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Valour by blackballet

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

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

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

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

Summary:
banner by me 








Life goes on

But so does death

 

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


Chapter 1: The Doubt in the Strength
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 A/N: Hello there! I know, I know, I've already got two novels! This has been the bane of my existence for too long, and I just need to get it down on paper. I am very excited about it, and I think it will be something very different from what I have written in the past. I hope you enjoy! 










(June, 1981)


Marlene McKinnon: Brunette and broken. 

Lily Evans: Lovely and living.  

Dorcas Meadowes: Hard and hopeless. 

Mary McDonald: Confused and cracked. 

Sirius Black: Uncouth and undone. 

James Potter: Leading and losing. 

Remus Lupin: Protective and predisposed.

Peter Pettigrew: Conflicted and choleric. 



(May, 1978)


Dumbledore gathered the eight students in his office. They were seven Gryffindors, one Ravenclaw, the headmaster, and the Transfiguration professor. It was the second to last week before term ended on their last year at Hogwarts, and it was, characteristically to May, bright and sunny out. The weather, however, was the opposite of the tone of the meeting.

"I'm sorry to have to pull you out of classes," the old man began. "However, I'm sure at the tender age of seventeen, I too would enjoy a free period in this heat." The students held worried gazes, as the Headmaster rarely called them all in if there was no trouble. As a matter of fact, all ten of them had never met in the same room together at once. Lily and James clasped hands nervously, waiting in anticipation. Everyone stayed quiet, even though it was apparent there was a frenzy of emotions going on behind closed mouths.

"I've spoken with a few of you before about an idea, another rather spectacular one of mine, if I do say so." The thin-lipped professor stood in the corner behind the Headmaster, her fingers fiddling, her emotions stirred as well.

"It's a difficult subject to broach, with children such as yourself," Professor McGonagall inserted.

"You don't have to say it aloud, Professor. We know what you mean." The Head Boy gripped the Head Girl's hand tighter, and she moved in closer to him. Mary, the Ravenclaw, was becoming increasingly confused.

"I'm sorry Mr. Potter," the headmaster answered the tall boy,"but we have to address this. Sooner rather than later, if I would have my preference." A shaky sigh came from the lips of the only Ravenclaw in the room. She was not comfortable with these people yet.

"I've brought you here to discuss the Order of the Phoenix." His revelation somehow created more tension, and it seemed as if everything in the world stopped talking, moving. "I want to form a group of people to oppose the dark times that are ahead of us."

"Wouldn't...wouldn't adults be more useful, in such an important position, Professor," Remus asked timidly.

"Professor Dumbledore has chosen the few he has for a reason," the Scottish woman interrupted very solemnly.

"I'm sorry, Headmaster," Mary said. "What is all of this?"

"We're preparing for something Miss McDonald. There is something, someone, very dangerous rising." Her pursed lips and furrowed brow stayed, but Dumbledore did not continue.

"The eight of you each possess something very special, and I would consider myself a fool if I did not extend an invitation."

The students looked around at each other again. James to Lily, Lily to Dorcas, Dorcas to Sirius, Sirius to Remus, Remus to Marlene, Marlene to Mary, and Mary to Peter.

"The Order of the Phoenix is an organization that continually aims to defeat those who are continually aiming to defeat the society we live in. I'd like to give you each until the end of your schooling here to think about this," the elder man said.

"Thank you, professor," the red-head said, finally speaking up. "We understand," she said, her conviction becoming stronger as the one with the spectacles rubbed the back of her hand.

"I'm sorry, but what's happening?" Mary asked again, clearly scared. The seven other friends exchanged glances again, rather pitifully. She really didn't know.

"Don't apologize, Miss McDonald. This is my fault I'm afraid. Can I trust that you will help Mary understand?" He looked at Remus, who was next to Mary, and he nodded yes, along with all the others who weren't addressed directly.

"I'm sorry to bring this upon all of you in your very last days, but it is necessary. And I apologize further for not being able to assist anymore than I am." Most of the student's gazes had been cast downwards, and eyebrows were bent.

"I'll let you get back to your classes now. Please, take into account everything you have learned in your time here," he said cryptically. Almost as if the students knew something more than he did. Something important.

They filed out as Dumbledore had clearly become focused on something else. It was a brief meeting. Short, fleeting. Like the time they had left together.







 

A/N: I realized that Mary McDonald is canonically in Gryffindor, but it is important to the story that she is in a different house! Sorry for any confusion. 

 


Chapter 2: The Beginning in the End
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 "I'm sorry, but what the hell is the Order of the Phoenix?" Mary asked, shaken up noticably more than the others. The students were seated in the Room of Requirement, choosing not to go back to classes after the interesting talk that they just had. 

"It's a group of people he wants to fight against Voldemort," Sirius said darkly, being the one most well versed in that particular subject. Sirius wrapped his arm around the blonde Gryffindor, Dorcas, and kissed her head protectively. 


 

"I got that," Mary said, a bit testily. "It's just, what are we supposed to do?" She looked around at the group of teens, who didn't know how to answer that. "We're just kids," she said sadly, her eyes scanning everyone in the group.


 

"Dumbledore used to be just a kid," said James, whose fingers were still laced with Lily, the red-head. 


 

"Yeah, but that's Dumbledore! I mean, we're just, so normal." 


 

"She's right," Peter said, a bit squeakily. "I mean, sure, you guys are all fine and dandy with a wand," he said, motioning to the others. "But what about me? I barely passed Herbology," he said, leaning his head in his palm.


 

"You'll be fine, Pete," Remus said, clapping him on the back. "Think about it. We've known each other for seven years. We know how to work together, and we really care about each other. Dumbledore chose us for a reason." Mary looked down again.

 

 


 

"But I don't," she said, looking up and glancing at Marlene quickly. "After everything that's happened," she trailed off, sneaking her eyes towards Sirius. "Why would he pick me?" 


 

"He must trust you," Marlene said after a small pause. "I know I do." 



"But how can you say that," Mary said exasperatedly. She stood up in frustration, leaving her wand where she was sitting previously. "I'm friends with Emmeline, and Samantha," she said, rattling off some names of Ravenclaws in their year. "You don't hear the name Mary associated with Lily and James." She sat back down, this time her tears falling from her eyes.  

"Do you remember Alice and Frank," Lily said, inching closer to Mary, leaving James reluctantly. Mary nodded yes, her head now faced down, her hair swinging in front of it. 


 

"They're part of the Order now, Mary. Them and three others from their year." She looked up at Lily in disbelief. These people were only a year older than her. They used to be just like her. 


 

"We can do it, Mary. Who else do you know that are more loyal than the eight of us?" Remus asked, helping Lily coax Mary into even thinking about joining. 


 

"I guess that's true," she said, a small smile reaching her face. "We should go though," she said, her voice returning to it's more serious note. "Classes, and all."


 




 

(June, 1978)


 

 


 

"And today, at the end of our years here at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I want to talk about a word." The crowd tittered a bit at that, but silenced soon again, thanks to Lily Evans' calm exterior. "I want to talk about the meaning of the word commencement. It doesn't come up too much, believe it or not, in all of the essays I've written in these past few years. It did, however, intrigue me from the moment I first heard it. I was at my sister Petunia's commencement ceremony, as they call it in muggle England." She swallowed deeply, as she heard some of the grumbles of disapproval that a muggle born had been chosen to make the class speech. 


 

"Commencement means a beginning. It seemed a bit silly when I first rushed home to search my dictionary to find the meaning. A beginning, I thought. But, they just graduated! They just finished their years in education." She cleared her throat, obviously a bit nervous.


 

"But, the more I thought about it, the more it rang true. We do leave here today, in boats, the same way we arrived. But we also begin a new life, with new opportunities. We get to meet new people, and experience new things. So, fellow classmates, if there's one thing you remember about Lily Evans, I want it to be that she taught you the word commencement. And I want you to know," she said, turning to the sea of parents, "that we are ready to commence. To begin," she said, finishing with a relieved smile. The clapping came fast and very loud, and one face could be spotted from her place at the podium. Well, from her perspective, it was the only one she could see. James Potter. 


 

"Thank you Miss Evans," Dumbledore said, coming up to the podium and shaking Lily's hand. She departed back to her seat in the first row, reserved for the Heads and Prefects. 


 

"And now, we shall commence," he said, pausing to allow a bit of laughter, "the ceremony of diplomas." Dumbledore was well through the A's before Lily started listening again. She was focused on the love of her life that happened to be sitting right next to her.


 

"James," she said excitedly. 


 

"Yes, love?" he asked, turning away from Dumbledore's eyes to meet hers. 

 

 


 

"We're almost done! It's almost over," she exclaimed. 


 

"Did I hear wrong, or did you not just make a speech how this was a beginning?" he asked, a smirk on his face and somehow in his voice. 


 

"Oh shush, James," she said good-naturedly. "You know what I meant," she said, punching his arm softly. 


 

"I do know," he said softly, pushing her hair behind her ear as they grew closer. "I love you Lily," he whispered, hesitating only for the reciprocation.


 

"I love you James," she said, not even saying James' name fully before his lips crashed onto hers.



 




 

(August 1978)


 

 

 

Two of the usual eight were missing that night. Peter had been with his mother, who had grown sick with cancer. She was not doing as well as Peter had hoped. Mary, however, had declined the invitation extended to her in May of that year. The rest were all laughing over some Firewhiskey. Finally laughing again, at least. 


 

"Hey Evans, is this the first time you've had alcohol?" Sirius asked mockingly, throwing his head back in laughter again. 


 

"Don't you mean, hey Potter?" Dorcas asked, laughing along with her boyfriend. Lily rolled her eyes, but leaned into James, only further proving their point. 


 

"We're not even married yet, Dorcas." 

 

 


 

"Married, engaged, what's the difference anymore Potter," Sirius said between spurts of laughter. Him and Dorcas were not of sound mind as of about half an hour earlier. 


 

"Oh shut up, you two. I've got a massive headache already," Marlene said, her and Remus in the same boat. 


 

"Don't be jealous, Marls," Dorcas said, hanging off of Sirius, and turning back to kiss him very sloppily. 


 

"No one in their right mind would be jealous of that, Doe," she said, taking another gulp of her drink, her eyes flicking around as Lily glanced at her skeptically. 


 

"No fighting tonight, everyone," James said smoothly, stroking Lily's hair in habit. "Otherwise Lily and I are going to go home right now and have sex." Everyone laughed at that, but Lily turned red automatically.


 

"Don't be so crude, James," she said, slapping his chest. "That definitely won't be happening now." Everyone cackled again, mostly at James who had finally submitted to Lily's fiery temper, and realized that most of her threats were relatively empty. 


 

"We should get going anyway," Remus reasoned, putting down his glass. "We've got to get up early and meet with the rest of them tomorrow." Everyone turned silent, and the laughter died down slowly, the smiles fading. They had forgotten the real reason that they had been together so much lately for a moment. Sirius and James took another gulp from their own glasses, and everyone began to get up.  


 

"I'll see you tomorrow, mate," Sirius said, slapping Remus on the back, and throwing down ten galleons for the Firewhiskey they had purchased. 

 

 

 

"Make sure you get home safe," Marlene said, straightening Dorcas' jacket and hugging her goodbye. 

 

 


 

"I'm going with Sirius to his uncle's house. We'll be safe," she said, smiling at Marlene again, who sighed at that. She kissed Lily on the cheek, and told her the same.


 

"Don't worry Marls. We are staying with his parents until they get Godric's Hollow settled, so we'll be safe. Will you be getting home alright?" 


 

"Remus said he'll walk me to my building. He's such a gentleman, isn't he?" she said, looking back to the three men who were talking seriously with each other in the corner. 


 

"Is there something going on there? Lily asked, eyeing Remus with a raised eyebrow. 


 

"Don't be silly, Lil," she said, glancing back at Remus for a second. "We're just friends." 


 

"Alright, whatever you say," Lily said with a hint of laughter in her voice. "See you tomorrow," she said to Marlene and Dorcas as James took her arm, and began to lead her out of the bar. 


 

"Let's go Dorcas," Sirius said, wrapping his arm around her and kissing Marlene on the cheek. Marlene touched her cheek, and said a distant goodbye in return to the happy couple, who were swaying in time to their own melody. 


 

"You ready to go," Remus asked, holding Marlene's elbow as she watched other two leave in high spirits. 


 

"Yes," she said, as if coming out of a sleep, still a bit hazy. He held the door, and she ducked under his arm to head outside. 


 

"So, Marlene, how have you been?" He took her hand, and they began walking down Hogsmeade's main road towards Marlene's flat. 


 

"I'm fine, Remus," she said tiredly. "Just a bit scared, if I'm being truthful." 


 

"I know. If we're being truthful, so am I," he responded with a laugh that was almost adolescent in tone. 



"You've been through so much, Remus," she said, looking up at the tired werewolf.

 


 

"How can you be scared?" 

 

 


 

"It's different than that, Marlene," he said, as they turned the corner to a side street and off the main road. "I've always known that I'd be okay in the morning. You know, once it's all over and I'm back to normal I'll be normal and it'll be a regular day again. But now..." he said, trailing off. 


 

"You don't know what's going to happen next," she finished for him. 


 

"Exactly," he said, a comfortable silence settling between the two. The street lamps lit the street dimly, and the air was sticky in the heat of August. 


 

"I should go in now," Marlene said, stopping in front of the building's door. He pulled her in for a hug, and they stayed there for a bit. 


 

"Hey," he said, pulling away and looking into her eyes. "Talk to Mary again, will you?" She sighed, but nodded in agreement. Marlene had the closest ties to Mary, and was the only one who had spoken to her since the end of school. 


 

"Of course, Remus. I'll try again. You talk to Peter, okay?" she asked, biting her lip in anxiety. "He's not as brave as you all, you know." He nodded back, a sad realization washing over his face. 


 

"We'll be fine, Marls. We just have to get through this. It'll be fine soon, I promise." He smiled at her, and walked back down the few steps to allow room for Marlene to open her door. 


 

"I know," she said laboredly, hanging on the now ajar door. "See you tomorrow," she said, waving to him sadly. 


 

"See you," he said to Marlene, after already turning back to apparate home in the darkness. 


 





 

(June, 1981)


 

"I won't tell you," she said, her hair whipping to the side in the salty wind. 

 

 

 

"You think that now," the wicked, smooth voice said, his body seemingly unaffected by the harsh conditions as her's was. "But when we're done with you you'll not only tell me where they are, but how to get there," he said, leaning in close to her and emphasizing the last couple of words. She spat in his face, but wasn't able to speak as her airway cut off not a second later. 


 

"Stupid girl," he said, the pale feet walking away. The girl struggled against the bonds, but there was no use. He would be back later anyway. 









Chapter 3: The Chaos in the Order
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(November, 1978) 



 

"We have had two more attacks on Wizarding London," a man named Alastor said, his scratchy voice grating the ears of the members of the Order of the Phoenix. James and Sirius were both a bit lax, their posture slouched, arms around Lily and Dorcas respectively. 




 

"And what more can we do about it?" Sirius asked, twirling his fingers through Dorcas' hair and gaining a few titters from the room of newly trained Order members. 




 

"You think that's funny, Black?" Everyone stopped laughing and Sirius raised a dark eyebrow at Alastor. 




 

"I think it's inevitable," he said solemnly, his nose twitching as Alastor challenged him. 




 

"Well then maybe you should get your skinny arse up and move back to Grimmuald Place. Don't think that's too funny, do you boy?" Sirius sat up straighter and untangled himself from Dorcas. 



 

 


 

"Let's be honest. It's been months since anything really bad has happened," Sirius retorted. "I haven't had this little action since before puberty." Some of the older member's faces grew annoyed, and Dorcas coughed pointedly. 



 

"I think that's quite enough," Frank Longbottom said from the other side of the room. 


 

"Don't get your panties in a twist, Longbottom," he muttered. 

 

 


 

"Oi!" Peter exclaimed, clutching his leg. Lily's face turned red quickly and everyone burst out laughing at her failed effort to punish Sirius. Alastor's palm slammed down on the table, and everyone stopped laughing again.  


 

He tossed a folded up Daily Prophet into the center of the table, and Dorcas reached forward to unfold the corner. The silence was more evident now that everyone saw what graced the front page. 


 

"When did this come out?" Remus asked, reaching across the table and picking up the paper in disbelief. 

 

 


 

"Advance edition," the man coughed out, holding onto his knobbled cane and making his way around the table to Remus. "It'll run tomorrow. Why don't you read that for us, Lupin?" Remus swallowed deeply and his face lost a bit of color. 

 

 


 

"Vance Manor Collapsed." He paused, refusing to lift his eyes to Marlene, who he knew would be quite choked up about this. "Bodies found include, Emmeline (18), Stephen II (17), and Isabel (13)Vance, all survived by their father, Stephen Vance. For more information, turn to page 4." He folded the paper again, and threw it to the middle of the table. 


 

There was more silence. No one dared make a noise, and everyone feared Alastor's stare. 


 

"Do you lot think this is a joke?" No one answered again, but Marlene's mouth tensed and her lips pursed. 


 

"You'll get your assignments tomorrow," Gideon Prewett butt in exhaustedly. "You're free to go." The newest recruits backed out of their chairs quickly and James held the door for everyone. 


"Potter," Alastor said, motioning with a  twisted finger to come join him at the table that was now vacated. James held the door for Lily last, and squeezed her hand when she widened her eyes in fear. He let the door shut on her and joined Alastor at the table. 

 

"Yes sir?" 



  
"Don't call me sir, Potter. Come sit." James sat down across from Alastor and did his best to ignore the spider crawling around on the other end of the table. 
 

"Do you want to be here?" he asked. James' head snapped back up and he looked at Alastor in confusion. 


 

"Of course, Alastor." 




"It was your job to look after the Vance's." James ran his hand through his hair and wiped his nose where his glasses rested. "Look boy. When you get out there it's different than the training room." Alastor leaned forward on the table, his hands clasped. "Miss Evans isn't going to forgive you when it's her you get killed." James' mouth fell open and he blinked a couple of times to stop the tears from coming. "You understand?" James nodded quickly and looked away from the older man. "Go get some rest," he said, standing up. "You've all got a big day tomorrow." 

 

 

 


 






 

 

"Morning, everybody," Gideon said, placing a manila folder in front of each of the seven attending members. 




 

"Why do the meetings have to be at 5:30 in the bloody morning?" Peter asked, clearly disgruntled. Gideon ignored him and continued with his business. 




 

"Your new assignments are in the folders. Any questions, I'll be available through floo at headquarters." He walked out without another word, slamming the door. 




 

"What's his problem?" Sirius asked the room. No one answered. 




 

"He's the one who recommended us in the first place, you prick," Marlene said, standing up and slapping his head with her folder as she walked to the other side of the room. Sirius continued sneering.



 

 



 

"I'm undercover again?" he exclaimed in exasperation. 



 

 



 

"Looks like I'm stuck with you," Marlene said, disgusted at his unappreciative nature. "Go get a drink or something before we start. I'm not going to be able to deal with you if you're going to act like a pissy little teenager the entire day." She slammed the door, like Gideon, to emphasize her point. 




 

"Who put a stick up her arse?" Sirius asked, picking up a cigarette before having it smacked out of his grip by Dorcas. 




 

"Try the Vance's, Sirius. Or were you too drunk last night to even remember that?" She took a deep sigh and picked up her folder, glancing down and then back up at Peter and James. "Looks like we're on a training day again, boys." She clapped them on the shoulders, and led them out of the room, taking a quick glance back at Sirius who hadn't even reached for his fallen smoke. 




 

"What're you still doing here Evans?" Sirius asked darkly, pulling out another cigarette and lighting it. Lily flicked her eyes to his angrily, but said nothing. "Fine." He pushed back out of his chair and bent down, picking up the fallen stick and flicking it out the window across from him. 




 

"You can't do this to them again." Sirius' hand stopped on the doorknob, his mouth tightening. Lily looked up at him, hoping that her old friend would come back for a second to understand.


 

He took the new cigarette in his hand, blowing out a stream of smoke. "I'm with Dorcas, Lil. It's not my fault McKinnon can't get that through her pretty little head. And we both know none of that was my fault." He turned the doorknob again, and cracked open the door.




 

"I wasn't talking about that, Sirius." Lily stood up, her hands flat on the table, her arms straight. "I'm talking about the chip on your shoulder. It's bothering everyone, even James. So cut it out before someone else gets hurt." Lily's jaw unclenched as Sirius' grip on the doorknob fell. "You don't know how much you hurt us when you're like this." He opened the door again, and Lily walked over to him, taking her folder and heading out of the room past him. 




 

"When you're good, you're great!" Lily said, trying to get through to him. "But when you're bad, it's devastating." She placed a hand on his shoulder, and Sirius shook it off. "Don't get bad again, Sirius." 



 

 


 








 

The woman made her way smoothly through the crowd of various photographers and reporters. Walking in her heels without a stumble, she strut over the familiar gravel of the Vance's summer estate. 




 

"Excuse me," she said politely, nudging a man with a rather large camera to the side. Her 'The Daily Prophet' press badge swung around her neck, and the words Head Assistant to Rita Skeeter helped to clear her path. 




 

"Mr. Vance!" the voices chorused, deafening and with insincere sympathy. There was a barrier ahead. And although it was invisible it was powerful against unwelcome strangers. And after the tragedy, there were only a few that were welcomed on the estate anymore.




 

Her brunette bob swung back and forth about her shoulders as she power-walked through the blockade and up to the front stoop. Leaning forward to reach the intercom button, the crowd broke into shushed whispers. 




 

"Hello Victor," she said, emphasizing each word so it would reach the family's doorman without trouble. "It's Mary. Can you let Stephen know I'm here?" Her finger came off the button, and the man named Victor answered. 




 

"Hello Miss McDonald! Certainly." And with that, one Mary Ann McDdonald of The Daily Prophet was buzzed into the summer estate of the family that had been ripped apart only a week ago. Mary leaned forward again, reaching to rub the sign that read Vance Summer Estate with her gloved index and middle finger. 




 

The sweeping French doors on her left opened widely, and a stocky man in a suit smiled cordially at Mary. She walked in the doors swiftly, suddenly realizing that she would be bombarded with questions too if she didn't get a move on. 




 

"Hi Victor," she answered with a small smile. It had to be hard for him to smile after everything that happened. It was hard for Mary, too. He took her jacket and hung it in a coat closet to the right before stooping to her height to give a quick hug. 



 

 



 

"Long time no see, Mary," he said, not meaning to imply anything, but doing it all the same. Mary hadn't visited the Vance's since Emmeline's graduation party in June. He led them down the hallway, not needing to ask why she was there. He eyed her press badge with a bit of disdain. Even in knowing Mary wanted to become a reporter, no one thought that she would do so.




 

Stephen Vance came into view, his white collared shirt untucked and his black dress pants scuffed at the bottoms with mud. He held a bottle of firewhiskey in his left hand, and a clearly unused glass sat on the table on his right. 




 

"Mary!" he exclaimed drunkenly, putting the bottle down in what he probably thought was a very refined manner. She smiled at him sadly, taking the lanyard that hung around her neck off and leaning forward to give the man a hug. She sat in the squishy armchair on his right, the table separating them. 




 

"Hi Mr. Vance. How've you been?" she asked, taking the bottle off the floor and handing it to Victor discreetly, smiling gratefully. 




 

"I'm so tired, Mar-bare," he said, patting her knee. Mary put her hand over his, and her red lips screwed up. "I miss them." His vacant expression worried Mary.



 

 



 

"Me too, Stephen. I'm so sorry." Her quick quotes quill appeared out of her purse quickly, hanging on her right. 




 

"Do we have to do this right now?" he sputtered out, motioning loosely to the quill and pad. 




 

"Just a couple of questions," she pleaded. "I'm sorry if it's too forward Stephen. I could lose my job."




 

"Well I lost my family. I guess we'll be even." Mr. Vance tipped an imaginary bottle to his lips. "Damn you, Victor," he muttered to himself. 




 

"What happened?" Mary asked, pushing forward. The state her faux-father was in was easy to manipulate. 




 

"I went to work." He gulped and the quill began moving rapidly, hanging on his every word. "I came home to a bonfire." Mary licked her lips hungrily, forgetting about her red stain. 




 

"Is there anything else you remember? Anything that suggested something suspicious?" Mary was desperate. 




 

"Do you mean Morsmordre?" Mary sat back at the mention of the spell, blinking and pushing the quill back in her bag as the man she once knew fell apart. "You can say it Mary!" He laughed hoarsely, clutching the arm of the chair with a shivering hand. 




 

"I think it's time to go, Miss McDonald. Mr. Vance needs to lie down," a man in a stark white coat said. He pushed past Mary and placed his wand at the crook of Mr. Vance's arm. There was a small glow, and Mr. Vance relaxed into the chair, his expression going flaccid. 




 

Mary scooped up her purse from the floor quickly and stumbled as she rushed to get up. The heel on one of her shoes cracked, and was now half the size of the other. This made for an awkward and quiet hindered exit. 




 

It's been nice to see you Miss McDonald," Victor said as he ushered out the front door. 




 

"But maybe I could just-" she yelped back up at the intimidating man as he shut the door on her. Mary leaned up against the side of the door, her composure thrown out the window. Some reporters were still pushing up against the barrier to try and get into the white-brick mansion, but most had gone home for the day. Mary sighed, but picked herself up and hobbled off the property, just getting far enough to apparate with a snap.






 

 




 








As Mary snapped back to the London office, she rapped on the maple door that led to Rita Skeeter's upper office. She wanted to let her know personally what happened. This way Rita wouldn't get any skewed versions of the story that included Mary chickening out at the last second. Mary couldn't afford that. 




 

"Hi Mary. Just hold up your badge and I can unlock the door," Roberta Rodgers said from the other side of the door. Mary searched her chest for her badge. Then her bag. Then the surrounding area before coming up empty. 




 

"Shit! I think I left it at the Vance's." There was silence on the other end. "Can't you just let me in, Ro? I'll get it tomorrow. I don't think Mr. Vance is going to let me back in right now," she mumbled in shame. 




 

"Sorry Mary," Roberta answered. "New protective measures. I can't let you in unless I can see your badge." 




 

"You must be kidding, Roberta," Mary yelled at the door, gaining a few straying stares off the dimly lit street. Everyone else was going home for the night. 




 

"I'm really sorry Mary." There was more silence from the other end and Mary kicked the door in anger. 




 

"Maybe I should've taken up with the Gryffindor's," she said to herself, sinking down to the ground and letting her head fall into her hands. 




 






 

 




 

(May, 1979)





 



"Goodbye Mary." The man walked out of her room without another word. She sat back in her office chair, confused as to how no one else noticed the mysterious figure coming out onto the main floor. She just could not believe any of this. She was muggleborn. What would they want with her anyway?






 



 


Chapter 4: The Pain in the Heart
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 (December, 1978)








"Kevin," she whispered, leaning forward as discreetly as she could. 

"Shut up Marlene," Sirius answered, sticking his nose in the cafe menu across from Knockturn Alley. "And use my real name." Marlene rolled her dark green eyes, but scooted her chair closer to him anyway. 

"Mulciber walked into Macnair's shop an hour ago. Hasn't appeared since." Marlene shivered slightly, wrapping her brown coat around herself even more tightly. 

"Yeah and neither has Carrow. Did anyone ever stop to think that the arseholes could just apparate out of the shops?" Sirius hissed back at her, dropping his menu. Marlene adjusted the blonde wig on her head. "And why couldn't we use real disguises? This muggle thing is killing me." He scratched at the auburn wig that paired ridiculously with his black five o' clock shadow.

 "Suck it up, Kevin," Marlene emphasized mockingly. "I'm almost off undercover, and there's no way you're going to blow it for me." 

"Sarah. Kiss me." Marlene rolled her eyes, convinced that the urgency in his voice was fake. 

"Forget it, Black." he rolled her eyes again, but Sirius pulled her in closer, using all his strength to keep her struggling from being too public. 

"I thought you were the one who wanted to take this seriously." Sirius never used that word if he could help it. He moved his hand to the side of Marlene's face, blocking it from view. "It's Snape. If he sees us we're dead." he whispered into her ear. 

That was all the motivation she needed. Marlene kissed Sirius roughly, still being careful not to move his hair. Sirius kept his hand on her cheek as Severus Snape and Amycus Carrow swept by in their black cloaks, making sure her face was covered. 

Her body relaxed as Snape moved past them, but Sirius did not let go of her. She pulled back slightly, keeping her face close to Sirius' but watching the two fade down the cobbled road. She looked back to Sirius who hadn't yet looked away. 

"You want to find a quiet place to finish this, Mickey? Just for old times' sake," he said, his breath falling heavily in the cold air. 

"I'm not sixteen anymore, Sirius," she whispered into his ear, "and that was a dumb plan." She backed away from him, standing up, as their target had moved on. "Who the hell makes out a couple of feet away from Knockturn Alley?" she asked, laying down a sickle to pay for their coffee. 

"Newly-wed's," Sirius answered, taking Marlene's left hand in his right and playing with the fake wedding band they'd been given for their assignments. Marlene scoffed, but said nothing else on the matter. She laced her fingers with Sirius', not caring that her pseudo enemy had just suggested that they have sex while he was dating her best friend.

 "So why do we always get put on undercover anyway?" Marlene asked, lowering her voice on the word undercover.

Sirius looked down at her. "Maybe it's because we're good at pretending to be other people," he said, his mood taking a turn downwards. "You know, living with pureblood propaganda shoved down our throats, we had to learn to adapt."

Marlene looked up at him skeptically. "Really?"

He gave her a wide smirk, and Marlene hit his shoulder before he even said anything. "Nah, I'm just messin' with you. They put us on the simple shit because they know we'd slaughter if they put us out on the field. Isn't that right Micks?" It's true Sirius and Marlene both had top marks in dueling.

"Let's just get back to the apparition point," she said rolling her eyes again.

"Excuse me, ma'am." An officer had come up to the pair, complete with a riot baton hooked to his belt. "Can you please come with me?" Marlene and Sirius looked at each other simultaneously.

"Can I ask to what this is in reference to?" Marlene asked accusingly, releasing Sirius' hand and folding her arms.

"I do apologize, but we have been asked to institute random checks. I just need to know what your business in Knockturn Alley was. I'm sure you understand." He smiled at her, but it quickly faded as Marlene stepped forward angrily.

"I really don't think it's any of your business," she snarled. "And for your information," she said, poking the intimidating man in the chest, "we weren't even in Knockturn Alley."

"Ma'am, I really must insist," he said, his fake-sugary voice dropping. Marlene dropped her hand to her side, but nudged Sirius away, stepping forward again and making the man stumble backwards. 

But before she had the chance to do anything else, Sirius placed an arm around her shoulders. This lead Marlene to look at Sirius with hatred, but he pointedly ignored her gaze.

"It's okay, dear. The man's just doing his job," Sirius said, taking his arm off of her shoulder and extending it to the officer. "I'm Kevin Lowry," he said, shaking his hand.

"Obliviate," Sirius whispered, slipping his wand out of his sleeve and catching the officer as he fell forward.

"Let's go," he said, grabbing Marlene's hand again without consent and taking off quickly. Marlene held her head, hoping that the wig wouldn't fly off. Sirius' strides were much longer than hers, and she had to work twice as hard to get half as far as him. Then he stopped without a warning, making Marlene stumble forward, fall into his arms, and be whisked away to wherever he had apparated.

 

 

 

The two bodies tumbled down a small hill in the middle of a deserted field.

"What the hell was that?" Marlene exclaimed when she stopped rolling from the impact of their fall. "Black!" She yelled, turning around to try and find him. A head stuck up from the tall grass. "Sirius!" The head turned into a distant body, and when Marlene made out his features for certain, long dark hair, a light colored wig in his hand, angry eyes, and broad shoulders, she made her way over. They finally caught up with each other, and the first thing Marlene did was strike him across the face.

"Hey! What was that for, bint?" Sirius rubbed his cheek, but walked along with her anyway, leading them towards what looked like a roadway.

"That was for cursing a Ministry official you arsehole! I'm not sure our disguises are going to hold up in court," she said, taking off the blonde wig and letting her dark hair flow down over her shoulders.

"Merlin, McKinnon. You can't really think I'm that daft." Marlene looked at him for an explanation. "What kind of official doesn't wear a badge? And didn't it seem a bit suspicious that he didn't stop Snape?" Marlene looked at Sirius curiously, her doubt never fading.

"Even with all of that! How could you be completely sure that he wasn't just some lazy guard who wanted to take me in a corner and cop a feel?"

"Because that's my cousin's husband, Rodolphus Lestrange, all right! It's a damn good thing he's daft as a giant, otherwise we would've been done for." Marlene could see the stress Sirius got from even speaking about his family.

She glanced up at him apologetically. "Well, sorry. But that still doesn't explain why we're in the middle of freaking nowhere."

 "Anytime someone apparates from Diagon Alley, your intended destination is recorded. I couldn't exactly take us back to headquarters, could I?"

"Alright, alright, I get it. You're right, I'm wrong." They walked along in silence for a little while, fussing with their clothes and squinting in the bright sun. "So where are we anyway?"

"Somewhere in the States, I think," he said, looking around as if there was something to see.

"And what on earth are we still doing here?"

"Well I don't know about you McKinnon, but I'm going to sit." Sirius plopped down suddenly, taking a patch of the tall grass down with him. He smiled cheekily up at Marlene, who stared down at him disapprovingly. "Now, I know you never want to relax," he said, making her roll her eyes, "but considering you're stuck here with me, you might as well enjoy it." Marlene sighed, but gave in against her better judgment and sat down next to Sirius, laying her jacket down so she wouldn't get her robes dirty.

"I could just apparate back on my own, you know." Sirius smirked and looked to his left.

"I'd love to believe you dearie, I really would. It's just, I'm one of the fortunate people to know how completely terrible you are at apparition. Go for it." As Marlene shook her hair back from her face and glared at Sirius, his smirk rose to a smile.

"Don't call me dearie," she muttered. "So how's Dorcas?" Marlene asked, her tone hoping to be casual.

"She's Dorcas," Sirius mumbled. "You know, just Dorcas." They didn't speak for a little while. Just watched the sun begin to set. The sky turned from purple to pink to red and to a dark blue before either spoke again. "How's Remus?" Sirius finally asked, breaking the silence. Marlene grimaced.

"How about we get going now? It's probably almost one in the morning in London." Neither of them moved.

"You know, no one would blame you if you wanted to have a night off, Mickey."

"Why, so I can end up like you?" Sirius looked at her and smirked again.

"I guess you're right. I know you're almost off undercover, but there's no way I am. I don't show up sober enough apparently," he said, sitting up and leaning forward on his knees bitterly.

"You know she's just trying to look out for you." Marlene sat up along with him. "She loves you." Sirius didn't answer Marlene, but stood up, as if he was trying to move away from the conversation. "Do you love her?"

"Yep," he answered curtly, reaching a hand down to Marlene. She took it and launched herself off the ground. "Okay, let's go."

Marlene pursed her lips, but held on tighter to Sirius' hand. "Let's go."

 

 








 

"James!" Remus yelled up the stairs. "Dorcas made stew!" He heard a door slam from upstairs, and pushed off the banister. "Thanks, Dorcas," he said, grabbing a bowl off the table.

"No problem," she said, wiping her hands off on the rag that hung off the stove handle. She leaned against it and wiped her forehead of her blonde curls. She tied it up quickly with a scrunchie, and sat at the small kitchen table in the Potters' new home in Godric's Hollow.

"So do you know when they're coming back?" Remus slurped some noodles from his spoon and wiped his mouth with a napkin.

"No," she answered, blowing on her soup. "I haven't seen him in god knows how long," she mumbled. "I just hope they're okay." She leaned back in her chair and closed her eyes.

"So how was training today?" James asked from the doorway.

"Not the greatest," Remus answered sulkily, putting his embarrassed head down.

"What did Meadowes kick your arse again?" James asked as Dorcas began snickering to herself.

"She did not kick my arse. It's not my fault she's almost six foot." Dorcas bit her lip as she tried not to laugh anymore.

"You're a werewolf, Remus!" she managed to get out before James began laughing uncontrollably.

"Very nice. Nice guys," he said sarcastically as James banged on the table and Dorcas rocked back and forth in her chair with laughter. Remus threw his spoon in his bowl, shoveling down the last of it before getting up to toss it in the sink.

"No Remus, we're joking!" Dorcas said, tugging on his shirt to try and get him back to the table.

"Yeah, c'mon mate, we know you'd dominate us if they ever threw in a surprise Charms exam." James winked at Remus who simply rolled his eyes.

"Well I'm sure we're going to encounter a snitch during an attack, so it's lucky we've got you James," Remus countered, turning on the faucet and scrubbing his dish quickly. Dorcas' eyes bulged, and she tilted her head forward in disbelief as James nodded in respect for Remus' wit.

"Nicely done, Moony," James said, smiling and bowing slightly.

"Are they back yet?" Lily's hair flew all over the place, and she wore only a large white shirt with a faded Puddlemere United emblem on it. It was clearly James'.

"Not yet, sweet heart," James said, running his hand over her hair and then letting it rest on her shoulder. 

"Okay, well will someone wake me when they come back?"

"No Lil's, you've got to sleep. You have work tomorrow remember?" Lily ignored James and looked to Remus and Dorcas.

"Will one of you get me up?" Dorcas nodded immediately. "Thanks, Doe. I've got to get back to bed now." Lily's eyes glazed over, and she ducked out from under James' arm to head back upstairs.

 "Lily, do you want some stew?" Dorcas asked quickly, holding a bowl towards her.

"No thank you. I think I'll just head up. I really could use some sleep." She smiled briefly, and James smiled as well, that having been the longest continuous thread of words Lily had put together in a week. After her mother died, Lily had been a bit disconnected from the world.

"You coming James?" He nodded back and Lily pat the door frame and gave a quick smile to the others before heading upstairs.

"So she hasn't eaten much?" Remus asked, raising an eyebrow as she disappeared from sight.

James shook his head no. "Not for the last day at least. She'll get better, though. She's just grieving right now." James looked down at the floor and ruffled his hair.

"It'll be okay mate," Remus said, patting James on the shoulder. "She's Lily. She'll get through it. Just know that we're here for you."

"Yep, thanks Rem." James ruffled his hair again. "See you tomorrow."

"Night," Remus said, shutting the door quietly behind him.

"Do you mind if I stay the night, James?" Dorcas asked, grabbing his bowl and putting hers in the sink with it.

"Sure, go ahead. The spare room's got a bed if you want."

"Thanks so much, James. I really appreciate it. I just haven't been able to sleep, you know, without him."

"I know, Dorcas," James said tiredly, heading out of the kitchen and heading up the stairs. "Me too." He flicked his head towards the stairwell, and Dorcas joined him on his way up.

 

 

 

"Hey, Lil's. How're you feeling?" James asked, tossing his shirt and trousers into the laundry bin before climbing under the sheets with her.

"I'm better," she answered after a small pause in which she crawled closer to him. Lily hooked her leg around his, sitting up on his lap, and he opened his eyes in surprise.

"What are you doing, Lily?" He rested his hands on the side of her thighs, trying to pull her back down to lay next to him. "We don't have to do this, you know. I don't want you to do anything you don't want to. I know how you're feeling." He stroked her legs softly, urging her to go back to sleep.

"You know, James, it's really quite astounding how after all these years you still don't know that not everything is about you." James smiled knowingly and grabbed Lily by the waist to pull her down over him.

"Let's sleep Lil," he whispered in her ear, squeezing her sides and kissing her on her lips quickly.

"No, James, can we sleep later?" Lily moaned, kissing James hastily.

"Lily, you need sleep, c'mon. We can do this when you're feeling better." James took her hands off of his neck and rolled over on his side.

"James." Lily ran her hands up and over his shoulders and splayed her hands over his chest. She began kissing his neck slowly, urging him to turn around and face her.

"Enough, Lily!" He turned around and sat up angrily, throwing the sheet off of himself. He turned to her and took her hands. "I know you're upset." Her eyes began to water and she pushed her hair out of her face as the tears began to fall. "But you can't ignore it like this. Not this way, okay? It's not going to help. I love you more than I can explain, and you know I would never say no to that," he said, making her chuckle through her quiet sobs, "but that is not something that can fix this, do you get that?" he asked, holding her by the side of her face in desperation.

She nodded in realization, but her body began shaking uncontrollably and she fell into James' arms. "It's okay," James said, letting himself sag into Lily, too. "I miss her, too." James pulled Lily down gently. She curled into him, and James wrapped his arms around her again. "It'll be okay, Lily. I promise."




 

 


Chapter 5: The Alarm in the Actuality
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 A/N: Edited September 16th, 2015!  







  (Christmas Eve, 1978)



 

Christmas hung in the air everywhere Marlene looked. It hung off her dark hair in the form of snowflakes, and dangled off Dorcas’ tall frame in the form of a home-knitted Christmas sweater. Lily’s hair whipped around her neck as if it was a scarf of fire. Mary held her hands together closely, rubbing her hands and ducking her head down every once in a while to keep her nose from burning too much.

The four girls were making their way to Sirius’ house, which was closest to central London of all their dwellings.

“How much farther have we to go, Dorcas?” Mary asked, skipping forward to join the blonde that marched furiously through the strong wind.

“It’s right down there,” she yelled over the howling in the air, pointing to a small house at the end of the road with two floors, the top of which was sparkling and twinkling festively.

“The one with all the lights?” Lily asked, a bit stunned at the sheer amount of light it radiated.

“What else would you expect?” Marlene answered rhetorically, smirking slightly as she thought of the effort the boys must have put into decorating that afternoon.

 “Lily!” James exclaimed happily, hanging out of an upstairs window. A small smile could not help but grace her face. “You look lovely, dear!” he shouted down as they approached the door, and Dorcas let them in.

The foyer was cramped, but Dorcas quickly ushered the group into the den after everyone dropped their coats on hooks in the front hall. James came barreling down the stairs, and grabbed Lily’s arm before she sat down, pulling her into a large hug wistfully.

“What’s with all the theatrics?” Mary asked curiously, dusting her hair of snow. Marlene picked up a bottle of butterbeer and uncapped it quickly, taking a few chugs.

“Lily was on a mission in Austria with Dorcas, the Longbottoms, Arthur Weasley, and myself for about a week,” Marlene answered, as Sirius came down the stairs and made his way directly to Dorcas, who was seated on the couch next to the window.

He grabbed the cigarette from Dorcas’ hand and tossed it out the window. “Hey there,” he said quickly before kissing her deeply. Marlene stepped to the side awkwardly and made her way past the couple.

“They’ve been anxious,” Remus said, coming down with Peter and leaning forward to give Marlene, then Mary, a hug. Peter followed suit.

“Clearly,” Marlene said, a hint of disgust and admiration in her voice.

“How was it?” Remus asked sitting next to Marlene and grabbing a butterbeer from the table they sat in front of.

“Eh. Run of mill. We didn’t find anything, as per usual, but we did manage to confirm,” she said, lowering her voice considerably, “that Narcissa and Regulus have joined the ranks. They were spotted with Lucius and Bellatrix coming out of an abandoned mansion.”

“I’m guessing you’ve all decided not to tell Sirius?” he asked, tilting his head in the direction of the happy couple.

“I’m pretty sure he already knows. But yes, you would be right,” Marlene said, sighing. She grabbed Remus’ bottle out of his hands and uncapped his, taking a small sip. She leaned back into his shoulder, and he shifted uncomfortably.

“Sure you’re okay, M?” She smiled weakly up at Remus, but did not answer verbally. Marlene snuggled closer into his shoulder and Remus blushed slightly.

“Let’s go!” Sirius exclaimed suddenly, wrapping his arm around Dorcas’ waist and leaving another kiss on her lips. “We’ve got pastries in the kitchen.” Peter’s smile brightened and he stood up right away. He gave Mary his hand, taking her into the kitchen.

“Bloody sweet tooth,” James muttered, rolling his eyes and following Peter and Mary.

“I haven’t had any dinner yet,” Lily moaned as Dorcas dragged her towards the kitchen.

“Oh come on, Lil,” Dorcas responded, rolling her eyes and knowing that Lily secretly loved a good dessert without dinner. Marlene got up slowly from the couch, and Remus followed her, a crease in his brow at her melancholic behavior.

“Alright,” Lily said reluctantly, with a bit of a skip in her step. Her eyes widened as she stepped into the kitchen. “Where did you get all these?” she asked in surprise. Her eyes brightened at the wide assortment of cookies available to her.

“You and Lily could probably eat all of these yourselves,” James joked, nodding at Peter as he filled his plate. Peter nodded back, not making eye-contact with James as he focused on his desserts. Remus popped open a butterbeer, as he’d left his in the den, but put it down as Marlene wandered back away from the pack in the kitchen. He left the rambunctious crowd, and followed her back to the couch they were sitting on.

“Did you know it’s her first year spending Christmas without any family?” Marlene asked absently, not opening her eyes. Remus didn’t answer, but sat down next to her nervously. “She always went home for Christmas, and this year they didn’t ask her when she was coming home. She’s a bit devastated about it. She thinks that her mother’s the only reason she was ever allowed back.”

“I really don’t think Lily wants us talking about that,” he said uneasily. “Let’s go get some dessert, Mar.” Remus stood up again, motioning for Marlene to join him in the kitchen again, and her body fell to the side automatically.

“Bloody hell,” he exclaimed, not nearly loud enough to capture the attention of those in the kitchen. “Dorcas!” he roared, kneeling down in front of the couch and tilting Marlene’s head up on the arm of it.

“Enneverate,” he murmured. Marlene’s eyelids fluttered, but there was no other response.

“What do you need, Remus?” Dorcas asked with a sparkle in her eye as she rounded the corner. Horror crossed her face as he saw Remus chanting reviving spells over Marlene’s body religiously. “What the fuck happened to her?” Dorcas rushed forward and cupped the back of the brunette’s head with her hand.

“I don’t know! We were just talking, and she was leaning on my shoulder.” Remus paused, his face growing red. “And then I got up and she just fell over!” Dorcas glared at him, but flew her wand over Marlene’s body slowly.  

“Hey!” Remus looked up as Sirius stormed into the room. Dorcas pushed his knees back with her hand as he hovered over Dorcas and Marlene. “What the hell happened?” Neither of them answered as Marlene lay there, completely still.

Hey!” he shouted again, pushing Remus out of the way and grabbing Marlene’s limp hand. A small sweat broke out on Dorcas’ forehead, and Sirius looked to her nervously. “Fuck this,” he said ungracefully, pushing Dorcas’ wand away and heaving Marlene up from the ground. “I’m going to St. Mungo’s. Tell the others.” Sirius disapparated with Marlene in his arms without another word. Dorcas let herself fall back against the table, and put her head into her hands.

“Shit!” Remus kicked the table.

 






 

Sirius stood outside of Marlene’s room very still. He did not believe in pacing.

“What happened?” Dorcas asked Remus for the fourth time. She had also taken to stopping every healer that walked past them, asking what Marlene’s status was.

“I have to go,” Mary whispered to Lily regretfully. “I’m really sorry, but my mum will worry, and I have to give her medication. Floo me when Marlene wakes,” she said assuredly. Lily and her exchanged hugs, but she left the rest of their group to their worrying.

“What was the last thing she said, Remus?” Sirius asked, evenly. Remus flushed for a now countless time that night.

“Something about how she missed her family this Christmas.” Remus tugged at his collar, and Lily’s head snapped up. She frowned deeply at Remus suddenly.

“Wait, where did you get that butterbeer, Sirius?” James asked. He had been silent up until then.

“Pete ordered it from a pub up the road, but when I picked it up everything was sealed,” he said harshly. “Anyway, you mean to tell me no one else drank any butterbeer?” He looked around at the group, and everyone shook their heads, confirming the suspicion.

“Fuck! Who the fuck sells spiked butterbeer to a couple of fucking teenagers?” Sirius slammed his palms against the walls.

“Death eaters,” Peter murmured darkly.

“I’m sorry, young man, If you wouldn’t mind keeping it down,” said an old woman who poked her head out of the door next to Marlene’s. Sirius didn’t respond, just sliding down the wall with a grand sigh.

“He’s sorry,” Dorcas amended quickly, going to Sirius’ side and rubbing his back soothingly. “It’s not your fault, Siri,” she whispered, putting her forehead against his temple.

“Family only, my ass,” Remus said quickly, whipping a knife out of the side of his trousers. He placed the knife at the crease of the door, and there was a slight click in the silent hallway as the lock was opened.

He opened the door slowly, peeking to make sure no more healers inside. He stepped inside, and waved the rest of the group in quickly. The door shut with the same quiet click, and Lily locked it behind them. They spread out around Marlene’s body, all eyes trained on her.

There were tubes weaving in and out of Marlene’s body everywhere, and her eyes were open, glazed over. It was hard to miss her chest moving up and down, as her heart beat steadily and strongly through the paper thin gown she wore.

“I should’ve known nothing would keep you out,” Samantha Eldridge scolded playfully. The short woman snuck in the room behind their group. Her warm smile was welcome after seeing Marlene in this state. “I was under the impression Mary was spending Christmas with you lot tonight.”

“Who’s that?” Peter whispered to Dorcas

Samantha’s old friend of Mary’s from Ravenclaw,” Dorcas responded through her teeth.  

“She was,” Lily answered quickly, making up for the silence of the group. No one else spoke a word.

“It’s a mixture of Hemlock and-“

“Moonstone,” Lily completed for Samantha, looking up from her hands suddenly.

“-in case you were wondering,” Samantha finished slowly.

 “It’s a commonly used date-rape drug in the Wizarding World. Not lethal in small doses, but leaves patients in a comatose state.” Lily looked up strangely at Samantha. “She’ll come out of it, right?”

“Yes. There is no need to worry for Miss McKinnon. Her blood type is quite common. She is in the middle of transfusions right now. She will be quite weak for a week or two, but will be good as new in no time.” Peter looked at Marlene as if he were going to be sick.

“Why are her eyes open?” Remus asked suddenly. “She wouldn’t open her eyes before. What did you do to her?” he asked frantically, gripping the edge of a table.

“She did wake up for a few brief moments about ten minutes after Sirius arrived. It’s another completely normal side effect of the poison,” she explained calmly. The silence hung heavily in the air, but no one spoke. Even though Samantha had been adequate in her explanation, the others felt that they were owed more.

“I’ll let you be with her, but only a few minutes more,” she said quietly, exiting quickly.

“You heard Samantha. She’s fine,” Peter reasoned as Dorcas laid her hand on Marlene’s softly.

“Damn Death Eaters. Ruined the party,” Sirius muttered, tapping his foot incessantly. He grinded his teeth nervously and gazed at Marlene.

“We don’t know it was Death Eaters,” Lily rebuked, a calmness settling over her. “Like I said, it’s a common drug. Might’ve gotten slipped in a batch. There are bad people in the world and they’re not all Death Eaters.” Dorcas glared at Lily from across the room.

“And it just so happened that the poisoned alcohol showed up on the doorstep of eight teenagers in the Order of the Phoenix?” she snarled angrily.

“Dorcas is right. You can’t really think this was an accident, Lily,” Remus said slowly. Everyone looked to Lily who stood strongly in her position.

“I have to believe it.” Her right hand came into a fist at her side. “We’re just barely of age. I won’t spend Christmas Eve thinking that someone tried to have us killed.” Lily turned around quickly and opened the door dramatically in an effort to make a grand exit, but came face to face with Samantha.  

“I’ll have to see you out now,” she whispered, looking around to make sure that no Healers saw the group leaving Marlene’s room. The tension in the room eased a bit as they made their way out of the room silently.

“Thanks again, Samantha,” James said politely for the group, most of whom were still glaring at one or the other. “C’mon guys. Let’s go back to Sirius’.”

“What so we can eat cursed pastries?” Dorcas asked bitterly with false happiness. “No thanks. I’m going home.” She turned around to face Sirius and kissed him unexpectedly before apparating with a final pop.

Lily rolled her eyes and shook her head at Dorcas’ depart. “Sorry Sirius. I think it’s better if we just meet up tomorrow,” she said solemnly, giving him, Peter, and Remus a quick hug before departing in the same manner as Dorcas.

“I guess they forgot they had us, huh Padfoot?” James joked. Remus’ arms were still crossed, but the corner of his mouth perked up at James’ joke. Sirius glanced up at James scathingly and shook his head, chuckling all the same.

“I guess so, Prongs.” A nice silence fell over the four boys. “Alright,” Sirius said brusquely, breaking the quiet. “I will see you tomorrow,” he said, pointing at Peter who was on undercover with him, “and I will see you two at the next meeting,” he said turning his attention to Remus and James. “Merry Christmas, mates.” He saluted the other three casually, and disapparated.

“I’ve got to get home to Lily, I guess,” James said tiredly as the smiles from Sirius’ departure faded. “I love you, boys.” He clapped Peter and Remus on their shoulders. “Say hello to Mary for me, will you Pete?” James asked provokingly, disapparating as well and making Peter turn red.

“I’m walking home, Remus,” Peter said weakly, fiddling with his fingers. “You apparating?”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine Pete. You get home safe, okay?” Peter looked up at Remus suddenly, as if Remus had told him a hippogriff was about to eat him.

“Yeah, yeah. Should be okay. I’ll see you soon Remus,” he said, waving goodbye as he headed down the corridor to the entrance that was closest to his flat.

Remus stood outside Marlene’s room for a moment or two before doing anything else. He couldn’t seem to move his feet, so he did the next best thing. He conjured a chair, he sat down, and he waited.

 


Chapter 6: The Miscommunication in the Many
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 (Wednesday, January 21st, 1979)



 

“I hate desk work,” Marlene murmured. She squirmed in her chair in the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix and adjusted the ring that sat firmly on her finger.

After the attack on Christmas Eve, all the Order members were made to wear rings that notified other members if someone was incapacitated. So far the ring had burned Marlene’s finger about ten times, and made her more nervous than anything considering she couldn’t really do anything about it.

“Me too,” Remus agreed sympathetically from the other side of the room. Marlene was not allowed into the field until she made a full recovery, but the full moon was coming up, so at least she had some company in Remus.

Marlene stared at Remus from across the room as he continued filing papers and completing research. He looked so worn sometimes.

“Isn’t it Lily’s birthday soon?” he asked Marlene suddenly, looking up to find her staring at him. He blushed and Marlene gave him a small smile.

“Always looking for an excuse for a party, aren’t you?” Remus chuckled lightly, probably reminiscing about the parties they put on in Hogwarts.

“Definitely. I think we could all use a break, anyway. How’s Friday night sound?” Remus asked, eyeing the schedule next to Marlene. She checked it quickly, but rolled her eyes when she saw how long it would be until they were all together again.

“Peter, Sirius, and Dorcas are all undercover in Australia until Saturday, Lily is with Arthur, Alice, and Gideon in London for a Ministerial Conference until Sunday, and James is in Scotland with Moody scouting out the Lestrange mansion.” Remus sighed and leaned back in his chair. It let out an irritating squeak from years of being stationary in the basement of the building in Southern England.

“It looks like our best bet is next Monday. We’ve got a meeting the next morning at eight, but I think we can do it if we all duck in early,” Marlene resolved, circling the 26th of January in red ink.

“Got it. I should be fine by then.” Marlene’s face fell. She had forgotten that the full moon was Friday night.

“Are you sure Remus? We can always push it forward and that way we can cele-“

“No, Marlene,” he interrupted quickly. “We’ll do it Monday or who knows when we’ll do it again.” Marlene nodded at Remus’ decisiveness, and wrote a quick note to herself to inform the others.

“You’re right, Remus. It’s been too long.”

 

 

(Thursday, January 22nd, 1979)

 

“It is so bloody hot down here, I swear,” Dorcas complained in a rich Australian accent. She, Peter, and Sirius were stooped underneath the floor of the vacation home of Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy. Sirius had been strangely quiet for most of the mission, but rolled his eyes as Dorcas peeled off another layer, leaving her in only a tank top and leggings. 

“Are you trying to leave a trail for them to find us?” he hissed angrily at her.

“Oh do shut your pretty mouth, love,” she responded, flicking her wand to make her discarded clothing disappear and kissing Sirius deeply before pressing her ear closer to the wooden ceiling.

“Keep it in your pants Meadowes,” Sirius responded jovially, pinching Dorcas’ waist playfully.

“Oi! The two of you better shut the bloody hell up before they find us.” He let out a shuddering sigh. “I don’t know what I’m more scared of: them finding us, or Moody finding out we weren’t on undercover like we’re supposed to be,” he reprimanded.

“Moody’s not going to find out, Pete. Don’t be such a spoil sport. It’s not our fault. We were supposed to be keeping tabs on the Malfoys,” Dorcas reasoned as Sirius went back to sulking.

“Shut up,” Peter whispered again, this time pointing towards the next floor where the conversation became more easily distinguishable.

“It’s not up to me, Narcissa,” a male voice hissed from above. “Your family’s legacy depends on your participation.” Sirius swallowed audibly.

“I don’t see why Bella can’t do it. She’s much more experienced in that area,” Narcissa responded. Sirius could almost imagine her hand going to her hip.

“You are the new recruit. If you don’t go through with this, I don’t see how we can proceed. You will do this, Narcissa. You’re a Malfoy now.” There was a silence, and the three hidden under the floor didn’t dare to speak.

“I’ll see you then.” It sounded as if Lucius gave Narcissa a kiss, and then there was another silence. “January 26th. Potter Manor.” 

 

(Friday, January 23rd, 1979)

 

“What did they mean they are going to be looking more closely into the discrepancies of the Ministry?” Lily asked earnestly as she, Arthur Weasley, Gideon Prewett, and Alice Longbottom packed into the back of Fabian Prewett’s muggle car. Arthur and Fabian shared a look.

“It means that they are going to do just about as much as they were doing before,” Alice butt in. “Nothing.”

“I don’t know if it’s contempt so much as ignorance, Ali,” Fabian said from the front of the car.

“You’re right, Fabian,” Alice agreed, rubbing the bridge of her nose with her thumb and index finger. “I just know that the longer they put off thorough investigations, the more likely the Ministry is to fall into the wrong hands.”

Lily kept silent as the adults mulled over a couple of the more interesting points of the presentation, deciding what to and what not to tell the rest of the Order when they got back to headquarters. 

“If the Minister is deciding to break up the departments, it’ll leave them more susceptible than ever to infiltration. Should we bring it up tomorrow?” Alice asked the others. She brushed her fringe out of her eyes and waited for a response.

“I wish we could,” Arthur said with a bit of disdain. “It’s just not safe to draw that much attention to ourselves. Maybe you could speak with Kingsley, Fabian,” he prompted, leaning back in his seat. “He’s pretty high up, isn’t he?” Lily saw Fabian let out a sigh and shake his head in the rearview mirror.

“It’s no use, Arthur. We’ve already asked too much of him, and if he stuck his neck out anymore it would start to look suspicious. The only thing worse than the Ministry being completely taken over would be if they found out we had a man on the inside.” Lily looked back at Arthur who was seated back in defeat.

“Who’s they?” Lily blurted out, hoping if she asked fast enough they wouldn’t think to hide their answers. The older members of the Order tended not to trust the newer ones with pertinent information.

Arthur and Alice looked at each other again.

“We’re pretty certain that some of You-Know-Who’s followers have pretty important positions in the Ministry,” Arthur stressed slowly, ignoring the glares he received from the others. Lily’s mouth dropped open and Arthur nodded solemnly.

“Like who?” Lily asked, clearly intrigued. Gideon nudged Arthur, but he ignored it.

“Specifically?” he asked Lily. Lily nodded vigorously. “Lucius Malfoy, Rodolphous Lestrange,”

“-the Head of the Department of Mysteries”, Alice added.

 “-are some of the most well-known.”

“Are you kidding me, Arthur?”  Gideon asked incredulously, turning to face her from the passenger seat.

“Well, she’s already here, isn’t she?” Arthur responded, blatantly pointing towards Lily. Gideon turned to look at Lily, who looked as if she’d just seen Voldemort himself.

“Lily you can’t tell anyone.” Lily had never seen Gideon look so serious.

“It’s not as if they couldn’t have already guessed,” Alice said plainly. “It’s just, we can’t have the scare within the newest members of the Order. You understand, right Lily?” She nodded quickly again, but kept her mouth closed tightly.

“You’re in this just as much as we are, Lily,” Arthur said kindly, patting her on the shoulder. “You all deserve to know.”

Lily couldn’t help but wonder not if they deserved to know, but if they wanted to.

 






(Saturday, January 24th, 1979)

 

The owl perched on James’ bedside chirped again, so he tossed another piece of cracker to the corner. He could barely believe they were planning a party, but he understood why. Especially coming from Marlene and Remus, both of whom had not been having the easiest time.

So far, James’ mission with Moody had been more tiresome than helpful. The Lestrange Mansion was completely deserted. Not in the sense that they were never coming back, just in the sense that the mansion was more of a vacation home than anything else.

It did mean that the two were able to investigate the house, and that brought some new information to light.

Moody always said, “New is better than none.” James thought Moody had a lot of catchphrases that were pretty useless or pretty much common sense.

Lestrange was definitely stealing information on Order members from the Ministry. He didn’t have them all, but James and Moody had found confidential files on at least five original members, and that worried Moody more than anything. All James could do was be relieved that there were no files on him or Lily.

Of course, there were files on Marlene and Sirius, but as children of traditional Pureblood families, that’s to be expected.

“Potter,” called Moody’s gruff voice from across the hall. James put the letter from Marlene and Remus down and made his way over to Moody’s room.

James could hardly believe that this miserable man had put all this time into the weaving chart that made up the back wall, but he had come accustomed to expecting surprises from Alastor Moody. The red lines made up most of the wall, but a few green strings made their way directly from a photo of the Malfoy Manor to pictures of individuals: some already in Azkaban, most not. 

“Where the hell do you get off having owls sent here?” he asked without turning away from his desk. James continues scanning the wall.

“Sorry Moody. Cal just finds me. Blame the Cripples.” Moody had deemed Remus and Marlene the Cripples in what James hoped was an affectionate way. He didn’t remember their real names at this point, or if he did, he pretended not to.

“Send ‘em back a Howler then. Courtesy of me.” James could have sworn he saw Moody smirk, but ignored it and went back to scanning the wall.

“Enjoying the view?” Moody questioned interrogatively, turning in the swiveling chair to face James.

“Are we going to the Malfoy Manor?” Moody shook his head immediately.

“That place is a suicide mission. Headquarters of the Death Eaters, innit?” James’ eyes widened at Moody’s bluntness.

“How did we find that out?” If the Death Eaters were this easy to find, then how easy was it to find the Order?

“Don’t worry, boy. They won’t find us. And the Death Eaters don’t care if we find their hovel. It’s so bloody well protected you’d blow up just setting foot on the property if you don’t belong there.” James nodded in agreement, pushing his glasses off and wiping them on his shirt.

“So you’re saying we get to go home?” James asked incredulously. James never got off missions early, and he’d never heard of Moony doing the same.

“Well, I don’t get to go home. But you do.” Moody gave James a crooked smile. “Got to make sure Potter Manor is still intact, yeah?”

 






(Sunday, January 25th, 1979)

 

“What does Sirius keep sending his patronus for?” Remus asked, disgruntled and annoyed at the incessant barking dog.

“Maybe something is wrong,” Marlene said casually, ducking as the dog made another circle around the room.

“He was never too good at sending messages,” Remus muttered. “Why isn’t Peter sending his?” he asked aloud.

“Maybe because Sirius is just trying to mess with us, as per freaking usual.” Marlene picked at her nails and threw her feet up on her desk. “And don’t worry yourself, R. You need to rest.” Remus rolled his eyes at Marlene’s assumption, but shrugged and shooed the patronus away from his head.

“Did anyone respond about the party?” he asked. Marlene shook her head.

“I think they’re probably too busy to answer, to be honest. Merlin, I can’t wait to get out of this chair!” she exclaimed angrily, letting her head fall into her hands. Remus looked at her pitifully.

“Why don’t we get out?” Remus asked, grabbing his coat and extending his hand to Marlene. She sunk back in her chair.

“No.” Remus took Marlene’s hand without question and tugged her out of her chair.

“C’mon, M. Let’s go get plastered.”

“The party’s tomorrow, Remus,” Marlene said factually, standing her ground.

“Well then we’ve got to warm up, haven’t we?” he asked, smirking as Marlene grinned up at him.

“Alright. Let’s go.” Marlene gripped his hand tighter, and the loose papers flew around the room as they disapparated together.   

 


Chapter 7: The Luck in the Few: Part I
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(October 1977)

“I don’t understand!” she said in frustration as James produced another flawless patronus. His stag galloped away over the lake. “How have you gotten so good at them already?” Lily waved her wand mechanically again, and a whisper of light came out, but nothing permanent.

“It’s all in the wrist, Lil,” he said softly, watching as Lily struggled to find the proper movement. He pulled himself up from the wooden floor and stood next to Lily on the edge of the dock. He placed his arm softly on hers, and Lily looked up at him quickly. She didn’t take her eyes off of him as he moved her arm slowly in a fluid motion.

“You try,” he whispered, stepping back a few inches and letting Lily try the charm on her own. Lily cleared her throat and prepared again.

“Expecto Patronum,” she breathed out. A small doe appeared from her wand. Timid at first, the doe stumbled before taking off in a stride around the boat house. The dock was silent for a moment, the only noise the creaking of boats and scuttling of mice.

Lily turned around angrily to face James, her hands on her hips.
“What, did you charm mine to be a doe?” James was awestruck, his eyebrows softened and he rubbed his glasses furiously into his shirt in an effort to clear them. “Just because you’re bloody obsessed with me doesn’t mean you can fool around with my schoolwork!” she exclaimed, tossing her wand in her satchel and dragging it over her shoulder.

James didn’t respond, but instead watched her head up the steps to the castle. She walked firmly up the hill, skipping every other step to get as far away from James as possible in the shortest possible amount of time.

“I’ll see you in Potions, Evans!” he yelled to her, his face falling into a familiar smirk as she gestured rudely back towards him.










(Monday, January 26th, 1979)


“Merlin!” Marlene exclaimed as Sirius, Dorcas, and Peter all apparated into her kitchen at the same time. They were quite disheveled at a moment’s glance, and Marlene couldn’t ignore the fear they held on their faces. “What’s with you?”

“It’s James’ house. They’re attacking,” Peter said through deep breaths. “Today.” Marlene furrowed her brow.

“Somebody translate,” she said in exhaustion. Dorcas and Sirius shared a glance that made Marlene frown again. Dorcas and Sirius rarely shared such grim glances.

"Well you see we were down in Australia, tailing Lucius and Narcissa, and we overheard something," Dorcas said carefully. Marlene raised an eyebrow as a cue for her to continue.

"We think they're planning an attack on Potter Manor for tonight," Sirius finished gravely, glancing up to see Marlene's reaction. Her fist clenched instinctively.

"What do you mean you think?" Sirius looked to Peter again.

"Well Lucius said he'd see Narcissa on the 26th at Potter Manor," Peter said hurriedly in order to go back to biting his nails.

Marlene nodded her head earnestly. "Oh sure," she said sarcastically, "there's no attack, Mr. Potter invited the newlyweds over for tea!" She shook her head at the three of them.

"Is this what the patronus was supposed to be about?" she asked, grabbing her wand from the table and heading to the back of the flat. They followed her quickly and without question.

"Where are you going, Mar?" Sirius asked, a hint of anger in his voice as well. She turned around to face Sirius on the spot, clearly livid.

"I'm going to floo to Dumbledore, something you should have done before coming to me. What did you think I'd be able to do Sirius?" Sirius clenched his jaw, and stared back at Marlene threateningly.


"Merlin forbid we wanted to inform you," he responded coldly. Her gaze went to the corner to avoid Sirius' eyes.

"Thank you," she said pointedly to Dorcas and Peter. "Now let's go."












"Something wrong, Potter?" Alastor Moody and James Potter were making their way over a field of dewy grass. James shivered in his coat as another chill passed over him.

"It's nothing. Just weird to be back, I think." James hadn't visited his childhood home since he and Lily moved into Godric’s Hollow in last September .

"Alright, well move on. We've got to get you back to London. Something about your wife's birthday," Moody muttered, hiking forward without James.

James' mouth fell open, and he stood still as if he was stuck in quicksand. "So you read my letters, too?" He murmured back, joining Moody as they approached the front gates. Neither acknowledged the other.

"Open it on up, Potter," he said, motioning to the intimidating gate. James stepped forward and performed some spells before pressing the palm of his right hand into the center of his family crest.
The gate slid open, and they walked through without issue. The mansion looked cold and ominous from the outside. James began walking forward, but Moody put out his arm before he could go anywhere.

"When is the last time you just walked into a secure mansion without checking it first?" He asked sharply, pushing James back by the chest and performing a revealing charm.

"No disrespect, Moody, but this is my house. My dad would've let me know if anything was wrong," he said, scoffing at Moody's paranoia.

"Think he'd still let you know if he was dead?"

James swallowed deeply, but kept quiet.

"All clear. Let's get inside. I need you to nab the Invisibility Cloak." James frowned at Moody, who was keeping his gaze straight at the mansion ahead.

“How did you-” James began, cutting himself off when he noticed a lamp turn on in the Upper East Wing of their Manor. He shook his head. Paranoia was getting to him.

"How did you know about the cloak?" James asked. Moody scoffed as the two approached the main doors to the Manor.

“It’s not too difficult to follow a lineage Potter. And how else would you have pulled off all those pranks you're so famous for?”

James began reciting incantations similar to those at the front gate in an effort to open the front doors.

“Red’s filled me in, said you used to be even more reckless. She didn’t understand how it was possible either.”

James blushed slightly, but it was disguised in the sharp wind. Of course Moody and Lily had private conversations about him. Everyone trusted Lily, he pondered, smirking slightly at the thought of Lily berating him as she used to.

“Alright, we’re in,” James said with a tone of finality and a click of the lock.
Moody quieted as the door creaked open slowly. James knew it would look deserted inside, but he wasn’t ready for what came before them.

There were papers strewn all over the place, documents and profiles spread out as if somebody was rifling through them when a tornado blew past. Portraits of Potter family members were hanging precariously off the walls, and they were mostly empty excepting a portrait of a pair of sleeping cats.
James looked up and saw the chandelier they were standing under swaying slightly. Moody glanced up and noticed the same, motioning with his finger for James to join him in the corner.

“What the bloody hell is going on?” James whispered frantically, plucking a mirror out of his knapsack and tapping it furiously.

“Put your damn two way mirror away. We don’t need Black mucking this up with his drunken roar,” Moody said, shoving the mirror back in the bag. James glared at Moody, but his attention was quickly diverted as the crash of what sounded like glass breaking rang from upstairs.

“He might know something,” James said under his breath, stashing the mirror anyway.

“What’s the fastest way to the apparition point?” Moody asked James, peering out from behind the large plant they were stowed behind.

“Are you mad?” James asked incredulously. “My dad is still here.” The silence fell around them for a moment.

“There’s no helping him until we get more members.” James shook his head and clenched his teeth.

“Death eaters are here now. If we leave, who knows what we’ll come back to?” Moody stared at James with his bright blue eyes.

“We leave now, Potter. We’ll come back with back-up.” Moody stood up straight, realizing that no one else was on the first floor.

“I’ll wait here, then,” James said stubbornly, standing up with Moody, but heading towards the staircase.

“Potter,” Moody hissed, glaring at him frighteningly.

“I’m staying,” James said, standing on the first step. “Get back quickly.” James and Moody stared each other down for a minute, both knowing the other would not back down.

“You know I’m right, don’t you?” Moody asked gently, his glare softening.

“Yeah,” James answered non-committally, glancing up the winding staircase.

“Alright then. Good luck, Potter.” Moody slipped out of the doors quietly, and James watched him run as fast as he could back into the woods.

He swallowed deeply and continued up the stairs slowly. the noises got louder as he approached the third floor. He looked down the dark corridor, and spotted flashes of light coming from underneath a door near the end of the hallway.

“Alright. Good luck, Potter,” James said to himself, turning the corner and making his way towards the room.

 










A/N: Hello everyone! It's nice to be back from the dead. I'm sorry to leave you on such a cliffhanger and with such a short chapter, but the climax of this arc is coming soon! 


Chapter 8: The Luck in the Few: Part II
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 (Monday, January 26th, 1979)




“There isn’t time, Professor!” Sirius slammed his hand down on the table as Dumbledore floated out from behind his desk.

“I’m not going to explain myself again, Mr. Black,” he said firmly, whispering something indistinctly to a portrait of a former Headmaster.

"Sirius is right! Why can't the five of us go right now?" Marlene asked desperately. Dumbledore sighed rather dramatically.

"I only wish we could, Miss McKinnon. That is not solely under my authorization, I'm afraid. We will have to wait to hear back from Arthur and Alastor. The Order of the Phoenix is a democratic organization. In the meantime, I suggest you contact everyone you need to."

"Ah," Peter exclaimed suddenly, shaking his hand as if a bee had stung him. The three others felt it, too, as four rings glowed red.

"You see, Professor?" Marlene said again frantically. "They must have already sent a team and they're in trouble!" Dumbledore gave his most piteous look, and Sirius rolled his eyes again.

"I'm going. There's no reason not to," Sirius interjected. Marlene nodded in agreement, looking for support from Dorcas and Peter.

"Doe?" she asked curiously. Dorcas shook her head and looked to the floor.

"We should wait," she said finally. "There's no telling that Mr. Potter is even home."

"He hasn't left the house since Annie died!" Marlene said in exasperation, sneering at Dorcas. "If you're not coming you better damn well be prepared at headquarters to treat whoever comes back bleeding out," Marlene said, pushing through Dorcas and Peter.

"Let's go," Marlene growled, grabbing Sirius' wrist and heading out of Dumbledore's office.

"Marlene, it's not worth it!" Dorcas called after her. Marlene stopped dead in her tracks, making Sirius slam into her shoulder. She spun around and faced Dorcas straight on.

"That man is family to me. It might be hard for you to understand, Ms. Broken-Home, but I love my family." Marlene’s nose twitched as she and Dorcas stared at each other intensely.

“Then just get out of here you insane bitch,” Dorcas said, her eyes staying locked with Marlene’s. Sirius and Peter did not move a muscle, but Dumbledore had his head stuck in the fireplace, speaking quickly to whoever was on the other end. Dumbledore stood up unexpectedly and cleared his throat.

“C’mon Sirius,” Marlene said, shaking her head at Dorcas once more.

“Be careful, Mr. Black, Ms. McKinnon,” Dumbledore warned, tipping a finger at them. “I cannot tell anyone that I know you’re going in. Being a part of the Order of the Phoenix means you abide by my rules, and leading the Order of the Phoenix means that I need to abide by the rules of the council. You won’t have my help out there.”

“Then why won’t you stop them?” Dorcas pleaded, leaning on the desk. Dumbledore blinked so quickly it seemed as though he winked.

“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about, Ms. Meadowes.” Stepping into the fire, Dumbledore was gone without another word.

 





 

Marlene and Sirius both landed with a thud behind the Potter Manor. Their heavy breathing was all that could be heard across the acres of the Potter property. Marlene stuck her head up and glanced at her mansion in the distance, remembering the times she and James would run across that lawn as children. There didn’t seem to be any disturbances.

“Your family is fine,” Sirius said gruffly, taking out his wand and scanning it over the surrounding area. “I met with Mark a week ago. They’ve gone into hiding.”

“You met with my brother without telling me?” Marlene asked bitterly. Sirius peeked at her through his long black hair. “Typical.” She whipped out her wand as well and assisted in scanning the ground. "Why are they in hiding anyway? Bloody supremacists," she hissed. 

"Apparently they're scared. Can't imagine why," he said sarcastically, shouldering past her. 

Marlene glared at the back of Sirius' head.

“I’ve got it,” he said, crouching down and pulling at the handle that stuck out from the grass. A small door opened up, the metal clanging as it hit the frozen ground.

“Where does this lead again?” Marlene asked, climbing in the tunnel after Sirius.

“We should hit the basement of the East wing in about five minutes if we hurry,” he said urgently, scaling down the ladder that was bolted against the wall of the secret passage.

“Do you hear that?” Marlene asked, jumping down onto the damp ground of the underground pathway. Sirius was ahead of her by a few feet, jogging as fast as he could in the low ceiling.

“Yeah. They’re definitely here.” Indistinctive shouts could be heard from the tunnel, and the yelling became more distant as they made their way farther down the tunnel. Marlene and Sirius walked in silence for a little while, each trying to make out any more indications as to how many people were in the mansion.

“We have to get to the back of the house. It sounded like they were in the study,” Sirius said, slowing down as the tunnel began to incline. A dim light shone through slats in the wooden floor of the basement, and Marlene and Sirius began pushing on the ceiling to try and find the exit. “You know, we haven’t been down here together in a long time, Marls,” Sirius mumbled as he continued trying to find the part of the ceiling that would come loose.

Marlene grunted, her fingertips just reaching a floorboard that wiggled tellingly. Sirius walked back to her and pushed the ceiling up effortlessly, smirking at her. Marlene raised her eyebrow at Sirius. “We can reminisce later. Now give me a boost,” she said darkly. She stepped into Sirius’ interlocked fingers, and jumped up, the floor creaking under her weight. She offered a hand to Sirius and helped lift him up into the dank cellar.

The fighting was evident now as their rings burnt brighter than ever. Marlene slipped hers off, and put it into her pocket, Sirius following suit. The pair first flipped their heads up suddenly as the basement door groaned open, and then looked to each other.

“Ready ‘kinnon?” Sirius asked, gripping his wand tightly. Footsteps fell quickly down the stairs, and the two stood next to each other firmly, their wands brandished.

“Ready Black.” A figure tumbled down the stairs.

“Stupefy!” they shouted at the same time, watching with horror as a bloodied Charles Potter crumpled in front of them from the collective force of their spells. Marlene raced forward to his body, and Sirius headed up the stairs without another thought, running into James on his way up the main staircase.

“Stay with me, Charles,” Marlene muttered, propping his head up on her thigh and wiping his wild hair out of his face. She placed the back of her hand on his forehead and feeling a temperature, placed a cooling charm over his body.

“Sirius, he’s losing a lot of blood! Get out of here and apparate to headquarters! I need Dorcas!” Marlene said nervously, waving her wand over his stomach and stitching him up clumsily.

“I’m kind of busy up here!” He yelled back, carrying a faint James down the stairs to lay next to his father.

“Dad?” James asked softly, his hand reaching out sloppily towards his father. Sirius made his way up the stairs again, but Marlene shouted out for him.

“Sirius! Get your ass back down here and help me!”

“Marlene the death eaters are still up there. I can catch them!” He said anxiously. Marlene could tell he was itching to fight.

“Sirius if you don’t get down here and help me save your family I will murder you later myself!” She growled up at him. Sirius breathed heavily, his brow furrowing as he saw Marlene shaking over the two bodies. He ran back down the stairs and threw a locking spell at the basement door.

“What can I do?” He asked. Marlene was the one who took a nursing class in Hogwarts.

“Grab me a towel, a piece of cloth, anything to stop the bleeding.” Sirius looked around and held up a roll of paper towels to which Marlene shook her head. “Give me your shirt,” she resolved. Sirius stripped his jacket and then his shirt, giving the thin t-shirt to Marlene without a second thought. He laid his jacket over James, who seemed to be shivering uncontrollably.

Marlene ripped the shirt with her teeth, and wrapped it firmly around Mr. Potter’s left leg as the stitches Marlene put in place had already begun to fall apart. Mr. Potter’s breathing slowed down considerably, and his color began returning to normal. Marlene let out a sigh of relief, and stepped over Mr. Potter to get to James.

“Marlene?” Sirius asked as she scanned his body for injury. She looked up at him, her eyes filled with terror. “Is that a bone?” he asked, pointing to a large protuberance in James’ arm.

“Shit,” she said, climbing over James to get to his right side. “I’m going to need you to hold him steady,” she said, locking eyes with Sirius. Sirius leaned over James and held his shoulders down tightly. “Don’t let him fall asleep,” she said, using her right hand to hold James’ forearm down. He screamed in pain, and Marlene gritted her teeth as he struggled against Sirius’ grip.

“Brackium Emendo,” she said sharply, letting out another sigh of relief as James screamed again and she saw the bone set back into place. Sirius slapped James’ face as his eyes started to flutter shut.

Sirius looked up at Marlene, and helped James lean up against the bannister. “We need to get them out of here,” Sirius said in urgency. Marlene nodded in agreement, and hoisted Mr. Potter up by the armpits. “Wingardium Leviosa,” she said firmly, watching his body levitate and making sure it did not hit the low ceiling.

“No!” James cried out suddenly, clutching his arm tenderly and standing up. His spit some blood out of him mouth and onto the floor. “No. We can’t leave,” he said strongly. Marlene looked at him as if he were crazy.

“Are you mad?” Sirius asked, pushing him towards the passageway to the outside.

“No!” he said again, ripping his arm out of Sirius’ hand. “They’ve got Lily.” A few tears slid down his cheeks. “Lily’s still in the house.” Sirius and Marlene looked at each other again in horror.

“Mate, it’s just us. No one else is here, what are we supposed to do?” Sirius asked desperately. James closed his eyes and wiped his hair out of his face.

“Marlene!” he said abruptly, making Marlene look up from Charles’ body which was still levitating above the entrance to the tunnel. “Take my dad to St. Mungo’s and hurry back here. If you have time, send a patronus to the Order.” Marlene nodded and headed down the tunnel, keeping her wand trained on Mr. Potter as she jumped back down. Sirius looked at James doubtfully.

“Do you really think you’re up for fighting right now?” he asked, taking his jacket back as James shrugged it off.

“I’m fine. Who knows what they’re doing to Lily right now? She’s the priority,” he said, making his way up to the first floor and not looking back to Sirius.

Sirius followed him up the stairs warily but with his wand still out. “How did you manage to get away?” Sirius asked pointlessly as he and James stepped over the bodies of death eaters on their way back up to the third floor. James ignored him again. “How many of them are there? Do you think we’ll be able to get to her?” he asked nervously, catching up to James by taking the steps two at a time.

“Mate!” He shouted angrily, pushing James up against the wall on the landing of the second floor. James’ eyes were filled with tears and his head fell forward as Sirius looked on in shock.

“He’s here,” James whispered, looking up at Sirius without lifting his head. Sirius’ breathing quieted, and silence filled the manor. “He’s torturing Lily. He is in my dad’s house, Padfoot,” James said, gripping Sirius’ shoulders. Sirius’ mouth opened in shock, but he quickly recovered, noticing how shaken James was.

“Even more reason to go get her back,” Sirius said firmly, pulling James in for a hug. James’ breathing slowed again, and Sirius could almost feel his resolve harden. “McKinnon will be back with help. Until then, we can show Voldemort what happens when you mess with a Marauder,” he said cockily, making James smirk against his shoulder. James stood back and sniffed in loudly.

“Let’s go,” he said without another question, heading for the stairs up to the third floor. Sirius followed quickly, unable to help himself from smiling. “There were four of them in the room with us. Narcissa Malfoy, Bellatrix Black, Lucius Malfoy, and Voldemort. I’m pretty sure I took out a Dolohov and Karkaroff, and my dad got three I think.” Sirius counted in his head.

“That’s only nine,” Sirius said curiously.

“Well it’s not like the exactly expected us to be here,” James said in anticipation, his adrenaline rising. “It’s a damn good thing Moody decided to make a pit stop.”

“He didn’t send anyone back?” Sirius asked as they approached the third floor. James put a finger to his lips, indicating that they were getting closer to the room.

“He sent the Prewett twins, Molly, and Lily,” James said quietly and somberly. “At least that’s what Lily said. I never got to see the Prewetts, but I think they were sent to St. Mungo’s, too.” James pointed forward to the door at the end of the hallway. A scream echoed from the study, and James nearly snarled.

“That’s Lily,” Sirius said in disbelief. He raised his wand higher as they neared the door, each footfall quieter than the last.

“I know.” James cleared his throat. “Listen,” he whispered. “I’ll go in first, pretend I’m giving up, beg them to release Lily.” Sirius nodded in agreement. They stopped walking and waited outside the door as another scream came from inside. James’ hand began shaking, but he continued. “You come bursting in when you hear them stop focusing on Lily. Got it?” Sirius nodded again feeling his heart pulsing heavily in his chest. They looked in each other’s eyes, and Sirius moved away from the doorway as James jerked his head to signal he was about to open the room. He took a deep, trembling breath, and slammed the door open.

 


Chapter 9: The Luck in the Few: Part III
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(Monday January 26th, 1979)

 

“Crucio!” He shouted, a smile twisting on his thin lips as Lily Potter writhed in her chair uncontrollably, the ropes tied around her wrists chaffing her skin. Another screech escaped her lips as Bellatrix Lestrange laid a second Cruciatus Curse atop Voldemort’s.

“If you just tell us where the Order of the Phoenix is meeting, we can leave peacefully,” Voldemort explained calmly, walking forward and pushing hair out of Lily’s face. She shivered slightly as he touched her face, but kept her mouth glued shut. Lily felt a line of blood slide down the side of her face, and struggled again as Lucius gripped her face roughly.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Lily said quietly. “I’m a secretary in the Ministry of Magic for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement,” she explained emphatically.

“Shut it, mudblood!” Bellatrix screamed, throwing a stinging hex Lily’s way, and laughing as her head jerked to the side in reaction. Lily gripped the arms of the wooden chair tighter.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she heaved through heavy breaths. Lucius snickered.

“Then what were you doing here?” He asked smarmily as if he’d figured out the whole plot.

“I was visiting my father-in-law! I was in the area, and we’ve been separated since the wedding.” Lily’s eyes moved to Narcissa’s, whose eyes widened in return. Voldemort paced around Lily’s chair, eyeing her subtly. Her nose twitched as he reached out to toy with her hair again.

“I have a proposition for you, Mrs. Potter.” Lily looked up at him fearfully, but felt her head being moved back to face the window with a flick of his wand. “You are a remarkably strong mudblood, and your husband’s lineage is nothing to scoff at.” Lily didn’t move again, but held her chin up higher.

The door suddenly whipped open, and James stood proudly in the doorframe. “Expelliarmus!” He shouted, his wand aimed at Voldemort. “Speak of the devil,” Voldemort said casually, letting his wand fall to the floor.

“Stupefy,” James exclaimed again, knocking Lucius back a few steps.

“Incarcerous!” Bellatrix hissed, tying James up in ropes similar to Lily’s. The wooden door slowly creaked shut once more, and Narcissa retrieved Voldemort’s wand from the floor.

“James,” Lily said in terror, unable to see him from her position, but able to see the reflection of a body hitting the floor in the window.

“Play easy, Bellatrix. We can’t exactly recruit the injured, can we?” Voldemort’s cloak swooshed as he crossed the room to face James. “What do you think, Mr. Potter? Care to join the winning side?” James said nothing, but glared heatedly at the figure in front of him.

“Now!” he barked randomly, the door slamming open dramatically once more, Sirius standing in the doorframe.

“Petrificus Totalus,” he yelled, aiming his wand at Bellatrix who was facing James, and was unable to see Sirius come in at all. Moody, Marlene, and Remus all flooded in after Sirius, and the chaos began.

“Lily,” Marlene said desperately, ducking as Lucius shot a curse towards her. “Relashio.” The cords that bound Lily came undone, and Lily nodded to Marlene in thanks. She ran to the corner where her wand lay, and grabbed it quickly in an attempt to arm herself, struggling to stay standing.

Voldemort was locked in battle with Remus and James after Remus unfettered him from Bellatrix’s ropes. Lucius was losing terribly to Moody, and Sirius was dueling seamlessly with Narcissa.

“You have quite the wand work, Potter,” Voldemort said calmly, knocking Remus down with a wave of his wand. Marlene took Remus’ spot as he fell, and managed to nick Voldemort’s shoulder with a stunning spell. Voldemort stumbled into Narcissa who fell forward, just missing Sirius’ last curse.

“It seems you’ve forgotten we were trained together, dear cousin,” Narcissa said calmly as she blocked yet another of Sirius’ spells.

“You haven’t got the greatest memory yourself, Cissa,” Sirius hissed back angrily. “Aresto momentum,” he bellowed, slowing Narcissa down considerably. “Stupefy!” Narcissa was stunned immediately, and fell to the floor next to Bellatrix.

“Band together, men,” Moody cried above the voices that cursed the opposing side. The members of the Order collected themselves on the North side of the house, each trying to separate from their duels.

Lucius helped Narcissa up gently, and rushed over to stand with Voldemort. Bellatrix lay still on the floor, and Lucius, Narcissa, and Voldemort stood on the opposite side of the room. A silence filled the air as both sides realized they were at a stalemate.

Another eerie smile crept up on Voldemort’s face in the silence. “Consider my offer, Potters,” he said mysteriously, grabbing Bellatrix’s hand and disapparating suddenly. The Malfoy’s followed suit, and soon there were only members of the Order of the Phoenix left. They seemed to let out a collective breath, and all looked to Moody who glared back scarily. 

“Let’s get back to headquarters,” he said with finality limping out of the room and slamming the door shut behind him.

Lily looked up at James and held his hand tightly, collapsing against his chest. “Thank Merlin,” she breathed out, relieved that it was over.
 








 

“Let me see that,” Dorcas said gently, reaching out to take Marlene’s shoulder in her hand. Marlene shrugged her off, wincing in the process.

“Don’t touch me,” she growled angrily. “Remus, will you come take a look at my shoulder?” she asked from her cot in headquarters. Remus made his way over to Marlene tiredly, and Dorcas switched with him, continuing the work he was doing on Lily’s wrists.

“You’ve got to forgive her, M. You know she was just looking out for you.” Marlene rolled her eyes, and placed her hand on top of Remus’.

“She was looking out for Sirius. She’s selfish.” Marlene struggled to sit up, and Remus helped her prop up against the wall of the old musty room.

“She’s scared. Give her a break. You know she meant well, and you know you love her.” Remus got up, and was about to leave Marlene when she stood suddenly and leaned on his shoulder for support.

“Why aren’t we at St. Mungo’s with the others, Remus?” He let out a slow breath and glanced at Marlene nervously.

“It’s something about Moody not wanting the press to hear about the fight. He wasn’t supposed to be there,” he said quickly, shrugging Marlene’s hand off discreetly and making his way to the small kitchen.

“None of us were supposed to be there,” Peter muttered from the kitchen table, sipping on a coffee and tapping his foot.

“And just where were you?” Marlene asked haughtily. Her hand went to her hip and Remus turned back to the stove to busy himself.

“I was keeping Mary occupied.” He took another large gulp of coffee before tossing his mug in the sink.

“Mary?” Marlene and Remus asked skeptically, following him out of the kitchen and back into the pseudo infirmary.

“She was sent to the Potter Manor when Charles showed up at St. Mungo’s. I’m not that great with dueling, but-“

“He’s the best liar I’ve ever met. Go easy on them, Marls. We all have jobs,” James interrupted. He ruffled Marlene’s hair and embraced her without hesitation.

“I know, James,” she mumbled into his shoulder.

“Guys, about Mary-,” Peter added.

“Wait,” Marlene said again. “The Prewetts are already at St. Mungo’s. Why does it matter if we go?”

“She’s right,” James agreed, scanning the room to see what Remus, Peter, and Dorcas were thinking. “Lily needs proper medical attention, sorry Dorcas.” Dorcas waved off the insult and went back to tending to Lily. Peter and Remus looked at each other uncomfortably and Peter nodded towards Remus, giving him a sign of consent.

“The Prewett twins were killed before they even got to the study where Lily was being held. Molly Weasley and Moody went back to St. Mungo’s to deal with the press there.” Marlene’s eyes glazed over in shock.

“The Prewetts were killed?” Lily asked from the other room. Dorcas helped her into a wheelchair and rolled her over to the group. Everyone looked at Lily strangely and Marlene gave them a look that clearly indicated that it was not okay to make a big deal out of it.

“She’s fine,” Dorcas reassured everyone. “After the adrenaline rush died down, her legs gave out. The ropes cut off circulation to her legs. She’ll be fine in a day or two.” Lily nodded sadly, rubbing her wrists absent-mindedly.

“I am fine. But Molly should not be at St. Mungo’s!” Lily exclaimed, slamming her fist down on the arm of her chair. “She needs to grieve properly.” Peter and Remus shared another look.

“That’s the reason Moody is there. He and Arthur aren’t so worried about everyone finding out about the attack.” Lily’s face softened sadly as she realized what was going on.

“It’s too hard to believe and the Daily Prophet wouldn’t print something so incriminating anyway. They’re trying to focus all the attention on the Prewett crisis.” Everyone’s gaze turned to the floor, and Peter sipped on another cup of coffee.

“It’s despicable,” Sirius said out of nowhere, heading back to the kitchen to grab a bottle of whiskey from the cabinet. Marlene glared at him pointedly, but everyone ignored it as Lily began crying quietly.

“I was with them not three days ago and now they’re dead!” She exclaimed through sobs, gripping her wheelchair tightly. Dorcas put her hand over Lily’s, and a tear slipped out of her eye as well. She wiped it away angrily.  

“It’s not our fault,” Marlene said suddenly, shaking her head and looking to the ground.

“Yes it is. It is our fault.” Everyone looked to Dorcas as she walked around the small table that they were crowded around to take the bottle of whiskey out of Sirius’ hand. “Somehow everything is our fault lately!” She slammed the bottle down on the table and it shattered loudly, making Peter cringe as he was seated straight across from it.

“Mary was right to ditch while she could.” The group looked around at each other uncomfortably and Peter opened his mouth to add something again, but shut it and slumped in his chair as Dorcas continued ranting. “We aren’t helping! Lily’s the only one who’s done any good, any actual maturing since Hogwarts. The rest of us are just little kids running around with wooden sticks.”

“Don’t be so negative, Dorcas,” Lily interjected through her tears. “We’re doing all we can.” James moved over to the left to hold Lily’s hand gently.

“No. You’re doing all you can, Lily. Marlene and I haven’t been right since Christmas, Remus doesn’t talk to us unless it’s about Marlene, Sirius just broke his month-long sober stint, Peter has been going to muggle gambling and I’m not supposed to tell anyone,” she went on, holding up a finger to Peter as he opened his mouth to protest, “and James only really pays attention when Moody is talking or Lily is given an assignment.”

Everyone either glared at Dorcas or looked away, realizing that she had exposed their less than helpful behavior. Silence fell upon the group as Dorcas took in a deep, unsettling breath. The pattering of rain on the small window near the ceiling of the basement was quiet, but loud enough to keep the silence full. Peter was about to open his mouth for the last time when the door to the basement creaked open gently. Everyone gripped their wands nervously.

“You lot are a mess.” Dorcas’ eyes widened in shock, and Remus’ mouth dropped open slightly in surprise as Peter smirked at the woman across the room. “Of course, you’ve always been a bit of a mess, I think.” Mary stood in the doorway.

 








 

A/N: I can't believe I got through to the death of the twins already! Don't worry, there will be acknowledgment of that in further chapters. As for now, you can contemplate why Mary is back! 

 


Chapter 10: The Fight in the Familiar
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 (April 22nd, 1976)

 

“I absolutely hate Transfiguration. I swear it. It’s not even necessary,” Marlene complained as she scribbled the end of her essay quickly.

“Don’t rush, Marlene.” Mary grew another patch of flowers in the ground next to the large oak tree the pair sat under.

“That’s easy for you to say!” Mary snickered, but didn’t take her eyes off the transforming grass. “You’ve got all of the gardening spells down already. I hate reviewing for O.W.L.’s.” Marlene tossed her parchment and quill to the side and leaned on Mary’s shoulder comfortably. “Why would we even need to know these spells for the exam? McGonagall’s got nothing left to teach us, that’s all,” she reasoned, closing her eyes and letting the warm spring air fall on her face.

“Don’t fall asleep on me, Marlene,” Mary warned, poking Marlene in the side with her wand. “You promised you’d help with Defense!” she whined, getting up thoughtlessly and letting Marlene fall to the side. 

“Hey!” Marlene sat up and brushed her hair of the weeds that tangled in her long brown mess. Mary looked down on Marlene pleadingly, and Marlene rolled her eyes. “Alright fine. Help me up, then.” She reached her arms up to Mary, and Mary pulled her up easily, making Marlene crash into her arms.

“It’s a wonder you’ve made it this far in dueling! You’re so damn clumsy,” she said, chuckling and regaining her balance as Mary gazed at her once again. 

“I probably wouldn’t have made it past fourth year if it weren’t for you, Marlene,” Mary said softly, stepping forward and holding Marlene’s forearm as she continued to try and stabilize herself.

“Oh don’t mollify me, Mary. You’re the smart one.” Marlene stood her ground, but rubbed her arm awkwardly as Mary looked down on her intensely.

“Not around you, I’m not,” Mary said hesitantly, letting her hand trail down Marlene’s arm and reach her hand.

“I guess not.” Marlene tilted her head up to meet Mary’s eyes. Mary’s eyes flicked down to Marlene’s lips for a second, but quickly came back up to look Marlene in the eye. The two girls stood still for a few more moments, breathing in each other’s breath and taking turns realizing that this was a bad idea.

“I like you, Marlene,” Mary breathed out suddenly, taking hold of Marlene’s other hand and squeezing it gently.

“I...I,” Marlene stuttered desperately as her heart pounded faster in her chest. “I’m late for a date with Sirius.” Mary’s hands dropped to her sides as Marlene rushed to get her satchel from the ground.

 







 

(January 30th, 1979)

 

It wasn’t rainy, and that made everybody kind of mad. Instead, the day of the Prewett funeral was all sharp wind and bright sun. Molly was meant to read the eulogy, but upon reaching the podium, she was overcome with tears. Arthur read the eulogy with difficulty, but managed through it as Molly held Fred in her arms. The entire Weasley family was present, including all four of Molly’s children, her mother (as her father had passed away the year before), and Cedrella and Septimus Weasley. And of course, the twins lay in their separate coffins only ten feet away from the small group that came to say goodbye. Fred and George, only just approaching the one year mark, would not remember their uncles; and that perhaps made Molly the saddest.

“It’s going to be so strange without them,” Dorcas whispered to Sirius, clutching his hand tightly. He nodded in agreeance, and tugged Dorcas in closer to him. Peter’s head was bowed low, and Mary looked on in sadness as all her friends mourned for two men she barely knew. Arthur put down Molly’s tear-stained notes as he finished her written eulogy. 

“I will never be able to thank my brother-in-laws enough for what they have done for my family and this world. They are truly two wonderful souls who I am lucky enough to have met in my lifetime.” Arthur took a deep breath as his eyes began to water, and he looked into Molly’s eyes again. “All I can say is, may we meet again.” The tension in the air released as Molly let out an audible cry, her knees buckling as she fell into her seat. Arthur rushed down to from the podium to her aid, and Arthur’s mother took Fred from her quickly, letting Molly finally crumble.

Bill pat his mother on the back while holding Charlie’s hand who held Percy’s. She placed a hand on top of her son’s, and looked up sadly, realizing that they were going to have to grow accustomed to events such as this. Molly’s mother stood next to Molly strongly, her eyes already red from the past couple of days of crying. As the caskets lowered into the ground, Mrs. Prewett stepped forward, a red rose in each hand. Molly’s sobs were noticeable, but were silenced as the two wooden trunks hit the ground with a loud thud. The roses were dropped into the graves.

“I can’t believe this.” Lily gripped James’ arm tightly, wrinkling the standard black dress robes that he’d purchased for his own mother’s funeral.  Marlene stared forward emptily, holding Mary’s hand in one hand and Remus’ in the other.

Moody, Alice, and Kingsley stood at the back of the service, appraising the small crowd for any signs of a disturbance. Frank stood up at the front of the gathering with Molly and the Prewetts and Weasleys. He was the closest to the twins after joining the Order.

“It’s time to go, Mrs. Weasley.” James and Lily shared similar sneers as the private security hired to monitor the funeral began ushering the family into their cars.

“You’d think people would have enough decency to let them mourn in peace,” James muttered angrily as he turned around and followed the others towards Peter’s muggle vehicle.

“I know, James,” Lily encouraged him, twining her arm behind his back and rubbing it consolingly. “But it’s important. You know that no one can find out the reason we’re affiliated with the Prewetts.”

“It just pisses me off!” he exclaimed, kicking the tire of the navy truck, scaring some pigeons off.

“James. Quiet down,” Lily warned, lacing her fingers through his and rubbing the back of his hand with her thumb. He glared down at her, and she up, neither relenting until James let out a heavy sigh.

“I’m sorry,” he mumbled, squeezing her hand tighter and opening up the back door of the large truck.

“I’ll meet you lot tomorrow, alright?” Sirius confirmed, turning on his motorbike as delicately as possible. Marlene rolled her eyes at the obnoxious rumbling and climbed in the back next to Lily and James. Dorcas hopped on the back of Sirius’ bike and rested her helmeted head against his back.

Everyone nodded in recognition. “Drive safe,” Remus called before climbing in the passenger seat next to Mary and slamming the door shut.

 









 

(January 31st, 1979)

 

“So what are you doing back here, Mary?” Sirius asked brusquely. Dorcas laid across his lap on the couch in the Potters’ family room.

“He means,” Dorcas corrected, slapping Sirius’ chest, “how have you been?” Dorcas sat up and pushed open the window. She pulled a cigarette out of Sirius’ breast pocket, and a lighter out of hers.

“I’ve been well, thank you,” she said, chuckling at Dorcas’ crassness. “A little more than bored with the Daily Prophet, to be honest.”

“Oh?” Dorcas lit her cigarette and slipped her lighter back in her shirt. Mary wrung her hands uncomfortably, and her eyes flicked over to Marlene unconsciously.

“I guess I’m not really supposed to talk about it, but the Prophet doesn’t have a very good reputation for printing the truth.”

“Yeah.” Peter came into the room and sat next to Mary on the loveseat opposite Dorcas and Sirius. “That’s where she comes in.” James and Marlene looked at Mary curiously from their seats on the chairs that surrounded the small coffee table.  

“What is it you’re doing, Mary?” Marlene asked, curiosity tainting her voice. Mary swallowed deeply in the presence of her former friend, but steadied herself on the arm of the couch.

“I’m just going to be scanning what makes it to the final copies of the Prophet basically.” The group continued their blank gazes and Marlene simply folded her arms, so Mary continued. “I was an assistant, but I got promoted to an editor in training. Fortunately, my boss is no better than Rita.”

Lily and Remus brought in the supper they’d been working on, and Sirius reached out gratefully to the pile of mashed potatoes. 

“Come to Padfoot,” he said childishly, poking Dorcas until she sat up from his lap. A smile broke on her face, and she stubbed her cigarette into the arm of Sirius’ leather jacket. She tossed it out the window and served herself and Sirius from the large platters.

“Anyway,” Mary continued, eyeing Sirius with distaste, “I’m going to make sure that nothing incriminating is printed.”

“That’s pretty rad, actually,” Sirius said, potatoes flying back onto his dish. “Who knew a reporter could do any good?” he asked, scoffing and transfiguring some coasters into napkins for the table.

“Sirius. Apologize to Mary!” Peter exclaimed, patting her on the back as she tightened her mouth due to his insinuation.

“I apologize, Mary. You have my utter regret,” he said facetiously, tossing his hair out of his face. Marlene scowled at Sirius, but cleared her face as Lily looked at her strangely.  

“Whatever,” she muttered, filling her plate after the others. “He can be jealous that I actually have a job.” James raised an eyebrow and looked at Marlene for help defending Sirius. Marlene rolled her eyes as her Gryffindor friends looked to her to stick up for Sirius.

“That wasn’t very nice, Mary.” Mary raised her eyebrows in a similar manner to James.

“Really, Marlene? Wasn’t very nice?” Mary asked scathingly. “I could lose my job over this!” she said in exasperation, in disbelief that no one else was on her side.

“Sorry Mary. It’s kind of hard for us to trust you.” Mary crossed her arms and turned to face Dorcas who had sat up next to Sirius.

“Guys, c’mon.” Peter looked around pleadingly to his friends. “She’s not doing any harm. This is legit! You can ask Dumbledore.”

“It doesn’t matter. She wasn’t willing to do this last year, what makes her so ready now? Is it Voldemort?” Sirius asked abrasively. Mary shook her head in frustration and put her plate back on the table.

“I deal with difficult people all day, Black. And quite frankly, I don’t even need your approval.” Mary grabbed a napkin and wiped her mouth hastily before standing up. “You are lucky I’m doing this, and just because you can’t understand how the real world works doesn’t mean I’m going to bow out to make you feel more comfortable.”

Sirius clenched his jaw and threw his fork down on his plate. Marlene jumped as the metal and ceramic clashed, and Remus rolled his eyes as Sirius stood up, too.

“Here we go,” Remus said tiredly, taking a sip from his glass of wine.

“Get the hell out of here then,” he growled, pointing to the door. Marlene stood up suddenly, and Dorcas let out a lengthy sigh. Everyone flipped there stares to Marlene who stood frozen, her mouth open, her eyes looking back and forth between Sirius and Mary.

“Marlene,” Dorcas said carefully, touching her best friend’s hand softly, urging her to sit back down. “Remember what happened the last time,” she whispered into Marlene’s ear as Marlene sunk into her chair.

“Are you deaf, too?” Sirius asked maniacally. “Get the hell out!”

“No! No, no, no!” Lily pounded her hand on an end table in the doorway. “It is my birthday and I would like one night of peace.” She breathed heavily while glaring at both Sirius and Mary. “If you two can’t solve this then you can both get out of my house.”

“I’m not the one who’s spying on us,” Sirius mumbled to himself.

“Why are you so fucking paranoid?” Marlene asked Sirius with anger, her face turning red. She stood up again and shook Dorcas’ hand off of her arm. Remus went to the kitchen to grab more wine.

“Why aren’t you?” he asked Marlene. He took his focus completely off Mary, who had sat back down next to Peter. “You honestly think you’re safe? You honestly don’t think your mother would rip your head off if she knew what you were up to?” Marlene rubbed her face and chuckled into her hands.

“My family isn’t like yours, Sirius! They’re not fucking death eaters so just shut your big, fat mouth, you understand?” Marlene gripped her wand suddenly, and James stopped her hand from aiming at Sirius.

“Put away your wand, Marlene,” James said carefully, letting go of her hand as she slowly retreated her wand back in the holster. Sirius made a short, loud laugh that made Mary cringe. Remus came back into the living room holding a bottle of red wine and stepped over Mary and Peter’s legs as if they weren’t in the middle of a screaming match.

“That doesn’t mean they don’t fucking hate you Marlene. God knows the only reason I fucking tolerate you is because you’re not afraid to stand up to them.” Marlene didn’t say another word. She stared at Sirius in fury.

“That’s it for me, I guess,” Peter said timidly. “Mary?” He gestured his arm to her, and she took it gainfully.

“Thank you Lily,” she uttered as Peter walked her out quickly. Lily still stood still in the doorway giving James a look that clearly said ‘we need to talk about Sirius’.

“Fuck you, Black,” Marlene murmured, kicking the edge of the table and storming into the kitchen.

“Fucking typical.” Sirius sat back in the couch as Remus headed back into the kitchen to console Marlene.

“Damn it, Sirius. Can’t we just have dinner for once?” James asked, following Lily upstairs to their bedroom.

“I love you.” Dorcas looked at Sirius sincerely, and kissed him quickly before getting up and heading towards the door. “You’re a great fucking prat, though.”

Sirius picked up Remus’ empty glass. He threw Remus’ glass. 

 

 

 







 

I really can't believe I've gotten this far into the story. I have already started planning out the next few chapters, so they should be out as soon as the queue allows! 

Any questions? Any predictions? Any complaints? Any ripping out your hair because of Sirius? Let me know in the review box! Thanks again everyone 









blackballet


Chapter 11: The Love in the Hate
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A/N: Fair warning, everyone. This chapter is the first appearance of my warning Scenes of a Sexual Nature!!  

 




 

(February 14th, 1979)



 

“I cannot believe we’re doing this again.” Lily smiled to James in the reflection of a mirror. He smiled back at her.

“I just asked Moody for some time off. It’s easy when you’re the warden’s favorite.” Lily quelled James’ arrogance by slapping his arm gently. “What’s not easy is this damn maze of mirrors! I knew there was a reason we didn’t come here last time,” he said, holding his stomach and feigning queasiness.

“Calm down, James, it’s not that hard.” She grabbed his hand and took a sharp right before slamming into another set of trick mirrors. Lily giggled as James stumbled and gripped onto the wall for support.

“Well.” Lily stood on her toes to reach James’ ear. “I wouldn’t expect a Quidditch star such as yourself to have such terribly horrific balance.” She gave James a kiss on the cheek and kept making her way through the maze without him.

“Lily!” he called, rubbing the red lipstick off of his cheek. He spotted a flash of red in the mirror down the hall and ran forward before slamming into yet another wall. “C’mon Lil!” he shouted, trying his best to follow her in the Hall of Mirrors in a small town in New York.

The lights became dimmer as he walked through the next few rooms. He hit the wall more frequently as it got darker, and he could no longer hear anyone else in the maze.

“Lily?” No one answered. “Lumos,” he said quietly. James swore he heard the crack of an apparition, and his hand went directly to his pocket. The wand buried in his coat glowed dimly, and James saw himself multiply in the mirrors.

“Boo.”

“Ah!” he yelped, jumping forward and turning around to face his assailant. Lily gave out a great cackle, and held onto James’ arm as she hunched over in bouts of laughter. “Very funny, Lily. Solid prank,” he said, expressionless and moody.

“Aw, come on darling, don’t be embarrassed,” Lily said with pity. James looked to Lily sadly, pushing his lips out and pouting.

“Nox.”

“James? James! You know you can’t get out of here without-,” A pair of lips cut her off suddenly, and Lily felt James chuckle against her lips. Lily raised her arms to James’ shoulders as she felt her back hit the cool glass wall. He broke away from her lips, and Lily smiled up at James again. “I told you this was a good idea,” she breathed out heavily, winding her hands in James’ hair as she pulled him back to her lips. She pulled James closer into her body and he moaned into her mouth as she pushed her body closer to his.

“Oh, Lily,” he said roughly, grabbing the back of her legs and lifting her up around his waist. Lily giggled quietly and pushed James’ hair back.

“Oh, James. Why is your hair always such a mess?” she asked breathily as he kissed her neck softly.

“That’s all your fault, love,” he answered quickly. He kissed Lily’s neck more roughly, leaving a mark right under her chin. He smirked as Lily let out a small moan.

“I can feel you smirking, arsehole,” she gritted out through her teeth, smacking him on the arm once more. Suddenly the lights came back to their full brightness.

“Oh god!” a mother said, shielding her child’s eyes quickly and glaring at the two pressed up against the wall. James dropped Lily quite suddenly and her lips disappeared behind her hands as the angry mother glared at them. “Get…out!” she shrieked while struggling to keep her two kids from prying her hands off their eyes.

Lily snickered as she grabbed James’ hand and ran towards the small red exit sign at the end of the next turn. “Move, James!” she yelled back to him as he stumbled over his feet while trying to right his glasses which had been knocked askew in their impromptu make-out session. They fell out of the curtains at the exit of the maze, and Lily leaned on James for support as she laughed wholeheartedly at their faux pas.

“I haven’t had this much fun,” James said through his laughs, “in such a long time, Lil.” The two were leaned up against the wall of the maze and laughing and wheezing until they ran out of breath.

“Me either, James.” Lily slid down the side of the wall, and James followed suit. “I love you so very much.” The couple truly looked at each other for the first time in a long time, and Lily couldn’t help but smile.

“Get up,” James said very unexpectedly, standing up and grabbing Lily’s hand.

“Whoa!” she said, her body being yanked up from the ground. “What, James? We were having a moment!” she shouted, stomping her foot and crossing her arms. James turned around and shook his hands and then ran them through his hair. “James?”

He turned around abruptly and got down onto one knee.

“Seriously, James. What is going on?” James smiled up at Lily and grabbed a small box out of his coat pocket. Lily pursed her lips and shook her head at him. “James. We are married already, I hope you know,” Lily said softly, trying to stop the smile from appearing on her lips.

“I know, I know Lily,” he said, waving his free hand at her. “I never got to propose to you. And this was planned.” Lily’s hands came to her face, and tears threatened to fall from her eyes. He cleared his throat seriously, and Lily let out another laugh as a small crowd formed around the couple.

“My dearest flower,” Lily grinned brightly at her childhood nickname. “My dearest flower,” he began again, “here we are, on our third anniversary in the place where we had our first date, and I can still tell you that I love you as much as I did the moment I laid eyes on you in First Year.” Lily threw her head back in laughter, remembering the first time she met James.

“I can still tell you that I will love you until the day that I die. I can still tell you that I’m better at a Patronus Charm than you, and I can still be positive that my charms are only so powerful because of you.” A murmur came from the crowd as Lily clutched her chest.

“James,” she interrupted, tears streaming down her face as he pulled out a piece of parchment.

“I am going to marry Lily Marie Evans,” he read, smiling up at Lily as she laughed through her tears. “Dated: February 14th, 1976.” He handed her the note and she crumpled it up and shoved it in her pocket. She laughed again and wiped her face of the streaming tears.

“Lily, will you marry me?” he asked proudly, adding a quiet ‘again’ to the end of his question.

“Of course, you idiot!” she exclaimed, kneeling on the ground with him and kissing him happily. “You are just about the most ceremonially sentimental prankster I have ever met.”

“I know,” he said quietly. “I love you, too.” There was a lot of applause. 

 




(February 1st, 1979)

 

Water dripped from a faucet on the other side of the flat. The kettle whistled on the stove. A dog barked from outside, and Marlene was not sure if it was Sirius or not. The kettle stopped whistling, and Marlene realized that Sirius was still inside the house.

Marlene got up from the bed and held the sheet around her body. It was still cold, but Sirius insisted on keeping the windows open at night because he got too hot. Unfortunately, he was right. Marlene was cold at night, but Sirius never ceased to feel like a radiator with skin.

Sirius came back in the room with two cups of tea.

“Morning.” Marlene’s eyes were still bloodshot. There was a lot of crying and yelling the night before.

“Good morning.” Sirius was in a pair of shorts. Marlene was still naked, and took the cup from him carefully. She sipped her tea, and placed it on Dorcas’ nightstand.

Dorcas’ nightstand. It had a lamp, a beaten up record player, a muggle alarm clock, and Marlene’s cream-colored bra.

“Come here,” she said, lifting up the blanket and motioning for Sirius to join her in bed again. He eased into the large bed and rested against the headrest. Marlene moved over and leaned on his chest. Sirius stroked Marlene’s dark hair and sipped on his tea. “Should I tell Dorcas?”

“No.” Sirius put his cup on his own nightstand, grabbed Marlene by the waist, and hoisted her up on top of his body. She straddled his lap and toyed with his hair absent-mindedly. Sirius sat up, and Marlene’s arms fell to Sirius’ shoulders. He grabbed the back of her neck and kissed her languidly. There was no problem getting Marlene to open up to Sirius anymore. She was open, bleeding and leaving herself on the ground for someone else to pick up.

Sirius held Marlene closer to him and gripped her hair tightly. She sighed loudly into his mouth, and shivered as the wind blew through the window again. Sirius was still excruciatingly hot. She peeled herself off of him, and he reached out for her to come back to him as she reached over to close the window.

Sirius slid down to lay in bed, and Marlene laid atop him, her chin resting on her hands on his chest.

“Do you really believe that? About my family?” Marlene asked quietly. Sirius tilted his head down slightly to look her in the eye. Green met grey and it made a storm.

“Yeah, I reckon I do.”

“As do I.” She sighed and turned on her cheek. Sirius stroked her hair off the side of her face, and she sighed again. “It’s really okay, though. At least I have Mark.” Sirius didn’t answer, but continued stroking her cheek delicately. “How’s Regulus?” Sirius’ hand stopped moving on her cheek, and Marlene turned back to look him in the eye. She pursed her lips and Sirius rolled his eyes.

He sighed. “I think he’s dead,” he said prophetically. Marlene gave him a sympathetic glance, and bent her head to kiss his chest.

“Come up here, Mickey.” Marlene gave him a small smirk and climbed up his torso to kiss him squarely on the lips. Sirius’ crooked smile appeared and he kissed Marlene back lazily. His rough fingertips traced her jaw lightly and Marlene laughed into his mouth. Sirius kissed her again and their teeth reverberated against each other’s.

“What?” he asked, flipping himself over her and kissing her neck slowly.

“It’s just weird. You love Dorcas.” Marlene closed her eyes and licked her lips. Her eyelashes fluttered back open. “Y-you love Dorcas, and you fuck me.” Sirius stopped and sighed into her neck. Her stomach fluttered as the air hit her wet skin.  

“Is this going to be a problem for you?” He hoisted Marlene up again and pushed her gently up against the bedpost. She looked into his eyes deeply and tempestuously.

“Has it ever before?” she finally answered. Sirius let go of Marlene and opened his arms slightly. She fell forward slowly and wrapped her arms around his neck tightly. Her chest heaved with a dry sob, and Sirius’ right hand came to hold her head against his shoulder. She sobbed again, and Sirius could feel her tears fall against his skin.

“It’ll be okay, Marls.” Marlene looked up to the ceiling from the crook of his neck and let the tears fall down her throat.

“I hope so, Sirius.” He started kissing her neck again and the tears disappeared into his mouth.

“Hey,” he said quietly, jabbing at her side softly. Marlene smiled and closed her eyes. His fingers grazed over her stomach and her muscles clenched unwillingly. She began laughing loudly. It was so loud and crisp and youthful that Sirius was sure his eardrums would burst. “C’mon, ‘kinnon, don’t you have any self-control?” he asked mockingly, never ceasing to tease her soft skin,

“Black! Please!” she squealed, cackling louder than ever and slamming her fists on his chest. “Stop, stop, stop, stop,” she said between breaths. He stopped tickling her abruptly, and Marlene shook slightly in the cold again. Without warning, he snuck his hands behind her knees and elicited another ceaseless series of snorts, giggles, and straight up shrieks from her.

“Black, please, let me breath!” she shouted again. “Please, please.” Sirius’ hands moved to her back and held Marlene steady as her laughter died down.

“Say it again,” he whispered quickly. He bent forward and leaned his head against hers. Her breath fell heavily on his face. “Say my name, Marlene.”

“Please.” Marlene paused and Sirius closed his eyes. Marlene watched his eyelids move. “Sirius, please.” Marlene smiled as she saw Sirius’ face soften. She tilted his chin up and kissed him gently and chastely. Marlene pushed herself off of Sirius and bounced back onto the bed.

Sirius followed suit and laid on the bed next to her.

“Where is Dorcas?” she asked curiously. Sirius turned on his side, pulled Marlene into his stomach, and kissed her shoulder.

“She’s with Alice Longbottom. They had to…umm…do something with…someone.” Marlene scoffed silently and turned around under Sirius’ arm to face him. She pressed her ear against his chest and hugged him tightly.

“What are you doing?” he questioned, rubbing her back gently.

“Just checking,” she said casually, pressing her head harder into his chest.

“Checking what?” he asked urgently, holding her tighter against him and kissing the top of her head.

“If you have a heart.” He laughed curtly and turned away from Marlene to grab his cup of tea.

“I have a heart.” He gulped and drank the last of his tea. “I have your heart, don’t I?” Marlene rolled her eyes and punched Sirius as hard as she could in the arm.

“You are such an arrogant arse, Black!” Sirius laughed again and turned back to Marlene, kissing her suddenly. Sirius’ hands traveled through her brown locks as he kissed her deeply. Marlene closed her eyes slowly, letting her gaze linger on Sirius’ face a little longer than necessary. She felt utterly helpless when Sirius kissed her.

Sirius broke away from Marlene, again rather suddenly. Her mouth was left propped ajar, and her eyes broke open. Sirius closed her jaw with his thumb gently and kissed her quickly. There was a silence in which Marlene cuddled into Sirius again. He let her curl up into him, because he felt utterly helpless without her.

“You love me Marley, don’t you?” Marlene laid still as Sirius’ hand ghosted down her petite frame.

“I’m not here to stroke your ego,” she said peacefully.

“Then what are you good for?” Marlene tilted her head at him and scowled deeply.

“Not much, I guess.” Sirius looked Marlene up and down as she closed her eyes and exhaled slowly. “You love me Sirius, don’t you?” Marlene was hopeless. Sirius sucked in a deep breath suddenly, and Marlene turned on her stomach to feel the bed pounding with their heartbeats.

“Not so much.” Marlene reached to Dorcas’ nightstand and slipped on her bra. She leaned down to the floor to pick up her underwear and stepped into them quickly. She pushed her hair out of her face and sat on the edge of the bed. Marlene looked at the blank wall in front of her. The wall was cracked, and Marlene was pretty sure that the bed used to rest against that wall.

“I really don’t love you Sirius,” Marlene said deliberately, sitting up straight as he came up behind her and hugged her around the stomach. He rested his chin on her shoulder and rubbed her torso tenderly.  

“I am sorry, Marlene. I really am.”

“I know. You just forget to say it sometimes.” Marlene didn’t understand how she could continue to forgive Sirius.

“How are things with Mary?” Marlene chuckled and shook her head as Sirius dragged her back to lay next to him.

“Can’t you leave well enough alone?” she asked as Sirius straddled Marlene cavalierly.

“I’m just curious!” he exclaimed, holding Marlene’s face with his left hand and leaving a quick kiss on her jaw. “Just wondering,” he hummed against her earlobe, “if Mary,” he whispered into her throat, “can do this.”      

 




 

A/N: Anynone surprised? Anyone happy? Anyone mad? Let me know!!

Love always

blackballet



Chapter 12: The Power in the Punch
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 (March 1979)



 

“Shut your fat mouth, Black!” she shouted back into her flat, laughing as she approached the door for what was expected to be the Chinese delivery service. “And grab some pounds from the kitchen table!”

“What the bloody hell are pounds again?” Sirius shouted back. Dorcas rolled her eyes and swung the front door open. Her mouth dropped open slightly and the girl smiled at Dorcas shyly. “Here,” Sirius said, pushing some notes into Dorcas’ hands.  “Merlin! Look who it is, Doe!” he exclaimed, opening the door wider and motioning for the girl to come in.

“Hello Coraline,” Dorcas said darkly, slamming the door behind her younger sister.

“Cory! How are you?” Sirius slung his arm around Dorcas’ sister’s shoulder and walked her over to the couch.

“All’s well, Sirius,” she said, blushing as her sister’s boyfriend gave her a kiss on the cheek.

“You want to help out with your luggage?” Dorcas asked begrudgingly, picking up the two trunks her sister left in the hallway.

“Don’t make our guest work,” Sirius amended, waving off Coraline as she started to get up. “I’ve got it.” Dorcas grabbed one bag and he grabbed the other. “Be nice,” he muttered to Dorcas. She hit him in the back of the knee with her piece of luggage.

“So what brings you here Coraline? Did mum finally kick you out?” Dorcas asked rudely.

“No,” Coraline growled, her demeanor changing to match Dorcas’ quickly. “I have something to ask you, though,” she said nervously. Sirius swallowed as Dorcas crossed her arms and waited for her sister to ask. Coraline rubbed her thin, knobby knees, and the doorbell rang again.

“I’ll get that,” Sirius called immediately. He got up and grabbed the pounds back from Dorcas.

“I’m not using anymore, I swear.” He heard Coraline pleading with Dorcas from the couch. Sirius gave all the money to the delivery woman, and her eyes widened.

“Keep the change,” he said nippily, shutting the door on her surprised face.

“Sirius that was 50 pounds!” Dorcas said, slapping her leg and turning to glare at him.

“Sorry love,” he said nonchalantly. He hurried into the kitchen as she turned back to Coraline.

“No way,” Dorcas hissed. “It is way too dangerous!” she yelled at her sister. Sirius looked over at the two and pondered for a minute on how similar they were. Coraline had the same deep scowl as Dorcas. She had the same lengthy legs, and the same bright hair.

Anywhere is better than home!” Coraline leaned forward on her legs and put her face in her hands.

“It’s just not an option, Coraline! You do realize we’re going through a war, right?” Coraline started sobbing, and Dorcas rolled her eyes, got up, and headed over to the kitchen.

“Dorcas! Go back over there and comfort your sister,” Sirius whispered, holding the fried rice just out of reach.

“You of all people should not be giving me family advice,” Dorcas jeered back, leaning forward on the marble countertop. “She wants to move in with us.” Sirius sighed and put the rice back on the counter. Dorcas tossed the chopsticks aside and grabbed a plastic fork.

“What happened?” Dorcas ignored him and ate the rice irritably. “Whatever,” he muttered, walking over to the couch and sitting next to Coraline.

“Dorcas please! You’re the only one I have left!” she cried out, leaning on Sirius and letting him comfort her as she sobbed.

“You didn’t get kicked out Coraline!” Dorcas shouted from the counter. “I did!” she roared. “I am not allowed back in that house.” She stormed out of the kitchen and threw the rice across the room. “Don’t be such an ungrateful little bitch!” She continued sobbing on Sirius’ shoulder, and Sirius rubbed her back, glaring at Dorcas.

“No!” she yelled at Sirius. “Don’t play into her fucking victim act! She just wants drug money.” Dorcas pulled out her wand and pointed it straight at her sister.

“Dorcas!” Coraline wept messily. She rubbed her nose and cowered behind Sirius.

“Get the fuck off my boyfriend!” she warned dangerously as Sirius stood up in front of Coraline.

“Dorcas, stop it!” Sirius yelled. She pointed her wand at him more firmly, and he brandished his own wand.

“Please stop, guys,” Coraline said, cradling her head in her hands.

“Expelliarmus!” Dorcas shouted at Sirius, making Coraline cry out in fear again. Sirius waved his wand simply and deflected her spell.

“Really?” he asked Dorcas in frustration. He stalked forward to her and ducked another spell that she threw his way. A picture of the two of them shattered next to Coraline, and she clutched her head tighter. He grabbed Dorcas’ wand out of her hand and tossed it across the room. “Get a grip, Dorcas!” he said, shaking her by the shoulders.

Dorcas’ eyes glazed over as she saw Coraline cowering on the corner of the sofa. Her shoulders relaxed, and the couple stood still as Coraline continued crying into the arm of the couch.

“He hit mum again, Doe.” Dorcas felt as if her chest was caving in, and she pushed Sirius out of the way. Coraline looked to her sister, and Dorcas walked forward to her sister slowly. Dorcas stepped forward and she saw her dad picking up a bottle of whiskey. Another step and the bottle was smashed on the floor. A third step and Coraline was crying in her cradle. She shook her head and looked at the Coraline in front of her.

“I can’t deal with this right now,” she said quickly, making a sharp right and slamming the door on her way out.    

 








 

Remus looked up from his notebook as a rapid knock rang out on the door. He closed the journal and tossed it on the kitchen island.

“Marlene!” Dorcas whined, rapping on the door again.

“Shit,” Remus muttered as he headed to open the door.

“Leenie!” she called again, using her nickname for Marlene. Remus opened the door and Dorcas held her fist in mid-air. “Oh. Hi Remus,” she calmly, clearing her throat.

“Dorcas,” he said, stepping back and giving her room to come in. She walked through the doorway and tossed her bag on the kitchen bar.

“What are you doing in Marlene’s flat?” Remus blushed slightly and rubbed his neck.

“I was just coming over to, and she has work, so,” he mumbled grabbing two glasses and filling them with water from the tap.

“Okay,” Dorcas said, shrugging and grabbing the glass from him.

“So what’s up?” he asked as Dorcas hovered in the doorway uncomfortably. She shrugged again and headed over towards Marlene’s room. Remus followed her, and stood back as she peeked in. “What, you don’t believe me?” Dorcas looked at him skeptically. “She’s at work, Dorcas.”

“That’s not what I don’t believe,” she said suggestively. She pushed open Marlene’s door and sat on the unmade bed as if she’d been living there her whole life.

“What’s wrong, Doe?” Remus asked softly as she pulled out a small vial and tipped it back into her mouth. Dorcas scrunched up her eyebrows and tossed the vial out the open window.

“It’s nothing much. My sister came to visit, and of course Sirius took her side.” She sighed and flipped over onto her stomach. Remus jumped as a muffled but guttural scream came out of her mouth. She flipped back onto her back.  

“You know he hates it when you fight.”

“He hates that someone else has a problem.” Remus came into the room and sat on the edge of Marlene’s bed. “He likes to pretend he’s the only one with any,” Dorcas muttered angrily. She grabbed the pillow next to her head and threw it over her face.

“Dorcas, don’t be dramatic.” Remus went to pat her on the back, but withdrew his hand again as she hoisted herself up to sit next to him on the edge.

“I’m not dramatic, Remus. I’m not exaggerating.” She knelt on the bed and leaned against Remus, who had suddenly gone as straight as a board. “He doesn’t fucking listen to me when she’s around. She’s a bloody drug addict,” Marlene emphasized as she leaned into Remus and spoke into his ear.

“You should hear her out.”

“Hear her out?” Dorcas asked angrily, throwing herself down on the bed again, this time behind Remus. “I’ve been hearing her out for 17 years now. It’s the same every time,” she explained, shaking her hands in the air above her head. “Either she’s sick, mum’s drunk, dad’s drunk, dad hit mum, mum hit dad, dad fucked another woman, mum fucked another man, I don’t come home enough,” she rambled listlessly, counting off the problems on her hands. Remus cut her off by grabbing her hands gently and putting them down on her stomach.

“Okay Dorcas. So your sister’s a drug addict.” Dorcas took in a deep breath and let it out through her nose. “And your parents are alcoholics.” Dorcas nodded. “And your father is abusive.” Remus squeezed Dorcas’ hands as her eyes began to tear.

“Remus, it feels like my eyes are burning.” Dorcas frowned as the tears slipped down the sides of her cheeks.

“You’re crying, Dorcas,” he said, trying to hide his smile behind his hand.

“Don’t laugh, you prat,” she choked out through her tears, slapping him on the back. She wiped her tears off with the back of her hands, and hauled herself up back to sit on the edge of the bed. Remus turned to sit next to her and held her hand tightly.

“It’s going to be okay, Dorcas.” Dorcas leaned onto Remus’ slouched shoulder and closed her eyes.

“I know. I love her, but I every time I give her a leg she takes an arm, too,” she grumbled. Dorcas started crying again, and more tears fell from her eyes onto Remus’ jumper. She gripped his hand tighter, her thin nails leaving marks on the back on his hand.

“I am going to make some tea. Then we can complain about Sirius and Coraline.”  Remus stood up tried to release Dorcas’ hand. She only gripped tighter and followed him into the kitchen. The large moon ghosted into the loft, and Remus avoided stepping into the light. Dorcas avoided the moonlight too, although she wasn’t sure why.

“It’s sympathy,” Remus said simply. He waved his wand and two cups floated out of the cabinet. Dorcas let go of his hand and put the kettle on the stove. Remus flexed his hand as she let go, stretching his fingers out.

“What is?” she asked as she turned the gas on.

“Not walking in the moonlight.” Dorcas turned to face Remus, as he’d sat down on one of the bar stools surrounding the island.

“You must be joking!” she exclaimed. She chuckled awkwardly as Remus shrugged again. She shied away from Remus, turning and picking out a tea bag.

“I read it somewhere. It’s probably rubbish, though,” Remus said nervously. “I mean, I don’t even know why I avoid the moonlight. It doesn’t really do anything to me, I swear,” he spit out, shoving his hand under the skylight in the ceiling. Dorcas looked at him disapprovingly.

“You can’t seriously believe that I’d judge you, Remus.” He shrugged again.

“Sorry.” Dorcas picked up the kettle as it began hissing, and poured into their cups. She put down the pot and faced the counter for a bit, tapping her nails on the counter. Remus sat patiently and watched as Dorcas began tapping her foot as well.

“Damn right, you’re sorry,” she snapped out, tossing the cups in the sink carelessly. She turned back to Remus with a large grin on her face. Remus tilted his head at her warily.

“What’re you up to, Doe?” She grabbed his wrist and dragged him into the living room, which was empty all but a couch that spanned the length of the window.

“We are not going to talk.” She licked her lips, tucked a piece of hair behind her ear, and raised her fists dangerously. “We are going to fight.” Remus looked over to the sink and sighed at the lost prospect of tea.

“No, we are not. We are on vacation for us to recuperate, not so we can get bloodied up by each other instead of Death Eaters,” Remus deadpanned. He tried to lower Dorcas’ hands, but she punched his palms away.

“Itty bitty Remus is scared?” she asked mockingly, sticking lower lip out at him. Remus scoffed and shook his head.

“I don’t want to hurt you, Dorcas. The full moon is in a couple nights and-,” Whack! Remus stumbled backwards and clutched his nose gingerly. “Fuck, Dorcas!” he cursed as blood starting flowing out of his nose. “I thought you were a Healer!” Dorcas raised her wand from her pocket and mended his nose easily.

“I am,” she said easily, tossing her wand on the couch and raising her fists again. “Are you afraid of hurting me now?” She cocked an eyebrow and Remus shook his head at her.

“I warned you,” he said, feeling the bridge of his nose as feeling started returning to his face. Remus motioned for her to come forward and Dorcas charged at him recklessly. Remus ducked and hit Dorcas in her torso with his shoulder. He lifted her up by the thighs and tossed her back down onto the couch. Her head bounced back on the cushion and Dorcas let her head fall back as she let out a short laugh.

She stood back up and launched herself at Remus again, this time jumping on his back as he walked away from her. He grunted as she landed on his back without warning, and tried swatting at her as she flipped over his shoulders and landed on the ground in front of him. By the time Remus realized she wasn’t on his back anymore, she’d already punched him in the face again.

Dorcas aimed her fist a second time, and Remus ducked as she threw her punch. She punched him with her left fist when he ducked, and blood came spurting out of him mouth. Remus rested on his knees and spit the blood out of his mouth.

“Come on, Remus!” she yelled crazily at him, her eyes wide with enthusiasm. He stood up and put his fists in front of his face. “Hit me!” Remus shook his head again, but threw a punch towards Dorcas’ face. She caught his wrist and flipped him around so his back was pressed to her chest, his own arm now choking him. “Why aren’t you trying?” she asked angrily as he struggled slightly to get free.

Remus sent his free elbow back into Dorcas’ stomach and she let out a gasping breath. Remus freed his wrist from her grip. He flipped around on top of himself and grabbed Dorcas’ wrists, twisting them behind her back tightly.

She struggled against Remus, trying to find a way to either get out of the grip or injure Remus so he would let her free.

“Give up?” he asked, stepping an inch closer to her and standing on her feet. She clenched her teeth and looked up at the ceiling as his weight piled on her toes. She struggled against him some more, but that only made Remus tighten his grip around her wrists.

She looked back into Remus’ eyes and felt her heart pounding in her chest and her breath coming in and out heavily. He smirked slightly. It wasn’t like Sirius’ smirk. It was kind of soft. And knowing. And apologetic. But it was also still snarky and arrogant and a little bit sexy.

Remus felt his smirk appear on his face and did his best to hide it, but he was never the one with the poker face. That’s Peter. Dorcas glared at him, but he could see the pain behind her eyes. He tried to loosen his grip, but honestly, he was more afraid of what Dorcas would do to him if he let her win than what would happen if he didn’t let her.

And then Dorcas’ lips were on Remus’, rough and angry and tight and soft and buttery and lovely all the same. Remus loosened his grip on her wrists, and raised his hands up to hold her body closer to him. Dorcas breathed out as her arms were released. She broke apart from Remus and felt her chest rising and falling against his. Her blue eyes were electrified as she stared into Remus. He let out a heavy sigh and dropped his hands to her shoulders, letting his head fall forward.

“I’m sorry,” he said shamefully, dropping his hands and stepping back from Dorcas a bit. She grabbed his hand, and Remus’ breath hitched as she took his other hand too. They faced each other again, and Dorcas let go of his hands. Her fingertips lingered on his arms, and she traced her fingers up his forearms and over his shoulders. She rested her arms on his shoulders and leaned her forehead against his. Remus took in a shuddering breath and closed his eyes before kissing Dorcas firmly.

She tilted her head to the right and pressed her body up against Remus fully. Dorcas smiled against his lips as Remus bit her bottom lip carefully. She whined quietly and he ran his hands up the side of her body, unlinking her arms from behind his neck. His hands gripped the sides of her face, and Dorcas ground her body against his roughly. Remus broke apart from Dorcas suddenly and looked into her darkened eyes. He let his hands fall from her face to her neck, and his thumbs trailed along her defined jawline roughly.

“Remus,” Dorcas said firmly, holding her own neck above his wide hands.

“We shouldn’t,” he said suddenly, fear setting into his eyes as he thought of Sirius. He ripped his hands off her neck and walked past her to sit on the couch. Dorcas turned to face him, her mouth pressed shut.

“It’s not your fault,” she assured him. She walked towards him slowly and sat down, keeping at least a foot between them. 

“I should’ve known.” He shook his head and slouched forward, resting his head in his hands.

“No. It’s my fault, Remus,” she stated directly. She picked at the ripped hem of her shirt. “I haven’t had sex with Sirius since the Prewetts died,” she said bluntly. Remus looked to her with his wide brown eyes and raised an eyebrow.

“And you thought I’d do just as well?” he asked in disgust.

“I came here looking for Marlene,” she rebuked angrily. “At least we solved that mystery,” she mumbled, tumbling a broken thread in her fingers.

“What does that mean?” he demanded. Dorcas smiled sadistically.

“You’re definitely not fucking Marlene.” Remus leaned his head against the back of the couch and laughed freely.

“No. I am not fucking Marlene.” Dorcas turned her head to look at Remus and found him rubbing his mouth gently and checking the back of his hand for blood. She rubbed under her nose and glanced at her finger.

“Oh we’re not, Remus?” The door slammed behind Marlene as she let it fall out of her hands. She rose her eyebrow and tossed her keys in the bowl by her door. Dorcas stood up and ran to Marlene, giving her a great hug, and Remus blushed darkly from the couch.

“Thank Merlin, Leenie. I’ve so much to tell you.”

“So we’re talking now?” Marlene asked Dorcas bitterly.

“Yes. This is important. It’s about Coraline!” Dorcas whined, tugging on Marlene’s jacket. Marlene rolled her eyes and walked by Dorcas to put her groceries on the counter.

“Alright. Help me make dinner and we’ll talk.”

“Dorcas!” Remus hissed suddenly, grabbing her arms and dragging her towards the bathroom.

“I guess I’ll be back,” Dorcas said in exasperation. Marlene simply shrugged without looking up from chopping up the celery she’d just purchased. Remus shoved Dorcas in the bathroom and slammed the door shut behind them.

“What?” Remus turned on the faucet and grabbed a hand towel from the rack.

“You’ve got blood on your mouth,” he griped, wiping the bottom half of her face softly with the towel.  

“Oh,” she said, muffled through the towel. She raised her hand up to Remus’ face and rubbed his cheek gently. She began scratching at his cheek with her nail, and Remus swatted her away from his face.

“Well you’ve got a glob!” she clarified as Remus looked at her disapprovingly. Dorcas held out her hand for the towel, and Remus handed it to her. She began rubbing his face, too, until all the blood had disappeared.

Dorcas turned to the sink and started rinsing out the wash rag. She twisted it in her hands until the water ran clear and then handed it to Remus. He took it from her and turned to leave the small bathroom.

“Wait, Remus,” Dorcas said quickly. Remus turned around and leaned in the doorway.

“What Dorcas?”

“Episkey,” she spat out. Remus sucked in his teeth as the considerable swelling in his cheek came down. “Sorry. It’s better when you don’t know it’s coming.”

“It is, is it?” Remus glanced at her and smirked again. Dorcas’ lips parted.

“I’ve never had any complaints.” She swallowed dryly and actively looked away from Remus as he peeled off his jumper. He wore a thin, white tee shirt that dipped lower than Dorcas liked and was torn in more places than she could stand.

“Merlin. I liked this,” Remus muttered to himself. He came back to the sink ran his jumper under the faucet, trying to take out the dried blood. He angled the sweater, and splashed himself accidentally, and Dorcas sat down on the toilet seat cover as her knees gave out.

He began to take his shirt off and Dorcas yelped uncontrollably. Remus looked at her in a mixture of pity and fear.

“Don’t take that off Remus,” she warned. “I can’t be held,” she gulped again, “responsible.” Remus’ eyes widened and he blushed quite darkly.

“Dorcas come help me!” Marlene yelled from the kitchen. Dorcas stood up, breaking from her spell. She shook her head to get her hair out of her face and looked at Remus directly.

“Coming!” she yelled to Marlene. Dorcas looked back at Remus quickly, and then rushed out to the kitchen.

Remus gulped. This war brought a lot of pressure.

 






 

A/N: Loving it or hating it? Please let me know! 








blackballet


Chapter 13: The Trust in the Trick
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 (May 1979)



 

Mary leaned back in her chair and kicked off her heels quickly. The work with the Order was truly tiring her out, and she couldn’t understand how Marlene did it. She was working the night shift at the Daily Prophet’s headquarters, and this is when she did her real work. She cracked her knuckles and pulled out her typewriter. She reached in the drawer to her left and pulled out the final copy of the Prophet which was set to run in two days. Now it was up to her to edit it without anyone realizing it.

It was small things, like changing renegades to civil workers. It was just supposed to help keep the efforts of the Order in a good light. It still wasn’t reporting, her true love, but it was something better than having Lucius Malfoy dictate what was printed. The only reason she even did it was for her other true love: Marlene.

She yawned and put the final copy on her desk, and got to work re-writing it. At least there was something positive about this broken down system. Mary leaned over the typewriter and started smacking the keys quickly. She glanced at the clock on her wall- it was 10 PM, and she had to be out of the building by 12 or the motion alarms would start going off.

Mary looked up from the black keys and stopped typing. She could’ve sworn she heard someone open the door on the main floor. But that couldn’t be right. Roberta was still downstairs until 11:30 anyway. Mary shook her head and shivered as her hair brushed against her neck. She rolled back her shoulders and got back to typing.

It’s been a long day. She’d been there since eight in the morning and only gone out for lunch. She heard a stair creak and slammed her hand on the desk again and pushed back from her desk.

“This is ridiculous,” she muttered, heading towards the door. She pushed it open and stuck her head out. It was pitch black in the long corridor, and she slipped her wand out of her cloak. “Lumos.” The corridor lit slightly, but she couldn’t see more than ten feet in front of her. “Lumos Maxima!” she said more proudly, flourishing her wand. Most of the floor lit up before her eyes, and Mary spotted nothing out of the ordinary. A few quills were littered on the floor, but that was normal. Parchment was stuffed into bins all over the floor, but that was expected.

She slammed her door shut as she went back inside her office. She yawned again upon hitting her chair, and she shook her head again.

“No one can know,” she murmured, “No one can know.”

 

 

The sun shone brightly into Mary’s office the next morning. The first final copy of the Daily Prophet was scattered on the floor next to her, and she was laid across her typewriter. The paper was certainly ruined. It read, ‘No one can know. No one can knowjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk’. After that, the k’s began to fade out until the typewriter ran out of ink. Mary snorted as she woke up and shook her head nervously. She was breathing heavily, and looked around for the final edition before she spotted it in disarray on the floor.

“Good morning, Mary.” Mary’s mouth dropped open and she began hyperventilating. “Now that’s not a good idea,” the deep voice warned, wagging a finger as Mary stood up and looked to the door. A large man, cloaked completely in black, sat opposite Mary in the chair across from her desk. It was she could do to stop from crying or laughing or a mixture of both. Here was a man in a black cloak with an indistinguishable face and gloved hands sitting in the small wooden chair meant for prospective clients. Mary clamped her mouth shut and sat in her chair silently. The two stared each other down, or Mary would’ve done if she could see his eyes.

“What can I do for you?” Her voice wavered, but her body did not. Mary almost felt him smile.

“We would like you do the same for us.” Mary frowned deeply in genuine confusion.

“What do you mean?” The man stood up.

We, would like you to do the same for us.” Mary’s mouth fell open again upon realizing who, what, this was.

“I-I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she stuttered out. She leaned back in her chair and attempted to kick the papers under her desk.

“Mary. You can do many things. One thing you cannot do is play dumb.” Mary swallowed deeply and sat up straight in her chair again. “You will continue your collaboration with the Order of the Phoenix, and will additionally stop any press about the Death Eaters from being released. You will not tell anyone about this. If the Order of the Phoenix is contacted about this matter, your family will be killed.” The man stuck his hand inside his cloak and pulled out photos of her mother, father, and twin brothers.

Mary’s hand went to her mouth and tears started streaming down her face without warning. They were just simple enchanted photos. Some of her mother getting groceries, one of her father coming back from his office, and a couple of the twins playing football.

“How can you?” she asked desperately, grasping the pictures and feeling overwhelmingly guilty that she hadn’t visited them in the past four months.

"Goodbye Mary." The man walked out of her room without another word. She sat back in her office chair, confused as to how no one else noticed the mysterious figure coming out onto the main floor. She just could not believe any of this. She was muggleborn. What would they want with her anyway?

 

 

Peter was very, very tired. It was hard to face his mother. She did not speak to him anymore, but at least he could sneak in and be with her when she was sleeping. He was pretty sure she hated him, and he understood why. He hated himself too. The bell rang out from the basement, and Peter woke from his trance. He picked up the tray with the sunny-side up egg. There was a smiley-face made of bacon, and a glass of orange juice.

He walked downstairs precariously into the darkness. He switched on the light, and illuminated the small room with a bed, a television, and a small bathroom with a shower. His mother, frail but strong, lay on the bed silently and waited for her son to leave the tray on her small table.

“Eggs and bacon, mum,” Peter said quietly, not meeting his mother’s eyes. She kept still on the bed, and Peter turned to head back upstairs. He heard a knock at the door and rushed up the stairs, shutting the door quietly behind him. He tossed the pans in the sink quickly and flicked his wand to shut any drawers and cabinets he’d opened. He tossed his wand across the room and ran his hand through his stringy hair.

He peered through the small peephole, and saw a strange woman standing outside his home. She looked vaguely familiar. She pulled at her fingers anxiously, and shook her head slightly.

“Who is it?” Peter asked cautiously.

“It’s Mare-Bare!” she said cheerfully. She didn’t have a smile on her face. In fact, she looked rather gaunt. Mary had told him about that nickname. He opened the door and plastered a smile on his face.

“Marcia!” he exclaimed, dragging her into a reluctant hug. He felt Mary shivering beneath him, and took her inside the house. “Accio,” he whispered. His wand flew over to his hand, and he aimed it at the blinds. They turned down gradually, and Mary took a seat in the windowless corner of the small dining room. He turned to face her, and rushed over to sit next to her at the table. Mary shook her head again as the Polyjuice Potion she’d taken wore off.

“Peter, it’s me, Mary.” Peter nodded and rubbed the back of her hand.

“I know, Mary, I know. What are you doing here?” he asked desperately.

“I don’t know if I can,” she trailed off, her eyes darting around quickly. Her hair was the last thing to return to normal, and her overgrown fringe finally reflected her true image.

“It’s safe here. The house is safe, I promise.” Peter knew what this was about. He was hoping for Mary to come to him and not Marlene. He could only be grateful she did.

“You-Know-Who…he wants me to…edit the Prophet!” she sputtered out, laughing wetly as her hot tears started falling rapidly. “The Order of the Phoenix and The Death Eaters want me to do my job!” Peter patted her on the back awkwardly, but she didn’t notice. She shuddered again and started sobbing loudly. She started screaming as she cried. She was drooling on the table and sniffling through her tears. Her sobs ripped open throat in a way that had never been done before.

“It will be okay, Mary.” She opened and closed her mouth like a fish, but nothing came out. She howled louder and gripped Peter’s forearm tightly. She wiped her mouth with the back of her arm, but nothing would stop her sobbing.

“Why would he think I can do this?” she choked out, her voice ravaged by her crying. Peter let her hang onto him as she started up again.

“Who?” Peter asked earnestly, excited that she was able to talk again.

“Dublemore!” she said through sniffles. “Why would he ask me?” she screamed, throwing her body down on the table in front of her.

“Because you are strong enough,” Peter reassured her. Mary coughed uncontrollably and Peter hit her on the back. More spit flew out of her mouth, and Peter scrunched his nose, but cleaned his table with a wave of his wand.  Mary couldn’t regulate her breathing, and Peter continued rubbing her back caringly. “You were chosen for this for a reason.”

“I have no reason. I’m not chosen. I’m just Mary,” she whispered. “And I can’t take this anymore.” Mary breathed loudly, sniffling every now and then as Peter sat in silence with her.

“I think you should do it,” he said quickly. He avoided her gaze as Mary looked to him in surprise. She furrowed her brow, and her lips quivered as tears rose up in her eyes again.

“Peter,” she said in disbelief.

“Mary, I’m not joking.” She shuddered again and let Peter hug her tightly. He sighed with determination. “I don’t think there’s anything else you can do.”

“I’m really scared, Peter.” Peter nodded in sympathy.

“I know exactly how you feel,” he stammered out, looking to the basement door.

 










 

“Either way, I wouldn’t trust her if she pledged herself to the Order and killed Voldemort herself.” Sirius took another sip of water sulkily as the other three boys took swigs from their butterbeer.

“C’mon, Padfoot. She’s not all bad,” James interjected, looking to Peter quickly who was silently picking at his fingernails.

“The last time we trusted her she abandoned us!”

“We were seventeen,” Remus rationalized. “Hell, we were all scared.”

“I wasn’t,” Sirius said proudly, sitting up straighter and smirking cockily.

“That’s ‘cos you’re stupid,” Peter muttered into his glass. Sirius laughed and pat Peter on the back.

“That’s true, Pete.” Peter sat up, his back stiffening.

“And we all know the real reason you don’t trust Mary,” he snarled. Remus covered his mouth and snorted into his palm. James looked warily from Peter to Sirius.

“You think I still care about that?” Peter cowered slightly under Sirius’ fiery temper. “We don’t all hang on to our school crushes, Peter.” Peter’s nose twitched as Sirius dismissed him and turned to talk to James.

“Hey,” Peter squeaked out. “Watch what you say about Mary.” He said angrily, pushing his chair back from the table and standing up.

“What are you going to do about it?” Sirius threatened Peter, turning away from James to face him.

“Sirius.” James grabbed Sirius’ arm, and Sirius looked back at James. Sirius shrugged his arm out of James’ hand.

“Its fine, James,” Sirius said casually, waving him off. He took off the ring on his pinky finger and tossed it on the table. “Wormtail just wants to let off a little steam, isn’t that right, Pete?” Peter’s mouth tightened and his nostrils flared.

“In the middle of your flat?” Remus asked in boredom, picking up the Order of the Phoenix ring and toying with it before tossing it back on the table.

“If need be,” Sirius said dangerously, leering at Peter. “Just like Mary. She’ll do anything in the middle of your house, won’t she Peter?” he asked suggestively.

“Is there a reason you need to be so provocative?” James asked lazily, taking off his glasses and rubbing them in his shirt.

“It’s my strong suit, Prongs. Just like Mary,” he gritted out through his teeth.

“Just shut it, Sirius!” Peter growled.

“Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary,” Sirius mocked joyfully. “Mary listens to me, Mary likes me, Mary doesn’t like the other marauders,” he said in a high-pitched voice. Peter threw out his fist and punched Sirius square on the nose.

Peter and James looked at each other in surprise as Sirius stumbled back into his chair. He pinched his nose, sat down, and glanced up at Peter through his hair. He raised his eyebrows as Peter’s nose twitched again.

“Now that wasn’t so hard, was it Peter?” he asked cockily. He grabbed a handkerchief from his jean pocket and held it up to his nose.

“You are such an aggravating prat,” Peter said moodily and sat down in his chair again, shaking his hand as a bruise began to form.

“I know Pete. But I’m sure you feel better.”

“I would’ve felt better if you’d just backed off.”

“Alright!” Remus interjected, grabbing Peter’s hand and waving his wand over it to help the swelling go down. “You are all children, you know?” he said as James bent over in silent laughter.

“It’s all in good fun, right Peter?” Sirius looked at Peter intensely. Peter glared back at Sirius.

“You’re a terrible friend, Sirius,” he answered, scoffing and tossing his ring back to him.

“Sorry Peter. I don’t trust Mary McDonald.” James and Remus looked at each other again quickly.

“Yeah, well…you should.”

 

 










A/N: So, come on. How many of you saw this coming?


Chapter 14: The Destruction in the Death
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

A/N: TW- there is reference to drug abuse in this chapter specifically.

 




 

(June 10th, 1978)

 

“So, Mr. Black.” Sirius smiled brightly at his favorite teacher.

“Please, call me Sirius,” he said smoothly as if he and Professor McGonagall were out on a first date.

“Sirius,” she said warningly, gripping her quill austerely.

“Yes?” he asked coyly, grabbing a cookie from the tin next to her.

“You’ve written nothing down in your aspirations column.” She held up Sirius’ request for a recommendation letter.

“I don’t have any aspirations, Minnie,” he said through the crumbs that fell into his lap. McGonagall produced a napkin from her desk drawer and handed it to Sirius pointedly.

“I’m writing you a recommendation to be accepted into the Auror Program. This isn’t something you should take lightly.” Sirius finished his cookie and leaned forward on his elbows.

“Look, Professor. Let’s be honest, here.” Sirius stopped talking until McGonagall looked up slowly from his application for her recommendation. “I’m doing this to fill out a favor to Evans. You know her, she gets all twitchy if we don’t plan.”

“Miss Evans is right to be twitchy,” she spat out angrily, crumpling up the paper suddenly. Sirius sat back in his chair as Professor McGonagall sat forward. Her eyes seared intimidation into his. “I suggest you take a second look at your form,” she said calmly, handing him a sheet from the top of a stack of papers. Sirius’ eyes shifted to look at the paper she handed him, and he took it reluctantly.

“Thanks, Minnie,” he said casually, grabbing his bag from the floor and heading out of her office without another glance. Minerva put her head in her hands as Sirius let the door close behind him. “But Professor?” she heard quietly through the door.

“Yes?” The doorknob turned, but the door didn’t budge.

“Do you think they won’t accept me because I’m a Black?” he asked swiftly as if he had been pondering that question for a while.

“Just get me that form, Sirius,” Minerva said with a sigh of relief. The doorknob turned back to its neutral position as Sirius let go of it from the other side.

 

(June 10th, 1979)

 

“Sirius?” Dorcas held the landline close to her ear. She heard Sirius breathing on the other end. The two had installed a phone in Sirius’ house at the end of school last year. “I know you’re still mad at me,” she said shakily, gripping the phone tighter as it started slipping in her sweaty hands. “I’m still mad at you, too. I need you to come over, please,” she whispered, leaning her head against the wall where the phone was mounted.

Sirius stayed silent on the other end of the phone, and Dorcas peeled the wallpaper with her free hand. She took a deep breath and began speaking very quickly.

“Sirius. I’m going to my mum’s house. I think they were attacked, or they were taken, or something along those lines, and I need to go check. I’m waiting five minutes, and then I’m going. If you want to come, my floo is open.” Dorcas held her breath as she waited for a response. She heard a click and the line went dead. She let out her breath and hung the phone back on the wall.

Dorcas shook her hands out and rubbed them on the sides of her thighs. She grabbed a glass from her counter and filled it with water from the tap before gulping it down greedily. She sat down and glared at the clock. It had only been a minute, but it had felt like fifteen.

She stood up and went to the phone again, stabbing Sirius’ phone number into the keypad. “Come on, come on,” she muttered hopefully. The line just kept ringing until an operator picked up.

“Can I help you, miss?” the woman on the other end asked politely. “Do you need help finding the right number?” Dorcas slammed the phone back down on the receiver and grabbed her trainers from the front door.

“Alright. I’ll just give him until I put my shoes on,” she declared, looking back to the clock again. “Ugh!” she groaned, slamming the door to her apartment behind her as she left to find a spot she could privately apparate from.

She walked out of her building and took a sharp left, ducking into an alleyway that wouldn’t have been so inconspicuous if it weren’t for the garbage piled up that blocked the sun from peeking through the east side of the path.  She took in a deep breath, plugged her nose with her fingers, and spun away in the dark corner.

As she appeared in the forest opposite her childhood home, Dorcas released her nose and took in a deep breath.

“Still can’t breathe and apparate at the same time?” Sirius asked from across the road. Dorcas smiled hopefully at Sirius, and ran across to him, only stopping as a car raced past. Dorcas’ hair flew back as the car honked loudly, and the wind drew tears from her eyes. She ran forward again and embraced Sirius tightly. He held the back of her head against his shoulder over her curls.

“I’m so sorry, Dorcas,” he whispered into her ear.

“No, no,” she protested gently, squeezing him tighter and pulling back to kiss him on the cheek. Sirius wiped her hair from her face and held her against his shoulder again.

“You ready?” Dorcas nodded and sagged slightly in Sirius’ arms.

“It’s time,” she whispered, backing away from Sirius and grabbing his hand. She walked slowly towards the small suburban house, and he followed her. The house did not look as if it had been broken into, but that just made Dorcas even more nervous.

“This is just a feeling?” Sirius questioned, rubbing the back of her hand. Dorcas turned back to look at Sirius and nodded.

“It’s a big feeling, Sirius,” she said, gripping her stomach with her other hand and licking her lips. Dorcas walked over the path up to her house carefully, and wobbled as one of the cracked stone slabs shifted under her foot. She stood at the wooden door, her hand frozen on the knocker. She grabbed the knocker, and held it against the door, her hand very still. Sirius stepped forward one more time and put his hand on hers. He pulled her hand back and she released it. The bronze crashed on the wood, and Dorcas let her hand fall.

The two waited in silence for someone to answer the door, but the only thing they heard was the croak of a frog in the dewy June morning. Sirius reached over Dorcas’ shoulder and slammed the knocker on the door a couple more times.

“Fuck it,” she huffed, turning the doorknob and pushing open the door. She and Sirius looked at each other tersely as it opened without a struggle. They walked in as another car sped by, and the door squeaked shut behind them. Dorcas pushed it completely closed with her foot as she scanned the foyer.

Sirius walked around her and into the dining room carefully. He took his wand from his back pocket and held it tightly next to his leg. Dorcas took the opposite route and headed into her mother’s small greenhouse. She scanned over the small glass-encased room, but saw nothing and moved back into the main part of the house.

“It’s neat in here,” Sirius said curiously as he walked through the hall to the bedrooms.

“For a couple of drunks and a druggie, you mean?” she rebutted defensively as they met in the middle of the hall with pictures from Dorcas’ childhood.

“Yeah. From what you said,” he muttered, straightening a picture of her with her mother at the beach. Dorcas’ hair was blonder and bouncier on her two-year-old self, and her mother emulated happiness. Sirius could tell that that’s where Dorcas inherited her wonderful smile from.

“We used to have fun.” Sirius knew what she meant. They had fun before Coraline grew up.

“You can’t blame Coraline for everything,” he said, following her into the next room on her left. Dorcas peeked in and then slammed the door open, allowing it to hit the wall with a thud.

“Can’t I?” Sirius peered around her shoulder and rubbed his forehead as he saw what she did.

“I’m so sorry.” Coraline was laid on her bed, her right arm flung out over the edge, and her left arm holding a needle. Dorcas’ mother was propped against the side of the bed, her head bashed against the metal edge of the bedframe.

Dorcas put her hand in front of her mouth and nose as the smell hit them with a punch. He put his arm around her waist and turned her out of the room without protest. Dorcas left the door ajar, but rubbed the handle with her jacket.

“What are you doing?” Sirius inquired as she scrubbed the doorknob clean.

“We don’t need the police knowing I was here,” was her explanation. Sirius didn’t ask anymore, though he probably would pry more another time.

“Where do you think your dad is?” Dorcas bit her lip as she rushed back down the hallway with all of the photos. “Dorcas?” Sirius asked suspiciously, following her closely and seizing her arm. She struggled against him and tried to get free of him and into the next room. She ripped it away and turned around, smacking Sirius across the face.

“What?” he exasperated, snatching her wrist again as she tried to draw away from him. “What, Dorcas?” She took her other hand and caressed the side of his face.

“I’m sorry,” she apologized. “It’s just, do you really not see it?” Sirius raised an eyebrow at her and shook his head no. “He did this!” she cried out, ripping her wrist out of his hand and motioning towards the bedroom they’d found the bodies in. “He’s always on the verge, and he snapped when Coraline came back!”

“Dorcas! Look I get that you hate your family.” Dorcas clenched her jaw and screwed her mouth up tightly. “I get that,” he emphasized purposefully. “But do you think that your dad could kill your mother and your sister and just leave them?” Dorcas sucked her lips into her mouth and looked to Sirius angrily.

“Yes. I really do,” she said shortly.

“Okay then,” he said, stepping back and letting Dorcas get past him and into the living room where an old rotary phone rested on the table. She dialed ‘999’ and left the telephone off the hook. Dorcas took her sleeve in her hand again and rubbed the phone as clean as she could. She looked around the room and let out a small sigh. It appeared as if no one had been there in at least a month.

Sirius drifted in the doorway as Dorcas floated around the living room slowly. Her hand hovered around a family portrait, and she reached out to touch it before thinking again, realizing if she’d touched it she’d have to take it.

“Take it.” Sirius jerked his head at the picture, and Dorcas grabbed it hastily, stuffing it inside her coat. “Now we’ve got to go. They’re probably already on the way.” Dorcas nodded and stalked back over to the front door and grabbed Sirius’ hand.

“Are you ready?” she asked him quickly as the blinking red lights turned onto her street. Sirius nodded as she plugged her nose again and snapped away.

 




 

“You are constantly late!” Alice Longbottom shouted. Sirius and Dorcas stood in the small den at the Headquarters as she reprimanded them. “You are never focused on assignments, you never show up to training,” she said, poking Sirius’ chest angrily, “and I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall,” she finished in frustration as Sirius picked a cigarette out of his pocket.

“That’s enough, Fortescue,” Moody said from the doorway. Alice rolled her eyes, and shouldered Moody as she walked out of the room. He took her place in front of them and flicked his wand at Sirius, making the cigarette dangling from his lips disappear. “So where were you two?”

“Checking on a hunch,” Dorcas murmured.

“You decided to dodge my lecture on prophecies and prophets to check out a hunch?” he asked disparagingly, tucking his wand into a small leather holder on the side of this belt.

“It was a big hunch,” Sirius explained loosely. Dorcas tilted her head down as Moody glared at them silently.

“You can go, Miss Meadowes.” She looked up in surprise at Moody, who was glaring only at Sirius now. She glanced to Sirius quickly, who was locked in a staring contest with Moody. She ducked past Moody quickly and exited the room silently.

Sirius shook his head and licked his lips as Moody shut the door wordlessly. “So. What were you really doing?” Sirius rubbed his nose and sniffed in.

“You heard. We were checking up on a hunch.” Sirius took piece of gum out of his pocket, unwrapped it, and tossed the wrapper on the floor.

“Fine. You don’t want to tell me, you’re out,” Moody said turning away from Sirius and heading towards the door.

“Whoa, what do you mean out?” Sirius asked, grabbing Moody’s shoulder and turning him around. Moody stepped forward, making Sirius stumble backward. “Sir,” he added hastily.

“You’re out. I can’t trust you, Black. You are out,” he stressed clearly.

“You’re mad! And what about Dorcas!”

“Dorcas is invaluable!” Moody yelled strongly. “She is not lazy or reckless. She is a fighter and a healer, and she’s a real asset to the team. She is smart.” Sirius clenched his jaw and looked away from Moody who pulled Sirius’ chin back to meet his eyes. “And best of all, she’s not you.”

“What am I going to do?” Sirius asked desperately.

“You’re going to get out of here. You put people’s lives in danger. And that’s not the business we’re in.” Moody turned around again and headed out of the room. He stopped at the door, his hand resting on the handle. “Get sorted and get out by tonight.” He stalked out of the room and slammed the door behind him.

“Fuck!” Sirius shouted, kicking the couch on his left. The lamp on the edge of the end table fell over and smashed loudly. The light went out and Sirius was left in the dark. He swung the door open again and found Dorcas standing outside the door, her arms crossed and her foot tapping rapidly.

“He can’t do this!” she exclaimed as Sirius walked down the long hallway toward the staircase. “Sure, you’ve been absent, but he’s got to understand! After the Prewetts we were all kind of-,” Sirius turned around and glowered at her so hotly she shut her mouth immediately.

“He’s right,” Sirius admitted roughly. “He’s right and I can’t do anything about it!” he yelled.

“Well you have to do something about it!” she demanded, holding Sirius back as he headed up the stairs. “Because if you don’t do something, I’m going to go mad here.”

“You’ll have Marlene,” Sirius said aimlessly, walking up the stairs as Dorcas tugged on his jacket.

“But I want you.” 

 

(April 10th, 1979)

 

“How could you not tell me?” Sirius hissed as Dorcas took off her jacket and tossed it on the hook just inside the door.

“What would you have done?” she asked, flaring her nostrils and whipping her hair up into a knot. “You want to raise a child right now?” Dorcas walked away from Sirius and ripped off her shirt. She tossed it onto the couch as they passed the living room.

“No, Merlin no! I would’ve liked to know before you went and killed our baby, is all!” Dorcas turned around and squinted her eyes at him, unzipping her pants in the process.

“Really?” Sirius kept after her as she moved into their room and tossed her pants into the hamper by the armoire. “Low blow, Sirius.” She pushed past him and left the room, heading for the cabinet outside the loo.

“No, not low blow, Doe,” he mocked, following her into the bathroom after she’d grabbed a towel from the cupboard. “That’s the truth. You killed him before you even asked me!”

“Stop saying that!” she whined, turning on the water and watching the steaming water fill up the bathtub. She leaned back on the sink and pulled off her undershirt, tossing it into the bathroom hamper.

“What?”

“That I killed it! We wouldn’t have had a choice,” she explained simply, peeling off her bra and handing it to Sirius. He took it and tossed it behind him carelessly.

“It?” Sirius laughed inappropriately and ran his hands through his hair. “You are sick.” He caught Dorcas’ underwear as she threw them at him, and he tossed them behind him again.

“I didn’t kill it, Sirius. I had a miscarriage.” Dorcas grabbed the pack of cigarettes from the shelf with the bar soap and put one in her mouth. She turned around to look up at Sirius for a light, but he was frozen. Nonresponsive. She rolled her eyes and threw the cigarette in the sink.

She slipped into the bathtub and sighed in pleasure. The steam rose higher and created a thick fog in the room, stopping Sirius from looking at Dorcas through the mirror. She closed her eyes and tilted her head back on the edge of the tub. Her hair grew frizzier and frizzier, and she pushed it out of her eyes as a few tendrils fell from her bun.

“Are you okay?” Sirius asked softly, sitting behind her on the toilet, he bent forward to rub her neck. Dorcas leaned back into his hands and moaned as he kneaded her shoulders.

“I’m okay. It’s a little depressing. And I had time to think of a baby name,” she said hopefully, turning to look at Sirius. “You know,” she said, turning back and closing her eyes, “before it happened.”

“What was it?” Sirius knocked off his shoes and bent to take off his socks.

“Violet. It was a girl.” He put his socks in his shoes and started rolling up his jeans.

“Violet?” he asked with distaste, standing up and sitting precariously on the edge of the bathtub. He put his feet on Dorcas’ stomach and his shoulders lost tension as the hot water hit him. “Violet Black. What’s her middle name, rainbow?”

“More like Violet Meadowes,” she spat at him. Untying her hair and letting it fall over the edge of the tub.

“Hmm, that’s not bad,” he pondered, wiggling his toes on her stomach. “But why didn’t you tell me?” he asked, jabbing her with his feet.

“You know, for two people over 5 foot 10 we really should have a longer tub,” she pondered, looking at her scrunched up knees sadly. Sirius pitched himself backwards and reached for his wand which rested on the sink. He pointed it at the tub, and it extended about half a foot longer.

“Thanks.” She stretched out her legs and sighed again in relaxation. “And because I knew you would react like this. And I didn’t and still don’t want to talk about it.” She sucked in a breath and dunked herself under the water. She felt weightless under the water, like nothing in the world mattered.

“Dorcas!” Sirius shouted with irritation. It sounded garbled under the water, and Dorcas came up from under, her eyelashes heavy with water droplets as she blinked a couple of times. “So you’re saying you still would have done it?” Dorcas tilted her head to one side and hit the other side of her head to get the water out of her ear.

“I don’t know, Sirius!” She dunked her head in again and wiped her hair out of her face before coming up and sitting against the side of the tub. “If I knew what to do, I would’ve told you.”

“That’s when you tell me things? When you already know what you’re going to do?” he asked exasperatedly. He pushed himself out of the tub and pulled his shirt off. “So what the bloody hell am I actually here for?” he roared angrily. “Just listen to you complain and then let you do what you want anyway?” He unzipped his jeans and stepped out of them when Dorcas stopped him.

“Don’t get in, Sirius.” She held her hand up, pointing towards the door.

“Seriously?” Dorcas frowned and rubbed the bridge of her nose.

“Yes. Just leave me alone, please.”

“Fine.” Dorcas let a breath out and dunked her head under again. 


Chapter 15: The Face in the Truth
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 (July 9th, 1979)



 

It was so hot that Sirius could barely stand up to go get the owl that was tapping at his window incessantly. He wiped some sweat from his brow, and picked a hair tie of Dorcas’ off the living room table. He twisted his hair back tidily and opened the window to the creature. It hobbled inside, and Sirius could see its tiny heart thumping heavily.

“Let’s get you something, huh?” he muttered to himself, untying the small note it carried on its leg and heading to the kitchen for a treat that Dorcas kept for her owl, Venus. He walked back to the window where the owl stalked proudly, and held out his hand. The owl snipped its beak at Sirius’ hand and snatched the treat hastily. The owl forced its head under Sirius’ hand, and Sirius pet it wearily, rubbing his eyes with the back of his other hand. He slipped his thumb under the tab of the envelope, and the owl stiffened suddenly. It took off as Sirius turned the letter over slowly to look at the return address.

No return address. Just the initials R.A.B. Sirius looked out the window as he realized that must have been Regulus’ owl Mimsy. He opened it sloppily and tossed aside the envelope to read the letter. He unfolded it and breathed deeply before setting his eyes to it.

 

Sirius

Father is dead. Died of a heart attack last night, he did. Mum is fine. Thought you should know.

Regulus

 

“What’s that?” Dorcas asked quietly as she came out of the bedroom sleepily. The two had made amends about the miscarriage over whiskey and sex. Sirius crumpled the letter and tossed it across the room into the trash bin and Dorcas put some bread down in the toaster.

“Nothing. Trying to sell me some shares in Spellotape. What a daft idea, huh?” Dorcas pursed her lips, but said nothing more and walked into the kitchen. “How was the meeting?” Sirius asked casually as Dorcas started spreading some jam over a piece of toast.

“You know I can’t talk about that.” Sirius walked over to the kitchen, kissed Dorcas on her bare shoulder, and grabbed a slice of her toast. She scoffed and turned to look at him as he walked into the dining room. He looked back at her and smirked.

“I know there’s a lot to look at, darling, but there’s no need to stare,” he exclaimed, feigning shyness and crossing his arms over his chest and backside.

“Shut it,” she said, dusting her hands of crumbs over the dish. Sirius continued into the dining room and sat down, flipping through a book that Remus had left the last time he visited. Dorcas wiped the edge of her mouth and peeked into the dining room. Seeing that his back was turned, she reached her arm down slowly and dug the letter out of the waste bin.

Dorcas saw Sirius’ head snap up as she sifted through the papers, finally clutching the letter and running to the other side of the kitchen as Sirius got up and stalked towards her.

“Dorcas!” her growled, following her around the kitchen as she unrumpled the letter hastily. “Give it!” He reached his hand out, but Dorcas held it far behind her body and out of his reach. She turned her head and kicked Sirius in the shin as he grabbed her around the waist. He let go and clutched his knee as she continued walking, reading the note eagerly.

Her smile faded as she scanned down his message, and she looked back to him crossly. He stood up straight and tossed a strand of hair out of his eye sheepishly. He walked forward to her cautiously and she chucked the letter at his chest in disappointment.

“Really?”

“Dorcas. It’s the same as Coraline you can’t be mad,” he reasoned as she headed to their room. Her feet landed loudly on the wooden floor.

“Can’t I?” she asked, throwing open Sirius’ nightstand and throwing out a pack of cigarettes, and lighter and a metal flask before reaching her goal. Sirius hung in the doorway as Dorcas turned around, a pile of unanswered letters slipping out of her grip. She threw them across the room at him and took more out of the drawer, throwing them at Sirius as he approached her slowly. “What the fuck, Sirius?” she yelled as she threw the last of the letters onto the floor. “Every time I fucking see one of those letters I heave in relief that Voldemort hasn’t gotten him killed yet!”

“Dorcas we found your sister dead in her room last month and the most you did was take a picture from ten years ago!” She sat down against the bed and ran her hands through her hair.

“Fuck you. You know she was after my money,” she spat at him, reaching in his drawer again and tossing the first thing she grabbed at him.

“What money, Dorcas?” Sirius asked in exhaustion, dodging the comb and coming to sit next to Dorcas.

“I guess you’re right.” She got up and sat in his lap, leaning her thin frame against his wide body. “Well then she was after your money.”

“That sounds about right,” he scoffed. “Now come on.” He tapped Dorcas on the hips and launched her up from his lap.

“Oi!” she exclaimed as Sirius kicked her lightly on the bum. “What’s up your arse?” she grumbled as Sirius launched himself up from the floor and began digging through her armoire to find a suitable outfit for her Healer training. Dorcas flopped on the bed and grabbed Sirius’ pack off his end table, pulled out a stick, and stuck it between her lips. She snatched her wand from the middle of the bed and lit the cigarette that hung out of her mouth.

“We’ve got to get going,” Sirius urged, tossing a pair of scrubs at Dorcas as she laid back on Sirius’ side of the bed, clad only in her black lingerie.

“Where are you going?” she asked in surprise. Sirius had taken to not leaving the house since Moody’s banishment.

“Nowhere. You’re going to work, though.” Sirius leaned forward and took the cigarette out of her limp mouth, putting it in his own and struggling to fit an undershirt over Dorcas’ arms.

“Who are you and where have you put my boyfriend?” she questioned again, complying with Sirius and letting him put her shirt on over the tank top. She stood up and slipped on her cream-colored pants before stealing her cigarette back from Sirius. “So you’re not going to go visit Regulus?” She put the cigarette in her mouth and took a quick inhalation before he stole it back.

Sirius frowned immediately and stubbed the cigarette in the ashtray that stood precariously on the edge of the large dresser they shared. “No,” he grumbled powerfully. “Even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t know where to find him.” Sirius picked at his fingernails, and sat on the edge of the bed as Dorcas popped up.

“Well there you are,” she said cheerfully as Sirius’ mood took a turn for the worse. She wound her hair up in a French twist and stuck her wand through it. Dorcas walked around the room quickly, picking up all the discarded clothing from the week, and throwing it in their hamper. “You know, you could pick up some around the house while you’re home sulking,” she mentioned as casually as possible, peeking back at Sirius who was in the middle of taking off his pants and slipping back into bed.

“Yeah or you could pick up the clothes and consider it your rent money.” Dorcas turned around in shock and put her hand on her hip.

“You own the house, Sirius.” She turned her back on him and rolled her eyes, collecting the letters she’d thrown his way and stuffing them in her nightstand. “I wouldn’t be paying rent, regardless.” She looked to him scathingly and a confident smile graced his face.

“I love you so much, Meadowes.” Dorcas smiled gaudily, unable to hide her beaming teeth. She bit her lip and climbed on the bed clumsily. She hovered over him, and Sirius’ hands rested on the backs of her thighs gently.

“Honestly,” she whispered, her lips grazing his, “clean up this fucking hell-hole.” She leaned forward the last centimeter between the two and kissed Sirius innocently. Sirius went to grab her stomach, but she’d already hopped off the bed and made her way to the door. He shook his head at her as she walked out of their room, stepping into her trainers that sat by the doorway.

Sirius leaned back and closed his eyes peacefully. He listened intently to the woman he loved searching for her keys in the kitchen before she gave up with a huff and ripped the wand out of her hair to lock the door magically. He knew her so well.

“Do something today, Black!” she yelled, breaking Sirius out of his reverie on her way out the front door.

 




 

(July 15th, 1979)

 

“And that’s all we’ve got on the muggle attacks,” Alice said in closing, smiling at Dorcas as she solely clapped for Alice. Dorcas’ clapping slowed down until the room fell into a silence with shuffling papers on the side.

“Well, if that’s all,” Peter said aimlessly, looking to and from his fellow Order members, waiting for the sign of dismissal from the leaders. Moody glanced at Arthur Weasley and squinted, nodding his head toward the front where Alice had stood.

James cocked his head to the side as Arthur stood up nervously, taking his wife’s hand and leading her up there with him. “Molly and I have an announcement,” he burst as Molly held her stomach lightly, her eyes tearing up. Lily’s eyes lit up in anticipation, but most others looked around uncomfortably. There was little to no way to feel good about raising a child in this environment. “We’re pregnant again!” he exclaimed finally.

A forced smile broke on Dorcas’ face, but no one noticed as everyone stood up and made their way to the front to congratulate the couple. Lily began clapping emphatically, and other’s joined, but Dorcas hesitated a bit too long. Lily looked to James, who, similar to Dorcas, was clapping politely and making his way down the line to give Molly a hug.

“Congratulations,” Lily broke out, placing her head on Molly’s shoulder and hugging her tightly but being careful not to squeeze her middle too roughly. Molly pulled back and held onto Lily’s shoulders, smiling widely at the young girl.

“When did you find out?” Lily asked curiously, looking at Molly’s unexpectedly flat midsection.

“Oh, he’s only a month,” Molly said, waving her off. Lily’s eyes widened, and her mouth broke into a smile again.

“Another boy?” Molly laughed, and she looked to Arthur fondly as he took congratulations from other members.

“I’ve got a feeling,” Molly appeased. Lily nodded happily, and moved to the side as the next wave of members came forward. She leaned against the door gaily, and sighed, gazing at the older couple fondly. James came to her side after giving his best to the Weasleys and put his hand around Lily’s shoulders, squeezing her slightly.

She leaned against him and hugged him around the middle, unable to contain her excitement. James looked down on her strangely as she looked up freely. The two looked back to Arthur and Molly, and Lily sighed again, her green eyes filled with hope.

“Let’s have a baby,” she whispered against James’ chest. James’ face faltered slightly, and he rubbed Lily’s arm gently as she watched the happy couple in awe.




 “No. That’s final.” James took off his trousers and pulled off his glasses, placing them on the dresser next to their bed.

“What’s that mean?” Lily asked angrily through her tooth brush. She spit out her saliva and toothpaste in the sink in their adjoining bathroom and turned on the faucet to wash her hands. “What’s that supposed to fucking mean?”  

James slid into bed as Lily stared at him from across the room dangerously. Her red hair was damp from the shower, and James saw the tips dotting her shoulders with water. “God, James!” she exclaimed as he stared at her blankly. She walked towards her side of the bed and sat on the edge.

“Lily,” he said calmly, trying his best to reason with her. “It’s not right.” Lily looked back to him lividly and shook her head, teeth clenched and eyes wide.

“I want a baby, James.” Her eyes started tearing slightly as James ignored her again, turning his back to get the light.

“You think I don’t?” he asked bitterly and in the dark. Lily stumbled, but made her way under the sheets. Her foot touched James’ knee, and she drew it back as if he’d burned her.

“Then let’s have a baby!” she cried out. James heard her sniffling and went to put a hand on her back, but she shrugged it off.

“Damn it, Lily!” he yelled. His hand went to his face to remove his glasses, but they were already off. “Do you want me to get mad?” Lily sat up quickly and turned on her light.

“I want you to have a baby with me!” James threw up his hands in aggravation, and turned in bed to face Lily directly.

“Lily! If we have a fucking baby you have to stop being in the Order, do you hear me?” Lily sucked in her bottom lip and chewed on it furiously. “I can’t be there to stop you from fighting. You have to stop yourself. Moody doesn’t let me go on missions with you, it’s not a coincidence.”

“I’m not a child, James,” she grumbled, shaking her head at him again. James ran his hand through his hair and closed his eyes before taking a deep breath and opening them again.

“You are a child Lil. We are all children. It doesn’t make fucking sense to have a kid this young.” Lily let her eyes slant down to the bed. “And when you say you want to have a baby, I know it’s because you think we’re going to die before we’re twenty-five.” Lily looked up at James, her jaw jutted out and her eyes brimming with tears.

“Yes.” James crinkled his eyebrows. “I do think that.” Lily placed her hand over his and forced his fingers to meld with hers. “Statistically, not everyone is going to make it out alive, and I’ve made peace with that.”

“And you want to have a baby?” James asked in disgust. Lily moved closer to him and the two slid back down into bed next to each other.

“Yes. Because statistically, not everyone is going to die either, and I want our baby to be there when that happens.” James held Lily closely, her hair dampening his chest as she snuggled against him.

“I love you, Lily, and we can have a baby after this is all over. It’s just not,” he said, struggling for words, “the right time.” Lily broke her hand free from James’ and took a second to wipe her tears.

“I don’t think that I’m going to live through this, Jay,” she mumbled into her pillow.

“Don’t say that.” James said immediately, hugging Lily tightly. Lily turned around in her arms and sniffled on his chest. “Don’t you say that ever again,” he whispered into her hair. Lily felt James tremble against her, and she placed her palms on James chest to comfort him. “I can’t lose you, Lily.”

“I’m having a baby before I die, James,” Lily said simply, coiling her legs though his.

“What about me?” James pleaded. He ran his hands through her hair, clutching Lily to him closely. Lily breathed in deeply, smelling James’ soap. It was sandalwood. She’d picked it out. James’ hands continued shaking, and Lily took a deep breath before smiling into his skin.

“You’re dying with me, silly.” James’ body shook again, and Lily couldn’t tell if it was with laughter or sadness. The two didn’t move for quite some time, clinging to each other like they had the night that Lily’s sister and her husband fought all through to the morning. And also like the time that Marlene and Dorcas fought about her family for the last time. Quite like the time Lily comforted James when his mother died.

“Okay, Lily.” 


Chapter 16: The Mystery in the Meet
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 (August 1979)



 

The Hog’s Head wasn’t empty this time of year. In fact, it was the end of the school year in which it regularly thrived. Its lights were brighter than ever, and the smell of the end of summer breezed in the doors constantly.

The eight relaxed in their familiar booth, the same as last year. Marlene and Lily laughed over the similar looking group of freshly-graduated kids across the pub, and Dorcas and Remus were engaged in a game of Exploding Snap. Mary and Peter were quiet, mulling over their tasks with firewhiskeys and Chocolate Frogs. James and Sirius caught each other up on everything they’d missed after Sirius was taken out of the Order.

“Wait a minute,” James stated loudly and drunkenly. “Why did you get kicked out again?” Dorcas looked up from her game, and it exploded on her. Remus snickered happily, collecting the cards and raising his hand for another drink. Sirius wasn’t drinking for all Dorcas knew, but that wasn’t much to go on.

“I um,” he said through a smile, “I just kept skipping out on training,” he finished vaguely. It was enough for drunk James to buy apparently, as he clapped Sirius on the back and laughed brashly again. Dorcas let out a small breath, and turned back to Remus.

“Another game?” she asked in relief, snatching the cards from his hand and splitting up the deck. Remus shrugged and took a sip from his drink.

“I can’t believe it’s already been a year!” Lily exclaimed into Marlene’s ear. Marlene nodded in agreement and smiled at Lily who she hadn’t seen so happy in a long time.

“I know, Lily!” she shouted back, putting her arm around her friend and looking around at their strange group. “I’m so grateful to have you idiots!” Lily smiled goofily at Marlene and kissed her on the cheek.

“Marlene,” Mary said quietly, raising a camera. Marlene smiled at her, and smashed her face against Lily’s happily. The camera clicked, and the Polaroid slid out. Mary grabbed it from the camera, and passed it to Marlene. She looked at the picture carefully, making sure Lily didn’t spill anything on it, and tucked it into a bag that crossed her body.

“Thanks, Mary,” Lily said, her reaction delayed by the alcohol in her system.

“A toast!” Sirius said bravely, raising his glass of water to the table. Dorcas eyed him from across the table and rose her glass again. “To the kids who haven’t been kicked out yet.” James shook his head, and raised his hand to the waitress, signaling for another drink.

“To me!” Lily said, giggling and hooking her arm around Marlene’s shoulder again.

“To me,” Marlene agreed, raising her glass to Lily.

“To the girls who put up with the marauders!” Dorcas offered to the two, smiling at her friends. Marlene swilled her drink down and smiled weakly at Dorcas. Sirius glanced at Marlene out of the corner of his eye and cleared his throat. Lily laughed garishly at something Peter had said, and Marlene shook her head slightly and put down her empty glass.

“To the marauders who put up with the girls,” Remus slurred into his glass. Marlene smiled at Remus as he murmured into his drink.

“Ain’t that the truth,” Sirius muttered into James’ ear, who apparently thought that was the wittiest comment of the year as he spit out his drink and laughed obnoxiously.

“Honestly, do you all have to be happy drunks?” Sirius asked in disgust, wiping his arm of James’ spit.

“Remus isn’t,” Peter interjected, pointing at Remus who was deep in the corner, scowling at his cards.

“That’s just Moony being Moony!” James shouted, sliding down the bench and bumping into Remus.

“Get off me, Potter,” he grumbled as Dorcas snickered at him from the other side of the table. The cards on the table exploded as Lily’s drink spilled on Dorcas. “Come on!” Remus said, shielding his face from the small explosion. James smiled as Remus poked him with his wand. He slid back to the middle of the bench.

“I love you, Marlene,” Lily whined, leaning against her friend. Marlene slipped down on the bench under Lily’s weight, and looked around for help. Marlene struggled, but threw Lily off her and inadvertently onto Mary. Lily’s drink spilled over Mary’s lap, and Marlene’s hands went to her mouth.  

“I think that’s my cue,” Mary chuckled awkwardly. She stood and everyone groaned in disappointment.

“Come on, Mary!” Lily whined. “You’re always running off!” Mary smiled tightly at Lily and looked to the rest of the group.

“Yeah, Mary. Sure I don’t like you, but these prats find something interesting about you,” Sirius added with a shrug.

“No, no it’s alright. I’ve got work in the morning,” she explained, waving them off. “I’m just going to pay my tab and I’ll be out of here.” Peter stood up and put his hand on Mary’s back. She jumped to the side a bit, and her eyes widened in surprise as he kissed her on the cheek.

“I’ll see you soon, Mare,” he said softly as Mary started walking towards the bar. She smiled again and waved back quickly at the group, stumbling over her heels on the wooden floor. Peter sat down clumsily, and Marlene and Sirius shared another uncomfortable glance. 

“I guess that means we should break it up, too,” Remus said, breaking the silence that was building. He looked to his watch and groaned as he realized how late it was.

“Remus, you’re so boring,” Dorcas complained as Marlene stood up with him. She raised an eyebrow, and Marlene adjusted the bag that hung across her. Sirius clambered around the table and sat next to Dorcas, grabbing her hand and distracting her from Marlene and Remus’ sudden departure.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” Marlene said distantly as her gaze lingered to Dorcas and Sirius’ hands. Remus slipped his hand in hers boldly, and Marlene blinked a couple of times, Remus’ gallant move breaking her from her trance. The four were locked in a sort of space, and it grew evermore awkward as Remus and Marlene stood there, unmoving. Lily laughed loudly again, and Marlene turned away from their table immediately. “See you tomorrow,” she stammered out again, pushing past the crowd that had formed by the doorway and heading out abruptly, her hand still clasped with Remus’.

 






 

Mary felt her heart beating in her chest as she glanced to the clock again. They were coming in a minute now. She held the manila folder tightly in her hands, and her shoulders shook uncontrollably. She took a deep breath, and eyed the shot glass on the kitchen table of her small flat.

“Accio,” she said quickly, whipping her wand at a bottle of tequila. It settled on the table, and Mary picked it up impulsively, drinking from it barbarically. She wasn’t exactly sure if it was better to be drunk or sober for this.  

She slammed it down on the table and bit her lip as the bitter drink burned her throat. She squinted at the clock again. So now they were late. Mary despised tardiness, although she’s sure they don’t care what she thinks.

She heard the snap of an apparition, and held her breath, knowing what was coming.

“Mary, Mary, Mary,” the thin voice hissed from a corner that Mary could not see. Her eyes danced beneath the black cloth that was placed around her head before she was apparated here. Where here was, she did not know. Mary could feel the sweat dripping down the side of her face.

Stupid, stupid, stupid, she thought as she felt a pair of eyes surveying her. How could she agree to this? Well, the real question is, how could she not?

“What do you have for us?” Us? There was more than one person involved in this? Mary thought it was just Voldemort. Again, stupid. He wouldn’t waste his time with something this trivial. “Well that’s where you’re wrong, Mary,” the same voice said knowingly. Mary’s brow furrowed. So he was a Legilimens? “You are not trivial.”  

“I brought the documents. Pr-proof,” she stuttered, holding out her hand into the oblivion. Someone snatched them from her. She heard the folder being ruffled through, and let out a sigh when she heard footfalls leaving the room they were in.

“This is all?” Mary nodded nervously. She left the cloth dampening from a mixture her sweat and now her tears. It stuck to her face, and when she went to adjust it, she found her arms were bound by her sides. “Need I remind you what is at stake here?” he asked calmly. Mary heard the papers being ripped up, and a fire lit up on the other side of her blindfold.

“No.” Mary licked her lips as the heat from the fire reached her. “I know what I have to do. And if you let me do it there won’t be any problems,” she spilled out anxiously. She wasn’t sure if the fire was there to scare her or not, but it sure was doing a hell of job. “There wasn’t a lot that week, that’s all.”

“No need to panic, Mary,” the voice said again. “As long as you’re doing what’s right, I’ll know.” Mary’s mouth shook as she fought herself from crying audibly.

The fire went out suddenly and Mary was left in the dark.

“Watch yourself, Mary. It’s dangerous out there with all those Order members.” Mary felt her head knock against something hard, and that was all she remembered.

 






(June 20th, 1981)

 

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

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

He pushed himself away from the doorway, and ran his hands through his dark hair. He tapped his foot against the wall behind him and stared into the empty room in front of him. He pushed off the wall, and launched himself through the door, standing at the foot of the room plainly. He took a long look around, his eyes stopping on the dresser, untouched since June 20th. He stepped over a pair of scrubs and dropped his leather jacket to the floor. As he reached the armoire, he slid his hand over the top of it, a thin layer of dust appearing. He wiped it off quickly on his pants, and leaned against the wooden furniture, his head in his hands.

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

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

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

 

 






 

A/N: It's about to get crazy, folks. Are you ready?


Chapter 17: The Sadness in the Secret
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 (October 24th, 1979)



 

“I really can’t believe this,” James said in disbelief, rubbing his hand over Lily’s flat stomach again.

“I know,” Lily squeaked out, smiling at James’ awe. He looked up from her stomach, and the right side of his mouth hooked up genuinely.

“I’m so happy, Lily.” He brushed a piece of hair out of her face, and kissed her nose before grabbing a book from behind her head. Lily rolled her eyes.

“James, you did the spell correctly. I’m pregnant,” she whispered, as if someone would be listening in.

“Let me just try again,” he said hastily, fumbling with his wand and pointing it at Lily’s stomach. He looked back to the book and mouthed the incantation silently. Lily smiled happily as James tried the spell again. Her stomach glowed slightly as James’ wand hovered over it, and his eyes lit up again. He tossed his wand to the side and picked Lily up from the sofa swiftly, spinning her around in his arms.

“We did it, Lil! We’re getting a baby!” Lily’s eyes watered slightly as James swung her around. She hooked her legs around his hips and James stopped spinning. Lily slid down from James’ arms and left her arms on his shoulders.

“I’m so…” Lily said as she searched for words, “excited,” she finally breathed out.

“We’re getting a baby, we’re getting a baby,” James sang, holding Lily’s hands and swaying in tempo with his song. Lily laughed quietly as her husband celebrated in his own special way. The way they used to, dancing around the Gryffindor common room at four thirty in the morning because they finished that Transfiguration paper that they’d put off. Kissing innocently behind statues during their rounds because they hadn’t had a free moment all day.

“And it’s perfect!” she exclaimed suddenly, as if just realizing something.

“What is?” James asked breathily as they stopped their dance. He ruffled his hair back and pulled Lily in closer to him. He picked up his wand and flicked it at the hi-fi. It played a slow song, and the two began rocking back and forth.

“He’ll have a July birthday!” She gripped James’ arms, and jumped on the balls of her feet. “Unless he’s late, then August,” she contemplated, tilting her head to the side and nibbling on her lip. “It doesn’t matter,” she said, smacking his chest. “He’ll always celebrate his birthday with family!” She tilted her head back and smiled widely at the ceiling.

“You are the best thing that ever happened to me,” James gushed quietly, gazing down at Lily in amazement. Lily blushed slightly and looked away from James.

“I know,” she said cockily even through her blushing. James put a thumb to chin and tilted her face up to his.

“Honestly, Lily.” He kissed her sweetly as they continued turning to the music.

“Mmmm!” Lily struggled against his lips and broke away from him. “Who’re the godparents going to be?” James wiped the disappointed look off his face and smirked at Lily.

“Don’t we want to wait for the baby to be born to name godparents?” he asked sensibly. Lily rolled her eyes, but leaned her head against his chest.

“No, silly.” Lily inhaled and snaked her arms around his neck. “We have to get them locked down right away! With Arthur and Molly for competition, who knows if any of our friends will have time to be godparents!” she rambled, stress riddled through her sentence.

“Calm down Lily. We’ve got Sirius, of course,” he mentioned slyly, peeking down at her for a reaction. Lily raised an eyebrow up at him, but her face broke into a smile.

“Well of course! He needs this, too. James this is perfect timing. But what about godmother? Dorcas or Marlene?” she pondered, tapping her lip and wandering away from James. He reached after her pointlessly, and followed her to their bedroom. “Or Mary? Oh, I don’t know,” she said, waving to herself as to clear her thoughts.

“Lily?” James interrupted, grabbing her elbows and leading her to the bed. “Let’s sleep for now. Good for the baby, you know?” Lily scoffed, but sat on the bed and rolled her socks off.

“Who would you prefer?” James looked at her scathingly and shook his head as Lily smiled at him with a quiet satisfaction. James sighed as he laid back on the bed with his arms behind his head.

“Marlene. She’s one of my best friends, Lil.” Lily crawled up to the top of the bed and laid next to James, her hand rubbing her stomach absentmindedly.

“You don’t think that’s weird? Sirius and Marlene?” James gave Lily a worried half-smile, and put his hand on top of hers.

“Nah, he’s over it.”

“Yeah, we all know Sirius is over it.” Lily turned on her side and smirked back at James. “But are they?”

 




 

“I’m going to be a godfather, I’m going to be a godfather,” Sirius chanted brightly. He and Lily were bouncing around the house, Sirius holding Lily’s shoulders and swaying her back and forth joyfully. 

“Let us at least try and ask first, Padfoot,” James interrupted, trying to hand Sirius a butterbeer to which he declined with a wave of his hand.

“Who needs that formality when I’m going to have a kid?” he exclaimed, shaking Lily again before taking her into a big hug.

“Oh!” she exclaimed as Sirius hugged her tightly again. Sirius pulled her back and a deep frown graced his face.

“Did I hurt it?” Lily smiled warmly, untangled herself from Sirius, and walked towards the couch.

“No, you didn’t hurt him,” she emphasized, sipping on the tea that James had made for her. Sirius looked at James in surprise, and James nodded. The two high-fived, and Sirius started singing again, floating into the kitchen to pour himself some water.

“I had no idea he’d be so happy,” Lily whispered across the table, putting her tea down and darting her eyes to Sirius, who was still dancing with himself. James shrugged and sat back in his chair.

“I say let him. First time in Merlin knows how long.”

“I’ve been happy,” Sirius said dejectedly upon returning to the living room. Lily and James turned their heads in false confusion. “Dog ears, James,” Sirius explained loosely.

“Sorry, mate,” James apologized awkwardly.

“But it’s true, Sirius!” Lily blurted inappropriately. He smirked casually and tilted his head back on the couch.

“How would you feel if you got kicked out?” he complained, picking at his fingernails. He reached into his shirt pocket and took out his pack of cigarettes.

“Padfoot!” James shouted shortly as Lily pursed her lips.

“Sorry, Evans. Force of habit,” he apologized. He stuck the cigarettes back in his pocket and smiled sheepishly at her. Lily smiled appreciatively, and yawned widely. James looked to her nervously.

“Maybe we should get to bed,” he said quickly, taking his beer into the kitchen and pouring it in the sink.

“He’s so tetchy,” Lily whispered to Sirius. He snorted into his glass of water, but got up anyway.

“He’s nervous, Lily. But he’s right. And I’m supposed to meet Dorcas anyway,” he wondered, looking to his watch.

“Oh she didn’t tell you?” Lily asked curiously. Sirius frowned at her suddenly, and Lily bit her lip awkwardly. “She must’ve forgotten. She’s still with Alice and Frank. They had to go, do something,” she amended, cutting herself off as she realized who she was talking to.

“Bloody brilliant. Look, I’ll see you soon, Lily,” he groaned tiredly, walking around the table to give her another hug. “Thanks for everything,” he whispered into her ear before pulling back and squeezing her hand before heading to the door. “Thanks mate!” he yelled to James, who was leaning against the sink in a sort of trance.

“Anytime, Pads!” he shouted back absently, waving in Sirius’ direction. Sirius smirked as he saw James shake his hair and head back into the living room. He zipped up his jacket, and strode out onto the front step of their landing.

Sirius stood outside the large house, shivering in the slight breeze that October gave off. He walked down the street slowly, taking a moment to look inside a pub that was a little ways from their house. He saw his reflection in the window, and did his best to wipe the scowl off his face. Of course, it was no help. He desperately wanted to be happy for Lily and James. And he kind of was! But seeing James so contented, seeing Lily so radiant, it only made him think of Violet Meadowes.




Marlene couldn’t believe how slow the Leaky Cauldron was this late at night. Or maybe that made a lot of sense. She aimed her wand at one of the large tables, siphoning off the spilled drink and messy crumbs. She didn’t have too much time to think about it as a group of kids, must not have been older than fifteen, waltzed in blissfully.

She turned her back, rolled her eyes, and let out a deep sigh as she headed back to the counter to take their order. One of the boys stepped forward cockily and the group parted the way for him to order.

“I’ll take a bottle of Firewhiskey.” He handed Marlene five galleons casually, leaning forward on his elbow. Marlene saw a few of the girls behind him giggle, and she grimaced.

“Identification?” she questioned, pushing his hand back a bit. He looked to the group, at which they all laughed again, and then back to her.

“Does it look like I need identification?” he countered, running his hand through his shaggy hair.

“It’s a compliment, sir,” Marlene answered sweetly, smiling her brightest smile. “Unfortunately, it is required,” she snarled gravely, pushing his hand away again. 

“Come on, sweetheart,” he urged, taking another galleon out of his pocket, leaning over the counter and placing it in her breast pocket. Marlene’s face dropped all pretense, and she turned away from the group of kids, focusing on sorting the menus on the table behind her.

“It’s just a little Firewhiskey!” one of the girls pleaded, making Marlene turn back to them. The boy glared at the girl angrily.

“Shut it,” he muttered. He looked at Marlene apologetically. “I’m sorry. It seems we all left our ID’s back at home.” He groaned in what Marlene was sure he thought was a relaxed manner. “You know how it is. We came straight from work.” He loosened the collar of his white shirt and leaned forward on the counter again.

“It’s funny,” Marlene said, feigning ignorance. “You’d think a couple of business workers such as yourself would know that a bottle of our Firewhiskey costs a little more than five galleons.” The boy’s mouth dropped slightly as Marlene leaned forward on the counter. “You can try again later,” she whispered, glaring at the boy with a fire in her eye. “The old blind man starts his shift in a couple of hours.”

The kid glared back at Marlene, and as she turned away again, he grabbed her arm quickly. “I guess I’ll be waiting for you when you get off, huh?” he asked as Marlene struggles against his grip. “Maybe I can get off, too?” he suggested. She pulled against him, but he tightened his hand around her wrist. “Just give us the drinks and we’ll be out of your hair,” he sneered, twisting his hand on her wrist and making her skin turn red. Marlene winced, her eyes watering slightly. She began reaching for her wand with her other hand when a voice cut her off.

“What’s the problem here?” Sirius asked from behind the boy. He let go of her arm automatically, and turned around under himself. Sirius towered over the recently-pubescent boy, and grabbed the front of his shirt. The rest of the group had scattered around the main floor of the establishment, now making polite conversation and trying to keep out of trouble.

“Nothing,” he murmured into his chest, avoiding Sirius’ steely gaze. Sirius grabbed the shoulder of his jacket and threw him at the table behind the two. Marlene gasped as the boy hit the table forcefully.

“That’s what I thought,” Sirius spat at him. The kid stood up and walked away with as much dignity as he could, adjusting his collar and putting a smile on as he approached his friends at the doorway. Sirius turned to Marlene, whose hands were still covering her mouth. “I didn’t know you worked here Mickey,” he said calmly, dusting his coat off.

“Was that whole display really necessary?” she squeaked out as a few of the groups in the restaurant eyed Sirius warily.

“Yeah. He reminds me of me. Nobody taught me a lesson, though,” Sirius said thoughtfully. Marlene rolled her eyes as Sirius preached to himself, and turned back to her menus. “What are you up to?” he asked, plopping on top of the counter and swinging his legs childishly.

“Not now, Sirius. I’m at work,” she moaned. Sirius said nothing, but snuck his hand behind the counter and put a bottle of straight Vodka in his coat. “Put it back Sirius,” she warned knowingly, tapping a sheet that had some kind of inventory on it with a quill.

“Come back to my place,” Sirius blurted out, toying with the jar of quills by the register. Marlene rubbed her wrist lightly and turned to now glare at Sirius.

“No.” She put her hand on his, stopping him from fraying the feathers any more than they already were. “We said September was the last time,” she said through her teeth as if Dorcas was hiding behind a plant.

You said September was the last.” Marlene went back to her paperwork and Sirius sighed. He flipped his legs over the counter and stood next to Marlene. He peeked over her shoulder, and Marlene stepped to the side purposefully. “Come on, it’s not even busy tonight,” he whined. Marlene turned around, and Sirius put his arm on the other side of her, trapping her in between his arm span.

“Why?” Marlene asked tiredly, leaning against the counter as Sirius’ hands rested on her hips. She pushed his hands away discreetly.

“Dorcas isn’t home. Also Lily is pregnant,” he muttered, kicking the counter that Marlene was trapped against.

“Lily’s pregnant!” Marlene cried out loudly.

“Yeah, now shush,” he reprimanded, putting a finger to her lips. “I guess no one’s supposed to know or something,” he said dejectedly, rolling his eyes.

“Regardless, I’m on until one, so I’m not going anywhere for three more hours,” she said, tilting her head to the clock that hung on the large staircase.

“I got Norman to cover for you!” Sirius said excitedly, bouncing as Marlene chewed on her lip in concentration.

“I thought you said you didn’t know I worked here?” Sirius scoffed and kissed Marlene unexpectedly.

“You underestimate me, McKinnon.” Marlene did her best to glare up at Sirius, but a smile crept up on her lips. Sirius smirked with superiority as Marlene turned back around and closed the book she was working on. She heard the door jingle, and saw Norman, the elderly man who worked the late night shift, walk in the front.

“How on earth did you get him to come in early?” she asked in awe. Sirius looked down on her lustfully as she smiled at the man that crept slowly towards the front desk. Sirius shrugged, placed his hands over hers, and the two whipped away.

 




 

“It’s the last time,” Marlene breathed out as they landed in the alley in between Sirius’ house and the next door neighbors. Sirius grabbed her hand, and the two ran towards his house excitedly.

“Sure, McKinnon,” he shouted back at her. Marlene rolled her eyes, and crashed into Sirius as he stopped short. He flipped around and grabbed Marlene’s shoulders. She giggled silently as he backed her against the brick side of his house. She stumbled over a rock, and Sirius caught her as she fell to the side. He held her side in one hand and her head in the other, kissing her roughly. Marlene stood on her toes to reach his mouth, and Sirius hunched over as much as he could.

Marlene broke away from Sirius, and landed back on her feet firmly, taking Sirius’ hand and running towards the front of the house again. “So is that why we broke up?” she asked as Sirius pulled his wand and aimed it at the lock. He didn’t answer as he muttered an enchantment at the door. It clicked open, and he pushed it in ushering Marlene inside quickly.

“What?” he asked hastily, pulling his jacket off and tossing it on the coat stand. Marlene removed her sweater and tossed it over the edge of the couch haphazardly.

“It’s because I’m too short?” she asked on the way to the bedroom. Sirius walked behind her, his shoe laces proving more difficult to untie than her trainers were to slip off.

“It’s because you thought you were a lesbian,” he groaned quietly, reminiscing something he really didn’t want to. Marlene stopped at the doorway, and poked Sirius’ chest.

“I’m bisexual. Get over yourself.” Sirius rolled his eyes as Marlene marched into his room and began stripping completely.

“Among other things, mind you,” he muttered before slamming the door behind him.

 

  


Chapter 18: The Lies in the Loopholes
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 (November 7th, 1979)



 

Dorcas sat at the round table in Alice’s dining room, tapping her nails against the polished wood. She looked around the large room, taking everything in. She’d never visited the Longbottoms’ house before, but she hadn’t expected it to be like this. They were Purebloods. They must have their money somewhere.

She just didn’t expect someone as free-willed as Alice to have such an orderly home. There were heavy burgundy curtains over each window, and the lights were dimmed slightly. There were sconces adorning the doorways, and high-backed, hand-carved chairs at the table. The table was set for six, even though it was only her, Alice, and Frank in the house, and the china cabinet was filled with delicate tableware and wines. 

“My mother did all the decorating,” Alice explained to Dorcas’ confused expression, leaning in the doorway.

“I really should get going,” Dorcas said nervously, collecting her bag from the table and swinging it over her shoulder.

“You sure you don’t want dinner? It’s been a long couple of weeks,” Alice said, chuckling and pushing back her hair. “I’d understand if you wanted to crash here,” Alice offered, yawning into the crook of her arm. “We have a spare room.” Alice’s cat leaped onto the table and then crept into Alice’s arms. She pet her cat lightly and yawned again.

“No, no, it’s okay.” Dorcas stood up quickly and shook her head again. “I have to go home, too. I have to see Sirius,” she explained away.

“Ah, young love,” she sighed, letting her cat jump out of her arms.

“Yeah,” Dorcas exhaled, rubbing her forehead and walking down the hallway to the foyer. Alice followed her and wrapped her shawl around her shoulders more tightly. “Hey can I use your floo? I have to stop in Hogsmeade.” Alice shrugged and led Dorcas to their large parlor.

“I’m proud of you, Dorcas.” Alice motioned to the fireplace, and Dorcas hunched in it awkwardly, rubbing her bare arms in the slight draft. “I know you’re usually more about the action, but I needed someone I could trust to attend these meetings with me. They can get dangerous,” she said, clapping Dorcas on the shoulder. “And I’m glad you were there just in case.” Alice embraced Dorcas quickly, wrapping her small arms around Dorcas’ waist. Dorcas patted her on the back as Alice’s face pressed into her chest.

“Thanks, Alice. It means a lot.” She released Dorcas and stepped backwards as she adjusted her bag again. “I’ll see you soon, Ali.” Alice smiled and passed a jar of powder to Dorcas. She took a handful, and threw it at her feet.

“The Three Broomsticks!” she yelled clearly.

 

Dorcas stepped out of the fireplace and dusted off her corduroys. There were only a few stragglers left in the restaurant at this time, and that made for an easy exit for her. She stalked towards the door and let it swing shut behind her as she turned the corner to Marlene’s flat.

It started drizzling lightly, and Dorcas cursed, jogging a bit faster to keep from the rain. “Come on,” she muttered as her hair began to frizz. She clenched her jacket closed over her shirt and ran up the steps to her front door. She squeezed herself close to the door to fit under the small awning that would protect her from the rain. “Leenie!” she yelled, slamming her palm on the door. “Mar-lene,” she emphasized, banging her hand on the door in rhythm with the syllables of Marlene’s name.

The door swung open and Marlene squinted in the dark early-morning light. She stepped back when she saw it was Dorcas and let her in immediately.

“Thanks,” Dorcas said quickly, stripping her coat off and hanging it on the hook to her left. “I have to talk to you about something.” She shoved her hair away from her face and breathed out heavily. Marlene’s mouth popped open.

“Wait, Dorcas, I can explain,” Marlene stuttered. Dorcas frowned and tilted her head to the side, but realization dawned on her face and she raised an eyebrow.

“You’re here again?” Dorcas asked skeptically.

“What?” Marlene asked, looking over her shoulder.

“Hello, Dorcas,” Remus said, yawning into his hand and stuffing his head into a shirt.

“What are you doing here? Again!” she said in vexation, throwing her hands up and letting them fall and hit her side. “Is there something you want to tell me?” Marlene crossed her arms over her chest, and Remus rubbed his neck.

“No, Dorcas, there isn’t. Now can you let us get some peace?” Remus asked irritably. She chuckled and looked to Marlene for backup.

“Do you hear yourself? It’s not a big deal if you two want to date!” Dorcas shook her head in disbelief.

“I’m going back to bed,” Remus mumbled. His hair stuck up in the back, and Marlene snorted as he walked away.

“No, Remus. Get back here,” Dorcas said, aiming her wand at his back. “Levicorpus!”

Remus flipped upside down automatically, and Dorcas twisted her wand, rotating him to face her.

“Now are you going to behave? Or do I have to drop you on your head?” Marlene laughed into the sleeve of her sweater, and Remus yawned again.

“I’ll cooperate.” He crossed his arms as Dorcas nodded to Marlene, who grabbed her wand from the counter.

“Wingardium Leviosa!” she said happily to Remus, taking control of him as Dorcas released her spell. Marlene flipped Remus back right-side up, and he landed on his feet. He fumbled with his shirt, pulling it back down, and sat at the table in the dark kitchen.

“Now I want a straight answer,” Dorcas said threateningly. Marlene’s smile faded from her face as Remus looked down at the table and fiddled with his fingers. “Are you two fucking?”

Marlene burst out laughing, and Remus chuckled quietly along with her. Dorcas’ eyes turned to slits in skepticism. Marlene shook her head and put her hand on Remus’ arm for support. Remus clenched his jaw, and grinned briefly at Dorcas.

“No, Merlin no, Doe,” Marlene said between laughs.

“Then what is Remus doing here all the time?” Marlene’s laughter died out, and she looked to Remus sadly.

“We just get put on a lot of missions together,” he explained, glancing at Marlene and urging her with his eyes to go with it.

“That’s just a bad lie, Remus.” Dorcas pursed her lips and tapped her foot against the leg of her chair. Marlene and Remus stayed silent as Dorcas’ line of sight flip-flopped between the two. She let out an extended groan, but they held their ground from the other side of the table. “Tell me!” She shook Remus’ arms, and he ripped them out of her hands moodily. Dorcas frowned at Remus’ sudden hostility.

“I’m staying with Marlene until I can afford my own place, are you happy?” The sentence streamed out of Remus quickly. He cracked his knuckles and avoided Dorcas’ eyes. Her face softened as she came to the realization, and looked to Marlene for help. “Look, you can’t tell anyone, okay?”

Marlene nodded at Dorcas earnestly.

“I’ve been hearing that a lot lately,” Dorcas mumbled. “I’m so, so sorry, Remus,” Dorcas added apologetically. He rubbed his eyes of the sleepiness that plagued him, and waved his hand at Dorcas.

“It’s not your fault. You’re just curious.” Dorcas put her hand on his and stroked the back of it gently.

“I don’t want to pry, but,” Dorcas trailed off as she rubbed Remus’ hand. “Never mind, I do want to pry. Why didn’t you ask James for a loan? You know it’d be done in a second,” she reasoned as Marlene got up to retrieve some waters for the three.

“Are you joking?” he asked roughly, slipping his hand out from underneath Dorcas’. “I already owe James everything,” he muttered.

“Coffee?” Marlene asked, raising the pot. The sun was now coming up slowly, and the sky dusted the apartment with a slight glow.

“Please,” Remus said thankfully as he yawned again.

“You’re crazy, Remus. You know he’d help you!”

“Exactly. You have no idea what he’s done for me.” Marlene looked over at him as she set the coffee water. “I can’t ask for anything more. Besides, Marlene loves having me around, don’t you?” he asked jokily. She smiled politely at him.

“Would you grab the mugs?” she asked feebly. Remus got up and, towering over Marlene, reached the top shelf easily. “You giants are good for something, at least,” she said moodily. She took a mug from Remus’ hand and filled it with water for herself.

“I still think you should tell James.”

“Of course you do, Dorcas. You’ve never had to ask for anything, people just give to you,” Remus said, leaning his head on his fist and closing his eyes as the sun streaked in brightly.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked in defense, pushing his elbow out from under him. He caught himself, and rolled his eyes at Dorcas.

“You’re pretty. I’m boring.” Marlene stole Remus’ mug and started doling out the coffee. “And damaged.” He nodded at Marlene when she gave him his mug back, and took a sip.

“Oh you’re pretty too, Remus,” Dorcas soothed sarcastically. He snorted in his throat but said no more. “But honestly. You know no one cares. We’re all here to help!”

“Once again, Dorcas, you listen to no one but yourself. You and Sirius really are perfect for each other.”

Marlene coughed on her coffee, and Remus stood up. He placed his mug down and stretched out his arms.

“Thanks for the coffee, M. I’m having a shower,” he said to Dorcas. “See you later.” Remus stormed out of the kitchen, and Dorcas stuck her middle finger up at his retreating back.

“Merlin, he’s infuriating!” Dorcas said into her mug before taking a gulp. She relished in the burn that hot coffee gave her.

“He can be. Especially at 6:30 in the morning,” Marlene explained. She took Remus’ seat across from Dorcas. “So what did you have to tell me?” she asked, scanning Dorcas’ face for a sign. Dorcas didn’t look up from her mug.

“Nothing. It’s not important,” she snapped out suddenly. Marlene looked at Dorcas cautiously, but asked nothing more. “But tell me you’ve never thought about it,” she added as Marlene pursed her lips.

“Thought about what?”

“You know…” Marlene opened her arms and shook her head in confusion. “You and Remus!”

“Oh,” Marlene said, in surprise, shaking her head in small, rapid twitches. A small smile appeared on her face and she sputtered while trying to find the words to explain herself. She finally leaned forward on the table, looking back over her shoulder to make sure the water in his shower was still running. “Don’t be ridiculous, Doe. He’s like my brother!”

Marlene opened up the cabinet, and tapped her fingers against the edge of it.

“But, you know he likes you, right?” Dorcas asked plainly. She sipped her coffee and Marlene turned her head, raising an eyebrow. Dorcas didn’t say anything more, but raised an eyebrow back at Marlene and smirked unashamedly. “He’s basically a mix of Mary and Sirius, anyway.”

“Dorcas!” Marlene warned squeakily, letting the cabinet swing shut as she pulled out a box of cereal. “No he is not.” She poured the wheat bits into a cup and sat back down. “And that’s beside the point! I don’t like either of them anymore,” she muttered sheepishly, picking the pieces out of her cup and munching on them hastily.  

“Oh please. Maybe you’re over Sirius, but Mary? You two were inseparable in sixth year!” Marlene rolled her eyes and shook her head. She swallowed some more wheat crisps and licked her lips.

“Hmm,” Marlene responded feebly. “What were you going to tell me?” The shower turned off, and Dorcas leaned over the side of her chair to see Remus stepping out of the bathroom, a towel around his waist. He snuck quietly into the guestroom on the other side of the hallway, and Dorcas sat back up in her chair promptly as he shut the door with a click.

“Nothing.” Dorcas smiled smugly and wiggled her eyebrows provocatively. “Remus is quite fit, isn’t he?” Marlene reached over the table and smacked Dorcas’ arm as she leaned to the side and searched for Remus in the hallway again. “Fine.”

Dorcas stood up from her seat and downed the rest of her coffee quickly.

“I better be off, then. I suppose Sirius is mad at me. It’s a wonder he’s lasted this long at all without sex,” she murmured, checking her watch. Marlene choked on her cereal and pounded on her chest suddenly. Dorcas looked to her strangely, but shook it off as she grabbed her now dried jacket from the hook.

“Say hi to Sirius for me,” Marlene added as Dorcas opened the door. She nodded her head at Marlene, and pulled a cigarette out of her pocket.

“Bye Remus!” she yelled to the back end of Marlene’s apartment. Remus poked his head out of his door, and waved at Dorcas. He still was not dressed, and upon closing his door, Dorcas winked at Marlene, and Marlene blushed slightly, shaking her head as Dorcas closed the door behind herself.

 


Chapter 19: The Butterflies in the Lollipops
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 (December 24th, 1979)


 

“I know!” Dorcas and Alice said at the same time, bursting out in laughter in the cramped Ministry elevator. Lily let out a small sigh as she shifted to the right and bumped into a stoic man in a dark coat. The elevator dinged, and Lily slithered her way out in the large crowd.

“Alice! Dorcas!” she said impatiently. “This is our floor!” Dorcas and Alice excused themselves and pushed through from the back of the elevator.

“Sorry everyone!” Alice called back into the elevator as the golden-gated doors slid shut, and it zoomed backwards into the building. “Alright, guys, so here’s what’s on the agenda.” Alice slid some papers to the right and they slipped out of her folder. “Ugh.” She stamped her foot on the ground, and bent to pick them up.

“No, no I’ll get it,” Dorcas said quickly, shooing Alice away and picking up the papers for her. Lily frowned at Dorcas and Alice chuckled.

“I’m pregnant,” she explained to Lily, smiling as Lily widened her eyes in astonishment.

“Congratulations!” She swallowed thickly and embraced Alice mechanically.

“Lily and James have been trying to get pregnant,” Dorcas explained bluntly. Lily glared at her over Alice’s shoulder. She swallowed again and stepped back from Alice, putting her hands on her hips.

“I’ll have you know, I am pregnant, too,” she said proudly. The three moved out of the way as the elevator opened again.

“Lily! How long have you known?” Dorcas asked as she hugged her friend tightly.

“Since the end of October,” she said sheepishly, rubbing Alice’s back as the two embraced. Alice started leading the way towards the courtroom and the trial they were set to sit in on. “James and I were going to tell everyone at dinner tonight,” she told Dorcas. “But then that got cancelled, so we’re praying for New Year’s to be a go.”

“Our kids will go to Hogwarts together, Lily!” Alice squeaked excitedly. Lily smiled back and nodded happily.

“And Molly’s boy, too.” Alice bounced on the balls of her feet giddily and skipped forward to catch up with Lily and Dorcas.

“It’ll be like a mini-Order,” Alice whispered as she poked her head between the two younger witches.

“Just, don’t tell James I told you,” Lily muttered as she tucked her hair behind her ear. “We were supposed to do this together.” Alice handed them the dockets on the case as they approached the courtroom. Dorcas smirked at Lily, and Lily swatted her away with her packet. “Let’s just focus on this,” she said, waving the papers in front of their faces.

“Right,” Alice said, shaking her head to clear it. “This is Igor Karkaroff.” Lily and Dorcas flipped open their folders to the front page, and a menacing man sneered back up at them, smiling evilly with his crooked teeth. “We know that he’s one of them,” she whispered, opening the large wooden door and ushering the others inside. “This trial is just petty theft. He’ll get let off with community service at the most, but the outcome is going to answer a few more of our questions,” Alice informed them darkly.

“What do you mean?” Dorcas whispered as they climbed up to the higher balcony for spectators.

“Look who’s on the jury.” Dorcas and Lily’s gazes fixed on the large panel of people, scanning for familiarity.

Lily gasped and put her hand over her mouth as her eyes landed on Lucius Malfoy. Dorcas ground her teeth as Antonin Dolohov, an old classmate and now an Unspeakable, leered at a woman from his position next to the head judge on the case, Millicent Bagnold.

“I don’t have to remind you that you can’t tell the others about this. It’s sensitive.”

“I don’t get it. How come we get to know?” Dorcas asked, drawing her eyes away from Dolohov and back to Alice.

“There are certain people: myself, Albus, Kingsley. We deal with the political side of things.” She clenched her hand and took a deep breath. “After Gideon and Fabian, we needed to pick new first tiers. You’re them.” The courtroom bustled, and the three of them felt more comfortable raising their voices.

“First tiers?” Lily questioned. Alice looked at her and smiled.

“There are three tiers of the Order: political, tactical, reserve. We’re the political tier, the ones that deal with Ministry infiltration.” Alice looked around and lowered her voice. “Tactical is all undercover work. That’s Moody, James, Remus, Marlene, Arthur, Peter, Frank, and, it used to be Sirius and yourself,” she said, motioning to Dorcas. ”Lastly, there are those who work part-time as spies and liaisons like Mary, Caradoc, Benjy, Edgar, and a couple others that we’re not all privy to.”

“What changed? How come I’m political?” Dorcas asked curiously, filing through her folder. Alice sighed as Millicent Bagnold slammed her gavel, silencing the crowd.

“We’ll talk more later. For now, pay attention.”

 



 

“This is so weird,” Marlene whispered to Remus as they sat in the muggle police station in Greenwich, Connecticut, United States. Alastor was talking to someone over the main desk, and Remus and Marlene were slumped in chairs that lined the wall. Marlene inched closer to Remus as the strange man sitting next to her coughed loudly and snorted.

“I know. Who knew Moody had connections in the States?” Marlene shrugged and yawned. They had been trying to find the source of the muggle attacks for six days now, and Marlene felt that they’d hit a dead end.

“Thanks,” Alastor said charmingly, winking at the officer sitting at the computer. He turned and his face dropped immediately. He walked out the door, and Marlene and Remus scrambled to keep up. “We’re too late,” he said in defeat as the trio walked to the bus station. They stopped at the sign that indicated a bus would show up to take them into Westchester, a county of New York not too far from there, in about five minutes. “There hasn’t been a hit in five days. Doubt that there are any Death Eaters left here, and if there are, they’re buried in a ditch somewhere.”

“But we’re sure it was them?” Marlene asked timidly. Alastor didn’t react except to clench his jaw and tighten his mouth.

“The snake-like clouds above houses of murdered muggles? What do you think McKinnon?” Marlene looked to the ground as Moody put her in her place. “I said what do you think?”

“Death Eaters,” she said begrudgingly.

“That’s right,” Moody assured her. “It’s not all butterflies and lollipops.” None of them said another word as the bus pulled up. Remus stepped forward as the door opened for them, and handed the driver the fare with the muggle money he’d exchanged with his mother’s pounds.

The bus was almost empty, with only a couple of rows and seats empty. Marlene scanned the bus, looking past two couples, a woman with brown hair and a thick scarf in the back, a short man with a hat, and a mother with a baby. Marlene and Remus sat next to each other on one side of the bus, and Moody found a seat further in the front behind the driver. Remus snickered as the bus driver twitched when Moody landed behind her ungracefully.

“I hate this,” Marlene snarled, closing her eyes and shaking her head. “I want them all dead.” Remus held her hand loosely, and squeezed it as she leaned on him. They’d been searching for days for the perpetrators, but lost their lead as the killings stopped. Remus knew that Moody was afraid the war was escaping Europe, and he was right to. Muggles and muggleborns were being targeted specifically, and it killed Remus to think of Dorcas.

Marlene sat up quickly, and Remus looked behind them as a loud crack resounded in the bus. It lurched forward as it came to their stop, and Moody got up, motioning for them to make their way off.

“Did you hear that?” she muttered to Remus as they exited the bus.

“Yes,” he mouthed back, pointing at Moody’s back to warn her not to say more.

“Should we say something?” she whispered as Moody headed towards the foreclosed house they were staying in. Alastor quickened his pace to the grand house, leaving Marlene and Remus in the dust.

“No.”

 




 
“Move it boys!” Frank shouted in his magically amplified voice. Peter and James were crawling through what appeared to be a large tunnel in the Ministry’s auror training arena. Although they weren’t technically allowed to be training there, Moody and Frank had pulled some strings collectively. “You should be out by now!”

“Alright there, Peter?” James shouted back to Peter who was crawling at a much slower pace.

“I’m fine, James,” he said through deep breaths. “Go on without me I’ll catch up,” he heaved out, wiping his forehead and stopping to catch his breath. James turned around and kept on his way towards Frank’s voice. Frank kept shouting at the pair to hurry up through the maze so they could move onto dueling, and that didn’t exactly encourage James to get there.

“James, move it!” he heard, waking him from his spell. He moved as fast as he could, wiping his glasses as they fogged up from the heat in the tunnel. They must have been vents. James saw a light as he turned the corner, and felt something brush up against his leg as he sped up. As he drew closer, he saw Frank’s head in the hole and heard a garish but squeaky laugh. Oh great. He was really going to get it.

As Frank gave him a hand to climb out, James’ eyes adjusted to the light and he saw Peter leaning up against a table that held an assortment of muggle weapons. “Well, I don’t know how Peter got out of there so fast, but I do know that that’s one for him!” Frank said happily, ticking off a mark under Peter’s name. They had a competition of sorts going.

“I have a feeling I know exactly how he did it,” James muttered, shaking his head as Peter winked at him cockily.

 
 





Sirius tapped his fingers against the spine of the old book. Mr. Potter had lent him his old study book from when he was training to become an Auror, and if Sirius really wanted to do this, then he’d have to brush up.

After getting let off the Order, he’d finally had time to dedicate to actually passing the exam. He and James had always wanted to be Aurors before the Order came into play, and now he had the time to do it.

It wasn’t that he was bitter he was kicked out. In fact, it was quite the opposite. He missed it, sure, and he always felt left out of the loop, but this gave him the time to do what he wanted to. And he hadn’t done that in a long time.

So there he sat, reading Mr. Potter’s old training guide and doing his best to memorize every stitch of it. If he was going to pass the entrance exam, he’d want to go in knowing everything they could possibly ask.

And with all this extra time he had a lot of thought to give to the whole godfather situation. He was so ready to be another dad to their kid, knowing James would probably never be home just like he isn’t now. And then if Dorcas was godmother then it’d be like they had a kid anyway and he could forgive her for the whole miscarriage debacle. Sirius smirked into his grubby book.

“That’s right, mate,” Sirius muttered to himself. “Everything’s turning up fucking butterflies and lollipops.”

 




 

“So you’re this Mary girl?” Peter’s mother asked from her seat. Mary looked up from her nails suddenly and nodded at the woman who was previously silent. Peter’s mother clicked her tongue against her teeth. “And I guess you’re involved with this group he is in, too?” Mary swallowed, and she was suddenly very aware of her tongue.

“Yes. We are working against some dark-“

“No, stupid girl,” she scolded. “I mean you’re working for the group that’s keeping me alive, aren’t you?” she croaked out, clutching onto the bedframe as she coughed. Mary offered her a glass of water but she waved it away.

“Yes I’m working for them, too,” Mary said solemnly, fiddling with her cuticles as Peter’s mother scowled at her stonily.

“A traitor, just like my son. How befitting that he’d choose a coward like himself to bed.” Mary opened her mouth to protest the accusation, but thought against it as his mother started coughing again. Mary could understand why. The basement was awfully dusty, and as far as she could tell, Peter’s mother hadn’t been out of this room since Peter told everyone she had passed away.

“Stop picking at your nails, girl.” Mary let her hands drop to her side and tilted her head down to avoid the stern woman’s gaze. “Did Peter tell you what he did to save me?” Mary shook her head no, but did not verbally respond. “First thing, he sold you all out. Well not you, I guess. Bloody traitor,” she added to herself, picking up the napkin that came with her dinner and coughing into it loudly.

“It was a bit after graduation. You-Know-Who’s got a list, see. He’s got a list now of the names of the members of that pathetic little group.”

“He couldn’t,” Mary said in disbelief, her brows crinkling.

“He did. And what did it get me? Another couple of months in this hole,” she said bitterly, looking around.

“Then there was something about poisoned beer, but I don’t think that went too well, because I was back on my deathbed.” Mary’s eyes pricked with tears as she recalled Marlene laying still in a hospital bed. “And I’ve been held over since he told them how to get into James’, bless his soul, childhood home.” Mary was stunned into silence. She felt rather dizzy suddenly, and gripped the arm of her chair tightly.

“So I’m guessing he didn’t tell you anything remotely close to this?” Mary shook her head again and her lip trembled. “Shame. He never did communicate well.” Mary almost snorted at the irony. This woman commenting on anyone’s social skills was quite laughable.

“And he’s still doing this?” Mary questioned timidly. The woman’s small lips trembled gently, and she laid back down on the bed. Mary got up and pulled the blanket over her as she struggled to reach it herself.

“I’m still alive, aren’t I?” she growled, slapping away Mary’s hand. Mary collected her jacket from her chair, and clicked the lights off as she saw his mother close her eyes. A tear finally slipped out of her eye as she climbed the stairs to the main floor.

“Merry Christmas,” she whispered, shutting the door silently behind her. 

 


Chapter 20: The Fate in the Family
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 (January 13th, 1980)



 

“What was all that about?” Professor McGonagall demanded as she burst into Professor Dumbledore’s office. Albus Dumbledore put his head into his heads and sighed deeply.

“Please call the Potters and the Longbottoms. I need to speak with them immediately.” Her mouth fell open in exasperation and she crinkle her thin eyebrows. “And Minerva,” he added, raising a finger before she left the room. “I must ask that you tell no one of this.” She nodded without question, and pursed her lips tightly.




“What is this about, Professor?” Lily asked, eyeing the small, recently revived Phoenix as it stretched it wings gently.

“I’m afraid there is some terrible news.” Lily and Alice shared a glance, both realizing that they only had one thing in common: their children. “I have recently interviewed someone for the Divination post, and she came out with a revelation at the close of our meeting.” James clutched Lily’s hand tighter as her eyes flickered around the room in order to avoid Dumbledore’s eyes.

“What did it say?” Frank asked bluntly, his jaw trembling as Alice’s eyes teared. Dumbledore’s mouth hung open for a second before he found the proper words.

“The prophecy referred to a child born of July, a child that is born of parents who have thrice defied Lord Voldemort.” Everyone excepting Lily cringed at his blatant use of the name.

“What does this mean?” Alice wondered aloud, holding her stomach closely.

“It means that one of your children will have the power to vanquish Lord Voldemort.” Lily’s jaw trembled similarly to Frank’s, and her teeth chattered loudly.

“What do we do? Is this a good or a bad thing?” Frank asked as he wrapped an arm around Alice’s shoulders.

“Are you mad?” James asked dangerously. “Of course it’s a bad thing, this is a terrible thing!” He slammed his hands on Dumbledore’s desk and shoved the books that were stacked on his desk. “Do you know what happens if he finds out?” James whispered turning back on Lily whose tears were streaming down her cheeks as she caressed her stomach. “You both will be killed,” he said firmly, looking between Alice and Lily.

“Enough, James!” Frank yelled roughly, spit flying across the room.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Potter is correct.” Lily tugged James’ arm, and he sat back down next to her moodily, huffing and pushing his hair out of his face. “I advise that you go into hiding. It is far too dangerous for you to be seen pregnant.”

“Wouldn’t that be noticeable?” Lily asked through her tears. She wiped her face with the back of her hand. “If we just disappeared?” James rolled his eyes and leaned his head back on the edge of his chair.

“I’m sorry, Miss Evans. It is too dangerous, for yourselves and the children, to be out in the field. I recommend going into hiding immediately.”

“I can’t coop myself up at home for six months,” Alice said in frustration. She leaned forward on her knees and went to push her hair back, but found her long locks missing in her pixie haircut. “I can’t do it!” She looked pleadingly at Frank and shook her head.

“Again, unfortunately, this is not simply about you or Miss Evans, Miss Fortescue. This is about the future of the Wizarding World.” Lily wound her red hair in her fingers, but stayed silent.

“You’re not using my baby as bait for Voldemort,” James said simply. He crossed his arms as Lily continued with her nervous habit.

“You’re right, Mr. Potter. We’re not. But you are going into hiding. I’m sure we can all agree that is the best course of action.”

“How do you even know it’s us?” Alice blurted out, her red eyes blinking rapidly. “It could, it could be,” she muttered, searching for another name, person, couple, that it could be.

“Faced him thrice? That’s us,” James said dejectedly as Alice whimpered quietly. “I can’t believe this,” he said sadly, running his hands up and down his thighs anxiously.

“I know it’s in no way ideal. If there’s anything I can-“

“Ideal?” Frank sputtered in anger. “Ideal.” Frank stood up suddenly and kicked the books that James had previously thrown off the table. “My wife could be carrying the savior of the Wizarding World and you’re worried that the situation is not ideal?” Dumbledore adjusted his glasses calmly, and slid back in his chair slightly as Frank continued his raging rant. “We haven’t had an ideal life for four years! Hell, I can’t remember the last time I felt like my situation was ideal!”

“Frank,” Alice counseled, placing a hand on his. He breathed out heavily, flaring his nostrils at Dumbledore, who took the silent moment to stand up. “It’s not his fault.”

“She’s right,” Lily inserted. Frank sat down, and he and James shared a strange look. “We’re lucky she professed to Dumbledore and not You-Know-Who.” Lily took a breath in slowly, and let it out even slower. James opened his mouth to protest again, but Lily placed her hand over his to silence him. “What does going into hiding entail?” she breathed out as calmly as possible.

“It’s not nearly as intimidating as it sounds,” Dumbledore explained evenly. “Staying out of the Order is the most difficult part of this.”

“That doesn’t apply to us, does it?” Frank asked worrisomely, referencing himself and James. Alice looked to him in incredulity, her mouth hanging open.

“Frankie!” Frank didn’t turn his head to look back at Alice, who was now distraught over the fact that her husband would desert her in such a time.

“You may consider this applicable to you, but you would technically still be working. We would need you to watch over Miss Evans and Miss Fortescue respectively as protectors for the Order.” James nodded on agreement, but Frank cursed under his breath.

“Wouldn’t it be more obvious if we all suddenly fell off the face of the earth?” Frank asked angrily. Dumbledore shook his head again, more fervently this time.

“Right now, nothing is the safe thing to do except stay in hiding!” he growled, slamming his hand on the table. The four young witches and wizards silenced as their stoic leader lost his temper. “As I mentioned,” he continued, reclaiming his calm demeanor and catching the gaze of each former student, “this is not about you anymore.”

 




 

(February 14th, 1980)

 

Lily folded her pile of laundry from the basket tiredly. She wiped her forehead with the back of her hand as she began sweating again. Sweating, eating, and then vomiting. She did a lot of that.

“James! Would you turn down the heat?” yelled Lily up from the basement. She heard James’ heavy feet thumping down the stairs and rolled her eyes in anticipation. Lily looked over her shoulder to James, who stood by the door wrapped in a scarf and a large sweater.

“I had to nick this from Moony,” James said, crossing his arms and motioning to his woolen jumper.

“C’mon James,” she whined, tossing down the mismatched socks in her hand. “I can’t stop sweating!” James’ mouth twitched as Lily complained, and he took his wand out of his pocket. He cast a cooling spell over her from across the room, and she sighed in relief. “Thank you,” Lily snarled. “I guess you’ll just have to keep doing that every ten minutes instead of just turning down the freaking heater,” she grumbled to herself, tossing down the last pair of trousers into the basket of folded clothes and going to pick up the basket.

“Let me carry that on up.” James walked over to her casually, ruffling his hand through his hair before Lily held up a finger at him. He stopped in his tracks and scoffed as Lily pulled herself up from her seat and pulled her wand out from her hair.

“Wingardium Leviosa.” The basket lifted up easily, and Lily scooched her way past James, letting the basket hit his arm as she headed up the stairs. James scoffed again and headed up after Lily.

“I made dinner,” James said hopefully as Lily put the laundry at the foot of the basement door and wiped her hands on her shorts.

“I can’t eat James. Otherwise I’m going to throw up again.” Lily put her wand back into her hair and rubbed the back of her sweat-sheened neck. “Thanks though. I guess you’re right, there is a first time for everything,” she bit back bitterly.

“Merlin, Lily. Everything’s got to be a problem now, doesn’t it?” Lily’s green eyes searched James’ body while he tapped his foot fretfully against the floor. Her hands went to her hips, and her chin poked out as she glared at him.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” James pushed his glasses onto his forehead and opened his mouth before Lily cut him off. “I’m going to bed.” She turned on the spot and rounded the corner to the staircase, taking a small breath before heading up the stairs. James came after her again, and caught up to her, taking the stairs two steps at a time. He caught her arm as she went to open their bedroom door, and Lily turned around reluctantly.

“What is wrong with you?” James let her wrist go as she faced him openly.

“I’m just tired,” she said again, clutching her stomach and raising an eyebrow at James to challenge her.

“Oh, enough with the stomach thing, Lil,” James derided, ripping her arm off her stomach. “You’re four months pregnant, not nine.”

“Ha!” she laughed, leaning herself against the wall on her arm. “I’m surprised you noticed,” she emphasized, tilting her head with each word. She pushed herself off the wall and opened their bedroom door. James followed her in and slammed the door behind him. Lily looked back at him as the door resounded in their large room, and she frowned deeply, seething through her teeth.

“What are you talking about? I have been nothing but supportive!” James braced himself on their bedpost as he yelled dryly.

“What, by offering to carry the laundry? What about all the times I tried to get you to discuss names with me? What about the time I heard you calling Sirius on your stupid little mirror, telling him you didn’t know if you could do this?” she asked haggardly. “No, James, I simply don’t care to fight you on this anymore. I’m having the baby, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it,” she said simply as she began removing her thin tee shirt.

“Don’t you dare throw that in my face,” James argued, following her into the bathroom. “I have been stuck in this house for a month because of that baby, and I still am. Do you know what that’s like for me?”

“Oh, poor Jamsie,” she mocked, putting out her lower lip and waving her hands as she taunted him. “How will ickle-James ever survive a couple more months in captivity with his wife?” Lily clenched her jaw and eyed James as he mulled over her words in frustration.

“I don’t want to say it,” he muttered, “I don’t want to say it.”

“Say it,” she tempted him, her mouth shaking in anticipation. James walked out of the bathroom and Lily threw down her hairbrush as she now followed him. “Don’t be afraid, James, say it!” Her voice carried through the house and echoed in the high ceiling of their suite-sized room. He took off the watch that he carried on his left wrist and put it next to his wand, which he laid down on his nightstand. “Say it or I’m leaving.”

James whipped around and appraised Lily, testing her will, as she walked over to their large closet and swung the French doors open dramatically.

“I can stay with my family,” she reasoned, kneeling and pulling a suitcase from under the dresser that stood next to the doors. “Petunia and Vernon are away, so there’ll be no trouble, and I’m sure dad would love to know.” She stuffed her clothes in the trunk haphazardly, not bothering to check what she put in there.

“Don’t be dramatic,” he sighed, sitting on the bed and removing his shoes. Lily slammed it shut, and locked the case with a snap. James peeked at Lily, and his mouth tightened warily as she stood proudly. They locked eyes, battling silently before Lily headed to the door stormily. “Lily wait.” James stood in the doorway until he heard Lily’s feet pattering back down the stairs. “You have no shirt!” he exclaimed. He launched himself from the doorframe and tumbled down the stairs after her as he heard the front door slam shut. He swung the door open, and cursed quietly as he saw the downpour that was occurring. “Get back inside, you can’t catch cold!”

“Say it, or I’m going,” she warned, grabbing her wand and brandishing it at him dangerously. James spit water out of his mouth and wiped his eyes, not used to rain falling into his eyes instead of his glasses.

“Fine!” The rain drowned out the noise of their heavy breathing. “I told you so.” Lily shook her head at him and stormed back towards the front door where he sagged tiredly. She pushed her suitcase into his arms as she walked back to the house angrily, and left the door hung open as she headed back inside.

“I really can’t believe you.” She took to the stairs again, walking up slower this time and clutching her stomach. James put his hand on her lower back, and she didn’t flinch, but didn’t react to his touch either.

They took the stairs, one step at a time, silently but tensely until they reached the landing. Lily’s cheeks were tinged red, as red as her lips, as red as her hair. They faced each other but didn’t look each other in the eyes. Lily bit her lip, and James scrunched his mouth up. “Let me just,” she muttered, trying to head into their bedroom but bumping into James as he moved the same way she did. They danced awkwardly until James stopped moving and Lily slid past him.

Lily’s wet hair was slicked against her skin, and licked paths of water down her arms and torso. She picked up a towel from the shelf just inside their bedroom and threw it around her shoulders, taking her hair out from under it and flicking James with rainwater in the process.

Lily walked around the bed to her side and pulled open a drawer on her nightstand. “I think I’m going to sleep in the guestroom tonight,” she said quietly, squatting down and picking out a pajama set.

“Lily,” James groaned, swinging his leg back and forth, kicking the wooden floor repetitively.

“Don’t. It’s fine. Really.” Lily walked back around the bed, flicking her light out with her wand and stood across from James in the hallway. He gazed down at her sadly, but Lily simply tucked her hair behind her ear and avoided his gaze. James clenched his teeth together and trailed his hand along Lily’s jawline. He leaned forward for a kiss, but Lily put her hand on his chest and ducked her head into her neck.

“Goodnight, James,” she said unobtrusively. She inched past him again as he stood still in the center of the hallway, and headed to the last door on the left. James didn’t move until after he’d heard the door click shut. 


Chapter 21: The Revival in the Reinforcement
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 (April 1980)



 

Sirius sat in his desk chair, legs crossed and swiveling, as he read the letter from the Office of Admissions for the A.T.P. He kept motioning for a cigarette as he read it over and over again, but came up empty. He was trying to quit. For the baby. It got increasingly harder to not dig through Dorcas’ possessions to find her stash as the words ‘not accepted’ bounced around in his head.

“Moody wants to see you,” Dorcas announced, shutting the door behind her with her butt.

“What about?” he asked, leaning his head against the edge of the chair and swinging around in a circle.

“Who knows?” Dorcas shrugged her shoulders and picked a caramel out of the bowl on the edge of their counter. “Toss that over,” she said, pointing at the note that was crumpled in his left hand. He stopped swinging around, and threw the letter over to her lightly. She caught and unrumpled it. Sirius sighed as Dorcas sucked on her caramel. “I’m sorry,” she empathized, throwing the paper into the bin next to the refrigerator.

Sirius started spinning in his chair again and fixed his eyes on a spot on the ceiling. “You should talk to Moody. I have a good feeling,” she sung optimistically, walking over to Sirius and putting her hands on the arms of the chair to stop it from spinning.

“You have a feeling, or he told you?” he asked skeptically. Dorcas wiggled an eyebrow and smiled mischievously at him.

“I don’t know,” she sung out again happily, jumping on Sirius’ lap and making the chair groan with her extra weight.

“Come on, tell me,” he moaned.

“Nope!” she said, hopping off his lap again and running her hands down his arms. She pulled him forward and he unfolded his legs, climbing off the chair. “You’ll have to get out of the house!” Sirius smirked and went after Dorcas as she scampered to the back of the house.

“Come on!” he griped, stomping after her as she scrambled up the stairs. “You know you’ll tell me, just save me the trouble!” Sirius stopped halfway up the metal staircase, resting his hand on the rail and cocking his ear to hear where her footsteps fell. He heard the phone in the upstairs guest bedroom clatter, and ran forward as Dorcas let out a telling curse.

“Leave it Sirius!” she exclaimed, running down the short hallway as Sirius chased her. She ducked into the upstairs bathroom and Sirius followed her in. Sirius saw the curtain pull shut, and as it swished one way, he pulled it back the other. She pulled a face as Sirius smirked in satisfaction.

Sirius reached his hands out to grab her, and she jerked to the side, narrowing her eyes. He stretched to her again and she moved to the side, but got stuck in his other hand. “No, Sirius,” she warned pointlessly, as Sirius gripped her waist and picked her up over his shoulder. “Sirius!” she squealed as he tossed her over his shoulder. She kicked his thighs, and Sirius grabbed her ankles with one hand as she aimed dangerously near his crotch.

He walked her out of the bathroom, ducking so she wouldn’t hit her head in the doorway, and chuckling silently as she pounded her fist against his back and bit his shoulder.

“Let me off!” Sirius kicked open the door to a guesthouse, and threw Dorcas down on the twin bed. She grunted in surprise as she hit the bed. As Sirius kneeled on the bed and went to flop on top of her, she turned over and avoided his body. She didn’t, however, escape the grip he took on her wrist. He whipped her back over, and she turned into his arm, resting her hand against his chest to avoid knocking heads.

“Tell me and I let go.” His eyes glinted joyfully as Dorcas’ nose twitched. She struggled against him, but gave up and took a deep breath.

“You can’t tell Moody I told you,” she said, holding a pinky in between their faces. Sirius locked his pinky with hers and let go of her other wrist. Dorcas smiled widely as she turned Sirius onto his back and straddled him. “So after Lil and James and Alice and Frank went into hiding, we obviously have had some trouble dealing with everything.” Dorcas smiled as Sirius looked up at her hopefully. “He wants to ask you to rejoin!” Dorcas jumped up and down on Sirius’ lap on her knees, gripping his shirt as a genuine smile fell on his face.

Dorcas leaned forward and gave him a quick kiss before falling back to his side. Sirius chuckled and she frowned slightly as he grew louder and louder in his laughter. He ran his hands through his hair and laughed freely. “Yes!” he exclaimed, throwing his arms up and clutching his hands in fists. He flipped back to his side and leaned on his arm. “Yes,” he murmured against Dorcas’ lips. They kissed lightly, and Sirius broke away to whisper ‘yes’ one more time.




Sirius waved majestically as a round of applause, started by Peter, Remus, and Dorcas, rang out through the headquarters. Everyone else joined in slowly, some laughing, some shaking their head at his dramatic entrance.

“Alright, that’s quite enough,” Moody grumbled, his hands clasped firmly behind his back. “Let’s everyone just stop getting pregnant, right?” A few titters lasted past his interjection, but the scuttle died down as Sirius settled into his old seat next to Dorcas. “We’ve got something coming up. Any guesses?” Moody looked around, brandishing his chalk as if it could kill. No one said anything, so he turned to his chalkboard and scribbled quickly.

“Millicent Bagnold?” Peter questioned in confusion.

“Her induction,” Dorcas said in realization, screwing her eyes shut as she remembered.

“Exactly,” Moody said, aiming his chalk at Dorcas.

“What are we doing at her induction?” Marlene asked curiously, raising her hand as a formality.

“We’ll mostly be trying to gain information from her benefactors,” Dedalus Diggle explained from his position on Dorcas’ other side.

“That being said, we don’t need everyone to come. That could get a bit obvious, so we’ll need to chop down the numbers.” Moody turned back to the board and flipped it over. It seemed as if everyone in the room sat back in their chairs a bit as the intricate board of red strings and chalked names overwhelmed the small board. “We’ll need Pettigrew, Black, Meadowes, Weasley, and McKinnon,” he stressed by pointing his chalk at everyone as he called their name. “Frank Longbottom will also be in attendance as a liaison for the Auror office, but you are not to approach him,” he warned. “Do I make myself clear?” He raised an eyebrow, and nodded shortly as everyone remained silent in agreement. “That’s all I have. Will you take it, Albus?” Albus Dumbledore stood up, and smiled lightly at Moody who grimaced in return.

“I only need to speak with those who will be attending, so I assume the rest of you are free to go,” he said loosely, motioning to the door leisurely. The others filed out easily, chatting quietly, unsure if they were being let go early or if they were supposed to return for more debriefing later.

“May 1st is the day of the induction, and we have a few weeks, so I do not fret over you all knowing your places and marks. Alastor will deal with that lovely task,” he said, almost sarcastically, almost jealously. “I will not be available until the day of, and while we are there, I must ask you not to approach me either. The more that we are seen together, the easier it will be to connect us. Each of you will of course be assigned a partner to attend with, and you are to only speak with that member of the Order that night. Anything else is merely excessive.”

Minerva McGonagall poked her head in the door suddenly, and Sirius’ face lit up.

“Minerva!” McGonagall glared at Sirius sternly before turning her attention back to Dumbledore.

“Albus,” she hissed quietly. Dumbledore smiled graciously at the others, and went to the door. Minerva whispered hastily into his ear, and his smile disappeared rather suddenly.

“I’ll be right there,” he whispered back, nodding at McGonagall as she excused herself from the room.

“I do apologize, but Hogwarts beckons,” he explained away, gathering his wand and a few books from the large table. “Alastor will fill you in with more details upon his return I imagine,” he murmured dreamily, waving to the room of his former students. “We shall see each other soon!” With that, he disappeared out the door, leaving the group in front of him stunned into silence.

“So we’re going to a ball?” Peter asked meekly, gaining a chuckle from Sirius.    

 




 

(November 4th, 1979)

 

Dorcas couldn’t love working with Alice anymore. They’d been over in the United States for almost a week now, but the work was so interesting she didn’t even care about the dry food and cold weather. She crossed a leg over the other and adjusted her tight skirt.

She probably could do without the skirt, the slicked back bun, and the heels were a bit much, but she could deal with it if it meant she got to continue reading these awesome case files. She flipped through Katherine Maddle’s file, reading up on how her entire family mysteriously disappeared after printing pro-muggle propaganda in their home printing press.

She swore she heard the door to their temporary office swing open, but Alice was out. It was a windy day, so she thought nothing of it and settled back into her chair. They had also needed to perform a couple more Obliviations Dorcas really wanted to, but they did need access to these files. She felt goosebumps rise on her arms and shivered slightly, wrapping her cloak tighter around her chest. She and Alice were trying to track down where these attacks and disappearances were primarily taking place, hoping to take down some Death Eaters in other countries.

The door slid shut, and Dorcas was sure of it this time. She stood up and swiveled around suddenly, whipping her wand out of her cloak pocket immediately. “Who are you?” The short, mousy woman that stood across from her said nothing, and simply smiled at her pristinely.

“It’s okay, Dorcas, you can trust me.” She removed her sunglasses and the shawl that wrapped around her shoulders, but Dorcas still did not recognize her. She took out her own wand slowly, and Dorcas tightened her grip on her own. The woman slid all the windows shut through a wave of her wand with an ease that Dorcas only recognized in one other person: Mary.

“What are you here for? Who do you work for?” she asked hastily, looking over the woman’s shoulder to see if Alice would be back soon.

“Oh, Alice should be back in,” she paused, checking a watch on her wrist, “fifty-two seconds. Doesn’t give us a lot of time,” she muttered casually, nodding to herself and walking forward to Dorcas. Dorcas stumbled backward slightly as the woman stalked toward her with determination. She gripped Dorcas’ arms to stop her from backing away, and Dorcas slid her eyes down the woman’s left arm, calming down when she realized that the Dark Mark was nowhere to be found. “You have to watch who you trust,” she said clearly, locking eyes with Dorcas, nodding at her fervently until Dorcas nodded back.

Dorcas heard the gravel outside begin to crumble, and she opened her mouth to scream, but the woman held up her finger and raised an eyebrow. “What did I just say?” she hissed, looking over her shoulder. Alice was walking up the front step to Dorcas and hers temporary office, and when Dorcas looked back to the non-descript woman, she was already headed out the back entrance and apparating away.  

“Something up, Dorcas?” Alice shut the door quietly behind her, looking around the room for the source of Dorcas’ drawn wand. Dorcas opened her mouth to respond, but glanced back to the door silently. Dorcas turned back face Alice, who stood in the doorway with a curious look on her face. Dorcas put her wand back in her inner pocket.

“Nothing.” She sat back down in her chair slackly, and went to run her hand through her hair but was met with a hair sprayed shell. “I thought I saw something, but it was nothing.” 


Chapter 22: The Loss in the Trust: Part I
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 (May 1st, 1980)



 

“I don’t get why we can’t go together,” Dorcas whined as she touched up her deep red lipstick in the mirror across from her. Sirius stood on the other side of the door, and was waiting for her to be finished dressing.  

“Me either, honestly. It’s something to do with Marlene and I being Pureblooded,” he muttered, fiddling with his bowtie. “I don’t know how that’s going to help me at all anymore, but I suppose not everyone keeps up with the Black family drama.”

“How do I look?” Dorcas whipped the door open and stepped forward into the hallway. Sirius smirked slightly as Dorcas spun around in her long dress. The white gown slid down her frame with a syrupy resemblance, and her olive skin contrasted deeply with the color.

“Ravishing unfortunately,” Sirius said dejectedly. He reached forward, and Dorcas walked forward into his arms. The two swayed in the upstairs hallway. “I want to rip this right off of you,” he whispered into her ear. Dorcas smiled against Sirius’ cheek, but her smile turned down as she heard a knock on the front door. She leaned her head back and let out a small groan as Marlene’s fist hit the door again.

“Coming!” she yelled, kissing Sirius chastely and heading to the door in her thin stilettos. She tugged up the side of her dress and stomped down the stairs ungracefully. “The door’s open!” she called. Marlene opened the door and Peter stood next to her in a garb similar to Sirius’. The two walked inside, and Marlene locked the door behind her.

“It’s probably not too wise to leave the door unlocked,” Peter muttered to the side as Dorcas grabbed a shawl from the couch.

“Eh,” she said with a wave of her hand. “If they’re coming in, the door’s not going to stop ‘em.” Marlene and Peter glanced at each other, and he merely raised his eyebrows in confusion. “You looking smashing though, Leenie!” Marlene fluttered her eyes but smiled kindly.

“You trying to show me up, McKinnon?” Sirius asked from the top of the stairs. Marlene smiled again and chuckled silently, but avoided Sirius’ gaze.

“Thank you,” Marlene aimed to Dorcas, walking forward and meeting her friend to give her a hug. Dorcas still towered over her, even with Marlene wearing six-inch heels, and bent her knees to hug Marlene around the waist. “You look great, too! Where did you find this?” Marlene stepped back and kept her eyes trained on Dorcas as Sirius’ feet fell heavily on the stairs.

“This old thing?” she asked, flaunting her dress by sticking her leg forward. “It’s my mum’s, actually,” she said, dropping her pretense and smiling sadly.

“I’m sorry. I never got to say anything,” Marlene apologized, taking Dorcas’ hand and squeezing it softly.

“It’s nothing,” Dorcas said, shaking her head and clearing her throat. “Where did you get this?” she asked, her mood turning around immediately.

“I’ve had it since sixth year! You remember! We went to get it in Hogsmeade, but I never wore it.” Marlene had started her story in excitement, but her voice died down similarly to Dorcas’ as they reached a sensitive topic.

“We should get going, I think,” Peter said quietly. Both Dorcas and Marlene jumped as Peter appeared beside them sneakily.

“Peter’s right.” Sirius offered Marlene his arm, and she slipped hers through it. Dorcas towered over everyone in the room, but more so over Peter, and he shuffled to the side as her gown fell over his feet. “We’ll apparate over first. You guys follow up, alright? I can’t deal with Moody being mad at me again, and we’re not supposed to be seen together.” Peter and Dorcas nodded in agreement, but Dorcas pursed her lips as she saw Marlene and Sirius standing so close together.

“See you soon,” Peter inserted, breaking the awkward silence. Marlene looked between Dorcas and Peter, and upon noticing that Dorcas was chewing the inside of her lip, released Sirius’ arm.

“Good luck,” Dorcas said to the pair of retreating backs that were headed to the door.

 




 

Arrival was shaky at best.

“I don’t understand why you couldn’t have just apparated,” Marlene grumbled. She pressed down the black, flowing fabric of her dress and stalked forward to the entrance to the Grand Hall of the Ministry.

“It’s a better laugh if you do it,” he explained, chasing up after Marlene. He caught up easily with his long strides, and Marlene slowed down after realizing it was fruitless.  “So who’s on your list?” Marlene stopped short, and tucked her hand under the skirt of her dress, making Sirius raise his eyebrows. She pulled out a small, crumpled piece of paper with a few names scrawled on it.

She looked up to Sirius whose face was still stuck in shock, and she rolled her eyes.

“It’s not my fault none of these dress robes have pockets.” Sirius shrugged.

“I’m not complaining,” he said suggestively. Marlene rolled her eyes again and pulled down the edge of her dress slightly.

“Anyway.” They started walking slowly to the main hall again, and the flashes of cameras became brighter, the voices louder as they approached. Marlene lowered her voice. “Allan Fawley, Julian Greengrass, and Andrew Selwyn.” Marlene tucked her note away and avoided Sirius’ approving eyes.  

“I’ve got the wives.” Sirius scanned his list quickly before stuffing it inside his jacket.

“Perfect,” Marlene said, rolling her eyes and sighing sadly.

“What?” Sirius slipped his hand in hers, and she didn’t protest. They were supposed to act as if they were together.

“I thought maybe I could have some fun,” she grumbled.

“Don’t you remember?” Sirius asked cockily. “I can make these stuffy old Pureblood balls a lot of fun.”

“No, Sirius,” she scolded. “This is important.” It was Sirius’ turn to roll his eyes, and he did.

“Alright, kill-joy. Just act like you’re happy to be here then. I’m sure you remember how to do that as well,” he said brusquely into her ear as they approached the long stretch of carpet that headed to the inauguration ballroom.

Marlene’s teeth shined as soon as the first flash hit her, and she waved lightly as Sirius walked swiftly through the gaggle of photographers. He took long, gliding steps in an attempt to avoid the cameras as much as possible. Marlene kept up with his hasty pace when realizing that they probably weren’t supposed to be at this event.

Marlene took a breath in as they walked through the curtain and into the more intimate ceremony space. Sirius nodded at Kingsley Shacklebolt, who was in charge of security for the event, and produced two slips of blank paper. Kingsley glanced over them, pretending to check them thoroughly, and opened the small gate for Marlene and Sirius.

“That wasn’t so bad, eh?” Sirius asked, rubbing his fingers against the back of Marlene’s hand. Marlene pulled her hand back as if it had been shocked and rubbed her fingers gently.

“It was alright.” Marlene said nothing more, but Sirius took her hand again, and they walked forward to their seats in the grand area where Bartemius Crouch was taking his position at a podium in the center of the room. The room rang out in applause for the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and he held up a hand, motioning for silence.

“Thank you, thank you,” he acknowledged shortly. “In times such as these,” he began, reading from an animated monitor in the back of the room, “it is important to have a leader who is both trustworthy and strong. With her countless efforts to stop muggleborn persecution and breaches in the Statute of Secrecy, I am pleased to announce my former Deputy Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Minister Millicent Bagnold.” The decorous applause came from the audience as Millicent Bagnold walked out from the side in her dark blue robes, and hugged Crouch briefly.

“Thank you, Barty,” the middle-aged woman whispered into his ear. Crouch stumbled slightly as he walked past Bagnold, and Marlene and Sirius shared a quick glance as he exited the stage clumsily. “Good evening, everybody.” The chatter at Crouch’s awkward exit died down as the pristine woman smiled gently. “I am honored to start my term as Minister for Magic, and can promise that we will soon put an end to the terrible times we are in.” The frail woman was seemingly harmless, but Marlene watched her top lip tighten and was reminded of a certain Transfiguration professor.

“It is not without fear that I begin my era, but we need not waver. I am sure as sure as the rain in London is that He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named will be defeated by the end of my reign!” There was more polite applause, and the fear reflected in their caution. Bagnold let a smile fall on her face as Rita Skeeter pulled out a camera from her satchel and snapped a photo. “Now please. This is a ceremony! Enjoy!” she said happily. She raised her arms, and the tables set themselves ornately.

“Wine?” a voice asked from behind Marlene suddenly. A man dressed in a standard black suit held a bottle of dark red wine next to her head, and she shook her head no, waving him off as Sirius looked away pointedly.

“No drinks for the young couple?” an older man asked boisterously. He pointed to his glass, and the younger waiter filled his glass until the man’s hand cut him off. “Should we be expecting a new addition to the Black family?” Marlene looked down and shook her head no again quickly.

“Nothing like that,” Sirius said grimly. “We like to have our wits about us.” Marlene put her hand on Sirius’ leg and dug her nails into his thigh.

“Just being careful,” she amended, smiling nervously at the large man across from her. “Marlene-“

“-McKinnon.” The man guzzled down his drink after finishing her sentence. “I’d know those pretty green eyes anywhere. I went to school with your mother!” The man extended his hand and shook Marlene’s. “Andrew-“

“-Selwyn,” Marlene countered playfully. “Mother spoke very highly of you.” Selwyn smiled toothily at Marlene and released her hand.

“Well, well, well, beauty and brains. You sure know how to pick them, Mr. Black.”

“Hmm?” Sirius said, dragging his gaze from Dorcas’ bare back across the room.

“Thank you, Mr. Selwyn,” Marlene acknowledged, fluttering her eyelashes at him. “So are you anticipating Madame Bagnold taking office as well?” Marlene asked smoothly, grazing her fingers across her collarbone. Selwyn watched her hungrily and licked his lips.

“You know. Can’t stop the government, but she’s better than that hack Dumbledore.” Sirius eyed him angrily, and Marlene dug her nails into his thigh again.

“I know what you mean,” Marlene breathed behind her hand as she leaned forward into Selwyn. Andrew burst out laughing again, and Marlene nearly grimaced as his chin jiggled. “If you’ll excuse us,” Marlene said politely, taking Sirius’ hand and dragging him up to stand with her. Selwyn took another drink of his wine and didn’t acknowledge her.

Marlene waited a second for his response, but when he turned his attention back to the waiter, Marlene knew she was free to escape. “Let’s go,” she whispered angrily at Sirius, gripping his hand painfully under the table.

“Where are you going?” Selwyn asked suddenly as the two stood up. Marlene opened her mouth, and smiled tightly as she searched for the answer.

“Dance,” Sirius said rigidly. Marlene’s grip loosened as Sirius’ old, practiced aristocratic smile appeared. “This is Marlene’s favorite song.” Marlene let out a shaky laugh and leaned against Sirius’ side.

“Can’t resist,” she choked out as Sirius swept her away hastily. “What was all that about?” she muttered crossly the moment they turned away from their table.      

“I hate old codgers like that. They think they’re better than everyone with their money and status.” Sirius was fuming, but wrapped his hand gently around her waist. Marlene placed one hand on his shoulder, and the other in his free hand, and they joined in the waltz easily.

“For someone who hates it all so much, you haven’t missed a step,” Marlene countered, looking Sirius up and down as they danced smoothly.

“I do enjoy the dancing,” he pondered, making Marlene scoff as Sirius slid his hand further down her back.

“Well, regardless, you have to act like you love it.” Marlene gasped slightly as Sirius dipped her back and the song ended. She arched back up and brushed her hair to the side as it fell over her eyes. “We were put on this for a reason.” Marlene grabbed his hand as he attempted to head back to their table. “No,” she warned. “Your lecture is not over.” She rose up on the balls of her feet and peeked around Sirius’ head to make sure Selwyn wasn’t looking for them.

Sirius rolled his eyes and looked over his shoulder as Marlene dragged him through the crowd and to the nearest loo.  

 

 


Chapter 23: The Loss in the Trust: Part II
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 (May 1st, 1980)



 

“I guess we should follow up,” Peter said carefully as Dorcas looked after the closed door curiously. She didn’t speak for a while, but grabbed a handbag from the counter.

“We should follow up,” she said absentmindedly. Peter frowned and snorted lightly, holding out his hand to Dorcas.

“I know,” he spoke slowly, smiling briefly at Dorcas as her eyes focused on the door again.

“Let’s go.” Dorcas’ body disappeared first, and Peter’s followed soon after.

 




Peter looked around Dorcas’ shoulder and saw the back of Sirius’ head disappear into the crowd of photographers. “I think we’re good to go in.” Dorcas put on a great smile as they approached the bunch of flashing lights, but Peter cowered slightly behind her as they walked through the aisle towards Kingsley Shacklebolt.

“We’ve got it easy tonight, I think,” Dorcas whispered to Peter as Kingsley let them through. “We just get to sit, listen, and eat!”

“I think we’re supposed to be doing a bit more than that,” Peter said warily. Dorcas waved her hand at him as they approached their table in the back of the hall quickly. Peter pulled out a chair for her, and Dorcas sat gracefully.

“Let the Purebloods worry about the work tonight, I say.” She raised a glass of champagne to no one in particular, and swallowed it without hesitation.

“Yeah,” Peter grumbled, ducking his head as another round of couples came in through the entrance.

“Everything okay, Pete?” Peter nodded furiously, but said nothing more as another crowd came through. “What are you afraid you’ll see Mary here with another date?” Peter snapped his head up and sighed with irritation. “Sorry. Sirius told me you’ve got a thing for her.” Dorcas shrugged and leaned her chin on her hand. “And Marlene’s told me she’s got a thing for girls, so I’d be careful if I were you.”

“Damn it, Dorcas, I know!” Peter exclaimed softly. Dorcas put up her hands in defense and laughed at Peter’s sudden outburst.

“No need to get all twitchy. Where has she been, anyway?” Peter took a sip of his champagne as Crouch stood up at a podium in the front of the large ballroom.

“The induction is starting.” Dorcas rolled her eyes at his blunt avoidance, but said nothing more as Crouch started his introduction.     

 




 

“So I don’t get it,” Dorcas said, frowning as she and Peter danced clumsily on the edge of the dance floor. “What is your and Mary’s relationship like?” Peter avoided looking into Dorcas’ eyes as she rambled on about Mary. “Do you just like comfort her and pick her up from work and then she goes to a girl’s house for sex? Or what?”

“Shut up, Meadowes.”

“Oh, I haven’t heard that one in a while. Nice comeback,” she teased sarcastically. “But honestly, what’s it like?”

“Just because you and Sirius are fighting,” Peter said bravely, puffing out his chest and aiming to step on Dorcas’ foot.

“Oh, you’ll have to be quicker than that,” she teased again, kicking back her foot as Peter searched for her foot on the ground to stomp on. “Sirius and I aren’t fighting. Unless he told you we are. Then I suppose maybe we are. But stop stalling, tell me about Mary.”

“There is nothing to tell,” he gritted out between his teeth as the song died down and came to a close.  Dorcas opened her mouth and tried to stop herself from smiling, but it overcame her lame attempt.

“That’s far more interesting, I’m afraid.” The two sat back down at their table, and Dorcas picked up her newly filled glass. “So she doesn’t know?” Peter ignored Dorcas and picked up a piece of bread from a basket in the center of the table. He knocked hands with a woman who sat across the way from him, and he smiled awkwardly at her.

“Sorry,” he murmured. The woman’s cheeks poked up like cherries as she smiled back, and she dropped the bread on her plate.

“No worries,” she said smoothly. “I am Narcissa Malfoy, and you are?” Peter swallowed deeply, and suddenly grew a rather pinkish tinge.

“Peter Pettigrew,” he introduced quietly. “This is Dorcas Meadowes,” he said, his head bowed lowly. Dorcas stuck out her hand stanchly and looked Narcissa directly in the eye.

“Pleasure to meet you,” she said roughly, sticking her smile to her face as if her life depended on it. The other people at the table didn’t notice much, but the tension between the three was incredibly thick.

“It’s all mine.” Dorcas and Narcissa shook hands tightly, neither relenting first until Peter cleared his throat pointedly.  

“I’m sure you’ve heard of my husband, Lucius Malfoy,” she continued as the two other guests began listening in indiscreetly. Lucius turned to face the two, and was met with the same plaster-like smiles that Narcissa was given.

“Yes I’m sure I have,” Dorcas said stonily. Lucius’ smile looked suspiciously like a hyena's that was stalking its prey.

“So this is the pretty blonde that your cousin has taken a liking to,” he snarled back. He extended his hand, and Dorcas let hers fall into it. He bent over the table and kissed her skin lightly, making Dorcas cringe visibly. She ripped her hand back and let it fall to her thigh where her wand was stowed.

“I think it’s time we had some wine.” Peter stood up immediately and held out a hand for Dorcas. His eyes flipped between the three of them, and as no one protested, he dragged Dorcas from the table. “Can’t we catch a break?” he asked himself as they headed to the bar.

“No, don’t you see? This is perfect!” Dorcas exclaimed excitedly, jumping slightly as they walked briskly. “They can’t cause any problems with us right there.” Dorcas leaned against the bar. “Vodka rocks,” she said causally to the tender. He frowned at her, and she rolled her eyes. “Bloody wizards. Ice with my vodka!” She looked back at Peter who was staring off into space absently. “Cheer up! At least we ‘ve got something to do now!”

“Don’t be so naïve, Dorcas. You think we’d be able to stop them from doing anything?” he asked somberly. The bar tender gave Dorcas her drink and she winked at him. 

“It’s better than no one being there at all, you’ve got to admit,” she compromised, taking a sip of her drink.

“Why does it always have to be me, though?” he groaned into his palms. Dorcas put her drink down and pursed her lips pitifully at Peter’s back.

“I do think you’re being a tad dramatic there, Pete.”

 




 

“Ha!” Lily bragged, placing down her seven-letter word on the wooden board. “Do you want to stop now?” she asked James, tallying her score and showing him that she was winning by ninety points. James stuck his tongue out at her as she collected seven new pieces from the bag and placed on her Scrabble tray.

“I didn’t grow up with this game. It’s not fair,” he protested. Lily watched him intently as he chewed his lip and scanned his letters for a word worthy of Lily’s expertise. He picked up four letters and connected them to an s that was already laid on the board. Lily twisted her head to read his word.

“You can’t use names, James,” she sighed, wiping James’ pieces back off the board.

“No, no, no, it’s okay!” he said hopefully, grabbing the pieces back from her. “James is plural, right? So it’s like if I’m James, then people describe other people with my name! Like, ‘Oh, he’s such a Jame!” Lily blinked slowly and shook her head at her husband. He smiled innocently in an effort to convince her and nodded earnestly. Lily shook her head. “Fine,” he sighed, putting his pieces back on his tray. He picked up three pieces and laid them on the board, looking up at Lily for confirmation.

“Oh that’s so sweet,” she gushed, smiling down at James six-point word.

“Cats is definitely a word, Lily,” he said seriously, squinting at her from behind his glasses.

“I know,” she mused giddily, leaning back against the bed behind her smugly, writing down the score.

“Let me see that,” James said skeptically. Lily handed him the pad raising her arms in defense as he whipped it away from her. He went to check her math quickly, but tossed it to the side in angst. “I can’t tell if you’re making these numbers up or not,” he grumbled, launching himself from the floor as the timer on the counter sounded.

“No!” Lily groaned, throwing her head back as her husband took out a bottle from the cabinet and began picking out pills. “Honestly! Couldn’t wizards have come up with some substitution for pre-natal pills?”

“Now look who’s whining,” he crooned, cutting two of her pills in half and bringing them over to the living room floor. He sat next to her and took a glass of water off the table. “Where’s your muggle math to help you now?”

“Oh shut it,” she griped. She held out her hand, and James put the pill halves and a capsule into in. “You’re just jealous.” She tilted her head back and threw the pills in her mouth. He held out the glass, and she threw the water back into her mouth, too. She shivered slightly as she took them down. “I hate pills. And this.” She pointed at her belly and sneered at James as he smirked at her listlessly.

“I know. I’m sorry,” he said, crawling over and kissing her stomach gently. “I’m sorry,” he whispered against her. She closed her eyes as James rubbed her stomach softly, and he pulled himself to sit next to her. Lily leaned her head back against the couch and smiled as James’ hand stopped on the side of her stomach.

“Yeah. He’s kicking,” she explained. She could feel James smiling at her, and that made her smile even more. James chuckled quietly and kissed Lily’s shoulder.

“Just three more months, Lil. You’ve got this.” Lily didn’t say anything, but sighed and licked her lips.

“I think it should be Marlene.” Lily peeled open her eyes and stared at the dim light that hung above her head.

“Really?” Lily snickered at James’ poor attempt to mask his excitement.

“Yes, really James.” She turned her head to look at him, and found a childish grin on his face. “She’s basically your sister.” Lily attempted to heave herself up from the floor, and James held her elbow gently as she stood. She stretched her arms back, and James let go of her arm as she acquired her balance. “Plus, it’s not my job to worry about who likes who.” She scoffed and rolled her eyes. “I swear neither of them have grown up at all.” James laughed too and picked up the two glasses of water from the table.

“You’re right. Just because they’re our age doesn’t mean they have our maturity level,” he called haughtily to Lily as she started her way up the stairs.

“Oh don’t clump yourself in with me, James. I’m the one with the child,” she leveraged. He placed the glasses in the sink and turned off the lights to the first floor of the house. He took the stairs two steps at a time until he caught up with Lily.

“I know, Lily. Still. I’ve matured!” Lily smiled gently as James tried to convince her of his development. “I remembered to turn the lights out and everything!”

“I can’t believe I’m going to be stuck with two kids in three months,” she groaned, leaning on the banister slightly and clutching her stomach. 


Chapter 24: The Loss in the Trust: Part III
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 (May 1st, 1980)



 

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

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

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

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

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

“It’s pathetic.”

“It’s strong!”

“It makes me choke!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“She won’t-“

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The what?” Emmeline chuckled lightly.

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

“I, I don’t understand.”

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

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

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

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

“I don’t like it either-“

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Chapter 25: The Seclusion in the Secrecy
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 (May 25th, 1980)



 

Marlene liked how sunny it was. It was ever so sunny, especially for a May in Diagon Alley. She sipped her tea nervously, worried that he wouldn’t show. It was like him to be late. But Marlene was still worried he wouldn’t even show. 

She tapped her foot against the ground.

She hadn’t told anyone about Emmeline. Not one person. So now not only was she keeping she and Sirius’ secret, but Emmeline’s and Mary’s. Merlin. Mary. Her eyes began watering again as she thought of it. How could she be so cruel when they’d given up everything to dedicate themselves to the cause? And now she was just playing both sides as if it were a game.

It was eating her alive.

“Marlene?” Her heart soared as she heard her brother’s voice jumbled in with the rest of the crowd. She looked up from her seat and smiled tightly at Mark. He leant in for a hug, but Marlene receded back into her chair slightly, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. Mark cleared his throat, but sat across from her without another sign of unease.

“Hello Mark.” Marlene kept sipping her tea, and Mark motioned to the waiter to bring him one as well.

“How’ve you been?” he asked, placing a hand over Marlene’s as she put her cup on the table.

“Well. As well as I could be.” Mark looked away from her murkily, and cleared his throat. “I heard you’ve been meeting with Black,” she accused, taking her hand off the table crossing her arms.

“Man, how is Sirius?” he asked, scratching his head in remembrance. “Last time I saw him…It must’ve been at least a year.” Marlene pursed her lips and raised an eyebrow.

“It’s been at least two since we’ve seen each other. That’s all you have to say?” Mark’s face fell, his dark eyes avoiding Marlene again.

“You know why I couldn’t,” he offered meekly. Marlene didn’t say anything. “Mum and dad have agreed finally.” He leaned in closer, but Marlene made no attempt to hear him. “Of course, they still blame you for having to go into hiding, but that’s beside the point.”

“Well thanks a lot, Mark. Truly.” Marlene let out a breath, and her nostrils flared slightly as Mark gave her an apologetic look. She leaned forward as well, and looked over her shoulder before whispering furiously at her estranged brother. “I don’t know how you were ever sorted into Gryffindor, you coward,” she spat. “I’ve had to defend our muggleborn friends all this time, and now that it’s convenient for everyone, you’ve jumped on the bandwagon.” Mark’s eyes watered as his older sister reprimanded him once again.

“Not everyone can be like you, Marlene,” he protested weakly. A tear fell out of his eye and onto the table, and Marlene scoffed as he wiped his face hastily.

“Always the victim.” The two sat silently, Mark sniffling periodically. The waiter finally brought around his tea, but Mark didn’t acknowledge him. The wind blew around them slightly, and Marlene leaned her head back over the edge of her chair, basking in the sun lazily. “I am happy to see you, Mark,” she finally explained. Mark’s eyebrows rose hopefully, and his mouth twitched up at the corners. “I’m just not in the position to trust it right now.”

“To trust what?” he asked desperately. Marlene dragged her head back up, and she clicked her tongue against the back of her teeth. Mark’s teeth bit his bottom lip worriedly and frowned at Marlene.

“Anyone else,” she muttered through her lips. Mark’s shoulders fell and his head tilted to the side, and Marlene adjusted her cloak awkwardly.

“But I’m family,” he breathed out, sadness tainting his voice. Marlene sighed and pursed her lips, but didn’t move to comfort him. “What happened to you?” Marlene closed her eyes and leaned her head forward into her hands. Mark simply continued scanning her face and body language for a sign that she cared. But he wouldn’t find it in her.

“War.”

 




 

(June 2nd, 1980)

 

“No Peter. I’m not doing this anymore.” Peter grabbed at Mary’s jacket, but she continued making her way up the stairs, not caring as it fell off her shoulder, over the bannister, and back into the basement. She slammed the door behind her in Peter’s face, but he slammed it back open and grabbed her elbow.

“Mare, wait!” Mary was shaking as she turned around to face Peter. Her cheeks were streaked with tears, her shoulders and hands shaking. “You’re too far into this to back out!”

“No I am not!” she yelled raptly, wiping her face with the heels of her palms. “I am trying to stay alive. You,” she said raggedly, pointing at Peter and backing away from him slowly, “are betraying your best friends.”

“I’m saving my mother!” Peter yelled back desperately. Mary’s lip trembled as she stumbled over her own feet. Peter walked towards her carefully, but she eyed his waistband where his wand stuck out. Mary sobbed suddenly as she saw Peter reach for his pocket, and she clutched her chest.

“She doesn’t want to be saved! She wants to die, Peter!” Mary said angrily over her sobs. Peter shook his head furiously, and reached for his wand again. Mary cringed suddenly, and let out a small whine. He took a step back as she cowered away from him and looked to his hands as if her blood flowed over them.

“She’s just tired,” he pleaded. “She didn’t know what she was saying.”

“That’s a lie.” Mary choked on another sob as Peter stepped forward and crouched in front of Mary. “She’s been saying it since the moment I met her,” she said, shaking her head as Peter shut his eyes tightly and balled his hands into fists.

“I can’t let her just die,” he whispered to the floor. Mary’s sobs subsided, and she eyed Peter carefully again.

“You’re…you’re not doing what’s right.” Mary stood up as Peter continued muttering into the ground. She took a deep breath and blinked several times before speaking. “I don’t understand you, Peter.” He looked up from his crumpled position on the floor, his eyes reddened slightly. “Your defining trait as a person is courage. And…you’re doing this,” she said quickly, holding her hands out with her palms up helplessly.

“I’m doing what I can.” Mary let out the sigh she was holding, and her eyes began tearing again as Peter stood up, leaning his hands on his thighs and jutting his chin out.

“I can’t help you anymore, Peter.” He put his hands in Mary’s, but she pulled back and let her arms fall to her side. “Being a part of this, it’s insane,” Mary said, clearly frazzled. “I-I can’t go on this way.” She looked towards the door again, and headed towards it instantaneously.

“Mary,” Peter growled. He grabbed her wrist tightly and ripped her back towards him roughly.

“Peter!” Mary tripped forward and gasped as she felt her wrist twist unnaturally. She sucked in a breath, and Peter let go of her as she fell to her knees, clutching her swelling wrist with her other hand.

“I’m sorry. Let me fix it.” He bent down in front of Mary, but she scuttled back on her heels away from him.

“Don’t,” she warned, putting a finger to his face and leaning as far away as she could. “You’re just like them,” she whispered to herself. Peter leaned forward and touched her knee gently, but Mary took in a horrified gasp, making Peter back away immediately. “You really are,” she said crazily.

“Mary,” he pleaded again, pulling down the sleeves of his shirt as Mary scanned his forearms. Mary’s eyes darkened and she pulled her wand out of the holster on her arm.

“Back away from me or I will hex you, Pettigrew. I promise.” Peter’s face dropped as Mary lost all pretense. He took his gaze away from her and backed into the kitchen, falling against the chair. It clattered to the floor. “Don’t move,” she warned again, lifting herself up from the floor and wincing as she leaned on her enflamed left wrist. Mary leaned against the wall and pushed her bangs back away from her forehead. Her breath fell heavily in the sticky air, and Peter watched her warily, not daring to move a centimeter.

She finally stood up on her own two feet and glanced back at Peter, who still had not moved at all. “Don’t write,” she stammered quickly, stalking out of the house suddenly. Leaving her jacket in the basement stairwell.    

 

Marlene slammed the door behind her and leaned against it hazily, clutching her work apron to her chest. She breathed in heavily, inhaling the scent of her homey apartment. She smiled, reminiscing, and a hand flew to her cheeks as she felt herself blushing. She couldn’t figure out what was different about this time. It was still him. Maybe it’s because after the induction she hadn’t had the chance to smile. He always somehow managed to change that.

“Satisfied?” Remus asked moodily from the couch, flipping through a book aimlessly. Marlene opened her eyes quickly and crossed her arms upon realizing she wasn’t alone.

“What are you aiming at, Remus?” He scoffed and folded the corner of his page down.

“Nothing at all, Marlene,” he muttered bitterly. Marlene frowned and looked at Remus as he walked across the apartment to the pantry, taking some chocolate from the top shelf. Marlene uncrossed her arms and shook her head, making her way over to him.

“So that’s where you’ve been hiding all the chocolate,” she grumbled, holding out a hand. Remus broke off a piece and gave it to her, but made his way back to the couch without a word. “What are you doing up so late?” Marlene asked, throwing her apron on a chair and following him to the living room.

“How’s Sirius?” he rebuked. Marlene laughed shortly, and sat next to him on the couch awkwardly.

“I was meeting Mark, Remus,” she said. There wasn’t much she could do to hide the defensive tone in her voice.

“I can smell Sirius’ cologne from a mile away,” he deadpanned. “And seeing as you’re the only one he’ll see lately. Oh, I guess besides Dorcas.” Marlene looked over her left shoulder away from Remus and clenched her teeth. “You know Dorcas, right?” Marlene’s eyes clouded suddenly, and she avoided Remus’ eyes as he stood above her and finished his chocolate. “About yea high,” he motioned, holding his hand next to his head, “your best friend, Sirius’ live-in girlfriend?”

“Funny, Remus. I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Marlene said stonily, turning her head to look at Remus. Her eyes pierced his strongly, but he didn’t recoil.

“Do you think it’s not just sex?” he accused again.

“Remus, stop it,” she said, shaking her head. “Just stop-“

“Because that’s all it is. He doesn’t love you, and he’s going to hurt both of you in a bit, you watch,” he said casually, leaning into one hip.

“Just shut it!” she exclaimed, shooting up to standing and facing Remus directly.

Remus snorted.

“What are you going to do about it? Going to run to Sirius and tell him about the big, bad werewolf in your house?” Marlene reached her hand up towards Remus’ cheek, but Remus caught her wrist before she made impact. “Nice, M.” Marlene’s face reddened again, and Remus threw her hand away from his face.

“You are crazy! Go to bed, Remus,” she reprimanded weakly, pointing to the hallway.

“I’m crazy? At least I’m not still pining after some teenage crush!” Some of his spit flew at Marlene’s face, but she didn’t flinch. She only smirked.

“Oh, you’re not?” she asked darkly, swallowing as Remus’ gallant behavior faltered. “I can’t believe you think I don’t know.” Remus swallowed deeply, and Marlene watched his Adam’s apple bobble in his throat. She sucked her lips into her mouth, forbidding herself to take back what she said or apologize or anything of that sort.

“What the fuck has he done to you?” Remus murmured to himself, turning away from Marlene, who was now tapping her foot against the ground. Her eyes brimmed with tears as he began to walk away.

“Remus wait,” she breathed out against her better judgement. Remus flipped back around as Marlene placed her hand softly on his shoulder. He tilted his head to the side to avoid her gaze, but walked sternly towards her. Marlene found her knees pressed against the edge of the couch.

“Marlene, I just-“

“I’m sorry,” she said quickly, shaking her head at Remus as he searched for the proper words. “I didn’t mean it.” Marlene glanced up at Remus, waiting for a response. He simply shut his mouth as the tears that filled her eyes finally fell across her cheeks. Marlene stuffed her head into his neck, standing on her toes to reach her arms over his shoulders. Remus did not move for a moment as Marlene cried into his shoulder silently. “Remus?” she asked quietly into his shirt. When he didn’t answer, Marlene gripped him tighter.

He finally put his arms around her back, and squeezed her slightly. “It’s okay, M,” he sighed out plainly. Marlene blinked, her eyelashes sticking together in a mix of tears and mascara. She backed away, and Remus let her back away from him. He took a step backwards, and watched her as she rubbed her eyes with the back of her arm.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” she squeaked out quietly. Remus held his hand out next to her cheek, hovering closely but not touching her. “Remus.” She leaned her head into his hand, and looked up at him sadly. She shook her head as Remus rubbed his thumb over her cheekbone, and put her hand over his to remove it. Her lips pursed, and Remus frowned slightly as she took his hand away from her face.

“I guess I’m going to bed,” he said finally, putting his fist to his lips and walking out of the living room before Marlene even had chance to think.

 


Chapter 26: The Quake in the Calm
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 (July 30th, 1980)



 

“Why won’t you come out?” Lily moaned, twirling up the spaghetti on her fork and jabbing her stomach with her other pointer finger. “And how are you so put together?” Alice laughed heartily and took a sip of her water. Lily leaned back into her chair, and wiped her forehead of sweat. “And you,” she said shortly, pointing at James. “Go get me some more water.” James smirked at the back of Lily’s head and

“It’s weird!” Alice exclaimed in defense. “I think little Neville will be right on time,” she said fondly, rubbing her stomach. “One more week!” Lily smiled at Alice politely, and took a great sigh as James handed her a new glass of water.

“Thank you, sweetheart,” she mumbled. She took a great gulp of water, and exhaled in satisfaction. “It’s so unfair! Alice gets glowy and I get sticky.” Lily sneered, and waved herself with an issue of the Daily Prophet.

“Come off it, Lily. You’re glowing,” Frank said as he stuffed his food into his mouth.

“Frank, slow down,” Alice reprimanded, standing up and picking up her cleaned plate. She pat him on the back and reached over him to take James and Lily’s plates, too.

“Sorry, love, I haven’t eaten all night. This paperwork is going to kill me.” He wiped his mouth with a napkin, and tossed it on his now clean plate. Alice motioned with her free hand for his dish, but Frank shook his head, stood up, and walked into the kitchen with her.

“Do you need any help?” Lily asked, her eyes closed and her head dripping.

“I’m all set. Would you just bring in the glasses?” she asked, turning on the sink and scrubbing the dishes gently. Lily scoffed, but let James help her up from her chair.

“Come on, Lily. It’ll happen soon enough,” James appeased. She picked up her glass and shuffled into the kitchen to assist Alice with the dishes. She leaned in the doorway and held her side as James took the glasses and handed them to Alice. Alice didn’t take the glasses from James, but leaned against the edge of the sink.

“Alice, honey you’re letting the water go all over the floor,” Frank said tiredly, taking the dish that she held in her limp hand and drying it. Lily’s mouth dropped open, and she fell further against the doorway.

“No she isn’t,” she whispered quickly. Frank dropped the plate as he realized what was happening, and ran next to Alice. Her knees weakened, and she put her weight into her husband’s arms. “James conjure a wheelchair.” James didn’t respond to Lily, but ran his hands through his hair as Frank struggled to get Alice standing on her own. “James!” Lily said again, pounding her hand on the wall. He shook his head slightly, and nodded. He pulled out a chair from the kitchen table, took out his wand, and transfigured it for Alice to sit in.

“We need to get to the hospital.” Alice tugged on Frank’s sleeve, and dragged him down to her eye level. “Call Dorcas,” she said urgently. James began wheeling her towards the grand fireplace, and Lily lagged behind, clutching her stomach as James picked up the hospital bag that hung over the end of the stairwell.

“We will floo her as soon as you two get to St. Mungo’s,” James soothed her, handing the bag off to Frank. He placed a hand on Frank’s shoulder, and nodded at him. “We’ve got you,” he said strongly, turning Frank back around to face the fireplace.

“James.”

“We’ll probably see you in a few days, anyway,” James said quickly to Alice, giving her a kiss on the forehead. Frank took Alice’s hands, and she stood up. The two walked slowly into the fireplace, and James grabbed the pot of floo powder from them mantle.

“James,” Lily groaned again. He only ignored Lily, taking a handful of the powder and motioning for the two to prepare to floo away.

“Go straight up to the obstetrics floor. You’ll want Kelpie. Healer Kelpie. Dorcas says she’s the best. Repeat it, say the name.”

“Kelpie,” Alice said breathily, glaring at James. “We’ve got it, James. Now let us go.”

“James!” Lily exclaimed, crouching over and collapsing on the ground.

“Merlin, Lily!” he said, turning back around and dropping the sand that sifted through his hands.

“Lily?” Alice asked, tightening her grip on Frank’s hand as Lily cried out.

“James, give me the floo powder or I swear,” Frank said gravelly, cringing slightly as he felt his bones click together under Alice’s grip.

“James, it hurts,” Lily cried out. She and James shared a glance, and he nodded at her as she lifted her arms up. He picked her up and carried her towards the fireplace. Frank widened his eyes, but he and Alice shifted over without another word.

“What is going on?” Frank asked desperately as Alice began hyperventilating.

“Apparently we’ve all got to go to St. Mungo’s,” James said, hiking Lily up in his arms gently. “Can you grab the floo powder from above me, flower?” he asked Lily calmly. Lily nodded silently and reached her arm above the fireplace. She brought down the jar, and held it out to James.

“Lily, just smash it!” Alice groaned, leaning her head back in frustration against Frank’s shoulder.

“At least you’re sweating now, too,” Lily said angrily, throwing the pot of dust against the fireplace floor. “St. Mungo’s!”

 




 

The chaos of the emergency room was not lost on James. He looked around frantically as healers ran back and forth tending to different beds

“Somebody, please help us,” James yelled desperately as he, Alice, and Frank walked out of the fireplace in the emergency room swiftly. Lily tightened her arms around James shoulders, and let out a cry of anguish. Two healers rushed over to them, one taking Alice’s hand and leading her over to a bed. Frank followed, listing out Alice’s stats on her pregnancy nervously.

“Is she hurt?” the man in a cream doctor’s kit asked, taking his wand out from his chest pocket and scanning it over Lily’s body.

“She’s pregnant, due six days ago today. We were rushing our friend out of the house when she just fell to the floor,” he recalled easily. “Are our friends taken care of? Alice, her water broke. She’s not due for another week is she okay?” he asked, laying a whimpering Lily down on the bed.

“She’ll be fine,” the doctor snapped quickly. “Is this your wife?” James nodded, kneeling on the ground next to Lily’s bed and kissing her knuckles gently. “Hello, you can call me Healer Mannon,” the man said to Lily calmly. “What’s your name?” He swished a curtain shut around them, and it effectively drowned out the noise of the ER floor.

“Lily,” she gritted out between her teeth. She held her stomach, and seized unexpectedly.

“Lily can you tell me where the pain is?” he questioned again, taking a stethoscope from around his neck and placing it to her lower stomach. Lily took in deep breath, and let it out through her teeth again.

“It feels like contractions.” The man frowned slightly, and put away his stethoscope.

“Have you been pregnant before?” he asked, taking out his wand and performing a nonverbal spell over Lily’s abdomen.

“Never.” She gripped the sheets next to her head, and James wiped her hair out of her face. “But I had some Braxton-Hicks yesterday. It felt just like this.” She breathed out heavily, a whine backing her breath. She searched for James’ hand, and he gave it to her willingly. The man tilted his head strangely, and whipped open the curtain suddenly.

“Somebody page Healer Kelpie stat,” he yelled into the ER. He turned back to James, and ran his hand over his crew-cut. “Sir, if you would go to the waiting room and fill out a patient information sheet, we can get your wife admitted.” James scoffed and held onto Lily’s hand tighter.

“You’re crazy if I’m letting go now!” Healer Mannon crouched down to James and nodded in understanding.

“I get it. This is scary. But Healer Kelpie cannot examine your wife properly if she isn’t admitted. It should only take about two minutes.” James looked to Lily, and she nodded in agreement, taking deeper breaths now.

“Go, James. Don’t worry. The pain’s subsided,” she said tightly. James nodded frantically, and Healer Mannon put a hand on his back and pointed him towards the entrance desk. James kissed Lily’s hand, and took off to fill out the papers. Lily peered over Healer Mannon’s shoulder, and finally cried out in pain when James was out of earshot.

“It hasn’t subsided?” he asked with worry. Lily shook her head, and her hair flew over the back of her pillow. “Alright, I don’t want to make you nervous, but you’re in labor.” Lily opened her eyes and clutched the front of his shirt tightly, pulling him closely to her face.

“I’m in labor!” she growled. He put his hand over hers and smiled nervously, pulling back as Lily relaxed onto her bed again.

“Healer Kelpie is the gynecologist obstetrician on call tonight. She will confirm, but-“

“Move out of the way Mannon,” an older woman said quickly, swishing Lily’s curtain back open and elbowing him out of the way. “Chart.” She held out her hand, but Healer Mannon didn’t move.

“This is Lily, her husband’s still signing her in, I think she may have gone into labor, she said she had Braxton-Hicks yesterday, but the baby is in birthing position, and her contractions are about,” he paused, checking his watch as Lily began groaning again, “four minutes apart.”  

“Useless without stirrups,” she mumbled, kneeling next to Lily and taking out her wand. She ran her wand over Lily’s stomach, and she stopped over her lower abdomen suddenly. A warm smile graced her face unexpectedly, and she took Lily’s hand softly. “Lily dear, has your water broken yet?”

“Not that I know of,” Lily burst out before crying out again and scrunching her knees as close to her chest as possible. Healer Kelpie stood up and turned to whisper to Healer Mannon conspicuously, and he rushed out into the corridor without another word.

“Alright, Lily,” she said profoundly, opening the curtain again. “It seems that you’ve been in labor for approximately twenty-four hours, and we’re going to have to get you to a delivery room.” A rolling bed appeared with two orderlies and James, who looked even more ragged than before.

“Already in labor?” he asked, gaping at the new healer. She looked back to Lily, who was being helped out of bed by the orderlies.

“This is the husband?” she asked knowingly. Lily nodded, and laughed gently through her pain at James’ uncertainty. “Yes,” she said, turning to James. “Your wife’s Braxton-Hicks contractions were real contractions. It’s uncommon, but not impossible,” she explained to James as they began wheeling Lily away on the stretcher. James relinked his hand in Lily’s and listened intently to Healer Kelpie. “She’s got quite the pain threshold.”

“But what about the,“ Lily asked quietly, screaming in pain as another contraction hit.

“-water breaking? You may have been going to the bathroom when it happened. Another rarity, but it seems you’re full of those this evening Lily.” Lily threw her head back as another contraction set in, and they wheeled her into a private room. “I want her set on epidural,” she called to a staff of nurses that piled into the room. “A two-day labor is not going to be easy, no matter how much prep she’s already had.”

“Wait, drugs? I thought, natural, James?” Lily managed out through her breaths.

“Lily, now is not the time to show your valour. Take the drugs.” She nodded, and squeezed her eyes shut tightly. Healer Kelpie smirked, and she nodded towards the nurse who was about to insert a needle into Lily’s arm.

“Okay Lily, now we’re going to turn you on your back. It’s not going to be comfortable, even with the epidurals, but we need to move you. Can you squeeze James’ hand harder?” Lily nodded in agreement, and squeezed James’ hand tighter with vigor. “Good. Ready? On my count: one, two, three.”

James and Lily both cried out in pain, Lily from her contractions worsening in the position change, and James from Lily’s grip.

“You do not get to scream!” Lily yelled at James as he winced under her hand. “Oh my god!” she screamed again suddenly as Healer Kelpie put her legs in stirrups and her sundress fell back to her knees.

“What, what can I do?” James asked, kissing Lily’s forehead and pushing back more of her hair.

“We forgot to get Dorcas!” James clicked his teeth and rolled his eyes at Lily, whose eyebrows were furrowed in worry.

“Lily, now is not the time,” he reasoned, going slightly green as Healer Kelpie picked up a pair of surgical scissors.

“Gerwin, get the woman Meadowes,” Kelpie said from her seat in front of Lily. “Now is exactly the time to get Lily whatever she wants,” she said, glancing at the chart, “Mr. Potter.” James swallowed, and smiled weakly at the girl named Gerwin who had been writing in a small notepad up until that point.

“Yes, Healer Kelpie,” she said squeakily, rushing out of the room.

“Alright, Mrs. Potter. I need you to try and push for me now. It’s going to feel like you’re not doing anything, because your body has become accustomed to a widened cervix over the past few days, but you need to try your hardest.” James took a deep breath and clenched his jaw before leaning down in front of Lily and holding her face with his free hand.

“Okay Lils. You can do this. Just think of our little baby boy.” James stroked the side of her face as tears streaked down her face. “Just think of little James,” he whispered again, attempting to persuade her one last time.

“WE’RE NOT NAMING THE BABY JAMES, JAMES,” she roared as Healer Kelpie demanded for her to push. 


Chapter 27: The Bump in the Baby
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 (July 31st, 1980)



 

“This is Neville Longbottom,” Alice said fondly, cradling him in her arms as a nurse handed her son to her for the first time since last night. Dorcas looked on in awe. She sat back in the chair next to Alice’s bed, and smiled widely at her new godson.

“I can’t believe you’ve asked me to be godmother,” she said, holding a hand up to her mouth as she yawned slightly. Frank sat in the opposite chair to Dorcas, and he snored unobtrusively, his head bobbing to the side.

“Of course we would! Wouldn’t we, Neville?” she cooed happily, toying with his fingers playfully. The infant yawned after Dorcas and began crying quietly.

“Would you like to try feeding him?” the nurse asked from Alice’s other side, and she nodded peacefully, looking on at Neville with a serenity even as he screamed.

“I’ll come back later, then,” Dorcas said, standing up to escort herself out. “I’ve got to check on my patients anyway,” she appeased Alice as she opened her mouth to protest. “You spend some quality time with my godson, okay?” Alice nodded again, and let the nurse attempt to help her feed Neville as Dorcas shut the door behind her.

She slid down the wall, thanking to Merlin that Alice had not thought to ask about Lily. She wiped her forehead, and stood back up, heading to the door that other interns and nurses her age kept rushing in and out of. She took a deep breath, and let her mouth drop open as she saw her friend Amie running out of Lily’s room, her front coated with blood, her gloved hands soaked.

She continued walking slowly, afraid to walk into the room where her friend was still suffering after 20 hours of delayed labor. She heard more cries coming from the room, and the volume varied as the door continued swinging open and shut. Others ushered more blood into the room.

Dorcas approached the door finally, and was shouldered by a nurse who was probably rushing off to fetch more blood. More medicine. More something. She stepped into the room, and the full force of the situation hit her. James was leaned over Lily desperately, whispering into her ear as she screamed at the top of her lungs. Her voice was raw, and it was clear she had been screaming all night.

“Meadowes, there you are!” Healer Kelpie said quickly. “I need you to take over here.” Dorcas hovered in the doorway as blood spilled out of Lily’s cervix and across the floor. “We’re doing an emergency C, and I need you to watch the cervix.” Dorcas walked emptily over to Kelpie’s seat, and took it. She looked under the wrappings they’d put over Lily’s knees, and horror crossed her face.

Lily was so under-dilated. For someone who had been in labor as long as she had, she should’ve torn naturally by now.

“Meadowes, you can heal up the cervix now! I’m in the uterus!” Dorcas cleared her throat, and took her wand out of her hair, sticking it in her teeth.

“Scrub me!” she said through her wand, holding up her hands for the nurses to wash and glove.

“There you are, Eckhart!” Healer Kelpie yelled out again as a colleague of hers walked into the disaster. He took a stance behind Dorcas as the nurses finished preparing her, taking an interest in his intern’s work.

 She took her wand back in her now prepared hands, and held the tip of her wand at Lily. Dorcas bit her lip gently, remembering the spell to heal such delicate tissue. The wand sealed together Lily’s skin seamlessly, stopping the bleeding from her cervix.

“James, she needs to stop pushing!” Dorcas yelled over the commotion of the C-section that her superior was performing. The sealant Dorcas had put into place began to falter, and she tended back to Lily as James soothed her, telling her not to push.

“Baby’s out,” Kelpie snapped, handing him off to another doctor in the room and getting to work sealing Lily’s stomach back up. “Eckhart, take over here,” she said, getting up from her chair only to be replaced by the man in his forties. “Meadowes, let me see.” She shooed Dorcas out of her seat, and Dorcas gladly relieved herself, throwing off her gloves and taking a place next to Lily.

“It’s almost over, Lily,” she said softly to her. Lily was completely incoherent at that point. Loaded up on epidurals and calming solutions, she was screaming nonsense to the room. Dorcas looked over at James from her side, and furrowed her brows.

She’d never seen James genuinely cry. His eyes were red and puffy, his glasses barely clinging to his face. Lily’s screams had subsided, and she was now just sobbing. Dorcas felt bad that she was happy that Lily was crying, but her ears were secretly rejoicing.

The chaotic room quieted down as Healer Kelpie took her hands away from Lily. Lily’s sniffles and sobs became almost silent, and everyone began filing out respectfully. James collapsed over Lily’s body, holding her tightly. Lily let out a loud sigh of relief as Healer Eckhart lowered the stirrups, and her legs flexed out over the bed.

“Can I hold him?” she asked weakly into James’ shoulder. James sat up and wiped his hair back, shaking slightly and panting from exhaustion.

“Just for a moment,” Healer Kelpie said sternly, sitting up from her chair and walking over to the small crib where he was being tended to. She picked him up carefully, and handed him to Lily.

“Oh,” Lily said quietly, giving her vocal cords a rest. James put a hand behind the small infants head, giving him the extra support that Lily just couldn’t exert right now.

James moved in closer, stroking back Lily’s hair as she looked down in amazement at her little boy. “I love you,” she whispered calmly, tears falling down her face. She made sure that no tears fell onto his blanket. “I love you so much. And we are going to protect you, okay?” she promised to the new-born boy.

“Harry. It’s got to be Harry,” James murmured into Lily’s temple as he kissed her head. Lily closed her eyes and smiled to herself. Her own green eyes stared back up at her curiously.

“Harry James Potter.”



“It’s called Placenta Previa. We had no idea it was happening until we got in there. It is extremely rare to happen so late in a pregnancy, and there were no signs of it or Lily’s chances of prolonged labor in any previous labs,” Healer Kelpie told James, reading off a now bulging chart on Lily and her pregnancy. “She should be fine, but we’re going to keep her at least a couple of days for observation.” She paused and smiled at Harry who was resting in his father’s tired arms.

“But Lily will be okay? And Harry?” Healer Kelpie nodded, and shut her chart with a snap.

“They should be fine,” she soothed, smiling lightly at James. “Your son is doing surprisingly well,” she said, motioning to Harry. “Your wife is still in intensive care, but that’s really just a precaution. We’re working on strengthening the tissue that ripped during labor and surgery, and that should be done in a couple of hours.” James nodded again, his mouth slackening. “If you have any further questions, you can direct them to Meadowes. She’s been assigned to your wife, and is one of the brightest gynecological interns we’ve had in years.” James’ eyes widened as Harry let out a sudden cry, and he began rocking back and forth instinctually.

“Thank you. For everything.” Healer Kelpie’s wand glowed suddenly, and she looked down, placing a hand on James’ forearm and nodding politely.

“It’s my job, Mr. Potter,” she said, smiling grimly and turning the corner hastily.

 



(August 6th, 1980)

 

“How is Lily?” Remus asked as he held Harry in the crook of his elbow.

“She’s stable,” Dorcas and James said in unison for a third time. They shared a glance, each smiling in their exhaustion.

“Moony. He gave you Harry for a reason, alright? Let them sleep,” Sirius cooed into Harry’s face.

“Oi, back off!” Remus complained, kicking Sirius back and holding Harry’s face away from him. “We can’t have him thinking that big, ugly nose is his father.” James rolled his eyes, but kicked his legs up over the edge of the couch, appreciating Sirius’ comment silently.

“I want a turn over here,” Peter grumbled from across the room, and Remus sighed stiffly, standing up from his chair and handing Harry over to Peter.

“Watch his head,” Dorcas and James mumbled in unison again. Dorcas tossed her hair out of her face, and turned over to face down on the couch.

“I have nieces you know. I’m not five,” he protested as Remus let Harry down in his arms gently. Peter grimaced at Harry as he began to fuss slightly, and bounced him in his arms. He looked around awkwardly, but Remus had already sat down again.

“Alice is out of St. Mungo’s already, yeah?” Mary asked, leaning over Peter’s shoulder and peeking at Harry. Marlene shifted closer to Remus involuntarily, and he shifted towards his end of the couch voluntarily. They hadn’t spoken about their fight since their fight.

“Yeah, she is,” Dorcas answered as James’ snores became audible. Harry began crying again, and Peter held him up into the air, silently begging for anyone else to take him. “I’ve got him,” she said, motioning for Peter to hand her Harry.

“Oh, can’t I hold him?” Mary asked hopefully, reaching her arms out between Peter and Dorcas.

“No!” Marlene shouted immediately. Remus gave her a strange look as Marlene put her hands in her lap and began fiddling with her fingernails. “I just think it’s time for Dorcas to put him down for a nap,” she explained away. Dorcas tilted her head slightly, but glanced at the clock on the wall all the same.

She clucked her tongue, and motioned for Peter to give Harry to her again. “Sorry Mary. I think Marlene is right, no matter how ridiculous she’s acting.” Mary nodded at Dorcas, but took a quick look at Marlene out of the corner of her eye. Harry silenced almost as soon as he was released into Dorcas’ arms, and she headed out of the living room and upstairs towards his bedroom.

“What was that?” Peter asked bravely to Marlene, putting a hand over Mary’s possessively. Mary squirmed in her seat, blatantly uncomfortable.

“Nothing,” she snapped, keeping her eyes locked on her hands. “Harry’s had enough action for the day. Wouldn’t want him to fall into the wrong hands.” Peter frowned at her bizarrely, rubbing his hand over Mary’s as she looked over shoulder, maybe searching for Dorcas, maybe avoiding Marlene.

“I’m going to say goodbye to my godson,” Sirius interjected, shrugging and standing. Marlene stood too, wrapping her arms around her waist and following Sirius out of the room without a word. “What was that?” he whispered, barely loud enough for even Marlene to hear. Marlene watched Sirius lick his thin, aristocratic lips.

“Nothing,” Marlene whispered back quickly. The two hadn’t spoken since June. Their last meeting.

“Well then stop being so bloody weird. You’re a big part of the reason we all deal with Mary.” Marlene rubbed her elbow, but didn’t answer. “You and Peter and your obsession with Mary. Don’t know what it is about her,” he muttered, more to himself, shouldering open the door.

The two walked into Harry’s room, where Dorcas had settled into an armchair, watching him fall asleep intently.

“He’s going to be such a great kid,” she said emptily, fatigue filling her lungs. “All that James Potter hair and Lily Evans eyes.” Both Sirius and Marlene nodded in agreement, but said nothing. Marlene reached her hand in the crib, and danced her fingers over Harry’s head even though he could not see. 


Chapter 28: The Enemy in the Friends
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 August 31st, 1980



 

“It’s anticipated. We’ve put extra guards at Hogwarts for the first two weeks, and we’re keeping an eye out. Nothing has happened yet, but we’re not letting anything slip through.” Arthur Weasley stood at the head of the table. “McKinnon and Black, you’re on detail in Hogsmeade. And this time, let’s not make it so obvious that you can’t stand each other,” he moaned plainly, referring silently to the inauguration ball.

Marlene pursed her lips, and her cheeks sucked in slightly, making her appear gaunt. Sirius didn’t seem phased.

“Lupin and Meadowes, you’re going to be in Hogwarts along with myself and Alastor. Let’s keep it tight this time.”

Remus and Dorcas shared a look, and Dorcas bit her lip. The two had a bit of a reputation for turning an altercation into a bloodbath.

“What about us?” Alice asked quietly from her end of the table, elbowing James joyfully. It was their first meeting back. They were supposed to switch back and forth with their respective spouses, but James would take over for a while as Lily settled back in at home.

“Uh, you two can handle going over the registration dossiers for the new Hogwarts students,” he managed out choppily, shuffling through some pages on the table in front of him as they stared him down together.

“Can we use the oven, too? Or is that too much too soon?” James asked sarcastically. Sirius snickered quietly, and clapped James on the back as he sulked. Arthur sighed, but smiled in understanding.

“Not my idea, Potter.” The door slammed open suddenly, and Moody stood in the doorway menacingly. His blue eyes seared through the room, and James swallowed in what he felt was a very audible way. It was the first time he’d seen Moody in almost eight months now.

“Everyone out.” The light of the setting sun flew around the room as everyone quickly scattered to accommodate Moody. “Not Potter,” Moody said, pushing his palm to James’ chest as he attempted to pass Moody. “It’s good to see you, Alice,” he said almost inaudibly as she exited past him. Her only response was a short nod. “Thank you, Arthur.”

“Anytime,” Mr. Weasley said briskly, leaving a fallen paper in the room. Alastor Moody had not taken his eyes off James Potter since he entered the room. He let the door swing shut behind Arthur, and pointed a wide, knobbed finger at the chair  

“I’m in trouble for having a baby?” James asked bluntly, crossing his arms and leaning back in his chair.

“You got yourself into this, Potter.” Moody grumbled, taking the seat across him. “And I’m not getting you out.” He handed a folder to James, and he opened it curiously. He raised an eyebrow. He was not expecting this.

“What am I supposed to do with this?” James scoffed and shook his head at Moody.

“Read it. That’s what you do with a profile.” Moody crossed his hands and leaned forward on the table. “Or has maternity leave stunted your memory?” he sneered out, his knuckles turning white, clear with frustration.

“Funny,” James deadpanned. “But honestly. What is this for?” James closed the folder again, keeping only the name Riddle, Tom visible on the tab.

“Read it and you’ll understand.” Moody knocked his fist on the table before standing, his rings rattling against the wood. “Come back when you do and we’ll talk about it.” James picked up the folder again, scanning over it with his hazel eyes. He toyed with the bridge of his glasses, and let out a sigh that was similar to Harry’s bubbling.

“Cryptic old man,” James mumbled as Moody headed towards the door slowly.

“I can hear across rooms, Potter.”

 




 

Lily sat on the floor in Harry’s room, slipping her fingers through the bars of his crib. “You’re my little present, Harry,” she said into his bed as he began nodding off. “I love you. A bushel and a peck,” she sang. “A bushel and a peck, and a hug around the neck.” Lily paused, her voice wavering. She waited for a moment for James to chime in on his verse, but he didn’t. She peeked over her shoulder, and saw James slumped over his desk, reading a file he’d brought home about an hour ago.

She sighed, and took in a shaky breath before continuing. “A barrel in the heap, and I’m talking in my sleep about you,” she finished, stroking her hand through Harry’s hair one last time before standing up. Lily’s hand flew to her mouth as she gave out a quick sob. Harry’s eyes were finally closed now, and she exited the room hurriedly, closing the door as quietly as she could.

“Lily?” James asked tiredly as she rushed past the study towards their bedroom. “Lily,” he sighed, closing the folder and standing up from his leather chair and kicking it out with the back of his knees. He walked around his desk, and rubbed the back of his neck as he approached the door to their room. “Lil.” He knocked on the open door as Lily sat on her side of the bed, removing her socks and burying herself under the covers quickly.

“Yes James?” she asked, reaching to turn her lights off. Lily heard James shuffling to her side of the bed, and she tucked herself further into her blankets.

“What’s wrong?” He sat down next to her and rubbed her tense shoulders.

“You haven’t seen Harry all day,” she muttered angrily, turning to face James. He stroked her hair back, but she swatted his hand away from her face. “A-And you just sit in there!” She aimed her hand at the study. “All day! You sit and read, or think, and you don’t come out until you have to go to sleep. Even getting you to sleep is a long shot!” James took off his glasses silently and nudged Lily over with his knee. She glared up at him, but complied, scooching over and letting him slide under the blanket next to her.

“And you never sing Harry’s lullaby with me anymore.” James rubbed his bloodshot eyes. He curled his arm around Lily, and she turned around under his arm.

“I just have a lot to do. You understand,” he tried as Lily’s eyes watered.

“I-I don’t understand. James, I don’t think we should do this anymore,” she said slowly. “I don’t think we can.” James sucked in air through his teeth as Lily looked up at him with her reddened eyes.

“Lily it’s just going to take a while to get adjusted, I think,” he attempted to reason. Lily’s tears fell, and James slipped an arm between them to wipe her cheeks.

“You even said it! Remember?” she said desperately. “You said I was going to have to stop being in the Order.” She poked his chest, grabbing onto the front of his shirt collar.

“Lily. I have to do this.” Lily’s face hardened suddenly, and she sniffed in loudly. “I have to be able to protect you two. Otherwise,” he trailed off, looking away from Lily suddenly, “you’re not going to forgive me when I get you killed.”

 




 

Marlene rested her head lazily on her shoulder, doling in and out of consciousness lightly. She stretched out on the couch, yawning unabashedly and curling her toes as her neck cracked loudly. Remus was at Sirius’ apartment that night. Or Dorcas’ apartment. Their apartment.

Marlene clenched her jaw at her own bitter thought, trying to drown it away in her mind. It’s not that she even particularly liked Sirius anymore. It’s just, he was intoxicating. And so was she. She would admit it. She’s not easy to forget. And it’s not even like she didn’t like Dorcas. Quite the opposite, actually. She loved Dorcas more than she ever would Sirius. And that angered her the most.

Marlene snapped her head up again warily. That one floorboard in the far end of the flat creaked tellingly. Marlene was on her feet immediately.

Marlene rested. Marlene clenched. Marlene snapped. Marlene was.

“Hi Marlene,” Emmeline said from the darkness. Marlene shook her head angrily, and stormed over towards the darkness where Emmeline was lurking quietly.

“Lumos,” she said strongly, pointing her wand in the direction of Emmeline’s voice. Emmeline stepped forward out of the shadow, her hands held above her head as if Marlene were taking her in for trial, and Marlene lunged. She grasped Emmeline’s hands in her right hand, placing her wand on the middle of Emmeline’s spine. She felt Emmeline let out a small breath of laughter, and it only frustrated her more so.

“So what? You think this is the way you’re going to convince me to trust you?” Marlene asked dangerously, pushing her wand in between Emmeline’s protruding shoulder blades.

“This whole crazy Marlene act is getting old. We both know you’re not going to curse me,” Emmeline said easily, turning around slowly and letting Marlene’s wand trail over her chest and sternum.

“Oh just shut up,” she said, rolling her eyes at Emmeline. “Why did you come here?” Emmeline tucked her lips into her mouth, eyes smirking at Marlene. “Okay you can talk,” Marlene snapped quickly.

“I came to tell you to watch out for Mary.” Marlene scoffed and lowered her wand, putting it in her sleeve.

“I’ve got that bit funnily enough,” she retorted.

“Yeah, I just thought I’d remind you considering you almost ripped her head off when you went to see Harry. Tell Lily congratulations, by the way,” she rambled, placing a finger on her lips. “On second thought, that might not turn out so well.” Emmeline walked away from Marlene and took a seat on her bed, flicking through a magazine on her bed stand.

“Anyway. Mary and Peter have had a falling out,” she said abruptly. “And once one domino falls, they all do. You’ve got to keep her close. The more connected she is to you, the harder it will be for her to betray you.”

“How do you…” Marlene said in wonderment, snatching her magazine away from Emmeline.

“I know a lot more than you think,” she said mysteriously. Marlene sat warily next to her on the bed, glaring up through her eyelashes.

“Tell me,” she said as casually as possible, leaning on her left arm. Emmeline looked over her shoulder as Marlene faked her nonchalance.

“After you freaked out about the Mary thing, I don’t think you’d be able to handle it.” Marlene glared at Emmeline again. “Don’t worry about it, anyway. I’ve got it under control.”

“What does that mean?” Marlene leaned forward on her knees and puffed out her cheeks as she let out a breath.

“That means that I’m taking care of it.” Emmeline twirled her wand through her fingers, her voice turning darker.

“You can either tell me or Dumbledore,” Marlene threatened back. The two girls locked gazes, and Emmeline licked her lips slowly.

“You’re not going to like it,” she sang charmingly, raising an eyebrow at Marlene.

“I don’t need details. Just tell me what you do! I don’t exactly like the idea of you spying on us, is all.”

“I can understand that. But I don’t understand your desire to not trust any of your friends anymore.” Marlene frowned deeply and ran her fingers along her collarbone. She eyed Emmeline, tilting her head and letting her mouth fall open.

“If I can’t trust them, then they’re really not my friends,” Marlene said carefully. Emmeline snorted ungracefully, patting Marlene’s knee.

“Well then, Marlene. I’m afraid you’re not going to have any friends left.” 




 

A/N: So how dramatic was that? Who do you think Emmeline is talking about? Think about who she's been following throughout the story... 






Thanks for reading!! blackballet

 



 


Chapter 29: The Scare in the Halloween: Part I
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 (October 31st, 1980)



 

“Trick or treat!” a voice called from outside, ringing the doorbell on the Potters’ grand house.

“James!” Lily called from the kitchen. She held Harry on one hip, and a whisk in the other hand.

“Got it!” he yelled back from his study. He barreled down the stairs quickly, grabbing a bowl off the table littered with keys, gloves, and scarves. They weren’t expecting any children to come, but James had prepared a bowl just in case. He opened the door, offering the bowl of sweets to the trick or treaters.

“Trick or treat,” Sirius said again, smirking and taking an un-anticipatory James into a hug.

“Hey mate,” James said, laughing over his shoulder and smiling at Dorcas who was tapping her foot in the cold. “What are you doing here so early?” He backed away and let the two in, closing the door and peeking outside to make sure none of the others were hiding around the corner.

“Meadowes here wanted to help out with the desserts. Something about Evans not having the hand for pumpkin pasties?” he said, voice raising at the end as Dorcas rushed past the two, calling at Lily to stop whisking. James smirked again. “And, you know, I’ve got to be here before everyone else.”

“Padfoot,” James deadpanned, walking into the kitchen behind Dorcas. “This isn’t some Gryffindor banger.”

“So if I get good and plastered you’re going to have to tell Meadowes?” he muttered, hooking his arm around James’ shoulder. James snickered, and twisted his arm to lay across Sirius’ shoulder, too.

“Since when has Meadowes cared how much of an arse you make of yourself?” Sirius said nothing, but smirked privately, as if recalling another time. “I won’t tell if you don’t,” he whispered, gaining a slap on the chest from Sirius and a shout of laughter.

“Let’s go get started,” he said excitedly, untangling from James and turning around to head into the basement where the alcohol was kept.

“Where are they going?” Lily asked Dorcas as she tended to the small square desserts that reminded her of Hogwarts. She pressed a fork down on the edges closing the pastries and handing them off to Dorcas to be double checked.

“I heard something about not telling us, so I’m assuming its alcohol related,” she said flatly, placing the last pasty on the tray and sliding it into the oven. Dorcas turned over her shoulder, threw off the oven mitts, holding out her arms for Lily to hand over Harry.

“We don’t have any alcohol,” she said wistfully, giving Dorcas Harry and sitting at the kitchen table. She let her head fall into her hands, and ran them through her thick hair.

“You married a marauder, Lily. There’s alcohol somewhere,” Dorcas said, snorting causally as Harry held onto one of her pinkies tightly.

Lily shook her head, but there was no usual smile on her face. Dorcas frowned, and looked at Lily cagily as she dusted her hands off on her pants and tied her hair back into a scrunchie. 

“Is everything okay, Lily?” Dorcas asked, lowering her voice to whisper. A loud bout of laughter came from the basement, and Lily rolled her eyes almost immediately.

“It’s nothing, Dorcas. You wouldn’t get it,” she responded, quickly and irritably. Dorcas grimaced as Lily exited the kitchen. She followed Lily into the dining room, and put her free hand over one of Lily’s as Lily began fretting over the silverware at a pace that frightened Dorcas.

“Just because I don’t have a child doesn’t mean I don’t understand,” she said gently, using her Healer voice on Lily.

“I just want one night,” she said, continuing with her tight tone. “One night with James. And not party James or Order James,” she emphasized mockingly. “Potter James, as in the James I married.” Lily slammed her hands on the table, and the china in the breakfront behind her shook.  

“Lily. Having Harry changed a lot, and,”

“And what, Dorcas? Am I supposed to let him say I told you so? Let him be right about how having Harry was a bad idea?” she asked coldly. Dorcas shrugged, and she lost her Healer voice.

“That might help,” she countered without pause. Lily’s hands relaxed on the table, and she closed her eyes. Dorcas heard her breathing through her nose.

“Everything alright?” Remus asked timidly, knocking at the wall by the entrance. Lily flipped her head up when hearing his voice and plastered a large smile on her face.

“Fantastic. The boys are downstairs, I think,” she mumbled as Remus approached her and gave her a kiss on the cheek. Remus put his hand on Lily’s shoulder, and nodded, as if he already knew what was going on.

“He’s trying.” Lily nodded back, and Remus pat her on the back one more time before waving to Dorcas uncomfortably and heading to the basement door. “Oi, get up here!” he bellowed down the stairs to them, making Lily crack a genuine grin. They all heard the two clambering up the rickety wooden staircase, and the doorbell rang out.

“I’ve got it!” James and Sirius chorused. Remus stepped out of the way as they fought each other to see who would make it to the door first.

“I swear, I don’t know what they do to each other,” Lily wondered aloud. Dorcas smiled as Sirius pushed James back and James tripped Sirius.

“Me either,” she said to Harry, pushing his fine hair to the side and swaying him lightly in her arm. “Let’s see who’s here.” She and Lily walked towards the door where Sirius and James were fighting tooth and nail to see who would reach it first. Lily reached out and turned the knob, making them groan collectively.

“Hey!” James and Sirius said together as Peter smirked at them in superiority from the doorway.

“Hey,” Marlene said as she walked up the dimly lit steps to the Potter house. She wiggled in behind Peter, closing the door behind herself. The group made up the foyer awkwardly, crowding it effectively.

“Hey!” Dorcas interjected, breaking the silence and approaching Marlene to give her a hug. “I’ve got a lot to tell you,” she said youthfully, throwing her arm over Marlene’s shoulder. “Take him, will you?” she said, holding Harry out to James who took his baby without hesitation.

“Hey buddy,” James said to Harry. “Why don’t we put you down to bed?” he muttered, checking his watch quickly. It was already approaching eight o’ clock. “I’ll be right back,” he said to no one in particular, climbing the stairs slowly.

“What’s for dinner?” Peter asked Lily as she took his coat and put it over the edge of the bannister. Lily laughed, shrugging lazily.

“I kind of was hoping the mashed potatoes would be enough,” she said through a frown. Peter matched her frown, disguising his shamefully and horribly. “I think Harry’s messing with my brain the little devil,” she complained. Peter tittered lightly, but didn’t add anything that may insult Lily or Harry.

“I like mashed potatoes.” Peter thought that seemed safe.

“What were you up to today?” Remus asked Peter as the three walked into the dining room. Lily brushed her hands on her legs again, and threw her hair behind her back.

“Um,” Peter stumbled in response to Remus. “Same old.” Remus frowned, but his skepticisms were cut off by Dorcas’ shout.  

“What?” she yelled from the living room. Remus automatically took out his wand, and Peter and Lily followed suit. They rounded the corner to find Dorcas crouched in front of the fireplace and speaking to a flaming head.

“It’s insane. We know you’re off, but we need some damage control down here,” Samantha said quickly. Marlene was peering over Dorcas’ shoulder, and flinched backwards as a high-pitched scream came from the other side of the connection.

“I can be over in two minutes,” Dorcas agreed, tying her hair up instinctively.

“Thank you,” Samantha breathed out, nodding and disconnecting from the floo. Dorcas stood up and looked at Sirius. He tossed her purse at her, and Dorcas caught it. She ripped it open and took out a pair of scrubs while running towards the bathroom.

“What was that?” Peter asked cautiously, stepping into the frozen living room as Dorcas whirled around. Nobody moved as Dorcas slammed the bathroom door shut behind her.

“A bomb. On the underground,” Marlene said, gazing out the window and toying with her hair.

“The underground? Like the muggle underground?” Remus asked skeptically, raising an eyebrow.

“I guess,” James said vaguely.

“But why would they re-route there?” Lily asked in confusion. “Why not muggle hospitals?”

Dorcas whipped open the door to the bathroom and headed to the fireplace.

“I don’t know yet, okay?” She flicked her wand, and her jacket flew over to her from the hook on the wall. “I just have to get there.” She stepped into the fireplace, and held out her hand impatiently. “Well?” she said madly, shaking her hand for someone to give her some floo powder.

Everyone was stuck in their spots, staring at Dorcas as she rushed to St. Mungo’s. Sirius shook his head slightly, and took the powder off of the end table by the door. He took out a scoop, and put it into Dorcas’ hand.

“Hey,” he said suddenly just as she was about to throw the dust down. Sirius put his hands on the side of her face and leaned his forehead against hers. “Be careful,” he whispered. Dorcas nodded and smirked at Sirius lightly. Sirius backed away, and Dorcas let her hand fall open.

“St. Mungo’s Emergency Entrance.” Dorcas disappeared, and it seemed to ease the sudden tension in the room.

“I have to go,” Sirius blurted, taking a handful of the sand and stepping in after Dorcas.

“Sirius, no,” James said gravely. “We can’t be seen at the site of a disaster like this.” Sirius frowned at James and shook his head.

“If they were behind this, then the hospital could be in even more trouble than we think,” he explained. “Come on Moony. You have to come at least. You were a Healer for a bit,” he pleaded. Remus grimaced slightly as he felt James’ glare fall on him. Everyone looked to him blatantly, and Sirius scratched his chin restlessly.

“Sirius is right,” he finally said, making James scoff and roll his eyes. “We can’t let Dorcas go in by herself. Who knows if there are injured Death Eaters there? And if there are...” he said intimidatingly.

“Well if you’re going, I’m going,” Marlene said hurriedly, looking between Remus and Sirius.

James threw up his hands, and let them fall by his sides audibly. Harry began crying loudly, and Lily pursed her lips, turning over her shoulder to go console him.

“Good luck,” she said, nodding optimistically at Marlene before she turned up the stairs.

“Maybe James is right,” Peter said dimly from the back of the room.

“What are you scared, Peter?” Sirius asked cockily, looking Peter up and down.

“No!” Peter defended indignantly. “I just don’t want to do this without Moody knowing.” Sirius rolled his eyes and some of the sand fell through his fingers.

“I’m going to send a patronus to Moody,” James warned.

Sirius scoffed.

“As if that would stop me,” he reasoned. James couldn’t help but smirk as Sirius threw down the powder and followed Dorcas out of their house.

“Sorry mate. I know you want to come,” Remus muttered over his shoulder. He followed Sirius into the fireplace, and disappeared with a roar of the fire.

“We’ll let you know what’s going on. Promise,” Marlene reassured him. James shrugged, but put his arms around Marlene’s shoulders.

“Be careful,” he whispered into her ear. Marlene backed away, and her eyebrows twitched as James turned sober suddenly. The house became quiet as Harry’s cries stopped from upstairs, and Marlene followed Sirius up in the fireplace.

“Bye Prongs. I’ll watch out for them, I guess,” Peter said hastily, tipping his finger towards James off his eyebrow and stepping into the fireplace.

“Wait, Peter,” James said quickly, grabbing his shoulder and flipping Peter around.

“What is it?” Peter asked nervously, his eyes darting back and forth under James’ gaze. James took his hand off Peter’s shoulder and ruffled his hair out of his face.

“Thanks for backing me up, mate. We’ll see you soon.” Peter smiled weakly and took a handful of powder from the pot.

“Yeah, no problem Prongs. I’ve got your back.” 


Chapter 30: The Scare in the Halloween: Part II
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 (October 31st, 1980)



 

Remus stood in the entrance to the emergency room. He watched as Sirius ran forward to a young girl who stood aimlessly in the middle of the chaos. Blood spattered across curtains, and the screams echoed in his ears.

“Oi!” Marlene said as she stumbled into Remus. He stepped forward, not reacting to Marlene’s protestation. She stood next to Remus, so close that their arms touched, and let out a small breath in awe. “Merlin,” she whispered blankly.

“I said get her out of here!” Dorcas yelled behind her as she leaned over the bloody body of a young boy. A nurse held back the mother who was clutching her chest and screaming uncontrollably. Remus shook his head slightly, cleared his throat, and stalked over to Dorcas.

“What can I do to help?” he asked sternly as Marlene hovered in the hallway, trying her best to stay out of the way. Dorcas brushed her hair back quickly, but didn’t answer Remus. “Dorcas!”

“Shut it!” she yelled back at Remus. Her wand was held steadily over the boy’s stomach, and she breathed slowly. “Do not distract me right now!” Remus shut his mouth and swallowed as Dorcas took another deep breath.

She moved her fingers around her wand tightly, and Remus saw her lips move as she counted his ribs silently. An instantaneous flash of blue light came from her wand suddenly, and Dorcas held her breath as the boy’s eyes shot open wide. He took a gasping breath, and Dorcas smiled tightly before grabbing gauze in attempt to stop any extraneous bleeding.

“What is it?” she snapped. Remus put a hand on Dorcas’ shoulder, and she looked up at him. Their eyes caught, and Dorcas shook her head before turning back to the crying boy. “Shh, shh,” she tried. He calmed slightly, but his gulping sounds still came out loudly.

“Tell me what to do.” Dorcas looked up again, and motioned with her head for Remus to kneel next to her. He obliged, took a spot next to her, and put on a pair of gloves.

“No, no gloves,” she dismissed. “Just hold his hand please.” Remus took hold of the boy’s hand, and the child looked up at him frantically.

“Can you tell me your name?” Remus asked calmly. The boy opened his mouth to respond, but was caught off guard by a bought of hiccups. He looked fearfully at his stomach, and his eyes widened as he saw Dorcas piling more white bandages on him.

“Your name,” Remus reminded him sternly. The boy sat back and took a deep breath.

“Th-Theodore,” he mumbled. Remus smiled as the boy’s hand tightened over his.

“Okay, Theodore. I just want you to know that you’re in amazing hands.” Theodore’s eyes widened curiously, and Remus nodded profusely. “I know for a fact that Healer Meadowes is going to make you feel better,” Remus promised. Dorcas didn’t even look up at mention of her name. “She makes me feel better all the time. And I get a lot of injuries just like yours.”

Theodore’s hiccups calmed down as he watched Dorcas slow down the bleeding. She placed a final bandage over his stomach, and smiled self-pleasingly at her handiwork. Remus noticed Theodore’s grip loosen, and he looked down at the calmed boy.

“Go tell his mother he’ll be okay,” Dorcas said, standing up and grabbing a syringe from the counted next to Theodore’s cot. Remus pat Theodore’s hand, and got up quickly to go find his screaming mother.  “Now this is going to sting a little, Theodore,” she said, directing her voice toward her patient and softening it slightly. “But then it’s going to feel like you never even got hurt. Isn’t that awesome?” Theodore nodded, and Dorcas ran her wand over his inner arm, siphoning any dirt off that still remained. She held the needle at his arm, and pushed the medicine in to his vein without warning.

“Ouch,” Theodore said quietly, tugging on the sheet with his other hand as Dorcas waited for the medicine to finish draining into his arm.

“And,” Dorcas said as the last drops left the syringe, “all done.” She pulled out the needle simply, and placed it on the table behind her. She smiled down at Theodore with her bright teeth, and he smiled shyly back.

“Oh, Theo!” a woman cried suddenly. The frazzled mother shouldered Dorcas out of the way unapologetically, and wrapped her arms around her son’s body tightly.

“Mum, you’re hurting me,” he mumbled over her shoulder. The short woman backed away, but kept hold on her son’s shoulders as he sat up.

“I just don’t know who would do this!” she exclaimed as Dorcas cleared up the surrounding area. She nodded at the frantic mother and rubbed her shoulder gently, trying to soothe her and get to the next patient simultaneously.

“We don’t have any details yet, ma’am. Your son needs this pain medication, but I will be back in about an hour to,”

A loud, eardrum-breaking scream resounded in the hospital, cutting Dorcas off. The mother returned to her son, cradling his head as if the ceiling would suddenly cave in. Dorcas’ mouth dropped open as she turned to face the floo entrance, and she whipped the curtain shut around the boy’s cot automatically.

The mother looked at Dorcas, searching for an answer as Theodore began crying again.

“Do not open this curtain,” she warned the mother, brandishing her wand discreetly so Theodore wouldn’t see. “Everything is alright, just do not let him look out, okay?” she asked urgently. The mother nodded, and sat down next to her son. She put an arm around him, and the two lay down on the cot as Dorcas snuck out from behind the curtain gently.

Remus and Sirius were holding Igor Karkaroff down by his shoulders as he struggled to grab Alastor Moody by the throat. Moody was being held back in a similar fashion by Peter and a nurse. Another nurse was doing his best to patch up the gaping hole in Moody’s face where his eye used to be.

“I’ll kill him, he took my eye,” Moody grumbled crazily. Peter looked around hopefully for someone else to come assist, but the entire room was frozen as the Death Eater and the well-respected Auror thrashed around the floor.

“You have no proof!” Karkaroff spat at Moody. “Who’s going to believe you?” he sneered, his black hair matted to his skull with blood.

“Enough!” Dorcas shouted over the chaos. The rubber of their shoes squeaked against the floor as they continued to struggle against their restrainers. Dorcas pulled out her wand and aimed it at Karkaroff. “If either of you want medical treatment, you’ll stop it right now!” The two glared at each other over Dorcas’ shoulder, but kept their mouths shut. Samantha stood next to Dorcas timidly, taking her wand out and aiming it towards Moody.

“Alright. Samantha, you take Karkaroff.” Samantha looked up at Dorcas frightfully, and Dorcas noticed her hand shaking slightly. She put a hand on Samantha’s shoulder, and nodded at her as the familiar bustle came back to the emergency room. “Sirius, Remus, go with her please.” The two nodded, and took Karkaroff into the room Samantha was heading to.

“Get your bloody hands off me,” Moody slurred as he slumped over Peter’s shoulder.

“Stop,” Dorcas deadpanned, grabbing Moody’s shoulders and standing him up straight. “Get him into that room,” she said as she scanned the faint man’s face, “and call Healer Arnold! We’ve got a facial lac and a gouged out eye!” she yelled behind her as the tension in the room eased. Peter helped Moody get into the room that Dorcas was pointing towards as Moody continued to slump over his shoulder.

“Meadowes!” Dorcas flipped around quickly, letting out a deep breath. One crisis dealt with. “You’ve got a patient, no name, requesting you only!” Another one begins.

“Got it,” she said shortly. She took into a quick jog across the emergency room and through to the other side. “Who’s requesting me?” she mumbled to herself as Samantha, her fellow Healer and former Hogwarts peer, handed her a chart.

She pushed open the door.

“Merlin, you’re slow,” Emmeline said through her teeth as she clutched her forehead, trying to stop the blood from running any further down her face.

“Who are you?” Dorcas snapped without missing a beat, raising her wand to Emmeline’s face and backing into the door.

“I am Emmeline Kathryn Vance, I am twenty years old, and I know that you killed your father.” Dorcas didn’t drop her wand, but her eyes did soften slightly. “Now can you come fix my face? Life on the run can be hindered by a torn up eyebrow,” she said bluntly.

“Being dead can hinder that, too. Now who the hell are you?” Dorcas said again. Emmeline rolled her eyes and grabbed a tissue from the table next to her, holding it up to her head.

“That’s no way to speak to a patient, Dorcas,” she reprimanded. She tossed her tissue to the side and picked up another.

“Tell me or I’ll let you bleed out right here.” Emmeline scoffed.

“You of all people should know that I’m not going to bleed out. But fine, we can wait here.” Emmeline tossed another bloody tissue to the floor.

“I said tell me!” Dorcas shot a Stinging Hex at Emmeline’s hand as she reached for another tissue.

“Come on, now,” Emmeline said, sucking air in between her teeth and shaking her hand. “It’s me. Emmeline. Just get me Marlene, she’ll tell you.”

“Marlene would never,” Dorcas said skeptically, shaking her head.

“Well if you get her, then I might be slightly more inclined not to tell her you killed your father.”

“Stop it with that!” she growled. Emmeline attempted to raise her blood-caked eyebrow and hissed in discomfort.

“Am I wrong?” Emmeline countered verbally. Dorcas clenched her jaw visibly, and went to pull back her hair, even though it was already tied back neatly.

“You better just keep your fat mouth shut. Whoever you are,” Dorcas said, stalking towards the bed and ripping Emmeline’s hand away from her head.

“If I was on Polyjuice, it would’ve worn off by now. I’ve been sitting here for an hour already, haven’t I?”

“There are other solutions,” Dorcas muttered bitterly. “Surgery, Metamorphagus, enchantments.” The blood began disappearing from Emmeline’s face as her wound closed up.

“You can take my blood for that. And who would go to all that trouble just to convince you I was Emmeline?”

“To make me crazy!” Dorcas threw her hands up above her head, and she shook involuntarily. Emmeline shut her mouth as Dorcas thought herself into a frantic state. She pursed her lips, and Dorcas walked to the other side of the room, leaning against the ledge by the door. “Everyone is trying to drive me insane, I swear.”

Emmeline threw her head back on her pillow, and closed her eyes. “Can you tell me what happened with Alastor? I saw Karkaroff-“

“Shut up, shut up, shut up. Even if you were Emmeline, I couldn’t tell you,” Dorcas said as she pushed herself off of the windowsill.

“Well if you’re not going to get Marlene, then I’m leaving,” Emmeline said flatly.

“Don’t you dare,” Dorcas said, raising her wand to Emmeline, and stepping towards the bed.

“If you just get Marlene, you’re going to see, and I won’t tell anyone that you killed,”

The two snapped their heads to the door as someone knocked quietly on the door. Dorcas’ eyes flew to the handle as it began to turn, and she locked it nonverbally, fumbling slightly with her wand.

“I know you’re in there Doe! Do you need help?” Dorcas rolled her eyes and clenched her jaw again as she recognized Sirius’ voice. She flipped the blanket over Emmeline’s head, and she struggled, but Dorcas’ spell held.

“You keep your mouth shut,” she hissed back towards Emmeline’s form. She opened the door slightly and stuck her neck out. “What is it, Sirius?”

“I think they need help out here,” Sirius said hastily, glancing over his shoulder as Karkaroff struggled against his constraints by the end of the hallway.

“Well I’m busy,” she sighed, tilting her head to the left as Sirius tried to peek into the room. “Oh,” Dorcas said suddenly. She stumbled backwards and Sirius peeked over her head again, but not fast enough, as Dorcas blocked the door with her body again. She kicked backwards, aiming for Emmeline who had attempted to trip her up.

“I’m fine,” she placated him as he furrowed his brows and reached toward Dorcas. “Can you just get me Marlene?”


Chapter 31: The Scare in the Halloween: Part III
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(June 1st, 1979)

 

“Hullo?” Dorcas said groggily, holding the phone to her ear loosely. She hadn’t slept well. Sirius was at Remus’ flat, apparently. Again.

“Please, please stop!”

Dorcas heard her sister screaming, barely intelligently, from the other side of the phone.

“Coraline? What is it?” she asked urgently. There was again, no intelligent response; but a loud garble, an obvious crash of a vase, and a thud of something sturdy hitting the floor. “CORALINE!” she shouted, clutching the receiver, suddenly very aware that something was wrong.

“Dorc-“

The line cut off.

She knew something was wrong. Coraline had as much as told her. So why didn’t she believe it? Dorcas let the phone hang off the hook, and slammed the door to Sirius’ flat behind her immediately.

 

Dorcas apparated directly into her house. This definitely wasn’t the time to worry about her family hating her magic. The house was incredibly silent, and Dorcas’ right hand grew slippery over her wand, but she readjusted her grip and moved forward. The floorboards below her feet creaked angrily as she stepped into the family room.

Dorcas would have felt warm if she were in any other house. The light that flew through the large, paneled windows filtered into the room. It highlighted the dust that was layered upon every surface. The sun wanted to make her smile, but she couldn’t crack her face from worry.

The air tasted stale and bitter, tangy and cold. It was a familiar taste that Dorcas spent a lot of her time around. It showed up a lot in the Order. A lot. Not as much in her Healer training, but sometimes the taste just spattered the corner of her mouth, or hit her nose so strongly it was just like she was tasting it.

A bloody taste.

“What’re you doin’ here?” Dorcas clenched her teeth as her father came into view.

“Where are they?” Dorcas asked, raising her wand in between her father’s eyes. He threw his hands back immediately, dropping a bottle of liquor to the ground carelessly with his arms up in defense.

“Bitchy witchy. Nice you drop in,” he slurred again.

“Where?” she asked again steadily.

“Coral’s room,” he assisted, suddenly fondly, as if recalling an old memory. Dorcas shouldered her way past her drunken father, and stood in the hallway just outside the door to Coraline’s room.

“No.” Dorcas leaned herself against the wall, and her mouth dropped open emptily. She blinked rapidly, taking in the scene in front of her. “No, no, no,” she blubbered, tears running down her cheeks hotly, a twitch in her left eye.

“NO!” she screamed hoarsely, turning on her heel, leaving her mother’s and sister’s dead bodies leaning precariously against the bed and on it respectively.

Her dad was staggering aimlessly around the living room, and Dorcas took advantage. She stalked towards him, picked up her father’s forgotten bottle, and smashed it over his head rashly. He stumbled around slowly, leaning on an armchair slightly for support. Dorcas’ teeth were bared and spit flew out from in between her teeth as the tears continued rolling.

“YOU ARE WORTHLESS – WORTHLESS! DO YOU HEAR ME?” Mr. Meadowes said nothing, but frowned, not processing Dorcas’ meaning.

He took a pause, and Dorcas waited for a response.

“Where’s your ol’ bag of a mother gone to?” he slurred again, prompting Dorcas to withdraw her wand.

“FUCK YOU! GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE BEFORE I KILL YOU MYSELF!” she warned. Her father frowned even deeper, and felt the back of his head, which was bloodied and sticky by now.

I said where the fuck did that slag go, Dorcas?” He adapted to Dorcas’ anger, throwing it back at her. Dorcas said nothing more, but lunged herself at her father, knocking the giant man over on his back. As he hit the floor, his face turned red with rage. “Where do you get off, you whore?” he spat back at Dorcas, flipping her over on her back and holding her down by the shoulders. Dorcas struggled against her father’s grip, but his meaty hands held her fast to the floor.

“Accio,” Dorcas whispered shakily, as her tears kept running down her face. Her forgotten wand flew to her hand, and she pointed it at her father’s back.

“Answer me!” he growled, shaking Dorcas’ shoulders. He took his right arm off her shoulder and drew his fist back.

“Stupefy!” Dorcas reacted quickly. Her father flew off of her, and she heard his body hit the floor across from her. The ground shook underneath her body, and Dorcas took some quick, sobering breaths. She sat up to find him slumped against the living room table.

The house was suddenly quiet again. Dorcas whipped her hair away from her face, and leaned her elbows on her knees. She let out a deep breath. From her angle, she could still see just how her mother had died. Probably thrown across the room and got her skull stuck on a metal edge of the bed.

Dorcas looked over to check if her father was waking yet, but he had not stirred. She hugged her knees in closely to her chest, and let her chin rest in the crook of them.

“Mum’s dead,” she tried aloud. “Coraline’s dead,” she tried again. Her voice didn’t waver, and neither did her tears.

Another smell hit the air. Inarguably disgusting. Bitter, acidic, and bodily. Dorcas closed her eyes, and clenched her fists.

“No, no. Please don’t be dead, please.” Dorcas rocked onto her heels and stood up, steeling herself. She opened an eye, and peeked at her dad’s loose body.

She was right. Of course she was right. A puddle of urine lay next to his body.

“Damn it,” she whispered hastily.




(October 31st, 1980)

 

“What do you need, Doe?” Marlene asked quickly, throwing the door to Emmeline’s room open. “Merlin!” she whispered angrily towards the bed.

“Well shut the damn door,” Emmeline said lazily. There was a newly-bandaged patch on her forehead, and she was flipping through a copy of Witch Weekly. Dorcas was sitting across from the foot of Emmeline’s bed, fuming.

Marlene slid the door shut calmly to avoid any wandering eyes. Her eyes flicked to Dorcas, who merely glared.

“Do you know how hard it is to find a recent copy of this shit in the States?” Emmeline asked in boredom.

“What are you doing here?” Marlene asked furiously, ripping the paper out of her hands. Emmeline opened her mouth, but was cut off by Dorcas.

“Wait, you know her?” she asked Marlene, launching herself from the floor and placing her hands on her hips.

“You don’t?” Marlene asked back in disbelief, turning her back to Emmeline and facing Dorcas.

“No, I mean I do,” explained, waving her hands, “but how do you know she’s her?” Marlene rolled her eyes, and Emmeline frowned.

“She knows things!” Marlene explained vaguely. Dorcas raised an eyebrow and jutted her chin out towards Marlene.

“That’s the qualifier for being an alive dead person these days? She knows things?” Marlene clicked her teeth, and glanced at Emmeline warily.

“So why did you believe her?”

“I didn’t!” Dorcas said defensively. “She said to get you and that you’d convince me,” she explained, cocking her head at Marlene again.

“About that,” Emmeline interrupted, lifting a finger lightly. “I do need you to convince her not to tell anyone.” Marlene and Dorcas shared a look, before turning to look at Emmeline. Emmeline reached over the edge of the bed, bit her lip, and tugged her magazine out of Marlene’s hand discreetly.

Marlene froze, letting her mouth drop open as Dorcas turned to look at her. She looked back at Dorcas helplessly and smiled hopefully.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” Dorcas deadpanned. Someone knocked on the door again, slamming their hand against the shaded window. Emmeline’s eyes widened again and she glared at Marlene, who reacted first and ran to poke her head out of the door.

“Yes?” Marlene asked through her teeth. Sirius leaned his arm against the doorframe and peeked over Marlene’s to see inside.

“What are you two doing in there?” he asked, steely. Marlene frowned as his eyes shifted from left to right.

“Is everything alright?” she asked gently, placing a hand on his forearm. Sirius sighed as Marlene looked up at him with her large brown eyes.

“Fine. Are you telling her?” Marlene’s eyes fell. She pulled her hand away from him and shook her head.

“No. Don’t worry you’re not in trouble,” she sneered, slamming the door and almost catching Sirius’ hand in it in the process. Marlene turned around and leaned against the door heavily.

“All okay?” Dorcas asked curiously. Marlene nodded and took a breath. “Now what are we going to do with you?” Dorcas asked curiously, turning her attention to Emmeline.

“We are doing nothing,” Marlene said sternly, capturing Dorcas’ attention.

“She knows about us,” Dorcas hissed raptly. “We can’t just let her free with our secrets.” Marlene looked at Emmeline who glared back with a stare just a fierce. Emmeline tightened her mouth, but nodded at Marlene. “What, what is it?” she snapped out, flipping her gaze between the two who had clearly just participated in some kind of private conversation.

“Someone in the Order betrayed us,” Marlene said quietly, tilting her head down. It was Dorcas’ turn to drop her mouth open. Marlene peeked at her out of the corner of her eye, and Dorcas began cackling loudly. Marlene opened her mouth to protest, but Dorcas held out a finger and leaned on the edge of Emmeline’s bed for support as she began doubling over with laughter.

“Dorcas,” Marlene tried again. To no avail. Dorcas only laughed louder, taking gulping breaths between her hacks. “Dorcas!” she cried out, slamming her hand down ineffectively on the bed. Emmeline peeled open her magazine and began reading again.

“Sorry Marlene. But isn’t it obvious?” Marlene held up her hands and shook her head scathingly. “She’s playing you!” Dorcas shouted, enunciating properly and incinerating Emmeline’s Witch Weekly with a flick of her wand.

“She’s not! She had proof!” she argued back as Dorcas’ final laughs subsided. “She told me because she knew I would keep it a secret!”

“Okay,” Dorcas said simply. “Give me the name.” She directed her attention to Emmeline and crossed her arms over her chest.

Emmeline and Marlene shared another look, but this time Emmeline shook her head vigorously. Marlene tilted her head and furrowed her brows in confusion, but Emmeline simply shook her head again.

“I’ve got it!” Dorcas said brightly, holding a finger up and aiming her wand at Marlene.

“Whoa!” Marlene said nervously, holding her hands up in front of her face.

“Oh, don’t be dramatic,” Dorcas said casually. She pushed Marlene back into the chair she stood in front of with a whoosh of her wand, and Marlene gripped the handles tightly. Dorcas kneeled in front of the chair and put her hands over Marlene’s. “I’m just going to say a name and Marlene’s face will say it all. I’m the liar, here,” Dorcas said, smirking privately and smiling sadistically at Marlene.

“Stop it, Dorcas,” Emmeline warned dangerously. She sat forward in her bed.

“Sirius,” Dorcas said snappily to Marlene. Marlene didn’t move a muscle.

“I’ll tell her, I swear I will Dorcas,” Emmeline said, standing up from the bed. Marlene eyebrows crinkled slightly at Emmeline’s words.

“Peter,” she tried again. No reaction from Marlene.

“Marlene,” Emmeline started, talking over Dorcas as she continued rattling off names. “When Dorcas’ mother and sister died, there’s something,”

“Alright!” Dorcas shouted tightly. “I’m done. You can bloody well shut up now,” she grumbled, taking a step back from shaky Marlene. Marlene let out a short breath she’d been holding.

Dorcas had turned around to avoid Marlene’s gaze, and was looking out the window pointedly. Marlene stood up from her chair slowly and rubbed her wrists gently.

“What were you doing in the muggle underground?” Marlene asked Emmeline. Emmeline turned around, putting her legs on the other side of the bed and looking out the window, similarly to Dorcas. A slight chill fell over the room as the silence settled in, and Marlene shivered.

“Everyone has secrets, Marlene. Get used to it.” 


Chapter 32: The Break in the Battered
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 (November 30th, 1980)



 

“Do not make a sound,” Lily whispered into Sirius’ ear as she rushed into the meeting just ahead of Alastor.

“What are you talking about?” Sirius asked, frowning and looking over Remus’ shoulder to try and get a better view. Sirius’ mouth dropped open slightly, and Lily rolled her eyes as the corners of his mouth turned up.

“Morning, Moody,” he said jovially. The bitter man’s eye turned to look at Sirius, but the rest of him continued walking to his seat next to Remus.

“Black,” he said immediately. Sirius felt as if the new eye was scanning his insides. 

“What happened to your nose?” Peter asked, scratching his head and leaning it in the palm of his hand. Marlene and Dorcas looked at each other out of habit, both daring the other not to laugh.  

“Igor Karkaroff is in Azkaban, that’s what happened to my nose,” he grumbled, falling into his chair ungracefully. The room silenced pretty quickly after that, but Peter looked at Remus for greater clarification. Remus simply shook his head and fiddled with his thumbs. “That bastard’s away for good, now. Even if he could get out, he would have to give names. And if he gave names,” Moody explained,

“Then he would be killed the second he got out,” Arthur finished.

“Exactly. So we’re not getting new names any time soon.” Moody sat back in his chair, and it groaned obnoxiously. “And we need to discuss what happened at St. Mungo’s a few weeks back.” Dorcas and Marlene looked away from each other immediately, Marlene rubbing her neck, and Dorcas crossing her arms.

“When Meadowes is called to St. Mungo’s to deal with a crisis, that doesn’t mean you all run and get in the way!” he yelled shortly. Remus laced his fingers together and leaned forward on the table in exhaustion.

Sirius scoffed and rolled his eyes.

“Problem, Black?” he asked accusingly. Sirius let out a small chuckle and shook his head.

“If we hadn’t been there you and Karkaroff would have torn each other apart!” he exclaimed in exasperation. “Do you not see that?” Sirius pulled his lips into his mouth as soon as he realized what he’d said. He and Sirius looked each other straight in the eye, and Moody’s nose twitched

“Everyone out,” Moody said gravely, pointing his finger to the door. Everyone glanced around, but Peter wasted no time, picking up his papers and scurrying out the door with his head tilted down. Sirius raised his eyebrows at Dorcas, and she shrugged, holding out her hand for him to take.

“Stay behind Lupin.” Remus’ mouth fell open, and he flopped back down in his chair as the rest of the room filed out. He glanced up, sneering at Sirius as he gave him a sarcastic nod of encouragement.

“What can I do for you, Alastor?” he asked exhaustedly, rubbing his forehead. Moody threw his hand behind him, whipping his wand at the door and letting it slam shut.

“Regulus Black is dead.”

Remus sat up immediately and put his hand through his hair. “How do you know?” he asked quickly, tapping his fingers together nervously.

“We found his body in a ravine. We’re not sure why, but the Dark Mark was found above the location.” Remus picked underneath his nails, shaking his head in confusion.

“How long has it been?” Moody finally let both of his eyes rest of Remus, and crossed his hands together.

“Sometime last year. I’m not sure. It was during his hiatus,” Moody emphasized indignantly. 

“And what am I supposed to do with this information?” His exasperation was clear, but Moody did not seem to care in the least.

“I don’t care. But with Black as unstable as he is,” Moody trailed off, flipping open a book and summoning a quill, “we thought someone closer to him should decide whether or not he can handle it.”

“So why not James?” Moody put down his quill at the mention of James’ name.

“Potter’s got enough on his plate as it is,” he said bitterly. He clenched his jaw tightly, and continued scribbling in his pad. “Do whatever it is you want with the information,” he said, closing his book and lurching up from his seat. “But don’t you dare take this information to the Potters.” His large pointer finger slammed down on the table, making Remus jump back slightly.

 




 

(December 5th, 1980)

 

“Little Neville in his little jumper,” Frank sang lazily to Neville as he stuffed his arms into the sleeves of a sweater. “Let’s go see what mummy and Dorcas made for dinner, huh?” He picked Neville up from the changing table and headed down the stairs to the kitchen.

“Frank?”

“Yes, Ali?” he called back as they reached the landing of the large staircase. Dorcas had her wand brandished

“Did you feel that?” she asked nervously. Frank frowned and rushed to Neville’s high chair, sitting him down hastily.

“What, what is it?” he asked, putting his hand on her shoulder as she took out her wand. Alice looked up at Frank, and they both felt the ground underneath them shake slightly. “Turn off the lights,” he said gravely, aiming his wand at the lights in the kitchen and dis-illuminating them. Alice nodded, breathing in deeply and rushing to the living room to turn off the rest of the lights. Dorcas took to the dining room, taking all the lights out at once.

The ground shook under them again, and Neville began crying loudly. Alice and Frank ran back into the kitchen, putting their arms around Neville. It was quiet again, and the floor stopped rumbling. The two were breathing heavily after just running around the house, and they looked at each other knowingly.

“Are the wards up?” Dorcas questioned as she rushed back into the kitchen. Frank didn’t answer. His head snapped to the right as a flash of blue light ricocheted off the ward surrounding the back of the house. Alice clutched her head instinctively, and put her free arm around Neville’s shoulder.

“Shh, shh, it’s okay,” Frank said, rubbing Alice’s back as her breathing quickened.

“Protego Maxima,” Dorcas whispered, casting a circle of white-blue light around the four of them. Her arm shook slightly as the house shook again, and Alice crouched closer into Neville.

“Protego Maxima,” Frank added atop Dorcas’ spell. Dorcas looked to her left in time to see a tear fall off of Frank’s cheek.

 




 

(January 13th, 1981)

 

“Ha! Loser,” Remus said, collecting his Exploding Snap cards back and shuffling them deftly.

“Shut it, Moony,” Sirius mumbled, taking a swig of butterbeer before tossing his emptied bottle across the living room and towards the trash can. He threw his arms up above his head as it swooshed perfectly into the basket.

“Where’s Dorcas?” Remus asked, tossing the cards on the table and throwing his arms behind his head. He closed his eyes, smiling slightly as a cold rush of wind came in through the open window of Sirius’ house.

“She’s at work,” Sirius said with exhaustion, rubbing his forehead.

“Mate, again? That blows,” Remus responded sympathetically. Sirius grunted in agreement and put his head into his hands.

“She loves it, you know? What am I supposed to do, ask her to quit?” Sirius picked his fingers in his jacket pocket to take out a cigarette, but came up empty. “Damn bad habits.”

“I guess you’re right.”

“I’m thinking of asking her to move out,” Sirius said casually. Remus snorted to himself and took his hands out from behind his head.

“Are you insane?” Remus asked incredulously. “You must be, Padfoot.”

Sirius shook his head, but said nothing more.

“She’s the only one that’s ever put up with you for more than a week.” Sirius looked up at Remus and smirked, chortling in his throat.

“You three’ve stuck ‘round it seems.” Sirius picked up a card from the table and flicked it at Remus, who caught it smoothly and tossed it back.

“It’s not all been of my own free will. You can talk to Peter about our supposed undying loyalty,” Remus broke out honestly. He propped his feet up on the table in between the two. “Dorcas is the one. We all know it.”

“Yeah but you know,” Sirius said grumpily, picking at his fingernails, “maybe if Dorcas moved out you could move in.” Sirius peeked at Remus from between his dark strands of hair. Remus tilted his chin down and raised an eyebrow.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” he asked solemnly. Remus turned his head to the side and let out a short, abrasive laugh. “You know I didn’t ask you or James for a reason,” he growled, throwing his hands in the air.

“I’m just saying,” Sirius said defensively, raising his arms up. “If you moved in here, Dorcas could move in with Marlene. And then it’s just like Hogwarts,” he said positively into his hands, tumbling his fingers over each other.

“And we’re back to Marlene.” Remus scoffed and glowered at Sirius. “Are you ever going to get it through your thick fucking skull that you can’t have whatever you want?” Sirius turned away from Remus, his jaw moving visibly beneath his skin.

“What do I have to do with anything?” he asked in exasperation.

“Everything! What, do you think if Marlene and I live together we’re going to fuck like bunnies? I’m not you!” he yelled hoarsely, waving his hands in Sirius’ face.

“They both have weird fucking work hours, and I was thinking of breaking up with Dorcas anyway! I was just thinking,” he said again, before being interrupted by Remus.

“Yeah, you were just thinking. Sure. I can’t remember the last time you fucking thought about anything!” Remus spat, jabbing his fingers at his temple, indicating Sirius’ lack of thoughtfulness.

“Oh, come off it Moony. I’ve been fucking thinking, alright!” He dashed his hands across the table, pushing the cards off. “What are the odds that one of is going to die? I don’t want Dorcas to lose her mind when I get killed,” he finished, standing up and kicking his chair to the side.

“Oh, poor sacrificial Padfoot,” Remus said facetiously. “Save it for Lily. She’s the only one that believes your shit.” Remus stood up too and walked around from the couch.

“Come on, mate, don’t do this,” Sirius said as Remus grabbed his jacket from the back of the chair.

“I just thought you were over the whole fucking scared to have feelings stage,” Remus muttered.

“Remus, wait,” Sirius pleaded. He hooked his hand around Remus’ elbow and tugged him away from the door. “Just tell me what to do.” Remus rubbed his mouth and glared at Sirius.

“Make up your mind,” he said, with resignation and a sigh.

“Merlin, Moony, it’s not about Marlene!” Sirius threw down Remus’ arm and ran his hands through his hair. Remus turned back to the door and put his hand on the knob, turning it without another thought. “If I’m with Dorcas it makes her a target for Bellatrix.”

This stopped Remus in the threshold. He let out another audible sigh and turned back to face Sirius.

“As much as you’d like it to, the world doesn’t revolve around you. I’m sure your estranged family doesn’t keep track of every girl you bed,” he said scathingly.

“What about this?” Sirius asked, pulling a piece of parchment out of his jacket pocket and slamming it against Remus’ chest.

Remus unfolded the note, and scanned through it quickly before folding it up and handing it back to Sirius.

“This is pretty typical of Bellatrix,” Remus said tiredly. “I’m coming for you? Typical Black family. If I were you I’d be more worried about the fact that Bellatrix knows where you live.” He snickered gently and turned back away from Sirius.

“If she gets killed, I don’t know what I’m going to do, Remus.” Sirius leaned his elbow against the doorframe.

“Dorcas can take care of herself, Sirius.” Remus put his hand on Sirius’ shoulder and pushed him gently back into the house. “I’ve got to go, I told Marlene I’d clean the kitchen before she got home.” Sirius squinted at Remus, and nodded reluctantly.

“Yeah. Go ahead.” 


Chapter 33: The Death in the Departed
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 (February 14th, 1981)



 

“Finally,” James breathed out, smiling as Lily shut the door behind her. She leaned against it and smirked up at a shirtless James. The two had spent around an hour putting Harry down for the night.

“I think we’ve got at least another hour. Let’s go,” she said determinedly, pulling her jacket off her shoulders and tossing it behind her as she stalked into the bedroom.  

“I love you,” James said breathlessly, following her into their room and shutting that door behind him. Lily stood in front of the bed in her dress from their anniversary dinner, looking at James lustfully. A smile perked up on the right side of her face, and she motioned for James to step towards her. He did so, closing the space between them.

“I love you, too, James. I really do, even though I yell a lot, okay?” Lily said softly as James took her face in his hands. James tilted his head down, putting it against hers and kissing her slowly, just slightly pressing their lips together.

“I deserve it,” he whispered to her. Lily left her eyes closed, and James leant in for another kiss. He brought his hand around her back, and Lily put her hand over his, pushing herself closer into him.

“I know, James,” she said hastily. Her eyes broke open. She put her hands to James’ slacks and unzipped them quickly. “But we don’t have time for this.” James nodded, and pulled down his pants the rest of the way as Lily turned around and stripped her dress off easily.

James whistled lowly as Lily slipped into bed in her matching lingerie set.

“What?” she asked faking coyness. She motioned for James to join her with a wiggle of her finger. James clambered into bed ungracefully, tossing his glasses onto his nightstand and running a hand through his hair one final time.

“You are crazy gorgeous,” James rambled, smiling anticipatorily as Lily climbed over his hips, straddling him.

“Just shut it.” Lily crashed down onto James, enveloping his mouth wholly and James’ hands automatically went to the back of her neck, stroking the nape of her neck in the way he knew drove her crazy.

Lily ground her body against James, making him clench the back of her head and hiss into her mouth. Lily smirked into James’ mouth, and he pulled back slightly to look at her. They shared a look, each breathing in time with the other before Lily fell into James again. His hands fell to laze around her hips, and Lily breathed into their embrace, allowing James to slip his tongue inside her mouth.

James sucked onto Lily’s lower lip, making Lily squirm uncontrollably atop James’ lap, and in turn James react more raggedly. She ran her fingers through his hair, and Lily let out a small whimper. James groaned with frustration and pushed Lily’s face back suddenly, gazing at Lily deeply and sliding her hair out of her face with his thumb.

Lily gasped as James flipped them over together, being so lost in her husband’s hazel eyes. James chuckled to himself, looking down on Lily lovingly as her mouth popped open. He pecked her cheek lightly, feeling it burn with embarrassment and anticipation as he stroked her torso with his free hand.

He continued kissing down her jawline until he reached her neck. Lily assisted James, tilting up her head for him to reach the softest part of her neck. Lily let out a gentle sigh, clutching the arm that James used to prop himself above her and licking her lips. James held the side of her neck as he sucked on her pulsating skin with alternating pressures.

“Oh,” Lily groaned, gritting behind her teeth as James grazed his teeth against her neck. 

“Waaaah!” Harry suddenly cried. James broke away from Lily’s neck, and breathed down on her heavily, leaning his arm against the bed over her head.

“I’ve got it,” she said quickly, using his shoulders as leverage to reach up and peck him on the lips one more time. James sighed as Lily ducked under his arm and climbed out of bed. She headed to her closet quickly, grabbing a bathrobe and wrapping it around herself.

He followed her out of their room and into Harry’s, where he was squirming unhappily in his bassinet.

“Come on, sweetheart. Mummy loves you, but mummy and daddy are trying to celebrate their anniversary,” Lily cooed to Harry as she picked him up and rested him on her hip. James came up behind her, resting his hands on her shoulders and rubbing them gently. James kissed her slowly on the neck, wiping her hair to the side to give himself a better vantage point.  “James,” Lily warned, “not in front of Harry.”

Lily flipped herself around to stop James, and began bouncing up and down with Harry. James smiled at Lily as she smiled down at Harry. He had stopped crying, and was now fussing quietly in Lily’s arms.

“Do you think he’s good to go?” James asked anxiously, peering over Lily’s shoulder and wrapping his arms around her waist.

“James, you are delusional if you think it takes three minutes to get him back to sleep,” Lily whispered over her shoulder, trying her best to grimace at James, but a smile slipped through.

“Well then I’m going to run a bath,” James said, taking his hands off of her and heading to their master bathroom.

“Seriously, James? It’s not going to take that long,” she whispered again as Harry began doling off in her arms.

“Then you can come join me when he’s fallen asleep,” James said, pulling up his right eyebrow and looking Lily up and down. Lily bit her lip gently, smiling through it.

“I’ll meet you in a couple minutes,” she whispered, growing quieter as Harry let out a little puff of a snore. James nodded and headed to their room, a giddy smile breaking on his face.

“Thank Merlin,” Lily murmured, looking up at the ceiling as Harry completely relaxed in her arms. She bounced slightly on her way over to Harry’s crib, blushing as she heard James humming along with the running faucet.

She bent down over the crib, bouncing slightly to keep Harry contented. As she went to slide her hands out from under his back, Harry turned over slightly, and Lily froze. He began crying again and Lily groaned.

“Come on, Harry.” She continued bouncing Harry, taking a seat in the rocking chair across from his crib as Harry settled back down.

 




 

“Is he almost down?” James whispered from the door. “Lily?” he questioned quietly, knocking on the door to Harry’s room and letting it fall open. He smiled sadly at his wife, who had fallen asleep with Harry in her arms.

He walked over to his small family, grabbing a folded blanket from the table next to Harry’s bed. He unfolded it and placed it across Lily’s lap as she snored gently, rocking in the chair habitually. James placed a kiss on Harry’s temple, and rubbed Lily’s shoulder lightly before turning his back on the two.

He aimed his wand at the light switch. He flicked them off, conjured a small cot, and laid down next to Lily and Harry.

 




 

(February 15th, 1981)

 

James sat up against the edge of Harry’s bassinet, his hands running through his hair. The light flew in from the window across from him, and he crumpled the paper that had been read over and over in his left hand.

He heard a yawn from the chair opposite him, and quickly transformed his face as Lily woke up from her four-hour rest. Lily smiled at James in her sleepy state, and began standing up to take Harry over to his crib.

“What is it?” she whispered. Harry let her put him down on his pillow without a fuss, and Lily clasped her hands together in a silent thanks. She took a seat on the carpeted floor next to James.

“Moody wants us to floo into the headquarters in half an hour.”

Lily placed a hand over James’, and rubbed it softly, toying with his fingers before clasping their hands together. She leaned against his shoulder and closed her eyes.

“Why is that a problem?” she asked, continuing her kneading up his arm, trying to release the tension in his shoulders.

“He hasn’t spoken to me since the last time I was on duty.” James rubbed his hand across the carpet, watching the grain switch back and forth. “The only reason he would talk to me is if he found out something more about the whole prophecy problem.” Lily opened her bloodshot eyes and looked up from James’ shoulder.

“You can’t think that way, James. If you keep on with that we won’t be able to have a life after it’s all over.”

“You’re right,” he said with a sigh as Harry turned to his side in his sleep. “Can you come with me? Alastor hasn’t exactly been pleased with me lately.”

“Come on, James, everyone knows you’re his favorite. I’ve got to stay here with Harry anyway.”

“I was,” James said bitterly, hanging his arm around Lily’s shoulder. Lily closed her eyes and snuggled under James’ arm. The two breathed in time in the silent room. Harry’s breathing opposed their rhythm, but didn’t ruin the peace. “I miss going outside with you,” James whispered, kissing the top of Lily’s head.

Lily smiled to herself, and James continued.

“I miss sitting in the grass for a picnic. I would try so bloody hard to make you happy, but you always said it was nothing like the hill across that lake next to your house.” Lily smiled again, opening her eyes as they began brimming with tears.

“I remember the first time we had a picnic. In Hogwarts. And when you mentioned your hill by your house and how Petunia used to tease you about being a witch on your picnics. We got into an argument.” She chuckled, sniffing gently as the tears rolled down her cheeks.

“And so after that, we didn’t have any picnics until after your mum passed away.” Lily pursed her lips and wiped the tears from her face quickly.

“That’s how I knew that you really loved a picnic. Because when you told me about your picnics with Petunia, I kind of forgot that your mum was the one who took you on those awful picnics where she called you a freak and pulled your hair. Until we went on that last picnic.” Lily nodded quickly as more tears fell out of her eyes, and laughed through it.

“Merlin, what great fights we used to have, Lil.”

 




 

James appeared just outside the entrance to a pub in muggle London. He looked down at the slip of paper Moody had sent with the owl telling James to meet him. James stepped to the side blankly as a couple came falling out of the doorway.

“Oi, you coming in?” one of the men said as he held open the door for James. James cocked his head in thanks, ducking under the doorframe and letting it swing shut behind him. The bar was crowded, but there was still a hook free on the coat rack. James shook off his jacket and hung it up. Moody waved to him from the other side of the bar, and James headed over, squeezing through the swarm.

“Watch it,” a young girl spat bitterly as James shouldered into her, making her spill her drink onto her friend. The girl turned around, putting her hand on her hip. James waved a hand weakly, and the girl rolled her eyes with annoyance.

“You spend a lot of time in muggle pubs?” James mumbled as he approached the bar and took the empty seat to Moody’s left.

“You want to say that a little louder?” Moody responded into his pint of beer, cocking an eyebrow at the bar tender who hovered intrusively.

“What can I do for you?”

“I find that they’re much more private than ours.” Moody took a swig of his beer and slammed it back down on his coaster.

“What’s more private?” James asked, signaling to the tender for a beer for himself.

“Muggle bars,” he hissed angrily. “You’ve lost your touch, Potter. Keep up.” James took a sip from his beer and rolled his eyes to himself. “They’re easier to have private conversations in. No one looking for Silencing Charms, no one caring if you say Voldemort.” James swallowed dryly, and took another drink from his glass.

“What are you here to tell me, Alastor?” Moody’s mechanical eye was hidden by an eye patch, and he scratched at the corner where it hit his eye socket.

“Your father was found dead in a raid we did on your Austrian vacation home.” James choked on his beer suddenly, spitting out his drink.

“Are you fucking kidding me right now?” James asked lowly, his voice trembling. “Do you think this is a joke?”

Moody took a pause.

“What?” he asked in a rare moment of true confusion.

“My life, Alastor. Do you think my life is a fucking joke? I’m not in training anymore so enough with the fucking life-and-death scenarios.” James stood up and pushed his hair away from his face.

“James,” Moody said calmly, grabbing his forearm before he walked away. James turned around to face Moody, tears running down his face. “I’m not lying.” James sat down in his stool again, his head hanging loosely between his shoulders.

“I know,” he said tearfully, his mouth shaking. “I know.” James let out a louder sob as Moody put a hand on his shoulder.   


Chapter 34: The Trick in the Trust
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 (March 15th, 1981)



 

“How have you been getting along?” Dumbledore asked broadly as he leaned over Harry’s hovering bassinet.

Light shone through a patch in the clouds on the rainy March morning. The small piece of light came through the window of the peak in Dumbledore’s office. Lily could hear the students bustling just outside the stone gargoyle from the hallway. That was funny. When she attended Hogwarts, she’d never had any classes on this side of the castle.

Lily spoke for James and herself.

“It’s been…tough.” She placed her hand over James’ and rubbed his knuckles gently3.

“Frank? Alice?” Dumbledore continued as he nodded politely at Lily.

“December was rough, but it’s better now,” Frank said quietly. Harry and Neville were breathing quietly in Dumbledore’s office. They had taken to the same sleeping patterns as the Longbottoms and the Potters had more frequent meetings with their former Headmaster.

“The protection of the Order has made us feel safer,” Alice added, licking her lips as Dumbledore sat back down.

“That’s good news.” James didn’t look up from his lap, but tightened his hand around Lily’s. “I have better news.” Dumbledore folded his hands and sat back behind his desk. “There is something called a Fidelius Charm, have you heard of it?”

Alice and Frank shared a look of confusion, but James looked up from his hands.

“A Fidelius Charm? You think someone in the Order is a traitor?” he asked nastily, glaring at Dumbledore.

“It’s not that I do not have belief in the Order of the Phoenix. It is that I have belief in the power that Voldemort wields.” Dumbledore took a sip of tea from his small cup and James’ breathing eased. “And the charm would provide the extra security that you’ll need as the war continues.”

“Can someone explain the charm to us?” Lily asked curiously, frowning with Alice and Frank.

“My parents had it on the house,” James said before Dumbledore had a chance to respond. James took his hand out of Lily’s and leaned his elbows on his knees. “It hides secrets, making it so the Secret Keeper is the only person who can reveal the secret,” he explained, holding his hands out and thinking about his family. “There can be multiple Secret Keepers, though. My parents and I were the only three who knew the location of our manor.” James clenched his jaw and turned his fingers over each other.

“So someone did betray us. Did you tell anyone in the Order the address of your house?” Lily asked nervously, putting her hand on his arm. “Because there’s no way that the Death Eaters attacked your house by accident.” Lily glared at Dumbledore and pursed her lips. “Someone in the Order must have overheard James saying the address of his house and told the Death Eaters!”

“Not necessarily, Miss Evans.” Dumbledore’s eyes flicked from Lily to James, and back to Lily. “First of all, the address or secret must be heard directly from the original Secret Keeper, meaning a Death Eater would have to be in the Order, something I highly doubt.  Secondly,” he said delicately, clearing his throat, “the Fidelius Charm is broken by the death of the originator of the charm. If your mother created the charm, which is more than likely if I correctly recall her affinity for charms,”

“Then the charm was broken before the attack on the manor even happened,” James finished, shaking his head and licking his lips.

“James is correct. And this situation calls for the same type of protection. Alastor and I have been researching more on the Fidelius Charm since the attack on your house,” he continued, motioning to Alice and Frank, “but when James’ father was killed, we knew that there was not much time left.”

“But what use will this have? Everyone in the Order, even people outside the Order, know our address!” Alice said pleadingly, shaking her head. “What use is it?”

“Anyone who previously knew your address will not able to tell another living soul about it. They will have access to your homes, but will not be able to share it.”

“And why can’t we just keep the address within our family? How come I can’t perform the spell on James?” Lily asked, biting her lip.

“In situations like these, it is unusual that one spouse will survive.” A silence settled over the four of them. It seemed as if even the babies had stopped breathing. “You need someone you trust with your children.”

“So what do we do here?” Frank asked. “Are we supposed to pick a Secret Keeper?”

“Exactly that. So, other than the four of you, who do you trust to hold the key to your lives?”

 




 

“It’s got to be Dorcas for us,” Frank said gravely, toying with his wedding ring in a dark booth in the back of the pub just outside Lily and James’ house.

“Why not Molly? She’s not involved. Shouldn’t that be less of a risk?” Alice asked, putting her hand over her husband’s to stop his fiddling. Lily and Frank shared a look.

“You can’t pick someone who has children, Alice,” Lily said gently. “Dorcas is relatively, unattached,” she said with a pause. “There’s less risk that she’ll give you up. Of anyone, she’s got the least to lose.”

“And you know she’d agree,” James added, nodding along with Lily. “Dorcas would do anything to keep you safe. And she’s already Neville’s godmother.” Alice’s eyes filled with tears, and her bottom lip trembled uncontrollably.”

“And what about you?” Frank asked quickly, latching his fingers together with Alice’s as she leaned on his shoulder.

“Sirius,” Lily deadpanned, clenching her jaw and looking at James for assurance. He tightened his mouth and nodded.

“Merlin knows the kind of torture he’s already been through. Sirius would never break no matter what,” James said plainly. “Sirius would do anything for us, too.”    

 




 

“Absolutely not,” Sirius said without pause but with a snort. He leaned back on the Potters’ couch, his fingers going against his lips, ghosting the motion of smoking a cigarette.

“Sirius!” Lily gasped, frowning deeply at him. “How could you do this to us? You’re the one we trust the most and you’re being a coward?” she raged suddenly, standing up and throwing down the blanket she had been clutching.

“Lily, calm down already!” Sirius growled back, making Lily sit back down. Her glare did not loosen. “Do you know how much I’m already on their radar?” Lily’s frown broke as she realized what Sirius was getting at.

“You need someone off the map,” he emphasized, looking at James for back-up. “But someone you trust,” he pondered, the tension relaxing from his shoulders. “We really don’t have any low-key friends, do we?” he asked rhetorically.

James scoffed and shook his head, but Lily snapped. Her eyes lit up automatically.

“Remus. It’s got to be Remus! He’s got a heightened tolerance for pain because he’s a werewolf,” Lily said in epiphany. Sirius and James looked at each other, and James simply shook his head. “What? What’s wrong with Remus?”

“It’s not a bad idea, it’s just...” James trailed off aimlessly, looking at Sirius from behind his glasses to finish.

“What?” Lily snapped, looking between the two.

“Well, you know how I’m an unregistered animagus?” James asked carefully, looking at Lily shyly. Lily crossed her arms and scoffed in James’ direction. “Well so is Peter.” Lily’s mouth dropped open, and an eyebrow popped up.

“And so am I,” Sirius said sheepishly, raising a finger guiltily. Lily glared at Sirius in disbelief.

“So what does all this illegal activity have to do with who we want our Secret Keeper to be?” she asked, slamming her hand on the pillow to her right.

“Peter can turn into a rat,” James explained away quickly. Lily rolled her eyes and let out a sarcastic huff of a laugh. “He can escape any torture in a second so long as no one knows he can transform.”

“You lot are too bloody brilliant for your own good, you know?” she said, punching James in the side of the arm. “But that is a good idea,” she agreed reluctantly.

“Yeah, and he’s got no family left so it’s not as if they can threaten anyone close to him!” Sirius said brightly, smirking at James and nodding earnestly.

“Nice way to put it,” Lily mumbled, throwing her body back into the couch and putting a hand to her forehead.

“It’s true. And he’d never betray you anyway.”

“So, Peter?” Lily asked sheepishly, trying to push away her anger.

“Let’s go tell the others,” James said, standing up and heading towards the floo. Lily stood up too and nodded at Sirius with a small smile.

“Thank you, Sirius,” she said sincerely, turning to head in the fireplace to Dumbledore’s office.

“Wait!” Sirius interjected as James picked up the pot above his head. James froze nervously, frowning at Sirius’ outcry. “Just, come sit for a second.” James looked curiously at Sirius, but complied and came back to the couch. Lily followed hesitantly.

The Potters looked at Sirius with waiting eyes as Sirius tapped the heel of his boot on the ground.

“Well?” Sirius swallowed audibly and let out a difficult sigh.

“I think you should tell Dumbledore that I’m your Secret Keeper.” Lily frowned and tilted her head, but James seemed to already know what Sirius was thinking.

“You’re that paranoid?” James asked, raising an eyebrow at his best friend.

“It’s a secret, isn’t it? The less people who know who it really is the better, I say,” he said quickly, glancing at Lily who was staring off blankly. James and Sirius waited in silence for Lily’s reaction. She opened her mouth to say something, but closed it again and let her shoulders drop. She looked shiftily at Sirius and let out a sigh of disbelief.

“It’s Dumbledore!” Lily exclaimed. She threw her hands above her head and let them slap on her thighs. “If we don’t trust him, who do we?”

“It’s not about trust, Lily. It’s about devotion. And if Dumbledore knew it was me you don’t think he wouldn’t give me up in a second if they were torturing him? There’s a reason you didn’t take him up on his offer, James,” Sirius explained quickly to avoid interruption.

“But Dumbledore’s performing the spell. Regardless of how you feel, he’s going to have to know,” Lily countered. Sirius shook his head and swished his hair to the side.

“You didn’t do your research, Evans?”

Lily frowned.

“How very unlike you.”

Lily rolled her eyes, but Sirius continued.

“The caster only has to cast it onto the first Secret Keeper, that being one of you. After that, one of you two can cast it onto Peter. No one will know it’s not me!”

“I still don’t like the idea of not telling Dumbledore the truth,” Lily said, shaking her head. “Lies just get people hurt.”

“Well this lie is going to keep you, and James, and Harry safe. And that’s all that matters right now.” Sirius looked at James and cocked his head towards Lily, trying to get him to help her understand.

“You know something I’ve been thinking a lot about?” Lily looked at James warily as he pulled off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose.  “If Harry or Neville or some other baby is going to defeat Voldemort, how much longer is this war going to be? Because I don’t think I can take another twenty fucking years of this bullshit.”

Lily and Sirius dropped their heads to avoid James’ stern glare. Harry began crying in the other room, and James shot up from his chair without looking to Lily to indicate he was going to get him. Lily swallowed and pushed her hair back away from her face.

“He’s right, you know,” Sirius implored again. Lily nodded as Sirius picked at his fingernails.

“I know.” Her eyes flicked up to meet Sirius’. “Let’s do it.” 


Chapter 35: The Qualms in the Quaint
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 (July 1976)

 

“Marlene,” Mary said gently, stroking Marlene’s hair out of her eyes. The two sat across from each other on a double bed in James Potter’s manor.

“Mary,” Marlene said quietly, tilting her head into Mary’s hand and closing her eyes slowly. Mary studied Marlene’s relaxed face, and continued stroking the side of her face.

Marlene leaned forward on her knees slightly, and Mary gave out a thankful breath. She closed the rest of the space between them, breathing Marlene in eagerly. Marlene sighed into Mary’s mouth, tickling the roof of her mouth and making Mary whine lightly. Mary moved her free hand to Marlene’s side, teasing the bared skin that peeped out between her bra and her free-flowing tank top.

Marlene brows cinched together, and she pressed her chest closer to Mary’s body unwillingly. She fell backwards, breaking their embrace and letting her hair flounce out on the bed behind her. Mary smiled part sneakily and part happily at Marlene before straddling her lap and leaning down for her mouth to ghost over Marlene’s neck.

“Oh,” she breathed out as Mary’s lips met her neck gently. She arched her back slightly to reach Mary’s mouth, and tilted her head to the side. “Oh, Mary,” she gasped, licking her lips as Mary traveled down her collarbone and sucked on the skin that met her chest to her neck.

Mary sat back and let out a breath. She watched Marlene hazily before dragging her finger to the shoulder of Marlene’s shirt. She tugged it to the side gently, and Marlene’s eyes opened with electricity at her touch. She sat up suddenly, forcing Mary to whip herself backwards and out of Marlene’s way.

Marlene ripped her tank top off roughly, and wagged her finger back at Mary. Mary obeyed, not taking her eyes off of Marlene as the two fell back into their rhythm. Marlene flipped herself over, taking Mary’s hand in hers and gripping it tightly as she sucked on a spot under Mary’s chin.

Then Marlene shot up without warning.

“What’s wrong?” Mary asked quickly, frowning and blushing slightly at the sight of Marlene in her bra, straddling Mary.

“Did you hear that?” she asked curiously. Marlene tucked her hair behind her ear. She climbed off of Mary’s lap, and sat on the edge of the bed. “It sounded like…” Marlene’s eyes widened as she heard a loud cry of pain from downstairs. “Mary you should leave,” she whispered dangerously.

“What are you talking about?” Mary asked, climbing to sit next to Marlene. Marlene swatted Mary away from her as Mary went to kiss her neck again.

Marlene stood up suddenly, her hand running through her hair.

“Marlene, why?” she asked nervously, standing up and rushing over to Marlene. “There’s no need to worry.” Mary put her hands on the sides of Marlene’s face, and looked her in the eye. “James said we would be home alone tonight. Your brother’s won’t come over.” Marlene nodded reluctantly, and let Mary lay a soft kiss on her lips when the door slammed open unexpectedly.

Mary’s eyes widened, but no one appeared at the door.

“Damn it! He’s here. You need to get out of here,” Marlene said brokenly as tears threatened her eyes.

“Who, Matthew?” Mary asked as Marlene shoved Mary’s overnight bag at her.

“No. Worse.” Mary’s face fell as she looked to the left and saw Sirius standing in the doorway, crying and quite obviously injured.

“Well this is just fucking perfect,” he growled lowly. Marlene shook her head at her boyfriend and stepped in between him and Mary as he drew his wand.

“Sirius, put that away,” she said calmly even as tears streamed down her face. Marlene put her hands on Sirius’ bloody chest and turned back to look at Mary.

Mary’s jaw was clenched so visibly that Marlene thought it would break.

“I should leave, I guess,” she said jaggedly, shouldering past Marlene. Marlene looked over Sirius’ shoulder at Mary’s retreating back. Sirius pushed past her and threw his bag of belongings on the mussed bed. Marlene stood in the doorway, her mouth ajar as she tried to find a way to explain herself. She couldn’t.

“Shut the fucking door, will you?” Sirius said angrily, lighting a cigarette and sticking it in his mouth. Marlene shut the door gently and turned to look at Sirius, who was lounging on the bed, a hand behind his head, a cigarette between his fingers. Marlene’s tears suddenly turned angry.

“Sirius, put that out,” she yelled sternly, stalking towards the bed and grabbing it from his mouth. Sirius glared at Marlene through his own tears.

“You lost the right to tell me what to do when we broke up, McKinnon,” he spat at her, pointing at the closed door. “I guess you didn’t need as much as a break from dating as you needed a break from me.”

“I’m so sorry. Mary likes me! And I like her! And I’m confused, and I, I just don’t know.” Marlene’s hands ran over her hair again, and she sobbed audibly.

Sirius didn’t answer Marlene, but kept his glare strong.

“I never meant to hurt you.”

At this, Sirius chuckled.

“You think you could hurt me? I mean, I’ve only just run away from home, but sure lets go on chatting about how you’re fucking confused about your sexuality!” he yelled hoarsely, making Marlene inhale quickly and lean away from him. “Let’s not try and heal my broken fucking ribs, let’s hear more about you and Mary snogging in what is now my permanent fucking bed!” He leaned forward to emphasize his point, but winced and clutched his side. “But go on, tell me how sorry you are that you hurt me.”

Marlene didn’t say anything, but moved in closer to Sirius again, and put a hand on his thigh. Sirius didn’t look to her but kept his gaze straight ahead.

“Lay back,” she said, pushing him down on the bed slowly with her other hand. Sirius complied reluctantly and slapped her other hand off his thigh. “Dorcas taught me a few simple spells. They should do until Mrs. Potter is home.” Marlene pushed up Sirius’ shirt to his chest, wincing as she saw the bruising that would surely swell by morning.

She placed her wand over his abdomen, murmuring unintelligibly until her wand glowed red and showed her where the break happened.

“Hold my hand,” she instructed, offering him her left hand. Sirius didn’t respond, so Marlene sighed and tapped her wand against his stomach raptly. Sirius hissed painfully through his teeth, his back arching up in pain. “I told you,” she muttered.

“Leave me alone, McKinnon. Find Prongs.” Marlene sighed.

“James isn’t here.” Sirius rolled his eyes, and tried to whip his hair out of his face, but winced as he moved his neck too fast. “You need to sleep.”

“Then you need to leave,” he said steely. Marlene looked at Sirius hesitantly, covering her mouth with laughter as Sirius struggled to remove his shirt.

“Let me help. Then I’ll leave.”

 




 

(March 30th, 1981)

 

“Sirius!” Dorcas called from the kitchen. Dorcas was sorting through the pile of mail that had been left at her flat since she began living with Sirius.

“Love?” he asked as he came running out of the bathroom. Sirius walked into the kitchen to Dorcas. “What is it?”

“Is there any booze for Marlene’s birthday thing?” Sirius didn’t answer Dorcas, but stuck his head in her refrigerator.

“It looks like either you never had any or I drank it all at some point.” Dorcas snorted and picked up her envelope opener. She stuck the tip in the corner of a letter from St. Mungo’s and let the knife slide it open. She pulled out the letter, tossing it to the side as she read the word benefactor.

“What’s that?” Sirius asked as he grabbed some galleons from a discarded cloak that was lying on the kitchen counter.

“Some garbage about being a St. Mungo’s benefactor. As if I’ve got the money for that. Not with what you pay me!” she yelled at the inanimate object. Sirius smirked casually, swung the door to the refrigerator shut, and leaned over Dorcas’ shoulder.

“You tell ‘em, love,” he whispered into her ear. Dorcas smirked, and turned around on her chair to kiss Sirius. As Dorcas leaned in, their lips barely brushing, the handle to the door wiggled. Sirius didn’t move at the sound, but whispered against Dorcas’ lips.

“My wand is behind you,” he murmured, kissing her quickly and ducking as the door slammed open. Dorcas threw a hex at the intruder. The man stumbled backwards out of the doorway as the Stinging Hex hit him.

Sirius’ attention went to the window as the glass over their couch shattered and a black form floated in. He shot up and ran toward the table where Dorcas’ wand lay.

“Accio!” he shouted, commanding the wand to his hand. “Protego!” he shouted before the materializing figure before him could even raise her wand. Sirius glared at Alecto Carrow through the blue shield that protected him, and she glared back, holding her wand steady.

“Reducto,” she said hoarsely, diminishing the shield Sirius put up. Sirius stumbled backwards slightly with her force, and hit Dorcas in the back as she defended against Amycus Carrow.

“Can’t you go anywhere without Amycus?” Sirius taunted, ducking suddenly as his shield broke and Alecto shot a spiral of blue lights at him.

“Stop playing, Alecto,” Amycus shouted as Dorcas flew backwards and her back hit the edge of the countertop. “Just grab her and go. We don’t need Black,” he hissed as Sirius backed him into a corner.

“NO!” Sirius dove over Dorcas’ limp body as Alecto approached her. His elbow knocked Alecto’s head to the side, and her body flew back into the open doorway.

“Come on, Sirius. She’ll have more fun with me anyway,” Amycus taunted as Alecto pushed herself up from the ground.

“Protego!” he shouted again. Dorcas stirred, and Sirius put his arm around her shoulder to keep her from hitting her head on the wall again.

Amycus aimed his wand at the shield, and broke it easily with a Reducto. Sirius retaliated, locking Amycus in a Petrificus Totalus. As he fell, the sneer froze on his face.

Sirius reacted quickly as he saw Alecto standing up in the corridor, reaching his hand up onto the counter to search for the portkey they kept around for safety. For situations like this.

“SHIT!” he groaned as he felt his bone crack up through the skin of his hand. His arm fell off the counter, and he groaned in pain again as Alecto approached the two slowly. She wiped her mouth of blood and chuckled at the sight of her brother lying frozen on the floor.

“You really think some goody-two-shoes Order members could defeat us, Black? You’re just like Regulus was,” she scoffed, raising her wand to aim at Sirius’ head. Sirius almost saw her mouth form the words he most dreaded. The soft ‘a’ sound graced her lips as Remus appeared in the doorway.

“Relashio,” Remus said simply, standing with his feet spread widely as if he had just been running. Alecto dropped her wand as the red sparks hit wrist. “Incarcerous,” Remus said again as Alecto turned around to attack him. Ropes flew around Alecto, binding her arms to her sides.

Remus rushed past her restrained form and took Dorcas’ head in his hand. Her eyes fluttered open slightly, and Remus nodded, seeing that she was conscious.

“What happened?” Remus asked, taking Sirius’ hand in his and cringing as he saw the damage they’d inflicted. Sirius hissed through his teeth and squeezed his eyes shut as Remus pushed his bones back into place with a rather unpleasant spell.

“They-they just came in through the front door,” Sirius said weakly, looking at his throbbing hand.

“Well what happened to the wards we put on the house?” he asked, bending to pick up Dorcas’ limp form.  

“Hey!” Sirius exclaimed, pointing towards Alecto as she inched closer to her brother.

“Accio,” she murmured. Amycus’ wand flew to her hand, and the two apparated out of Dorcas’ flat just as Remus aimed his wand at her.

“Fuck,” he muttered, rubbing his brow and stowing his wand back in the holster on his forearm. He went again to pick up Dorcas, and Sirius pushed himself up from the floor with his good hand. Remus slung Dorcas arm around his shoulder, and her head lolled to the side.

“How did you know?” Sirius asked, looking around at the destruction. Remus wiggled his right hand, and the silver Order of the Phoenix ring danced under the light of the kitchen lamp. “I didn’t think anyone still wore those! Thank Merlin for you,” Sirius said thankfully. Remus gripped Sirius’ shoulder.

“I know,” he said brusquely, whisking the trio to St. Mungo’s.

 




 

A/N: Does anyone feel a bit clearer on the whole Marlene/Sirius relationship?

thank you for reading! 

blackballet


Chapter 36: The Good in the Last
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 (April 17th, 1981)



 

“No, I mean what do you mean, I have to leave?” Dorcas asked angrily, following Sirius out of their room and into the kitchen.

“I’m kicking you out,” Sirius said, pushing Dorcas’ hand off his shoulder.

“Sirius Orion Black,” she said lowly, making Sirius turn around and glare right back at her. “Is this your way of breaking up with me?”

“Exactly,” he sneered, leaning in closer to Dorcas and poking her on the nose.

“What the fuck!” she screamed, punching the wall to her right as Sirius walked away from her. Dorcas’ mouth trembled slightly at the sight of Sirius walking away from her. “We’ve been through two years of this,” she whispered. Sirius stopped in the middle of the hallway, and let out a quiet sigh. “I’ve had a miscarriage, I’ve lost my family, and now you want to leave me?”

“It’s time, Dorcas,” he said vaguely without turning around.

“What is this shit?” she asked, walking forward with determination and turning Sirius around with a jerk of his shoulder. Sirius looked at Dorcas’ heaving shoulders, and clenched his teeth with only a moment of hesitation.

“I’m so fucking tired of you, Meadowes. I hate waking up next to you. I hate how condescending you are about everything.” Dorcas frowned deeply and crossed her arms as Sirius continued. “I can’t stand you climbing in bed at two in the morning and waking me up after a shift at work.” Sirius stepped forward, poking Dorcas in the chest. “And I hate that I can’t be myself around you. Because if I’m not the responsible one then we might as well shoot ourselves in heads for the Death Eaters,” he snarled, pushing her backwards. “And I hate being the responsible one.”

Dorcas cleared her throat, swished her hair out of her eyes, and let the tears stream down her face.

“I thought you were going to propose to me.”

“We’re not compatible.”

“And who is? Marlene?” she jeered as Sirius picked a cigarette out of his pocket. Dorcas swatted it away.

“Merlin, you can’t let it go, can you?” he said in disbelief, backing Dorcas against the wall. He put a hand next to her head, and Dorcas rolled her eyes as Sirius took out another cigarette. “Maybe you and Lupin should get together,” he said casually through the cigarette in his mouth. “You both can’t seem to get over it.” He raised an eyebrow, challenging Dorcas.

Dorcas ducked under Sirius’ arm and ran forward to the door where Sirius had done the courtesy of packing her things.

“You’ve got it, Master Sirius,” she said, bowing lowly, mocking Sirius’ upbringing. Sirius shifted his eyes away from Dorcas’ hysterical sight. “Any-fucking-thing for you Master Sirius.”

Dorcas slammed the door behind her.

 




 

(April 30th, 1981)

 

Dorcas tilted back in her chair, sipping on the warm coffee that Remus had just bought her. He sat down across from her and leaned back in his chair. They looked around discreetly at the crowds of Hogwarts students that flowed up and down the streets of Hogsmeade, weaving in and out, unaware that they were being watched.

“So what do you really think about Marlene?” Dorcas asked, tipping her chair back and forth with her foot. Remus put down his tea and licked his lips before letting his gaze linger up to Dorcas’ face.

“I owe Marlene everything.”

Dorcas smirked as Remus brought his drink back up to his lips.

“You should be a politician, cheeky,” Dorcas said, kicking Remus lightly under the table they shared at the edge of Hogsmeade. “Answer the question.”

“Marlene’s got everyone hooked on her finger. I don’t know how she does it,” Remus said, a hint of anger coming through.

“It’s because she’s oblivious,” Dorcas tried explaining. “She’s just herself. She doesn’t need to lie. Everything she says is right on her face anyway.” Remus rolled his eyes at Dorcas’ psychological profile.

“Looks like she’s got you, too.”

“Make no mistake. I’ll always have Marlene’s back,” she said, shrugging and finishing her coffee.

“Doesn’t it bother you?” Remus blurted after a slight pause. Dorcas didn’t react, knowing exactly what Remus meant.

“I know they’re not really doing anything,” she said, holding up a finger as Remus’ mouth dropped open. “And even if they were, it’s not my place to care.”

“How can you not?” he asked quietly, leaning forward on his elbows as another gaggle of teenagers passed them. Dorcas tightened her lips and shrugged.

“They’re cheaters. They cheat. And I had time to get out of my friendship with Marlene during Hogwarts if I really wanted to. I’m not going to lose her during a war over a self-absorbed asshole.”

Remus snickered, and rubbed his temple with his pointer finger and thumb.

“You are quite a bit more compassionate than people give you credit for.”

Dorcas smirked and tossed her empty cup into a bin.

“If you’re me, you know a good thing when you see it. I’m not going to let go of the only family that ever cared about me.” She smiled into her hands, nodding her head to herself.

“Sirius should be more like you,” Remus pouted, stirring his tea reluctantly. Dorcas smiled again, her teeth shining under the bright sun.

“It might not seem like it, but he is. He shows it in a different way.” Remus shook his head, and chuckled again.

“Ah, Sirius and his fear of disappointing others,” he mumbled, only loud enough for Dorcas to hear.

“And he’s got the scars to justify it,” Dorcas said gravely, taking Remus’ cup and finishing his tea.

 




 

“No, I want you to tell me just exactly what you were thinking by breaking up with her,” Marlene hissed, pushing Sirius against the wall in the narrow hallway at the end of her flat.

“Dorcas is not safe when she’s around me, McKinnon,” Sirius appeased, tilting his head down at Marlene. She tilted her head the same way, her brows furrowing as Sirius stroked the side of her face with the back of his hand.

Marlene blinked quickly, and slammed her hand against Sirius’ chest again.

“No! You prick!” she hissed. “Dorcas came sobbing to me that night, you know?” Sirius took his hand away from Marlene’s face and ran it through his unwashed hair. “I don’t care what game you’re playing: if you’re trying to get closer to me, or if you think you’re protecting her with some noble gesture.”

“I make her a target!”

“No!” Marlene said again, yelling with her full voice this time. Sirius’ nose twitched at Marlene’s sudden outburst, but he clamped his mouth shut. “We have all got a target on our backs. I know you like to believe that you’re the most important person to Voldemort, but you’re not.”

“Please, Marlene,” he snorted. “I do not believe-“

“Yes you bloody well do.” Marlene narrowed her eyes. “It’s not your fault. You were raised to believe the sun shined out of your arse.” She went to remove her hand from Sirius’ chest, but he grabbed her wrist tightly.

“Don’t you talk about how I was raised.”

Marlene ripped her hand out of Sirius’ grip and held her hands up in defense.

“See? She asked, letting her hand fly up and fall on her thing. She turned around and headed to her bedroom. “Sun shining straight out of your arse.”

“Marlene,” Sirius implored whiningly. He huffed with frustration and followed Marlene into her room.

“Why can’t you just be straight with me?” Marlene asked, suddenly quiet. She sat down on her bed opposite Sirius who stood in the doorway.

“I don’t know what you want me to say! One minute you’re screaming at me to get out and the next you’re sobbing in my arms! Merlin, Marlene you are so-“

“Tell me,” she whispered urgently, a waver hitting her voice. Sirius stopped yelling, and looked down at Marlene. “Tell me why.” Her voice trembled, and Marlene tapped her heel on the ground nervously.

“’Cos I love her, isn’t it?” he snapped coarsely. Marlene’s face fell, and her already bloodshot eyes darkened with the threat of tears. “Come on, McKinnon,” Sirius said consolingly, shaking his head and walking towards Marlene as she put her head in her hands.

“Of course you love her,” she said, disguising her sniffles behind her hands poorly. Sirius’ hand fell on Marlene’s back, and she shivered instinctively.

“You knew that.” Marlene shivered again as the air blew in from her window.

“You’ve never said it.” Sirius wrapped his arm around her shoulder and tugged Marlene closer to him.

“I’ve been avoiding it, I think,” he pondered, rubbing Marlene’s goosebumps away. Marlene sat up straight under Sirius’ arm and leaned against his chest slightly. “You know I’m a danger to you, too,” Sirius wondered aloud again.

Marlene looked up at Sirius scathingly and wiped the tears from her cheek.

“If I was a better person I’d leave you alone.” He stroked the hair away from her eyes. Grey met green and made a storm.

“And that’s how I know you don’t love me,” Marlene said slowly, breaking herself away from Sirius. His mouth fell open slightly, but he didn’t attempt to bring her back.

They sat next to each other, just an inch that felt like a mile between them. Marlene tightened her thigh, making careful not to touch Sirius’ leg. Sirius put out his hand but pulled it back before resting it on Marlene’s.

“I love you, too. Just differently,” he said weakly after a while. Marlene rubbed her eyes again, and flopped back onto her bed.

“We’ve got to stop this Sirius.”

Marlene felt Sirius crawl back to lay next to her on the bed. She turned on her side to find him gazing at her. She placed her hand over Sirius’ wrist, and circled her fingers over his pulse slowly.

“Let’s just not,” he argued lamely. Sirius took Marlene’s and twined their fingers together. He tilted his head and inched closer to her, their noses touching slightly; Marlene closed her eyes and inhaled deeply.

“What are you doing?” Sirius mused as Marlene breathed deeply. She smiled, her eyes still closed, and brought her hand to the side of his face.

“I’m remembering you like this,” she whispered. The corners of Sirius’ mouth twitched as he studied Marlene.

“Can I kiss you?” he asked, letting go of Marlene’s hand and placing his palm on the side of her face. She opened her eyes and watched Sirius watch her. He examined the planes of her face, letting his fingertips run over the edge of her mouth and the corner of her eye.

“Make it good,” she said in one breath. Sirius snapped out of his trance and his hand stopped moving. “Last one.”

Sirius took no hesitation. He felt very selfish with Marlene. Always had. Every time he saw her walking through the halls of Hogwarts he thought, “If I went and smashed my face against hers, no one would say anything,” because Marlene was his. That was the quintessential difference between Marlene and Dorcas for Sirius. Dorcas was her own. Marlene was his.

Not in a possessive, angry, paranoid way that would scare Marlene. Because just as he thought that about Marlene, she thought that of him. She didn’t think on it as much. She felt it: intrinsically. She felt them being pushed towards each other: forcefully. She did wonder if it had always been that way or if it was a result of the war. Either way, he was hers.

Marlene broke away from Sirius belatedly, taking hesitation, because she meant what she’d said. Sirius kept his fierce hold on the back of her neck, breathing against Marlene and not caring how heavy his pant was. Marlene grazed her thumb across Sirius’ bottom lip to stop herself from kissing him again. Sirius let her do as she did without a reaction to stop himself from kissing her. Again.

Because that was it.

 


Chapter 37: The Violence in the Vengeance
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 (May 15th, 1981)



 

“Did anyone else hear that?” Peter asked over the bustle of the Order of the Phoenix. The new recruits were being introduced. He couldn’t be bothered to learn their names, because everything lately to him was like a buzzing noise. Except for that knocking. That knocking was going to be a problem for Peter if no one else could hear it.

“I did,” Marlene voiced curiously, standing up from her seat and flipping shut the book she’d been engrossed in. Peter tilted his head to the side as it sounded again. One rarely heard the knock of a door in the headquarters.

“I heard it, too,” Remus said, folding up a paper he was scanning through and tossing it to the table. “Everyone quiet!” he yelled suddenly. The room hushed. Moody even stopped talking, unaccustomed to Remus’ outbursts. The knocking was very clear now. One could almost see the small room to which they were confined shaking with the force of it.

“Who is knocking on the front door?” Moody growled, turning on his heel and scanning the room for a sign of weakness.

“Help!” a small voice bawled from outside. His eye widened as the knocking continued.

“It’s the dead girl,” she cried again, causing a chorus of gasps from Marlene and Dorcas. “Tell the giant blonde one!” Everyone turned to look at Dorcas, some more obviously than others. She opened her mouth to explain, but Moody held up a hand to silence her.

“Wait here,” he whispered in the only way that Moody could. Angrily. “Meadowes with me.” Dorcas nodded, swallowed, and rushed out as Moody began the trek down the hallway. “What the bloody hell is this about?” he hissed as they approached the door.

“I’m going to sound crazy, and I can explain more another time, but I think it’s Emmeline Vance,” she said quickly before he had a chance to interrupt her. Moody stopped in his tracks, and Dorcas looked around the side of his head to see he was squinting with his one good eye.

“Sir?” she questioned, fearing for his sanity. Moody swiveled around to face Dorcas and pointed his finger at her.

“What is the meaning of this, Meadowes?” Dorcas shook her head and leaned back as Moody looked up at her menacingly.

“I can’t really explain too much. But if she’s hurt, you’re going to want to let her in.”

“And why in Merlin’s name would I do that?” he sneered, swiveling his eye to the back of his head and looking through the door to Emmeline again. Dorcas took a deep breath.

“Because Emmeline knows things about us.”

 




 

Someone removed a blindfold from over her eyes and Emmeline blinked as the setting came into view. She was being led to a chair in a kitchen, somewhere dingy and unkempt. Alastor Moody set his wand down on a table to her left, and took off a watch, tossing it on the table carelessly. Ah. So it was his apartment.

Emmeline was forced into a chair in the center of the kitchen of Moody’s apartment, her arms crossed. She looked around warily at the broken oven. It hung open, clearly untouched. She cleared her throat, and licked the side of her lip which was still caked with her dried blood.

Alastor tossed a rag at her from across the room.

Emmeline caught the rag. “You know I’m not here to rat you all out to the Death Eaters, right?” She dabbed her chin with the wet cloth, and licked her cleaned lip. “If I wanted to do that, you’d all be dead by now.”

“That’s not my question,” Moody snarled, dragging a chair from beside Emmeline and dragging it to face her. He sat down. “I want to know what took you so long to come out of hiding.”

Emmeline raised her eyebrow and looked Moody up and down. Her nose twitched a bit as she focused on his deformed nose.

“Just look at you. Do you think I wanted to end up like that?” Emmeline leaned forward and placed her chin on her fist. “Ravenclaws do it better from the sidelines. You can ask Mary.”

“What do you know about Mary McDonald?” Moody tried, feigning casualty. Emmeline scoffed and shook her head.

“Well the first thing you need to know is that you pick shitty allies.” Moody’s face hardened. “She’s working for Voldemort, too. Although after James’ father, she’s been a bit off the grid,” Emmeline rambled aloud, sitting back in her chair again.

Moody stood up suddenly and ran his hand through his thinning hair. He kicked a chair to the side and let out a feral yell, something that sounded like Arthur. Arthur Weasley burst in from just behind the door. Emmeline was sure he’d been listening in. He grabbed Arthur by the collar and whispered something incoherently. Arthur’s eyes steeled over in a similar way, making Emmeline smirk confidently.

“What’s more is Mary has an associate. Never been able to catch him though, he’s a slippery one,” Emmeline added as Arthur exited the room swiftly.

“No more games,” Alastor said, taking a vial from his pocket and stalking towards Emmeline.

“What? I’m just having,” she said, cut off as Moody grabbed her by the chin and forced her mouth open. She glared up at him as he uncorked the vial with his teeth and spit the stopper out to the side.

“Bottoms up,” he said, dumping its contents down her throat. Emmeline choked slightly, but Moody did not let go of his grip until Emmeline stopped struggling. Moody let go of her, and sat back in his chair with a heavy breath. “Now.”

Emmeline looked up at the sound of Moody’s voice.

“What is your name?”

“Emmeline Vance,” she answered, without hesitation.

“How did you escape the attack on your home in the fall of 1978?” he fired again, stowing his empty vial in his coat pocket.

“I went into the basement as soon as I heard them come in. My sister was killed first, so I knew I had to run. We had a forest behind out house. I cast a disillusionment charm on myself and headed out the back door. I watched the house go on fire from the forest and apparated to the United States as soon as I was out of the boundaries.” Emmeline didn’t appear to have any care to what she was recollecting.

“Your body was found. How did you manage that?” Moody asked licking his lips and looking at Emmeline intently.

“That’s right. I forgot. I transfigured this plant in the basement to appear as a female body with brown hair. The Fiendfyre would disguise any specific details about me, anyway.”

Moody’s mouth dropped open in astonishment.

“You’re very thorough, Emmeline,” he commented.

“Is that a question?” she asked plainly, her glazed-over eyes looking nowhere in particular. Moody shook his head.

“How does Meadowes know you’re alive?” Emmeline nodded and continued.

“On the night of the Halloween bombing, I was following Karkaroff. I didn’t see him place the bomb, but I had my suspicions, so I kept following him. He apparated away probably a second before it exploded. I was taken to St. Mungo’s.” Emmeline swallowed. “I asked for Meadowes. I knew I could trust her.”

Moody raised an eyebrow, but Emmeline seemed to think that she’d answered his question sufficiently.

“And how come Meadowes hasn’t told anyone of your presence?”

“I’m keeping her secret. She doesn’t want anyone to know,” Emmeline said blandly again.

“Tell me what secret you’re keeping for Dorcas Meadowes,” Moody worded carefully, making sure it came out as a demand. Emmeline took a pause, making Moody hold his breath.

“She killed her father.” Alastor frowned at Emmeline, and she sat, placated.

“Are you lying?” he asked, looking deeper into her eyes to make sure she wasn’t.

“No.”

Moody sat back in silence, pondering what it meant that Dorcas had killed her father, when Dumbledore came in through the ajar door. He tilted his head slightly at Emmeline, and then looked to Moody.

“Is this Emmeline Vance?” he questioned quietly, walking forward and crouching in front of her.

“Yes,” Moody and Emmeline answered together. Dumbledore’s head snapped up, and he squinted at Emmeline.

“You’ve already given her Veritaserum?” he asked accusingly, turning to face Alastor.

“She wasn’t cooperating,” he explained, motioning to the usually snarky woman across from him. Dumbledore pursed his lips and stared down at Moody puzzlingly. Moody swallowed, and Dumbledore turned back around.

“Emmeline,” Dumbledore prefaced calmly. “Does anyone else know you’re alive?”

“Yes,” she answered, nodding. Moody waved his hand at Emmeline, imploring her to continue, but Dumbledore shook his head.

“She will only answer that of which she’s asked,” Dumbledore whispered to Moody, keeping his eye trained on Emmeline. “Who else knows you’re alive Emmeline?”

Marlene McKinnon,” Emmeline said, blinking slowly. Moody looked to Dumbledore again, but the older man was not phased.

“Do you know a secret about Marlene?” Moody asked as Dumbledore paused.

“I know many secrets about Marlene McKinnon.”

“What is the secret you promised her you wouldn’t reveal if she kept quiet about you?” Moody gave in detail, gripping the arms of his chair.

“I promised I wouldn’t tell Dorcas about her and Sirius,” Emmeline droned, her body relaxing further back into the chair. Moody clicked his teeth and threw his hand up into the air.

“Bloody children,” he muttered. Moody shook his head and rolled his eyes, but Dumbledore put a hand on his forearm to calm him down.

“Unless you start being useful, Miss Vance, I’m afraid we have no reason to trust you. Do you have any proof that you’re on our side?”

Emmeline nodded, and dug her hand through the inside pocket of her cloak. She tossed out her wand, making the two men flinch, and then reached a folder bursting with photos and scribbled noted. She held it out for one of the two to take, but neither moved.

“Take it. This is proof,” she explained slowly as if they were children. Dumbledore reached out and took the folder from her. As he took the folder from her, Emmeline sat up straighter and cleared her throat. “And so is this,” she said, grinning.

Moody frowned and looked at Dumbledore, who was smiling at the folder.

“What is it?” he asked urgently, peering over Dumbledore’s shoulder at the open notes.

“Oh, it is not Miss Vance’s notes but her tolerance to Veritaserum that intrigues me.” He closed the folder and looked back at Emmeline who was fixing her hair in the reflection of the refrigerator. “You have a lot more to learn, Alastor,” Dumbledore warned lightly. Emmeline snorted slightly, covering it with her fist.

“Of course I wasn’t going to go on the run without a tolerance to Veritaserum in my pocket. What, am I stupid?” Emmeline asked brashly. “Anyway. I’ve answered all your questions, and you can corroborate my counters with Marlene and Dorcas.” Emmeline took a breath and tilted her head at Moody tauntingly. Do you trust me yet?”

“I am afraid it is a bit more complicated than that, Miss Vance,” Dumbledore chastised, as Moody opened his mouth to protest. “Something you should know well judging by your extensive research.”

“So that’s it?” she asked defensively, re-crossing her arms. “You’re not even going to ask why I’m so badly beat up?” She motioned to her disheveled appearance.

“We know why you’re so badly beat up,” Moody growled from his silence. “You think we haven’t got spies of our own in Death Eater ranks?”

“That is what worries us so, Miss Vance. If we can have spies in Lord Voldemort’s ranks,” Dumbledore explained as Emmeline’s face visibly scrunched, “then who’s to say he has not sent a spy to us? Many victims of his attacks have been turned to dark magic.” Emmeline swallowed and shook her hair back from her face.

“He killed my family. He killed my innocent siblings.” Emmeline’s eyes suddenly turned cold, sending a chill up Alastor’s spine. “I don’t want to gain his respect. I want vengeance,” she said darkly, clenching her fist on her lap. 


Chapter 38: The Birth in the Bitter
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 (September 1st, 1971)

 

Dorcas looked around the platform of 9 and ¾ uneasily, standing closely to her trolley and watching with wide blue eyes as the other First Years bid farewell to their families. She pursed her lips, and looked behind her to see that her father had not followed her through the barrier.

“Oi!” a tall boy with dark hair said as he shouldered past her with a gaggle of other upperclassmen. Dorcas screwed up her mouth and frowned gently as she bent to pick up her book from the ground. She placed it back in her trolley and pushed forward towards the line forming at the side of the train.

She peeked to her left as another group of taller witches and wizards scuttled past her, and spotted what seemed like a rather large group of Purebloods reprimanding two of their children stoically. She kept moving in the line, but lingered slightly, hoping to pick up some wisdom from these knowledgeable families.

“Sirius you mustn’t fool around this year,” a woman, almost as tall as her own mother, said as she straightened his tie. The boy’s nose twitched slightly, but his mother did not seem to notice.

“Yes mother,” he recited. Dorcas fell forward as she tripped over a crooked stone, and the boy looked over to her automatically. Dorcas watched in slow motion as he attempted to come over to her and assist as his father placed a firm hand on his shoulder and stopped him.

“Sirius she is beneath you. Do not lower yourself to help her,” she heard the man whisper to his son. Dorcas swallowed and pointedly looked to the ground, but continued collecting her books.

“She still dropped her books, father,” Sirius countered, prompting Dorcas to glance up from behind her long, curly hair. “I’m going to help.” Sirius nodded, and smiled crookedly at his father, who simply sighed and waved at his son to go.

“Come on, Marlene!” the boy called brightly, waving for the other girl with his family to help Dorcas. Dorcas smiled privately as the girl with the braided hair skipped away from their family wistfully to help.

“Thank you,” Dorcas granted as Sirius and Marlene finished loading her books into her cart. “You didn’t have to help.”

“I’m Marlene McKinnon,” the girl introduced, shoving her hand forward to Dorcas. She took it and shook the girls hand in a way Dorcas thought was a bit formal.

“I’m Dorcas Meadowes.”

Marlene let go of her hand, and looked back toward the woman who was talking to her before she came running over. Dorcas tapped her foot as Marlene began listening intently to the conversation that Sirius’ mother was having with who seemed to be her mother.

“She can get distracted easily,” the boy explained, stepping forward and sticking his hand out to Dorcas. Dorcas took it, surprised as Sirius shook her hand roughly and then let go. “I’m Sirius, by the way.”

Dorcas felt a little strange, looking up at the boy who so casually had his wand stuck behind his ear in a way she was sure his mother wouldn’t approve. Sirius tilted his head at her and frowned slightly, and she realized she’d been staring at him for too long when the train whistled.

“Time to go!” Marlene jumped back in, grabbing Dorcas cart and pushing it up onto the train without hesitation. Dorcas widened her eyes, but followed Marlene without question.

“G’bye Regulus!” Sirius yelled back at a boy who looked eerily similar to Sirius. He waved at Sirius as the train whistled again, signaling a final warning.

“Merlin, Sirius,” Marlene hissed, hanging off the side of the train and grabbing the back of his jacket. He stumbled onto the train as it blew its final whistle and shrugged innocently at Marlene, who rolled her eyes and headed down train confidently. Dorcas smiled again, hoping that Hogwarts was going to continue to be like this.




 

(June 6th, 1981)

 

“…happy birthday dear Peter,” the Order chorused, slightly off-key, “happy birthday to you!” Peter smirked shyly, and blew out the candles to his cake as his friends cheered him on.

“Yeah, Wormtail!” Sirius jeered, clapping him on the shoulders. Dorcas clapped slowly along with the rest of the crowd, her eyes lingering on Sirius a bit too long.

“Hey,” Emmeline whispered, elbowing Dorcas in the gut. “Stop that it’s pathetic.” Dorcas turned to glare at Emmeline, but a smile reluctantly graced her face as Emmeline raised an eyebrow.

“Thanks,” she grumbled, rolling her eyes, crossing her arms, and sitting back in her chair.

“How about a round for the birthday boy?” Hagrid said gruffly, placing a shot glass in front of Peter as Marlene reached over the dining room table to cut the cake.

“Hey!” James and Remus cried unanimously as Peter threw his head back and slammed the glass back down on the table.

“Merlin, boys, keep it down. We’ve got all the babies down and if you keep screaming like that it won’t stay that way for long,” Elphias Doge said grumpily as he came down James and Lily’s staircase.

“Come on, come on let’s get a picture!” Lily said excitedly, standing and motioning for everyone to join her against the fireplace in the living room. Everyone groaned and Lily tugged at Peter’s arm, pulling him up from his seat.

“Come on, Emmeline!” Lily said as everyone else got up and clustered in front of the mantle. Emmeline shook her head, picking up the camera from the table.

“I can’t Lily. You know I can’t be seen in a photo.” Lily scoffed and smiled sadly at Emmeline.

“Oi, if I’m doing this, so are you,” Dorcas threatened, indicating with a wave of her hand for Emmeline to join them.

“Leave it, Meadowes,” Moody said curtly as he stood behind Marlene.

“Oh, relax Alastor. What’s life without a little risk?” Dorcas asked. Sirius looked to the side and eyed Dorcas slyly. Emmeline scowled at her but got up from the dining room and came into the living room.

 "Who's going to take the picture?" Lily asked suddenly, a frown deepening on her face.

"Lily. Just enchant the camera," Remus whispered into her ear, parting her on the shoulder as Lily smiled up at him in embarrassment. She took her wand out from her pocket and pointed it at the camera, which jumped to life in response.

"Everyone ready?" she asked as the camera hung in the air. "Alright smile!" she said happily, leaning against James.

"Does she know it's not a muggle photo?" Sirius whispered out of the corner of his mouth to James. James shook his head quickly, smiling through it.

"Let it go, Padfoot."

 




(June 10th, 1981)

 

Marlene knocked on the door to Dorcas' flat rather nervously. She felt her palm start sweating, and shook it out erratically.

“Who is it?” Dorcas whispered from the other side of the door.

“It’s me,” Marlene whispered back. Dorcas fumbled with the lock on her side and swung the door open to meet Marlene. She hurried in, and Dorcas walked back over to her kitchen lazily.

“What is it?” she asked, tugging her terry bathrobe around her body tightly. Marlene flipped her hair over her shoulder and sat down across from Dorcas as she poured out another glass of red wine.

“I wanted to talk about it,” Marlene said, taking the glass and sipping on it as Dorcas scoffed and sighed.

“It was nothing Marlene. Can we just drop it?” Dorcas asked casually, flipping through an old magazine.

“Of course, we can’t just drop it!” Marlene cried, ripping away her magazine. Dorcas looked up at Marlene in shock. “You killed your father.”

Dorcas glowered at this and took a gulp of her wine. “So I killed him. Finally.” She raised the glass to her lips again, choking as Marlene slapped her arm roughly.

“It’s not like you skipped a class, Dorcas! You killed someone!” Marlene said angrily. Dorcas tightened her mouth and looked up at Marlene as she slouched over.

“I know, Marlene. But it’s not like I’d never thought about doing it, you know?” Dorcas explained, crossing her arms in front of her on the counter. “We’re lucky he didn’t kill us first and you know it,” she pointed out, stabbing her finger on the table. Marlene clicked her tongue behind her teeth, and cinched her brows together in sympathy.

“But killing someone? How did you even get Dumbledore to let you back in the Order?”

Dorcas shook her head, fluffing her hair out of her face.

“It’s not like you haven’t killed someone before!” She accused Marlene. “Sure, you didn’t know him, but isn’t that worse?” Dorcas said quickly as the rebuttal came to her mind. Marlene opened her mouth, but Dorcas cut her off. “And what, now I’m not good enough to be in the Order? Not so innocent and fluffy and happy like you?”

“Don’t make this about me, Doe.” Marlene took off her jacket and hung it over the back of her chair. “You need to talk about it and you know it! You always do this: you did it when you got kicked out of your house, you did it when Coraline asked to move in, and you’re doing it now,” Marlene breathed out quickly, putting her hand on Dorcas’ shoulder.

“No I don’t do it all the time, Marlene!” Dorcas burst suddenly, throwing Marlene’s hand off. She stood up and paced around the kitchen frantically. “Just because I can’t tell you everything anymore…”

“What does that mean?” Marlene asked defensively, standing up and blocking Dorcas from stalking out of the kitchen.

“It means that you’re completely self-involved lately and you don’t listen to anyone but yourself!” Dorcas said, tilting her head and glaring down at Marlene.

“Stop it!” Marlene repeated as Dorcas pushed past her and threw herself down on the couch in the small living room. “Just tell me how it happened!” Marlene shouted walking towards Dorcas. She stood in front of her, glaring down with her hands on her hips.

“It’s not your business, Leenie!” she cried, tossing a pillow at Marlene and scooching to the other side of the couch. The two locked gazes, Marlene looking down in disappointment and Dorcas pouting viciously.

“Dorcas,” Marlene deadpanned as she ducked from the flying pillow. Dorcas drifted her eyes up to meet Marlene’s softened expression. “Just tell me.”

Dorcas swallowed and rolled her eyes, and Marlene made her way to the other side of the couch to sit with Dorcas. Marlene watched Dorcas fiddle with her thumbnails gently before taking a deep breath.

“Coraline called me,” Dorcas said finally, closing her eyes. “I couldn’t tell what she was saying, but I knew something was wrong,” she continued, her voice wavering. Marlene didn’t move, knowing that sometimes Dorcas just needed to pretend she was alone. “So then I apparated over, and he was there.”

Marlene’s mouth trembled as she heard the familiar angry treble in Dorcas’ voice.

“And they were already dead,” Dorcas said chokily, a tear falling out from under her closed lids. “And then he came out. And it all happened so fast after that,” she said with wonderment. Dorcas blinked her eyes open and wiped her cheeks with the back of her hand. Dorcas suddenly took a deep breath as Marlene twined their fingers together, and began hyperventilating audibly.

“It’s okay,” Marlene comforted as Dorcas hunched over into her lap and started sobbing loudly. “It’s okay, I promise. We’ve all done things we don’t want to face.”

Marlene tightened her fingers around Dorcas as she leaned over onto Marlene’s lap. Marlene bit her lips slightly to stop herself from crying at the sight of her strong friend breaking down.

“I don’t have any family, Mar. No more relatives,” she said bitterly as she cried uncontrollably. “It’s just me!” She cried raggedly.

“Never think that, Dorcas,” Marlene said seriously, grabbing Dorcas’ wrist with her other hand and tugging their bodies closer together. “We are all we need, okay?” she reassured. Dorcas nodded into Marlene’s lap, and the two rocked back and forth in synchronization. “You always have us, I can promise you.”

Dorcas sat up slowly from Marlene’s lap, not letting go of the grip they shared. She leaned her head against Marlene’s shoulder and took another settling breath.

“Until the bitter end?” Dorcas asked quietly, her voice shaky and hoarse. Marlene’s face softened, and she hugged Dorcas around the waist with her free arm.

“The bitterest.”


Chapter 39: The Worst in the Possible: Part I
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 (June 12th, 1981)



 

“…Just get me to the airport put me on a plane, hurry, hurry, hurry before I go insane, I can't control my fingers, I can't control my brain, oh no, no, no, no, no,” Dorcas murmured along with her muggle music as she leaned over her legs on the floor in her apartment. The nail polish brushed over her toenails smoothly, and Dorcas smiled in satisfaction as she coated her smallest toe perfectly. She capped the dark polish, and stood up precariously and sat back on her couch lazily.

“You are so cute!” She cooed as Venus climbed down from her perch and sat next to Dorcas on the couch. “Who says owls don’t cuddle?” Her owl rubbed its head against Dorcas’ leg. “Besides Sirius,” she muttered, rubbing her thumb over Venus’ small forehead.

Venus suddenly shook her head, ruffled her feathers, and sat up straight on the couch.

“What is it, girl?” Dorcas asked to herself. Venus didn’t take her eyes off the door, but tilted her head to the right a bit. Dorcas stood up, grabbed her wand from the living room table, and headed towards the doorway. Venus flew from the couch and out the window, and Dorcas tensed up instinctively.

Someone knocked at the door slowly and Dorcas swallowed as the rapt noise filled up the apartment. She crept forward, attempting to make as little noise as possible as the person on the other side of the door knocked again. The sound of a fist turned to a palm as the person slammed on the door.

Dorcas eyed the door, watching it as she snuck into the kitchen and towards the telephone. She put her hand on the receiver, and bit her lip as the door shook visibly. Dorcas sucked in a deep breath and dialed Sirius’ number quickly as the bottom of the door splintered with the force of a kick.

She hummed quietly, and goosebumps appeared on the back of her neck as the phone rang.

“She’s in there,” a voice mumbled from the other side, making Dorcas drop the phone on the counter next to her and step back from the door. It finally slammed open with the force of the foot of the intruder, and Dorcas held her wand up to her face as three masked Death Eaters stood in her doorway.

“My, you are pretty,” a male voice sneered. “You were right, Lucius,” the first man said, stepping forward and raising his wand to meet Dorcas’. “Makes me mad that you’re a mudblood,” he threatened, stepping forward and making Dorcas trip over her rug and fall to the ground. She kept her wad trained on him all the same.

“Don’t play,” one interrupted. “The Dark Lord cannot wait.”

The man spat at Dorcas’ feet, but she didn’t waver. He stepped an inch closer, knelt down, and Dorcas could feel the weight of his breath on her face. Dorcas felt her stomach turn in on itself as the two lurking behind him stepped forward. “Get her.”

 






Sirius lounged back on the couch and let out a deep breath. He fanned himself with an issue of the Daily Prophet, scoffing as his eyes fell on the words ‘edited by Mary McDonald’.

“At least somebody’s doing well for themselves,” he muttered bitterly. He tossed the paper away onto the table and kicked his feet up, yawning as the sun peeked in through the curtains behind him.

The phone rang out from the upstairs bedroom, and Sirius frowned immediately. “What? No.” Dorcas wouldn’t call him for just anything.

The air suddenly felt very cold around his body, and Sirius propelled himself to his feet. He stalked through the back of the house, kicking a piece of clothing out of the way carelessly. He jogged up the stairs as the stark ring echoed on. A cool sweat broke out on his forehead as he passed the den, then the bathroom, and slammed the door to the guestroom open.

Sirius hesitated as the phone rang across the room. He looked at the white receiver shake with the force of the ring. He took a deep breath and ran over to the phone, picking it up to his ear.

“Dorcas?” There was no answer, but Sirius heard a light clatter. “Dorcas!” he growled, his heart jumping as he heard the door he knew to be next to her telephone slam. Sirius’ knees gave out, and he fell to the bed, clutching the mattress tightly as mumbling voices came through the phone.

“Shit, Dorcas,” he murmured, letting the phone swing off of the hook. Sirius ran out of the guestroom and down the end of the hallway. He pushed aside the curtains on the window at the end of the hallway, coughing as the dust flew off. He pushed the window open and climbed out onto the adjoining balcony. Sirius took one last look back into the house before squeezing his eyes shut and spun away.

 




“No, I’m telling you I’m not going to sit around and do nothing while she’s being tortured!” Sirius yelled, spit flying into Remus’ face as he pushed him back against the wall. Remus shook his head and pushed Sirius back into the couch in the basement of the headquarters.

“We can’t do anything, Black. We don’t know where they took her, never mind if she was actually taken,” Moody dismissed casually. Sirius reared back onto his feet, and Remus pushed him back down onto the couch before he got towards Moody. Sirius glared up at his friend, but neither said anything.

“We all know the Death Eaters are lodged up at Malfoy Manor!” Marlene added angrily. “Why can’t we just go and make sure? If we don’t find Dorcas we’re at least bound to find some other prisoner.” Remus took in a deep breath as Moody flipped around from facing the board he was so furiously scribbling on.

“I don’t need a bunch of children telling me how to do my job, you understand?”

Marlene crossed her arms and cocked her chin up. The dim lighting of the basement made her look more daunting than she felt.

“If we attack Malfoy Manor, if Weasley, Kingsley, or myself are seen leading an attack on Malfoy Manor, do you understand the damage that would do? Meadowes is just a cog in the machine. Not worth the damage it would do.”

At this, Sirius lunged again. He shoved Remus to the floor with relative ease, but was stopped as Marlene stepped between him and Moody. She placed a hand firmly on his shoulder, willing him silently to turn back.

“What happened to, ‘she’s an asset,’?” he asked Moody bitterly as he collected a tattered leather jacket from a chair.

“The war got worse,” Moody muttered quietly as he exited the room with a slam of the door. Marlene let her hand fall, and went back to pacing in the corner of the room as Moody left.

“What the bloody hell is wrong with you?” Sirius asked, turning his anger back to Remus. Remus hoisted himself up from the floor and sat on the couch dejectedly. He leaned forward on his knees and closed his eyes, ignoring Sirius’ question. “That’s Dorcas we’re talking about!” he yelled again, motioning to the door.

“We don’t even know if she was kidnapped,” he said for what felt like the tenth time.

“Argh!” Sirius shouted, kicking the edge of the table next to the couch. “Of course she’s been taken. You saw her flat!”

“Regardless, there’s nothing we can do.” Remus shook his head and stood up to face Sirius. “Even if she was taken. It’s Dorcas.”

Sirius turned back, snarling at his friend.

“She can take care of herself,” Remus quickly defended. He definitely though Dorcas was worth the risk. If only to keep Sirius sane.

“That’s not good enough,” Marlene said darkly, gazing out the window at the rising sun.

“Please, Marlene. Don’t do anything,”

“Stupid?” she finished for Remus, picking up her coat from the floor where it had been tossed upon entering the room in a rage. “Too late.”

Marlene and Remus locked eyes, and he cinched his eyebrows together pleadingly. Marlene thought he looked like a little boy. She clicked her tongue at the back of her teeth, and shook her head as Remus just kept staring.

“C’mon Sirius. Let’s go visit your cousins.” Marlene left Sirius behind, knowing that he would follow. He scoffed at Remus and turned on his heel to follow Marlene when a hand stopped him.

“Wait, Padfoot,” Remus said tiredly, biting his cheek and shaking his head slightly. “If I can’t stop you,” he said vaguely, nodding towards the door. The corners of Sirius mouth turned up curtly, and he nodded politely at Remus.

“Then let’s go.”

 




The three appeared about 40 feet out from the main gate of Malfoy Manor. The black, iron-wrought gates were very intimidating, but Marlene seemed more determined.

“Marlene, stop!” Sirius warned. The gravel rumbled under her feet as she halted, sensing a thick wall of magic in front of her nose. She exhaled slowly, and stepped backwards slowly. Setting of an alarm would not do anyone any good.

She wrapped her arms around herself and shivered slightly in the chilly air that blew through. She’d never known that the Malfoy’s lived so close to the water.

“How are we supposed to get in?” she asked quietly, clenching a fist. Remus and Sirius walked up behind her, and Remus held up his wand, scanning the impenetrable enchantments.

“A series of counter-curses. I’m going to guess the Malfoy’s didn’t share this intimate knowledge at pureblood galas?” he asked the two purebloods that stood next to him. Marlene and Sirius shook their heads in unison.

“Let’s try walking around back. Maybe the Malfoy’s had a maid who couldn’t apparate,” Remus suggested, peeking around the side of the mansion as much as he could. Sirius scoffed and shook his head again.

“Try house elves, Moony. But it’s worth a look,” he whispered. The wind blew the thick bushes beside the main gates around, showing a path that lead around the side of the manse. Marlene walked forward cautiously, holding her hand just to the left of the magical barrier around the building.  

“What was that,” Remus said suddenly, whipping out his wand as a light in a room upstairs went out. Marlene turned over her shoulder and looked towards Sirius. “It seems as though someone’s home,” Remus said quietly, dragging Sirius’ arm to crouch with him beside the line of bushes.

“Shit, shit, shit,” Marlene whispered back at them, rushing to the bushes. She pulled an iridescent robe out of the pocket of her cloak and unfurled it. “I saw a light go on in the greenhouse. I couldn’t make out who it was.”

“We’re not here to hide, Marlene,” Sirius said gruffly, attempting to push past her.

“Well until we can actually get inside,” she fought, dragging Sirius back down by the collar, “get under the fucking cloak.” Marlene didn’t wait for a response from Sirius. She clamped a hand down over his mouth as a small form appeared from the screen door about thirty feet in front of the now invisible trio.

“Marlene!” the voice hissed, quite clearly female and vibrant. Marlene let her hand drop from Sirius’ mouth, and she leaned forward over his shoulder to get a better view of the person.

“Merlin, I think that’s Mary!” Sirius said brightly, attempting to remove the cloak again.

“No!” Marlene, cried out as Sirius slipped away and towards Mary. She groaned, and threw it off herself. Marlene stalked forward and took out her wand as Sirius approached Mary without caution. “Sirius do not go near her!” she warned, running to catch up to him.

Sirius’ brow furrowed, and he withdrew his wand slowly as well.

“What are you doing here Mary?” he asked, aiming his wand at her almost lazily. Marlene let out a heavy breath as she stood strongly next to Sirius. Mary looked at Marlene, pleading her silently not to reveal what she knew.

“She’s working for them,” Marlene said slowly, Remus approaching with his wand out as well. “She’s giving him information about us.” Marlene tilted her head and twisted her wand in her hand. “Or at least she was.”

“I can tell you where Dorcas is!” she spat out as Sirius eyes grew dark and he stepped forward with his wand aimed at her chest.

“And why should we trust you,” Remus said diplomatically, stepping in front of Sirius and pushing him gently back towards Marlene. Mary shook her head and the wind blew her thinning hair about frantically.

“I never meant for any of you to get hurt. I swear it.”

“Where is she?” Sirius asked deeply, tilting his chin up threateningly at Mary. She shrunk into herself slightly at the glare of the man she had betrayed one too many times. “Mary, I swear to you, I will murder you right here,” he said though his teeth.

“He was going to kill me,” she squeaked as Remus moved in front of Sirius again. “My-my family.”  

“We know, Mary,” Remus said softly. “Just tell us where Dorcas is, and we leave.”

Mary sucked her lips into her mouth, and nodded quickly. “Of course. I never wanted her to get hurt,” she rambled, tumbling her fingers over each other.

“The location, Mary,” Remus said shortly. He felt Sirius’ anger radiating.

“They’re on the beach. It’s private. You’ll know you’ve gone far enough west when you hear her…” she said quickly, trailing off. “There are no wards,” she started again, nodding positively.

Sirius didn’t wait to hear another word, but continued around the back of the mansion towards the beach. Remus followed, backing away with his wand pointed at Mary firmly. She swallowed, turning to Marlene who hadn’t moved. The two stared at each other, Mary fidgeting with her hair.

“At least I can sleep better knowing that he’ll definitely kill you for this,” Marlene said evenly after a pause. Mary nodded shakily and looked at the floor as Marlene took off in a sprint for the beach. 


Chapter 40: The Worst in the Possible: Part II
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 (June 12th, 1981)



 

“We need to know what you know,” Bellatrix said, walking around the chair Dorcas was strapped to on the edge of a jetty. The waves crashed around the two isolated women, but Dorcas was still as ever. Her head whipped to the side as Bellatrix struck her on the cheek.

“I don’t know anything,” Dorcas responded, her sing-song voice sounding like a whistle in the hollowed cave. Her blonde curls flipped over her head from the wind tunnel-like force and exposed a deep red gash above her eyebrow.

“We’ll see about that,” Bellatrix hissed, leaning forward on the arms of Dorcas’ chair. Her glare was intense, but Dorcas didn’t seem to care. She arched an eyebrow confidently, making Bellatrix’ bottom lip tremble in anger.

Bellatrix pushed herself away from the chair and paced around the cavern with lengthy strides. She took off her leather gloves, and Dorcas let out a heavy breath when Bellatrix wasn’t looking in her direction.

“Let’s try some compulsion, yes dear?” she asked lightly, tossing her gloves to the side and whipping her wand from her waistband.

“Sounds delightful,” Dorcas gritted out through her teeth. She shivered involuntarily as another gust of wind blew in.

“Imperio!”

Dorcas’ head suddenly fell loose, and her eyes blank. Bellatrix smiled at the subject of her torture, who had finally given in under the Unforgivable Curse.

“Where are Frank and Alice Longbottom hiding out?” she hissed, keeping her wand aimed tightly on Dorcas.

“I don’t know,” Dorcas said blankly.

“Argh,” Bellatrix growled. Her teeth chattered audibly with Dorcas’ answer and she shook her head at the relaxed girl. With a flick of her wrist, the spell on Dorcas was released, and she regained her awareness suddenly.

Her back straightened again, and her hands tightened around the arms of her chair again.

“It looks like I’m just going to have to beat it out of you,” Bellatrix offered, smiling crookedly and sadistically at Dorcas.

“Don’t be so intolerable, Bellatrix.”

Dorcas held her breath. She could not believe it was true, but she’d also heard that voice before. And she knew that, even though he would stop Bellatrix from physically beating her, it was in no way better.

“My Lord,” Bellatrix said reverently, turning her back to Dorcas and bowing.

Voldemort approached the opening to the cave slowly, and a long shadow cast on the side.

“So this is the mudblood that had been causing me so much trouble?” he mused quietly. Bellatrix moved to the side to make a path for Voldemort, and Dorcas finally squirmed in her chair as he approached.

"I won't tell you," she said, her hair whipping to the side in the salty wind.

"You think that now," the wicked, smooth voice said, his body seemingly unaffected by the harsh conditions as hers was. "But when we're done with you you'll not only tell me where they are, but how to get there," he said, leaning in close to her and emphasizing the last couple of words. She spat in his face, but wasn't able to speak as her airway cut off not a second later.

"Stupid girl," he said, the pale feet walking away. The girl struggled against the bonds, but there was no use. He would be back later anyway.

 




 

“Where could she be?” Marlene asked hopelessly to Remus. The two were lagging behind Sirius, who was in his Animagus form. He shrugged, continuing to scan his wand over the surrounding area to search for signs of life. The beach was massive. Mary had sent them on a wild goose chase.

“When did James give you the cloak?” Remus asked curiously. Multitasking was a habit of Remus’. Marlene sighed, but obliged.

“When they told me I was godmother. James figured he wasn’t going to be needing it anymore.”

This made Remus look at Marlene. Everything had a dark undertone lately.

“For the time being, anyway,” she corrected quickly. The two fell into a deep silence as they continued their search.

Marlene tucked her hair behind her ear again. The wind was so strong, she was surprised that they could hear anything.

Sirius barked up ahead, and Marlene broke into a sprint without looking back to Remus, who she was sure was with her. The sand kicked up behind her, and she fell further behind Sirius than she would’ve liked.

“Marlene!” Sirius yelled from up ahead. She looked up with watery eyes, and saw Sirius waving her over from behind a giant rock to the right. She looked straight ahead, spotted a deep, dark cave, and then back to Sirius. Dorcas had to be in there.

Marlene looked back over shoulder to find Remus running down the edge of the beach toward Sirius. She followed suit, and ran up the slight hill to squat next to her former boyfriend.

“You hear her?” She asked, slightly out of breath. Sirius shook his head and Marlene saw his mouth tremble.

“Just one voice. Can’t make it out,” he responded shortly. Marlene’s breath hitched and she and Sirius’ eyes met. She put her hand next to his on the rock they were leaning on.

“What was that?” Remus approached the pair, and pointed over their heads at the entrance of the cave. Marlene stretched up onto the balls of her feet, peering over the ledge. She saw nothing but more darkness at the foot of the cave they were watching.

“What did you see?” Marlene whispered, the feeling that they were being watched appearing suddenly.

“I think someone apparated to the beach and just walked in.” Remus paused with wonderment. “Curious.”

“I didn’t even hear anything! That can’t be it,” Marlene gasped, shaking her head and sinking back onto her heels.

“Not curious,” Sirius growled, standing up to his full height as a two figures appeared out of the cave. “Voldemort.”

“Oh my…” Marlene breathed out deeply, covering her mouth with her hand as the feared man strode out of the cave with determination.

“Sirius, no,” Remus said strongly, dragging Sirius down behind the rock again by his arm. Forcefully.

“Remus, let go of me right now.” Sirius glared at Remus, but he did not back down.

“You are not going to die tonight, Sirius.” Remus effectively silenced the other two. “We go in when they’re gone.”

Marlene nodded in agreement, and took Sirius’ other wrist in her grip. She didn’t trust him not to run off.

“That could be too late,” Sirius whispered, mostly to himself, peeking from behind the rock and spotting Voldemort and a lackey walking back towards the manor.

“We wait.”

 




 

“No, no, no, stop it,” Dorcas blubbered through the blood that spilt out of her mouth uncontrollably.

“I’ll stop when I’ve had enough!” Voldemort roared, his dark eyes burning into Dorcas’ mind. She threw her head back and let out a scream as his wand cut through the air, essentially cutting across her chest, around her back, over her shoulder.

“She will lose too much blood, master. She will bleed out before we find anything,” Rowle, a death eater who had come to summon Voldemort back to the Manor added.

“Quiet, Rowle,” Bellatrix snarled, watching Dorcas’ torture intently. She had grown quiet again, panting, waiting for the next bout of slashes.

“He is correct,” Voldemort murmured under his breath. He paused, and gazed down at Dorcas with a hooded scrutiny. He stepped forward to her chair, prompting Dorcas to sit up as straight as she could and hold her ground.

“You have given me more than I needed. That helpful brain.”

Dorcas’ heart pumped in her chest as he leaned over her to whisper in her ear.

“I regret, you are too far gone to be of any use.”

At this, Dorcas’ jaw dropped open. Her eyes widened as she realized what was coming. She heard Bellatrix laughing out of her right ear. She saw Rowle’s shadow leave the cave. She closed her mouth. She swore that Voldemort smiled. She closed her eyes.

 




 

“They’ve apparated,” Sirius said immediately, ripping his arms out of Marlene and Remus’ grips. He started off down the hill, and Marlene and Remus stood up from the ground, taking after him.

“We should have called Dumbledore,” Marlene let out rapidly as she ran down the hill and towards the entrance of the cave. “We’re stupid. We can’t handle this ourselves,” she muttered as they slipped over the sand. Remus pretended he didn’t hear her.

“Sirius, wait for us!” Remus bellowed, cupping his mouth with his hands. Sirius looked back, but only for a second before he went into the black cave. “Come on,” he urged Marlene, who picked up her pace.

The two ran into the cave behind Sirius, and Marlene felt herself knock into something solid.

“Merlin Sirius, let’s move!” she said desperately.

“Marlene,” Remus warned, a dark look shadowing his features. He grabbed her forearm, and she backed up as she realized who they were facing. Sirius was holding his wand up across the cave at Bellatrix, and Dorcas was slumped over in an armchair in the center.

Marlene began panting as she noticed Dorcas’ eyes: completely dead, void of the usual brightness she was accustomed to. She waved her hand in front of her face frantically, trying to push away the truth. Her hand curled into a fist, and she sunk to the ground beneath her, sobbing loudly into her fist.

Remus let her fall, and took out his wand against Bellatrix as well.

“Now boys, let’s not fight,” Bellatrix toyed over Marlene’s sobbing. “After all, I didn’t kill poor little Dorcas,” she mocked, letting her wand trail over Dorcas’ bloody cheek.

“No, no, no, no, no,” Marlene murmured hysterically into her hand, shivering slightly in denial. “NOOOO!” she suddenly screamed, deafeningly, slamming her palms into the ground.

“If you want her, come get her,” Bellatrix said to Sirius, ignoring Remus completely. Remus took this time to step around Marlene and towards Dorcas. Bellatrix’s hand twitched, but she knew better than to let her wand leave Sirius’ chest.

“You really should bury your girlfriend, Sirius,” she taunted. Sirius didn’t say anything, didn’t let his eyes move over to Dorcas’ body. “It’s the proper thing to do, don’t you agree?”

“Expelliarmus!” Remus shouted at Bellatrix, her wand falling to the floor.

“Stupefy!” Sirius followed, screaming hoarsely over Marlene’s cries. Bellatrix was thrown into the wall, her head bouncing slightly against the wall, then bobbling to the side. Sirius’ breathing and Marlene’s crying was all that was audible then. He didn’t move his wand away from his crumpled cousin for at least a full minute before rushing over to Dorcas’ body. And then, everything was moving around him.

Things were happening around Sirius, not to him. At this point, nothing could ever happen to him again. He was too far gone. Remus backed away from Dorcas’ body, placing a hand on Sirius’ shoulder as he turned away. Remus picked up Marlene (even through her protests that Dorcas was still alive which she was not) and carried her to the entrance of the cave.

He knelt in front of Dorcas’ bare knees, and rested his head on her warm lap. He was right. They had been too late. Sirius let out a quiet, little sob and clutched her thighs tightly to wait for a response. A chuckle got stuck in his throat as he thought about the last thing she’d said to him.

“You never have to do anything for me ever again, Dorcas,” he whispered into her lap. “Okay?” he said, his voice cracking through his whispers. “If you just, just come home I will do everything for you. I’m going to feed the owl and take in the paper and put the clothes in the hamper.”

Sirius’ hands shook over Dorcas’ lap, and he laughed again, louder this time, as she lay there lifeless.

“Please, please, just come on back. We can get a new place,” he pleaded aimlessly. Sirius picked his head up and looked up at Dorcas’ face. He let out a shuddering breath as he saw the torture she’d been subjected to.

Sirius blinked his eyes shut slowly. Once, twice, thrice, and then let out a steadier breath.

“Don’t worry about it, darling,” he whispered gently, stroking her arm. Sirius went to work untying the knots at her wrists, then her ankles. “I’m just going to carry you home, okay?” Sirius stood up off his knees and bent down slightly to cross Dorcas’ arms around his shoulders. “Come on. We don’t have to stay here any longer.”

Sirius stood up, and Dorcas’ arms flew back behind her limply. Sirius sucked in his lips as he saw her frail, dead body fully in his arms with his bleary vision. He looked down upon her, and nodded firmly, assuring himself of her state.  

“Let’s go.” 

 

 

 




 

A/N: I don't know how I'm going to survive this. Five more chapters. 






blackballet

 


Chapter 41: The Worst in the Possible: Part III
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 (June 14th, 1981)



 

They apparated, they walked forty or fifty feet ahead, they spotted Mary. She told them the beach, west, go west and you’ll hear her screaming. Except Mary didn’t say she’d still be screaming. No, scratch that. Mary didn’t know if she was dead or not, no clues there. They sprinted west down the beach, two humans and a dog, they hid, they saw a figure, they saw two figures and thought one was Voldemort.

In between one figure and two figures. That was how long it took Dorcas to die. One figure went in. They hid, Remus and Sirius argued over a shadow. They looked at the cave, two figures came out.

They went in the cave, three figures. Two figures came out. Two more figures came out. Three figures apparated, one performed side-along apparition with Sirius Black. Marlene kept playing it over and over in her head.

Marlene ran her hand across Sirius’ chin. She didn’t know how long they’d been laying there, all cooped up in the spare bedroom in his house. But if his beard was any indication, it was a little over two days. The tea was still whistling from the time that Remus had come in and tried to get them out of bed. Sirius’ face was clean then. It must’ve been the first. There was also a huge dent in the wall where Sirius’ curse pushed Remus into it. But Marlene didn’t hear the tea as she ran her hand over Sirius’ tear-streaked face.

She heard Dorcas’ voice in her head. Not just the laughter and the snickers. But the tears and the yelling, too. Every little thing she could think about Dorcas she was fond of. She loved her so much she didn’t know how she would go on without her. It was fitting, maybe, that neither of the two had great relationships with their families. No one would suspect they were best friends, but everyone thought they were sisters. Everyone had thought they were sisters. Had thought.

Sirius turned over under her arm, and the two locked gazes. Marlene had never seen Sirius’ eyes so bloodshot. It was then that they were bluer than ever. Sirius had never seen Marlene so defeated, and so tired, and so sobered.

“Please shut the bloody kettle,” he croaked. Marlene was lost in thought, and did not acknowledge Sirius’ request. “Marls.” Marlene blinked slowly and looked into Sirius’ eyes again. Marlene had finally processed his request, and attempted to get up. As she pushed herself up from the bed, she heard a small whimper from Sirius. He grabbed her arm, forgetting that he had just asked her to leave.

Marlene pushed his hand off gently, and stood up from the bed, now realizing that her insufferable headache was due to the screaming kettle. He began sobbing again as Marlene walked out from the room slowly and down the stairs to the kitchen.

 




 

“How could this have happened?” Alice cried out, rocking back and forth under Frank’s arm as Remus sat across from them in their living room. “We had biscuits the other day,” she provided, her bottom lip trembling. “The one’s she likes- liked.” Alice held her hand in a small circle, trying to show Remus the shape of the cookie that Dorcas really liked.

Remus nodded, and swallowed visibly as Alice continued sobbing into Frank’s arms.

“When are we having a funeral?’ Frank asked. Remus saw his tight jaw. He was trying not to cry, for Alice’s sake.

“Tomorrow. Up in Godric’s Hollow.”

Frank nodded again and pursed his lips. And Remus shook his head, licking his lips as Frank’s eyebrows furrowed slightly and he bit his lip.

“Dumbledore says…”

“We can’t go,” Alice said quietly, sitting up and wiping her tears away as best she could. Another tear fell from her eye onto the couch, and she watched it settle in. “I know.”

 




 

“So we’ve decided to have the funeral here?” Lily asked blankly to Remus, not wanting to look him in the eye. She rocked Harry in her arms gently. Remus nodded, but upon realizing Lily wasn’t looking, added a ‘yes’.

“And Sirius and Marlene?”

“Haven’t left the house yet,” Remus said tiresomely. “They know its tomorrow. I don’t know if they have it in them yet.”

James came down the staircase in a set of pajamas. He, too was unshaven and unkempt. He and Remus looked at each other over Lily’s head, and James motioned for Remus to come over to him with a tilt of his head.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, then?” Remus put his hand over Lily’s, and her head snapped up from the table to look at him. Her eyes were utterly red, overwhelming the powerful green. Her eyes began watering again, and she nodded quickly at Remus, smiling tightly.

Remus stood up from his seat in the dining room, and James held the front door open for him. The two stepped outside and James shut the door with a nearly silent click. James embraced Remus tightly and assumingly finally letting Remus’ shoulders relax.

James let go of Remus and stuck his hand in his back pocket, pulling out a pack of cigarettes and his wand.

“Come on James,” Remus said, holding up his hand to the cigarette.

“Just,” James said biting his lip habitually, “take it. Please.” Remus took the cigarette from James’ hand, and let him light it with his wand. Now Remus remembered. James and Sirius used to smoke on the Astronomy Tower at Hogwarts when something bad happened: Lily rejected James, Sirius failed another Potions practical.

James took a puff from his cigarette, and Remus followed suit, doing his best not to cough up the smoke. James let out a smooth stream of smoke and closed his eyes, feeling the sun on his face. He took the cigarette out of his hand and stubbed it on the gate next to them.

“Lily hates smoking,” he explained, making Remus roll his eyes and smirk gently. He too stubbed his cigarette out. “She hasn’t been outside in twelve days Remus. This will be good for her.”

Remus raised an eyebrow at the insinuation. He couldn’t imagine a funeral being good for anyone.

 




 

Peter closed the basement door behind him, and leaned against it as Mary knocked on the front door insistently. She told him she’d be visiting at the last meeting two days ago at Malfoy Manor. The day that Dorcas was murdered and he did nothing to stop it.

He pushed himself off of the door and smoothed down the front of his robes. He aimed his wand behind him, silencing his mother’s whining.

“Hi Mary,” he said calmly, swinging the front door open to let her in. Mary stalked into Peter’s house dominantly, with her mind made up.

“Peter,” she spat bitterly, sitting down at the kitchen table without invitation. Peter sighed, closing the door behind her. It seemed that every woman in his life was having a crisis of some sort.

“What is it, Mary?” He sat down next to her, but did not attempt to touch her. Mary crossed her arms over her chest, guarding herself from Peter did not know what.

“I can’t believe it,” she said quietly. Ducking her head towards her neck, Mary took a deep breath. “How could you kidnap one of your best friends?” she plead, her mouth shaking as Peter clenched his jaw. “How could you break into her apartment? Take her to Bellatrix? How could you assist in her murder?”

“I had to prove myself, Mary. He’ll kill us, you know that,” Peter said softly, taking Mary’s hand.

“We’re in too deep this time,” she said stickily, taking her hand from Peter’s. “I have to get out.” She steeled her jaw and looked Peter straight in the eye. “I’m going into hiding.”

Peter’s hand dropped from the table and his chest relaxed. Mary was the only other sane one. The only one who could keep him sane in that cult of madmen.

“Mary, you can’t. They will find you and kill you,” Peter implored, taking her hand again. “You can’t hide from them.”

“It’s my only chance, Peter. They have to know I assisted Sirius, Marlene, and Remus. I’m the only one who wasn’t in the meeting that day besides Bellatrix. It could only be me.”

“There’s no proving that, Mary!” Peter offered with optimism. “It could be a coincidence. They didn’t even find her alive, so no harm, no foul.”

Mary pursed her lips and shook her head. “They’re getting to you Peter. Do you really think the Dark Lord cares about proof? He’s angry and looking for someone to blame.” Mary looked at Peter sadly, and nodded, assuring him she’d be okay. She pulled back the sleeve on her left arm, and Peter’s eyes met only with alabaster skin.

“Look, I never even took the mark. He can’t track me as easily as you think.” Peter nodded too, realizing that this was the only chance that Mary stood. “And I’m not too dense, if I do say so myself.”

“At least tell me where you’re going!” Peter exclaimed as Mary stood up suddenly. “I’ll keep them off your track.”

“You know that I can’t do that, Peter.”

Peter nodded again, and his shoulders sunk back.

“When this is all over, we’ll find each other again. Don’t worry, Peter.” Mary leaned down to kiss Peter on the cheek, and he closed his eyes; knowing fully well that he would not see Mary McDonald alive again.

 




 

“Vance,” Alastor said in greeting from across the room.

“Moody,” she said back, her face plateaued. They were the only two who had shown up to the headquarters that day. “Why did you call me here today?”

“We don’t need to make this a big deal,” he said flatly, matching her tone. “We need to replace Meadowes.” Emmeline swallowed and nodded slightly, not meeting Alastor’s eyes. “Your talents would be a great asset to the Order of the Phoenix. And considering you already know about us,” he said, taking a breath, “would you like to officially join the Order of the Phoenix?”

Emmeline leaned forward on the wooden dining room table that sat in the middle of the large, conferential office. It was very out of place.

“I don’t like a lot of people, Alastor,” she finally said.

“Emmeline,” he said tersely. Emmeline held up a hand and her eyebrows furrowed a bit.

“But I liked Dorcas. She was really honest, and that’s hard to come by in a war.” Emmeline suddenly tilted her head up, looking at the ceiling to prevent tears from falling.

“We barely knew each other in Hogwarts, too. She always looked a little too happy,” she continued. “Do you know those people? Who look like they’re having a little too much fun?”

She waited for a response. Alastor nodded, letting her carry on.

“That was Dorcas. But anyway,” she interrupted herself, swatting the air around her head, “I liked her. She was smart, definitely could have been in Ravenclaw if she wasn’t so bloody Gryffindor. And then she got killed.” Emmeline brought her lips together suddenly, stopping her voice as if that’s all that could control them.

“So I don’t know if I want to be in The Order as much as I owe it to Dorcas. Because I don’t want to die a horrible, bloody, gory death, but I also don’t want to go my whole life knowing that I didn’t step up for the smartest and bravest person I’ve ever had the fortune of knowing,” she spewed out rather quickly. “So yeah. I’ll be in the Order of the Phoenix.”

Alastor stood up, pushing out his chair with the back of his good knee. He grabbed his cane with the arm of the side of his bad leg, and limped slightly to the door. Emmeline stood up too, frowning at his silence.

“That’s all I needed to hear.” He stepped out the door, and Emmeline put her head down slightly, unsure if she was in the Order or not. “I liked her too, Vance.” Emmeline looked up hopefully as Moody lingered in the doorway. “We’ll see you at the funeral tomorrow. Godric’s Hollow.” 


Chapter 42: The New in the Old
  [Printer Friendly Version of This Chapter]

 (June 15th, 1981)



 

“Just look at it, James,” Lily cooed, crouching to face the small, white-furred cat that was sniffing her fingertips.

“Let’s go home, Lil,” he said in exhaustion, hiking Harry further up his hip. The two were on their way home from the funeral.

“James I just have to have this cat!” she exclaimed. James looked down at Lily, and smiled gently. He hadn’t seen her smile like that in a long while.

“And just what is so special about this cat in particular?” he asked, egging her on. “We have plenty in the garden to choose from.”

“This one reminds me of Dorcas,” she said quietly, stroking its ears. It stuck its nose in the air, and Lily continued petting down its back as James’ face froze.

“Alright, Lil. But I’m not going to remember to feed it, I’m telling you right now,” he said, scoffing lightly as Lily picked up her new cat. They continued down the road to their house.

 

Marlene sat atop the freshly packed dirt. She picked at her ugly trainers that she used for Quidditch training in seventh year when she rebelled against her mother and did that sort of thing. She sighed, letting her hand float over the pills of soil. Dorcas was down there. Her body was down there, so Marlene would never see her again.

“Here,” Sirius said, handing her a bottle of vodka. The two had missed the funeral, and thankfully so. Marlene tipped her head back and took a large gulp of the vodka. She felt so guilty over Dorcas’ death, she didn’t mind the bitter sting.

Sirius leaned again the side of her headstone. It read: Dorcas Meadowes March 30th, 1960-June 12th, 1981 friend to all

That made Sirius scoff. She was so much more than someone else’s friend. She was a mother. Sure, she lost her baby, but she was a mother. And she was a daughter. So she killed her father. So her father killed her mother. She was a sister. So her father killed her sister. So what? She was alive. Now she was dead. Was, is, it’s the same thing. And if it wasn’t, Sirius wasn’t either.

“Do you think she knew? Like, she knew as soon as it was happening that she would die?” Marlene asked Sirius sloppily and slowly. Sirius smirked slightly.

“She called me. She must’ve known, otherwise she would’ve just kicked their arses.”

Marlene nodded in agreement, and leaned back on the cold stone behind her.

“Oi, you two!” a police officer said from across the graveyard. Marlene raised her eyebrows at Sirius and held out a hand for him to help her up. “What do you think you’re doing?” he yelled. Marlene smiled slightly. A portly man like that looked so silly running over to the two wizards.

Sirius stood up and hoisted Marlene up along with him.

“Where should we go?” he asked groggily, as the policeman grew closer. Marlene shrugged.

“Your place?” she asked. He nodded, and as the policeman finally approached them, huffing and red in the face, the two spun away simultaneously.

 

Peter sat as still as he could, gluing his back to the chair as much as possible. He never had very good posture, so this was a real challenge for him. The atmosphere was also very strong, and it was slightly suffocating to Peter, but he knew he couldn’t ask to be excused.

Voldemort’s dark eyes pierced Peter even when they weren’t looking at each other. That’s how Peter knew he was searching around in his brain.

“So, Peter. Mary has betrayed us,” he said, calculating behind his mask.

“It seems so, master,” he tried, sounding weak.

“Thank you for attempting to stop her. You are right. We will find her.” Voldemort cut into his steak with his wand and watched Peter for his reaction.

“I was only doing my duty, My Lord,” he responded. Peter also glanced up from his dish, waiting for a reaction.

“What I found strange,” Voldemort said, floating a piece of meat into his mouth, “is that the Order of the Phoenix was even informed that Dorcas Meadowes was taken,” he said stonily, chewing in his cheek.

“She called Sirius Black. On a muggle telephone,” Peter rambled, making Voldemort slam his fists down on the table on either side of his plate. The silverware and china that lined the table shook with the force, and Peter jumped in his chair slightly.

“Another muggle contraption that will be the death of me,” he grumbled. “Did you not think to disconnect her communication device? I assume you filthy half-bloods know how to use muggle paraphernalia just the same,” he said nonchalantly, going back to cutting up his dinner. Peter swallowed and continued.

“No I did not, master. I apologize…”

“Oh do you apologize Peter?” he asked darkly, not looking up from his plate this time. “Elf!” he yelled out, calling for a house elf to tend to him. A small, trembling house elf appeared next to him, his large head bowed gracefully. “Make another, this is overcooked,” he said, not looking down and dropping the dish ungracefully to his left. He stood suddenly, and Peter attempted to stand as well, but was unable to move.

“Did you not think?” he asked, moving towards Peter slowly and dragging his wand across the unused table settings. “Or were you perhaps hoping to be caught?”

“No, never Lord,” he pleaded uselessly.

“DO NOT LIE TO ME, PETER!” he bellowed suddenly, making Peter feel as if he’d been blown back into the chair. “You will suffer for your shortcomings. And Mary’s, considering she was here under your recommendation.”

“My Lord, I beg of you.”

“Yes, you do, Peter,” he said, raising his wand to Peter’s chest. “Crucio.”

 

(June 16th, 1981)

 

“I mean, if we’re being honest here, she was a bit of a bitch,” he said, snorting and taking another sip of the Vodka bottle from the day before.

“She was!” Marlene agreed emphatically, hanging off of Sirius’ shoulder as they laid together in Sirius’ guestroom again. “Did I ever tell you,” she said slowly, her lips sticking together, “that one time she borrowed my lipstick and then never gave it back? I mean who does that! And now, who knows if I’ll ever get it back,” Marlene sighed dramatically, tears coming to her eyes again.

“You never told me that!” Sirius said, gasping and stroking Marlene’s hair as if her loss of lipstick was the worst thing that could ever happen. “I’m sorry Marlene.”

“It’s okay, Sirius,” Marlene said, closing her eyes as she began crying again. “I’m just going to miss that lipstick so fucking much.”

Sirius looked down on Marlene, watching her cry through her closed lids, and sighed. “Marlene, I love you. And I want to have sex with you,” he said plainly. Marlene opened her eyes slowly as if someone had painted them shut.

“Oh, shut it you prick. You love Dorcas.”

Sirius frowned and pursed his lips as Marlene closed her eyes again. He poked Marlene in the side a few times until she opened her eyes again.

“But Dorcas got killed,” he moaned. Marlene shook her head and closed her eyes again. “I’m never going to find anyone better than her and she got killed,” he muttered suddenly, his mood flipping back to two days ago.

“I loved her, too. And now I’m stuck with you,” Marlene spat bitterly, glaring up at Sirius. “How do you think I feel?”

“I was never supposed to be with her, McKinnon! You’re the reason we even got together in the first place!”

Marlene frowned deeply, pursing her lips at Sirius.

“Oh, don’t act like you didn’t fucking know,” he muttered, tossing his hair out of his eyes.

“Sirius, what’re you...”

“So you mean to tell me that not one person in your family ever told you that we were arranged to be married in fifth year?” He whispered violently, shaking visibly. “That’s why Dorcas and I got together. Not some petty shit about Mary.”

He took a great, stabling breath. “I couldn’t fall in love with the person my parents wanted me to. I’d be a pretty lame rebel.”

Marlene tilted her chin down as she sat up from Sirius’ shoulder. He tilted his chin down to look at her, but she avoided his gaze.

“Anyway.” Sirius took the bottle from Marlene and tossed it over the side of the bed. “Seems to have worked out for them just like it always does.”

Marlene suddenly threw her head down over the side of the bed and threw up the contents of her stomach.

 


Chapter 43: The Forward in the Movement
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(June 17th, 1978)

 

“What is the meaning of this, Marlene?”

Marlene looked up from the scrapbook of her Hogwarts memories, a gift from Lily given to her on the day of their graduation. She folded the book with a thump, and steeled her eyes against the mirror that was her mother.

“You are declining the acceptance?” she asked, still calmly but with a timbre that made Marlene’s spine shiver.

“Yes, mother.” Marlene sat up straighter and uncrossed her legs, hanging them over the edge of her bed.

“Do you even know how rare this is?” she hissed, stepping inside Marlene’s room and closing the door gently behind her.

“Yes, I do. Only one out of every hundred wizards continues their education past secondary school.” Marlene stood from her bed and crossed her arms over her chest. “Let it go to someone who wants it.”

“You are going, Marlene. That is final.”

Marlene wondered how her mother could be so mad but look so content.

“You can owl Alenclass. They will assure you I am not.” Marlene stared her mother down forcefully, but she feared a few stray tears would betray her. She never wanted to have this fight.

“And just what are you going to do without Alenclass? Go be an Auror?” she asked mockingly, mirroring her daughter’s frame again and crossing her arms.

“Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I sure as hell am not going to school to learn how to belittle others because my parents are inbred and theirs aren’t.” Marlene felt the rain of fire that would bring before the words spilled out of her mouth.

“Marlene McKinnon!” she gasped, putting her hand to her chest. Her mother found her composure, and settled herself again as Marlene raised her eyebrows. “You are going. There is no discussion.”

“What are you going to do if I don’t?” Marlene challenged, throwing her chin towards her mother bravely. The impossibly shorter woman faltered slightly at Marlene’s outburst.

“Either way, you cannot stay here. Go to Alenclass or not, you will not live under this roof.” Marlene’s mother’s face went flat at Marlene’s eyes filled with tears. “I won’t let the war be brought into my family.”

“Mum,” Marlene said softly, more like a question. Her voice broke softly, but her mother’s mask did not. Mother turned her back on daughter.

“You wanted this, Marlene.” She placed her hand on the doorknob and squeezed it so the veins became visible in her hand. “Hanging around with those, those people,” she breathed out contemptuously through her nose. “I expect your room cleaned out by the end of the week.”

Marlene’s mother shut the door behind her silently as she exited the room, leaving Marlene’s mouth hanging open. She fell backwards, her knees bucking as she hit the bed.

 She knew that, just like everything else that passed between her and her mother, no one had heard a thing. She knew that it would just be accepted. She knew she wouldn’t fight it; as a matter of fact, Marlene would bring it up at dinner and pretend it was her idea. Everyone would congratulate her on becoming independent. She knew that her mother would smile in a way that seemed almost genuine. She knew that her father would look down at his plate. She knew that her brothers would insist on picking out a flat with her. She knew that her mother wouldn’t say another word. She knew that, in some ways, this would be the best case scenario.

She knew that, in some ways, she would never see her mother again.

 




(June 17th, 1981)

 

“Mark,” Marlene said breathlessly as she swung open the door to her flat. She fell into her brother’s arms, burying her head in his neck comfortably.

“I’m so sorry, Marlene,” he comforted. They hadn’t seen each other since before Dorcas died. Marlene backed out of his arms and gestured for Mark to sit down with a wave of her hand.

“Thank you, Mark. I still can’t believe it, honestly,” she said quietly, following Mark to the couch and sitting down next to him. Mark noted how close Marlene was sitting to him, but said nothing.

“Me either.” He put a hand on Marlene’s back as she slouched over her knees. “I have some news,” he said carefully, attempting to segue way to the reason for his visit as painlessly as possible. Marlene looked up at him hopefully.

“About mum and dad?” she asked, hoping that they’d finally come to their senses. He nodded back and swallowed slowly. He didn’t mention anything about how stale the flat felt either.

“Mostly dad. He says he misses you,” he said kind of sickly, looking at Marlene sadly. “He wants to know if you’ll come home. He doesn’t think it’s safe, you living like this.” He took his hand off Marlene’s back and leaned his forearms on his knees, mirroring Marlene.

“I’m afraid Mark. I’m afraid to be alone,” she whispered to herself. Her eyes crinkled as the tears that had become so familiar threatened.

“Then come home,” he urged, putting his hand on hers.

“I’m afraid of that, too! You don’t know what I’ve done, what I’ve seen,” Marlene urged, bracing her hands on her knees. Her arms tensed, and Mark withdrew his hand. “I can’t risk putting you in more danger than I already have,” she whispered.

“At least come and see him, Marlene.”

“What about mum?” Marlene asked timidly, nibbling on her bottom lip as Mark thought of an answer. She knew he was trying to think of a better answer than she doesn’t want to see you.

“Mum’s out of the country on business, and Matthew’s been locked in his room since, you know, Dorcas.”

Marlene looked to her right suddenly as Dorcas was mentioned by name, tears coming to her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” he apologized hastily again. Marlene cleared her throat and shook her head slightly.

“Don’t be. You didn’t kill her,” she said softly but with a bit of bite to it. Mark took to ignoring Marlene’s tears. The two sat back in silence as the sun died behind their heads and cast into the living room. Marlene put her head in her hand and gazed blankly at the floor in front of her.

“I’ll come and visit dad.” Mark picked his head up in surprise, but Marlene held up a finger. “Just one day, I’m not staying at the house. I’m not getting you all in trouble, so don’t try to convince me do you understand?” she asked, her voice trembling slightly.

“I won’t try and convince you, but I can’t speak for dad,” he relented. Marlene nodded in acceptance and then looked back to Mark.

“I’ll see you on the 20th.”

 




 

(June 18th, 1981)

 

“So what is this about, Remus?” Marlene asked curiously, leaning back in her chair in their kitchen. He smiled shyly, attempting to hide it behind his cup of tea. Remus felt angry at himself for being the only one that seemed to be able to move on from Dorcas’ death.

“I’m not sure if it’s the right time,” he proceeded slowly, “but I think it is.” Remus took a deep breath.

“I think I should move out. I’ve found a job."

Marlene’s eyes lit up in a way that Remus barely recognized. She matched his growing smile, and reached her hand out across the counter.

“You found a job? Why didn’t you say anything?”

The corner of Remus’ mouth turned up slightly, and he placed his cup down next to their clasped hands.

“I didn’t want to say anything until I was sure it would stick. And then, it just didn’t seem right to bring it up. But how do you feel about it?” Remus flipped his hair away from his face with a flick of his hands. He took a deep breath, and thought about how he’d been trying not to ramble in front of Marlene and he’d just blew it.

“Of course I’m scared, Remus,” Marlene said quietly, taking a tighter grip on his hand. “But I think it’s time we grew up and stopped being roommates.”

Remus chuckled silently and his shoulders shook involuntarily.

“How are we going to find you a girl if you’re hanging around me all the time?” she asked, screwing up her mouth as she kept rambling.

“Marlene.” Remus gave her a scathing look, but Marlene dismissed him with a wave of her hand.

“Listen,” she said strictly, making Remus’ face fall slightly. “I know how tough all of this has been on you.”

Remus scoffed slightly, but Marlene held up her hand again.

“You don’t understand how incredibly proud I am of you,” she said shakily, her eyes drawing tears. “You have kept us together through so much, and I don’t think I would have survived this without you.” Marlene bit her lip suddenly and looked away from Remus as the tears rolled down her cheeks.

“And you have to deal with the full moons, I just don’t understand how you handle it all,” she said with another sob that shook her torso. Remus leaned forward in his chair, his hands hovering over Marlene’s as they shivered. She took a deep, deep breath and smiled at Remus’ concerned expression.

“What I mean to say is, you deserve to be happy. And I am the last person that should try and stop you,” she said finally, shaking her hair back from her face defiantly. Remus smirked in the way that Marlene used to notice that he smirked. Half mischievous, half apologetic.

“Thank you, Marlene. I just can’t believe I’m finally going to have something of my own,” he blurted jubilantly. Marlene smiled as much as her face would allow. 


Chapter 44: The Steps in the Saving
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 (June 20th, 1981)



 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Marlene swallowed at her mother’s impending gaze.

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

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

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

Marlene did not open her mouth to chance another bashing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 




 

(June 20th, 1981) 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And selfish or not, that would have saved them.     


Chapter 45: The End in the Beginning
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 (July 1st, 1981)



 

“No, I’m not saying I’m going to live here forever, mum,” Remus sighed into the phone. He played with an empty bottle of whiskey from yesterday. Or the day before that. He wiped the stubble that had formed on his chin as his mother spoke with him in her quiet voice that seemed to grate his ears.

“Yeah,” he answered without intention. He let her speak without interruption.

“I know.”

Remus tilted his head back as she talked about his father.

“That’s great for dad,” he said with as much vigor as he could muster.

“I love you too, mum.”

Remus twisted the pliable cord between his fingers, ignoring the sting of the freshest scars that graced his hands gave.

“G’bye.” He slammed the phone down on the hook and fell backwards onto Marlene’s bed. Remus turned his head to the left and stared at the neatly folded side. A long, dark, brown hair floated atop the dusty pillow on Marlene’s favorite side. He pursed his lips and blew it away. It fell off the edge of the bed, and Remus frowned suddenly, but did not get up.

He turned his head to the right and looked out into the hallway. Most of his clothes were packed away into his trunks. They stood by the doorway, even dustier than the bedroom. He rolled his eyes and turned his head to face the ceiling. His belongings sitting at the front door only reminded him that he couldn’t move on.

The flawless ceiling made him chuckle. How is it that a werewolf and a disowned Pureblood ended up living together in such a nice flat? And how is it that she could afford that?

Looking at such a spotless, seamless ceiling made Remus remember that he was supposed to have moved out by the end of the month. That day had come and gone, and Remus had gone and ignored it.

“I hate this bloody war,” he said aloud but to himself because no one else was there to hear him.

He probably needed to say it out loud. They all should, because war sucked. And the Order made it okay for them to pretend that they had purpose.

But they were children with a belief and Merlin knows if that ever did anyone any good.

Remus heard a strong knock at the door and closed his eyes.

“It’s the super!” A man’s voice called.

It was probably time for him to move out.

 




(August 1st, 1981)

The air outside was crisp and warm on the evening of August 1st. Children were playing outside in their yards, and Lily, James, and Harry sat in their own.

“That’s it,” Lily said with encouragement in her eyes as Harry stumbled across the yard towards James. James spread his arms out wide, and Harry broke into a slight run at the promise of a hug. Lily rolled her eyes knowingly, as it only took Harry a few seconds to fall over in his ambition.

“Just like his father,” she mumbled fondly, standing and walking over to Harry, who was poking his reddened knee with wild curiosity.

“You know it,” James said brightly, reaching his arms again so Harry would crawl onto his lap.

Lily took a seat next to her husband and leaned her head against his shoulder as Harry fell into James’ lap. She sighed and closed her eyes in the serenity. The children laughing, the sun setting,

“Tell me a story, James,” Lily said fondly as she cuddled into James’ side. He smiled, and pondered for a second as Harry clambered into his lap.

“Okay,” James said in preparation. “I’ve got it.” 

Lily smiled at her husband’s jovial voice.

“We were in fifth year,” he started confidently. “No sixth,” he corrected quickly, making Lily look up. He frowned, and his eyes tilted upwards as he tried to recall. “No fifth,” he said with a nod of his head. Lily smirked and closed her eyes again.

“So fifth year in the Gryffindor Common Room.” He put an arm around Lily’s shoulder and started stroking her hair. “We had just finished studying up for our O.W.Ls I guess.”

At this Lily scoffed.

“I want the truth, James,” she said insistently.

“We were!” he exclaimed. Lily waited a beat. “Okay, so Remus was studying and we were planning something.” James smiled as Lily did her best to hide one.

“But Lily, when I tell you what happened,” he said dreamily, ruffling his hand through his hair, “You are just going to be amazed. As a matter of fact, you might actually be sad that you missed out on Fifth Year James.”

Lily’s eyes popped open in surprise.

“Oh, will I?” she asked with doubt, pulling Harry into her lap as he began to crawl away from the pair.

“Let me continue,” he pouted, pulling Lily in closer to him. Lily bit her lip to keep herself from retorting, and James took that as a sign to go on.

“So we’re in the common room, and it’s around two in the morning at this point.” Lily peeked, and watched James explain with his usual animation. “Lily, Sirius was absolutely plastered. I mean beyond the point of coherence. And so naturally, we dared him to do something.”

Lily rolled her eyes in anticipation.

“Are you sure I haven’t heard this one before?” she asked skeptically. James snickered and smiled privately.

“Lily, I swear you haven’t.” Lily nodded, and James continued.

“Okay. So this was the year we had that smoking hot Hufflepuff Head Girl, remember?” James shrugged at Lily’s silence. “So of course we had to…”

“…dare Sirius to go and sneak into the Head Girl’s room and steal a pair of her knickers,” Lily finished in disappointment.

“Lily, my darling. You have not heard this story before,” James said firmly. Lily looked up at James, but he shook his head and smirked at his wife.

“Alright! Go on,” she said with a sigh.

So we dared Sirius to go and steal her knickers.” Before Lily interrupted again James continued in that voice that no one could interrupt. “Except…Sirius did not know where the Head Girl’s room was.” James let that sentence marinate in Lily’s head.

“No,” she whispered, imagining what she thought was the worst imaginable.

“I swear on my life, Lily dear, that the following is the truth.” Lily’s smile brightened as James’ did, and she hugged Harry closer to her chest.

“Sirius Orion Black snuck into Minerva McGonagall’s window that night, waking up our poor head of house in the process.”

Lily then let out a cackle that rivaled Sirius’, and a snort that rivaled Peter’s.

“And I jest not,” he said seriously, quieting Lily suddenly. “Peter Pettigrew is now, as far as I know, in possession of a pair of dear Minnie’s knickers.”

Lily laughed uncontrollably at the thought of a drunken Sirius filing through their Transfiguration professor’s undergarment drawer. Harry looked up at his mother curiously, and climbed out from under her arms as her palm slammed on the ground as she attempted to catch her breath.

Lily sat back against James again, who was chuckling slightly out of amazement of Lily and slightly of the memory. A tear slipped out of her eye as she laughed silently, and another, and another until she was no longer laughing. Only crying. James’ face fell slightly at Lily’s sudden change in temperament.

Harry held onto the edge of Lily’s sundress hopefully, trying to get his mother’s attention. Lily picked him up and raised Harry above her head happily as she now cried in streams of tears.

“Lily, what is it?” James asked with concern. He traced his arms up hers, and took Harry from her, cuddling him against his own cheek. Lily shook her head, looked down at her lap, licked her lips, and looked back to James.

She took another breath, and gazed upon James and Harry.

“I’m pregnant.”




 



(September 1st, 1981)

 

Mary actually waited for a rainy day to visit Marlene’s grave. She kept telling herself it was because less were people would be out during a storm, and she was less likely to be spotted. But she knew it was because she liked the aesthetic of it. She didn’t bring an umbrella, because she would rather be punished at least a little bit for her own part in the death of two old friends.

“Hi Marlene,” she said as she entered the marble mausoleum for the McKinnon family. She stood in front of Marlene’s plaque, trying her best to stop her hair from dripping on the floor. She tucked it into her raincoat, and relished in the cold tingle that fell down her spine.

“I hope you’re doing okay. I hope you and Dorcas found each other,” she said tearfully, placing a hand on the cool stone. She traced Marlene’s name with her fingers, and smiled sadly.

“You know, I’m sorry I chose the wrong side.” Mary held her breath as the words flew out of her mouth. She’d been holding it in, hiding it away for so long, that saying it almost felt dangerous. Mary let out her breath, and gazed down at Marlene’s name again, trying to find some familiarity to tie a tether to.

“It’s not all happening poetically, you know,” she said absently. “Maybe you were just afraid. That’s okay,” Mary assured Marlene, assured herself. “I mean, you were definitely afraid.” She thought about Bellatrix and Voldemort and all the other people who had threatened her. “I’m afraid.”

A foot step fell behind Mary, and she turned around with a jumpiness in her body.

“I am sorry, too,” Albus Dumbledore said from a more shadowed part of the mausoleum. He had a large umbrella, and zipped it shut promptly, leaving it by the entrance as he walked forward to Marlene’s stone.

Mary stepped to the side and tilted her head down. She hoped it was discreetly. She hoped Dumbledore hadn’t heard everything.

“Had I been more involved perhaps,” he pondered. He paused for a bit. Had he not said ‘too’ Mary would have thought he didn’t notice her. “I am but a guilty man. I am looking for something to make me feel less guilty.” Dumbledore took a step backwards and bowed his head.

The two stood there in silence for some time. Dumbledore seemed to be thinking something, so Mary thought, too. About how she ruined Marlene’s life for as long as she’d known her.

The rain poured on through their silence. Mary couldn’t help but think that Dumbledore was also fond of the dramatics. How big of a coincidence was it that the two came on the same exact day, months after Marlene’s death?

“Isn’t that right, Mary?” Dumbledore asked aloud. Mary kept her mouth shut, thinking about how this would go down. Would he take her in? Would they duel?

“Sorry?” she decided upon, hoping to keep herself vague.

“We are guilty people. Looking for peace.” Dumbledore turned his head, and so did Mary. She swallowed audibly, stickily. His piercing blue eyes hit her. Mary immediately knew that Dumbledore did not mean any harm. He never had. She looked at him silently for three seconds more before responding.  

“I think so, sir.”

 






A/N: I cannot believe that this is finally over! It has literally been years in the making, and I'm thankful for every bit of it. Please let me know everything you're feeling below. Because I'm feeling a ton, too!!! 






blackballet

 


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