Dementors are on the loose.
It was another one of those horribly warm summer evenings and I was preparing to go to bed early and sleep away the sweaty apathy, when a bright white phoenix appeared in my sitting room. The door from the bathroom was open, and I stuck my head out at the bright light in the corner of my eye. With the toothbrush in my frothing mouth, I listened to the ethereal voice, my eyes growing wider and wider with horror.
"Extraordinary Order meeting at headquarters in fifteen minutes regarding a possible unauthorised Dementor attack."
Unauthorised Dementor attack? I must have misheard Albus.
I quickly finished my nightly routine, but instead of laying down blissfully naked in bed, I pulled on the lightest clothes and cloak I could find, Apparated to the usual spot, looked around and Apparated onto the doorstep of 12 Grimmauld Place.
Even from outside, I could hear raised voices. Feeling both curious and worried, I entered and was almost assaulted by sound. The portraits were shrieking about blood-traitors and filth and shame. Molly, Arthur, Tonks, Kingsley, and Sirius stood in the hall talking loudly.
Molly spotted me and ran over, nearly knocking me over when she put her hands on my shoulders. "Oh, there you are, finally! Harry's been attacked by Dementors!" she explained hysterically.
"What?!" I burst out, not understanding how it could be true.
"Dementors atta-" Molly went on, but thankfully Arthur came and guided her gently, but firmly towards the stairs.
"Why don't you go make a pot of tea, dear, for when Albus and the rest arrive?"
She shook her head, but went down to the kitchen anyway.
"What's going on?" I asked loudly, trying to be heard over the cacophony of noise.
Arthur came over to explain. "Harry and his cousin has been attacked by two Dementors this evening." He must have seen the disbelief on my face, because he went on. "It's quite true, and seeing as you seem to not know about it... Well, that makes it a whole lot more disturbing. Why don't we go down to the kitchen – Albus should be here at any moment."
I frowned at the information I'd just gotten as I walked slowly down the stairs, trying to get more out of Arthur, but he didn't say anything. It wasn't possible for there to have been an unauthorised Dementor attack. It wasn't possible for there to be a Dementor attack at all. We didn't send out the Dementors to attack people at whim, and it wasn't possible for anyone to do so behind our backs.
Then I thought that I hadn't been at Azkaban in over a week, I was on my second week of office duty and didn't really know what went on at the island right now. A flicker of fear shot through me.
Just as I opened the kitchen door, there was a loud shut the hell up from upstairs, and all the portraits went quiet. The rest of the Order followed behind me into the kitchen, and more and more people arrived every half minute it seemed, until Albus stepped in and the room fell silent.
"I don't have much time and will make this quick. Mundungus just informed me, so I must see Arabella about this evening's events," Albus began, his face drawn and tired. "Two Dementors were in Little Whinging today, apparently there to attack Harry Potter. Incidentally, his cousin was with him at the time. Harry produced a Patronus, and was expelled from Hogwarts." He was blunt.
There were gasps along the table and chatter seemed just about to break out, but Albus spoke again. "I managed to revoke the expulsion, and he is now only suspended, pending a disciplinary hearing. What was two Dementors doing out tonight?" Albus addressed me directly. His tone felt accusatory, but I supposed it was only grave and searching.
"I don't know," I answered honestly. "I'm on office duty this week, and as far as we know, no one has ordered the Dementors to go anywhere – not to attack or anything. They haven't been ordered away from Azkaban since Fudge needed them to guard him at the end of the Triwizard Tournament."
Albus looked searchingly at me, and I thought I felt his presence at the edge of my mind. I immediately raised my mental barriers. He had no right to invade my mind to see if I was telling the truth.
"Do you have a quick and secure way to contact any of your colleagues that are on Azkaban patrol to see if they know anything?"
"I can check if Connell is home. He won't be suspicious about the late call – he wouldn't mind at all. Secure, but probably not quick."
"I wish I could say you could use the fire here to Floo him, but I'm loath to draw attention to its use. How fast can you get home, call him and get back here?"
I looked at the clock over the door and contemplated. It was half nine. "One hour – two hours?" I tried. I could tell from the look on Albus' face and the rustling from everyone else that that wasn't fast enough. "Look, you don't want me to seem suspicious," I began explaining. "Connell won't mind me popping by this late, but he is as fierce about Azkaban as I am and that is why I trust him. I can't just go right out and ask him, that will make him suspicious. Out of the six people on the Azkaban stations now, he's... He's the one I trust."
"Then go quickly, and I will visit with Arabella in the meantime, and we will all meet back here in two hours. I apologise for the lateness, but this is an emergency," Albus said.
I stood up and rushed out the door to Disapparate. Once home, I summoned an outfit from deep in my closet, something that looked suitable for someone spending the evening home alone, but had a slight sex-appeal to it as well. It smelled from being shut away for so long, so I cast my best freshening charms on it and changed. Connell wouldn't care if I was naked or dressed in a paper bag. But he always preferred the former, so I felt it couldn't hurt to look nice.
As I scrutinised myself in the mirror, I doubted any of the Order members realised what I was getting myself into. I wasn't going to plan or lead with it, but experience told me that it would happen anyway. It was just what happened when I visited Connell.
After adjusting the neckline of my blouse, I decided it was as good as it was going to get, and went over to kneel in front of the hearth. Tossing Floo powder into the flames, it turned green and I stuck my head in, requesting Connell's home. My head spun and I glimpsed only a handful of strange rooms, before settling on a slightly familiar kitchen.
It hadn't changed much since I had last been there, except that it had been cream coloured back then, and now it was a rich blue. Through the open kitchen door, I spotted him on his couch, lounging backwards with his feet on the table and a newspaper in his lap. He was wearing only a Muggle style shorts.
"Are you home, Connell?" I called out.
His head snapped up and looked in my direction. A smile spread across his lips as he saw who it was. "Well, well, well... Long time, no see!" He tossed the newspaper onto the table and stood up to walk over. The shorts hung low on his hips and his skin had a light tan. Despite my best efforts, something stirred between my legs. "What brings you to the heart of my fire?" he asked, smirking slightly.
"I don't know," I replied. "Just felt like hanging out tonight. See what you've been up to lately. Like you said, long time, no see. Unless it's too late and you're going to bed?"
"Oh, I was just about to go to bed, yes. But I had no plans of sleeping yet. You're welcome to join me." He bent down, sitting on his heels.
This was exactly what I was afraid of.
Back when I started working at Azkaban, I had met Connell, and he had been so irresistibly charming and dangerously sexy, I couldn't help but fall in lust with him. We had engaged in a friends-with-benefits relationship that was on and off for about a year, until I met Frederick. "Honestly, Connell. Is that all you ever think about?" I asked jokingly.
"Of course. Shall I take that as a no?"
"I'm not here to sleep with you. I just want to spend time with a friend."
The grin on his face told me he didn't agree with that. "Fine then," he said. "Come on through."
Carefully, I stood up and felt the rest of my body spin around to join its head. The moment all of me stood in the dying green flames, Connell pulled me to him and hugged me. It was not a hug between friends, because he pressed himself into me, and had one hand on my head and the other dangerously low on my back.
"Good to see you too," I said, my voice muffled against his naked chest. His laugh vibrated through me, and I carefully pulled away. We settled onto the couch and he summoned a bottle of wine and two glasses.
"You don't have any Butterbeer?" I asked.
"You're serious about no sex tonight?" he asked disbelievingly.
"Yes," I replied firmly.
He stared at me for a moment, then nodded. "Okay then. Still, have one glass of wine, for old times' sake." Without waiting for an answer, he poured blue nettle wine into the two glasses and handed one to me. "To friends," he said as we toasted. "With benefits."
"To friends," I said firmly and took a small sip, glancing at the grandfather clock in the corner. It was nine. I had an hour and a half.
We fell into a casual conversation and soon our glasses were refilled. I asked him about his latest conquests, and he gladly shared stories about the women he had seduced since last time. He was very much himself still. A guy that loved women, sex, and alcohol. While I found that working at Azkaban turned people off me as a witch, they seemed to be completely attracted to wizards working there. I guess it made them seem dangerous and mysterious.
I was surprised to hear that Connell had been with the same girl for two months this spring. That was the good thing about him. He never had two or more women at the same time. And if he found one he liked, he stayed with her. He just rarely found anyone he wanted to spend more than a night or two with. As far as I knew, his longest 'relationship' had been with me. Though he'd had a couple of others in between that year. Connell and I had two months of hot passion, and then he wandered for a while. Then I came back to him for a few weeks before I left, thinking this kind of relationship was bad for me. But every once in a while, he came back for more. It got more and more frequent, and soon we were in lust again. Then I met Frederick, and promptly ended it with Connell. Even though we did meet up on occasion, we had never gone further than lots of groping under the clothes, and I hoped I managed to stay out of those dangerous waters tonight.
When I grew tired of hearing about his women, I felt it was safe to ask about work. By now, we had each had three glasses of nettle wine, and somehow I was sitting in the crook of his arm, leaning against his bare chest. We shared work experiences for a while, until I asked if he had heard about a Dementor attack somewhere south of London.
"Attack? That can't be right. Why would Fudge attack someone?"
"Fudge? So someone took Dementors out today?" I twisted in my seat a little to look at him. There was dark stubble on his chin and I longed to feel it against my cheek, or scratching against my thighs.
"Someone from the Ministry came for five Dementors today, with an order from the Minister for a bodyguard on some meeting he was going to."
"What kind of meeting would warrant the guard of five Dementors?"
"Don't know," he shrugged and somehow I slid closer to him with the movement. "But that was all they were supposed to do – guard Fudge."
"Then why would two of them attack someone outside of London?"
"Where did you hear this?"
"Someone said it in passing as I left the office today. I worked overtime, and went to the cafeteria to get a quick dinner before I left. I think it was someone from Improper Use of Magic that mentioned it." Everything I just said was a lie, but the attack had happened late and since Harry had done magic, I felt it was safe to say I had heard it from someone in that office.
"It's strange that Fudge would need five guards, like you said," he stroked the exposed skin on my arm, making me shiver, "but I can't understand that he would order them to attack anyone."
"I must have heard wrong," I concluded, not daring to discuss it anymore, he obviously didn't know anything else. Glancing at the clock, it struck ten. I needed to wrap this up and get back to headquarters.
The incredible sticky warmth from the day hung in the air around us and I felt drowsy against Connell's toasty naked skin. His deep breaths moved my body in a gentle, soothing rocking motion.
"Hey, we've talked about me all evening. What've you been up to lately? Any hot wizards in your life?"
I chuckled as I pictured the male population of the Order. One convict, one werewolf, and mostly old or married men. "Not so much," I said bitterly. "I've focused on work. And I like it that way." Despite what I said, I found that my hand wandered to his thigh, and I felt his skin burn me through the thin fabric.
"No relief what so ever?" Connell asked, his voice taking on a deeper quality.
"Only at my own hands."
"And is that enough?" he whispered in my ear, his breath tickling my neck.
"More than enough," I replied, leaning into him. "I'm quite capable of satisfying myself," I added playfully. "There are so many things I can transfigure to whatever need I have, whenever I have it."
He sniggered against my cheek, and the stubble on his face scratched deliciously, sending sparks right down to my core. "But I think a change of scenery might do me good for tonight," I said as I came to a decision. I slid my hand quickly from his thigh and backwards, grabbing the hardening tool I found there. He groaned into my shoulder. I squeezed again, just to hear that sound, but found myself being flipped around instead. Landing on my back on the seat of the couch, Connell hovered above me. He hated it whenever I tried taking control from him like that.
He took both my hands and secured them above my head, then pushed my legs apart. And typical of him, he reached up my skirt and was inside my knickers before I had the chance to react. I gasped in pleasure as he let one finger dive in to test the waters.
By the time I Apparated back to Grimmauld Place, leaving Connell buck naked on the couch, I was almost an hour late. No time to Floo home to shower and change. I instead paused on the front steps and cast several charms on myself, before heading inside.
The house was silent when I entered and I thought that maybe they had all left. But as I entered the kitchen, most were there still. Molly was doing the dishes, Arthur nodded off in his chair, Sirius was sipping a glass of what looked like Firewhiskey, Remus was reading a book, and Kingsley and Tonks were deep in a whispered conversation. Only Albus was missing, but as soon as I closed the door, it opened again and he strode in.
"Sorry I'm late," I told him and got the attention of the rest of the room. Some looked strangely at me, and as I looked down I realised I had forgotten to change from my casual-but-sexy outfit.
"Did you find out what happened tonight?" he asked.
"Yes – to some extent."
"Then it doesn't matter if you're late." He smiled quickly, and then moved to his usual seat at the head of the table. I found an empty chair between Remus and Tonks, and opposite Sirius. As I sat, Remus sent me a curious sidelong glance, his nostrils flaring. I avoided his gaze and focused on Albus. Everyone settled down around the table and I was asked to report my findings.
Forcing down my embarrassment that Remus might smell what I had been up to, not to mention the paranoid feeling of it being written across my face, I explained. "Someone from the Minister's office was there today, requesting five Dementors as a guard for a meeting Fudge was going to. I don't know who it was from the Ministry, or what the meeting was about, but apparently Fudge needed a guard. It is possible that two of them went out of their way, but no matter how much I mistrust Fudge, I can't believe he would send two of them away to attack Harry."
Albus nodded thoughtfully. "This someone from the Minister's office may have requested for more Dementors thab Fudge really needed, or someone was posing as a Ministry official," he mused. "The latter is the most probable answer."
I took a deep breath, annoyed at the continuing revelation of routines that we needed to sharpen at Azkaban. Forging a proof of identification from the Ministry was difficult, but not impossible. And that was the only thing we checked. We didn't check for Polyjuice Potion or Glamour Charms, or any kind of disguise, magical and non-magical. But bloody hell, all our routines had been enough for centuries!
"That's all you got after nearly three hours?" Sirius asked suddenly from the other side of the table. I glanced up at him, and saw a slight crooked smile on his face. I felt my skin burn with embarrassment, and I was sure he at least realised what I had done that evening.
"I felt it was safer to make it like any other social call," I replied, forcing my blush down. "It's possible that no one knows that Dementors were out to attack today, all they know at the Ministry is that Harry has done magic. How could I have known about it? I pretended to have overheard something in the cafeteria while getting some dinner after working late. So I made it a social call and slipped it into the conversation."
"My kind of social call," he muttered with a raised eyebrow, but Albus continued to theorise as if he hadn't been interrupted. Beside me, Remus chuckled quietly, and I dearly wished for a hole in the floor.
The meeting settled not long after. Albus would act as Harry's defence during the hearing the following week, and we would all see each other in three days for the scheduled meeting after the Advance Guard had picked Harry up from his aunt and uncle. I wanted to rush from the house, but Sirius called my name as the others ascended the stairs.
"Have fun tonight?" he asked, grinning wickedly.
I forced down the blush. "It was okay," I said as calmly as I could. "See you later, alright?" Without waiting for an answer, I rushed up, out and home.
I am terribly sorry this took so very long to get out. This chapter kind of went out of hand as I wrote it, and I debated whether or not to ditch the intimate part of it or not, deciding in the end it would be a nice contrast to the "relationship" she has with Remus soon. Then I struggled to make it more tasteful and in line with the sound of the story, and then I struggled to censor it for HPFF and FF so that it still kept the feel of the chapter. Not to mention there have been tons of other things I have wanted to do other than write. So there you go.
But here it is, and I hope I have succeeded in creating an okay chapter. As always, PM me for the uncensored version. But I warn you, if you do, you might want to close the curtains, lock the doors and make sure you're alone ;)
EDITED September 29th 2016: Smut is taken out. Smut will start in chapter 7 instead.
Until next time.
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