Search Home Read Write Forum Login Register
A pale winter’s sun send its rays through the wide window, slanting across the freshly-painted eastern wall and casting patterns in the pale yellow; and the noise behind her had her turn her head. Dora and Remus were side by side, halfway done with the next wall. Dora had insisted on painting by hand – overriding Remus and Andromeda’s reasons to do it by magic. Now the currently blue haired witch was looking down with a dismayed expression at her t-shirt, the writing marred by a yellow glob which starkly stood out against the black cloth.

“Still convinced we should paint Muggle-style?” Remus teased mildly, gaze fixed on the spot of wall before him, applying his paint roller with more practiced ease by that point than he had at the beginning.

Nymphadora sniffed, put out. “That was one of my favourites.”

After getting a non-committal grunt, a mischievous spark could be seen in her eyes, one which Andromeda knew only too well. Putting her own paint roller away, only too readily distracted from task forced upon her – which she had failed dismally at, to her chagrin – she watched as Dora threw her own painting tool over her shoulder, plastering herself to her husband’s chest with a smug grin. “Oops?!”

Remus gaped at her when she started wriggling and rubbing the paint into his shirt, asking innocently, “This isn’t, by chance, your favourite?”

Against his will, Remus had to laugh. “I didn’t think it wise to wear my favourite shirt when painting a room. So, no, it isn’t.”

“Humph.” Nymphadora slid her arms around his neck. “Couldn’t you have imparted that piece of wisdom a bit earlier?”

“I did,” he answered drily.

Andromeda cleared her throat, muttering, “So did I,” under her breath before adding more loudly, and hopefully, “One spell and one wave of the wand, and we’d be finished.”

“Mu-um,” Nymphadora whined, “I told you it has to be done this way. All the TV shows say so.”

While Andromeda registered her son-in-law’s carefully impassive countenance, she felt a slight twinge, remembering Dora’s and Ted’s fascination with the Muggle contraption, and her own exasperation with it.

“Yours wasn’t painted that way,” she quipped prickly, before lifting her hand, uttering an apology. “I’m sorry, I just … Would you want a cup of tea? I’ll make some.”

Andromeda slipped from the room without waiting for a reply. She wouldn’t grudge her daughter her happiness; especially not now. It could be gone far too fast. Everything these days reminded her of Ted, and that she’d never before been separated from him for so long.

Ted, who had been her salvation. She firmly believed that, for she was rather certain if she’d let herself be browbeaten by her family to commit to a loveless marriage of convenience for the sake blood purity, she’d have hardened and possibly even meekly gone along with everything.

And Ted had loved fussing over her when she’d been pregnant with Dora. She would bet he would be just as excited if he were with them. She wondered what he what he was doing, if thought of her as he did of him. From all they’d learned, he hadn’t made contact with any of the Order members who still went out in public.

Andromeda tiptoed through the now almost deserted house. Those who had sought and found refuge under her roof had been moved for the most part, either with Elphias Doge or smuggled out of the country altogether. She didn’t know just how they’d done it; but apparently Kingsley hadn’t just sat in the Muggle Prime Minister’s front office and twiddled his thumps. He’d reactivated some of those connections as of late – too late for her Ted.

Forcing those glum thoughts away, she made her way to the kitchen. She was only glad Remus had come to his senses and come back to Dora. Although her son-in-law wasn’t at all what she’d imagined – as long as Dora had that happy gleam in her eye, she’d accept him. When he’d gone and run some months before, she hadn’t felt so inclined, but he was slowly atoning in her eyes. Watching them always brought back her own memories of herself and Ted, but still she was glad there was at least some happiness in their lives, even with the threat of Voldemort and his Death Eaters hanging over them. And she prayed for her own happy ending.

*

Charlie narrowed his eyes, watching as the two cloaked figures disapparated with a soft ‘pop’. He had noticed them first when he’d stopped outside Bath to adjust the destination of his Apparition which he had mucked up as he’d been distracted by running his hand through his - in his opinion – still too short hair to get rid of an itch; just before apparating to Exeter where he was supposed to meet Kingsley and Dedalus with their charges. A wild-goose chase all over the country had followed, with him acting as the goose. He waited another minute to ensure they didn’t return; casting one last look around, Charlie disapparated for his original destination.

On touching the ground, Charlie immediately felt a shiver go through his body – and he was no longer able to move.

Then, he heard a muttered curse, and his brother’s face, scars standing out from the darker planes under the light of the stars, appeared in front of him. “Where the hell have you been? I was already preparing how to tell Mum you’d gone missing!”

Charlie, still immobile, felt the urge to raise his eyebrows.

“Stop playing around boys, and get moving. Incidentally, where have you been?” Kingsley’s deep voice interrupted.

Freed from the spell, Charlie sent Bill a look that promised retribution, quickly did a “Homenum Revelio”, then launched into his report.

“Where’s everyone?” he added, having expected to find a group of refugees.

“Send back when you didn’t show up. Safety measure.” Kingsley kept it brief, frowning in thought.

“Are we still going ahead as planned, then?” Bill asked.

Kingsley was silent for a few seconds, then nodded decisively. “Give the go-ahead.”

In answer to the patronus message, several people arrived via portkey. Charlie saw Fleur immediately join Bill’s side, while Dedalus strode toward the two other men.

“Ze sign,” Fleur pointed out quietly.

“At least they’re punctual,” Dedalus quipped.

“Seems like it,” Charlie commented. “By the way, that was a stroke of genius to make contact with the French department for games and sports, and have them contact Madam Maxim.”

“Not at all. I may worked out the final kinks, but the real mastermind is Dedalus here,” Kingsley deflected while they watched a blond, heavy-set wizard approach.

“Not me. W -, erg, Oliver Wood and friends came up with the idea, and, erg, suggested who had been involved in organising that infernal Tournament and how the wards for international apparition were adjusted back then to accommodate all the foreign officials during the organising and meetings.”

“Yes, I’ve meant to ask, who told you …,” Bill interrupted himself when Kingsley stepped forward to greet the new arrival. Charlie scowled; he’d have liked to have that answer himself. Dedalus had been oddly evasive about that point, claiming the person had demanded anonymity.

The second sign went off, and Charlie stepped away from the group, greeting his old partner Stebbins, one of the best dragon tamers he knew.

“If you’re all ready, then?” Kingsley asked into the circle, receiving positive replies.

“Be safe,” Charlie called after his brother and his wife, who were herding half of the group toward the French official.

Bill nodded grimly, returning the sentiment. “We bring them to Professeur Maxime, and return tout de suite,” Fleur assured him as well.

“Let’s get moving,” Stebbins growled, and Charlie clapped his hands, turning his attention to the huddled figures some way behind them.

Ushering them away, Charlie hoped the living quarters of the Romanian dragon reserve and the grounds of the Beauxbatons Academy were far enough away to offer them protection.

*

Dudley watched from his position on the doorstep, where he’d sat down. He was taking his time doing up his shoelaces, watching Lucia run enthusiastically despite the chilly weather. He would far preferred staying indoors, but he had wanted to talk to her. The conversation with Mrs Figg was still on his mind.

“Elphias said you’re a squib.” Slipping into the small upstairs parlour, Dudley positioned himself in front of Arabella Figg.

Startled, she observed him, then narrowed her eyes. “I do not appreciate that tone, boy.”

“What does it mean?” Dudley insisted mulishly.

Mrs Figg straightened stiffly, lifting her cat from the chair’s armrest to her arms. “I am, indeed a squib. Meaning I have no magical powers, although my parents were wizards. Now, my little kitty is hungry, if you’ll …”

Dudley gestured impatiently. “I know that. But what does it mean?”

“What do you mean, ‘what does it mean’?” Mrs Figg regarded him as if she thought he was slow off the mark.

“How do they come about? Where’s their magic? Why are you and Lucia hiding?” The last question especially had occupied him a lot.

“Humpf. What do you think? Harry Potter is undesireable, and I’ve been known not only to testify for him. Not to mention that I supported Dumbledore. I do think it’s for my loyalties, not so much for my being a squib that I ended up here.”

Dudley blinked, sorting through the bits of information he’d gathered. “The headmaster? With the white beard?”

Resigned, Mrs Figg settled back into the armchair. “Why the change of attitude all of a sudden?”

“Dementors.” The one word was enough to make him shudder again, and oddly enough, her as well, and from somewhere he conjured up an image of a hysterical Mrs Figg, flapping her large handbag.

“So you are on Harry’s side? But why don’t you have magic? And my aunt did, although my grandparents were like me?”

“Ah, there you have it.” Elphias stepped into the small room, rocking on his toes when he came to a halt. “He-Without-A-Name took the same facts, and came to the conclusion that the Muggle-Borns must have stolen the magic. Consequently, his doctrine should declare squibs the ones who had been stolen from. Instead, they are ostracised; not spoken about or even disowned. Just look at the Blacks.”

He didn’t dawdle on the question of the Blacks might be, it was just another thing he’d have to find out. “Yes, but how?”

“That, dear boy, is a question no one has an answer to.” Elphias patted Dudley’s arm indulgently.

“But what about …”

“Of course, there are the other squibs,” Elphias continued over Dudley’s question. He had a disapproving expression on his face. “Those who try to buy their lives by offering to act the victims.” He pursed his lips. “Arthur mentioned one such case. But the man in question has disappeared; rumour has it he was scheduled to undergo experiments to prove the connection we were talking about. Between the stolen magic and the magicless wizards. He must have got scared, and run away. I know I would have, with Umbridge in charge of the project.”


As Dudley got to his feet to join Lucia in her rounds, he felt glad she was there. At least no one was using her as a guinea pig.

*

Susan’s jaw ached from having to clench her teeth to stop herself from shouting at Alecto. Carrow was spouting the most nonsensical drivel she’d ever heard – and that was saying something given she’d listened to some of Ernie’s tall tales or Luna’s declarations during both of her participations in Dumbledore’s Army. In fact, she’d gladly take a story of a purple-fanged geranium or some conspiration that worked through a combination of Dark Magic and gum disease over claims that one had to wash after touching Muggles or that Crabbe was worthier than Justin.

A soft touch on her arm had her turn her head to her right. Hannah was looking worried; but that was nothing new. Hannah was always worrying these days. Susan faked a tight-lipped smile, knowing she would fool no one. But also knew she wouldn’t really smile again until their oppressors were be gone again. And she intended to be helping with that. How could she not? The first war had seen her uncle Edgar and his family dead; this one had already claimed her aunt Amelia.

“Muggles are inferior to us, as evidenced in their lack of magic and attempts to steal it,” she recited flatly when Alecto Carrow called on her, while her eyes were narrowed in disgust. Inferior? The woman shouldn’t be talking – literally. Her grammar was far from superior, at least in Susan’s opinion. Muggle Studies used to be fun while everyone tried to make sense of strange appliances and habits, livened up by practical lessons where they got to try out said appliances.

She would have said something then; to wipe the smug look from her wannabe teacher’s face at her easy compliance for once, but Ernie’s and Hannah’s rigid posture on either side of her made her bite her tongue. She knew she had the most volatile temper between them, and how easy it was to get into trouble these days. Professor Sprout’s quite interference could only be relied upon so often.

Relived when the teacher’s malicious gaze moved on, Susan relaxed slightly. The whole of their year – or what remained of it after the “purifying” – was crammed into one of the formerly unused bigger classrooms on the ground floor with its dais. Eyes roaming the classroom, and sought out Neville, who stood just as stoically as she supposed she had done just moments before. Seamus wiry frame was somewhat stooped, no doubt from having to scrub the teacher’s toilet on his knees last evening. She snorted at the message. Purebloods were superior – which currently included them seeing as they’d been allowed an education – and as long as they did as dictated by one despot and if not, they could be happily subjected to Muggle work – that is, inferior work, according to them.

Her derisive snort was sufficiently covered by Megan Jones adjusting her chair, scraping it across the stone floor. Accident or not, Susan wondered. Either way, she probably had been saved a detention or dressing down herself. She guessed the former when the girl she had shared a dormitory with for almost seven years and her partner surreptitiously peeked in her direction, and Susan made a mental note to thank Megan later.

“Would you care to repeat that, Boot?” Alecto had advanced upon Terry Boot, clearly delighted she had a chance to “exercise her authority”.

“Gladly. I said: Bullshit.” Terry had launched back in his chair, clearly enunciating each word, and all chair scraping couldn’t have covered his words. Several indrawn breaths could be heard, as well as disbelieving gasps from the Slytherins’ corner at Terry’s audacity to contradict Carrow – whether they agreed with it or not. Susan wondered herself what had driven usually-levelheaded Terry to this cheek. But remembering her earlier agitation, she supposed it was only a matter of time until she snapped herself.

“Uh uh,” Hannah murmured beside her. “This is not good.”

Hannah was proven right, Susan surmised later. Terry, with a note in hand and spine proudly rigid, departed the classroom for the Dark Arts classroom.

“Don’t go, don’t go,” Hannah chanted under her breath.

“And then what?” Ernie whispered grimly.

They fell silent. They all knew the consequences for disobedience.

“I feel a little rebellious today. “ Susan stated, watching Alecto go off on a tangent about insolent students. From what she could see, her fellow DA members all had a look of mutiny in their eyes, and the more impulsive among them seemed to be plotting already. Michael Corner especially looked fit to burst, while the more sensible Anthony Goldstein was scribbling furiously, keeping the parchment in the line of Michael’s eyes.

“It will do Terry no good if we get ourselves in trouble too,” Hannah tried to calm her, singing the same tune Susan supposed Anthony was trying.

“You’re Half-Blood, aren’t you, Hannah?” Susan though aloud. “What’s something that immediately comes to mind, when you think ‘Muggle’?”

“Susan!” Hannah hissed in warning. “Ernie! Do something!”

“It couldn’t be too obvious,” Ernie said quietly, instead.

Susan felt smug for a second, then refocused. “Not to Pure-Bloods, anyway.” She blew out a breath. “Which means I have no idea.”

“A football reference, maybe,” came a quiet voice. Susan narrowed her eyes, partly in thought, partly in surprise at Kevin Entwhistle, who sat at the other side of Megan Jones. He too was a Half-Blood, but almost never spoke up. And, she admitted, she’d usually only spent time with Justin, Ernie and Hannah. “Or films, maybe. Muggle music.”

“As Muggle Studies teacher, she should know that,” Susan almost cackled evilly, her tone clearly implying she didn’t think that was the case. The end-of-class noise brought her back from her plotting, and Susan was rushing and towing away Kevin and Ernie quickly.

Hannah followed reluctantly, saying urgently, “It won’t even do Terry any good. Or our cause. It won’t be more than a prank.”

“What do you suggest? The time for fighting, as we all agree however grudgingly, hasn’t yet come.”

“But Susan …”

“I’ll think of something,” Susan said placatingly, thoughts whirling in her head.

Hannah briefly considered warning Neville off. Or Ginny, she added, feeling guilty for forgetting her.

Two days later, Hannah gathered her supplies of ointments and salves while waiting for Susan, Ernie, Kevin, and two sixth years to come back from detention. They’d been caught spelling names and catchy phrases onto the walls of the detention hall. Filch and the Carrows hadn’t been able to make sense of it and had given them their punishment for wilful vandalism. Though Hannah was sure she’d seen many of the names in advertisements of magazines her mother used to read.

*

Ted was poking and prodding the dying embers of the fire in front of him with a stick. He couldn’t explain the dark mood. Not that his mood had been particularly good during the previous months; always on the run, always on the lookout for pursuers. But the gloomy feeling seemed to intensify with every day.

A copse of trees had been chosen as this day’s shelter, the wind rustling the empty branches, the noises from the nearby middle-sized town just a faint noise. He had planned to stop there the next day, together with Dean and Dirk. The Goblins would have to stay back and wait; they were just too noticeable to take the chance. But the three humans, all familiar with Muggle culture and also the slightest bit deprived of it, would chance the venture. There had to be a supermarket somewhere. He looked up when one of the tents was zipped open, and closed again after a tall, rangy body slide out of it.

“All quiet?” Dean enquired, sidling up next to him, blowing into his hands. The tents had long-lasting warming spells on them, which proved invaluable in the cold February air, but with the dying fire, he’d really prefer staying snuggled in his sleeping bag. They had agreed to use magic only when necessary, lest they attract some unwanted attention. Who knew what spells the Death Eaters had at their disposal to hunt Muggle-Borns down, what with the Ministry behind them …

“Let’s hope it stays that way.” Ted reverted his gaze back to his prodding.

Dean too watched the embers, even as his mind pictured the crackling, warming fire in the Gryffindor Common Room. Maybe Seamus would be sitting in front of it, right at that moment, coming up with something as ridiculous as trying to roast marshmallows in the middle of the night. He only hoped someone would make sure he wouldn’t cause any explosion, in his absence. He sighed wistfully.

“Something wrong, son?” Ted asked, recognising the ominous tone.

Dean shrugged. “Wishing this was all just a nightmare, and being woken up by my mates getting ready for the day – Seamus annoyingly cheerful, Ron grumbling. Hell, Neville chasing that toad of his, banging into chairs and trunks. Or by my step-siblings coming to tell me breakfast’s ready.”

Ted thought of his own mornings. For almost twenty-five years, he’d woken up next to the same woman, usually watching her regal features before tackling a new day, so dear to him and so similar and yet different from her sisters’. The usually pink-haired, boisterous bundle of energy that was his daughter jumping on his stomach years ago when she demanded he play with her.

“Can I ask you a favour?” Ted kept his gaze carefully on the wood in front of him, almost completely burned down to ashes. He caught the nod in his peripheral vision. “If I don’t get back, please tell my wife and my Dora … tell them I love them. Always did, always will.”

Dean fought off the ill-omened feeling that threatened to overwhelm him. “You’ll tell them yourself. I’m sure of it.”

“Still. Will you promise me?” Ted was adamant.

“Okay,” Dean replied softly after a few seconds of silence. “And will you promise to tell Seamus Finnigan that I’m sorry for leaving him hanging. And if he could be the one to tell Mum.”

They shook on it solemnly.

“Why are you still here? Why not … I don’t know, leave the country?” Ted asked, giving into his curiosity.

Dean simply gazed at him. “Because I’m needed here. I want to fight when it’s time. Besides, I doubt we still could get out.”

“International Apparating is watched heavily even under normal circumstances, yes,” Ted agreed.

“Why didn’t you leave when there was still time?” Dean returned the question.

Ted smiled, as assured as Dean had done when answering the question. “Because everyone I love is here. Dora was adamant; and that was that. I wasn’t a Hufflepuff for nothing.”

“We’re in till the end, then,” Dean stated.

“That we are, son,” Ted concluded. “That we are.” They sat there in silence till the black night gave way to blood-red, orange and violet hues tinting the sky. How much longer would they be able to stay a step ahead of Snatchers?






Author’s Note – written from behind the shelter of a rather large sofa to avoid foul vegetables thrown her way:

Between moving and an ensuing writer’s block, I didn’t get much writing or editing done. However, a brief stint to the Gryffindor Common Room at the forums convinced me it was past time for another chapter – possibly before the imminent queue closure. Winner of a Golden Paw Award for Best War Story? You guys left me quite speechless. But it couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you, so soo sooo much, for those votes!

So, here it is, and I hope you enjoyed. My favourite and at the same time the hardest bit to write was Ted’s and Andromeda’s. I wrote them here the way I pictured them for “Pure”, and I’m sad for the losses Andromeda will have to face.
As for Charlie, as far as I know, he was recruiting foreign wizards on Dumbledore’s orders before returning to act as Bill’s best man. Did he actually go back afterwards? In the books, he reappears in the final battle, bringing in reinforcements with Slughorn after Neville killed Nagini. For the purpose of this story, I imagine him wanting to stay close to his family and helping out the resistance.

Oh, and is Dudley getting too insightful and grown up, too soon? He would have had to mature some during his forced stay at a safe house. I had an idea for him in a next-gen story, and he’s well on his way there. The squib thing is purely my speculation.

Track This Story: Feed


Write a Review

out of 10

JOIN HARRY POTTER FANFICTION


Get access to every new feature the moment it comes out.

Register Today!
Need Help Writing Your Fanfic?

Write Your BEST Fanfic EVER In Our FREE 10 Day Fanfiction Writing Jumpstart Program!

  • Introduce Your Character Like A Rockstar! 🤘
  • Build GUT-CLENCHING Suspense 🔎
  • Drop into an Action Scene 💥
  • Develop a POWERFUL Romance 😍
  • How to Land an Ending 🍻
  • How To Make Writer's Block Your Best Friend ❤️
  • ...And more!
“The lessons that were offered helped me enormously. Suddenly it was easier to write scenes, imagine them and bring suspension and romance in it. I loved it! ​It helped me in a way other bloggers couldn’t and still can’t.” - Student