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 A/N: Edited September 16th, 2015!  







  (Christmas Eve, 1978)



 

Christmas hung in the air everywhere Marlene looked. It hung off her dark hair in the form of snowflakes, and dangled off Dorcas’ tall frame in the form of a home-knitted Christmas sweater. Lily’s hair whipped around her neck as if it was a scarf of fire. Mary held her hands together closely, rubbing her hands and ducking her head down every once in a while to keep her nose from burning too much.

The four girls were making their way to Sirius’ house, which was closest to central London of all their dwellings.

“How much farther have we to go, Dorcas?” Mary asked, skipping forward to join the blonde that marched furiously through the strong wind.

“It’s right down there,” she yelled over the howling in the air, pointing to a small house at the end of the road with two floors, the top of which was sparkling and twinkling festively.

“The one with all the lights?” Lily asked, a bit stunned at the sheer amount of light it radiated.

“What else would you expect?” Marlene answered rhetorically, smirking slightly as she thought of the effort the boys must have put into decorating that afternoon.

 “Lily!” James exclaimed happily, hanging out of an upstairs window. A small smile could not help but grace her face. “You look lovely, dear!” he shouted down as they approached the door, and Dorcas let them in.

The foyer was cramped, but Dorcas quickly ushered the group into the den after everyone dropped their coats on hooks in the front hall. James came barreling down the stairs, and grabbed Lily’s arm before she sat down, pulling her into a large hug wistfully.

“What’s with all the theatrics?” Mary asked curiously, dusting her hair of snow. Marlene picked up a bottle of butterbeer and uncapped it quickly, taking a few chugs.

“Lily was on a mission in Austria with Dorcas, the Longbottoms, Arthur Weasley, and myself for about a week,” Marlene answered, as Sirius came down the stairs and made his way directly to Dorcas, who was seated on the couch next to the window.

He grabbed the cigarette from Dorcas’ hand and tossed it out the window. “Hey there,” he said quickly before kissing her deeply. Marlene stepped to the side awkwardly and made her way past the couple.

“They’ve been anxious,” Remus said, coming down with Peter and leaning forward to give Marlene, then Mary, a hug. Peter followed suit.

“Clearly,” Marlene said, a hint of disgust and admiration in her voice.

“How was it?” Remus asked sitting next to Marlene and grabbing a butterbeer from the table they sat in front of.

“Eh. Run of mill. We didn’t find anything, as per usual, but we did manage to confirm,” she said, lowering her voice considerably, “that Narcissa and Regulus have joined the ranks. They were spotted with Lucius and Bellatrix coming out of an abandoned mansion.”

“I’m guessing you’ve all decided not to tell Sirius?” he asked, tilting his head in the direction of the happy couple.

“I’m pretty sure he already knows. But yes, you would be right,” Marlene said, sighing. She grabbed Remus’ bottle out of his hands and uncapped his, taking a small sip. She leaned back into his shoulder, and he shifted uncomfortably.

“Sure you’re okay, M?” She smiled weakly up at Remus, but did not answer verbally. Marlene snuggled closer into his shoulder and Remus blushed slightly.

“Let’s go!” Sirius exclaimed suddenly, wrapping his arm around Dorcas’ waist and leaving another kiss on her lips. “We’ve got pastries in the kitchen.” Peter’s smile brightened and he stood up right away. He gave Mary his hand, taking her into the kitchen.

“Bloody sweet tooth,” James muttered, rolling his eyes and following Peter and Mary.

“I haven’t had any dinner yet,” Lily moaned as Dorcas dragged her towards the kitchen.

“Oh come on, Lil,” Dorcas responded, rolling her eyes and knowing that Lily secretly loved a good dessert without dinner. Marlene got up slowly from the couch, and Remus followed her, a crease in his brow at her melancholic behavior.

“Alright,” Lily said reluctantly, with a bit of a skip in her step. Her eyes widened as she stepped into the kitchen. “Where did you get all these?” she asked in surprise. Her eyes brightened at the wide assortment of cookies available to her.

“You and Lily could probably eat all of these yourselves,” James joked, nodding at Peter as he filled his plate. Peter nodded back, not making eye-contact with James as he focused on his desserts. Remus popped open a butterbeer, as he’d left his in the den, but put it down as Marlene wandered back away from the pack in the kitchen. He left the rambunctious crowd, and followed her back to the couch they were sitting on.

“Did you know it’s her first year spending Christmas without any family?” Marlene asked absently, not opening her eyes. Remus didn’t answer, but sat down next to her nervously. “She always went home for Christmas, and this year they didn’t ask her when she was coming home. She’s a bit devastated about it. She thinks that her mother’s the only reason she was ever allowed back.”

“I really don’t think Lily wants us talking about that,” he said uneasily. “Let’s go get some dessert, Mar.” Remus stood up again, motioning for Marlene to join him in the kitchen again, and her body fell to the side automatically.

“Bloody hell,” he exclaimed, not nearly loud enough to capture the attention of those in the kitchen. “Dorcas!” he roared, kneeling down in front of the couch and tilting Marlene’s head up on the arm of it.

“Enneverate,” he murmured. Marlene’s eyelids fluttered, but there was no other response.

“What do you need, Remus?” Dorcas asked with a sparkle in her eye as she rounded the corner. Horror crossed her face as he saw Remus chanting reviving spells over Marlene’s body religiously. “What the fuck happened to her?” Dorcas rushed forward and cupped the back of the brunette’s head with her hand.

“I don’t know! We were just talking, and she was leaning on my shoulder.” Remus paused, his face growing red. “And then I got up and she just fell over!” Dorcas glared at him, but flew her wand over Marlene’s body slowly.  

“Hey!” Remus looked up as Sirius stormed into the room. Dorcas pushed his knees back with her hand as he hovered over Dorcas and Marlene. “What the hell happened?” Neither of them answered as Marlene lay there, completely still.

Hey!” he shouted again, pushing Remus out of the way and grabbing Marlene’s limp hand. A small sweat broke out on Dorcas’ forehead, and Sirius looked to her nervously. “Fuck this,” he said ungracefully, pushing Dorcas’ wand away and heaving Marlene up from the ground. “I’m going to St. Mungo’s. Tell the others.” Sirius disapparated with Marlene in his arms without another word. Dorcas let herself fall back against the table, and put her head into her hands.

“Shit!” Remus kicked the table.

 






 

Sirius stood outside of Marlene’s room very still. He did not believe in pacing.

“What happened?” Dorcas asked Remus for the fourth time. She had also taken to stopping every healer that walked past them, asking what Marlene’s status was.

“I have to go,” Mary whispered to Lily regretfully. “I’m really sorry, but my mum will worry, and I have to give her medication. Floo me when Marlene wakes,” she said assuredly. Lily and her exchanged hugs, but she left the rest of their group to their worrying.

“What was the last thing she said, Remus?” Sirius asked, evenly. Remus flushed for a now countless time that night.

“Something about how she missed her family this Christmas.” Remus tugged at his collar, and Lily’s head snapped up. She frowned deeply at Remus suddenly.

“Wait, where did you get that butterbeer, Sirius?” James asked. He had been silent up until then.

“Pete ordered it from a pub up the road, but when I picked it up everything was sealed,” he said harshly. “Anyway, you mean to tell me no one else drank any butterbeer?” He looked around at the group, and everyone shook their heads, confirming the suspicion.

“Fuck! Who the fuck sells spiked butterbeer to a couple of fucking teenagers?” Sirius slammed his palms against the walls.

“Death eaters,” Peter murmured darkly.

“I’m sorry, young man, If you wouldn’t mind keeping it down,” said an old woman who poked her head out of the door next to Marlene’s. Sirius didn’t respond, just sliding down the wall with a grand sigh.

“He’s sorry,” Dorcas amended quickly, going to Sirius’ side and rubbing his back soothingly. “It’s not your fault, Siri,” she whispered, putting her forehead against his temple.

“Family only, my ass,” Remus said quickly, whipping a knife out of the side of his trousers. He placed the knife at the crease of the door, and there was a slight click in the silent hallway as the lock was opened.

He opened the door slowly, peeking to make sure no more healers inside. He stepped inside, and waved the rest of the group in quickly. The door shut with the same quiet click, and Lily locked it behind them. They spread out around Marlene’s body, all eyes trained on her.

There were tubes weaving in and out of Marlene’s body everywhere, and her eyes were open, glazed over. It was hard to miss her chest moving up and down, as her heart beat steadily and strongly through the paper thin gown she wore.

“I should’ve known nothing would keep you out,” Samantha Eldridge scolded playfully. The short woman snuck in the room behind their group. Her warm smile was welcome after seeing Marlene in this state. “I was under the impression Mary was spending Christmas with you lot tonight.”

“Who’s that?” Peter whispered to Dorcas

Samantha’s old friend of Mary’s from Ravenclaw,” Dorcas responded through her teeth.  

“She was,” Lily answered quickly, making up for the silence of the group. No one else spoke a word.

“It’s a mixture of Hemlock and-“

“Moonstone,” Lily completed for Samantha, looking up from her hands suddenly.

“-in case you were wondering,” Samantha finished slowly.

 “It’s a commonly used date-rape drug in the Wizarding World. Not lethal in small doses, but leaves patients in a comatose state.” Lily looked up strangely at Samantha. “She’ll come out of it, right?”

“Yes. There is no need to worry for Miss McKinnon. Her blood type is quite common. She is in the middle of transfusions right now. She will be quite weak for a week or two, but will be good as new in no time.” Peter looked at Marlene as if he were going to be sick.

“Why are her eyes open?” Remus asked suddenly. “She wouldn’t open her eyes before. What did you do to her?” he asked frantically, gripping the edge of a table.

“She did wake up for a few brief moments about ten minutes after Sirius arrived. It’s another completely normal side effect of the poison,” she explained calmly. The silence hung heavily in the air, but no one spoke. Even though Samantha had been adequate in her explanation, the others felt that they were owed more.

“I’ll let you be with her, but only a few minutes more,” she said quietly, exiting quickly.

“You heard Samantha. She’s fine,” Peter reasoned as Dorcas laid her hand on Marlene’s softly.

“Damn Death Eaters. Ruined the party,” Sirius muttered, tapping his foot incessantly. He grinded his teeth nervously and gazed at Marlene.

“We don’t know it was Death Eaters,” Lily rebuked, a calmness settling over her. “Like I said, it’s a common drug. Might’ve gotten slipped in a batch. There are bad people in the world and they’re not all Death Eaters.” Dorcas glared at Lily from across the room.

“And it just so happened that the poisoned alcohol showed up on the doorstep of eight teenagers in the Order of the Phoenix?” she snarled angrily.

“Dorcas is right. You can’t really think this was an accident, Lily,” Remus said slowly. Everyone looked to Lily who stood strongly in her position.

“I have to believe it.” Her right hand came into a fist at her side. “We’re just barely of age. I won’t spend Christmas Eve thinking that someone tried to have us killed.” Lily turned around quickly and opened the door dramatically in an effort to make a grand exit, but came face to face with Samantha.  

“I’ll have to see you out now,” she whispered, looking around to make sure that no Healers saw the group leaving Marlene’s room. The tension in the room eased a bit as they made their way out of the room silently.

“Thanks again, Samantha,” James said politely for the group, most of whom were still glaring at one or the other. “C’mon guys. Let’s go back to Sirius’.”

“What so we can eat cursed pastries?” Dorcas asked bitterly with false happiness. “No thanks. I’m going home.” She turned around to face Sirius and kissed him unexpectedly before apparating with a final pop.

Lily rolled her eyes and shook her head at Dorcas’ depart. “Sorry Sirius. I think it’s better if we just meet up tomorrow,” she said solemnly, giving him, Peter, and Remus a quick hug before departing in the same manner as Dorcas.

“I guess they forgot they had us, huh Padfoot?” James joked. Remus’ arms were still crossed, but the corner of his mouth perked up at James’ joke. Sirius glanced up at James scathingly and shook his head, chuckling all the same.

“I guess so, Prongs.” A nice silence fell over the four boys. “Alright,” Sirius said brusquely, breaking the quiet. “I will see you tomorrow,” he said, pointing at Peter who was on undercover with him, “and I will see you two at the next meeting,” he said turning his attention to Remus and James. “Merry Christmas, mates.” He saluted the other three casually, and disapparated.

“I’ve got to get home to Lily, I guess,” James said tiredly as the smiles from Sirius’ departure faded. “I love you, boys.” He clapped Peter and Remus on their shoulders. “Say hello to Mary for me, will you Pete?” James asked provokingly, disapparating as well and making Peter turn red.

“I’m walking home, Remus,” Peter said weakly, fiddling with his fingers. “You apparating?”

“Yeah, I’ll be fine Pete. You get home safe, okay?” Peter looked up at Remus suddenly, as if Remus had told him a hippogriff was about to eat him.

“Yeah, yeah. Should be okay. I’ll see you soon Remus,” he said, waving goodbye as he headed down the corridor to the entrance that was closest to his flat.

Remus stood outside Marlene’s room for a moment or two before doing anything else. He couldn’t seem to move his feet, so he did the next best thing. He conjured a chair, he sat down, and he waited.

 

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