alive. Four I got carried away with. Fourteen mothers crying over their kid’s body. I remember Remus’s mummy! Fuck it was tantalizing. I wanted to bite her then and there. But, well, you can imagine the problems posed by that. But, I’ll be honest, I checked her house last night one more time, hoping she was hiding in the floorboards somewhere. The things I would have—well, you get the idea.” Fenrir’s voice was getting closer.

“I can’t wait to hear you scream. You can’t imagine the noises that you are going to make. The pain you are going to feel. Think wands do scary things? You’ve never, not in your wildest dreams, seen what I’ve done. I still remember the look on the face of that Auror when he saw what I did to that child. I’ve never been happier. But, I’ll be honest, I think tonight’s going to be a memorable night.” His voice was so close.

Ted’s mind, reverberating with these words over and over, finally began moving again. Death was quickly approaching, but if it would claim a victim tonight—he intended to be sure it would not get a hold of Dean. He would die—Ted. He’d had a pleasant a life as any. This boy wasn’t ready, though. Not to die.

“Stupefy!” He didn’t feel the need to apologize. Dean couldn’t help him now, and, as his limp body fell to the Earth, Ted took off in a dead run.

He could practically hear the smile form on Fenrir’s lips as he made chase. “And we begin!”

Ted took turn after turn, trying everything and anything he could think of to throw Fenrir off his trail—but those grunting breaths were getting closer and closer.

“I see you Teddy! I see you Teddy! I SEE YOU TEDDY! COME HERE TEDDY!” the voice was screeching in Ted’s ears—the claws ripped through his back. He cried out in terror and pain. Fenrir was atop him, happy. “GOT YA!”

Ted was instant. The wand at the monster’s throat—he blasted the werewolf into the far tree and tried to take off running again, but the pain, he could feel the blood trickle down his back. The pain was unreal, almost as though it wasn’t happening. He got a few paces away before his ragged breathing slowed.

He could hear Fenrir cursing. So many words in such a quick succession. Ted gripped his wand tightly. It was his last defense. He had to survive. Andromeda . . . Nymphadora . . .

“Oh that’s nice. I like that. I like it when they resist! It’s so much more fun!” Fenrir began walking slowly, purposefully, in Ted’s direction.

“What do you want with me? Why me?”

“Don’t ask such a stupid question.” Fenrir took each step a little faster than the last, watching Ted’s wand with great interest, a terrifying smile in place.

Ted continued backing up, one arm stretched out at Fenrir while the other groped around wilding behind—making sure he didn’t walk accidentally into a tree. He wasn’t watching where he was going, however.

Fenrir began to charge again, his lips flinging spit in every direction as Greyback could no longer hold in his lust. He dodged two red flashes of light and finally connected with that sweet flesh, tumbling down a small hill into a creek.

Thomas Thatcher—one of the younger Snatchers—lost his dinner all over a Scots Pine as he looked upon the remains of what Fenrir said was a human. Thomas couldn’t believe it, however. “Why’d you kill him?” Zev had asked. Fenrir nearly killed him; Thomas wasn’t so stupid, but he would have liked a larger reward than just one Muggleborn and a goblin. And Ted Tonks would have been a much better prize than Dean Thomas and Griphook the Goblin combined—but you take what you’re given—so they Disapparated without tally to the gates of the Malfoy Manor, hopefully in for a real treat.


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