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 (Monday, January 26th, 1979)




“There isn’t time, Professor!” Sirius slammed his hand down on the table as Dumbledore floated out from behind his desk.

“I’m not going to explain myself again, Mr. Black,” he said firmly, whispering something indistinctly to a portrait of a former Headmaster.

"Sirius is right! Why can't the five of us go right now?" Marlene asked desperately. Dumbledore sighed rather dramatically.

"I only wish we could, Miss McKinnon. That is not solely under my authorization, I'm afraid. We will have to wait to hear back from Arthur and Alastor. The Order of the Phoenix is a democratic organization. In the meantime, I suggest you contact everyone you need to."

"Ah," Peter exclaimed suddenly, shaking his hand as if a bee had stung him. The three others felt it, too, as four rings glowed red.

"You see, Professor?" Marlene said again frantically. "They must have already sent a team and they're in trouble!" Dumbledore gave his most piteous look, and Sirius rolled his eyes again.

"I'm going. There's no reason not to," Sirius interjected. Marlene nodded in agreement, looking for support from Dorcas and Peter.

"Doe?" she asked curiously. Dorcas shook her head and looked to the floor.

"We should wait," she said finally. "There's no telling that Mr. Potter is even home."

"He hasn't left the house since Annie died!" Marlene said in exasperation, sneering at Dorcas. "If you're not coming you better damn well be prepared at headquarters to treat whoever comes back bleeding out," Marlene said, pushing through Dorcas and Peter.

"Let's go," Marlene growled, grabbing Sirius' wrist and heading out of Dumbledore's office.

"Marlene, it's not worth it!" Dorcas called after her. Marlene stopped dead in her tracks, making Sirius slam into her shoulder. She spun around and faced Dorcas straight on.

"That man is family to me. It might be hard for you to understand, Ms. Broken-Home, but I love my family." Marlene’s nose twitched as she and Dorcas stared at each other intensely.

“Then just get out of here you insane bitch,” Dorcas said, her eyes staying locked with Marlene’s. Sirius and Peter did not move a muscle, but Dumbledore had his head stuck in the fireplace, speaking quickly to whoever was on the other end. Dumbledore stood up unexpectedly and cleared his throat.

“C’mon Sirius,” Marlene said, shaking her head at Dorcas once more.

“Be careful, Mr. Black, Ms. McKinnon,” Dumbledore warned, tipping a finger at them. “I cannot tell anyone that I know you’re going in. Being a part of the Order of the Phoenix means you abide by my rules, and leading the Order of the Phoenix means that I need to abide by the rules of the council. You won’t have my help out there.”

“Then why won’t you stop them?” Dorcas pleaded, leaning on the desk. Dumbledore blinked so quickly it seemed as though he winked.

“I’m sure I don’t know what you’re talking about, Ms. Meadowes.” Stepping into the fire, Dumbledore was gone without another word.

 





 

Marlene and Sirius both landed with a thud behind the Potter Manor. Their heavy breathing was all that could be heard across the acres of the Potter property. Marlene stuck her head up and glanced at her mansion in the distance, remembering the times she and James would run across that lawn as children. There didn’t seem to be any disturbances.

“Your family is fine,” Sirius said gruffly, taking out his wand and scanning it over the surrounding area. “I met with Mark a week ago. They’ve gone into hiding.”

“You met with my brother without telling me?” Marlene asked bitterly. Sirius peeked at her through his long black hair. “Typical.” She whipped out her wand as well and assisted in scanning the ground. "Why are they in hiding anyway? Bloody supremacists," she hissed. 

"Apparently they're scared. Can't imagine why," he said sarcastically, shouldering past her. 

Marlene glared at the back of Sirius' head.

“I’ve got it,” he said, crouching down and pulling at the handle that stuck out from the grass. A small door opened up, the metal clanging as it hit the frozen ground.

“Where does this lead again?” Marlene asked, climbing in the tunnel after Sirius.

“We should hit the basement of the East wing in about five minutes if we hurry,” he said urgently, scaling down the ladder that was bolted against the wall of the secret passage.

“Do you hear that?” Marlene asked, jumping down onto the damp ground of the underground pathway. Sirius was ahead of her by a few feet, jogging as fast as he could in the low ceiling.

“Yeah. They’re definitely here.” Indistinctive shouts could be heard from the tunnel, and the yelling became more distant as they made their way farther down the tunnel. Marlene and Sirius walked in silence for a little while, each trying to make out any more indications as to how many people were in the mansion.

“We have to get to the back of the house. It sounded like they were in the study,” Sirius said, slowing down as the tunnel began to incline. A dim light shone through slats in the wooden floor of the basement, and Marlene and Sirius began pushing on the ceiling to try and find the exit. “You know, we haven’t been down here together in a long time, Marls,” Sirius mumbled as he continued trying to find the part of the ceiling that would come loose.

Marlene grunted, her fingertips just reaching a floorboard that wiggled tellingly. Sirius walked back to her and pushed the ceiling up effortlessly, smirking at her. Marlene raised her eyebrow at Sirius. “We can reminisce later. Now give me a boost,” she said darkly. She stepped into Sirius’ interlocked fingers, and jumped up, the floor creaking under her weight. She offered a hand to Sirius and helped lift him up into the dank cellar.

The fighting was evident now as their rings burnt brighter than ever. Marlene slipped hers off, and put it into her pocket, Sirius following suit. The pair first flipped their heads up suddenly as the basement door groaned open, and then looked to each other.

“Ready ‘kinnon?” Sirius asked, gripping his wand tightly. Footsteps fell quickly down the stairs, and the two stood next to each other firmly, their wands brandished.

“Ready Black.” A figure tumbled down the stairs.

“Stupefy!” they shouted at the same time, watching with horror as a bloodied Charles Potter crumpled in front of them from the collective force of their spells. Marlene raced forward to his body, and Sirius headed up the stairs without another thought, running into James on his way up the main staircase.

“Stay with me, Charles,” Marlene muttered, propping his head up on her thigh and wiping his wild hair out of his face. She placed the back of her hand on his forehead and feeling a temperature, placed a cooling charm over his body.

“Sirius, he’s losing a lot of blood! Get out of here and apparate to headquarters! I need Dorcas!” Marlene said nervously, waving her wand over his stomach and stitching him up clumsily.

“I’m kind of busy up here!” He yelled back, carrying a faint James down the stairs to lay next to his father.

“Dad?” James asked softly, his hand reaching out sloppily towards his father. Sirius made his way up the stairs again, but Marlene shouted out for him.

“Sirius! Get your ass back down here and help me!”

“Marlene the death eaters are still up there. I can catch them!” He said anxiously. Marlene could tell he was itching to fight.

“Sirius if you don’t get down here and help me save your family I will murder you later myself!” She growled up at him. Sirius breathed heavily, his brow furrowing as he saw Marlene shaking over the two bodies. He ran back down the stairs and threw a locking spell at the basement door.

“What can I do?” He asked. Marlene was the one who took a nursing class in Hogwarts.

“Grab me a towel, a piece of cloth, anything to stop the bleeding.” Sirius looked around and held up a roll of paper towels to which Marlene shook her head. “Give me your shirt,” she resolved. Sirius stripped his jacket and then his shirt, giving the thin t-shirt to Marlene without a second thought. He laid his jacket over James, who seemed to be shivering uncontrollably.

Marlene ripped the shirt with her teeth, and wrapped it firmly around Mr. Potter’s left leg as the stitches Marlene put in place had already begun to fall apart. Mr. Potter’s breathing slowed down considerably, and his color began returning to normal. Marlene let out a sigh of relief, and stepped over Mr. Potter to get to James.

“Marlene?” Sirius asked as she scanned his body for injury. She looked up at him, her eyes filled with terror. “Is that a bone?” he asked, pointing to a large protuberance in James’ arm.

“Shit,” she said, climbing over James to get to his right side. “I’m going to need you to hold him steady,” she said, locking eyes with Sirius. Sirius leaned over James and held his shoulders down tightly. “Don’t let him fall asleep,” she said, using her right hand to hold James’ forearm down. He screamed in pain, and Marlene gritted her teeth as he struggled against Sirius’ grip.

“Brackium Emendo,” she said sharply, letting out another sigh of relief as James screamed again and she saw the bone set back into place. Sirius slapped James’ face as his eyes started to flutter shut.

Sirius looked up at Marlene, and helped James lean up against the bannister. “We need to get them out of here,” Sirius said in urgency. Marlene nodded in agreement, and hoisted Mr. Potter up by the armpits. “Wingardium Leviosa,” she said firmly, watching his body levitate and making sure it did not hit the low ceiling.

“No!” James cried out suddenly, clutching his arm tenderly and standing up. His spit some blood out of him mouth and onto the floor. “No. We can’t leave,” he said strongly. Marlene looked at him as if he were crazy.

“Are you mad?” Sirius asked, pushing him towards the passageway to the outside.

“No!” he said again, ripping his arm out of Sirius’ hand. “They’ve got Lily.” A few tears slid down his cheeks. “Lily’s still in the house.” Sirius and Marlene looked at each other again in horror.

“Mate, it’s just us. No one else is here, what are we supposed to do?” Sirius asked desperately. James closed his eyes and wiped his hair out of his face.

“Marlene!” he said abruptly, making Marlene look up from Charles’ body which was still levitating above the entrance to the tunnel. “Take my dad to St. Mungo’s and hurry back here. If you have time, send a patronus to the Order.” Marlene nodded and headed down the tunnel, keeping her wand trained on Mr. Potter as she jumped back down. Sirius looked at James doubtfully.

“Do you really think you’re up for fighting right now?” he asked, taking his jacket back as James shrugged it off.

“I’m fine. Who knows what they’re doing to Lily right now? She’s the priority,” he said, making his way up to the first floor and not looking back to Sirius.

Sirius followed him up the stairs warily but with his wand still out. “How did you manage to get away?” Sirius asked pointlessly as he and James stepped over the bodies of death eaters on their way back up to the third floor. James ignored him again. “How many of them are there? Do you think we’ll be able to get to her?” he asked nervously, catching up to James by taking the steps two at a time.

“Mate!” He shouted angrily, pushing James up against the wall on the landing of the second floor. James’ eyes were filled with tears and his head fell forward as Sirius looked on in shock.

“He’s here,” James whispered, looking up at Sirius without lifting his head. Sirius’ breathing quieted, and silence filled the manor. “He’s torturing Lily. He is in my dad’s house, Padfoot,” James said, gripping Sirius’ shoulders. Sirius’ mouth opened in shock, but he quickly recovered, noticing how shaken James was.

“Even more reason to go get her back,” Sirius said firmly, pulling James in for a hug. James’ breathing slowed again, and Sirius could almost feel his resolve harden. “McKinnon will be back with help. Until then, we can show Voldemort what happens when you mess with a Marauder,” he said cockily, making James smirk against his shoulder. James stood back and sniffed in loudly.

“Let’s go,” he said without another question, heading for the stairs up to the third floor. Sirius followed quickly, unable to help himself from smiling. “There were four of them in the room with us. Narcissa Malfoy, Bellatrix Black, Lucius Malfoy, and Voldemort. I’m pretty sure I took out a Dolohov and Karkaroff, and my dad got three I think.” Sirius counted in his head.

“That’s only nine,” Sirius said curiously.

“Well it’s not like the exactly expected us to be here,” James said in anticipation, his adrenaline rising. “It’s a damn good thing Moody decided to make a pit stop.”

“He didn’t send anyone back?” Sirius asked as they approached the third floor. James put a finger to his lips, indicating that they were getting closer to the room.

“He sent the Prewett twins, Molly, and Lily,” James said quietly and somberly. “At least that’s what Lily said. I never got to see the Prewetts, but I think they were sent to St. Mungo’s, too.” James pointed forward to the door at the end of the hallway. A scream echoed from the study, and James nearly snarled.

“That’s Lily,” Sirius said in disbelief. He raised his wand higher as they neared the door, each footfall quieter than the last.

“I know.” James cleared his throat. “Listen,” he whispered. “I’ll go in first, pretend I’m giving up, beg them to release Lily.” Sirius nodded in agreement. They stopped walking and waited outside the door as another scream came from inside. James’ hand began shaking, but he continued. “You come bursting in when you hear them stop focusing on Lily. Got it?” Sirius nodded again feeling his heart pulsing heavily in his chest. They looked in each other’s eyes, and Sirius moved away from the doorway as James jerked his head to signal he was about to open the room. He took a deep, trembling breath, and slammed the door open.

 

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