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Incomparable- An Yves Fleury Chronicle by Alexel Writes

Format: Novel
Chapters: 10
Word Count: 35,491
Status: WIP

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

Genres: Horror/Dark, Romance, Action/Adventure
Characters: Dumbledore, Lupin, Snape, James, Lily, Sirius, Voldemort, Grindelwald , OC
Pairings: Sirius/OC, James/Lily, OC/OC, Other Pairing

First Published: 02/01/2018
Last Chapter: 03/13/2018
Last Updated: 03/13/2018

Summary:





Cover art done by Jecula

Incomparable- An Yves Fleury Chronicle

The follow up to The Immeasurable Marauder and Limitless.

Sometimes what lurks in the dark is far more than just a nightmare, sometimes it is concealed within us, burns through us and becomes us. For Yves, her life has never gone according to plan but now she's faced with choices that affect not only her and the ones she loves but the whole of magical world.


Chapter 1: Prologue
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The cold was so much more than feeling now; it was it’s own living breathing thing, a culmination of my past, my present and the finite time I had left. I knew the power was burning through my body, weakening me but I couldn’t know how quickly the deterioration was taking place. What I did know was that without the power and the cold, my body wouldn’t be able to sustain itself at any more. This is who I was now. It wasn’t an unfamiliar set of circumstances for me anymore. I had been here before many times, for many different reasons, facing a new Yves, created in the creeping hell that was my life. I had locked away the parts of my life that brought any solace, any joy, before because it was simply easier to live without it. But now I didn’t really have a choice about what I would and wouldn’t live with. I didn’t have the luxury of time. I took a deep breath in, feeling the impending winter creep inside of me and whisper against my skin. This was as good a moment as any to reflect, although, not everyone would agree…

 

I knew three things for certain:

The first was that some part of Sasha lived within me. It was the same part that was simultaneously saving and killing me. I had bloated myself on his power, consumed too much of it but, without it, I would have been in a far worse situation than the one I currently found myself in. It melded with my power and together I was far stronger than I would have ever thought possible. Without the cold, dark reason of the power I would have discharged by now, the empathetic part of me pushing out the merciless otherness and I surely would have died.

 

The second was that if there was something that could save me, the only person who would be able to tell me what it was, was the same man who ruined my life in the first place. I would have to find Voldemort and I would have to do it quickly.

 

The third was that I needed help and, strange as it may sound, the only ones I trusted to help me, were the same people I who I couldn’t trust myself to be around. I knew what I was capable of now, I knew that the part of me holding the reigns was merciless, would go to any lengths to achieve a desired result and eliminate anything in its path that would make the process even a modicum more difficult. The small voice that sometimes struggled to be heard, the part that was left that still bore some resemblance of who I was, could only do so much.

Even the cold knew that this was unsustainable, that I was going to die if we didn’t do something. Of course, it was the only rational recourse.

 

I would have to make a choice. The cold was telling me to return to The Order, to get them to help me. We were working in the same direction and for the same desired result. It was only natural for us to work together. However, there was always the chance that the aberration I had become would prove too much for them.

The other option was to join Voldemort. It was a practical consideration if any. The cold knew the dangers of that particular endeavour. Not only would I be facing one of the most powerful wizards alive, I would also have to navigate my way through his Death Eaters. And that was if we were even able to find them. Nevertheless, there may be a way to harness Voldemorts fascination with me and use it to my advantage.

 

I felt nails pucker and ladder my stockings as they clawed frantically on my leg trying to get me to move. I looked down curiously to see the sputtering Death Eater whose neck lay beneath my high-heeled foot. His eyes were watery, red gossamer veins drown out the white of his eyes. He was desperate. But of course he was. I was suffocating him. It didn’t take much to over power him. I moved quicker than he could, was stealthier, more intelligent and far more cunning.

“You have disturbed my train of thought.” I said looking down at him where he lay in the blood-splattered shrubbery, in the dirt where he belonged. He lay beneath the windowsill that looked into the kitchen. The candles were snuffed out; there was no one home.

My words only renewed his struggle. I knew I sounded other but I could use it to my advantage.

His eyes were bulging now, tears falling amidst his terrified gurgles, the veins on his arms protruding from the effort of trying to move my leg.

“Who sent you here?” I asked and began to ease the pressure on his throat. He sucked in breath before convulsing into a spittle-spraying cough.

“Fuck you.” He said when he had gotten his breath back.

“Unwise.” I said and reapplied the pressure to his throat, he continued to struggle beneath me but I applied a little more pressure and he subdued eventually getting the message, struggle and die.

“If you do not answer me, you will die here tonight. However, if you think you will die like this…” I said slowly, applying more pressure to his neck, the veins in his forehead pulsating underneath his livid skin, “you are sorely mistaken. I will take my time with you. I will do to you everything that has been done to me over the years. I will do more.” I ended with a lopsided smile holding the pressure a little while longer.

The Death Eaters eyes flared wide in fear, his hands apparently forgetting their fight for air. I lifted my foot again to renewed coughing and desperately swallowed air.

“I will ask again, who sent you here? Tell me the truth, I will know if you lie.”

“I was told to find Fabian Prewett.” He said his voice a dry rasp.

“How did you know to come here?”

“I know someone in the ministry…”

“Who knows about this place?”

“No one. I thought I would see for myself first before reporting back to The Dark Lord.”

“And what have you seen?” I asked watching him carefully for signs of deception.

“Only you.” He said his voice beginning to tremble.

“I see.” I said pensively removing my foot from his neck completely. He threw himself further into the garden in an attempt to get away from me. I looked down at his wand; it had been so easy to overpower him. He really hadn’t stood a chance.

“What were you going to do to Fabian Prewett?” I asked in the same death tone as before.

“We were going to kill him.” He said shaking his head aware of the danger he had just put himself in.

“That does not suit me.” I said considering him.

“You are of no further use to me…”

“But I can be!” he said imploringly, realising that perhaps his life depended on it, “I can help you! I can tell you what’s been going on with the Death Eaters; I can help you protect your people. Or I could deliver a message for you, to leave Prewett alone. I can do that! I can be of use!” he begged, his desperation so noxious I could almost taste is as I breathed in.

“Indeed…” I said after a moments thought, “you can be of use.” I lifted my arm, pointing my wand at him, a green flash erupting from the tip.

 

From one moment to the next the light had left his eyes, his struggling determination was gone, his panic, his desperation, his life- all gone. I looked down at his slumped body between the bushes and considered my options. I had to make it known that Fabian Prewett was off-limits but I also had to find Voldemort and I had just killed my most immediate opportunity of doing so. No matter, I could turn this so that it could work in my favour…

I took a step closer when a thought occurred to me… Perhaps…

I knelt before the body of this nameless Death Eater.

“You will be of use yet.” I said before placing my hand on his body drawing out of him his connection to the earth, the dark, sickly power, the evil within him and drew it into myself. It coursed through my body, which began to hum in pleasure. The euphoria was overwhelming. I withdrew, sated and glutted on power. I had taken all that here was to take. I felt the power burn through me, deepening its hold on me. I had to be strong if I was going to tangle with The Dark Lord, I thought.

Besides, he would be along very soon when he got the message. I wouldn’t have to wait very long.

 

I smiled to myself before getting to work.

 




Ha! Surprise! I know it's a short one but for now it's just a taster of what's to come. I hope you all like the new story banner.

I am so excited to continue yet another journey with all of you. 

As always, I love hearing from you all. Please drop me a review, leave a comment or just check in to say hi.

 

All my love- A

 


Chapter 2: Earth on Fire
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Hi everyone! Here we go again! My apologies for the delay in posting, it's been super busy with engagement party plans and crafts but soon things will be back to normal.

 

As always, thank you for reading and to my reviews- guys, you are utterly amazing and I love you all! 

 

All my love- A

 

 

Fabian

 

“Gideon, I don’t know how many different ways you want me to tell you this story!” I said my fury a seething viper.

“I just don’t believe it.” He said running his hand through his hair and pushing back into his chair.

“Well, you had better because I’m not telling the you blasted thing again.” I drained my glass and slammed it down on the table.

“Easy mate, the whiskey hasn’t done anything to you…”

“Shut up.” I fumed. I knew he was only trying to lighten the mood but now wasn’t the time, “Where the hell is Dumbledore?”

Gideon looked at me with obvious concern. I wasn’t ordinarily the hot-tempered one; that was reserved for Gideon. Where Gideon was all fire, I was level-headed, calm and in control. That was absolutely not the case today. Maybe I had heard wrong, seen something that wasn’t there. No, I had heard it, I had seen it. I wasn’t wrong.

“I’m sure he’ll be along as soon as he can.” 

“This is rather urgent Gideon.” I said hearing the bitterness in my own voice.

“I know Fabian.” He said steeling his voice, making it clear that he was coming to the end of his patience, “Pull yourself together.”

There were footsteps in the passage outside the room, voices arguing. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. I didn’t have enough energy for this. Without a knock the door swung open and Sirius stumbled in followed closely by an angry James, a concerned Remus and a timid Peter.

“What happened?” Sirius barked. His shirt hung open exposing a livid red cut surrounded by very white skin. He could not straighten up completely but, despite the pain it was obviously causing him, he still tried to stand tall.

I didn’t want to tell the story again, and certainly not to this idiot. Instead of answering him, I sat back in my chair and folded my arms. I felt like setting the earth on fire but I would settle for Sirius Black.

“Fabian,” His voice warned, “Where is Yves?”

“Gone.” I said eyeing him aggressively.

“Where has she gone to?” He asked, his voice razor sharp.

“How the fuck should I know?” I said injecting my own menace into my voice. Truly I had no idea and if I did I sure as hell wouldn’t have been waiting here.

“Was she not with you, you idiotic pratt?” Sirius barked violently, his hand curling tightly around his wand.

“And?” I said knowing I was being deliberately vague and frustrating.

“Where is she?” he roared. Remus placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder but James was glaring at me aggressively. I knew if something were to happen, at least James and Remus would join Sirius in any fight. However, I had Gideon and between us we definitely had the upper hand.

“Fabian,” Gideon began, using his most gentle voice. He was trying to defuse the situation. “Tell the boy what happened.”

“Merlin Gideon. I don’t want to talk about it.”

“Honestly I don’t give a flying fuck what you want Prewett. Where is Yves?”

“She’s gone with her brother.” Gideon said before I could give him the run around again.

Sirius didn’t speak but his face spoke volumes. It completely blanked as he blinked at Gideon. As realization dawned on him, he turned to me with more outrage than I had ever seen in him. For a moment I felt a pang of sympathy for him. Ultimately, he did love her too. The thought was quickly replaced by my own needs. 

“Do not trifle with me tonight boy.” I said warningly.

“You were supposed to be looking after her!” he shouted lifting his wand and pointing it at me.

“That was never our arrangement.” I said dismissively. I knew I was being callous, hurting him because I was hurting but I didn’t care. I didn’t know where she was or what was happening to her, whether she was alive or... She’d been gone for hours.

“Arrangement? Is that all she was to you? A fucking arrangement?” Veins were bulging in his arms and his neck with the force of his anger.

“And what was she to you? A fucking possession?” I said taking a stand, holding out my own wand. 

It was James who made the first move. He pointed his wand at me but Gideon put him down in a Full Body Bind before he could so much as think of a hex. However, Gideon did not anticipate Remus who struck him with a Leg-Locker the moment he stood. He came down hard, his teeth chinking together horribly as his chin hit the ground.

“Expelliarmus.” I said and Remus’s wand flew out of his hand and into mine.

“Stupefy.” Sirius yelled.

“Protego.” I said at the same time. Sirius’s spell rebounded but he dodged it with surprising nimbleness, “Petrificus Totalus.”

Sirius swatted the spell away with ease.

“Expelliarmus.” He said and my wand flew from my hand but I was way ahead of him. I launched forward only to be intercepted by Remus and a surprisingly strong right hook. His fist connected with my cheekbone, smarting terribly. I looked up to see a wide-eyed, very boyish Remus. He looked half apologetic and half embarrassed. The viper seethed inside me at the affront. I took a handful of his shirt and shoved him violently backward. He collided with Sirius and the two of them fell over backward, onto the ground. I didn’t give them a second chance. I dove right in, punching and kicking what I could and receiving the same.

A hand grabbed me by the hair pulling me up and away from Remus and Sirius.

“Enough.” Moody’s familiar voice grumbled irritably. “I’ve had just about enough of this!” he yelled, stamping his large staff viciously on the wooden floors.

“Are you suicidal laddie?” he asked Sirius, looking down at him from where he lay on the ground, blood colouring his bared teeth, “You’ve only just been healed. I didn’t risk my life to save you so you could die in a schoolyard brawl!”

“And you…” he said turning to look at me but his look of disappointment said all that needed to be said. What was I doing? I looked around to see Remus sitting on the ground, cradling his side gingerly. James and Gideon stood glaring at each other, their hair and clothes disordered. But Peter stood in the corner completely untouched. Why hadn’t he come to the aid of his friends? At one point he was the only one in the room with a wand.

I shook my head trying to quash the anger that was feeding me and bring back the man I really was.

“Sirius,” I said taking a step closer to where he lay on the floor, my hand outstretched to help him off the ground, “I’m sorry.”

His mouth flew open, his face openly surprised. I continued to hold my hand out for him while he gathered his thoughts. Without a word, he clasped my hand. His grip was strong but I didn’t press back, this wasn’t the time to decide whose dick was bigger. I pulled him up slowly, careful not to hurt him again. He was in obvious pain, sweat covered his brow and his shirt clung to his skin uncomfortably.

“That’s better.” Moody said beside me while he pulled a chair over and took a grunting seat. Sirius proceeded to collapse into the one nearest him. The others grabbed a seat wherever they could. Moody gestured for me to join them but I knew why he wanted me to sit. I couldn’t really get out of it, I would have to tell them eventually whether I liked it or not.

“Dumbledore said it was urgent…” Moody grumbled impatiently.

“Yves is gone.” I said looking at him and no one else. I knew if I had heard those words from Sirius I would have ripped this throat out. I’m sure that the urge was the same for him.

“Explain.” Moody said succinctly. Orders were orders.

“After we left here we went back to my house where we got changed and went to dinner. I thought after everything,” I tried not to look at Sirius when I spoke, “she may want a break. We went to a muggle area and selected a restaurant at random, I don’t know how he found us.” I said thinking back to the panic I had felt when I lost Yves in the crowd of stampeding muggles. I tried not to think about how I had told her I loved her but I was quiet unsuccessful. My chest constricted horribly.

“I lost her in the commotion but when I got to her, Sasha had already killed a muggle woman. I tried to disarm him but…” I shook my head, “he was too powerful. Yves got between us and then…” I didn’t want to tell them this part; I didn’t want to tell them how she had said that we were a means to an end, a means to finding him.

“And then?” Sirius urged, his voice razor sharp.

“And then she exploded me into a wall and the next thing I knew I was out cold.” I just had to do it and do it quickly, there was no use in delaying it.

“When I came to, I watched her brother do something to the woman he killed. It looked like it did when Yves drew that power in the cave.” I turned to Sirius when I said this to judge his reaction. He didn’t flinch but continued to stare at me intently.

“Before I could do anything, she embraced him and they disapparated.”

“She went with him willingly?” Sirius asked, his voice hardly more than a whisper.

“Yes.” I said looking away from him.

“She was probably trying to get him away from you.”

“She told Sasha that we were just a means to an end, that the only reason she was working with The Order was because we would help her find him.”

“I don’t believe it.” Sirius said sitting back in his chair and crossing his arms stubbornly.

“Well,” I said taking the same stance, “you’d better start.”

“I do not think she meant what she said Fabian.” Remus said in his usual calm and controlled voice, “About The Order.”

“What makes you say that?” James said sardonically, “I mean, do we really know what she’s capable of?”

“Watch it James…” Sirius cautioned while I barked for him to shut up.

“Ok, ok…” he said holding his hands up in submission, “I’m sorry. Carry on Moony.” He eyed Remus imploringly.

Remus smiled at James as though looking at a younger, precocious brother.

“I think,” he said finally, “if I know Yves, and I quite think I do, she would want to protect you, protect any of us, at any cost, even if that cost put her in mortal peril. Do we have any idea where she may be?”

“None.” I said but I looked at Sirius hopefully. Perhaps he knew something I didn’t. He exchanged looks with me, desperation plain on his face. He didn’t have any more idea than I did.

“We may not know where she is…” Moody said rising to his feet, “but I think we can say certainly that she is alive.”

My head whipped around so suddenly I felt a little off balance.

“You couldn’t have led with that?” Sirius asked before I could.

“I had to hear the full story first.” He said looking down at Sirius indulgently.

“How do you know Alastor?” I asked, my voice all business. There was a spark of hope in my chest. Maybe she was alive, maybe she had managed to escape, maybe, like Remus said, she didn’t mean what she said. Maybe she was still my Yves.

“I think you two should come with me. Sirius, you really should put some decent clothes on laddie, and a jacket. It’s cold out.” Moody said pulling a hipflask from his robes and taking a deep swig.

“How do you know?” Sirius asked stubbornly not moving without answers.

“We have found something but I would like both you and Fabian to have a closer look before Dumbledore and I explain what we think we’ve found. We would like to hear your thoughts on the matter.”

Sirius looked at me. As always his thoughts were plain to see. He was obviously unhappy about the prospect of going anywhere with me as I was about going anywhere with him. On the other hand, I could see the desperate need in him to find out what was going on, to see if we could find Yves. What we were going to do when we found her was another matter entirely. I had told the woman I loved her but we were interrupted before she could respond. And no doubt the swine in front of me wanted to occupy the same place I did in her life. But if working together meant that we would find her, for the mean time we would both try.

Sirius nodded and stood carefully, minding his wounds as he moved.

“Give me ten minutes.” He said more to me than to Moody, undeniably issuing a warning against leaving without him.

There was a shuffle outside the door before Remus pulled it open to expose a red-faced Lily and Emmeline.

“Uh…” Lily said looking abashed, “hi.” Emmeline looked at her hands, which had suddenly become the most interesting foreign objects known to man.

“Lils, were you eavesdropping?” James asked coming over and pulling her into his arms.

“Um, we tried.” Lily said obviously trying to avoid everyone’s eyes, “but we got here too late.”

“Come on.” He said pulling her away, “I’ll fill you in.”

Once they had left, Gideon magicked the room back to the way it was before and grabbed three tumblers pouring us three whiskeys. Moody eyed it dubiously, he never drank anything that didn’t come from his hipflask but seemed to trust the source of this particular drink and drained his glass with us.

“What am I going to walk into Alastor?” I asked once my tumbler was empty.

“Something dark.” Was all he said setting the glass aside standing and leaving the room.

“Fabian,” Gideon said from the seat beside me, “mind your temper.”

I shot him the foulest look I could muster.

“Don’t look at me like that.” He said returning my glare with one of his own, “You are not yourself and frankly, you are of no use to anyone, especially Yves, if you cannot control yourself. Now get a fucking grip and go and find her.”

 

The three of us found ourselves on the outskirts of a densely grown wood, mangled trees bent and contorted in the moonlight looking hideously mutilated and otherworldly. Snow flitted in the dead air in slow motion, a world caught in still life.

I looked over to where Sirius stood. He was in obvious pain, clutching his side trying to support it, he stared wide-eyed in front of him. It wasn’t fear I saw on his face now it was recognition.

“Why are we here?” he asked. Even though his voice was soft, it carried in the stillness of this place like a scream.

Moody looked at him briefly before he started walking. Sirius looked after him but eventually made his legs lift and follow the path Moody had trudged through the snow.

“Wait.” I said behind him. I withdrew my wand and conjured a walking stick for him. “Don’t slip.” I said handing it to him.

He looked at it for a moment before looking at me, considering what to do with it. In the end, he dug it into the snow using it to support as he made a slow walk after Moody. I stayed behind him, my wand outstretched.

“Do you recognise this place?” I asked Sirius, my breath making a plume in front of my face.

“Yes.” Was all he said through laboured breath.

“Well,” I said straining to keep my temper, “where are we?”

“This is the Fleury family estate.” He said in a dead voice.

“Merlin.” I whispered. There were specks of light and the remains of a manor house coming into view. A fire had gutted the house, that much I knew but it must have been an exceptionally powerful blaze to do this kind of damage. I knew Yves had started the fire in an attempt to get away from Voldemort but the sheer power behind the spell must have been immense. But she was so young then, it was before all of this…

“God,” Sirius said stopping to take in the scene. He was slightly out of breath, leaning on the walking stick heavily, “she lived through this.” He said more to himself than to me but I knew what he was talking about. There was something about this place that felt wrong in my bones. Perhaps it was all of the death; perhaps what Yves had encountered here, perhaps it was something else.

Someone pointed their wand over to where we stood and I heard Moody grumble for us to catch up.

As we neared I could make out the unmistakable silhouette of Dumbledore.

“I have been keeping my eye on this place since…” he said using his hand to indicate the burnt remains of the house. He did not look up at us, instead continued to study whatever lay before him.

“I was alerted at once that there had been an intrusion. I, in turn, alerted Alastor,” he said finally lifting his head to look over to us but his robes still concealed something, “and then apparated directly. You are perhaps twenty minutes behind me. But we are not the first ones to have come here. The snow was disturbed when we arrived.”

Moody continued to gaze at the ground, his back to us.

I took a step closer even though part of me knew that I didn’t really want to know what they were looking at.

I pointed my wand at the area in front of Dumbledore’s feet but I couldn’t really make out what I was looking at until Sirius’s wand light met my own.

A black robed man sat awkwardly in the snow, his head lolling disjointedly to one side, his skin grey but he was dirty, leaves and mulch stuck to his hair and clothes, his eyes were milky white. I knelt down to further inspect the body. There was no blood around where he sat. He had been killed elsewhere. The sleeve on his arm had been torn away from the elbow exposing the Dark Mark on his forearm. Around it were fine radiating lines, webbing the skin in a familiar way. I brought my wand up to examine the most obvious and unquestioningly most disquieting feature of the scene. Driven through the centre of the Death Eaters chest was a 3-inch thick branch that reminded me very much of the Ash tree I had outside my house. It’s jagged edges glistened in the dim light, stomach-turning bits of tissue, fibre and dirt clung to it. Punched on the most prominent splinter hung a piece of blood-stained parchment.

 

Come and find me.

 

I withdrew, my stomach churning. Sirius hobbled closer to observe the scene but he did not go on his haunches as I had but the effect was the same. I watched the horror creep over his face, realisation dawning.

“Yves did this?” Sirius asked, his voice a whisper of disbelief.

“Do you think that is the case?” Dumbledore asked looking between Sirius and I.

“Yes.” It was a simple answer, a single word that meant so much.

Dumbledore breathed deeply, a frown crumpling his forehead. 

“Sirius, do you remember what I said to you the night Yves came to Headquarters?”

Sirius did not answer, instead inclined his head imperceptibly.

“I believe, our Yves has crossed that line.”

“We don’t know that.” Sirius said loudly into the dead air space.

“Let us not be blind to the ways others Sirius, no matter how much they mean to us.”

“What are you talking about?” I asked frustrated.

Sirius shot me an irritated glance before explaining.

“The night Yves arrived home,” he said placing particular emphasis on the word home, “Albus said that there was something wrong with Yves.” He looked from me to Albus with a suspicion, “he knew then that something wasn’t exactly right with her. I thought she may have become a Death Eater but you,” he said speaking to Dumbledore now, his voice growing more ruthless, “knew that there was something wrong with her, even then. You knew something like this would happen.”

Dumbledore did not speak, instead he looked out at the house, over the grounds and the body before his eyes landed on us again.

“You do not know what Yves has been through.” Dumbledore said, his voice solemn, “what horror she has encountered. She has seen more of this war than many experienced Aurors and she has most certainly lived through more hardship, experienced more Dark Arts than anyone I know.”

“You put her in many of those situations Dumbledore.” Sirius said savagely. He wasn’t wrong and I admired his balls for saying so.

“I have played my part, yes, I put her in jeopardy many times and I should have…” he said trailing off looking once more over the grounds. He kept the remainder of his thoughts to himself.  

“We know that Yves is not herself, that we have lost her to the darkness.” He took a deep breath before continuing.

“I do not believe Yves has become a Death Eater.” He said resolutely, “but I do believe that she is nearing the point of no return. She does not know how far she has disappeared into the abyss; she doesn’t see the creeping darkness as we are able to. I fear, in her quest to cure herself, we will see more of this, and she will not know how she has normalized the abhorrent behaviour. I believe that is why she went with Sasha this evening. To find answers. What happened there, we do not know, but judging by this, it must have gone array.”  

“She is sending Voldemort a message now.” I said looking down at the note. It was obvious. “She believes he has the answers, a way to help her. Possibly Sasha couldn’t give her the answers she needed.”

“I believe that is exactly what she believes. However, we know that one cannot tangle with Voldemort and expect to come out without having to pay a price. I believe this is the price he will demand of Yves, even if she doesn’t know that it is the price she will be paying. We already know that he wants to possess her,” Sirius shivered beside me, perhaps my words from earlier were coming back to haunt him, “in this state it is difficult to say for certain whether he will be able to or whether she will descend further into this madness”

“You said the snow had been disturbed. Do you think the message is for Voldemort? Do you think he’s already seen it?”

“I think that’s exactly who the message is for. And I am certain he has already seen this.” I breathed in deeply trying to quell this sense of impending doom.

“This pattern, on his skin,” I said pointing to the body, trying not to look at it while simultaneously trying to get my mind away from thoughts of Voldemort capturing Yves, “this is the same pattern that was left on the body of the woman that Sasha killed.”

“Indeed.” Dumbledore said looking at me pointedly, “It is also the pattern that has begun to show on Yves’s skin since she started absorbing the power.”

“Do you think she killed this Death Eater and…” I didn’t know how to say explain it.

“Yes.” Dumbledore said filling in the blanks, “I think she is trying to build up enough power to take on Voldemort, but we know from what we have seen and Sasha’s development, that it is a slippery slope. I do not think she will be able to draw the line. If this is anything to go by,” he said looking down at the mutilated man, “I do not know if we will be able to get her back.”

The snow continued to fall slowly all around us, not a breath of air.

“What do we do?” Sirius asked, his voice little more than whisper.

“Together you can find her and bring her back. Possibly.”

“And if we can’t?” I asked my voice strained. I knew the answer before Dumbledore spoke.

“If we can’t then we will we have to kill her.”

 


Chapter 3: Part Memory
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A cloudbank had enveloped the small muggle village, ominous vapour curled around the houses, disguising them from view, allowing only the smallest amount of electric light to escape from the windows and illuminate the pavements.  Almost as thought they knew something wicked was prowling the streets, they ushered their children indoors, made haste as they removed their shopping bags from their cars, pulled their dogs too quickly down the road as they walked. The clouds touched the earth, a quiet protection.

 

One foot in front of the other, my heels clacked on the paving stones, an echo into the dead of the evening. I took in the night, feeding on the unerring odiousness of it all, the amazing sound of nothing but the steady clack on the pavement. I would have to fulfil certain basic requirements. I would have to find shelter, food, clothes and a place to rest. Although my body no longer needed as much sleep and rest as it used to, it still needed some. My appetite was minimal, I was being fed by something else now, but I had to try and eat, the body after all couldn’t live on power and air. I had to plot my next move. I wasn’t exactly hiding from Voldemort but I wasn’t going to make it easy for him to find me either. He ought to have gotten my note by now, I’m sure the full message would be an easy one for him to decipher. Find me but leave The Order alone, it was a simple request, one I was sure he would absolutely not comply with. However, if I had to, I would kill more of them. I had chosen to go in a different direction, I had chosen to find Voldemort and extract what I needed from him on my own, but that didn’t mean that The Order wouldn’t one day prove useful to me. They would. I found myself even now, peculiarly attached to the idea of both Fabian and Sirius. They meant something to me no matter how cold I felt and how dark I had gone. The cold struggled to quantify these thoughts and feelings, it couldn’t understand why this was happening. However, the small voice that sometimes whispered into the screaming torrent said that it was important that we hold onto this and so we did.

 

Once I apparated with the body of the Death Eater, I knew I had tripped the alarm. I placed him in the unseasonal snow, black against white, the remains of my old home, the place where it had all begun completing the macabre picture.

And now I stood before another home, not my own, but someone else’s. The lights were turned off and, unlike the other houses, it did not seem to breathe into the night. It was deserted, but not vacant. There were some letters jammed into the post box; too many leaves covered the stone floor of the porch. I opened the unlocked gate attached to a low fence and made my way toward the house.

“Allohamora.” I said, my wand pointed at the lock on the front door. It clicked softly into the night as though too afraid to resonate harshly within it.

“Lumos.” I muttered closing the door behind me and made my way around the house. There was no one home and, judging by the packing list on the bed in the master suit, they would not be for a while. I drew the curtains and lit a candle on the dressing table careful not to draw attention to the house. The last thing I needed now was a visit from some well-intentioned neighbours.

I rummaged through the woman’s cupboard and took out the clothes that would suit my mission, jeans, jerseys, jackets… before making my way downstairs to forage for food. I ate mechanically before returning upstairs to clean my filthy body in the master bath.

 

I lay on the bed staring at the ceiling for a long while thinking and plotting my next move. After a while my eyelids grew heavy and I fell asleep.

 

I stood in front of a mirror looking into a face that had become unrecognisable. My hair, dark and full framed my face. My eyes looked back at the curious expression without interest instead with cold observation. The black irises focussed on each other for a while taking in the otherness of it before examining the white skin, once tinged with colour now as dead as the skin of my brothers, Mrs Bevan or the woman Sasha had killed. I lifted my hand, webbed in black, to wipe flecks of white dust from my cheeks. The more I wiped it away, the more disturbed it seemed to become. I wiped again and again, more and more of the white disappearing exposing the web of intricate black lines radiating, connecting, lacing together over my skin. My heart began to beat rapidly, panic a wild thing within my chest. I looked once more into my eyes hoping to see something human, anything of myself reflecting back but I stared right back at me, a contemptuous smirk playing on the edges of my mouth. Those were not my lips; this was not my face. I moved my eyes upwards to study the eyes again but those weren’t mine either. Sasha now stared back at me.

“Look at what you have become.” He said laughing satisfactorily, “This, darling sister, is what freedom looks like.”

I tried to scream, tried to get away but I was trapped knocking against the cold, unfeeling façade that was Sasha for I was nothing more than a weak thought in his head, so easily silenced.

 

Sobbing hysterically I turned away from my reflection and into a world awash with colour. It was the Great Hall at Hogwarts spectacularly decorated in school colours, decorated tables, lamps emanating a soft golden glow. I looked down to see I was wearing a familiar black dress. I looked up, turning in surprise to see the faces of so many people I had once known, so many of my friends. They all looked expectantly at me, waiting for something. Behind me, someone put their hands around my waist and I shivered as a warm breath and soft lips met my hair. Suddenly I was spun around and music began to play. A hand braced on my back, pressing me closer, another took my hand and clasped it delicately as we began to float around the dance floor. A laugh escaped my lips as I was twirled around, my dress flaring beautifully. I looked up and into the familiar handsome face. His black hair hung around his face, his dark eyes on mine, a small, pleased smile pressed into his face. I was surprised to see him and real joy flooded my stomach causing me to laugh out loud again.

“Enjoying yourself?” He asked looking incredibly gratified.

“Immensely.” I said my voice full of enthusiasm and light. He smiled broadly in response.

He lowered his head to mine, his hair silkily touching my cheeks, his nose pressed against mine affectionately, his lips…

 

I sat bolt upright in the bed, clutching my wand, and looked around, taking in my surroundings. Soft morning light spilled in through the drawn curtains. I examined my hand, the webbing had grown but had not spread past the elbow.

There was work to be done. I climbed out of the warm bed and began to dress in clothes that were too big for me, selecting what the most appropriate attire would be, but I could not get the dream out of my mind, each time I cast it out it returned with renewed vigour.

I smiled a small smile. It was more than just a dream, it was part of a memory.

“Severus Snape.” I said out loud to myself, “Who would have thought?”

 

  ;)

 

xxx


 


Chapter 4: Fire and Fury
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Sirius

 

I arrived at Headquarters frozen to the bone, my injury aching so violently I could hardly breathe. I heaved my lame body toward the house trying to go as quickly as I could. I tried my hardest to pretend that I wasn’t in the amount of pain I was. I didn’t need Fabian thinking I was weakened in any way. But he had seen right through that. I shook my head. That wasn’t really the concern right now. Yves… Merlin. I couldn’t even quantify what I had witnessed, what it all meant or how in the hell we were going to find her.

Once at the top of the path, I mounted the stairs, opened the door and came down hard on my knees, my lungs unable to heave any harder to take in the oxygen they so desperately needed.

Wheeling around the corner came a plaid clad James in his pyjamas, Lily in a nightgown, Remus in his usual jeans and crumpled button up, Peter trailing behind looking more dishevelled than even Remus.

“Pads mate…” James began to ask but I held my hand out for him to stop. I just needed a moment to breathe. I just needed some fucking air. My body churned as I gasped for breath that just wasn’t there, searing pain radiated in my chest. On top of the horrendous injury my heart was fucking broken. I began to panic sure that I was about to suffocate. I was going to die here in this godforsaken place, my heart beating a thousand times a minute, and I would never be able to find Yves and tell her again that I loved her.  I would never be able to save her. I was going to die here before I actually got the chance to leave my mark, to make any discernable difference in this shithole world. My thoughts were like a hurricane through my head continuing to sweep my breath away with them.

I felt arms stretch around me holding me tightly. I lifted my head into a cascade of deep red. Lily had taken a seat in front of me, her legs on either side of me while she held me fiercely. I choked back the tears with near audible effort.

“Just breathe Sirius.” She said in a soft voice, “Breathe with me.”

She lifted her arms up and hugged me tightly. I could feel the deep rise and fall of her chest and matched her as best I could. Before long, the panic seemed to subside and I could gather myself.

Lily pulled her body away from mine, keeping a firm grip on my arms, and looked at me keenly.

“Tea?” she said after a while with the kindest smile I had ever seen. I nodded and she rose to her feet. Remus put his hand underneath my arm and helped my lame body to its feet and lugged me into the kitchen.

We all sat in our usual places not saying a word while the kettle boiled, whistling jarringly.

Lily made a pot of fragrant tea for me, and normal black tea for everyone else.

“So…” James said in his usual prying manner.

I looked up at him, his face feigning disinterest but I knew him too well. He was absolutely dying to find out what had happened. I knew it was a serious situation but I couldn’t help it, I smiled broadly as his lack of tact.

“What?” he asked having the decency to look a little embarrassed, “Everyone was thinking it, I was the only one who had the balls to ask.”

“Technically, you didn’t actually ask anything.” Remus said with a small tisk.

“Technically,” James said mustering himself up for a verbal duel, “dogs aren’t allowed at the table.”

“Yeah, because deer are so much better.” Peter said unable to help himself from chipping in.

James rolled his eyes in Peter’s direction.

“If we’re talking technicalities Wormtail, it’s a stag. Also,” he paused for dramatic effect, “you’re a goddamn rat. A rat! You’re definitely not allowed at the table.”

We all laughed at the familiar banter before sobering and sipping our tea.

“It was awful.” I said out of nowhere breaking the silence of the warm kitchen.

No one pressed me; they knew I would tell them when I could. That’s the way it always was with us. We were more than friends; we were family, no questions asked. I felt a pang in my chest and, not for the first time, thought about how Yves didn’t have that now, or perhaps that she never really did.

“Dumbledore found something at Yves’s house.”

“The one in France?” James asked.

“Yes.” I replied simply before telling them the story.

They all sat staring into their teacups looking like a scene out of Divination class. I looked into mine but there was nothing in there except the little particles of calm Lily had dosed me with after my panic attack.

“So Dumbledore thinks she’s gone bonkers?” James asked bluntly and received a punch on either arm from Lily and Remus. “What?” he asked incredulously, looking at them both, rubbing the offending areas with his hands.

“Tact James.” Lily reminded him while Remus muttered something about an insensitive bastard.

“Yeah.” I answered honestly. “Maybe not bonkers but definitely lost. Dumbledore seems to think that while Yves is searching for a way to fix herself, she has lost sight of who she is and is becoming something else.”

“Something else?” Peter asked, his voice little more than a squeak.

“Yeah. It’s like he thinks she doesn’t know how wrong it is, how wrong she is.”

“That makes sense.” Lily chimed in, “Remember when she went after Marlene? It was like she didn’t know she was terrifying absolutely everyone around her. She seemed like a different person when that happened but when she came up to see you she was sort of more like herself.”

“Do you think she will be able to find her way back?” Remus asked looking me dead in the eye, unafraid of the answer I was about to give and any fallout thereof. He was steadfast as always.

“I will get her back.” I said looking him back with the same determination.

“How?” Peter asked from the other side of the table.

“I don’t know but I will.”

“Well, we can start by going through her things. Maybe that will give us an indication about where she’s gone to?” Lily said hopefully.

“Yeah!” James joined in heartily.

“I don’t have all of her things.” I said suddenly becoming furious again, this time with Prewett. Rationally I knew it wasn’t really his fault but he was supposed to be protecting her.

“Ah,” Remus said realising instantly what I meant, “well, I think we should have a look in the morning at what we do have and perhaps we can get the rest of her things later and go through that…”

“I’m working with Prewett, he can bring it here.” I said my voice razor sharp.

“Surely you don’t have to do that mate. I’m sure Dumbledore would understand…” James said sounding horrified.

“Actually,” I said standing, “I think Prewett is exactly who should be helping us.” Oh, god, I really did hate myself.

“You do?” James asked also rising to his feet.

“If there’s anyone as motivated to find Yves as I am, it’s that imbecile.”

I began walking to the door when a sudden urge overtook me.

“I’m leaving headquarters to move into my own place. I think I need to get myself settled and…”

“Not now Pads. Marlene’s already left, you can’t go too.” James said while running his hand through his untamed hair in frustration.

“Actually, I think now is the best time. For all of us. If we don’t start our lives now, when are we ever going to get the opportunity to do it?”

“Sirius,” Remus said deathly serious, “you just told us that Dumbledore believed isolation to be the catalyst for Yves and now you want to isolate yourself…”

“I don’t want to isolate myself,” I said turning to face him, “I want to set up a life for us, for all of us, together. When Yves gets back I want her to have a home, a family that she can rely on with people she can trust. When I left home, Merlin alone knows whether I would have even made it this far without each of you. I want that for Yves, I want it for all of us. Lily and James are going to get married and have babies and we’re,” I said inclining my head to Remus and Peter, “going to have that too even if we can’t see it yet. So I am going to do this, and you should too. We should leap, but leap together.”

I turned my back and made my way up the stairs before I could hear any more of what they were saying. I was right; I could feel it in my heart. This was something I would do and I would do it on my own terms.

 

I walked into the room acutely aware of Yves’s absence now more than ever before. Even when she I though she was dead, I felt closer to her than I did now. I had a quick shower to warm up my aching bones and muscles before taking a seat at her desk. She had left some of her work here but it wasn’t everything. But it was a starting place.

I skimmed through her notes on symbology and ruins but I couldn’t find anything significant there. Further in her notebook was research about Grindelwald, pictures torn from books, a history and a list of all other possible ‘experiments’. I shuddered thinking of Yves as an experiment, a test, a possibility. She was more than all that, she was so much more. I dug in the drawer and found photographs at the bottom amongst articles from muggle newspapers about disappearances and murders. I looked carefully at the photographs. They were obviously of crimes scenes, bodies of muggles found in secluded places, pictures of towns from which they had disappeared, maps with locations marked off on them. Something about the maps and the photographs scratched in my mind. If we were going to find Yves, then we should probably start with where she had been.

My mind made up, I packed a bag with a few essentials, sent everything else into Yves’s trunk before packing my own. Looking around at the empty room, I gathered my resolve and left Headquarters. The next time I returned would be to leave and start a life with Yves.

 

I apparated to the muggle street outside the boundary to Fabian’s house and trudged to towards his house my body aching horribly. I wasn’t sure exactly which house belonged to Fabian but I was sure I would be able to sniff it out if I tried hard enough. Rows and rows of sleepy houses passed, muggles inside sleeping peacefully completely unaware of what was happening right underneath their noses. In the distance I could see an open door, a light flickering inside. A candle. Muggles didn’t use candles if they didn’t have to. I upped my pace as much as I could. As I neared the house, I saw Fabian sitting on the porch his head in his hands. He looked up, his face was drawn, his eyes bloodshot, his clothes and shoes caked with mud.

“Fabian?” I asked clutching my wand more tightly.

“Sirius?” he asked but there was something wrong with his voice. “You shouldn’t be here.”

“Why not?” I asked getting my back up immediately. We were supposed to be working together, sure it was the middle of the night but I had something I needed to share.

“Because it isn’t safe.” He said getting to his feet.

“What do you mean?” I asked finally standing in front of him.

“I’ll show you.” He said and lifted his wand walking to the backside of the house. I slogged behind him until he came to a stop, pointing a beam of light into the garden bed.

I looked to where the light pointed. Plants had been trampled flat, footprints left in the mud. He moved the light and pointed it to a slick black puddle. My stomach reeled.

“Is that blood?” I asked, my voice sounding infuriatingly weak.

“Yes.” He said, his eyes looking impossibly solemn.

“Someone has been here…” I said looking around on my guard.

“Someone has died here.” He said, “Look at the tree.” He lifted his wand up. A massive tree covered the most of the garden. Fabian was pointing his wand at a broken branch, broken shards pointed towards the house dangerously. I thought back to the Death Eater.

“Merlin…” I muttered covering my hand with my mouth, “Do you think Yves killed that Death Eater here?”

“That’s exactly what I think. While I was waiting at Headquarters she probably came home and found him lurking around the house. The branch we found was from an Ash tree…” He shook his head, his frustration obvious.

“She was here.” I said softly, my heart breaking even more than it already was. She had chosen to come back here, to Fabian, and not to me.

“And I missed her,” I looked up at Fabian, his tone of voice one I had never heard before, “and now she’s gone.”

He looked utterly distraught, completely disconsolate.

“Fabian, mate,” I said lifting my hand and putting it on his back reassuringly, what the fuck was I doing? “We haven’t lost her, I have an idea but I need to have a look at her things.”

Fabian lifted his head and looked at me for a long time. He nodded and we returned to the house.

 

Fabian secured the house before leading me to the kitchen. There was a fresh pot of coffee steaming in the cold.

“What do you need?” He asked taking out some cups and filling them with coffee.

“I need to have a look at the things Yves brought here, her bag, her notes… anything you have.”

“It’s in my room.” He said heaping sugar into his cup before pushing the sugar over to me.

“In your room?” I asked concentrating on the sugar. In his room? She had set up her things in his room? I wanted to rip my heart out of my body, or his, either would do.

Instead of answering he looked up at me with sympathy.

“We’re going to have to talk about this.” He said taking a sip, watching me fiercely.

“Sure, and while we’re at it we can talk Quidditch, play gobstones and have a sleep over.”

“You know what Black…” he said an edge to his voice.

“What is that Prewett?” I asked, my sarcasm edging in aggression.

He took a deep breath, his knuckles pulling the skin white, the veins in his arms protruding.

“What specifically are you looking for?” he asked, his restrained voice downright vexing.

“Pictures.” I said challengingly. The look on his face was homicidal, “Ok, fine.” I said taking a breath, “I found a map and some pictures of the places…”

“Sasha had killed the muggles.” He said already rising from his stool.

He rushed upstairs and was only gone a few moments before Yves’s bag, papers, articles and photographs floated to the table, Fabian following them.

“There’s a place,” Fabian began, his voice all business, his focus absolute, “where Yves found the first body. It’s also the place she found the first pocket of power. I’ve been there with her. I haven’t visited the other places but we went here.” He pointed to one of the marks on the map.

“Do you think it’s significant?” I asked looking through the pictures.

“I think it’s a starting point.”

 

********

 

I was beyond exhausted by the time we arrived at the site Fabian described. The moon was a sliver in the sky, most of its light obscured by clouds. Fabian and I scanned the area for any signs of movement. Once he had satisfied himself that we were alone, Fabian pointed his wand to the sky.

Lumos Maxima.” He turned and began walking, “Keep your eyes open.” He ordered on his guard.

“Yeah, because realistically I’d be ambling around here with my eyes closed.” I said rolling my eyes behind his back.

“Well, you are about that stupid so it wouldn’t surprise me.” He said waspishly.

“Oh wow,” I said drawling, “Prewett seems to think he has some wit.”

“Wit? Is that what you think you have?” He said turning to look at me, “Because I thought you were just wasting what little fucking time we have to find Yves with your impudent crap.” He turned back and continued walking. I followed him my cheeks flaring horribly. The oaf was right but I’d be damned if I said that out loud. Out of nowhere he stopped, frozen in place.

“This place is changed.” He said looking around wildly.

“How?” I said looking around for something that seemed out of place.

“This used to be a lake.” He said looking over at the deep cavity in front of us. Taking a closer look, I could see the remains of water on the sandy bank that remained, the rising levels staining the surrounding rock like age rings on a tree. The ground, however, was blackened as though burned. It smelt distinctly of sulphur. A shiver passed over me. Something immensely powerful had done this.

“Do you see that?” he asked.

I looked in the direction he was pointing.

“What is that?” I said illuminating my wand and pointing it at the mound.

“Shit.” Fabian said before he bolted towards it. My blood ran cold.

Yves.

I couldn’t run but I pushed myself as quickly as I could. Fabian was crouched beside what was undoubtedly a person.

“He’s dead.”

“He?” I said coming around to get a better look, my heart still beating frantically.

A man lay slumped on his side, his eyes wide, his mouth slightly ajar, a mask of horror immortalised. I knew immediately that this was Sasha. He bore an unmistakable resemblance to Yves. He didn’t have her eyes but the shape of his face; the set of his mouth, his defined cheekbones and dark hair resembled her so closely they could have been twins.

His skin appeared to have hairline fractures but, on closer inspection, I could see minute black webbing.

“Like Yves…” Fabian said vaguely but I knew what he was talking about.

“Do you think this is where they came?” I asked something sparking inside my chest.

He nodded inspecting the body. Fabian pressed on his shoulder, attempting to roll the body over so we could inspect it further but instead of the dead collapse I was expecting, the body disintegrated under Fabian’s hand.

“What the hell?” I said my immediate reaction was to get away. I extended my hand and grabbed a fistful of Fabian’s shirt, pulling him away, “Don’t go near it.”

On the breeze, flecks of Sasha began to float up and away into the night as though he was made of ash. Still clutching Fabian’s shirt, I backed away from the body.

“Something is very wrong here.” I said, a feeling inside me telling me that there was danger just around the corner.

“Well of course there is.” A voice like strained violin cackled behind us. A voice from my childhood. I spun around; I would know that voice anywhere.

Fabian’s wand was already up, his feet apart, his body braced.

“Bellatrix.” I said taking aim with my own wand.

“Sirius.” She said with a sneer. Before I could answer, Fabian shot out a curse. She dodged it but by a hairsbreadth.

“Easy now…” She said, her own wand pointing between the two of us, “I just want to talk.”

Silver light flashed out of Fabian’s wand but she was ready for it this time and deflected it. It shot out toward the forest. She shot back immediately. Fabian lunged into me, knocking me out of the way. I came down hard on the sand, the wind once again pulled from my lungs, my chest burning.

“If you hope to find that insipid creature you’re searching for you had better stop trying to kill me and listen.” She said, her voice the embodiment of malice.

“Why should we trust you?” I spat with the little breath I had left. There were few people who could inspire such hatred as Bellatrix did by simply being and I knew more of her than anyone would care to. Loath coursed through me, a thing of fire and fury.

Fabian was already on his feet, standing in front of me, an immovable slab.

“Because if you don’t,” she said with a sneer as though speaking to us was the most distasteful thing in the world, “the Dark Lord most certainly will and when that happens, none of us will stand a chance.”  

 

Hi everyone! I know there is a super long delay between chapters this time around but I am doing a hell of a lot of chapter planning (something which is totally not my forte).

 

I would also like to thank everyone who has been following this story so avidly. Those of you who have been around since the beginning (you know who you are you foxy lovelies) and for those of you have just started reading [and those who have already caught up! ;) ]

A special shout out to Yasmin93, Allison13 and Sleepingbagonthesofa for the reviews and the reads. It's so nice to meet you and thank you for your kindness! 

 

As always, I'd love to hear what you think and thank you for reading. Love you all dearly.

 

All my love- A

 

xxx

 


Chapter 5: Alliance Forged
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Hi everyone. My apologies for the delay. This past week has been incredibly busy. We had our engagement party which was completely magical and absolutely perfect. Sorry for keeping you waiting this long.

 

As always, thank you for reading and for waiting!

 

All my love- A

 

xxx

 

 

 

 

Fabian

 

“I don’t like this.” I hissed to Sirius behind me while he lay on the floor.

“Me either.” He said with great effort, coming to stand on his feet.

“Well, that makes three of us.” Bellatrix said cantankerously, rolling her eyes. I wasn’t fooled by her aloof appearance and neither was Sirius. His focus was absolute, hatred burning in his features.

“What do you want?” He demanded.

“To let you in on a little bit of information.” She said nudging a pebble with the sharp pointed toe of her shoe. Her voice was a horrible thing, a thing of malice, of hate even though she was pretending her very best at being a person. The attempt was feeble.

“Why?” Sirius shot back. I could tell that she was getting to him as much as she was getting to me.

“Because,” she said letting the word linger in her mouth like she was an irritable three-year-old, her façade slipping, “this way we both get what we want.”

“And what is it you want?” I asked, my voice a low rumble.

“I want that Yves of yours out of the way.” Her eyes were suddenly ablaze. I didn’t trust her, not for one second but there was possibility here. Perhaps we could get two birds with one snarling, banshee-like stone.

We both said nothing but I swear I could see the tension gather in Sirius’s shoulders.

“Obviously,” she said slowly when we didn’t respond, “I cannot get rid of her myself. The Dark Lord,” she smiled a most disturbed smile at her mention of him, “quite likes the ‘idea’ of her. But, she is, after all, just an idea, nothing more. This way we can both protect our interests. And,” she continued to drawl, “if she gets killed in the midst of all of this, all the better.”

“Why would she get killed?” Sirius asked almost too eagerly.

“Because,” she said widening her eyes as though explaining to an imbecile, “The Dark Lord is going to draw her out and to do that,” She began wrapping one of her dark curls around her finger, “he isn’t about to plant a field of roses. He’s’ going to soak the earth in blood.” She smiled with all her teeth, “hopefully, her blood.” She giggled and my hairs stood on end. There was something supremely wicked about her.

“Whose blood?” I asked before she could get any more caught up in herself.

Instead of answering, she broadened her smile even further, her eyes glinting malevolently.

“Who Bellatrix?” Sirius bellowed and shuffled closer to me, and discretely nudged me with his free elbow.

“The blood traitor.” Spittle flew from her mouth in rage.

“By your standards, anyone with a speck of decency is a blood traitor. If you’re going to help us, you’re going to have to be a little more direct.” Sirius said with typical insolence. Again, a nudge, a signal.

“I see you’ve still not learnt to respect your betters.” She said moving her wand over ever so slightly.

Stupify.” No sooner were the words out of my mouth than Bellatrix was thrown into the air, flailing backward. She came down hard on the ground, dust and pebbles flying in her wake.

“Nice one.” Sirius said beside me but he did not lower his wand and he did not take his eyes off of where Bellatrix lay.

“Thanks for the heads up. You’re quite adept at baiting her.” I said.

“I’m sure that’s true for most people, not just my most heinous cousin.”

“True.” I said with a small smile.

“Besides,” he said as he began to walk over, “I had a lot of practice baiting her when we were growing up. She’s always been a nut.”

I had to admit, he was quite funny.

 

As we neared her, Sirius pried her wand out of her hand.

“Ready?” I asked pointing mine at her.

“Yeah.”

Rennervate.” I said and Bellatrix was instantaneously on her feet, her mouth a howling gash. She attacked Sirius with such violence I had to use my full strength to throw her off of him. But it didn’t happen quick enough. She had managed to wrest her wand out of his grasp before sinking her teeth into my forearm like a rabid animal. I let go of her hastily, pushing her as I did so. She spun around on her heels to face us, seething with fury, blood rimming her mouth grotesquely. She was insane.  

“You filthy swine!” Screamed piercingly, blood colouring her teeth, staining her lips, “This is what one gets for trying to help such ingrates! When one of your own ends up dead, know that I will be the one who did it! I will kill her and I will enjoy snuffing out another abomination in the name of our Lord!” I hardly had time to take in what she was saying when she swished her wand and there was a flash of light rendering both of us temporarily blind. I stood still listening for movement, my wand still outstretched. There were a two quick pops. I spun towards the noise, my sight beginning to regulate. I was looking towards the trees in the distance.

“Your Yves,” her voice echoed between the mountains, “will go exactly where the Dark Lord wants her to go and there is nothing you can do to stop that.”

“But that is not what you want is it Bella?” Sirius said coaxingly, his voice raised to compensate for the distance.  

“One of your number will die, we will kill her and her entire family and I will be there to help.” She said maliciously, “But, Yves will also come and that is where you will be able to find her.”

There was another pop and Bellatrix was gone.

“Shit!” Sirius said, adrenalin pulsing through him as it was through me. With the briefest look, determination blazing in his face mirroring what I felt, he disapparated. I took a deep breath, sucking in the wretchedness of this place one last time before I too disapparated.

 

I landed outside Headquarters but Sirius was already sprinting towards the house.

“Dumbledore!” He screamed as he ran. He was leaning heavily to one side as he moved. I began to run after him, pushing myself as hard as I could. Sirius wasn’t going to last much longer. I reached him as he began to climb the steps. Remus had wrenched open the door and was already making his way down to help.

“I’m fine!” He roared, “Where is Dumbledore?”

“At Hogwarts.” Remus said in his calm voice although I could see his tension all over his face.

I pointed my wand and conjured a patronus. The large bear erupted from the point and sped away with my message.

“Is everyone accounted for?” I asked Remus, my voice rough.

“Uh…” he hesitated obviously thinking the question over.

“Where is Marlene?” Sirius asked on shaking knees.

“With her family. Why?”

“We need to go there now!” he said fury enveloping him.

“Is everyone else accounted for? Lily? Alice?” I asked focussing on the women. Bellatrix has said that ‘she’ would be killed. They already had their target. If we picked incorrectly now, someone was going to die.

“Lily is here but Alice is with Frank.”

“Send for Moody, Dearborn, Bones and Fenwick.” I said to Remus who was not joined by James, Lily and Peter. Each of them took our their wands and in flashes of silver light, each cast a patronus which sped away carrying their calls for aid. I cast my own again for Gideon.

The alarm began screaming and, all at once, Order members began crossing the boundary, Dumbledore among them.

“Fabian,” he said looking at me with his bright blue eyes, “Sirius.”

I didn’t exchange the pleasantries but instead launched into the story, recounting the words Bellatrix has said.

Dumbledore didn’t hesitate either.

“Caradoc, find Alice and Frank.” He said.

“I’m going with.” Lily said rushing forwards, her wand already drawn. James wasn’t half a step behind her. Dumbledore looked at them sternly for a second before he nodded.  

“Take Edgar, Benji and Alastor with you. Send word.”

“The rest of you, come with me.” He said before spinning around, his long robes trailing behind him.

I hurried to keep up with him, his strides nearly twice my own. I heard struggled breath and I knew without having to look that it was Sirius. He was going to be dead weight and in a fight for our lives, it was a severe disadvantage.

I turned around, my eyes meeting his own. I looked at him meaningfully.

“Shut up Prewett.” He said before I could say anything, “I was just starting to like you.” He pushed past me following the others over the threshold.

“It doesn’t matter what you say,” Remus said standing beside me, “unless you intend to knock him out and bind him up, I’m afraid, he’s going with you.”

 

We apparated to Marlene’s family home. It was early morning, the sun already beginning to turn the sky a beautiful lilac. I scanned the surroundings, looking for anything out of the ordinary. But nothing seemed amiss. Dumbledore held his wand out looking totally at ease, while the rest of us gripped our wands, our heads swivelling around madly.

He strode forwards, right to the front door. With a swish of his wand, the door unlocked and swung open. He did not hesitate, took one large step inside and disappeared into the darkness.

I took a breath and followed him inside, everyone close on my heels.

Dumbledore’s wand was lit as he scanned the room. There were no obvious signs of distress, nothing out of place. He walked into a door on his right. It looked like a regular living room. I lit my wand and walked in the opposite direction to Dumbledore. I opened a door leading to the left. It was a small study; a neat desk was pressed into the corner, books lining the shelves. I backed out and heard a deep voice coming from the stairs.

“Show yourself!” the voice demanded.

“Gale?” Dumbledore asked, coming out of the lounge to where his wand light pointed down the stairs.

“Albus?” He said not moving, obviously still wary.

“Where is the rest of your family?” Dumbledore asked directly.

“Why?” He asked, the edge in his voice obvious.

“We have information indicating that you and your family may be in danger.”

“Why?” A familiar voice sounded from behind Gale.

“Marlene!” He said sternly, “Get back.”

“Dad, that’s so obviously Dumbledore.” She said side stepping him to float down the stairs in her very girly pyjamas. She looked so young.

When she reached the landing, a glowing light sped through an open window towards Dumbledore. A fox.

“Alice and Frank secure.”

“What’s going on?” a female voice carried through the house. Marlene’s mother was pulling her nightgown tightly around her. Marlene definitely took after her father.

“What happened to you?” I heard her ask Sirius as she flitted over to where he stood.

“Albus,” Gideon said above the other voices, “they would have been here by now.”

Dumbledore didn’t say anything but continued to look at Gale. It appeared as though he was looking through him, past him. He was deep in thought. All at once his eyes flared wide.

“There is another.” He said looking around at Gideon.

“Who?” Remus asked at once.

“Mary.” He said. He held out his hand at once. With a lunge from all of us, we took hold of some part of Dumbledore and the lurch pulled us as we apparated to our new location.

 

We landed atop a grassy hill, the golden light of the morning peaking above the horizon. Before us was a lone house, dew covered grass and a smattering of trees. It wasn’t difficult to tell that something was very wrong here. Above the house green against the washed out blue of the morning sky, the phosphorescent Dark Mark smoked above the house, the mouth of the dreadful skull breathing life to the coiling and recoiling serpent.

Dumbledore started walking immediately, his wand outstretched. I hesitated, something calling for me to stay back. Everyone else followed, looking around wildly for any signs of a Death Eater, everyone but Peter. He held his wand limply at his side and stared openly at the Dark Mark as it marred this new day.

“Peter?” I asked, eyeing him.

“Oh.” He said looking up at me. He has obviously thought he was alone. He began walking briskly to catch up to the others.

Ahead of me I heard a scream of pain. I ran past Peter and into the house, panic coursing through me.

Inside the house, I saw what I expected at Marlene’s house. Just inside the door, a table had been overturned, glass and water covered the floor, trampled flowers lay forlornly scattered on the wooden floors. I folled the passage which led into the den. A man lay on the ground, his body slashed and torn. His blood still seeped out of him into a growing puddle. His legs we bent unnaturally beneath him, his hair was matted with blood, his mouth open in a lurid grin. I backed out of the room, my stomach turning in disgust. I sprinted up the stairs. On the landing, a woman lay face down on the ground. My boots squelched on the sodden carpet as I passed her trying not to look at the place where her bone had protruded through her nightclothes.

I followed the bloodstains on the carpet. Something had been dragged here. I walked into another room and found the body of a young woman, her arms outstretched in front of her, her fingers like claws on the carpet. I couldn’t tell what colour her hair was, the blood had taken away all possible colour. In front of her lay her wand, her hope. Sirius and Remus stood in the corner, unable to look at her body. Remus looked at the ceiling while tears streaked down his face, Sirius had turned his back, his shoulders hunched, his head in his hands. I went down on my haunches beside the girl and turned her over to expose her face. Her eyes stared right back at me. I looked into them hoping beyond myself for a spark of hope, a sign of life. But there was nothing there, nothing of what this young woman once was.

“It was an ambush.” Gideon said, his voice broken behind me, “They didn’t stand a chance.” I looked around more closely. There were several sets of footprints pressed into the carpet, all of them outlined in blood.

I heard retching behind me, someone being sick out in the hallway bathroom. I stood up, feeling unsure of my footing, my head spinning, my stomach revolting against what I had just seen. The deliberate violence of the murders was stunning. It seemed I wasn’t the only one. No one spoke, we all stood, silent witness to the horror, to the innocent lives snuffed out with such frenzied delight. Anger was molten inside me. I met Sirius’s eyes at last and could see there what I felt within myself. I gave him a slight nod, which he returned. Our pact made, our alliance forged.

 

 


Chapter 6: Choices
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Light faded in and out, a tunnel. I was in a tunnel. My pulse quickened, my hand gripping my wand in preparation for what was to come. I looked behind me. There was only darkness but in front of me, there was light, a small hope. I took a step forward, the fall of my boot echoing loudly. It was too much noise. They would find me and then all would be lost. I had to make a choice. Either I stood and waited but the light would eventually fade and darkness would swallow me, or I could make a run for it and try to escape. There was no choice. I put another foot in front of the other and began to run. My pulse quickened even more, anticipation an ache in my chest. There was something behind me; I couldn’t hear it and I didn’t dare look. The opening at the end of the tunnel was growing with each footfall but inside me something tugged, drawn to the darkness but I pulled away from it. Just a few more steps. I just had to press harder. I had to resist. Pain seared through me and I fell to my knees. The darkness, like a mist, began to curl about my legs, tugging at me violently. It wanted to envelop me but I couldn’t let it. I heard the distant rise and fall of voices, laughs and playful yells coming from just outside the tunnel. If I could just get there, if I could just get help. With renewed energy I threw myself forward escaping the mist and began to run even faster toward the exit.

I burst into a beautiful summers day, the rolling grounds of Hogwarts before me, the sky an opalescent blue. There were groups of students sitting on the grass, soaking up the wonder of the day. I walked past them away from the castle. There was someone I had to meet.

With his back to me, I recognised the upright back, set shoulders and long sleek hair. Severus stood on the dock looking out at the water, his hands in his pockets, completely at ease. I placed myself beside him and stared out to where he was looking but there wasn’t so much as a ripple on the water.

“We’re here again.” He said in a tone that didn’t denote surprise.

I didn’t answer but turned to look at his face instead. There was something in the tone of his voice that I did not like.

His forehead was crumpled, as he looked out, pensive as always.

“What is it?” I asked, my voice soft and caring.

Instead of answering, he slid his hand into mine and gave it a light squeeze.

“Yves.” He said but he didn’t look at me, his eyes were still focussed on the water. A cloud had passed over the sun darkening the water but it was still enough to see what secrets it held.

Something white began to appear in the water. But it was too far down for me to see what it was. I took a step closer to investigate but Severus pulled me back.

“No.” he said curling his arm around me and placing his lips into my hair, “Do not go looking for it Yves.”

But I was curious. I craned my neck to see what was rising from the depths. Painfully slowly it rose, whitening even more as it enlarged. Finally it broke the surface sending ripples into the water on the otherwise still lake.

Her hair was splayed around her like Ophelia. I couldn’t make out her face, just the clothes that clung to her back as the water lapped against it. Severus clutched me even more tightly stopping my progress.

“Who is it?” I asked my voice a little more urgent now. The voices of the students sitting around became louder, their yells turning to screams.

“Do not go looking for it Yves.” He said again, his voice breaking.

“But why?” I asked trying to get out of his arms, “Who is it Sev?”

“Yves,” he said as he struggled to hold me, pulling me away from the water, “Don’t…”

But it was too late, I pushed away from him with such force that his hands released and I hurtled backward into the black water. I sucked in a mouthful of water but it felt thick and tasted funny. I spat it out as soon as I broke the surface. But I couldn’t see properly, something thick covered my face. I wiped my face furiously to get it off of me and opened my eyes panicked. My hand was coated red. I kicked my legs but it was like swimming in syrup, it was too thick. I looked down at the water, it wasn’t clear anymore. It was blood; I was swimming in blood.

 

I sat up gasping for breath, sweat had broken out on my brow. It had felt so real. I tried to shake off the dream but it was the second time I had dreamed of Severus. If only I could have seen the girl who lay face down in the water. It felt like a warning but I wasn’t sure exactly what it was warning against.

I pulled on my clothes and made to fulfil the next step in my plan. Today I was looking for more Death Eaters. And where best to start than the place they would least expect me to be.

 

I arrived in Hogsmeade just a stones throw from where I had had my nightmare. I wasn’t afraid of being recognised; there was no one here who would expect to see me. I was, after all, the dead girl. Besides, if they did recognise me, I would just have to deal with the problem. I walked down the main road but there were less people about than I expected. Then again, I had only ever been to Hogsmeade on a weekend with the school. I had chosen Hogsmeade because there was a chance that I would find the person I had heard whispers about when I was still working for The Order, but if I didn’t find him here, I would have to make an appearance at Diagon Alley. I ducked into The Hog’s Head Inn and walked up to the bar, taking a seat in the corner before ordering a beer from the bar wench. The woman did not deliver the drink to me, instead a very tall man did. He looked familiar, there was something about him but before I could ponder who he reminded me of, the door creaked open, letting in a sliver of light into the filthy place. A wizard walked in, his dark grey robes battered and torn. His pockets looked overly full beneath the haggard fabric as though he was carrying absolutely everything he owned of value on his person. His head swivelled around as he surveyed the bar and its patrons. Satisfied with his assessment, he took a stool a few seats over from me and ordered a drink. His assessment was incorrect. He hadn’t been looking for me and he hadn’t identified the threat. He had been pilfering secrets out of the Ministry for months for Voldemort the sneaky rat. What all betrayers don’t know is that the moment they betray, they think they gain value in the eyes of the person for whom they betrayed. In reality, they’ve pulled a double-edged sword, their trustworthiness a thing of question and they become valueless.

This was my man. He was tall and thin, his brown hair beginning to grey. His face was pock marked and he continued to pick at it nervously as he sat.

I took a swig of my beer and listened to the man as he rattled and shook in the bar stool, looking over his shoulder periodically. He was scared out of his mind. As well he should be. His tumbler arrived and he downed it before indicating for another. The bar wench sneered at him but obliged nonetheless, sloshing more of the golden liquid into the glass, spilling some and not bothering to clean up the mess. I looked at the other occupants of the bar. Shady characters focussed on their drinks without looking up but I could tell that they were listening, waiting for something of import to happen, and, when it did, I was sure they would all flee. These weren’t the types of people to get involved in direct confrontation if they could help it. Sure they would curse you in the back at the first sign that it would benefit them to do so.

“Perhaps,” a deep voice said softly beside me. The barman was looking at me tentatively, “you should read this before doing whatever it is that you came her to do.” He slid over a newspaper but his eyes did not shift from my own. I looked at him, for signs that he may interfere but his face was open and, although I couldn’t say exactly why, he looked friendly, there was something about him that I recognised, something told me to trust him. I eyed him a moment longer and then cast my eyes down to the paper in front of me. I kept my guard up, looking on my periphery for any signs of movement, my ears listening intently to the smallest sounds.

The headline read, Dark Mark Conjured Over Murdered Wizarding Family Home in Scotland. Beneath it was a moving photograph of Aurors scuttling around a house. There were three covered mounds on the front lawn, no doubt the bodies of whoever had died inside.

I looked up at the man who was still watching me tentatively. Was he giving me a target? Did he know that was the reason behind me being here?

He nodded towards the paper encouragingly and I cast my eyes down again and began reading the article.

Ministry Aurors identified the Dark Mark this morning at a remote homestead in the Scottish countryside. Details about the murders are scarce at present; many Ministry members are refusing to divulge any details about what exactly happened in the early hours of this morning. However, in a Daily Prophet exclusive interview with a lead Auror for The Ministry of Magic, we have been able to confirm that the bodies found are those belonging to MacDonald family. We were able to confirm that the entire family, comprising of Mr Dingle MacDonald, his wife, Fego and his daughter Mary, were all murdered in an apparent Death Eater attack…

My body felt as though my blood had ceased to pump. I went cold; my hairs began to stand on end. Surely, no, I couldn’t have read that correctly. I scanned the beginning of the article again. Sure enough, the words were the same and so were the names of the deceased.

“Mary.” I said out loud.

“Yes.” Said the man, “I recognised the name. She went to Hogwarts didn’t she? As did you.” He was looking at me intently.

I nodded, the shock causing a deep searing pain to erupt in my chest. The cold was telling me that it didn’t matter, that we already had a target but the other voice, the usually quiet one, the one I recognised at the old Yves, was wailing in pain. Mary, my dearest Mary.

“Yes,” he said sadly, “I though you may want to know.”

“Why?” I asked, my voice a little broken because of the news and the internal struggle I was having. I’m not really sure I what I was asking about. Why did the Death Eaters kill Mary? Or why did he think I would want to know?

“Because,” he said, “sometimes it doesn’t matter how far we’ve travelled. A friend remains a friend despite the distance.”

Something clicked inside me at his words. She had been my friend. I still loved her no matter the distance or mortality of it all. She was, and always would be, my Mary. The proud, fierce woman who had understood me, stood up for me, consoled me, helped me and made me feel secure and loved was dead, murdered. I scooted the chair back and it scraped noisily on the floor. Everyone turned to look but I hardly noticed them. The pain searing through me had me doubled over, breathing hard.

“Go!” The little voice said inside my head.

“But your target!” Squealed the other voice, demanding action. I pulled my wand from my robes but the man had already begun his flight. He pulled open the heavy wooden doors and hauled himself through them. I went after him. I could do both.

“Impedimenta!” I said pointing my wand at him. He fell face first into the floor, his body immobile. I strode after him and took a fistful of robes.

“You’re coming with me.” I said before disapparating.

 

I arrived at the house out of sight of the buzz of activity. I dragged the man into some nearby shrubbery and conjured ropes, lassoing him to whatever I could in case I stayed away long enough for the curse to wear off.

I walked towards the house. The rational part of my brain was telling me that such a brazen display probably wasn’t the most strategic move seeing as just about everyone in the Ministry believed I was dead. But I couldn’t care. Another swell of pain caused me to again double over, my legs shaking with the effort of keeping me standing upright. But I had to go; I had to see what I could find. A small part of me wondered if this was Voldemort’s retaliation for me killing one of his own. Another part of me said that it probably would have happened regardless, he was a murdering swine and he would have killed all the muggle born and blood traitors whenever he had the chance. Neither of those thoughts did anything to quell the awful feeling inside me.

As I approached the house, my senses became dull and I began to feel exhaustion ripple through me. The power was fading. Shit! I took another deep breath but before I could take one more step, I felt a powerful grip on my arm, dragging me back out of sight of the house. I turned to fight, holding my wand at the ready but I looked up to see Fabian, his eyes wide, his face pleading. He was covered in blood, his clothes torn and dirty where the blood hadn’t stained is dark red.

“Yves!” He breathed, “Stop fighting and come with me! They cannot see you!”

I looked again at the house and thought about fighting him but he had had the same thought and wrapped his massive arms around me, pinning my arms at my side, and lifted me off the ground and into a nearby covering of trees.

“Let go of me!” I demanded through gritted teeth. Once we were a safe distance away, he released me.

“Stop it!” He said in his sternest tone.

“Come on Yves, give the guy a break!” Another gravel voice said to my side, “We’ve had a long couple of days.” Sirius stood leaning against a tree. He was sweating despite the near cold weather, his skin drawn and pale, his eyes dull.

“What are you doing here?” I said waspishly. I didn’t mean for it to come out as aggressively as it had.

“Well,” Sirius said pushing off the tree to come stand beside me, “we’re the ones who found them.” By them I knew he meant the MacDonald family.

“How did you know I was coming?” I asked looking at him trying to conceal my pain.

“Someone sent us a message. But that’s not important now, what the hell is going on with your eyes?”

I looked at Fabian; he was staring at me concernedly.

“What do you mean?” I said irritably. There wasn’t time for this!

“They keep changing colour.” Fabian said to the point as always.

“I don’t know.” But I did know what it meant. And it wasn’t good for me if there were any Death Eaters lurking around.

“What happened?” I said briskly changing the subject.

“It seems the Death Eaters attacked the family last night and killed them all.” Sirius said shaking his head no doubt trying to get the though out of his mind.

“We have some interesting information that you may want to hear.” Fabian said taking s step closer, “If you just come back with us to Headquarters we’ll fill you in.”

I looked at him, studying his too tightly wound posture. This felt like an ambush, a trap.

“No.” I said backing away.

“Yves,” Sirius said taking a step towards me, now standing in line with Fabian, “we can help you if you’ll just let us. Come with us and we can get to the bottom of this together.”

“No.” I said again, backing up again.

“Yves…” Fabian said but I pointed my wand at him.

“No, I have to do this on my own. I know what I’m doing and…”

“Actually, I don’t think you do.” Sirius said, his voice harsh. “Look what’s happened…”

“Are you saying that this is my fault?” I asked furiously even though he was probably right.

“No, that’s not what I’m saying but were stronger together…”

“I wont let anyone get hurt because of me.” I said. I knew they didn’t know what I was talking about but they didn’t need to. If they knew then they would meddle and try more things like this…

“You know…” I said in a whisper.

“What?” Sirius said in his most singsong voice, his smile lopsided, “That Voldemort is after you and that he’s going to try lure you out by killing people you love? That you’ve already retaliated and killed one of them? Is that what we know?”

I stared at them both. Fabian was looking at Sirius as though he was pond scum but Sirius was smiling brightly as though he had just won a prize.

“How do you know that?” I asked a little dumbstruck.

“Bellatrix.” He said grinning and tilting his head to the side in the way I loved most, “Apparently she wants you out of the way and thinks we’re the guys to do it.”

“What Sirius means,” Fabian said still looking at Sirius with a deep set frown, “is that we she told us about the attack, about Voldemort’s plans to lure you out and capture you. It’s an attempt to stop that from happening on her part.”

“Isn’t that what I just said?” Sirius said shaking his head at Fabian as though he was no fun at all.

“Why would that be a disadvantage to her? If he managed to capture me?” I asked quizzically.

“Because the bitch is psycho and like in love with her Prince of Darkness or something.” Sirius said rocking on the balls of his feet, his hands thrust into his pockets.

“And, she doesn’t need the competition.” Fabian completed.

“Well…” I said considering this, “this is news to me entirely.

“We thought you wouldn’t have known.” Sirius said.

“I didn’t know about Bellatrix,” I said looking at them in turn, “but I knew about Voldemort.”

“You did?” Sirius asked a little deflated.

“Yes, he told me himself.”

The both looked at me obviously not expecting this.

“When?” Fabian asked looking at me with concern.

“When I killed Sasha.”

Sirius’s mouth opened a little and Fabian crossed his arms.

“You did that?”

“Yes.” I said looking at them before realisation kicked in. “You’ve already found the body.”

“Yes.” Fabian said. “What happened? Why didn’t he take you then?”

“There isn’t time for all of this now. I have to get into the crime scene and see what’s happened. There may be things I can see that you can’t.”

“Yves,” Fabian said in a kind voice, “there aren’t any messages its just…” He couldn’t finish the sentence.

“Blood. It’s just blood.” Sirius finished.

I turned around to ignore them. I needed to see for myself.

“Can you just wait!” Sirius said impatiently, “Listen to me for once.”

My temper was bubbling ominously, the pain in my chest subsiding as it rose.

“You have a choice to make. Either you can let me go to the house on my own accord and go and find the Death Eater who has been pilfering information out of the Ministry and straight to Voldemort. I’ve left him in the grounds here but the binds will not hold him for long.” They looked at me, their eyes wide, both of their foreheads creased, “Or, you can try to stop me from going to the house and, in the process, lose the Death Eater and I will stun you both and make my way up there anyway.” They looked at each other but it was Sirius who spoke first.

“You wont hurt us.”

“Correction.” I said fiddling with my wand, “I don’t want to hurt you but if you get in my way, I’m afraid you leave me no choice.”

“There is always a choice Yves.” Fabian said gruffly, for the first time looking at me with impatience, “and you’re choosing wrong.”

“I am doing what I have to.”

“To the exclusion of everyone else.” He said raising his voice in frustration.

I looked at him.

“He’s right.” The little voice whispered.

“Who cares!” The other voice roared, “We have a job to do!”

“You’re right.” I said but I stood immobile. “I am excluding you but this is my burden to bare…”

“It’s everyone’s burden Yves.” Sirius said impatiently. “It’s Voldemort.”

“Yes, but he’s not after you.”

“Yes he is.” Sirius said loudly, “He’s after all of us. What don’t you get about that?”

I paused thinking over his words. It didn’t change anything.

“Rookwood is tied to a shrub just over that hill to the west. Go get him if he’s still there.” I said before apparating right into the house.

 

Fabian and Sirius were right. The entire house was a mess of broken glass and furniture and bloodstains. My stomach recoiled. I ignored the voices of the witches and wizards who were trying to stop my progress and scanned the area as I moved from the den, up the stairs to the next pool of blood and followed the drag marks into a room with Wizarding Band posters permanently stuck to the walls. This was where the rage had been focussed. Even though the other murders had been violent, they weren’t like this. This seemed personal. Someone else was leaving me bodies now, the horror of the realisation a shock to the sensitive part of me that bellowed in pain. My entire body was a continuous shooting pain and it was taking all my strength not to scream. Of course it was retaliation, of course this would have happened and I provoked it all. This was all my fault.

“It’s horrific isn’t it?” A cool voice said behind me. I wasn’t expecting him to be here.

“Albus.” I said curtly turning to keep him in my line of sight.

“Yves.” He said staring at the blood-stained carpet.

“Here to take me in?” I asked trying to keep the bitterness from my voice. I knew what he thought about me already, that I was wrong, that I was other.

“On the contrary,” he said taking his eyes off the scene, “I’m here to gleam from your insights. You are quite an accomplished detective. Perhaps you might have seen something I missed.” His face was smooth, his eyes never moving from my own.

I tore my eyes from his and paced the length of the room, recreating what I could in my head. Mary had obviously been injured where her mother had fallen and dragged herself to the bedroom, perhaps to get her wand, perhaps for another reason. Two people had ascended the stairs, walked through the blood and came after her into the room. And that’s where the real violence was. I couldn’t tell exactly what happened because of the sheer amount of blood.

“I need to see the body.” I said taking a deep breath in to quell my quivering innards.

“In a moment.” He said infuriatingly calm, “Do you see anything specific within your realm of notice.” I cast my eyes upwards and looked at him for any sign of mocking. Of course, Dumbledore didn’t mock.

I looked around for something like what Sasha had left for me before but there was nothing out of the ordinary. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a piece of blood-stained parchment.

I bent to collect it but I couldn’t contain my shaking any more. My knees were close to caving, pain causing me to shiver and sweat. Dumbledore came over and bent instead, picking up the paper. He held it in his palm for a moment and tapped it with his wand. Nothing happened and he passed it to me. Perhaps he had been checking for hidden magic. But there was no magic here. Just a beautifully written note, the script perfect and flowing, confidently slanted, not an ink smudge or speckle anywhere.

 

Yves

One of yours for one of mine.

Now it is my turn.

Join me.

I am waiting.

 

He didn’t need to sign it for me to know from whom it came as well as the reason for it. Merlin! What had I done? I had precipitated all of this! I felt as though I was going to be violently ill but I pushed it down as best I could.

I passed the letter to Dumbledore who was silent while he read buying me some time to pull myself together.  

“Yves…” He began to say but I had just had another thought.

“He’s going to kill someone else and he’s going to do it soon.”

I looked at Dumbledore whose eyes had flared wide behind his half moon spectacles.

“We have to go.” He said turning and striding out of the room.

“Yes.” I breathed weakly behind him. “Yes we do.”

 

 

 


Chapter 7: Thwarted
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Hi lovelies! I just wanted to pop in quickly to tell you that you're all wonderful and fantastic and quite throughly amazing. As always, review if you can and lets keep the magic alive.

 

All my love- A

 

 

I kept my head down as we walked out of the house careful to keep my face obscured in case one of the Ministry Officials recognised me. Dumbledore strode out of the house and without searching for them, walked straight over to where Sirius and Fabian were beginning to appear over the hill where I had left Rookwood.

“He’s gone.” Fabian said looking totally disgruntled but exceedingly handsome in the morning light.

“I thought you said you had him bound.” Sirius said walking a little behind him, labouring but still managing his casual elegance.

“He was bound.” I said, my voice mechanical.

“Well, he’s gone.” Sirius said looking irritated.

Dumbledore was looking between us obviously trying to gleam what was going on.

“I captured Rookwood when I found out about Mary.” I said through gritted teeth, sweat had began to bead on my forehead and down my back.

“What were you intending on doing with him?” Dumbledore asked me, his eyes cutting through the obvious euphemistic question. What he was really asking was whether I was going to drive tree branch through his chest like I had with the last one I had found.

“We don’t have time for this.” I said and Dumbledore nodded his head immediately. Whether it was in agreeance with what I had just said or whether it was because he knew that if I didn’t come to investigate Mary’s death I would have killed the bastard without a second thought.

“What’s going on?” Sirius asked coming to stand beside me after his laboured walk.

“We are returning to Headquarters Sirius.” Dumbledore said slowly looking at me for any signs of objection.

“I’d rather not.” I said stepping away slightly.

“Yves,” Dumbledore said quite calmly, “in order for us to save the next target we have to work together. This is not a solitary mission one can accomplish on ones own.”

“You’re wrong.” I said tensing myself for the fall out.

“Next target?” Sirius asked inquisitively, his eyes on me but I could only focus on him on the periphery. Dumbledore was my focus now, the most immediate threat.

“Yves found a note inside the house. Judging by the contents it was from Voldemort and it was left especially for her. It said that someone else would die.”

“Yes, and we’re wasting time discussing this lunatic idea that I go back to Headquarters.”

“Yves,” he said again making sure to use my name yet again, “the note was left for you. If we have any hope of finding the next person we will need your help. You cannot defeat the Death Eaters on your own.”

“I am not going back to Headquarters. I can find them on my own and I can take them on.” I said as authoritatively as I could. In many ways Dumbledore had been a father figure to me since I left Hogwarts but I couldn’t forget the way he had looked at me when we were at the cave. To him, I was as Sasha warned, I was other.

Dumbledore’s lined face fell, his grey eyebrows furrowing, his face one consumed by sadness. I felt a surge of emotion. I had disappointed him. Part of me knew that it shouldn’t matter but the part of me that was already raw from the loss of Mary was screaming out for me to change my mind.

“Albus…” I began but before I could continue there was a flash of blinding light and I lost consciousness.

 

 

 

I kept my head down as I walked taking in the cobbled ground beneath me as I went instead of my surroundings. I knew where I was going anyway. I had walked this path many times before. I lifted my head as I walked into the Great Hall so I could find my place at the Gryffindor table. I slid into my usual spot and surveyed the table and the meals before me. There were, as always, mountains of food before me but I wasn’t hungry. I looked up to see Severus casually sitting in front of me. The only surprise in seeing him was his placement at the Gryffindor table. I was getting used to him invading my dreams now.

“And what warning have you brought with you this time?” I asked cutting to the chase, picking up a knife and spinning it in my hand.  

“You will see in a moment.” He said patiently watching me with his dark eyes. There wasn’t a trace of amusement on his features.

“You’re going to have to be more specific this time. Last time I arrived too late.”

He didn’t say anything but moved his eyes to look down the table. Lily was sitting beside me. I couldn’t see her face but rather her distinct mass of beautiful red hair.

Out of nowhere, Remus slid into his seat beside me. Severus shifted over slightly and made space for Sirius, who took his place in front of me. His eyes were on fire. I looked down and there was a plate of food. All I could focus on were the mass of bright green peas.

“I’m sorry.” Sirius said, his voice sincere.

“We’ve decided that you guys don’t get to just get away with a stupid sorry anymore…” Mary said from somewhere next to me. My pulse quickened at her voice.

I knew where I was, this had happened before.

“Ok, how can I make it up to you?” Sirius asked looking at me intently.

I knew it was coming but the shock of cold water was still jarring as it ran down my back and I stood up even though I knew the eventual end result. I was slapped hard across the face.

“Serves you right you stupid bitch! You stole my boyfriend.” Marlene screamed.

“What is this?” I hissed at Severus who had stood, watching the exchange with mild interest.

“I will never understand why you did not attack her for this.” Severus said curiously.

Sirius was standing between Marlene and I keeping me out of the way.

“I was a different person back then.”

“As we all were.” He said looking mournfully down the table. I knew who he was looking at without having to look for myself. Remus and James were trying to get Sirius away. Any moment now Severus would accidentally send a spell flying at Lily and the entire Hall would erupt in flashes of light, pointed wands and yelled spells.

“What is the point of this?” I asked him, urgency plain in my voice.

“Some people don’t change.” He said tearing his eyes off of Lily and back to mine.

“Severus!” I demanded. I didn’t understand why I was seeing all of this, why he was here or what it all meant.

The spell flew half an inch past my face and hit Lily in the chest. Severus followed the light as it his into Lily and sent her flying across the room. James roared with anger. I cast my eyes back to Severus, his body facing Lily now as he watched her lay motionless on the ground.

“Is it Lily?” I asked, “Is he going to kill Lily.”

His eyes were on mine immediately.

“No. Not Lily.”

“Then who? Who is next Severus? Tell me!” I demanded but the dream was slipping, the earth quaking violently.

 

I woke up to Fabian’s face above mine, his hands clutching each of my arms. He was trying to wake me.

“No!” I breathed furiously. I just needed another minute, a few seconds, and then I would have had the answer.

“Yves,” he said, his brow once again furrowed severely, his eyes wide in panic, “I’m sorry. I had to do it.”

“If you had just waited I would have found out who the target was.” I said irritably. With a sudden rush, I felt all the aches and pains my body had been supressing return violently.

“You cannot do these things on your own.” He said shaking his head disappointedly.

“Well how the hell did you think were you going to get into my dream and help me?”

His face cleared and now he looked downright confused. His hands still held me in place but I wriggled out of his grip to prop myself up against the headboard.

“What are you talking about?” He asked softly.

“What are you talking about?” I asked in return.

“About knocking you out earlier. It was the only way I could think to get you here. But then you wouldn’t wake up again…” he trailed off, “What were you talking about?”

“You knocked me out?” I asked in a low voice, my eyes not leaving his for a second.

He had the decency to look a little abashed but I could tell that he wasn’t really sorry.

Before I really knew what I was doing, my temper flared and I swung my hand, slapping him hard in the face. His head followed the direction of the slap, his eyes pressed closed. He took a deep breath before returning his eyes to mine.

“You are behaving like a child.” He said his own temper bubbling beneath the surface.

“A child?” I asked working hard to keep my voice low and even. The last thing I needed right now was to become hysterically angry with Fabian. It wouldn’t prove my point.

“Yes, a child.” He said drawing closer.

“And cursing me when I wasn’t expecting it was any better?” I sneered.

“It was when you would not listen to reason.” His voice was calm and restrained but I knew that he was far more emotional than he was letting on.

“What reason? Your reason does not make sense to me.”

“Dumbledore’s reason has never led us astray. You are not yourself Yves.” He said plainly.

“You know what Fabian…” I said making to get out from his caging arms, which were positioned around me but did not dare touch. My body was throbbing horrendously. The pain was so overwhelming I thought if I did manage to stand, I wasn’t sure how long I would stay that way.

“What’s that?” He shot back completely unafraid.

“You can go get f…” Before I could finish my sentence Fabian slid his arms around me, one behind my back, sliding my body towards his as though I weighed little more than a pillow, the other found its way up my back and he tangled an enormous hand into my hair. His lips were on mine drowning out the rest of sentence and taking with it any thoughts of revolt I might have had. He opened his mouth and instinctively I did the same.

“Sorry to break up the snog fest,” Sirius voice came from somewhere behind Fabian. I felt his muscles tense beneath my hands, his irritation evident, “but we’re all a little bit eager to find out which of us is going to be murdered next, so if you don’t mind…” he said indicating towards the door. 

Fabian literally snarled in response to him but Sirius kept his face blank but his eyes watchful. He didn’t look surprised or even hurt by what he had just seen. He just seemed to be in control of himself in a way I had never seen before.

“Let me help you.” Fabian said extending his arm to help me out of the bed. I was furious with myself for letting myself be caught up in the kiss.

“I’m fine.” I said but I continued to move gingerly towards the edge of the bed and slowly slid my legs so my feet could touch the ground.

“Yves…” Fabian said but he was interrupted by Sirius’s whip like voice.

“She said she’s got it Prewett.”

“Shut up Black.” He said turning to face him.

“I am so sick to death of your sanctimonious bullshit…” Sirius said running his hand through his hair impatiently.

“Such a big word for such a little boy.” Fabian said in a tone of condescension I had never before heard him use, “Are you sure you know what it means?”

“Stop it!” I hissed as I tried to stand. I was far weaker than I thought.

“Let me…” Sirius said coming over.

“I’ll…” Fabian said his arms out again to help me.

“I don’t need your help!” I said loudly not letting either of them touch me.

They both straightened up and stood side-by-side, nearly shoulder-to-shoulder. I looked up at them both, Sirius was a little taller than Fabian whereas Fabian was wider and more muscular. They were both incredible in their own way and I truly did love them. There was no amount of darkness within me that could totally eradicate that sentiment no matter how hard it tried. All I had to do was see them again and there was a resurgence of what I had once felt. But it made me weak and I was paying for it now and I would continue to so long as I was around them.

“What’s the matter with you?” Sirius asked bluntly, his eyes taking me in.

“You idiots make me weak.” I said looking between them. Fabian’s brow furrowed but Sirius’s face lightened and he looked amused.

“I know the feeling.” He said and ran his hand over his chest, “But it also makes us human. It’s the difference between them and us.”

I looked at him considering his words before I began to walk past them out of the room towards the stairs. I had meant literally but the metaphor obviously worked with his worldview and I didn’t have the energy to argue the point.

“I am sorry.” The words were out my mouth before I could really think about what I was saying, “For hurting you both. And I am sorry that I continue to do so. But I can’t give either of you what you want from me right now.” I didn’t look at them while I spoke, frightened for what I may see on their faces.

“Yves,” Fabian said his voice rough with emotion, “we don’t want anything from you right now other than for you to be alive.”

“Yeah, and so long as Prewett doesn’t kiss you again everything is going to be fine.”

“Sirius…” Fabian said and I could almost hear him shaking his head at him.

“What?” Sirius said with surprisingly good nature, “I’m just reiterating your point.”

“No you aren’t.” Fabian said as though bickering with a younger sibling.

“Yeah I was.” Sirius said sounding as though it had been perfectly clear, “Unless you kiss her again, everything is going to be fine.” He repeated.

“And if I do?” Fabian asked obviously prodding Sirius for the hell of it.

“What if I did Fabian?” He said, his voice losing all the playful composure it had before, “What if I told you that I was in love with the woman you’ve sacrificed so much for, that you dreamed about, that you loved so wholly and so completely it was difficult to even breathe without having her near? What if I told you that? Would it change anything?”

I stopped just in front of the stairs and turned to the both of them.

Fabian looked at Sirius very seriously obviously thinking over what he had just said.

“I would be able to empathise.” He said lifting his arm and brotherly patting Sirius on the back. Sirius looked at him in surprise at first and then extended his hand, Fabian meeting it immediately.

I turned to descend the stairs. I didn’t have the heart to tell either of them the truth, that it didn’t matter how much either of them fought for me, very soon, there wasn’t going to be anything to fight over. If they made me stay here, it would happen sooner rather than later. My only hope was to find Voldemort but even that wasn’t a real solution. Who knew what he would actually do with me once I found him. In this state I couldn’t fight back and he would only see weakness. If he saw that, there was no chance he would even bother with me and I’d die anyway. Merlin! This was all one huge gamble and now, effectively, I had lost my only ace.

 

I walked into the drawing room but instead of it being full of people, there were only a few scattered groups sitting around. Dumbledore stood by the fire peering into it as though he could see wonders hidden to the rest of us. Lily, Alice and Emmeline rose the moment they saw me but did not come over to me. James, Frank and Peter stood by the girls looking at me intently. Remus walked out from a corner, his eyes red, and the skin around it blotchy. He did not hide his face but instead took one of the scattered chairs and dragged it over to me.

“Thank you.” I said grateful for the seat.

“It’s good to see you.” He said bending to kiss my forehead, withdrawing with a smile.

“And you.” I said a little raspy.

I couldn’t help but think that out of everyone here Remus was the one who had always been so consistent. He was always kind and generous with himself, emotional but steadfast. I looked around the room taking in everyone’s grief and thought about the dream Fabian had woken me from. Poor Remus. I wasn’t sure what had happened between him and Mary in the end but I could see on his face that his grief was raw. In my dream Mary had been so full of life…

Dumbledore had been watching me, his mouth open as if he was going to say something when I burst out.

“Is this everyone?”

There were some puzzled looks but Dumbledore knew what I was talking about immediately.

“Everyone left at Headquarters. There are others out on assignment…”

“Marlene, it’s Marlene.” I said confidently.

“How do you know?” Sirius asked behind me, his inquisitive nature getting the better of him again.

“I had a dream, about that fight in the Great Hall. Do you remember?”

“When Marlene poured water down your back?” Remus asked his voice soft and kind while everyone else was looking at me like I was a lunatic.

“Yeah…” I said stopping before I said too much. Instead I looked knowingly at Dumbledore. His face did not change as he spoke but I knew the first moment he could, he would make time to hear this particular story and the reasoning behind my hunch.

“Ready yourselves.” Dumbledore said still looking at me. He didn’t hesitate.

“But you guys already checked on Marlene and her family. They were all fine, just like Alice and Frank. It was Mary they wanted.” James said but he stood, drawing his wand in preparation despite the words he spoke. 

“Exactly.” Dumbledore said striding out of the room.

“Exactly?” James said hurrying to catch up to Dumbledore obviously still not understanding.

“It’s exactly what we’re not expecting.” Sirius said following after them even though his exhaustion was so visible now, he was barely able to lift his feet as he walked.

 

I had to do a side along apparation with Fabian because I didn’t know where Marlene’s home was and it was just as well. I needed to conserve as much energy as I could. We popped into the brilliant midday sunlight. In the distance I could see a smoke bellowing into the air. My heart quickened uncomfortably.

“Not strong enough.” Said the knowing voice inside me. I couldn’t even muster the cold to creep through me. It felt totally spent.

“I know.” I said irritably in response. Sirius looked at me concern plain on his face. No one had said a word as we waited for the others to arrive.

“Are you alright my love?” he asked.

“Yeah, fine.” I said walking towards the house. Dumbledore walked beside me until we heard the crackle of magic. I began to run as quickly as I could, holding my wand at the ready. I couldn’t let another Order member die, not today. I pushed my aching body harder skidding into the garden to see a circle of Death Eaters surrounding the McKinnon family, their house burning behind them. They were watching the McKinnon’s with a kind of an obliging patience, the kind that could run out at any moment. They were taking it in turns to send spells at Marlene, her younger brother, mother and father who were deflecting them like it was some sick game of tag. But I could tell that they were just amusing themselves, waiting for something… A hand closed on my shoulder pulling me back but before I could completely disappear from view, one of the hooded Death Eaters moved their head in my direction, almost imperceptibly nodded, before again looking back at the family.

“What are we waiting for?” I hissed looking at Sirius challengingly.

“A plan maybe?” He said looking at me as though I had lost my mind.

I looked around and saw Dumbledore considering me before he strode out into the open without a word.

I followed without hesitation. The moment I was in the clearing, curses flew past me, one narrowly missing my chest. The McKinnon’s had fallen to the ground, Mr McKinnon shielding his daughter and son with his body, his wand flaring as he cast a spell knocking the Death Eater nearest him to the floor.

“Protego.” I said shielding myself from a tremendously well-aimed spell that would have hit me square between the eyes. The Death Eaters were casting wildly, deflecting and attacking furiously but a bevvy of spells flew their way from our group. One of the Death Eaters realised their predicament and turned to run towards the McKinnon’s, her robes flaring exposing hideously heeled feet and black stockings. I ran as fast as I could and reached her as she took hold of a fist full of Mrs McKinnon’s clothes. She began dragging her away, her wand pointed threateningly at her chest but before she could use her as a hostage, I slammed a fist into the side of her head with as much force as I could muster. She seemed disorientated, teetering precariously but she didn’t let go of Mrs McKinnon. I kicked her violently in the stomach and she recoiled, bending over, her arms wrapping around her body. I pushed Mrs McKinnon behind me and towards her husband before the sky began to grow dark.

The woman lifted her head and began to cackle, removing her mask as she did so.

“He’s coming.” She said in a singsong voice that made the hair on my arm raise in warning. Her hair was black and flailing around wildly. There was an edge to her, perhaps it was her eyes, but she was completely unnerving. Her eyes widened as if she recognised something.

“You’ll be dead before he gets here.” I said pointing my wand at her.

She made a slashing motion with her wand. The curse collided with my shield but I shook it off as best I could.

“So…” She said taking a step closer, “you’re what all the fuss is about.”  

Everte Statum.”  But she blocked it easily, swatting it away irritably.

“Personally,” she said sounding as though this entire endeavour was quite tedious, “I don’t get it. You’re actually quite pathetic.”

I sent a flame roaring towards her but with a flick she sent a jet of water, extinguishing the blaze.  

“You’re going to have to do better than that.” She said cackling. She was right, I was weaker than I should have been.

Behind me a shot hit the ground. Large rocks were unearthed and went flying, spitting debris with them as they went. I ducked for cover but made a fatal mistake.

“Avada…” the woman said raising her wand.

Before she could finish the Unforgivable Curse, I was knocked out of the way; a body covered me as we landed on the ground. I was drowning in the bellows of a long black robe aware that the woman was shrieking in anger.

“What are you doing?” she screeched. I flipped over as the weight removed itself from my body and saw underneath the robe the distinct sheen of sleek black hair. Although masked, his eyes were pleading.

“The Dark Lord,” be said casually and quite softly despite the noisy battle all around us, “will be most unimpressed if you kill her Bella.” He was still looking at me. His voice did not betray his eyes and he rearranged his features before turning to square off against the witch.

My body ached but I had to get to my feet. The woman had lifted her head to the sky, a devilish smile appearing on her features.

“He’s here.” She said satisfactorily.

Sure as hell, Voldemort appeared right beside Bella. His eyes were on me even before he surveyed the surrounding madness.

A smile spread across his face.

“Yves.” He said in greeting.

“Fuck.” I though taking aim. I wasn’t ready for this. Before I could even think about what I was going to do someone yelled ‘Expelliarmus’ and a jet of red flew past me towards Voldemort. With a flick of his wand he blocked the spell and looked up as if he was about to observe a mildly annoying fly.

His eyes immediately narrowed as he surveyed the scene.

“I believe we should be going.” He said to Bella. She looked up at him adoringly and nodded.

“Until next time Dumbledore.” He said before he dematerialised. Bella cackled one more time before disappearing with a pop. There were a series of pops around me and when I could, I looked around to see the only people left were the McKinnon’s and the other Order members. Lily and Dumbledore were standing immediately behind me. Lily was shaking, her wand still held out in front of her, her eyes wide and watering.

“Lily?” I asked walking toward her, “Did you…”

“Yeah.” She said before I could finish my sentence, “I tried to disarm him.”

“Well done.” I said well impressed with her nerve.

“I didn’t do it though.” She said looking at me quizzically, her arm still raised.

“But you tried.” I said taking her arm and lowering it, “And that’s all that matters.”

“I saw him. He was going to go after you and…” the words dried up in her mouth. I pulled her into a hug.

“Come on.” I said breaking away, “let’s see if anyone is injured.”

That seemed to pull her out of her reverie and she immediately walked over to the fallen to see what she could do.

“You do not seem to have any sense of your own mortality Yves.” Dumbledore said beside me.

I shrugged instead of answering him.

“And you seem weak.”

“I am.” I said simply before walking away to survey the damage.

We had saved Voldemort’s targets; most of the Order members were more or less intact but most certainly alive. I looked over to see Sirius and James tending to Peter, Frank and Lily attending to Alice and I felt a warmth spread through me and, for the first time in a long time, there was no accompanying pain, no voices telling me to turn away from it.

 


Chapter 8: Only For This Night
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Hi everyone. My apologies for the long wait. I really don't even have a valid excuse so I stayed up absurdly late and I will pay my penance tomorrow.

I hope it was worth the wait. Thank you as always for your tremendous patience, for reading, for reviewing and for being. You guys are my whole heart and I love you all dearly. If I don't know you yet, pop me a review. If I do, I promise I will read *all the things* and respond soon.

 

All my love- A

 

xxx

 

 




“So now you’re telling me,” Marlene said once we were back at Headquarters, “that my family and I were nearly killed because Vol…” she began but could not finish the name, “He Who Must Not Be Named has some kind of sick vendetta against Yves?”

No one answered her, very well aware of the flair of Marlene’s temper.

“Great!” She screamed, “Just great!”

“All that’s missing from that little temper tantrum of yours Marlene is a stamped foot. Surely you will not deprive us of our only amusement. Indulge us wont you?” Sirius said languidly from his armchair in the corner. Out of everyone, he and Fabian looked the worst. They both looked completely exhausted, filthy and blood stained.

Gideon and Fabian chuckled in response to Sirius and Marlene shot them a deadly glare.

“Joke all you want Sirius,” she said incensed, “but I knew that girl was trouble from the first moment I saw her and nothing’s changed. She’s worse now than she ever was.”

“You know Marlene,” I said in a casual voice, speaking for the first time since we had reconvened at Headquarters. Everyone turned their heads to look as me, obviously taking in the chance to survey me in a way that didn’t require a hurried glance when they thought I wasn’t looking, “I would much rather have left you to die on the lawn outside your burning home, it wouldn’t have made any difference in my life. Not in the slightest. However, for the sake of your parents and brother, who, I must say, are quite lovely, could you shut it before I decide to finish the job.”

Marlene opened her mouth gaping life a fish in a bowl. It was just as well that Dumbledore returned with Mr and Mrs McKinnon. Mrs McKinnon’s eyes searched the room for her children and she hurried over to them, peppering them with kisses and squeezing them both to her in a motherly hug. I looked away. I didn’t need to spend any more energy on anything more emotional than I currently was.

“Yves,” a broken voice said from the direction I was keeping out of my sight, “thank you. Thank you for saving me.”

Mrs McKinnon’s face was gleaming with tears, her face quite beautiful as she smiled. She looked a lot like Marlene but with more kindness.

“Uh,” I said I’m sure with what looked like a grimace, “pleasure.” I forced a tight-lipped smile but it didn’t seem to bother her. She continued to smile at me, her eyes bright, tears continuing to slip from her eyes.

Dumbledore watched the exchange silently before he indicated that I was the next person he wanted to speak to. He led me into the kitchen and with a swish of his wand; the kitchen began bustling with activity. A teapot filled itself with water and settled on the hook above the fire. Two cups flew from the cupboard meeting the sugar pot, rattling teaspoons and two plates. A knife swooped out of the drawer and began cutting thick slices of bread before it dove into the butter and smothered the bread in raspberry jam. We sat in silence while the kitchen buzzed around us finally my sandwich and a cup of tea landed neatly in front of me. Dumbledore put sugar in his tea and stirred it staring out the window apparently completely at ease. I did the same before I ate as much of the sandwich I could.

I drained my tea eager to get the entire ordeal over and done with.

“So…” I said swirling the remnants of my tea in the cup.

Instead of reciprocating Dumbledore looked at me with considerable patience, his face kind and full of understanding.

“I know there are certain facts you wish to keep secret from the rest of us Yves and, as an old man, I have seen enough to understand why you would want to. We all have our demons, ghosts which haunt us, and each and every one of us has made mistakes but no one is too far away from redemption if one truly seeks it.” He paused and took a sip of his tea, smiling to himself as he did, as though it were the best cup of tea he had ever had, here in this simple kitchen, in the middle of a war, across from someone who was probably largely considered a mad person.

“I cannot know for certain the entire story Yves, only you are privy to that, and, as such, much of what I am surmising is guess work. However, this way we can spare you the indignity of telling the story which is causing you so much pain.”

I looked away from him. Obviously he could tell what was happening, this was Dumbledore.

“I believe that you chose to go with Sasha because you knew that even together you and Fabian would not be able to stop him, that to resist would be the end of you both. I cannot say for certain what happened between you but what I do know is that you managed to defeat him.”

He took another sip of tea and gazed out of the window momentarily before bringing his attention back to me.

“I know that something in you changed there Yves. Fabian told me before all of this happened that you could, how did he phrase it…” he said grasping for the word.

“Disengage.” I spoke softly looking into his eyes.

“Yes, disengage. I believe that is what you did, what you are attempting to continue to do now. However,” he said eyeing me over his half moon spectacles, “it is obvious that you are now not as successful at it as you once were. The façade is slipping Yves.”

“Façade?” I asked feeling my own brow furrow. My body was beginning to grow cold, the beading sweat had dried up and I was on the verge of shivering in the warm kitchen.

“Yes.” Dumbledore said running his eyes over me, “You chose the word disengage for a reason Yves. It is exactly what you are doing. You disengage from your people, from your emotions, from your life and you believe that it makes you stronger but it does not. Look at you know. This is not strength Yves. What you were before, that is where the true strength lays, where your heart lives. You hide you true self now but you shouldn’t.”

I smiled at him but shook my head.

“You are wrong.” I said looking him dead in the eyes. I wasn’t scared of his judgement anymore. I was what I was, and if that was a monster, I was prepared to live with it.

“You are right about many things Albus, but of this, you are optimistically foolish. You are right, I left with Sasha to save Fabian and I did kill him. But first I burned away my humanity soaking up as much power as I could. Voldemort was there, he told Sasha where to take me. I think he knew that in the end, if it came down to it, and Sasha and I were to fight, I would be the victor. His loath for Sasha was so evident. But he does not have the same hatred for me. He offered me a place. A place by his side.”

Dumbledore’s face did not betray an ounce of shock if he felt it, he continued to look at me in that infuriatingly fatherly fashion I was growing to resent.

“I should have taken him up on the offer. He said he could help me, that he was the only one who knew how, that without him I would die.”

“That is incorrect Yves.” He said interjecting before I could continue, “He is not the only one who can help you. I have already offered you a solution.”

“A solution that would see me dead!” I said raising my voice, “I chose The Order, Fabian, Sirius, You…” my throat tightened uncomfortably, “over a sure future. And here I am: the weakest I have ever been, in league with The Order pushing him and my answers and salvation further away. This,” I said waving my hand around the homely, familiar, comfortable kitchen, “isn’t going to save me. These people are not going to save me and all I am going to bring to them is heartbreak and misery, all I do is sow discord. I am now, as I have always been, an outsider.”

“How can you say that?” Dumbledore asked in his even voice, not raising it an iota but making it plain that is was his turn to be heard, “There are people here who would die for you, people who consider you their family. There are people here who have given up so much as you have, who suffer with those choices everyday and you would take the word of someone who lies, cheats, steals and murders without thought and without regard; someone fashioning themselves a ‘Dark Lord’ over those who have shed blood for you, who give of themselves to you and who love you?” He stuck out a hand and enveloped my shaking hand in his, giving it a tight squeeze. The more he spoke the more my body seared with pain.

“I took his power.” I blurted half because I needed him to know that he was wrong about me, that all this effort to try and save me was for nothing and half because I needed to confess. “I took other’s power too. Because I can, because it makes me feel good.”

Dumbledore continued to hold my hand and look at me steadily.

“Yves,” he said patiently as always, “do you remember when you first came to me, the first time we met?” he asked and I nodded in response.

“I saw a girl who, despite everything she was taught to be, taught to think, taught to revere, did something she believed to be right, against all odds, without thought for her future, she knew herself with a certainty one seldom witnesses, with a conviction often absent in those with more experience, who have seen more life…”

“But I didn’t. I killed that muggle.” I said tears escaping my eyes now, “I didn’t do it right the first time.”

“No one ever does.” Dumbledore said with a gentle smile, “But you knew within yourself the difference between darkness and the light. And you chose light Yves. You chose the light even though it meant turning your back on everything you once knew, everyone you loved, a home and even the creature comforts of an otherwise wonderful life. All your suffering, all you have endured, has lead you down a path never before travelled. It is up to you to find the light but you cannot do that on your own. Each of us harbours darkness, some feed it, some suffocate it, and some balance it. You,” he said with utter conviction, as though no spoken truth weighed more, “have more strength than anyone I know. But I know your darkness is immense, and that it was never supposed to be yours, it was a destiny forced upon you.”

“You do not know...” I said shaking my head, tears falling in earnest now.

“And I do not pretend to Yves, but you are not the only one who can hold a lamp against the dark.”

“I don’t want anyone else to get hurt.” I said sobbing ridiculously and feeling weaker than I had in years.

“We are all here to hold our lamps aloft Yves, if not for you, for someone else we love, for a world we will stand for, no matter the cost. This is all part of the fabric of our history.”

We didn’t say anything for a long time. My tears slowed to a more manageable weeping before Dumbledore continued.

“You are dying.” He said without hesitation, without the pleasantries.

“Yes.” I said. There was no point in denying it, he would know. He knew so much already.

“Not if we can help it.” He said offhandedly, “Now,” he continued in a stronger voice, “how did you know they would go after Marlene?”

“I had dreams.” I said knowing that it sounded ridiculous but they had not been wrong so far. I knew they were warnings.

“How did you know to believe them?” he said his brow furrowing for the first time.

“They felt real. Some of them were part memory, part… something else.” I told him about the dreams and he listened without interrupting, his eyes never leaving mine. At the end he looked out of the window again and took another sip of what was surely very cold tea by now.

“What is it?” I asked in earnest.

“I do not believe them to be simply dreams Yves. They are something more. However, I do not know where they are emanating from but I have an idea.”

“Albus,” I said shaking my head in frustration, “How am I supposed to trust you if you never give me any information.”

“Faith.” He said turning to me with a wry smile, “I have an idea but it will take some doing to identify whether my hunch is correct. However, seeing that I am quite old and, as a result, quite wizened, if my thinking is correct, you have just handed me and, perhaps, many more of us, a brighter future.”

He rose to his feet and I followed. We walked back into the room with all the waiting, expectant faces. I had expected it to thin out but everyone still sat around the fire. There was relative silence. I looked at the faces of each of them. They were all mourning their fates, the fates of the McKinnon’s and Mary and her family. Without our connection to one another, there wouldn’t be this pain.

Dumbledore cleared his throat and everyone turned to face me. Their faces brightened at the sight of Dumbledore. But, as I continued to watch them, their eyes sliding from Dumbledore to me, they continued to smile. I found Sirius’s eyes first, the hope in them was unmistakable but there was something else there, something that threatened to make my eyes spill tears again. I looked towards Fabian and he had the same look. So did just about everyone else. Obviously except Marlene who looked at me the same way she always seemed to.

“Mother, Father,” She said standing, “I think we should be leaving.”

“Oh,” said Dumbledore genially, “there is no need. I have readied rooms for you all. You do not have to go anywhere tonight. You are safe here and, if anything, you will be well fed and merry before you depart, should you wish, to some place more secure.”

Marlene looked as though she would have fallen over with the slightest disturbance in the atmosphere. Mr and Mrs McKinnon though, looked completely delighted and followed Dumbledore out of the room.

There was a lingering silence in the room at their departure. Everyone knew as well as I that if it persisted either Marlene or I would break the silence and that would end up the way it always did- in bad feelings and mild violence.

To everyone’s surprise it was Remus who stood.

“Well, I think, seeing as we are all stuck here together for another evening…” He flicked his wand and a few cases of butterbeer appeared, along with some bottles of mead, some ice and several glasses.

“Who knows,” he said smiling heartbreakingly, “it may be our last, and if it is, I want to have just one more night where we can be together. A night we can celebrate our victories,” he said putting a hand on Marlene’s shoulder, “and the beautiful lives of those we knew who are no longer with us.” He took three bottles from the case, gave one to Marlene before walking over to me and handing me the other. Bottles were passed around, even to Marlene’s brother who smiled widely at the inclusion.

“Here is to McKinnon’s.” He said, his voice brave and resilient, “who survived a terrible tragedy but who have the love of their family and friends.” He lifted his bottle and took a sip.

“Here’s to Yves,” he said turning to me, “who returns to us changed but still loved.” He took another sip and everyone copied him. Sirius and Fabian were smiling broadly.

“And here is to Mary.” He hesitated and swallowed before continuing, “who was a light in so many lives, who we loved and who, if you’ll beg my pardon, would hate all this sappy shit and expect us to carry on more bravely and more fiercely than we did before.” Everyone smiled toothily before we took another sip.

“Now,” James said from the corner of the room, “let’s have a Hogwarts worthy night off. What do you say Jamie?” he said patting the boy on his back.

“I’ve never had a Hogwarts worthy night off.” He said smilingly brightly at James.

James beamed down at him.

“Well, it just so happens that you’re in luck. No one throws a Hogwarts party like The Marauders.” He said grinning like it was the greatest achievement of his life. Lily rolled her eyes affectionately at him.

“We’ll just have to see about that.” A voice boomed from the doorway.

Gideon trudged through it. I hadn’t noticed that he had been missing when Dumbledore and I returned.

“I believe,” he said making his way over to his brother, “that we,” he gestured to Fabian, “threw the most legendary Hogwarts parties.”

“Sure old man.” James said playfully.

“What a darling party we’re going to have with a couple of cases of Butterbeer.” He said fanning himself like a damsel. Jamie watched him in awe and laughed despite himself.

“Darling party?” James said rearing himself for a playful war of words.

“Yes boy, darling. Where’s the hardtack?” he said mockingly looking around but by now, his theatrical nature had everyone at least smiling, if not outright laughing, “Although, not for you laddie,” he said patting Jamie on the head brotherly, “you stick to the butterbeer.”

“You,” James said walking over to Gideon and clapping a hand on his shoulder, “and I are going to be fast friends. Remus?” he looked towards us, “you heard the man. Where’s the hardtack?”

Remus rolled his eyes but it was difficult for even him to hide his smile.

“Come on Sirius,” he said waving him over, “let’s see what we can dig up.” Remus looked at Peter and gave him a wink.

“Ah… come on Moony…” he said sitting forward in his chair, his exhaustion evident, “why do I have to come?”

“Because,” Peter said speaking for the first time, “you’re the only one who can always sniff this stuff out.” He smiled at Remus.

Sirius rolled his eyes and theatrically got to his feet. I could tell that he was disguising his pain and exhaustion.

“You know what,” he said looking to Peter as though he was simply indulging the entire endeavour. I knew to him, there was nothing better than being here, right now, with the people he loved and cared for. His chosen family, “your lives would be so boring without me.”

“And a lot more quiet.” Remus joked.

“And there would be so little hair everywhere.” Peter said walking after Sirius.

Sirius punched him lightly on the arm before pulling him into a hug.

Lily, Alice, Emme and a begrudging Marlene set up the record player and chose the music, Frank and Gideon spoke to Jamie making him laugh occasionally, his big eyes gleaming, taking in every word of their stories with relish.

Fabian strolled over, his hands in his pockets. He looked, to my surprise, embarrassed.

“I’m sorry about the kiss earlier.” He said standing beside me taking in the scene but careful not to touch me. In the distance we could hear Gideon’s booming laughter and James’s indignant rebuttals to his jokes.

“It’s alright.” I said even though I hadn’t really thought about it.

“I just needed to make sure you were still Yves.” He said honest as always.

“I know… after the way I left…”

“Yeah,” he said cutting me off swiftly, “that’s all forgiven already.”

I nodded, trying to will my eyes to dry up.

“Please tell me you’re staying.” He said, his voice made my inside ache.

“I want nothing more than to run away with you. To go to a place where none of this exists. Where a woman in love can be with a man in love and live the lives they were meant to live. I want nothing more than for things to be different, for you to be mine and for me to be yours, because I love you. I always will. I wish the same for Sirius and I. I will stay for now Fabian, but I will not come to your bed. But I will not go to his either.”

Fabian pulled his gaze back from the scene before me.

“You love me?” He said with the naughtiest smile I had ever seen on him. He looked more like Sirius than I would have ever thought possible.

“Of course I love you Fabian. You have part of my soul.” His smile widened and with a nod took a stride forward before stopping.

“You know,” he said looking back over his shoulder, “I can see why you love Sirius. I think,” he said with a huge smile, “that we could even be friends. And I don’t mind sharing your heart with him for now.”

“And why is that?” Sirius asked from behind me.

“Because I know with you it will be well looked after.”

He turned and joined his brother. I watched him with Jamie. He was really good with children. Sirius watched them too and without turning to look at me he spoke.

“Tell me you’re staying.” He said gruffly.

“Yes, for now, I am staying.” He turned with a smile I had not seen on him in the longest time.

“That’s good enough for me.” He said burying a hand in my hair and planting a kiss on my forehead.

“Black…” A voice warned from the other side of the room.

“What?” he said innocently walking towards Fabian.

“I thought we agreed no kissing.”

“No Fabian,” He said smugly pulling a chair closer while magicking a drink together, “I didn’t promise. I made you promise.” But then registering Fabian’s displeasure at his words, “Alright, alright.” He said raising both arms, “I concede… no kissing for anyone.”

“That goes for you too Potter.” Fabian said smiling playfully at him and Lily in a corner.

“You Prewett,” Lily said placing a hand on her hips trying very hard to disguise her smile so as not to ruin the effect, “can fuck right off.”

I felt as though I was on the verge of collapse. I needed to sleep but a tiny reserve of energy tingled within me and I walked over to where Remus and Peter were organising drinks for the girls.

I wanted to be part of this. It felt right. And it was. Even if it was only for this night.

 

 



 

 


Chapter 9: Pound of Flesh
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I woke up from a dreamless sleep, snowflakes intercepting the grey morning light outside the window of the simple room that had been made up for me. I strained my ears for noise but there wasn’t a sound. I pulled the covers more tightly around me allowing, if only for a moment, the comfort of the bed to soothe my injured body. Indeed, at this point, it felt as though my very soul had been bruised. I couldn’t stop myself from smiling while I replayed the events of last night. Gideon challenging Remus to an arm wrestling contest, Remus emerging a very solid victor much to Gideon’s disbelief. He was most certainly stronger than he looked. Lily had tried to teach Emmeline and Alice a dance she had seen on Television, which was all fun and games until Sirius decided that he wanted to learn too and in his zest kicked over a coffee table and upended several bottles of beer. I had laughed, truly laughed for the first time in what felt like years. I had embraced it, embraced all of it, and embraced all of them.

A gust of wind blew a flurry of snowflakes past the window obscuring more light. I rolled off of my side to look up at the ceiling. My body felt weighted and uncomfortable. While I was aware that changes were happening to my body, and I was capable of feeling pain while disengaged, I hadn’t really thought about the toll it was taking on me physically. The cold only had one mission and it would carry it out without regard for anything else. I could feel it now even though the pain had become a dull ache rather than the searing pain it once was.

Slowly I propped myself up on some pillows before lifting my loaned T-Shirt to expose my stomach.

Patterned across it were fine black webs interlacing like a fungus just beneath my skin. They appeared most concentrated around my scars. I threw open the blanket, exposing my legs just as the door swung open. I didn’t even have time to think about covering myself up when Sirius’s eyes were raking over my body.

“What in Merlin’s name is happening to you?” he asked closing the door behind me and setting a mug of coffee and a glass filled with a very green, foamy substance I couldn’t quite distinguish as a liquid or a solid.

“You could have knocked.” I said averting my gaze as he lowered his head to get a better look at my stomach and legs.

“I could have.” He said sounding preoccupied, “But I would have come in regardless of what you said so really, it would have been a waste of time.” He took my arm and began to turn it over inspecting it evidently.

I didn’t say anything. There wasn’t really a need to. He would figure it out quickly. Sirius was nothing if not incredibly intelligent. It didn’t help that my heart began to pound a little more profoundly at his touch than it had moments before.

“You know,” he said releasing my arm and passing me the green mixture, “it wasn’t that long ago that you were too shy around me to even show your legs.”

“And this is the thanks I get?” I said swirling the green gunk in the glass.

“No, this is what you get for being sick around Lily. If anyone so much as sniffs around her, she poisons us with this shite.”

“What is it?” I asked pulling up my nose at the smell of it.

“I think its troll mucus but Lils says troll mucus is quite a bit more yellow than this.” My stomach rose threateningly.

“Alright,” he said chuckling heartily at my apparent disgust, “let’s try coffee first. Mucus later.” I smiled despite my nausea.

“I’m assuming that this rubbish,” he said running his fingers over the skin on my thigh, “is the same crap that’s making your eyes black?”

“Yeah, I think so.” I said meeting his eyes so I could study his face.

“Interesting.” He said lifting up my T-Shirt following the webs.

The door creaked open and Fabian stuck his head in.

“What’s interesting?”

“Seriously!” Sirius said rolling his eyes theatrically.

Fabian rolled his eyes at Sirius but there was a genuine smile playing around the edges of his mouth. I looked between them. There wasn’t an ounce of hostility or anger.

“Have a look.” Sirius said as if inviting Fabian over to look at particularly fascinating magical herb.

Fabian furrowed his brow in much the same way Sirius had.

“That is interesting.” He said touching my skin the same way Sirius had.

“What the hell is going on here?” I said swatting both of them away and reaching for the blanket to cover myself up to stave off any more inspection.

“Where?” Sirius said looking around obliquely.

“Between you two? Are you twinning or something because last I checked, you two couldn’t be on the same continent without wanting to bludgeon each other to death let alone be in the same room.”

“We’ve achieved…” Fabian began.

“Congruity.” Sirius smiled completing the thought.

“Congruity?” I asked looking between them.

“Yeah, he’s a sack of dung but I actually kind of like him.” Sirius said smiling even more broadly, “But don’t tell him I said it. He’s a bit pig-headed.”

“I’m pig-headed?” Fabian said crossing his arms in mock fury, “We could hardly find a better example of swine than you.”

“Oh god.” I said pressing myself further into the pillows, covering my face with my hands. This was a disaster.

Fabian and Sirius chuckled in unison as I groaned.

“Would you prefer we continued to debase each other?” Fabian asked good-naturedly.

“Because we can do that if you prefer.” Sirius said genially.

“Merlin,” I muttered while they watched me genuine smiles on their faces, “you’re finishing each others thoughts now.”

“So this,” Fabian said gesturing to my body, “is part of the same thing that’s colouring your eyes.”

“That’s what I thought.” Sirius said frowning up at him.

“Yeah,” I said ignoring their budding friendship, instead turning my hand over to look at the webbing, “I think it has something to do with the power I absorb. It’s gotten worse lately.”

“Because you’ve been absorbing more power?” Fabian said looking at me knowingly. 

“Yes.” I said bluntly. I didn’t have to explain myself to them or anyone else for that matter.

“We’re not saying it as though it’s a problem.” Sirius said quickly.

“I wouldn’t care even if you thought it was.” I said feeling more than a little bit cold.

“Of course.” Fabian said looking at me knowingly, “But we are just concerned for your wellbeing Yves, surely you must know that.”

“I do.” I said trying to rein my frequently flaring temper.

There was silence for a while, Sirius looking at Fabian meaningfully. Fabian sighed before tucking his hands into his pockets, something he did when he was uncomfortable.

“I saw what Sasha did to that woman the night you went with him.” He said using very carefully curated words. He didn’t seem to want to accuse me of anything but stated clearly that it was a choice I made to go with Sasha.

“Yes.” I said trying to push down the raging animal within me that felt judged.

“I’m assuming that you did something similar to Sasha and perhaps that Death Eater we found?” There was nothing but business on his face now, some of the no-shit attitude I appreciated him.

“I did.” I said refusing to look away. I wanted to see the moment he changed his mind about me.

“He was outside my house wasn’t he?” He asked, his voice changing slightly. Sirius looked at him with a frown pressed into his forehead.

“Yes.” I continued monosyllabically.

“That means that you came home after everything that happened at the lake.” It didn’t require an answer but his eyes were suddenly pleading. He wasn’t judging me; he was looking for something else…

“I did. I…” I said breaking off trying hard not to sounds like a psycho, “I found him outside. Someone betrayed you Fabian. From what I could extricate from him, he had friends in the Ministry who gave up your address. I thought it was Rookwood but I can’t be sure about that. I didn’t have a chance to interrogate him.”

“Or,” Sirius said shrewdly, “ it was someone in the Order.”

“Do you think there really is a breach?” Fabian said straightening his back resolutely.

“I don’t know.” Sirius said, “It could be that someone saw you two arriving or leaving Fabian’s house.”

“Possibly.” Fabian said and pressed his lips together.

“This isn’t important right now.” Sirius said quite suddenly, “Right now we have to figure out what the hell we’re going to do with you.”

“With me?” I asked, this time my own frown furrowed my brow.

“Yeah, I don’t want to see the black eyed Yves again if I can help it. No offence,” Sirius said in a way that implied that the following words would indeed be offensive, “you’re actually fucking scary when you’re, uh, dark. I never know if you’re going to click over and kill me or whether you’re just playing with your prey.”

“Sirius.” Fabian said admonishingly.

“What?” he said looking at him incredulously, “You can’t tell me you didn’t feel the same way yesterday.”

“I did but I wouldn’t have said anything.” Fabian said looking at Sirius like a little brother who still had a lot to learn.

“Yeah,” Sirius cocked his most brilliant lopsided smile, “but that’s why she loves me.”

Fabian rolled his eyes but there was a ghost of a smile on his lips.

“Perhaps it’s the reason she loves me too.”

“Probably.” Sirius said looking back at me. I couldn’t believe how comfortable they had both become with this absurd situation. While I looked between then and continued to listen to their rapid fire back and forth, something occurred to me.

“Sirius,” I said slowly, “are you saying that my eyes aren’t black anymore?”

“Yeah. Even the flecks of black are gone.”

“Shit.” I hissed flicking my legs over him and standing up quickly.

“Why is that a problem?” Sirius called after me as I made my way into the bathroom. “Yves? I don’t understand?”

I showered quickly and put on any clothes I could find before grabbing my wand and disappearing downstairs.

I walked straight past Marlene, pushing her aside roughly before entering the kitchen.

“Feeling better?” Lily said, her eyes kind. She was holding a massive mug of tea while James ate furiously beside her.

“Much.” I said preoccupied and grabbed a bread roll out of the basket in the centre of the table, “Where are my things?” I said looking at Fabian in particular.

Fabian didn’t answer, instead pulled his brows together and pressed his lips together.

“Fabian?” I asked again. I was in a hurry.

“Why?” Sirius asked languidly pushing over a plate of food from his position beside James. It was jam packed with sandwiches, muffins and fruit.

“Because I need to get something.” I said ignoring the food he was offering.

Sirius and Fabian just looked at me as if I was speaking mermish.

“Where is it?” I asked trying to keep my voice polite.

“You’re too weak…” Sirius said.

“It is not for you to tell me what I can and cannot do Sirius.” I said giving him a withering stare.

“No, but, because we care for you Yves, we can suggest to you what you ought and ought not do.” Fabian said rising from the table.

“I will never understand,” an insolent voice came from the kitchen door, “how you two idiots fawn over Yves when she treats both of you like you’re shit.” I didn’t have to turn around to know it was Marlene who stood behind me.

“Oh give it a rest.” Emmeline said sounding exhausted but firm.

“I will not.” She said raising her voice.

“You’d best.” I said realising that my body was trembling in anger.

Lily’s eyes shot towards mine, James stopped eating and everything went silent. I could feel rage bubble in my chest, pour into my veins and engulf me like a silent, unseen fire.

This one has too many times insulted us. The cold voice cooed in my ear.

Too many times has she thought herself a better than us. We are more! It roared furiously.

“Everything’s at Fabian’s house.” Sirius said rising abruptly. Fabian placed a hand on my back. I hadn’t noticed him move.

“Honestly,” Marlene said looking at Sirius as though he had betrayed her, “I just can’t fathom…”

“Yeah, you’ve said…” James said pulling her up short. It was clear that he wouldn’t tolerate anything more from her judging from the tone in his voice.

“Let’s go.” Sirius said pulling his cloak off the hook by the door, wedging himself between Marlene and I.

“I wont be here when you return.” She said looking at him furiously but beneath it, there was something else. I tried to concentrate on what I was seeing but the seething beast in my chest was roaring for blood.

Sirius looked at her, kindness in his eyes but he didn’t say anything.

 

We made our way out to the disapparation point without any more incident.

“Be on the look out when you get there.” I said to Fabian and Sirius who both stood at the ready, “We don’t know what else we may encounter. Your position has evidently been compromised.

They both nodded.

“At the ready.” Fabian said and with a crack, we disapparated.

 

 

I arrived at the entrance to the cave, darkened rocks towering over me, the smell of the surrounding pine forests filling my nose. I looked up at the overhanging rocks, the grey clouds pregnant with snow. I sighed and pulled my jacket more tightly around myself.

Yes! The voice purred in my head.

“This isn’t for you.” I said striding forward to the entrance of the cave.

Is it not?

“None of this has ever been about or for you.” I said. I knew I was talking to myself but it didn’t really feel that way.

Oh but it has. The voice was beginning to take shape as it strengthened its hold inside me. It laughed as though my insistence of anything else was absurd. It sounded more like Sasha than I cared to admit.

I lit my wand as I entered the cave, careful to be on the lookout for anything out of place. Voldemort surely would have known about this place. I was weak, yesterday’s encounter with the Death Eaters proved it. And I couldn’t be weak, not in a time of war. I knew Dumbledore’s words to me had been true. But I also knew that now more than ever I wanted to keep them all safe and right now I was dead weight.

Every demon demands its pound of flesh. The Sasha-like voice laughed in satisfaction.

“Shut up!” I said irritably. Fabian and Sirius were going to be furious with me for not going to the house but perhaps, in time; everyone would understand why I was doing what I was. It had moved beyond simply trying to save myself. I wanted to save everyone. I was a lost cause.

The cave was more ominous than the last time I had been inside. It stood to reason that if the lake had been a place where many had died, this too was a place of death. My footfalls echoed loudly through the cavernous space making it appear that I was not alone.

In the corner in the same place I knew it would be, the rocks caught the light like black diamonds.

I took a breath and walked forward, my hand outstretched.

“I took a gamble.” A voice echoed from beside me, my hair immediately stood on end. Why was I always walking into these traps for Merlin’s sake?

“You did?” I said trying my hardest to be casual.

“Yes.” He said stepping out of the shadows coming into view. Once again I didn’t survey my surrounding. Once again I was caught on the back foot,

“I gambled you would come here and I was right.”

“Well done.” I said and turned my back on him, against all my instinct, and took another step towards the glittering rock.

“You know I can’t let you do that just yet.” His voice was light as though we were talking about something that amused him greatly.

“I thought you would want me to do this.”

“I do. Of course I want you to embrace what you were born to be Yves. But I can’t let you do it before we have struck an accord.”

“Why do you think I would reach an accord with you?” I asked turning to look at his handsome, ghostly white face. He smiled generously.

“Because, presently, there is no way you will be able to fight me. Not if I don’t let you reach for the power.”

I didn’t say anything. He would know if I lied. Besides, it was obvious that I didn’t stand a chance. I really was at his mercy.

“From what I have heard, Bellatrix says that you are weakened.” He walked towards me slowly, as if time would wait for him and him alone. I gripped my wand more tightly.

“She wants you dead you know.” He said now standing before me. He lifted a hand and traced the line of my jaw with his spidery finger. The touch was electric. His skin was so white, almost other worldly. By comparison, the whites of his eyes radiated red from the iris outwards. He was very handsome, his features regal and refined, his black hair was sleek, but there was something about him I couldn’t quite put my finger on. He looked at me in a way no one had ever done. I couldn't quite put my finger on what exactly he was exeriencing when he looked at me. He wasn't like everyone else and I didn't have a hope in hell of guessing correctly.

“Doesn’t she want everyone dead?” I asked impressed that my voice didn’t portray the revulsion I was feeling.

He laughed sounding a little human but I wasn’t fooled; something about the sound still crawled beneath my skin.

“Indeed.” He said clearing an errand tendril of hair from my forehead, “But she want’s you dead in particular. She thinks I don’t know. But I do. I know everything.” He tapped his head knowingly.

“Well perhaps you can give my death to her as an offering.”

“I do not bring offerings to anyone.” He said still smiling standing too close to me.

“You have offered me something.” I said looking into his eyes. They were dead as though his soul was too far for anyone to reach.

“Yes, but you are not just anyone.”

“I don’t know what makes you think that I will ever be what you want me to be.”

“I do not want you to be anything less than what you aren Yves. Nothing less.” He stepped past me to look at the glittering rock.

“How did you know to find me here?”

“How did you know to come here?” He said firing my question back at me.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Of all the places you could have gone to replenish your power Yves, you choose to come here. I wonder if you know why.”

I thought about it for a moment unsure whether to tell him what I knew. But surely he already knew and that is why he was here.

“Because this is the place with the most power.”

“Yes.” He said turning to look at me, satisfaction plain on his face, “and do you know why?”

“I’m assuming that, like the lake, this is a place where many people died.”

“Yes.” He said but there was a tone of amusement in his voice, “Now, before I let you take this one, I would again like to ask you whether you would consider joining me?”

“Sure.” I said sarcastically, “Killing everyone I hold dear truly is one of my hearts more ardent desires.”

“It appears we have reached a stalemate.” He said but he moved aside for me. He hung his head and looked at the ground instead of at me. I didn’t for one second believe it to be the sadness he was meaning to convey.

“You are fighting against the inevitable. You and I will end up together Yves.”

“We will not.” I said vehemently.

He didn’t say anything but walked slowly to the cave entrance without worry that I might attack him. He was quite right. I didn’t stand a chance against him now. But I would. I stepped forward and placed my hand on the glittering rock. It felt colder to the touch than I thought it would. Suddenly there was a surge; power ran up my hand, into my arm and straight into my chest. It was like a bolt of lightening, stronger than any power I had taken before, more absolute, more intoxicating. I sucked in breath and let it overcome me. This was it. After this I would be invincible. No matter what Voldemort said, I would become more, I will be the one to kill him, and I would save my world and the lives of…

Something tightened around my chest uncomfortably. I felt as though I couldn’t suck in any more air, my lungs seizing, my muscles stiffened. I opened my eyes and willed myself to pull away but my body would not listen to instruction and the power continued to pour into me. It wasn’t like it had once been. Laughter bounced off the cold walls of the cave, victory clear in its cadence. Too late I realised what was happening. I put my entire being into pushing the darkness back, trying to expel the power but it was too much for me, too dark, far too powerful and, worst of all, unfathomably intoxicating.

“Oh Yves,” Voldemort’s laughing voice spoke, “now you are mine.”

I gasped for one more breath but none came, the darkness overcoming me.

 

 

 

 

 


Chapter 10: A Bargain
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I blinked into consciousness and I could immediately feel the distilled power within me. I sucked in a shaky breath, exhilaration pulsing through me, euphoria becoming me. Above me, the white ceiling was as blank as my mind. I could not concentrate on anything. There were no racing thoughts, no indecision, just clear and perfect purpose. Nothing more, nothing less. Overwhelming contentedness made the bloated beast within my chest purr. I stretched out my arms and legs languidly, the blood pulsing through my veins a living thing. I was utterly sated.

“I am glad to see you have awoken.” Said a voice that was becoming all too familiar, one that sounded far too intimate. My senses honed in on him immediately, not that I would ever let him know that.

“Of course you are.” A velvety, self-assured voice said, one that sounded quite unlike myself. I turned my body to face his, propping my head up on my hand. The room had crisp white walls, dark wood furnishings and simple fixtures.

“I see you are much less on your guard.” He said looking at me keenly, closing the book he had been reading and placing it on the table beside the elegant armchair he was currently occupying. He put his elbows on his knees and intertwined his fingers, his eyes watchful.

“I don’t believe I have anything to fear.” I said smiling broadly. As I spoke the words I knew them to be true. He returned my smile but his eyes continued to watch me for any signs of unexpected movement, any sign of deception.

“Why would you believe that?” he asked surreptitiously.

“Because you’ve outsmarted me haven’t you?” I didn’t feel malice as I should have, I was far too consumed by the incredible way the air tasted in my mouth, the way the cotton of the sheets slid over my skin, how the colours refracted off the window behind him.

“And how might I have done that?” He asked smiling at my candour.

I smiled in return not replying. I knew I was playing with a viper but I didn’t care. This was an entirely new world and I felt secure of my place in it. After all, he had gone to so much effort…

“Indulge me.” He said rising out of the chair and making his way over to the bed. He wore a simple three-piece grey suit that offset his hair perfectly. He was very handsome and he knew it. Unlike Sirius, he used it not only as a means to an end, but also as a weapon.

“Well,” I said fingering the cotton sheet, averting my eyes, “That was your power wasn’t it?” I lifted my eyes to meet his and for the first time he let the mask slip and I saw the shrewdness that had made him so illusive thus far.

“It was exceedingly clever.” I said and continued to watch him as he narrowed his eyes at me trying to decipher something, “You read the situation perfectly. And,” I said smiling again, “my behaviour.”

“You say that but I was not sure you would come.” He said his brow furrowing.

“Don’t lie.” I said harshly, “We’re beyond that now. Of course you knew. You would not have waited for a second if you thought there was a chance I would not come.”

Yes,” he said evidently amused at my spine, “I did know.” He lifted a long finger to trace my jawbone the way he had before as though unable to stop himself.

“And,” I continued, “Because it was your power I absorbed, it was so much stronger than Sasha’s.”

“Yes,” he said coming fractionally nearer, “but there is another reason for it too.”

“And what is that?” I said moving across the bed to come closer to him. His eyes watched my progress carefully and he did not speak until I stopped moving as though I was a particularly dangerous creature prone to attacking without warning. I might be wandless but he didn’t doubt my capabilities for one second. He was right not to.

“They were fresh kills. Perhaps twice the number of those in the lake and far more recent. They were, of course, my kills and thus, far more potent than you imagined.” He said a satisfied glint in his eyes.

“Ah,” I said rolling over to look at the ceiling again, “so that is what true power feels like.”

“Intoxicating isn’t it?” he mused.

I smiled my response.

“While we’re being honest with each other…” I said bouncing to a seating position unable to hold still for too long. The pain in my body had completely disappeared, there wasn’t a trace of it, a single ache, a momentary stab.

“Yes?’ he asked watching me intently.

“Why did you go to all this trouble?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” he asked looking at me, a very well placed furrow on his brow. Something told me that there was a chance that he was simply going through the motions, pretending to find me amusing, but then again, one could never know. Perhaps he really did.

“I think the parts you want me to see are obvious but there is something more going on here.”

“Why don’t you tell me what you think it is?” He asked with an indulging smile.

“You know Voldemort,” I said not skipping a beat, “this is going to become supremely boring if I have to do all the talking all the time.”

“You dare to call me Voldemort?” he asked calmly, a trace of amusement in his tone as though he were watching a particularly entertaining child. After a pregnant pause, he began:

“You are consistently interesting Yves. Continue, please.” He gestured with his hand.

“Obviously you became intent on my family because of our bloodline and what you thought we could achieve. Probably because you wanted to harness it for yourself. Perhaps for another reason. It is difficult to say. I think you tried with Sasha but you didn’t quite achieve the desired result. Perhaps he was too unstable, perhaps his desires too closely resembled your own, perhaps he was too ambitious. So, instead, you tried again with me. But, the problem was that I was never on your side. So you had to get me to a place where you could force my hand. Hence you manipulated a set of circumstances to push me toward this inevitable conclusion.”

“I did not manipulate all the circumstances Yves,” he purred, “much of that was your own doing.”

“Indeed.” I smiled turning my head to look at him again, “However, you must have identified the singularly glaring problem with your plan?”

“And what is that?” He asked crossing his legs and placing his hand on his chin as he regarded me.

“You must know that I will never follow instruction. I will never be your weapon because I will never truly be on your side.”

“Ah, yes,” He said but his smile told me that he had already thought out this eventuality, “Initially I did think that you would be useful.” He stood from the bed and went over to the table where two wine glasses stood. He filled both glasses as he continued.

“I though, how poetic it would be to use Dumbledore’s woman against him, one he had so carefully cultivated but one that miscarried so grievously. You were never going to be what he needed you to be. Instead you will be a reminder, not only of his failures, but The Orders as well. The more I encountered you, your will was what struck me as the most potent. However,” he turned and walked over to the bed handing me a glass, “if I was after obedience, I would have recruited another Death Eater or turned to the many I already have. That matters little to me now.”

“Then what is it you want?” I asked sipping on the deep red wine.

“Interestingly,” he said taking a sip of his own wine, “it is quite simple, I want you. However, this does not preclude us from our predicament. You see, I cannot trust you and I would not be fool enough to try. And you will not trust me, I have seen your iron will. I could probably break it if I tried, but I am not sure that is what I want after all.”

“So you were right earlier, we are at a stalemate.”

“No,” he said grinning as me, his eyes narrowing slightly, revealing his cunning once more, “not at all. I will, however, have to force your hand as you so aptly noted before. The power you have absorbed,” he said taking another sip of wine before placing it on the bedside table. He yanked open the sheets and exposed my almost entirely webbed body, “it is too much for your vessel to contain. You are going to die if it stays this way for much longer.”

“So you want me to die?” I asked acceptingly. I didn’t care either way.

“Far from it. I want you to live but I want you to live on my terms. Seeing as you do not have a wand, you cannot expel the power yourself and no,” he said, realising that I was going to ask for one, “I am not going to give you one. That would be foolish Yves and I am no fool. The only way you are going to be able to lower the lever of power within you is on my terms.”

“What are your terms?” I asked taking another sip of the wine, swirling the richness of the liquid around my mouth.

He slid his hand into his breast pocket and pulled out a long chain with an ornate ring dangling from it. A hand engraved ‘G’ adorned the top of it.

“These are my terms.” He said swinging it in front of my eyes. His eyes followed it and I could clearly see the want in them, “I had quite wanted to save this particular item for my own uses,” his eyes shifted focus and he looked at me far more covetously than he had the ring, “But I will make an exception. I will take some of the power from you and deposit it into this ring. I will allow you not only to live, but I will allow you to live by my side. Of course,” he said placing a hand around my neck angling my eyes to look at him directly, “I’ll never give you a wand but I will provide you with everything you may need. You will have a never ending supply of power with which to satiate yourself and I will ensure that the ring will feed you, little by little, not so much as to glut you, and not so little as to starve you. I will protect you, and you will be one of my most revered supporters…”

“You cannot bend me to your will.” I said bluntly.

“I do not intend to bend you completely Yves,” he said moving his thumb to stroke my chin, ‘just enough for you to see that you and I are not that dissimilar.

Before he could reassert his grip around my neck, I took my chance. I threw myself onto him, throwing him over onto the bed. I planted my legs on his and pinned his arms above his head.

“You don’t honestly think I would bring my wand into the room?” he asked laughing.

“Of course not.” I cooed into his ear, “I intend to show you that I will not be subservient. Besides, what do you get out of this?”

“I get,” he mused, “exactly what I need and some of what I want.” It wasn’t a proper answer but it was something.

“A bargain must be made Yves.” He said looking me directly in the eyes.

“And I will take your bargain but you must know,” I said lowering myself inches from his lips, “a time will come when I will be your equal.”

“I look forward to it.” He said his eyes glinting covetously again. He pushed me off of him and onto the bed.

“Dress yourself.” He said, “and then I will do as I have promised.”

He stood, claimed his glass and walked toward the door.

“One last thing,” he said as he opened the door. Beyond it was a darkened passage quite unlike the room I was in, “you must know the toll the power is taking on your body.” He turned to look at me. I nodded simply, “So you know that with it you will die, but without it, you will die just the same. I will give enough for you to live and live well; you will never be without a fresh kill. But if you leave, you will die. There is no one else who could possibly sustain you, not anymore.”

He swung the door closed behind him and I considered his words for a moment.

Yves was dead now and so was Sasha. I was something wholly different now, an entirely new creature. But I was chained. The best in my chest roared loudly, furious at the imposition of it all, the forced destiny.

“No matter.” I said consolingly, “We will rise.”

 

I opened the closet door and pulled out one of the multiple hangings. It was a simple black dress with open arms, synched waist and flared skirt. I pulled out another, and then another. All the dresses were exquisite, beautiful and exceptionally feminine. Also, apparently, they were only meant to be worn with heels.

“He thinks we are ornamental.” I said laughing softly at the absurdity of it. Perhaps it was something we could use to our advantage. However, I obligingly put on the black dress, slipped on the shoes and pinned my hair up in the mirror. I always knew I was beautiful but if it was possible, I was more so now than I had ever been before. My hair was glossier, my skin finer, and my eyes, well, they were ebony black. Were it not for the gossamer webbing interlacing my skin, I would be otherwise perfect.

I walked to the door but it swung open before I could reach it.

Voldemort walked in looking as calm and in control as he had before. His eyes slid from my own to the dress. His smile was unbridled this time. He was evidently very pleased. I was in fact ornamental. Suspicions confirmed, I returned his smile.

“You are ready?” He asked sliding his wand out of his jacket pocket.

“Yes.” I said looking at him determinedly.

He pointed his wand tip at my chest, his brow pulled together.

“I lament having to do this.” He said looking into my eyes, “I had wished for something… else.”

I let my head fall lopsidedly, my eyes wide. Something else?

Before I could ask him what he meant, he whispered something and a black swirling mass coiled out of me. It was simultaneously gaseous and liquid, suspended but alive. He extricated it carefully and held out the ring, letting it dangle from the chain, careful not to touch either the ring or the black mass and transferred one to the other. The ring began to glow cherry red before as though it were about to melt, when suddenly it cooled and looked as it had before, no trace of the darkness contained within.

My body began to quake, my knees feeling weak, my hairs standing on end and I was suddenly unbearably cold. Voldemort caught me before I hit the ground and, instead of holding me on my feet, followed me down, into a seating position.

I rode the withdrawal of his power silently even though my body wasn’t as good at keeping the secrets my mouth would never speak.

He held me in silence for a long time. It did not feel as odd as it should have. It was neither a comfort nor unease. I had a strange feeling that beyond the obvious we were connected. Whether or not he knew that, I did not know but I wasn’t about to tell him. Finally he put the chain over my head and settled the ring above my breasts.

“We are expected.” He said tugging me to my feet.

I rose with him willingly but instead of following him to the door, I went over to the mirror. The webbing had disappeared from my skin, the black from the whites of my eyes, which instead lead into a crisp coal black of my irises.

“Fine work you’ve done here.” I said trying to be light but I could already note the unbearable loss of power from me. It left a screaming chasm, a hollow beast that could never be filled. But I would not let him know that either. If he did, he would have yet more power to lord over me.

He didn’t response to me so I turned to observe him.

“What is it?” I asked briskly coming to stand in front of him.

“If you destroy this ring you will die.” He said bluntly, lifting it lightly and running his fingers over the skin beneath it. The beast knew that this was the source of the power, that he was the source of the power. It also knew that he could give us more. I pushed the desire to ask him down. I had endured more than this and I would continue to as long as I had to. But he was giving me a way out. Destroy the ring and die.

“Why are you telling me this?” I asked taking a step closer.

“We are late.” He said tugging my hand, “We do not want to keep your new family waiting. As always, they are eager to meet someone who is in the Lords favour.”

 

We walked down the passage toward a spiralling staircase. The house’s opulence was bordering on gaudy, quite the antithesis of the room I had been assigned making me think that it was made up that way especially for me. Along the walls hung whispering portraits of a selection of very severe men and woman, each looking meaner than the last. The emerald green carpet beneath our feet had threads of swirling gold, ornate golden candle holders lit the way toward the immense entrance hall. I could hear the rise and fall of voices, female and male, harsh grunts, shrill laughs and hushing as we neared the room. Voldemort pulled me toward the enormous open doors of a grand dining room. In the centre of the room was a long rectangular table, occupied ball and claw chairs ran down each length, suspended above the table enormous, crystal draped chandeliers. All at once there, the scrape of several chairs being thrust backwards echoed throughout the room, escaping into the rest of the house. The Death Eaters stood, their heads turned to us as we made our way into the room. Voldemort walked to the head of the table. I tried to look at the faces of those I passed but they all hung their faces as I looked and averted their gaze. All except for one. A woman I recognised as Bellatrix looked at me with more ferocity than I had ever seen. Her one hand clinched her wand, the other was balled in a fist. Her teeth were bared and her breathing was becoming more rapid with each passing second. Hatred etched every one of her features and I knew that were it not for her Lords hand around mine, she would have killed me by now. So I did the only thing I could think to do. I smiled at her, my most beaming smile. Her lips curled before she bellowed.

“What is she doing here? Why is she here? Why?” She thumped her fist on the table dramatically.

Voldemort did not speak immediately, in fact, he did not raise his eyes to hers. Instead he positioned me by his side and looked from Bellatrix’s place setting on his right, to the other on his left. Her breathing was becoming more strained and she moaned irritably as though the mere sight of me was an affront to her.

“Move Bellatrix.” He said finally meeting her eyes. His tone was one I had not heard him use before. He spoke with such finality that when I saw that she did not move immediately, I flinched, as did those closest us around the table.

“My Lord?” she asked sweetly for him to repeat but no one was convinced.

“Move.” He said glowering at her.

“But My Lord, I…”

“Bella,” he said tempering his voice into something that resembled kindness but I wasn’t fooled and neither was she, “I would not test my patience any more than you already have.”

Her jaw slapped shut as though he had done it with force and she bundled up her dress and moved to the occupied seat beside the one Voldemort was telling her to vacate.

“Move.” She said forcefully. The entire line of people shifted one place down.

Voldemort did not smile as her or even acknowledge that what he had just asked her to do was a massive indignity. He gestured for me to occupy the seat and I sat down hastily glad to be off of my feet. He regarded me momentarily before taking his own seat. A second later, everyone else took his or her place. Wine glasses filled magically, food appeared on the table before us, a feast worthy of Hogwarts but no one went to take any food. I looked around and everyone sat, looking ahead but not making eye contact with anyone else, turning their faces from my gaze as subtly as they could.  

“Welcome to the Carrow House Yves.” Voldemort said, his voice ringing in the silence.

I looked at him not sure whether to thank him. I decided silence was probably the best tactic so instead I reached for the steaming bowl of potatoes in front of me and scooped a ladle onto my plate, followed by a piece of roast beef, carrots and drowned the entire mess in gravy. I picked up a fork very aware that no one else had moved and that no one dared look at me. I lifted a fork and put a potato into my mouth and chewed slowly. Smiling faintly, Voldemort sat back and took his glass of wine in his long fingers and held it aloft. Everyone raised his or her glass almost in unison.

“Welcome.” They chanted before sipping and settling the glasses back onto the table.

I raised my glass a little after them and took a sip of my own. I didn’t give a shit about the formalities or that I had probably broken etiquette. I had grown up in a home with pure blood bat-shit crazy witches and wizards. I wasn’t about to relive that now no matter how affronted any of them would be.

“Severus,” Voldemort’s voice rang out amidst the mass of eating Death Eaters, “if I am not mistaken, you know Yves.”

“Yes My Lord.” A familiar voice said a few spaces from where I sat but across from the table. I found Severus’s face immediately. He looked as he always had, his sleek long hair hung around his face, his eyes intelligent, his face a mask of impassivity, “We were in the same year in Hogwarts.”

“Indeed.” He said looking from Severus to me. Severus did not look at me directly but focussed all of his attention on his Master, “How fortuitous. That means you know Regulus’s brother.” I cast my eyes around the table and found him almost as quickly. He glanced at me before following Severus’s lead and maintained eye contact with Voldemort. Or at least he tried to; Voldemort was looking at me.

“Yes,” I said offhandedly, “I know Sirius very well.”

“And that means you know too know James Potter?”

“I do, yes.” I said matter-of-factly.

“Frank Longbottom? And Gideon and Fabian Prewett?”

“Yes, I know them all.”  

“I would quite like them to join us.” He mused, “We tried with Sirius but he is determined to land himself in an early grave.” I did not speak but noticed stiffening from Severus in my periphery; so slight I wasn’t even sure I had seen it.

“Master,” Bellatrix said beside me a cruel humour colouring her high-pitched tone, “this woman is a blood traitor, nothing but a filthy…”

“Bella.” He said warningly. Beside her a man grabbed her wrist tightly admonishingly.

“Seeing as Yves has come to embrace her new blood status, she is no more a blood traitor than you are Bellatrix. She is of one of the last remaining true pure blood families of Europe. I dare say, that she is far more in my good graces than you are at present after your mess at the McKinnon’s.”

“My lord,” she said pleadingly. Judging by her tone, being out of Voldemort’s good graces was a seriously bad place to be, “we followed instructions, we tried but we did not expect Dumbledore to arrive with…”

“Exactly.” He said taking a large sip of his wine, “You did not expect. Instead you were outsmarted and outstripped by blood traitors and muggle-borns.”

Bellatrix lowered her head in defeat but I could tell that this was little more than a crude act. She was not sorry, not for a second. She glared at me through her lashes, her hatred more real than the piece of beef I was currently chewing. I swallowed and smiled at her.

“Did I not punch you in the side of the head and kick you in the stomach? How’s that feeling?” I asked as if she had contracted a very nasty case of spattergroit.

“You bitch…” She hissed grabbing her wand.

I laughed loudly. There was nothing she could do to me that wouldn’t anger her Master and she knew it. Worse still, she knew that I knew.

I turned back to my food and cleared the plate. It seemed after that, no one else dared speak. I could tell that they were wary of inviting conversations about potentially sensitive information but I knew that Voldemort would leave nothing to chance. This entire event was probably carefully curated, staged, a test. I was failing miserably but I couldn’t be exactly what he wanted me to be right away- where was the fun in that.

I caught Severus looking at me more than a few times while Voldemort spoke softly to the man beside him. The man kept shooting me furtive glances, unsure about my place here or what roll I would play. I was wondering the same thing.

“Well,” I said long after I had finished my meal, “I don’t know about you.” I looked around the table and finally my eyes landed on Voldemort, “but I’m exhausted. If you would excuse me.” I rose from the table. Voldemort stood with me, his amused smile still in place. Around him Death Eaters rose with their Master. I wanted to laugh out loud at how ridiculous the entire scene had been and I was traipsing through it without a care in the world.

“Severus,” he said not breaking the eye-contact, “Would you accompany Yves to her room?” It wasn’t really a question, rather an order. Everyone knew it; it was just disguised in niceties.

“Of course My Lord.” Severus said moving around the table to stand beside me. He held out his arm like a gentleman and I took it, refusing to look away from Voldemort.

“I will meet you shortly.” He said and finally moved his eyes to Severus to whom he gave a curt nod.

We walked out of the room and rounded the corner when the screaming began.

Severus quickened his pace and led me up the stairs hastily.

“What’s going on?” I asked trying to look back.

“The Dark Lord is displeased.” He said pushing me along, “Come Yves.” He said sounding a little desperate.

I stopped fighting and followed him into my room. He closed the door, pointed his wand at it and whispered, “Muffilato”.

“What the hell are you doing here?” he hissed at me placing both his hands on my shoulders.

“We’ll,” I said sarcastically, “isn’t it obvious. I’m a Death Eater now.”

He pulled my forearms toward him, angling them upward, checking for a Dark Mark.

“We haven’t gotten that far yet.” I said pulling my arms away from him.

“How far have you gotten?” he asked furiously.

I looked at him trying to appraise him but all I could see was the Severus I used to know. Not this man in front of me.

“Who knew you would become a murderer.” I said shaking my head at him.

“Who knew you would become one.” He shot back.

I huffed theatrically before plopping onto the bed and removing my shoes.

“Yves,” he said coming closer but not taking a seat, “This isn’t a game, you have to get out of here.”

“I can’t do that.” I said happily and deranged.

“You will die here.” He said earnestly.

“I know.” I said allowing the same inflection to colour my voice.

“No, you are not taking this seriously.” He shook his head in disbelieve, his voice urgent, “Yves, you do not know what…” But he stopped short, quickly pulled out his wand, pointed it at the door and bent down to pick up my discarded shoes, simultaneously sliding his wand into his robes. The door opened but he did not turn to it. Instead, he went to the wardrobe door, opened it and returned my shoes to the spot they occupied before.

He turned on his heel like a soldier, nodded at his Master and swept out the room without a further word.

“Did you enjoy dinner?” He asked closing the door behind Severus.

“Not so much the company you keep, but the food was terrific.”

“You seem to have made an enemy before we have even begun.” He said coming to stand in front of me.

“Bellatrix you mean?” I asked looking up at him, “I’m afraid she is the very first in a long line.”

“Are you planning on making it difficult for me to fulfil my word?”

“Yes.” I said bluntly trying to remove the pins from my hair. This didn’t feel like the kind of girl I was. Voldemort lifted his hand and removed the pin giving me so much hassle.

“Oh but you are going to be trouble. You know, you attract more flies with with crystalized pineapple than you do with bubotubor pus.” He said.

“Is that what you do?” I asked even though I knew he didn’t.

“It has been known to work until you no longer need charm, in which case fear serves the same purpose with slightly more efficacy.”

“What was the purpose of the pretence downstairs?” I asked riskily.

“It was an introduction to our ranks.”

“I know for a fact that that was not your full number. And do dinners always go past so profoundly silently?”

“No, they do not." He said pulling out his wand.

“What are you going to do with that?” I asked eyeing it suspiciously.

“I am going to make you sleep.” He said pressing the wand to the ring hanging in the middle of my chest, it flared becoming white-hot momentarily before a wisp of black curled out of it and soaked into my chest. Euphoria overcame me, a toe-curling blissfulness, and my eyes became heavy lidded. He placed a hand behind my neck and lifted me gently, walking with me to the bed, placing my head on the pillow.

“What do you want from me?” I asked the euphoric haze threatening to pull me under. Instead of an answer I heard a chuckle and the word ‘soon.’

“Go to sleep Yves.” He said withdrawing from the room, extinguishing the candles as he left.

 

Hi everyone! 

I know this story has gone rather awry but I am working on a second arc so if this seems flimsy, just bear with me for a few of the coming chapters. All will become clear very soon.

I would also just like to thank Allison13, Sleepingbagonthesofa, BBHP, Yasmin93 and Emmy Bacon for the dedicated reviews, for helping me make every chapter better, every character more interesting and for putting the 'love' in to the 'labour'.

If you haven't yet, drop me a review. I would love to hear from you.

 

All my love- A



 

 


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