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Everything Changes-Riz Burby

I remember that year every day, every hour, every minute. From the moment we got on the Express…no, before that. From the minute, second, that I was rudely awoken on that day; the day of the duel that would change my life to the night of the attack. Horrid thoughts had held my mind captive for the past ten years. Memories of the war that we had all been in, memories of all the duels I had been in, memories of the attack. I knew from the moment it happened that I would never forget the events of that night.

Times like these I wasn’t forced to look back, I commanded myself to. This time I cautiously remember the main events of that night. The anger that coursed through my veins, the heat on the back of my neck, the blood I was on the hunt for. I had snapped. The moment the Death Eater broke the wall and the mirror fell on Tilly I snapped. Next thing I knew I was fighting along side a masked man, which shouldn’t have had the effect on me that it did as I saw masked men everywhere at the DD…but I blame the hysterical moment. Everyone was going insane from the shock and adrenaline that came with the Death Eater attack. The last thing I remember was passing out in some sort of shack with another group from the DD.

What else could we do after that? The next day was full of depression and questions being answered. I look back and thank Merlin it was a free day. Once it was over however, we all just went back to schooling, as if none of it had ever happened. That’s what everyone did, everyone who knew of the DD, it was really like it had never happened.

Except we knew it did.

We never really spoke about it, though after that night we became considerably closer with the Marauders. No, it really didn’t take anything for us to start being friendly with them; unless you count them saving our lives.

The weeks that followed were filled with even more sadness and depression. It was like the attack on the DD was the official start of the War, even though more than seven eighths of the population never knew it existed. Letters came in the mail everyday, the poor children that received them would take one look and do a number of things; either cry, run, or let anger take control.

Another year passed and it was our final year. Dumbledore made Lily and James Heads…really, no surprise there. I completely saw it coming, with everything that had changed in the year before. The Marauders really didn’t play ‘pranks’ anymore…the teachers must have thought it was age that helped them stop; if only they knew the real reason. Oh, they began dating, by the way. Lily and James, I mean. I saw that one coming as well; all in all and no matter how she adored denying it…they’d always been perfect for each other.

That year held many deaths as well, but sadly most of us were used to it by then. Mr. Potter passed in battle, his wife in the same one. Sirius’ family made it far, just not on the side he was. The Pettigrew kid came back in seventh year…he had no idea what was wrong, what had happened, and I felt bad for him. His friends weren’t the same; they had changed more than he ever could. When we completed our final year, there were smiles; not as many as past years, but that was expected. Some time after graduation, Dumbledore tracked down the flat Tilly and I shared and he invited us to join an organization he was creating. He called it the ‘Order of the Phoenix’. I’ll never forget the look he gave us when he said that. He had known all along, he had known everything, he probably still does. Turned out he had invited the ‘whole gang’ to join, along with few others; because of this we were able to fight crime while training for our future careers.

As we had all known it would happen eventually, James and Lily married. He became an Auror along with Sirius and Lily went into helping at St. Mungo’s while Tilly began to become a Healer. That was something she had always wished to do with her life. Tilly and Remus began dating out of Hogwarts, she had finally convinced him to begin a relationship; I never got the true story on how that began. Remus had shared his secret with the lot of us, I had no idea how he could’ve handled it all these years and Tilly began working with other Healers in the potions section. So sweet of her to try and develop a cure.

When I thought no happiness could come into the world, I met Harry James Potter. The sweetest boy I had ever met, and it made me cry inside as I thought of the brother I could have had. I spent a lot of my free time watching him, his green eyes shining up at me, telling me everything would be alright.

I never expected things to get worse.

Then, Halloween of 1981 struck. I was in a pub that night, the night I lost everything. First hearing about it from Tilly, I didn’t believe her. Three weeks passed for me to realize they really were dead, another two for me to understand that Sirius murdered them and Peter. I thought I deserved to lock myself up in my room, and then I remembered how Remus must feel. It hurt too much.

When I had gotten out of Hogwarts I knew where I wanted to be. When I began my internship in the Department of Mysteries, I knew I’d made the right choice. I was often asked what I did there, but I knew I could never tell a soul. Around March of 1982 I was offered a promotion, but only if I transferred to the branch they held in the States. I didn’t know how to feel about it at first, so I said I would think about it. I went home that night to the dark rooms of the flat Tilly and I shared still. She had been going out a lot lately; a lot at night. I didn’t know how to talk to her about anything anymore, so I made my decision.

When I went abroad I expected a complete change; sadly there really wasn’t. The only thing different from the British Ministry and the North American was the accents. Of course I buried myself entirely in my work, trying my hardest to not think, to not remember.

Five years went by; ten long years spent wondering why no one cared to come look for me after I disappeared without a note. Everyone had better things to do, I’m sure.

After five years I was transferred again, only to a deeper department though. I was told I was their hardest worker, their most trusted. I found it ironic that I had gotten this far only because of death, and now that was my main specialty. I was asked one day if I could take part in a special task that would be going on. Since I had nothing outside of the ‘office’ and no one that would wonder what I was doing, I agreed.

They told me I needed to get a new, completely different identity. They sent me to Magical Editing and I was transformed. The wizards there wanted to give me red hair, I almost snapped for the fourth time in my life. They gave me the darkest black I had ever seen, and then cut it to my ears. They cast more spells on me, changing my eye color, my facial structure, and my skin tone. The hazel eyed, tan woman I had grown into was changed into a pale, brown eyed one. I then went by the name Mona Freeman.

The contract I signed said that I would live in the Department for eight years working on an assignment no one else would ever know about.

“This is it…the moment of truth,” Barry Johnson spoke to me and two others.

There were only four of us sent down, far below the regular Ministry building. The ministry couldn’t make too many people disappear.

Eight years ago I was in an elevator with these three other people. They introduced themselves as Stacy Port, Joseph Harrison, and Barry Johnson, and I gave them the name Mona Freeman. We all knew each other was lying.

Now, we were in that same elevator, going up and back into a world we hadn’t seen in eight years.

We had been sworn in by Unbreakable Vows when we went in, never were we to mention what had gone on down there…but I can say the Department of Mysteries will never been the same.

“How much do you think has changed?” Stacy asked aloud.

Joe scoffed, “How much? Eight years, Stace, eight years is a long time.”

“That much is obvious,” I rolled my eyes, “The question is, what changes will affect our lives?”

Stacy sighed, “And how much have we changed?”

“Well, I definitely have grey hairs that weren’t there before…and I may have become even more anti-social, as if that were possible,” Joe continued. “Not to mention the few people I knew before probably think I’m dead.”

They never did tell us how they got us to disappear so quickly, of course none of us really had lives outside the office. That’s why we were chosen, because of our lack of social ability and skills in our department.

After ten minutes, the magical elevator was brought to a halt. Slowly, the doors creaked open and we were hit with the light of the white hallway.

“Welcome back, Department Negative 66.”

Barry laughed his deep chuckle and shook the hand that was held out to him. “I’m happy to see this position hasn’t changed.”

“Mr. Johnson, good to see you again, good to see all of you again,” the man in charge of this operation spoke to us. “Ms. Port, you’ve fared well I see. And you, Ms. Freeman, congratulations.”

He shook our hands as well, some of the first human skin contact I’d had in years; it felt different.

“Nice to see you too, Mr. McGruss, I’m glad to hear the familiar humor,” Joe stuck out his hand to the man that took away eight years of his life. “The years have treated you well.”

McGruss chuckled, “A pleasure to see you as well, now, if you may we have some information to brief you on…and then, you may go home.”

Home; A foreign word, did I even have a home anymore? He seemed to think so…and he is the Head of the American Ministry still it looks like, so I guess he knows best.

We followed him down the halls, passing common wizards and witches with their wands out talking to co-workers. They gave us odd looks, never seeing or hearing of us before obviously, probably thinking to them selves, ‘Who are these people walking with the highest person in the American magical world?’

Being informed of all the changes in the world, both magical and not, was disappointing. Much had happened, yes, but nothing would really affect us in the United States. He did mention the war that had happened in Europe and reminded us of how the barely one year old boy had defeated the single most deadly wizard in the country. He looked to me when he said that, I didn’t respond, they had to know my life history before having me in this particular occupation.

He explained that no harm had come to our previous homes and we could return to our new lives. I didn’t pay as much attention to him as I should have. I remembered where my apartment was and how to get there, and I knew I would be back here in the morning ready to start my first day on the job.

“You may all return to your previous jobs in the morning, same hours, different people and rooms most likely…a lot has changed,” McGruss reminded us.

I stood along with the three people that I spent eight years of my life with. Day in, day out, we knew every detail about each other; except our real identities. I shook McGruss’ hand again and was led out of the room and out of the building by what I assumed was an Auror.

When I stepped out of the taxi in front of the slightly run down apartment complex, I reached into my pocket for the key McGruss gave me. He was right, a lot had changed.

The first thing I did was take a shower. Washing the layer of oil away, I cleared my mind of all thoughts. It felt as if I could see through my skin, not seeing sunlight for so long could do that to a person, and the black hair had grown to past my shoulders, a length I was actually comfortable with. I stepped out, wrapped myself in an old towel and wiped my hand at the dusty mirror. The brown eyes that looked back at me were still unfamiliar and strange, but I knew I would get used to them the more I looked at them.

I went into my old bedroom and looked through my clothes. They provided clothes for us, ones that wouldn’t affect our work. The long sleeved shirts and pants got old after a while, I was happy to put on jeans and a simple, black, t-shirt along with a belt of the same color. They had fed us well, but there wasn’t much time to eat.

I put my hair up in a clip without brushing it, I would when it dried. Wandering around the small three room apartment I thought of how I would use my time. I looked on one of the shelves and pulled a book off. I sat down on a chair and began reading, twenty pages in I found a torn sheet of paper being used as a bookmark. I couldn’t remember beginning this book.

Apparently I had fallen asleep. I was awoken by a buzzing noise and rubbed at my eyes.

“Who the hell—”

I got up slowly and walked over to the door. I looked through the peep hole and almost dropped the book I brought with me. I unlocked the door as quickly as I could and swung it open.

“Good to see you, Ms. Burby,” the elder man said, blue eyes twinkling, “I have a favor to ask of you.”

A/N: Yes, I'm in a state of shock as well. It's been a long time since I began this fic, and I just wanted to say thank you to you all that have read this far and helped me along the way! Thank you all so much for taking the time to review, it has helped me so much. Ah, and yes...I admit this is probably the 'largest' cliffhanger I've ever written...but it was needed. Well, in my mind it was. Thanks again for sticking to this untill the end!

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