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Nothing you recognise is mine!

Remus greeted the family of four from Dorset in passing; the man was a Muggle-Born married to a Muggle and they’d been there since October. The inhabitants of the safe house had shared a Christmas lunch, and then most had excused themselves after some forcibly cheerful conversation.

He entered the family room again, and found only his wife, Andromeda and Nora Arrows in deep conversation.

“… feel bad your father had to leave while you give refuge to others,” Nora was saying. Remus noticed that Andromeda’s gaze was fixed on the tambour frame in her hand, but her hand with the needle was hovering motionlessly over it.

Tonks answered, “No, no, he wouldn’t want that. He knew it was only a matter of time before they came for him, so he went and showed himself to a group of Ministry workers before disappearing. There are families here, some with little children, and where would they go?”

“Maybe they’ll have no choice,” Remus inserted, stepping up behind the sofa Tonks was lounging on, and put a hand on her shoulder since he knew just how worried she was about her dad. He felt three questioning glances on him for an explanation. “Someone’s tried to get in again; and they seem to have vented their anger on the ground and nearby bushes when the protection held.”

“Bellatrix?” Andromeda whispered, lowering her needlework into her lap.

Remus grimaced. “I wouldn’t bet on it; but it looked pretty vicious. And it wouldn’t be the first time she tried to get in.”

“Will she ever stop? She’s been my demon since we were little, what else’ll she take from me?” Agitated, she stormed out of the room, to do what, Remus wasn’t sure. The mix of emotions - betrayal, hurt, frustration, helplessness, disbelief - he’d heard in her voice would be enough to send anyone reeling.

“What are we going to do?” Dora interrupted his observation, motioning for him to sit down with her.

“I don’t know. It might be a good idea to move everyone before they actually manage to get in. Elphias’s, or Dedalus’s place, perhaps. I’ll talk to Kingsley, next time we’re planning to go on-air.”

“I just wish you’d let me come. I’m not disabled, you know. Just pregnant with your child. And I’m going stir-crazy here! What if you don’t come back, and I can’t do anything about it?”

“Dora.” Remus pulled her into a gentle embrace, and he could feel the tension and frustration in her shoulders. “Don’t go rushing off somewhere. We don’t want another Ministry debacle. Least of all on my account.” Those Blacks were much too impulsive for their own good, however distant or reluctant their connection might be, he thought.

“But …”

“Any idea when the next Potterwatch is? Fred didn’t know when we last spoke,” Nora interrupted softly.

Remus shook his head in the negative. “Not yet; but Kingsley and Lee forbade us from showing up for yesterday’s. I suspect they’ll be in touch. – Is Fred coming over?”

“He said he might not be able to, since his mother apparently won’t let them out of their sight. And since we’re practically under lock-down …”

He knew all too well what she meant. It had become increasingly difficult to hold this particular safe house; and more importantly, use it. Bellatrix Lestrange in particular seemed eager to get in, and he had come to the grim realisation that Andromeda might not be too far off the mark with her earlier exclamation. He hadn’t believed it, but Bellatrix toppling Sirius into the Veil of Death and her preceding duel with Dora showed that she seemed to have some kind of twisted crusade against her – in her eyes – dishonouring relatives. He had had to be extremely careful whenever he left, more so since he wasn’t the most Desireable person either.

“My father also was talking about leaving … but I don’t know …,” Nora spoke up again, having followed her own line of thoughts.

He nodded. “I thought so. I’ll talk to him, let’s see what we can do. But you don’t seem too eager?” It had become quite obvious, at least to the inhabitants of the Tonks household, that one of Molly and Arthur’s kids and Nora had some kind of relationship, even if it wasn’t openly addressed.

“No, I’d much rather stay,” Nora replied wryly, showing that she knew that he knew.

Tonks looked at her husband, then back at their house guest. “We might consider moving the families to a safer place, but another skilled wand wouldn’t go amiss.”

“Who says we’d be staying?” Remus interrupted loudly, as the two women seemed to reach a silent understanding. “If Lestrange is indeed after you and your mother …”

“Exactly. And she’d be sure to go looking for us again. And then we might lose another safe house.”

“Dora.” Remus said her name again, this time with a hint of weariness. He felt another bone of contention coming up.

“No, no, listen. We … oh!” Her eyes had gone wide, and he was ready to jump up to do – well, whatever needed to be done, but she grabbed his hand. “Do you feel it? Tell me you feel it?”

Remus didn’t need to ask what she meant. He could feel the baby move against his hand on her belly. His werewolf instincts, usually more dormant during phases of the waning or new moon, let him perceive the beat of a tiny heart.

“Little Teddy’s awake,” Tonks murmured gently, stroking her five-and-a-half-months-pregnant baby bump.

“I’d say he agrees with me,” Remus said casually, eyes not moving from her midriff. His comment earned him a jab in the ribs.

“As if. He’s going to be a Mummy’s boy, just so you know! And he’s probably hungry for the leftover chicken from earlier.”

“If he’s anything like me, it’s probably chocolate. Don’t blame your cravings on my innocent son. But hang on, all this talk about safe houses distracted me. I wanted …,” Remus fished in his pockets for the parcel he’d retrieved earlier from underneath their bed – a spot she hadn’t been able to check for Christmas presents in her current state. “… here. Your Christmas present.”

“But you already gave me something. Oh, what the hell, give it here.” She lounged for it, then moaned about how Teddy didn’t seem to appreciate being disturbed.

Nora thought it prudent to give the couple some privacy, and closed the door on Tonks’s delighted exclamations about a delicate necklace.


She was lying on a rather coarse surface. As she became aware of her surroundings, she noticed the cold stone and dust beneath her fingertips and her cheek. Luna pushed herself up and sat back on her knees, stretching languidly.

“I see you’re awake.”

Luna turned her head, curious who might have spoken to her. The white hair was the first thing she saw, then an old, withered face came into view.

“Who are you?” she asked, cocking her head. No warning bells went off in her belly like had been around the Carrows.

“My name’s Ollivander, Garrick Ollivander. But dear child, what have you done to land yourself here?”

Of course she knew who he was. The peculiar old man who had sold her her wand. “People say you are dead,” she stated blandly.

“Do they?” Ollivander chuckled humourlessly. “I could very well be, but he still thinks I can help him. Say, what day is it?”

Luna pursed her lips in thoughts. “The last thing I remember is watching the moon frogs on Platform Nine and Three Quarters, the day we went home for Christmas.”

“December, then. It certainly seems a lot longer. Merlin knows whether we will ever see the light of day again.”

“Oh, but we will,” Luna said as if it was obvious, looking directly at her fellow prisoner.

The Nargles always told her things, inhabiting objects around her and guiding her faithfully. They were her instinct, and currently, the two little faces peering at her curiously from the crevice over the stone pillar were whispering to her to be patient and to hold out. She only hoped they were sending the same message to her poor father and that she would be back eventually; she hated leaving him all alone. But everything worked out in the end, even if one couldn’t see it happening at the present.

She was absent-mindedly drawing a star into the dust, and then Luna looked up with a serene smile. “My friends will come and get me, but not now. There’s other things they have to do first, and we’ll have to be patient. I’m sure of it. I have waited all my life for them; and they won’t fail me this time either. In the end, everything will fall into place.”

Mr Ollivander watched her doubtfully, but she didn’t listen anymore. Luna started humming a tune to herself that reminded her of her mother and the smell of cinnamon and candles and fresh fir sprigs. In her heart, she reached out to her Daddy, to Harry, Ron and Hermione, and to Ginny and Neville, who would have to manage on their own now. She had helped them the best she could, and had no doubt they’d continue their work just fine.


The tall red-head was bent low over the forest ground, clutching a wooden and stick and examining the sunken leaves and low shrubbery and the churned remains of what must have been a decently-sized fire the night before. At least Ron thought it was from the night before. He never cared for camping much, even if it was the only holiday activity they could afford, and never cared for the surrounding nature much when they did go on a camping trip. The only source he could base his estimate on was a rather heated and in-depth – more than he had cared for at the time – discussion between Dean and Seamus during their fourth year, when he’d fallen out with Harry. Again. he thought, exasperated at himself. Ron would have vehemently denied it previously if someone accused him of being stuck-up and spoiled; but in a way, he was. The time with Bill had shown him something, though; he might not have been spoiled in the way Malfoy was, for example, but he’d taken too many things for granted.

Sighing, Ron straightened up, checking the clearing for people. “Nothing here for me,” he muttered under his breath, and proceeded to use his Deluminator. The bright light sprung up at once. Ron squeezed his eyes shut; picturing the young man with the brilliant green eyes, poking fun at him reading out advice from his “Twelve Fail-Safe Ways To Charm Witches” to him. And the girl with the deep brown eyes, whacking him over the head with one of her precious book when he had tried to sneak off to get something to eat while they were supposed to be packing the day before Harry’s birthday; her surprised, but delighted expression when he had asked her to dance and how she had felt in his arms. “Take me to Hermione and Harry, please.”

The light from the Deluminator seemed to guide him in his apparition once more, the usual compressing sensation and his anxiety lessened by his determination to go where he needed to go.

Once again, he reappeared near a copse of trees. Ron looked up at the sky sceptically, it was already getting darker by the minute, and he was sure the wards were already in place and once again separating him from where he wanted to be the most. His neck tingled, and Ron whipped around to peer more closely amidst the trees. There was nothing conspicious to be seen, but if it was a wizard, that didn’t have to mean anything. Ron tapped himself on the head, silently thanking Bill silently for practicing disillusionment charms with him whenever they had had the time.

Ron moved around for almost half an hour, trying to make as little sound as possible, while keeping his ears pricked and eyes peeled for potential attackers and signs of his friends alike. Suddenly, leaves rustled again a little way to his right, just behind the group of trees standing close together. Then, something emerged from behind the cover of the tree trunks – and Ron would have almost given away his position, rendering his disillusionment futile, by shouting out loud in surprise. It was some kind of deer – and his heart soared. Ron quickened his steps, eyes trained on the patronus. He couldn’t see it fully, since there were always one or more tree trunks in his line of sight. He saw a shadow – most likely the caster.

He remembered that he was still disillusioned, and if it was Harry, he wouldn’t be able to see him. The second it took him to undo the charm on himself, the patronus disappeared into thin air. “No,” Ron breathed, breath fogging in the crisp evening air. He turned on the spot where he’d seen the apparition disappear, hoping to find a trace – any trace – of its caster.

But the only thing he saw was some sort of pond, at the foot of the slope where he now stood. A dark shape was sliding into the water, ice creaking from the movement. Three long strides brought him to the pond’s edge, and he only got a glimpse of a something light, possibly skin, against the darker water dive deeper. Ron felt frozen; who’d go diving into a pond in the middle of winter? His eyes swivelled this way and that; landing on a heap of fabric.

“Bloody hell!” he exclaimed, fingers digging into the soft green material, when he held it up for inspection. He’d bet his Cudley Cannons bedding that his own mother had knitted the jumper, giving it to …, “Harry.” Ron sank down to his knees to peer into the dark waters again. Nothing. “Come on, come on, come on.”

A string of curse words was on the tip of his tongue. Ron fumbled for his watch, his Uncle Gideon’s, the twin to Harry’s watch, then he put it back when he realised that he didn’t have an idea when he’d seen Harry jump in in the first place. A second jumper was still on the ground, and if there had been any doubt before, the glasses lying on it confirmed who it was.

“It’s been entirely too long …,” Ron moaned aloud. Without hesitation, he got rid of his travel cloak and his own jumper, still unable to believe what he was about to do.

With a last shake of his head, Ron slid into the water as he’d seen his friend do. The water was icy, instantly pressing down on his lungs. Gritting his teeth, Ron pushed on downwards. When he thought he couldn’t stand it any longer, a bright glint caught his eye, and then he thought he saw the same pale spot as earlier, lighter than the water in any case.

A body, he thought. It was limp, just floating there. Before he knew it, he had reached him, seizing him under the arms. He was on the verge of cursing again when he saw the black hair, and the traitorous chain around his friend’s neck. Another thing he couldn’t explain was the sword, almost hidden in the darkness amidst the sea weed. Seizing it, Ron cut the chain that held the horcrux, just about holding on to it before it slipped away. But already he could feel some feeble movement in the body he was clutching to his chest.

Sword and locket now in one hand, the other around Harry, Ron pushed himself off the slippery ground. There was some kind of resistance from the thing in his hand, to which he paid no mind, and after a brief struggle, he was propelling them upwards.

He didn’t remember how they must have dragged themselves out of the water; only that he heard coughing and heaving next to him, while he too struggled for air. At the moment, his discarded clothes looked more tempting than anything else, and he lost no time to seek what little warmth his clothes could afford him now.

Ron found his wand, and though it took him three times to have the spell come across his trembling lips, he finally managed to dry himself somewhat.

“You git! Are you completely of your rocker?” Ron ranted, rounding on Harry, who was just struggling into his second jumper.

“R-Ron?” Two bright green eyes peeked out from the opening for the head of the garment in wonder.

“No, it’s actually Percy taking a night stroll. Who else would it be?” Ron deadpanned, taking pity and performing a second drying spell.


They stared at each other, breaking into a wide grin at the same time. Then, their gazes simultaneously went to the horcrux that was now lying completely still on the forest ground.

“So, what do we do with it?” Ron questioned casually, knowing he’d been welcomed back. And he wouldn’t be leaving again anytime soon.


When Hermione settled back in her bunk, she kept her back to the boys’ talking in low voices. She was sure she wouldn’t be able to fall back asleep, her brain wired with thoughts about the story she’d just heard. There was now one less Horcrux that needed to be destroyed, and they also had the Sword.

But most of all, Ron was back. She wasn’t going to go easy on him, not after she’d been that miserable for the past weeks. He would have to work to get back in her good graces. But she couldn’t deny either, that when she had flown at him earlier, she had been torn between venting her frustration by punching him or snogging him. Her anger had eventually won out.

Even though, she could tell that his return had lifted Harry’s spirit considerably. And yes, her own as well.


A little earlier

After he had positioned the sword so that Potter, even with his father’s genes hampering Lily’s brilliance, would be able to get it, he retreated behind two oaks to watch. It would be easy enough to retrieve it, though he’d taken care to cast at least an Anti-Summoning Charm. After all, the Sword of Gryffindor wouldn’t just be lying around like that, and even Potter would get suspicious.

Distant movement interrupted his waiting. Checking his disillusionment once more, he closed in on the approaching person. He would have almost missed whoever it was, but then he saw a faint outline, only ripples in the early night air. The spell wasn’t done too shoddily, but then he rolled his eyes in weary exasperation when the disillusioned person cursed under their breath. Where in Salazar’s name is Weasley sneaking off to? Once again, he asked himself why he believed Dumbledore’s words that those children where their only hope. Lily’s son, maybe, but how Weasley and the brash fools at his school played into it, he couldn’t even fathom.

He decided to give the clueless boy a little help, and once again called on his patronus, picturing the day Lily had given him a new set of scales for his thirteenth birthday. He guided his patronus towards where he’d left the sword, always just out of Weasley’s reach, and to where the other doe should be leading Potter as well.

They’d reached the crest of the little slope, at the foot of which the pool of water was located. Weasley stopped, and he could see why. Someone was just lowering themselves into the icy waters, and he looked pointedly away. He didn’t need to see that; and Weasley’s muttered “Harry” was enough to tell him what he wanted to know.

Seconds later, the red-head, even taller than he remembered, emerged from under the spell and was bolting towards the pond. Time ticked by, and just when he was contemplating whether he needed to intervene again, Weasley took off his clothes as well, and he too dived into the pond.

“Honestly?” he asked no one in particular. Gryffindors. I mean, why not just figure out the protective enchantments and dismantle them? How those two had managed to score the highest marks in Defence was beyond him.

Once again, he was contemplating to just step in, when two spluttering and wheezing wizards emerged from the water, pushing themselves out on all fours to collapse on the forest floor.

With a last glance to verify they had secured Gryffindor’s Sword, he turned on his heel, apparating at a safe distance to the gates of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He yearned for a good night’s rest, which he wouldn’t be likely to get as soon as school was back in session in a few days; when he’d have to watch that those troublesome Potter wannabes wouldn’t get themselves killed by the resident Death Eaters.


Dudley tiptoed down the stairs, although he couldn’t entirely avoid that the wood underneath his feet squeaked from time to time. It was the middle of the night, but he’d fallen asleep on his bed, still in his jogging pants and trainers, before he’d had the opportunity to get his usual night time snack. Then he had woken up, tossing and turning until he brazed himself to just sneak down to the kitchen. After all, he reasoned, it was still several hours until breakfast, and his stomach just wasn’t used to going that long without a meal. The adults in the house, took turns preparing meals for everyone, and never batted an eyelid when he asked for seconds or snacks.

He finally reached his destination, making a beeline for the fridge. Dudley was deliberating between the shepherd’s pie and the chocolate cake, when he heard footsteps on the stairs, and whoever was coming down wasn’t trying to be quiet like he had been.

He sent the pie and the cake a last regretful glance, before grabbing a glass to fill it with some water. Not that he was afraid to get in trouble with the wizards, but it still felt somehow wrong to get caught red-handed. Another new feeling for him.

“So you said Dedalus had the snow removed last night?” a young voice asked. Dudley immediately recognised Dennis, who he had been talking to frequently.

“He did, when he was checking the wards. Good thing it didn’t snow again over night,” someone else said, who Dudley guessed was Dennis’s brother.

Suddenly, the quiet conversation halted, and he wondered what the brothers were doing, taking a step towards the door to check.

“Don’t move,” Colin’s voice came in a commanding tone, and then he was looking cross-eyed at one of those wands when the other boy appeared suddenly in front of him.

“Dudley!” Dennis said from beside his brother, lowering his own wand when he recognised who it was. “What are you doing here? We thought there was an intruder!”

He peeked nervously at the wands, never too comfortable with them no matter the amount of time he had now spent around witches and wizards, and lifted his glass up in front of him as an explanation.

“Oh, sorry,” Colin said, pocketing his wand again, then eyed Dudley’s outfit. “I guess we’re all just a little bit jumpy. – Were you planning to go running too? You can join us, if you want to.”

“Huh?” Dudley felt foolish, until he looked down at himself. Right, the pants and the trainers. When he’d started boxing, his coach also insisted he go running, which he had mostly ignored unless it was supervised; since he enjoyed the actual punching and posing the most. On the other hand, maybe he could befriend those two if he went with them …

“I, erg, it’s probably cold, and I’d need to find …,” he motioned to his plain shirt.

“Eric isn’t joining us today, we generally leave our stuff in the hall. So, you’re coming?” Colin asked, absent-mindedly starting to stretch his arms over his head.

“Honestly, boys, you’re all paranoid.” It was a girl who had spoken, and only seconds later, Dennis and the girl he had spoken to over the Ministry article entered the kitchen. She, too, was dressed in sports clothes. “Oh, hey. Dennis told me it was only you.”

Dudley did not fancy running around in the cold outside when he could get back under his warm covers, preferably with a filled stomach, but her tone irked him and his ego still did not take kindly to being addressed in anything but a submissive tone. “If you’re sure I can have the jacket, I’d love to come.”

Colin took it in stride, while Dennis watched in surprise and the girl – he thought her name was Lucia – pulled a face. Determined, Dudley walked out into the hall, asking which jacket he was supposed to take.

It was rather large, but it fitted him. Eric must be the tall boy he’d seen with Dennis and the others then, he concluded, and followed Colin outside. It wasn’t as cold as he’d thought, and indeed the grass seemed to have been cleared of snow.

“Sadly, we’re not supposed to leave the perimeter of the house, so we’re just running circles around it. It’s still enough to stretch your legs a bit.”

The four teenagers did their warm-ups in silence, for which he was glad. He thought Lucia was watching him, which he found he didn’t like at all.

He had done no exercises at all since the end of July, but he found he still knew what to do. It felt stiff at first, but then he found his routine.

The other three had obviously done this before, since they took off in a light jog easily. Dudley huffed and puffed after the first steps already. Control your breathing! Steady! In tune! The voice of his former coach barked inside his head, and he grunted in annoyance. He had to correct his former thoughts, he hadn’t just disliked that part of this weekly activity; he’d hated it, often ignoring the barked advice or have his mother write him a note that he couldn’t go running. Then the little annoying voice that had been criticising most of his actions lately decided to speak up again; reminding him that nothing was the same anymore and why he wouldn’t just try it. Thinking it couldn’t harm, he followed the previously-ignored advice.

The breathing thing seemed to work, at least, and it got better after he didn’t need to gasp for air all the time. Sadly, there was now nothing to distract him from the burning in his legs. Another reason why he’d tried to get out of those stupid laps as often as possible. For some reason, though, he didn’t want to appear like a quitter or weakling in front of the brothers and Lucia. Dudley pumped on, concentrating on putting on foot in front of the other and keeping his breath as level as possible. He was sweating profoundly.

The others were ahead of him, though all at different distances, so it apparently wasn’t just a light jog while they chatted, but serious exercise. At some point, he lost count of how often he’d passed the front door, but he was sure it wasn’t as long as it seemed to him. Dudley didn’t feel his legs anymore, but he kept on out of pure spite. He was too stubborn to back out now.

“I didn’t think you’d actually go through with it.” Lucia commented lightly from his side. She had just lapped him, again. “For that, I’m sorry.”

“Haven’t – done – this – in – a while …” Dudley choked out.

He thought he saw her nod from his peripheral vision, but didn’t bother looking at her. He had all his energy focused on the path in front of him.

“You certainly look like you have an idea what you’re doing, if only a bit rusty.”

Dudley snorted despite his stupor. Rusty.

To her curious, “What?”, he answered between breaths, “Always hated it. And the jerk blowing his whistle at us from his perch on his camping stool.”

A giggling sound was his answer, and he noticed belatedly that she wasn’t at his side anymore. Stupidly, he stopped, and immediately felt like he had jelly for legs. Groaning, he sunk to the ground.

She was now doubled over in laughter. The familiar annoyance reared its head inside him, but then he just pulled up his knees to hold his legs in place and maybe squeeze the trembling and aching out of them.

“You can’t just collapse, you have to take it slow,” she said, now circling him slowly. After some time of him refusing to let go of his legs and her watching with intrigue, she crouched down.

“At least get up, let’s head back. Colin and Dennis are giving us shrewd looks already. But they’ll be at this for a bit more; say they need it.”

She grabbed his hands as if to pull him up. Though, with her tiny built, he doubted she would be able to move him at all, and he somehow managed to climb to his feet.

“Personally, I never did it before. But being holed up like we are, it seemed like a good idea, and then Colin and Dennis, insistent little buggers that they are, made us join them. Never would have thought such a Muggle thing would help.”

Dudley didn’t have a problem anymore identifying that particular term. Before he could stop himself, he had asked her why if it was strange for a witch to do Muggle things. Harry did Muggle things all the time when at Privet Drive, after all.

To his surprise, she sent him a most peculiar look. “I’m not a witch, and not a Muggle either. I’m a squib.” Lucia looked away, all traces of her former casualness gone.

“A what?”

She sped up, and he groaned at the thought of having to walk any faster. “Hey, stop? What did I say?”

At the door, she finally turned back to him. “Dennis said you were a Muggle, which is why I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt. – A squib is someone born to magical parents, but no magic to him or herself at all. The opposite to a Muggle-Born, so to speak.”

She was gone before he could answer or ask anything else. In the house, the smell of fresh coffee had him drag himself into the kitchen.

Hestia Jones greeted him cheerfully, offering him a seat and a pot of the hot beverage when she saw his appearance.

“Hestia, why is being a - a squib a bad thing?” he finally asked, completely cutting off her monologue about the weather.

She peered at him over her mug of coffee. “You talked to Lucia, then? – Well, a squib is someone who can’t do magic, won’t ever go to school with everyone else or be able to find a decent job in our world. Nowadays, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, Muggle-Borns are accused of stealing magic. And there they’ve created themselves a paradox, which should really open some people’s eyes already.
On one hand, they are accusing perfectly-able witches and wizards of theft of magical powers, and on the other hand squibs in pure-blood families are hidden away and often even disowned. Their status is a bit in limbo at the moment, though I’ve heard that they are being ‘accommodated for their own safety’ or some such rubbish. Most likely as testing subjects, if you ask me. People like the Blacks or the Macnairs certainly wouldn’t stand up for their squib kids, most likely disown them if they could.
I don’t know what exactly happened to Lucia, but she turned up here on Filius’s advocacy.”

Dudley contemplated this new information as he made his slow way to his room, and when he sank down on his heavenly-soft mattress, not bothering to undress. “Urg.” He exclaimed, having intended to roll over on his side which brought his nose in dangerous vicinity of his arm-pits. He decided a shower would be a rather good idea, exhaustion or no exhaustion.

But he couldn’t stop pondering what he’d learned that morning. So there were witches who couldn’t do magic?


Molly stood in the backdoor of her home, leaning against the door jamb, while watching the stars outside. Her children, or those she was lucky enough to have home, had all gone upstairs, but she knew better than to believe that they were asleep. She was glad Bill and Fleur had decided to spent Christmas Day with them after all. What a different scenario from the year before, when she’d looked with dislike at her son’s then-girlfriend.

If she had anything to say about it, her boys would stay at home for as long as this lasted. She knew, as much as she hated to see them in danger, they wouldn’t stay put when the time for fighting came. Just like her brothers had.

The Lovegood’s house had erupted in flames that day; and no one knew to say what exactly had happened. Arthur’s best guess had been that the Death Eaters had had finally lost patience with the editor of the Quibbler, even if he had ceased his publications since before Christmas. Fact was that Xeno was reportedly in Azkaban, but no one had seen hide nor hair of Luna. The house was in ruins, and she’d tried to convince her little girl as much as herself that Luna had been able to escape. A large extra issue of the Daily Prophet had been announced for the next day, and though it wouldn’t hold the whole truth, it could give them at least an indication.

“Molly? Come on, let’s go to bed, it’s really late.” Her husband’s trusted voice reached her ears. “Tomorrow’s another day.”

She cast a last glance at the star-lit sky. “A new day, and a new year. If there’s one thing I can wish for, let my children return safely.”

A/N: That’s the year 1997 over with; next will be January. Nothing much is happening in the book with the trio up until March when they listen to Potterwatch and Harry triggers the taboo again. Which means a lot of DA, Percy and co :)
What did you think about Luna? I’ve always had trouble writing her, but she so belongs in this story. And what about Lucia?
Let me know :)

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