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 (Wednesday, January 21st, 1979)



 

“I hate desk work,” Marlene murmured. She squirmed in her chair in the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix and adjusted the ring that sat firmly on her finger.

After the attack on Christmas Eve, all the Order members were made to wear rings that notified other members if someone was incapacitated. So far the ring had burned Marlene’s finger about ten times, and made her more nervous than anything considering she couldn’t really do anything about it.

“Me too,” Remus agreed sympathetically from the other side of the room. Marlene was not allowed into the field until she made a full recovery, but the full moon was coming up, so at least she had some company in Remus.

Marlene stared at Remus from across the room as he continued filing papers and completing research. He looked so worn sometimes.

“Isn’t it Lily’s birthday soon?” he asked Marlene suddenly, looking up to find her staring at him. He blushed and Marlene gave him a small smile.

“Always looking for an excuse for a party, aren’t you?” Remus chuckled lightly, probably reminiscing about the parties they put on in Hogwarts.

“Definitely. I think we could all use a break, anyway. How’s Friday night sound?” Remus asked, eyeing the schedule next to Marlene. She checked it quickly, but rolled her eyes when she saw how long it would be until they were all together again.

“Peter, Sirius, and Dorcas are all undercover in Australia until Saturday, Lily is with Arthur, Alice, and Gideon in London for a Ministerial Conference until Sunday, and James is in Scotland with Moody scouting out the Lestrange mansion.” Remus sighed and leaned back in his chair. It let out an irritating squeak from years of being stationary in the basement of the building in Southern England.

“It looks like our best bet is next Monday. We’ve got a meeting the next morning at eight, but I think we can do it if we all duck in early,” Marlene resolved, circling the 26th of January in red ink.

“Got it. I should be fine by then.” Marlene’s face fell. She had forgotten that the full moon was Friday night.

“Are you sure Remus? We can always push it forward and that way we can cele-“

“No, Marlene,” he interrupted quickly. “We’ll do it Monday or who knows when we’ll do it again.” Marlene nodded at Remus’ decisiveness, and wrote a quick note to herself to inform the others.

“You’re right, Remus. It’s been too long.”

 

 

(Thursday, January 22nd, 1979)

 

“It is so bloody hot down here, I swear,” Dorcas complained in a rich Australian accent. She, Peter, and Sirius were stooped underneath the floor of the vacation home of Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy. Sirius had been strangely quiet for most of the mission, but rolled his eyes as Dorcas peeled off another layer, leaving her in only a tank top and leggings. 

“Are you trying to leave a trail for them to find us?” he hissed angrily at her.

“Oh do shut your pretty mouth, love,” she responded, flicking her wand to make her discarded clothing disappear and kissing Sirius deeply before pressing her ear closer to the wooden ceiling.

“Keep it in your pants Meadowes,” Sirius responded jovially, pinching Dorcas’ waist playfully.

“Oi! The two of you better shut the bloody hell up before they find us.” He let out a shuddering sigh. “I don’t know what I’m more scared of: them finding us, or Moody finding out we weren’t on undercover like we’re supposed to be,” he reprimanded.

“Moody’s not going to find out, Pete. Don’t be such a spoil sport. It’s not our fault. We were supposed to be keeping tabs on the Malfoys,” Dorcas reasoned as Sirius went back to sulking.

“Shut up,” Peter whispered again, this time pointing towards the next floor where the conversation became more easily distinguishable.

“It’s not up to me, Narcissa,” a male voice hissed from above. “Your family’s legacy depends on your participation.” Sirius swallowed audibly.

“I don’t see why Bella can’t do it. She’s much more experienced in that area,” Narcissa responded. Sirius could almost imagine her hand going to her hip.

“You are the new recruit. If you don’t go through with this, I don’t see how we can proceed. You will do this, Narcissa. You’re a Malfoy now.” There was a silence, and the three hidden under the floor didn’t dare to speak.

“I’ll see you then.” It sounded as if Lucius gave Narcissa a kiss, and then there was another silence. “January 26th. Potter Manor.” 

 

(Friday, January 23rd, 1979)

 

“What did they mean they are going to be looking more closely into the discrepancies of the Ministry?” Lily asked earnestly as she, Arthur Weasley, Gideon Prewett, and Alice Longbottom packed into the back of Fabian Prewett’s muggle car. Arthur and Fabian shared a look.

“It means that they are going to do just about as much as they were doing before,” Alice butt in. “Nothing.”

“I don’t know if it’s contempt so much as ignorance, Ali,” Fabian said from the front of the car.

“You’re right, Fabian,” Alice agreed, rubbing the bridge of her nose with her thumb and index finger. “I just know that the longer they put off thorough investigations, the more likely the Ministry is to fall into the wrong hands.”

Lily kept silent as the adults mulled over a couple of the more interesting points of the presentation, deciding what to and what not to tell the rest of the Order when they got back to headquarters. 

“If the Minister is deciding to break up the departments, it’ll leave them more susceptible than ever to infiltration. Should we bring it up tomorrow?” Alice asked the others. She brushed her fringe out of her eyes and waited for a response.

“I wish we could,” Arthur said with a bit of disdain. “It’s just not safe to draw that much attention to ourselves. Maybe you could speak with Kingsley, Fabian,” he prompted, leaning back in his seat. “He’s pretty high up, isn’t he?” Lily saw Fabian let out a sigh and shake his head in the rearview mirror.

“It’s no use, Arthur. We’ve already asked too much of him, and if he stuck his neck out anymore it would start to look suspicious. The only thing worse than the Ministry being completely taken over would be if they found out we had a man on the inside.” Lily looked back at Arthur who was seated back in defeat.

“Who’s they?” Lily blurted out, hoping if she asked fast enough they wouldn’t think to hide their answers. The older members of the Order tended not to trust the newer ones with pertinent information.

Arthur and Alice looked at each other again.

“We’re pretty certain that some of You-Know-Who’s followers have pretty important positions in the Ministry,” Arthur stressed slowly, ignoring the glares he received from the others. Lily’s mouth dropped open and Arthur nodded solemnly.

“Like who?” Lily asked, clearly intrigued. Gideon nudged Arthur, but he ignored it.

“Specifically?” he asked Lily. Lily nodded vigorously. “Lucius Malfoy, Rodolphous Lestrange,”

“-the Head of the Department of Mysteries”, Alice added.

 “-are some of the most well-known.”

“Are you kidding me, Arthur?”  Gideon asked incredulously, turning to face her from the passenger seat.

“Well, she’s already here, isn’t she?” Arthur responded, blatantly pointing towards Lily. Gideon turned to look at Lily, who looked as if she’d just seen Voldemort himself.

“Lily you can’t tell anyone.” Lily had never seen Gideon look so serious.

“It’s not as if they couldn’t have already guessed,” Alice said plainly. “It’s just, we can’t have the scare within the newest members of the Order. You understand, right Lily?” She nodded quickly again, but kept her mouth closed tightly.

“You’re in this just as much as we are, Lily,” Arthur said kindly, patting her on the shoulder. “You all deserve to know.”

Lily couldn’t help but wonder not if they deserved to know, but if they wanted to.

 






(Saturday, January 24th, 1979)

 

The owl perched on James’ bedside chirped again, so he tossed another piece of cracker to the corner. He could barely believe they were planning a party, but he understood why. Especially coming from Marlene and Remus, both of whom had not been having the easiest time.

So far, James’ mission with Moody had been more tiresome than helpful. The Lestrange Mansion was completely deserted. Not in the sense that they were never coming back, just in the sense that the mansion was more of a vacation home than anything else.

It did mean that the two were able to investigate the house, and that brought some new information to light.

Moody always said, “New is better than none.” James thought Moody had a lot of catchphrases that were pretty useless or pretty much common sense.

Lestrange was definitely stealing information on Order members from the Ministry. He didn’t have them all, but James and Moody had found confidential files on at least five original members, and that worried Moody more than anything. All James could do was be relieved that there were no files on him or Lily.

Of course, there were files on Marlene and Sirius, but as children of traditional Pureblood families, that’s to be expected.

“Potter,” called Moody’s gruff voice from across the hall. James put the letter from Marlene and Remus down and made his way over to Moody’s room.

James could hardly believe that this miserable man had put all this time into the weaving chart that made up the back wall, but he had come accustomed to expecting surprises from Alastor Moody. The red lines made up most of the wall, but a few green strings made their way directly from a photo of the Malfoy Manor to pictures of individuals: some already in Azkaban, most not. 

“Where the hell do you get off having owls sent here?” he asked without turning away from his desk. James continues scanning the wall.

“Sorry Moody. Cal just finds me. Blame the Cripples.” Moody had deemed Remus and Marlene the Cripples in what James hoped was an affectionate way. He didn’t remember their real names at this point, or if he did, he pretended not to.

“Send ‘em back a Howler then. Courtesy of me.” James could have sworn he saw Moody smirk, but ignored it and went back to scanning the wall.

“Enjoying the view?” Moody questioned interrogatively, turning in the swiveling chair to face James.

“Are we going to the Malfoy Manor?” Moody shook his head immediately.

“That place is a suicide mission. Headquarters of the Death Eaters, innit?” James’ eyes widened at Moody’s bluntness.

“How did we find that out?” If the Death Eaters were this easy to find, then how easy was it to find the Order?

“Don’t worry, boy. They won’t find us. And the Death Eaters don’t care if we find their hovel. It’s so bloody well protected you’d blow up just setting foot on the property if you don’t belong there.” James nodded in agreement, pushing his glasses off and wiping them on his shirt.

“So you’re saying we get to go home?” James asked incredulously. James never got off missions early, and he’d never heard of Moony doing the same.

“Well, I don’t get to go home. But you do.” Moody gave James a crooked smile. “Got to make sure Potter Manor is still intact, yeah?”

 






(Sunday, January 25th, 1979)

 

“What does Sirius keep sending his patronus for?” Remus asked, disgruntled and annoyed at the incessant barking dog.

“Maybe something is wrong,” Marlene said casually, ducking as the dog made another circle around the room.

“He was never too good at sending messages,” Remus muttered. “Why isn’t Peter sending his?” he asked aloud.

“Maybe because Sirius is just trying to mess with us, as per freaking usual.” Marlene picked at her nails and threw her feet up on her desk. “And don’t worry yourself, R. You need to rest.” Remus rolled his eyes at Marlene’s assumption, but shrugged and shooed the patronus away from his head.

“Did anyone respond about the party?” he asked. Marlene shook her head.

“I think they’re probably too busy to answer, to be honest. Merlin, I can’t wait to get out of this chair!” she exclaimed angrily, letting her head fall into her hands. Remus looked at her pitifully.

“Why don’t we get out?” Remus asked, grabbing his coat and extending his hand to Marlene. She sunk back in her chair.

“No.” Remus took Marlene’s hand without question and tugged her out of her chair.

“C’mon, M. Let’s go get plastered.”

“The party’s tomorrow, Remus,” Marlene said factually, standing her ground.

“Well then we’ve got to warm up, haven’t we?” he asked, smirking as Marlene grinned up at him.

“Alright. Let’s go.” Marlene gripped his hand tighter, and the loose papers flew around the room as they disapparated together.   

 

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