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“Hello, it’s been awhile since I spoke your name.
But I remember now what it’s like to feel you in my veins.
How am I supposed to feel the same?”

Burn, Madi Diaz

_____________________

January turned into February and February ended in the first pure rays of sunlight. The heavy snow in Scotland melted into the grounds of Hogwarts, leaving the Students with the hope of spring.

The start of March held promises of longer days, more Hogsmeade trips and a handful of quidditch matches that were going to be the highlight of the season. As the winter gloom started to fade, everybody at Hogwarts, the teachers included, seemed to be giddy.

As students bustled back and forth, Alice McIntyre weaved her way in and out of people, her small frame easily lost in the sea of black robes. Straightening her bag that was slung over her shoulder, Alice quietly and without notice made her way into an empty classroom and clicked the lock behind her.

Casting a simple spell on the room to keep any eavesdroppers at bay, she plowed forward, slipped behind the tapestry that hung on the back wall and kept going until she came to the end of a corridor. Alice turned to her left and tapped a brick in the wall thrice with her wand and then placed a palm against the same spot, like ice in a cup of water, the bricks in the wall melted into the rest revealing a hidden room deep in the walls of Hogwarts.

“You’re late!” Chastened the group of people that sat in the small room. They all had been waiting for Alice to show up.

Throwing her bag down, she checked behind her to make sure the door had formed solid again. “I know and I’m sorry! Severus Snape had some questions about an assignment and I couldn’t just ignore him! You know how he gets, he would have been curious and I would have been followed.“ Plopping down into the only open spot in the circle of people, Alice searched for her new best friend and smiled brightly when her eyes had fallen upon the green eyed, brunette girl.

“Should have told old Snivellus to bugger off!”

“Drop it, James.”

“Sorry” James Potter blushed and scratched his neck uncomfortably. His grudge against Snape wasn’t unknown to the halls of Hogwarts.

“So what’s the word, Alice?” Sirius black stretched his long legs and leaned back onto his calloused hands.

Alice sighed, her lips twitching slightly, “Nothing. I have nothing!” A resounding groan carried around the circle.

“What’s new?” A young Ravenclaw girl said, ducking away from the glare that Loren shot her.

“What? What do you lot really want me to do? I’ve been doing the same as all of you and correct me if I am wrong but I highly doubt that any of you have more than mere mutterings of a war from a few Slytherins that you would love to prove are guilty of something whether they really are or not!”

“It isn’t like that, Alice!” James said.

“Oh, come off it, Potter! You’re telling me that Snape and Malfoy aren’t at the top of your “Slytherins with a motive” list? Alice mimicked quotation marks with her fingers and shook out her short brown mane.

James bristled and leaned forward quickly. “I heard Snape admit to hating Gryffindor! What more do I need?”

“Because he DOES hate Gryffindor, you oaf! And you hate the bloody Slytherins. Now until one of you comes to these meeting toting Voldemort in your fucking schoolbag, don’t give me anymore shit. Nobody has anything more than I do. We’re a lot of fucking teenagers with absolutely no idea what the bloody hell we are doing.”

The weight of anxiety and annoyance fell heavily on the group. Alice was right and they all knew that. When Loren, James, Lily, Remus and Sirius had started the hunt for Order members- they never thought they would have had so many volunteers. The people wanting to join were surprisingly high in number but that didn’t change the fact that they were going into this oncoming war blind and naïve of what their job was. Dumbledore had merely told them to keep their ears and eyes open, they would know the signs when they seen them.

At this point, either there hadn’t been any signs yet, or they all needed glasses.

“Now listen here, we are doing what we can and nothing has come of it and I hadn’t expected anything to so quickly but if you would kindly stop taking the Mickey out of me then I’ll stop pointing out the fact that you are no closer to finding a Dark Eater than the person sitting next to you.”

“Death Eater” Remus whispered

“What?”

Remus turned a light shade of puce and cleared his throat; he wasn’t comfortable with the amount of heads that turned to look his way. “They’re called Death Eaters, Al.”

With narrowed eyes, Alice threw her hands up in the air, “Okay, Death Eaters, Death Drinkers, whatever they are calling themselves- the group of people that Voldemort would invite to tea! Which wasn’t my point exactly but none the less, do we all have a deal?”

The group nodded collectively, glancing around, they searched the faces of the other for answers. “What are we going to do then?” Sirius asked, knowing that was the question that was on everybody’s mind.

“Well” Loren started, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear, “We’re going to do nothing.”

“Nothing?”

“Nothing. As you can see, we’re on a witch hunt here and we seem to be looking in all of the wrong places. Maybe it’s time to sit back and let whatever is going to happen, happen. We can’t make proof appear and it’s driving us all a little mad.” Standing up and dusting off her uniform, Loren made her way to the wall, tapping at it with her wand. “So, I don’t know about the rest of you but what I plan to do is go get something to eat and then go to class and actually pay attention for the first time in weeks.” With that, she exited the room and did exactly that.

***


Ducking his head, the young man kept a steady pace as he slipped and skidded through the sleet that had plagued the coast of the tiny town he had been staying in for the last few weeks. Although he kept his face hidden under his hood, his eyes darted back and forth; the chatter of the other people attempting to make their way out of the storm set him on edge.

“Hey, boy!” Said a gruff voice.

A cold that had nothing to do with the icy rain slipped down the young man’s back. Grasping his wand tightly against his side, he turned to the owner of the voice. Letting his hood fall back, he searched the man’s face. Wrinkles framed his eyes and the scruff of hair that littered his cheeks and chin were peppered with the color of age. Relief pressed onto his chest, he didn’t recognize him and he didn’t seem to be recognized either.

“Yeh dropped this, lad. It’s little wet but I grabbed it ‘fore the wind could take it from yeh.” In his palm sat a soggy envelope, the ink of the front had started to run and the wax seal had split, the contents peeking out.

Taking the envelope from the old man and placing it into his pocket, the young man pulled his hood back up. “Thank you, Sir.” He said and turned back in the direction he had been heading.

“Bit ah odd weather we bin havin’, don’t yeh think? Me mum used ter tell me that weather like this was caused by a pain so deep that it made a fissure deep in the soul of the earth. Rubbish I used ter think but once yeh get older, yeh realize that anything is possible.”

“Yeah, maybe” Said the young man, “Well, thank you again for giving this back to me.”

“Hmm, hold on ter it tight, it seems important ter yeh. Good day, lad.”

Walking until he came to a hole in the wall inn, he looked once more behind him and then clambered through the door, the bell that hung above ringing in his entrance. Slipping out of his jacket, he made his way to the front desk. “Anything for me today, Liam?”

“Nope, nothing since what I gave you yesterday but I reckon nothing is going to be coming through the post today. Sorry, Sebastian.” The innkeeper replied.

A twang of disappointment ran through him. “Yeah, alright, well if you need me I’ll be in my room and if anybody else needs me, I’m-“

“You’re not here. I got it, mate. I’ll send up your dinner in a bit.”

Taking the stairs two at a time, Sebastian unlocked the door to his room and locked it swiftly behind him. Changing his clothes quickly, he sat down in front of the fire that Liam had ready for him every evening.

Sliding a finger into the envelope, Sebastian pulled out a piece of parchment, unfolding it gently, he began to read;

Sebastian,

I’ve finally lost count of the number of letters that I’ve sent you but seeing as today is March 2nd, I haven’t spoken to you in 67 days. I’m sure that I have made it blatantly obvious, but, I am scared. I’m scared all of the time, every minute of the day, even when I’m asleep.

I wrote your brother, I’ve received no response and I fear the absolute worst. Where are you, Sebastian? These letters seem to be finding a home- wouldn’t the owl just bring them back to me if they were undeliverable? I also fear the day that shall happen. The thought that one day my letter will be brought back to me because there is no one there on the other end to receive pulls at my heart daily.

Please, Sebastian, if you are reading this, just let me know that you are okay. Tell me that you are unharmed and somewhere safe. Merlin, if you were to tell me that you have received every single letter of mine and you simply had no more room in your heart for me any longer, that would be okay. I wouldn’t be angry. I would be hurt, even crushed but I would never be angry. I put you through hell, Seb. I know that and I am so sorry. I never meant to hurt you and looking at it now, I wouldn’t blame you for hating me. I would hate me, too. But please, before you label me as the girl that did nothing but break your heart, before you put all of the memories of me in a box and lock it away forever- let me clarify one thing.

Sebastian, I loved you. No matter the way I acted, or the space that I put between us, I loved you. I loved you so much and so deeply. You were that bit of light when I was constantly in the dark. You taught me so many things and you made such a large impact on my heart. I loved you, Sebastian and I will continue loving you for the rest of my life. I only wish that I could have loved you the way you deserved earlier. You will forever be a part of my heart and you will forever have piece of my heart.

Now just one more thing- the last night that we spoke, at the Christmas ball, you mentioned that I would know everything soon. You also asked me not to hate you when I found out and while I wonder all of the things that you could have done that would ever make me hate you, let me tell you this. I could never, ever hate you. I sat down and went through the list of horrible things you could have done and I decided, no matter what it may be, I will never hate you, Sebastian. I just needed you to know that. I needed you to know… just in case.
I miss you so much, Sebastian. I’ll write you again tomorrow.

Love you forever,

Loren x
PS- This will keep me with you, if you’d so want.



Turning the envelope over, a chain slipped out and landed in Sebastian’s lap. At the end of the long silver chain was a tiny crystal sphere that was no larger than the tip of his thumb and encased in the sphere was a perfectly formed tear drop. It glistened and sparkled, the colors of the fire dancing in its shape. It was one of her tears, it was a part of Loren contained forever for him to keep.

Slipping the chain over his head, he tucked the crystal under his shirt and felt it graze over his chest, the feeling of disappointment mingled with unending sadness mixed inside of him.

Folding the parchment and slipping it back into its envelope, Sebastian starred into the fire, the flames licking at the log that sat in the center, burning orange and red. His heart ached to write back to Loren but he knew that it was safer for her this way. He had talked himself out of the plan not to write her at least once a day.

Her words sat in his mind, tattooed to his brain, whirling around in an echo of her voice. He prayed that what she said were true, he hoped that she could never hate him but rightfully it was what he deserved. He deserved that and so much more.

Shaking away the thoughts of sending her a letter that simply said he was okay, Sebastian opened the door of the wardrobe and reached into the far back, pulling out a stack of letters that were bound together with a piece of leather. Slipping the newest letter on top of the stack, Sebastian placed it back in the wardrobe and shut the door tight. His heart would never stop aching.

***


Lucius Malfoy strode up the long drive to his family manor, his boots crunching into the rain soaked gravel. Making his way out of Hogwarts was not an easy task but it was worth it for tonight was a night of great importance. Tonight was the night that he would be reporting back to his lord and there was no room for error.

Having not made it out before curfew, Lucius had to make it up through the dungeons, to the entry hall and out of the great oak doors, all without alerting a single soul. He had made it all the way to whomping willow before the caretaker’s lantern could even be seen bobbling down the front steps. Slipping through a passage mingled in the roots of the great tree, he made his way into Hogsmeade, walked all the way to the edge of town with very little notice and then apparated to gates of the Malfoy Manor.

Not an easy task, no, but Lucius felt truly cocky. He had done it and with no help from anybody else. Lord Voldemort would be pleased with him and that very thought sent a shiver of sheer pride throughout his body.

Standing in the foyer of the home that had been passed down for generations, Lucius removes his coat and gloves.

“Master would like some tea?” A nearly decrepit elf asked, an old table runner wrapped haphazardly around her frame. Bulbous eyes sunk so far back into its skull they seemed to be drowning in leather. Reaching small hands up, the elf offered up a tea tray, a steaming cup already waiting.

“I have no time for that, Dizzy.” He cast off his coat to the house elf, engulfing her small frame with the heavy cloth. The tea tray clattered to the floor, the china shattering whilst hot water soaked into the Persian carpets. Dragging herself from under the enormous coat, Dizzy stood, large tears forming in her eyes as she wrung her mock dress of the freshly brewed tea. “My apologies, master.” She whispered.

“And clean up that mess!” Lucius thundered as he rounded the corner to the library. At the doors waited two mean, one the senior Malfoy and another unknown to Lucius. He had only attended one other meeting and the Dark Lord had not even presided. Lucius had never seen the one he called master, all of his demands had trickled down the grapevine, only making their way to Lucius in the form of letters written by his father.

“Father” He greeted

“Do you think you kept the Dark Lord waiting long enough, boy?”

“But I-“

“No time for chit chat, Lucius, this isn’t play time. This here is Lee Parker, Sebastian’s Father.” Mr. Malfoy laid a hand onto his friend’s shoulder, giving it a gruff squeeze.

A small sneer christened Lucius’ face, the cockiness overlaying the embarrassment of disappointing his father. “Ah, Mr. Lee” he drawled, “So good to meet you. Have you by any chance heard from Sebastian as of recent?”

A shred of shock passed over Lee Parker’s face. A color that resembled the shell of an egg was left behind as all of his blood ran cold. “No, I haven’t.”

Rubbing thumb and forefinger over his chin, Lucius raised a single brow, his sneer grew. “Oh, really?” He asked, not a single ounce of skepticism, only sarcasm, “I didn’t think so.”

Turning his back on the two men, Lucius walked into the library. The large chestnut table was lined with a handful of mean he recognized; the others were complete strangers to him. At the head of the table sat Lord Voldemort, or so Lucius assumed. He couldn’t imagine another man more threatening.

His skin was pale and almost iridescent, the blue of his veins barely hidden underneath his papery skin. His eyes were small but his pupils were even smaller, shaped like the thin slit of a snake’s, he couldn’t bring himself to look directly at him.

“Ah, so this is the young Malfoy” Voldemort said, leaning his chin on what one would normally take as praying hands. “I hear you come with some very critical words?” The hiss of his words took Lucius as critical and instantly the cockiness he had felt earlier that night was gone. He was nothing more than a boy, standing in front of an impatient king.

“Tsk, tsk, tsk, Lucius.” Voldemort clicked his tongue and smiled. “You mustn’t think like that. I’m very interested in whatever it is that you have to say.”

The table of men chuckled and all eyes fell onto Lucius. Lucius involuntarily stepped back, banging into the desk that had been shoved against the wall to make room for the giant table. Voldemort could see into his mind. For all he knew, he was picking apart his brain at that very moment.

Fear crept into his chest and squeezed. Trying to keep his brain fuzzy, Lucius took the chair that was offered to him, he sat at the left of Voldemort. This was no longer a meeting in a deserted corridor; Lucius wasn’t going to be giving orders, he wasn’t in charge.

Voldemort twirled his wand between long, thin fingers, the sinister smile never leaving his face. “So young Malfoy, what is it that have come here to tell me? Speak loud; you are, after all, the man of the hour.”

Again the laughter started around the table and finally Lucius figured out what was going on. He was being made a mockery. He wasn’t here because Voldemort really believed that he had vital information, he was there as entertainment. “Stop laughing! I’ve come here because some of those who claim to be on the side of the Dark Lord are lying!” Lucius bellowed, anger bubbling up. He slammed his hand down onto the table.

Fits of laughter broke out and again realization hit him, the men in the room thought of him as a child having a fit, he was the toddler that threw his rattle out of the pram.

“Enough.” Voldemort said, raising a hand, instantly the room was silent. Narrowing his snake-like eyes, he continued. “Allegations like those, Lucius, are very serious. Beguile all of those in the room, who are you speaking of?”

As Voldemort said this, Lucius glanced to floor beside his chair. A snake, larger than any he had ever seen, lay curled in a massive mound, sharp tongue darting out every few seconds. Its eyes stared at Lucius’ chest, never wavering; it was as if the snake could hear every thump of his heart, like it could smell the pump of blood from vein to vein. Lucius seemed to be paralyzed. His hands clamped hard around the arms of the chair he sat in, his breathing halted.

Whispers from around the room fell on deaf ears, all Lucius could hear was the thrumming of his pulse.

“Lucius, the Dark Lord has spoken to you!” His father said harshly from beside him.

“Now, now, give the boy a minute. He hasn’t properly been introduced to Nagini.” Reaching to the floor, Voldemort stroked the head of the snake lovingly. “Beautiful isn’t she, Lucius?” Voldemort laid a hand over one of Lucius’.

Like a bucket of ice cold water was poured over his head, he started. Ripping his eyes away from the snake, Lucius looked straight into the face of Voldemort. “Now then, who is it you suspect?”

“I- I- I don’t suspect anybody, my lord. I overheard a conversation of admittance, you see.” Lucius dug his nails into the arms of the chair, gnashing his teeth together.

“And who isn’t as loyal as they claim, young Malfoy?” Voldemort pursed his thin lips and eyes each member sitting at the table.

“Benjamin, Thomas and Sebastian Parker, my lord.”

Intake of breath and hasty glances to the end of the table weren’t spared. Slowly Voldemort turned his head to stare directly at Lee Parker.

“I overheard Benjamin Parker admit to him and Thomas being in the Order!” Lucius continued, “He told Sebastian the history of Loren Evans. Sebastian has left Hogwarts, Sire, he thinks he can save her and her family!”

“My lord?” Lee begged, “It is not true! We are loyal! We are eternally loyal!” Standing from his spot, Lee Parker started to kneel.

“Ah, ah, ah, Lee.” Voldemort closed his eyes for a moment. “It seems that the boy is not lying. It’s too bad you couldn’t keep your family together, Lee.”

“Please, my lord! Please! I can fix this.” Lee interjected, his body shook visibly.

“Fix this? I have no time for disloyalty; I’ve made that very clear. It’s rather unfortunate, though. I made the mistake to think your family would be of great use. It seems you’ll have to meet the same fate as your wife.” Voldemort ceased stroking Nagin’s head and sat straighter in his chair.

“My- my wife? What do you mean, my Lord?”

“You are smarter than that, Lee!” Voldemort hissed, “I killed her and as I said, it’s unfortunate but your wife died at my hands as will the rest of your family.”

Lee Parker backed up slowly, his back pressing to the closed double doors that led out of the library. Slowly he slipped a hand into the pocket of his midnight blue robes. “I trusted you!” Lee yelled, ripping his wand out, he pointed it at Voldemort, heartbroken tears poured down his ragged face.

“Well I guess we all make mistakes.” Voldemort turned back to the snake that slept soundly through the commotion. “Nagini, dinner.” He whispered.

“No!” Lee Parker screamed and grabbed the door handle but before he could open them, the snake struck, enormous body slammed into the stocky man, pinning him to the ground. Fangs sunk deep into his wrinkled neck and his screams and protests were lost in a gurgle of fresh blood.

“Now, Macnair, I want you to find the two oldest Parker boys and bring them to me.” Voldemort stood, walking over to what remained of Lee Parker, nudging the body with a toe; he motioned for Nagini to follow him. “Oh and Lucius, since you have proved yourself to me tonight, I want you to go back to school, take a pick of who you want to accompany you. You will be bringing Sebastian Parker to me, is that clear?”

Lucius swallowed audibly and kneeled in front of his master, “Yes, my lord.”


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A/N
- Hey all! I hope you're as pleased with this chapter as I am. I wanted to make up for the very short filler that I posted last, so here you are. Let me know what you think about the flow of the story and how it's turning out, comments are fantastic, you know.

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