The dreams continued, almost always the same. Over time they changed from the terrifying scenes where I would lose Remus to something sweeter, warming and more relaxing. Yet, at the back of mine mind a whisper persisted.  No matter how many times I tried to ignore the voice that swore to me that things would only get better as time went on, it continued to remind me that all bad things come to an end, and good always conquers evil.

Sleeping in was impossible. The morning light flittered through the drapes pulling my eyelids open and forcing me to remember that as much as I wanted to longue around in bed all day, I had things to do. I was itching to go for a run, and as much as I tried to postpone my desire to leave the apartment and go for a run, I knew my legs would win out sooner or later. Glancing at my wardrobe, I knew I would find workout clothes. I had insisted that if I was going to be stuck living in an apartment for an unfathomable amount of time that I would at least have a workout facility. Today though, I wasn’t going to go to the gym on the first floor of the building. No, I was going to betray everything I knew was safe and go for a run.

Crawling out of bed, I groggily made my way to the washroom so I could freshen up a little before I went jogging. It didn’t take me long to be dressed in a simple grey pair of track pants and sweat shirt. Before I left the flat, I wrote out a quick note for Remus (who was, sleeping soundly from the last full moon) so he wouldn’t worry about me.

I hated lifts. No matter how many times I was told they were safe, I refused to use them. At least in a stairwell I wouldn’t have to worry about plummeting to my death. I started my warm-up by briskly walking down the stairs, working up the first bit of a sweat. Just before I left the safety of the concrete walls that kept me hidden from the view of muggles, I tossed on a concealment charm and walked out into the lobby.

Everything was pristine and immaculate. Nothing was out of place. The morning paper sat stacked in a neat little pile beside the front door. The doorman stood, arms at his side waiting for those who were going to return from their early morning breakfast meetings, or late night rendezvous. I’ve grown to love and hate this place, both for its safety that it brings me, but also because it keeps me from the things I love the most. Like jogging.

Out on the street, I felt the first tinkle of rain begin to fall. I hated running in the rain, but I needed to run. I needed to feel the freedom the rushing air past my cheeks could bring; the feel of the pavement beneath my feet.  I passed quickly by small boutiques and quaint little cafés with plump little women chatting vigorously in French as I ran by. No one took notice to me, which I was thankful for. Halfway through my run, I stopped for a moment to catch my breath and look around. There were hardly any joggers out, not anything like what it was like back home. Oh, how I missed jogging in my little park not far from the house.

As I turned to return to the house, a man in a long black robe appeared in front of me. I spun around to leave and found four others blocking my escape. I was screwed.

“Are you daft?”  Came the Michelle’s voice behind me.

“Wh-?” I babbled.

“We put all this protection on you and you go for a run? We put up with you and Remus on your weekly dinners. We make arrangements to make sure you two are followed and protected. And this is how you repay us for everything we’ve done? You put yourself at risk of being found?” Michelle chided me as if I were a five year old trying to steal a cookie before dinner.

“I’ve been cooped up in that apartment for months. I’m going crazy. I need to get out and run. Michelle, you have to understand, I’ve been ripped away from everything I’ve grown accustom to and no matter how long he’s out there, I can’t stop living my life. If I stop…if I forget to live my life to the fullest, then he’s won. I can’t let him win. Not now. Not ever.” I said hoping she would understand, but I doubt she would.

“Escort her home. Make sure nothing happens to her,” Michelle ordered three of the men.

I stalked off towards the apartment, clearly upset by the fact that I had been interrupted on my jog. I hadn’t even finished half of what I would normally do. This sucked.

“McDonald,” called one of the men, and when I spun around and glared at him, he continued. “We’re not walking back.”

“Yes we are,” I said sternly and continued walking.

If I couldn’t have my morning jog, I was at least going to walk the heck back home. This was totally unfair, and I was completely throwing a teenage temper tantrum over it. All of this was Selwynn’s fault, and I needed to find a way to end this. I was getting seriously pissed off with being stuck in a house all the time and not being able to do what I wanted.

They followed close behind me as I returned home, even groaned and complained when I took the stairs back upstairs rather than taking the lift. When I was finally at home, I slammed the door in their faces and clicked the latch locked. I was not going to deal with them anymore. I was home, and I was going to find a way to end all of this.

Ignoring Remus was the hardest thing I could do, but I needed time alone. I needed time to think about how I was going to end this with Selwynn. It wasn’t like I really wanted to ignore Remus. I loved him with all my heart, but there were some thing I needed to do on my own. This was on one of them. When the time came, I would fill him in. In the study, with a million and one books surrounding me, I began my search on how Selwynn was tracking me. Somehow he was following me, and somehow I was going to figure out exactly what it was.

Groaning I planted my head on the table and tried to relax. I was stressed and getting completely pissed off.  What I really wanted to do was cry, even though I felt no tears in my eyes. This frustration was nothing like I had ever experienced before. I could always find the answers I had been looking for when I was in Hogwarts, but I couldn’t now, and it was the hardest thing to handle. 

“Mary?” Remus questioned from the doorway to the study, “everything alright?”

“Peachy,” I lied and looked at him. The look on his face told me he didn’t believe me. “No. I know the answer is somewhere in these books. I can feel it. I just have to find it.”

“Want some help?”

“I don’t even know what I’m looking for, how are you going to help if even I have no clue?”

Remus laughed and walked over and sat down beside me. He said nothing as he picked up one of the books and started reading it. Obviously he wasn’t going to take me telling him to sod off as an answer. He was brilliant, and handsome, and I knew that no matter what I could always count on him to help me with anything.

We sat in companionable silence as we read through the books, each one proving to be as useless as the next. Nothing seemed to be working out the way I wanted it to, but I wasn’t ready to give up. I set the book I had finished ready and picked up the next one. Somewhere between the first book and the tenth book, I think I dozed off. When I shook the sleep from my eyes and glanced down at the book I smiled.

“I think I found something,” I said finally.

Remus looked up at me and moved to stand behind me, reading over my shoulder. It was annoying really, but I wasn’t going to argue with him. It was nice to feel him standing behind me, the warmth of his body against mine.

“Look, it says that you can use a scrying stone to locate a person or object, and that it can allow you to see where they are.  I wonder how that works,” I read out loud and looked up at him.

“Not sure, I’ve never read anything about scrying stones before. They could be useful, but if they were, why weren’t we taught about them in school?”

“Would you teach a bunch of hormonal boys how to spy on girls?” I asked with a laughed.

“Good point.”

I turned my attention back to the book and read over it. Not any stone will suffice to be used as a scrying stone. A stone the size of the palm of one’s hand will work best. It must be flat and have enough circumference to show a small picture. With the correct spells cast, the stone will act quite similarly to a pensieve, the only difference being that you are not transported into a memory. More so, you are viewing the present time of the object you are searching for. This may also work for tracking a person or object to almost one-hundred percent accuracy.

“I think this might work,” I mused quietly to myself as I marked the page on the book. “Somehow we need to convince Michelle to let us go to Diagon Alley. They’ll have what we’re looking for.”

“Don’t you think we should go to the market place here?”

“No. I want to go to Diagon Alley. I miss it.”

“All right. I’ll send her a message and we’ll go, hopefully in the morning.”

The next morning arrived with a knock at the door. Both Remus and I were ready for our outing to Diagon Alley, and were awaiting the arrival of our escorts. Three of them to be exact. I didn’t see the need for so many guards, but when you’re on the run from a psychopath, maybe it was a good thing to be prepared.  Not that I wanted or expected anything to happen. It was safer this way, I knew that much.

We traveled by portkey, one of my least favourite means of travelling, but I couldn’t complain. It was after all, a gift to be able to go to Diagon Alley in the first place. If I could at least find what I was looking for, then that would at least make everything easier. If I could find where Selwynn was, then maybe, just maybe, Remus and I could continue to live life like a normal couple would.

When we finally arrived in Diagon Alley, I quickly looked around first to see if Selwynn was around (consider me paranoid), and then for a store that might help me find him. The market place was packed full of people. Witches and wizards that milled about as if they had nothing to care about, I was envious of everything they had and I lacked. I wanted the freedom. I wanted to be able to go shopping whenever I felt like it. A lady in a bright yellow robe with the ugliest purple flowers on it just about knocked me over as she walked passed, a whisper on her lips meant only for me. “He’s here,” was all she said as she continued on her shopping.

I stopped dead in my tracks and looked around quickly. Frantically I had to find him. If he was there, if he knew what I was up to, then he could stop me. I wasn’t going to let him stop me. My eyes lingered over the crowd. Children played near their parents as they went about their shopping, aurors and other Ministry officials disappeared inside shops everywhere around them.  The shop windows displayed reflections of those who cared not to be noticed, but simply wanted to watch the events around them unfold.

“Mary?” Remus asked me, concern dripping on his voice.

“Sorry, I’m fine,” I said softly.

Slowly I forced my feet to move and make my way through the crowded street towards a small trinket shop that I thought would sell the scrying stones that I needed. Though, something deep down in the pit of my stomach swore to me that I was mistaken, that what I sought after wasn’t in Diagon Alley but in the darker street of Knockturn Alley. If I had to go there I was certain that Selwynn would be waiting for me. I would be in his territory and completely out of my safety net of the crowd. I had to focus on the positive, because if I thought of anything bad happening then I would lose every ounce of control I had. I could not let Selwynn win, that much was for sure.

Entering the store I was overcome with a overwhelming foreboding sense that screamed danger was near. The room smelled of heavy incense making my stomach tight and my throat constrict. I felt as though I was going to be sick if I continued to walk into the room that looked as though it was from the wrong century. Strange items adorned the walls, and shelving units stuck out like sore thumbs. Knick knacks and other various items were strewn across small tables in the middle of the room. Behind everything else I finally found the counter where a plump little old man sat with the strangest looking square spectacle perched halfway down his nose, which was planted unnaturally close to an open book.

“Excuse me,” I spoke softly not really wanting to disturb him from his reading.

“Oh yes, hello there, how can I help you?” he muttered in a quick droll that made me want to giggle.

“I’m looking for a scrying stone, you wouldn’t happen to have any in stock would you?”

“Scrying stones? Oh heaven’s no, sold out of them before You-Know-Who died, haven’t had any in stock since. They’re nothing but trouble missy, you would do well to steer clear of that sort of magic,” he said and immediately turned his attention back to his book.

I just about ran out of the shop when the storekeeper turned me down. Finally back on the busy street I gulped down the fresh air hoping to clear myself of the dreadful stench of incense. They made my nose itch and my eyes burn, I never understood how people could burn them. Shaking away the thoughts of the store I had just left, I turned my attention back to my task at hand. It was only a matter of time before my three lovely guardians decided my trip out was over and I couldn’t leave without what I was looking for. Slipping away from these guys was going to be a rather difficult task. I need a distraction.

Quickly pulling everything I could together about the marauaders and all the pranks they had once pulled when we had attended Hogwarts together, I knew I could compile some sort of a distraction together in a few minutes. It would only take me a moment to figure it out. Taking a calming breath, I purposely stumbled into a woman in a vibrant expensive looking robe, and set her on fire, hexed a teenage boy (I was certainly going to hell for that) and conjured a mass of birds to attack random witches and wizards.  Chaos quickly ensured, pulling my guards attention away from me and towards the crowd. Naturally they would assume that Selwynn was trying to distract them, and they quickly began looking for him while I made my escape.

I hide between two buildings and waited for the right moment before I finally knew they had lost me in the crowd. I ran down the alleyway I was standing in, until I found what I was looking for: the narrow cobblestone path that lead into Knockturn Alley. A chill slid down my spine as I looked down the alleyway. Every nerve in my body swore I should return to Remus and the bodyguards and I wanted to. I wanted to feel safe and secure with them with me, except they would never agree to going to Borgin and Burkes, which was exactly where I was going.

Before I could talk myself out of heading back to the crowded street of Diagon Alley, I hurried down the street until I stood in front of Borgin and Burkes. The palm of my hands were sweaty, the hairs on the back of my neck stood at attention, and my stomach was in a tight knot of nervousness. It had been nearly ten years since I had stumbled into Knockturn Alley and had been found by some Slytherin boys I went to school with. They had taunted me and tried other things with me, had it not been for Sirius who had found me they probably would have managed to do what their dirty little minds had been thinking about. I cringed at the thought.

Opening the door, I heard the annoying bell ring out and alert the shopkeeper to my arrival. I tried not to look around. I didn’t want to see the dark objects that adorned the walls. I certainly didn’t want to know what was up with the crystal ball that glowed back when I walked to close to it, nor did I want to know how come the book on the top shelf beside the counter drew my attention and had me reaching for it before I blinked away what seemed to be sleep from my eyes.

“Lost miss?” the shop keeper asked clearly uncertain of why I would be there.

“No,” I answered allowing myself to sound calm. “I am in search of a scrying stone. Do you sell them?”

“Scrying stones? They haven’t been seen since the…”

“I know, since You-Know-Who was around. I need one. Do you have one or not?” I sounded pissed off, though I really wasn’t.

“As a matter of fact, I just got two in yesterday. Young lass dropped it off when she found it in her attic. It won’t come cheaply.”

“Whatever does?” I muttered as he disappeared into the backroom.

He returned with a small black box with stars and moons engraved in the wood. Opening up I watched as purple velvet spilled out revealing a blood red stone the size of my palm in the center of it. A smaller diamond shaped crystal lay next to it with a silver chain tucked neatly into the fabric. Instantly I wanted to run my fingers over the stones and feel their power beneath my finger tips. I knew this was exactly what I was looking for.

“30 galleons,” he said strictly speaking.

Sighing, I dropped a small coin purse on the glass counter top and snatched up the box. I quickly turned and ran from the store before I was tempted to buy anything else. I could feel the evil lingering on my skin from some of the dark objects that were in there.

“Lost are we?” I heard the delicate droll of a couple of men as they blocked off my route back to Diagon Alley.

“Do I look lost?” I said smugly, trying to act as if I belonged there.

“You don’t belong here,” another said, his beady eyes lingering on my body.

“How would you know?” I was completely freaked out by the fact that I was surrounded by men that could probably do more damage than good. “If you’ll excuse me,” I said trying to push past them.

“Don’t think so.”

“What the hell are you doing, Clint?”

I froze. I blinked trying to make myself believe he wasn’t here. I had to get out of here.

“Selwynn,” Even the simple mention of his name made me shiver.

“You would do well to leave her alone. She belongs to me.”

I cringed at his declaration and tried to get away from them. Selwynn caught me around the waist and pulled me close. He bent and kissed me delicately on the cheek and whispered “for once don’t fight me,” before he turned his attention back to the crowd that was slowly dispersing.  Why I didn’t struggle to get out of his arms was beyond me. Maybe it was for the sheer fact that he had just saved me from the disgusting men who would have abused me and left me for dead.

When we were finally alone he led me towards Diagon Alley, kissed me again on the forehead and let me go. I stood there for a moment staring at the space where he had stood moments before apparating away. He let me go? Had I hit my head? Was all of this a hallucination? Was I going crazy? None of this made any sense. All I wanted to do though was find Remus and get the hell out of Diagon Alley. I wanted to go home. I wanted to feel safe in our Parisian flat where I would take a hot bath and then figure out what I was going to do.

I was grabbed by the arms and immediately apparated out of Diagon Alley before I realized what was going on. I just about threw up when I found myself in our flat, Remus looking frantic as I threw my arms around him. Setting the box down on the coffee table, I turned my attention to the body guards who looked as pissed off as I felt.

“What were you thinking?” the big buff one snapped at me.

“Does it matter? I’m safe, we’re home, and you can leave,” I muttered shame creeping up on my cheeks.

“It bloody well does!” he yelled at me.

I took a deep breath trying to calm the fact that I was seriously freaked out and beyond pissed at myself, at the situation and at the bodyguards who were angry with me. If I freaked out too much then Michelle would never send anyone to protect us again. And maybe that was exactly what I wanted. I closed my eyes and leaned into Remus’s chest.

“Just go. We’re safe now. You aren’t needed right now.” I said, and walked off down the hallway to the bathroom.

The door clicked softly behind me, and I leaned against it for a moment before I turned the bathtub on. At least in the bathroom I was alone and no one could interrupt me. Not Remus, not Selwynn, not anyone. I need my alone time right then. I would worry about everything else after I relaxed.



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