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Chapter Thirty Three: Two days later at headquarters the few assembled members were just finishing up and starting to head home. “Do you need an escort, Burns?” Moody said in his always gruff voice. They’d taken to doing this, trying to make sure the less experienced fighters were taken home by the seasoned ones just in case of ambush. Sophie’s place didn’t have a fireplace so she always had to apparate to her flat. Lupin had been taking on the job of guarding her and Moody thought he might like a break. “Oh…uh…no. I’m having my place exterminated right now actually.” Sophie’s cheeks were burning. “I’m staying at a friend’s place tonight.” “What have you got that needs exterminating?” Peter asked with what seemed like interest. “Oh, just some Doxies, I don’t have time to kill them off myself, so I hired that old loon Cecil Phenton to do it.” Sophie was still blushing. Lily was watching this all transpire with interest, why was Sophie looking so flustered? “Where are you staying Sophie? Are you sure it’s well protected?” Atticus asked with concern. “Oh, yes, it is well protected. Cloaked and hidden as well as it can be.” Sophie was now frankly crimson. “Remus is going to take me there.” The Longbottoms were pulling on cloaks and heading out now too. Must be a new boyfriend, Atticus thought and smiled at her before returning to the book he was reading. Peter also smiled at her rather warmly and this Sophie found to be a bit odd. Peter never was overly friendly towards her. She hadn’t been willing to tell the group that she was staying at Remus’s place and had been doing so for a couple of weeks now. They wouldn’t have understood that it wasn’t some hot and heavy romance. They both just liked having the company. Megan and Sirius took their leave together, as did James and Lily. Remus and Sophie went off and it was Atticus who noticed that Lupin was nearly as red in the face as Sophie as he left. Suddenly understanding and with a huge grin he turned to Pettigrew to tell him what he suspected but the words stopped in his throat. Peter Pettigrew was staring off with a hard, cold expression on his face. “What in the world are you thinking about Peter?” Atticus asked. “What? Oh. Him, just thinking of him.” Peter made himself grimace. “Making my friends hide like animals, no one even feels safe going home any longer. I want it to end.” “It will, don’t worry.” Atticus was sympathetic. Peter’s mind was racing, they were all of them protected by many charms, their homes cloaked and concealed. Peter didn’t even know where Sophie lived. But Cecil Phenton would, and since he had taken no oath there was every possibility he could reveal the location. If he had Phenton snagged tonight, Sophie ought to be home by tomorrow and then they could pounce. He’d managed to reveal the Prewett brothers location because they had both been so foolhardy about protecting it but it would please the Dark Lord to kill another member of the Order. He very nearly got two. ::::::::::::::: “You’re going to ruin your back you know.” Sophie said to Remus as they walked up the street toward her flat two days later. “That couch has all the earmarking of a killer.” They were heading to her place to collect some of her clothes and to grab her shampoo because Sophie didn’t like the way his smelled. “We should stay at my place tonight.” She said impulsively. “You don’t have a couch, do you?” Remus also felt awkward about discussing their relationship with the others because whereas it was a friendship, it was also something more. It was just that neither of them could quite make out what that something ‘more’ entailed. They weren’t romantically involved, or rather, they were not physically involved, his mind quickly amended. Instead, they just seemed to feel better when the other was there and that had to mean something. “No, but I do have an enormous mattress. You can sleep on one side and I’ll sleep on the other.” Sophie tucked her hand into the crook of his arm. “Don’t worry so much Remus, it isn’t as if we’re doing anything wrong.” They certainly hadn’t planned on doing anything but it was far more difficult than either of them had thought it would be. Remus could feel the warmth of Sophie’s body next to him. He was having trouble thinking clearly and sleep was an impossibility because of it. “Trespasser, leave my house at once!” The chair in the living room could be heard wheezing. Remus sighed, why in the world she didn’t get rid of that thing he’d never know. “You’re awake too?” Sophie spoke from the dark room. Both of them were almost fully dressed in the bed having only kicked off their shoes and removed their outer robes. “I can’t sleep. It’s more comfortable than the couch but…” Remus trailed off. “I know, I can’t either.” Sophie said. They were two rather desperately lonely people and there was certainly affection between them. Maybe that was as good as love, Sophie thought. Who even knew if she’d live to see real love? Remus was thinking something along the same lines. It was becoming more and more difficult to be by himself particularly when most of his closest friends were always with the women they loved. Peter had reacted to the strain they were all under by withdrawing into himself a great deal. Amelia, please don’t be angry he thought. He’d been eighteen years old when she died and although he still loved her, facing an entire lifetime without any kind of physical comfort seemed unbearable. He turned Sophie towards him and began to kiss her softly and soon they were both lost in each other. He had just been about to draw Sophie’s shirt up over her head, having discarded his own when there was a brilliant flash of blue light, the door came crashing in and they could hear the Death Eaters pounding towards them. “Wands!” Remus yelled and they were both up and on their feet in a second. Sophie wasn’t a bad fighter, even if she failed to be great. Perhaps they could get out of this yet. There were three of them but Remus caught a lucky break and managed to stun one as he came through the door, causing the one behind him to stumble over the unconscious body. Sophie got him before he could regain his balance. The third gave them terrible trouble, she was swift and could fire off spells at an unbelievable rate but as she’d raised her wand to aim at Sophie. Remus launched himself onto her and knocked her down. “Roll off Remus!” Sophie yelled and he’d done so quickly. Sophie stunned the woman full in the chest. “We have to get out of here. There may be more.” Remus panted. “We can’t apparate from inside here, it’s one of Moody’s safeguards.” Sophie answered and then looked toward the window. They could hear more running footsteps as they leapt from the window, crashed to the earth and apparated to the front of headquarters. Speaking the password in such a rush that it wasn’t understood the first time they both managed to pile into the main living room on the second try. Atticus was still awake and seated on the couch. He leapt to his feet, taking in the two dishelved people in front of him. “Are you all right?” Atticus asked anxiously. “Yes, but we’d better get some of the members here at once. We may still be able to go back and grab the ones we stunned.” Remus spoke quickly. “Right, Moody’s upstairs asleep, I’ll get him.” Atticus said, then he couldn’t help but smile. “I think I have the loan of a shirt for you.” It wasn’t until then that Remus realized he was half dressed.

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