Blackthorne scooted past some Order members huddled closely together in the hallway gossiping about the attacks, most of them were young, probably not even assigned to any one team, just people to keep the safe houses busy. He felt like a seventh year again towering over firsties. Although he towered just about over everything at 6’7, some of the Weasley brood almost rivaled him, the twins especially. He had a bad limp in his left leg, and old curse made worse by what had happened to him and his group.

He was their captain, their leader and he let it happen. He knew it was stupid to blame himself to surround himself with that kind of darkness, but he was never accused of being bright all that often. Before all this had started Julius Blackthorn was believe it or not a ministry man. He put on his robes everyday had breakfast at the same little corner inn in Diagon Alley and hopped a transit to the ministry where he filed paperwork mostly for the department of magical transportation. Before the fall it was coming to be his favorite time of year the Quidditch worlds were starting soon, and it was bustling and busy getting all those wizards to the field, arrangements had to be made for the most high ranking and notable celebrities in their world. The stupidest part was, he loved his job, it was mundane and he loved it. Then the ministry fell. He jumped straight into the Order. He didn’t hesitate he just put his name on the dotted line, so to speak. They had taken his precious ministry and they were tearing apart his world and he wasn’t going to stand for it.

He was green and stupid and foolish and he barreled at the problem like he did any, threw himself at it and hoped he was brutish enough to fix it. It wasn’t until after the first year he started learning to be smarter; to fight smarter. He quickly was ranked up in the Order, not that it was a big honor or anything it mostly just meant more responsibility. He had never shirked from duty, so when they asked him to take a group of basically children out into the field he made sure they were the most damned prepared children. Most of them were young enough to be his children, not that he had any plans on having any, but mores the same. It made it hurt all the worse. He made a left turn down another stone paved hall.

It wasn’t just his insides that had changed. His face was scarred from a nasty curse taken early on. His leg, an old quidditch injury felt like it had the day he fell from his broom. He had scrapes and bruises. He had hardened muscle now instead of what was usually lovingly referred to as teddy bear fluff by his mum. His eyes were dark and hollowed. He was pretty sure the circles were permanent; no amount of sleep or rest would remove them. His nose was broken and never set properly so it had healed a tinge crooked. Sylvia the little blonde he had made his second, despite her youth said it made him more distinguished, like a wise old rogue. He had laughed at that as they sat over charts and maps. His dark hair had a tinge more dusting of grey than it used to. He complained his crew had given them to him, each and every one. The first thing he had done when he was released was shower and shave, so he sported only a shadow of the beard that was growing during his incarceration. He felt an urge to look over his shoulder but didn’t. Someone was following him around the halls.

“I can sense you”, he said out loud he doubted it was a threat.

“Sense?” it was a woman’s voice from the shadow almost like a whisper.

“You learn to sense some things after long enough”.

“Indeed” the voice returned. A woman stepped out from an arched alcove. A woman he did not recognize. He noticed first her eyes were two different colors one blue, one green. Her hair was dark, and except for a curse scar running down her face making her blue eye stand out she was beautiful. She gave him a look as if she was sauntering over to him, but she had an awkward step, as if her leg was stiff. Most alarmingly, he didn’t know who she was. He didn’t know everyone in the order, but her, he would have remembered at least.

“Who are you?” he wasn’t sure if maybe he should go for his wand, he had assurances from McNally that this location was nonexistent to anyone who he didn’t want to find it.

“Didn’t dear old brother tell you?” She stepped around him, her walk becoming a little more even. He could catch on that she was messing with him.

“I’m not sure I follow”, he decided to play the dumb card.

“My name is Vena.”

Julius reached for his wand and it was at her throat in an instance. He had heard of a Vena once, a beautiful deatheater, she had two different colored eyes and she was Voldemort’s seductress. His means to an end when there needed a more caressing hand. Two things happened she gave him a smirk and
McNally apparated right next to him, his own wand trained on Blackthorne.

“I must ask you to remove your wand.” He growled out his eyes laser focused on Vena.

“She’s a Deathie”.

“Ex Deathie” McNally and Vena spoke together, and then gave each other a funny look.

“You were supposed to stay out of sight”, no one had lowered their wand yet.

“I got bored”, she shrugged “are you embarrassed of me?” she pouted.

“You’re doing it again”, he snapped, and she backed up like she had been slapped.

“Sorry”, she shook her head. Julius finally lowered his wand and so did McNally.

“Blackthorne this is my sister Vena Delacruz, before she was married and windowed she was Vena McNally my younger sister, her allegiances with the deatheaters were severed long ago and I barely got her out alive”, He could see the rage in the man’s eyes. If someone had used someone Blackthorne cared about the way he had heard Vena was used, he’d be livid as well.

“I apologize Miss Delacruz, I am not myself due to recent events.” Blackthorne said formally tapping in to his society training his mum insisted he have.

“It’s McNally now”, she gave him a small smile. “No apology needed I’m not unaware of what I was.”

“I may as well warn the others you’re wandering about” McNally sighed and popped out of existence.

“He worries”, she laughed as if it was an inside joke.

“I really am sorry”, Julius said a bit more casually.

“Most people are”, she scoffed. “I was heading to the pool I don’t supposed you’d want to join me?”

“Your castle has a pool?” he quirked a brow.

“Indeed, it’s a castle with a pool”.

“I’ll have to take a rain check.”

“Suit yourself”, she brushed passed him and headed down the hallway. He watched her go. Shaking his head as he continued his walk to clear his thoughts.


Jesse sat vigilant it had been only a few days and the ballroom made hospital had cleared out considerably, but a few patients remained some still battling the after effects of curses and one in particular. A small blonde from C team, he had learned her name was Sylvia and she was amazingly the second in command for her team. She didn’t speak much so he waited patiently sitting in a chair nearest her without crowding her.

Luna was with her at the moment checking her vitals. As they turned green for a third time and Luna gave her a small smile, he wasn’t close enough to hear the words between them. Sylvia was her last patient of the evening then she would leave them to Jesse’s watchful eyes. He had been volunteering for watch duty almost anytime they’d let him without forcing him to get some rest.

She suspected the reason, but didn’t say anything. She smiled brightly at him as she passed. “She’s feeling much better today, calmer” Luna added. “It would be alright to go sit with her, if anything else should occur page Gabby” Luna was due some much needed sleep and Gabby was up on rotation now.

“yes M’am” Jesse inclined his head and returned her smile. He grabbed his chair and slowly made his way closer.

“Hi”, it sounded stupid coming out of his mouth.

“Hello”, she returned, with a frown. “Are you getting any sleep?”

“Are you?” he questioned.

“No.” She admitted. Silence fell between them then as Jesse took a seat on his chair backwards near the foot of her bed. She was sitting up her legs sat indian style in front of her. Barefoot and with sweatpants that were overly large for her small frame, she was still a little malnourished, but at least her appetite handled faltered. They worked though because it covered the wrap over her leg as her bones were still mending together. “Did you perhaps?” she looked at him questionably.

He gave her a wistful smile and pulled a bag out of his jacket. “Two bars”, he tossed it to her, physical contact was still a bit weird for her so he tried to keep his distance. She clutched the little bag with the two chocolate bars to her chest like it was some treasure.

“Oh gods thank you”, she gave him a real smile, she didn’t do those often. She had her “I’m okay stop treating me like a fragile doll” smile and a “I understand you feel sorry for me smile” and his favorite the “If you poke me with one more needle or force one more potion down my throat I may actually kill you smile”.

“Do I want to know how you got this?”

“Nope” he admitted “I will tell you it involved a cat and Lee helped”. If Lee helped then they both knew it was a stupid hair brained plan that worked like a charm. Sylvia hadn’t met Lee, but the once he mostly didn’t come into the hospital, but Jesse talked about him enough she had pegged him as his best friend.

“I hope the cat was okay”, she bit into the bar, “If I’m eating chocolate gained from the innocent blood of the cat I’ll never forgive you”.

“More or less”, He gave her his best innocent angel face.

“Oh gods”, she rolled her eyes. “Any news yet?” her face took a more serious tone.

“The trio is still MIA the rest of the order is pretty much rolling in they are abandoning the hub and moving all the research here, they didn’t get attacked initially but no one trusts it anymore its clear this is the only unknown location. The Pavarti sisters ran into some snatchers trying to get back to one of the old safe houses, the Deathies also left some traps there I heard, but they dispatched them. The word is we’re to regroup and then go after something big only the leaders know what so far though and they’re not talking yet. I can feel it in the air though, the tension.” He gave her, her daily update.

“Blackthorne wants me to continue being his second when I heal, Healer Lovegood said it should just be a few more days before everything mends together.” Some wounds went deeper than the body though.

“I heard she was keeping the rest of your team from visiting you”, He treaded carefully; in trust half of them has asked Jesse about her.

“I can’t see them yet.” She sighed. “Soon, but not yet.”

“They said you’d say that.” He smiled, “They also told me to tell you get it together Sunshine?” he wasn’t quite sure if that was some sort of inside joke.

She smiled lightly, must have been then. “Soon.” She repeated with a nod as if she was affirming something to herself. “I think for now though I’ll sleep.” She pushed her legs down a small wince as it hurt, but not nearly as much as it had.

“Goodnight then sunshine”, he gave her a small smile before he pulled his stool back where he could survey the rest of the room.

(Just a little filler chapter to introduce you to some of the new characters, more to come)

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