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Chapter Twenty One: As the meeting continued the assembled members had moved to the basement where dueling could be practiced more easily. “Lily!” Remus shouted. “Pay attention, you’ve got to shield better than that.” Across the room James caught her eye and tried to smile encouragingly but Moody was bearing down on him mercilessly. Lily’s eyes tried to wander back to the staircase and Lupin had called out to her once more, “Lily, for heaven’s sake, Harry’s fine. Flitwick and Atticus are both with him. Now honestly, don’t make me stun you.” Lily smirked because she knew that the likelihood of Remus Lupin actually aiming a stunning spell at her was about as high as Petunia dropping by for tea. Her sister had never even answered her letter about Harry’s birth, although Lily had dutifully sent a gift and a card to Petunia when her son was born. The spell they were working with was particularly difficult but they all knew how important it was to try and have new disarming spells, it was more difficult to shield against an unknown spell. In theory, it would keep them safer in battle but March’s discoordination spell was hell to execute. “Clumsatinata!” Lily tried again. This was useless, she thought, by the time they got the inflection right, the sun would be rising. Next to her Fortesque suddenly went down, successfully hit by the new spell. She flopped about for a moment shouting “Gah..nuttin wokth dah wah ith shud…nob eben mah thung.” March reversed the spell and Elizabeth sat up, looking dazed. “It’s not bad Professor! I couldn’t have reached for my wand if I wanted to!” As usual she looked invigorated by the dueling. Then she tried to stand and nearly toppled over. “Wow, there’s even an after effect!” Alice Longbottom laughed in triumph, she had been the dueler to hit Elizabeth. Fortesque was incredibly skilled in battle, but the older woman was both an Auror and surprisingly quick on her feet. Not far away her husband was battling the newest member of the Order, the tall, thin Arthur Weasley. He seemed an incredibly nice man but he needed a lot of practice when it came to fighting. Upon meeting her Weasley had said enthusiastically, “You’re were raised as a Muggle, weren’t you?” Lily had stared in surprise. “I study them you know! Absolutely fascinating, entrancing really. Shooting around in their flairopanes trying to get from place to place.” “Airplanes.” Lily had kindly corrected him. “Right, Airoflames! That’s it.” He smiled at her with such genuine enthusiasm that Lily had not had the heart to correct him again. “I’ll give you a hand upstairs if you like Elizabeth.” Alice Longbottom called to Fortesque. “No, I’m fine. I’ll go up on my own in a few minutes. I want to see how Atticus is getting on anyway.” Dumbledore had returned after he had checked on Megan and had now been watching for quite some time but now he turned away and walked slowly up the stairs. Lily watched him too and wondered why the wizard had look so downcast. “Lily! I mean it!” Remus was shouting again. “What, you’ll actually aim for me?” Lily teased. :::::::::::: Upstairs Megan and Sirius had finally arrived. Sirius was beaming with pride and Megan wore a relaxed happy smile. Black’s hair was incredibly mussed. “Robe, Sirius.” Sliverton greeted them from the couch. “What’s that?” Sirius asked. “You’ve caught the tail end of your robe in your pants, might want to fix it.” Sliverton looked tired but amused. “Got dressed quickly I take it?” “Uh, something like that.” Sirius yanked the hem of his robes out of the back of his jeans. Sliverton smiled at Megan and she returned his smile uncertainly. What did he think had happened that night at the Fobbe’s? “You’re looking lovely as usual.” “Thank you.” Megan answered brightly. “Are you feeling well?” Dumbledore entered the room as Megan continued to converse with the former Ravenclaw. He saw that on her hand was a sparkling ring and he smiled gently at her. “Sirius, you may wish to join in on the dueling session in the basement.” The old headmaster said. “Actually headmaster, I’d like to have a word with you, if you don’t mind.” Megan said and nodded towards the basement to Sirius who looked at her, waiting to see if she needed him with her or not. “You’re sure then?” Sirius spoke in a low voice. “Quite sure, don’t worry.” Megan was all smiles again. “I’ll be downstairs if you need me.” Sirius turned and began to stride towards the hall that led down to the basement. At the doorway he turned and smiled, “I love you Meg.” His words rang across the room, Atticus grinned to himself and Dumbledore even allowed himself a small smile. From the blanket set out near the table Professor Flitwick’s distinctive laugh could be heard. “Well isn’t that lucky since I love you too?” Megan was not one to be easily embarrassed. Sirius cast one last fond look at her and headed down the hall. “Megan, you’d like to speak in private I take it?” Dumbledore asked. “Yes, please, if we could.” “Certainly.” The old wizard said with a heavy heart. He ushered her towards one of the small rooms that served as an office. ::::::::::: “I’m very sorry, I truly am but my mind’s made up.” Megan’s jaw was set her expression stubborn. “Megan, of course you must do as you think is best but I am sorry to inform you that I don’t believe it will be as easy as you think.” Dumbledore voice was troubled. “It most certainly will be. Look Professor,” Megan pushed her curly hair back from her heart shaped face and looked earnestly into his eyes. “Before you ever trained me, I had to concentrate to read anyone. So now all I need to concentrate on not reading anyone. I’m not trying to let you down sir, but honestly, what good am I really doing? All I see are rushes of images and often they don’t even make sense. I get a feeling for people, certainly, but how do we even know it’s correct? There’s only ever an occasionally clear thing.” Megan was pleading with him. He knew she was wrong, but it was best to leave that discovery to her. “Will you be leaving the Order?” Dumbledore’s voice sounded worried. “Oh no, of course not!” Megan spoke sincerely. “I’m a good dueler, we both know that. I’ve still got ways I could be useful. I just…I just don’t want to do it any longer. The reading, the trying to see. I don’t think I was meant for it. If you want to know the truth, I’m not sure that anyone should see into the future. It mucks things up more than anything else.” The wise man before her said nothing for a moment and then, “Megan, you will doubtless be angry with me for saying this, but you cannot turn away from who you are. We all have a purpose in life, and regardless of whether your choose to fulfill yours, I can say with certainty, you will live to regret this decision.” Megan’s temper flared momentarily, “I don’t regret anything Professor, other than having people be afraid of me. Of having to see the pain and loss in a person’s life? If that’s a gift Professor, I’ll not be wanting it.” She would change her mind, Dumbledore thought. “Ah, yes well, we must all carve our own path in life, dear girl.” He felt tired and he still had things he wished to accomplish this night. “If you will excuse me.” “Of course.” Megan said as Dumbledore stood up and left the room. I forgot to tell him I’m to be married, thought Megan and refused to give any credence to the shiver that ran down her spine again. “Time enough for that later.” She said firmly to herself. Megan rested her hand over her eyes for a few minutes. Her head ached inexplicably. ::::::::: Dumbledore walked into the meeting room and approached the large fireplace. Flitwick was out of the room and Sliverton was asleep on the sofa. Elizabeth Fortesque sat on the rug, playing with the babies. “Ah, Elizabeth. Would you please tell Professor McGonagall that I have gone to check on Peter Pettigrew?” “Of course, sir.” Elizabeth looked happy playing with the babies. “Professor Flitwick just went to brew some tea.” Flitwick was known to like a particularly complicated brew. Dumbledore nodded, his mind elsewhere, he threw powder into the fire and called out the name of Peter’s lodgings. He found the young man apparently asleep on his own small sofa, a book resting on his chest and the low table before him cluttered with mugs and plates. Without disturbing him Dumbledore left and went on his next errand, he needed to consult a certain book at Hogwarts. As soon as he was gone, Peter opened his eyes. :::::::::: Down in the basement the duelers were tiring and some sat companionably against the stone walls together. James, Remus, Lily and Sirius were all propped up in a row. “You look remarkably happy Padfoot.” James observed. “Has Megan finally learned to cook?” “No Prongs, but I have.” The dark haired young man smiled. “What about you Lily, I thought you’d be tearing up the stairs, wild to get back to your offspring.” “I would be,” Lily laughed the sound was as usual musical. “But that ruffian Remus stunned me with the new spell and I’ve got to wait until my legs quit wobbling.” “I did warn you Lily,” Remus smiled, “repeatedly.” “I’m not at all sure how I feel about you stunning my wife.” James joked. James knew it was for the best, Lily really did need to learn how to duel better. “I’m fine with it James, it isn’t his fault if he has neither manners nor breeding.” Lily giggled. “By the way, I’ve got some news…” Sirius began and then stopped. He should wait until Megan was with him. “Well, don’t keep it to yourself.” James prodded. “It can wait.” Sirius said. “However, another duel can’t. Come on Prongs, on your feet! Let’s have it old boy, I’ll turn you into an over cooked noodle.” “We’ll see about that.” James was up and the two of them were quickly dueling. “Want a hand upstairs, Lily?” Remus asked. “No, it’s all right Remus. Flitwick loves Harry. Between you and me, he’s better at changing him than James is.” Lily smiled. ::::::::::::: Megan walked into the meeting room and looked over at the sleeping Sliverton. Poor soul, he really did look as if he needed the rest. He seemed dead to the world. “Hello Elizabeth.” Megan said in what she hoped was a friendly tone. “Hello Meg.” Elizabeth looked uncomfortable. She was playing with the babies. No time like the present, thought Megan. “How’s my fine little man?” Megan said to her Godson and swooped him up in her arms concentrating hard on not feeling anything. To her joy it was work…. Green light flashed as Lily’s voice pleaded for mercy….another blinding flash and….a cold voice screamed “Noooooooo”…Hagrid’s voice saying something about defeat …...then a feeling of emptiness that stretched on until….a friendly red haired boy asking “Are you Harry Potter?”….a bushy haired girl was saying something about the History of Hogwarts….the cold voice was back and a burning pain flashed across the boy’s forehead…the voice of boy roaring “He killed my mum and dad!” and Sirius’s voice… barely recognizable saying something she couldn’t understand….then the boy was struggling as he held the body of a slightly older boy…. On and on it went, seemingly forever but in reality it was only a few moments. Elizabeth was watching Megan intently, trying to pry Harry from the Hogan girl’s hands. ….he had risen again….and the boy screaming for Sirius as if their was nothing else in the world for him….Dumbledore’s voice saying that he had been marked as his equal and he must kill Voldemort or be killed….and…finally there was peace, happiness, love. Megan Hogan gasped and nearly stumbled. “Where’s Dumbledore?” Megan asked as soon as she could find her voice. “He went to check on Peter.” Elizabeth answered in confusion. Megan was setting the baby down on the blanket again. “I have to speak to him now.” Megan looked ghastly. Tears were standing in her suddenly gray eyes. She moved towards the fireplace. “Megan, you can’t go out alone.” Elizabeth warned. “I’ve got to speak to Dumbledore.” Megan insisted and Elizabeth noted that she had gone all pale and sweaty. She was shaking badly. “Well, I can’t let you go by yourself in that condition.” Elizabeth Fortesque didn’t understand what was going on but she knew the headmaster’s orders. She thought for a moment, looked at the sleeping form of Sliverton on the couch and said, “Come on then, I’ll go with you.” Megan was already taking a pinch of powder and preparing to fling it into the fire. “We really ought to tell…” But Elizabeth never got to finish the thought. Megan had stepped into the fireplace. Flitwick would be back at any moment and if either of the babies cried, it would certainly rouse Sliverton. She sighed, took out her wand and followed after Megan. ::::::::::::: Peter Pettigrew was sitting on his sofa when Megan Hogan stepped from his fireplace and looked around. “Peter, where’s Dumbledore?” Her voice was urgent. “In the kitchen.” Lied Peter and as Megan turned to look, he took out his wand and stunned her. Megan Hogan was protected by powerful anti-curse spells designed by Dumbledore himself but the power of the spell that Peter Pettigrew hit her with was immense. When had he become so powerful? She wondered in a daze, fumbling for her wand in her robes. God, Moody’ll never forgive me for not being at the ready. Peter cursed her again and Megan fell to the side, painfully knocking her head against the stone mantle. “Peter…” She tried to speak but her voice was fading, her hands weren’t working properly and she couldn’t seem to grasp her wand. “Stop…why…oh …your…hand….” It was as Peter Pettigrew stunned her for the third time, finally knocking her out that Megan remembered that she had never clasped Peter’s hand. The flames flared green and Peter was ready, his wand held high. Elizabeth Fortesque stepped from the flames and stood up straight, “Peter?” Her wand was in her hand by her side as she stepped forward but it was not until her foot knocked against Megan Hogan’s limp form that it ever occurred to her to raise it, by then it was far too late. Oh hell, thought Elizabeth. It was the last thought she had as Peter Pettigrew killed her. Author's Note: The first time out with this story a lot of people were very angry with me for killing Elizabeth. However, hang in there because there's a specific reason she was killed. The Order needed a trail to follow.

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