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Hi lovelies! I just wanted to pop in quickly to tell you that you're all wonderful and fantastic and quite throughly amazing. As always, review if you can and lets keep the magic alive.

 

All my love- A

 

 

I kept my head down as we walked out of the house careful to keep my face obscured in case one of the Ministry Officials recognised me. Dumbledore strode out of the house and without searching for them, walked straight over to where Sirius and Fabian were beginning to appear over the hill where I had left Rookwood.

“He’s gone.” Fabian said looking totally disgruntled but exceedingly handsome in the morning light.

“I thought you said you had him bound.” Sirius said walking a little behind him, labouring but still managing his casual elegance.

“He was bound.” I said, my voice mechanical.

“Well, he’s gone.” Sirius said looking irritated.

Dumbledore was looking between us obviously trying to gleam what was going on.

“I captured Rookwood when I found out about Mary.” I said through gritted teeth, sweat had began to bead on my forehead and down my back.

“What were you intending on doing with him?” Dumbledore asked me, his eyes cutting through the obvious euphemistic question. What he was really asking was whether I was going to drive tree branch through his chest like I had with the last one I had found.

“We don’t have time for this.” I said and Dumbledore nodded his head immediately. Whether it was in agreeance with what I had just said or whether it was because he knew that if I didn’t come to investigate Mary’s death I would have killed the bastard without a second thought.

“What’s going on?” Sirius asked coming to stand beside me after his laboured walk.

“We are returning to Headquarters Sirius.” Dumbledore said slowly looking at me for any signs of objection.

“I’d rather not.” I said stepping away slightly.

“Yves,” Dumbledore said quite calmly, “in order for us to save the next target we have to work together. This is not a solitary mission one can accomplish on ones own.”

“You’re wrong.” I said tensing myself for the fall out.

“Next target?” Sirius asked inquisitively, his eyes on me but I could only focus on him on the periphery. Dumbledore was my focus now, the most immediate threat.

“Yves found a note inside the house. Judging by the contents it was from Voldemort and it was left especially for her. It said that someone else would die.”

“Yes, and we’re wasting time discussing this lunatic idea that I go back to Headquarters.”

“Yves,” he said again making sure to use my name yet again, “the note was left for you. If we have any hope of finding the next person we will need your help. You cannot defeat the Death Eaters on your own.”

“I am not going back to Headquarters. I can find them on my own and I can take them on.” I said as authoritatively as I could. In many ways Dumbledore had been a father figure to me since I left Hogwarts but I couldn’t forget the way he had looked at me when we were at the cave. To him, I was as Sasha warned, I was other.

Dumbledore’s lined face fell, his grey eyebrows furrowing, his face one consumed by sadness. I felt a surge of emotion. I had disappointed him. Part of me knew that it shouldn’t matter but the part of me that was already raw from the loss of Mary was screaming out for me to change my mind.

“Albus…” I began but before I could continue there was a flash of blinding light and I lost consciousness.

 

 

 

I kept my head down as I walked taking in the cobbled ground beneath me as I went instead of my surroundings. I knew where I was going anyway. I had walked this path many times before. I lifted my head as I walked into the Great Hall so I could find my place at the Gryffindor table. I slid into my usual spot and surveyed the table and the meals before me. There were, as always, mountains of food before me but I wasn’t hungry. I looked up to see Severus casually sitting in front of me. The only surprise in seeing him was his placement at the Gryffindor table. I was getting used to him invading my dreams now.

“And what warning have you brought with you this time?” I asked cutting to the chase, picking up a knife and spinning it in my hand.  

“You will see in a moment.” He said patiently watching me with his dark eyes. There wasn’t a trace of amusement on his features.

“You’re going to have to be more specific this time. Last time I arrived too late.”

He didn’t say anything but moved his eyes to look down the table. Lily was sitting beside me. I couldn’t see her face but rather her distinct mass of beautiful red hair.

Out of nowhere, Remus slid into his seat beside me. Severus shifted over slightly and made space for Sirius, who took his place in front of me. His eyes were on fire. I looked down and there was a plate of food. All I could focus on were the mass of bright green peas.

“I’m sorry.” Sirius said, his voice sincere.

“We’ve decided that you guys don’t get to just get away with a stupid sorry anymore…” Mary said from somewhere next to me. My pulse quickened at her voice.

I knew where I was, this had happened before.

“Ok, how can I make it up to you?” Sirius asked looking at me intently.

I knew it was coming but the shock of cold water was still jarring as it ran down my back and I stood up even though I knew the eventual end result. I was slapped hard across the face.

“Serves you right you stupid bitch! You stole my boyfriend.” Marlene screamed.

“What is this?” I hissed at Severus who had stood, watching the exchange with mild interest.

“I will never understand why you did not attack her for this.” Severus said curiously.

Sirius was standing between Marlene and I keeping me out of the way.

“I was a different person back then.”

“As we all were.” He said looking mournfully down the table. I knew who he was looking at without having to look for myself. Remus and James were trying to get Sirius away. Any moment now Severus would accidentally send a spell flying at Lily and the entire Hall would erupt in flashes of light, pointed wands and yelled spells.

“What is the point of this?” I asked him, urgency plain in my voice.

“Some people don’t change.” He said tearing his eyes off of Lily and back to mine.

“Severus!” I demanded. I didn’t understand why I was seeing all of this, why he was here or what it all meant.

The spell flew half an inch past my face and hit Lily in the chest. Severus followed the light as it his into Lily and sent her flying across the room. James roared with anger. I cast my eyes back to Severus, his body facing Lily now as he watched her lay motionless on the ground.

“Is it Lily?” I asked, “Is he going to kill Lily.”

His eyes were on mine immediately.

“No. Not Lily.”

“Then who? Who is next Severus? Tell me!” I demanded but the dream was slipping, the earth quaking violently.

 

I woke up to Fabian’s face above mine, his hands clutching each of my arms. He was trying to wake me.

“No!” I breathed furiously. I just needed another minute, a few seconds, and then I would have had the answer.

“Yves,” he said, his brow once again furrowed severely, his eyes wide in panic, “I’m sorry. I had to do it.”

“If you had just waited I would have found out who the target was.” I said irritably. With a sudden rush, I felt all the aches and pains my body had been supressing return violently.

“You cannot do these things on your own.” He said shaking his head disappointedly.

“Well how the hell did you think were you going to get into my dream and help me?”

His face cleared and now he looked downright confused. His hands still held me in place but I wriggled out of his grip to prop myself up against the headboard.

“What are you talking about?” He asked softly.

“What are you talking about?” I asked in return.

“About knocking you out earlier. It was the only way I could think to get you here. But then you wouldn’t wake up again…” he trailed off, “What were you talking about?”

“You knocked me out?” I asked in a low voice, my eyes not leaving his for a second.

He had the decency to look a little abashed but I could tell that he wasn’t really sorry.

Before I really knew what I was doing, my temper flared and I swung my hand, slapping him hard in the face. His head followed the direction of the slap, his eyes pressed closed. He took a deep breath before returning his eyes to mine.

“You are behaving like a child.” He said his own temper bubbling beneath the surface.

“A child?” I asked working hard to keep my voice low and even. The last thing I needed right now was to become hysterically angry with Fabian. It wouldn’t prove my point.

“Yes, a child.” He said drawing closer.

“And cursing me when I wasn’t expecting it was any better?” I sneered.

“It was when you would not listen to reason.” His voice was calm and restrained but I knew that he was far more emotional than he was letting on.

“What reason? Your reason does not make sense to me.”

“Dumbledore’s reason has never led us astray. You are not yourself Yves.” He said plainly.

“You know what Fabian…” I said making to get out from his caging arms, which were positioned around me but did not dare touch. My body was throbbing horrendously. The pain was so overwhelming I thought if I did manage to stand, I wasn’t sure how long I would stay that way.

“What’s that?” He shot back completely unafraid.

“You can go get f…” Before I could finish my sentence Fabian slid his arms around me, one behind my back, sliding my body towards his as though I weighed little more than a pillow, the other found its way up my back and he tangled an enormous hand into my hair. His lips were on mine drowning out the rest of sentence and taking with it any thoughts of revolt I might have had. He opened his mouth and instinctively I did the same.

“Sorry to break up the snog fest,” Sirius voice came from somewhere behind Fabian. I felt his muscles tense beneath my hands, his irritation evident, “but we’re all a little bit eager to find out which of us is going to be murdered next, so if you don’t mind…” he said indicating towards the door. 

Fabian literally snarled in response to him but Sirius kept his face blank but his eyes watchful. He didn’t look surprised or even hurt by what he had just seen. He just seemed to be in control of himself in a way I had never seen before.

“Let me help you.” Fabian said extending his arm to help me out of the bed. I was furious with myself for letting myself be caught up in the kiss.

“I’m fine.” I said but I continued to move gingerly towards the edge of the bed and slowly slid my legs so my feet could touch the ground.

“Yves…” Fabian said but he was interrupted by Sirius’s whip like voice.

“She said she’s got it Prewett.”

“Shut up Black.” He said turning to face him.

“I am so sick to death of your sanctimonious bullshit…” Sirius said running his hand through his hair impatiently.

“Such a big word for such a little boy.” Fabian said in a tone of condescension I had never before heard him use, “Are you sure you know what it means?”

“Stop it!” I hissed as I tried to stand. I was far weaker than I thought.

“Let me…” Sirius said coming over.

“I’ll…” Fabian said his arms out again to help me.

“I don’t need your help!” I said loudly not letting either of them touch me.

They both straightened up and stood side-by-side, nearly shoulder-to-shoulder. I looked up at them both, Sirius was a little taller than Fabian whereas Fabian was wider and more muscular. They were both incredible in their own way and I truly did love them. There was no amount of darkness within me that could totally eradicate that sentiment no matter how hard it tried. All I had to do was see them again and there was a resurgence of what I had once felt. But it made me weak and I was paying for it now and I would continue to so long as I was around them.

“What’s the matter with you?” Sirius asked bluntly, his eyes taking me in.

“You idiots make me weak.” I said looking between them. Fabian’s brow furrowed but Sirius’s face lightened and he looked amused.

“I know the feeling.” He said and ran his hand over his chest, “But it also makes us human. It’s the difference between them and us.”

I looked at him considering his words before I began to walk past them out of the room towards the stairs. I had meant literally but the metaphor obviously worked with his worldview and I didn’t have the energy to argue the point.

“I am sorry.” The words were out my mouth before I could really think about what I was saying, “For hurting you both. And I am sorry that I continue to do so. But I can’t give either of you what you want from me right now.” I didn’t look at them while I spoke, frightened for what I may see on their faces.

“Yves,” Fabian said his voice rough with emotion, “we don’t want anything from you right now other than for you to be alive.”

“Yeah, and so long as Prewett doesn’t kiss you again everything is going to be fine.”

“Sirius…” Fabian said and I could almost hear him shaking his head at him.

“What?” Sirius said with surprisingly good nature, “I’m just reiterating your point.”

“No you aren’t.” Fabian said as though bickering with a younger sibling.

“Yeah I was.” Sirius said sounding as though it had been perfectly clear, “Unless you kiss her again, everything is going to be fine.” He repeated.

“And if I do?” Fabian asked obviously prodding Sirius for the hell of it.

“What if I did Fabian?” He said, his voice losing all the playful composure it had before, “What if I told you that I was in love with the woman you’ve sacrificed so much for, that you dreamed about, that you loved so wholly and so completely it was difficult to even breathe without having her near? What if I told you that? Would it change anything?”

I stopped just in front of the stairs and turned to the both of them.

Fabian looked at Sirius very seriously obviously thinking over what he had just said.

“I would be able to empathise.” He said lifting his arm and brotherly patting Sirius on the back. Sirius looked at him in surprise at first and then extended his hand, Fabian meeting it immediately.

I turned to descend the stairs. I didn’t have the heart to tell either of them the truth, that it didn’t matter how much either of them fought for me, very soon, there wasn’t going to be anything to fight over. If they made me stay here, it would happen sooner rather than later. My only hope was to find Voldemort but even that wasn’t a real solution. Who knew what he would actually do with me once I found him. In this state I couldn’t fight back and he would only see weakness. If he saw that, there was no chance he would even bother with me and I’d die anyway. Merlin! This was all one huge gamble and now, effectively, I had lost my only ace.

 

I walked into the drawing room but instead of it being full of people, there were only a few scattered groups sitting around. Dumbledore stood by the fire peering into it as though he could see wonders hidden to the rest of us. Lily, Alice and Emmeline rose the moment they saw me but did not come over to me. James, Frank and Peter stood by the girls looking at me intently. Remus walked out from a corner, his eyes red, and the skin around it blotchy. He did not hide his face but instead took one of the scattered chairs and dragged it over to me.

“Thank you.” I said grateful for the seat.

“It’s good to see you.” He said bending to kiss my forehead, withdrawing with a smile.

“And you.” I said a little raspy.

I couldn’t help but think that out of everyone here Remus was the one who had always been so consistent. He was always kind and generous with himself, emotional but steadfast. I looked around the room taking in everyone’s grief and thought about the dream Fabian had woken me from. Poor Remus. I wasn’t sure what had happened between him and Mary in the end but I could see on his face that his grief was raw. In my dream Mary had been so full of life…

Dumbledore had been watching me, his mouth open as if he was going to say something when I burst out.

“Is this everyone?”

There were some puzzled looks but Dumbledore knew what I was talking about immediately.

“Everyone left at Headquarters. There are others out on assignment…”

“Marlene, it’s Marlene.” I said confidently.

“How do you know?” Sirius asked behind me, his inquisitive nature getting the better of him again.

“I had a dream, about that fight in the Great Hall. Do you remember?”

“When Marlene poured water down your back?” Remus asked his voice soft and kind while everyone else was looking at me like I was a lunatic.

“Yeah…” I said stopping before I said too much. Instead I looked knowingly at Dumbledore. His face did not change as he spoke but I knew the first moment he could, he would make time to hear this particular story and the reasoning behind my hunch.

“Ready yourselves.” Dumbledore said still looking at me. He didn’t hesitate.

“But you guys already checked on Marlene and her family. They were all fine, just like Alice and Frank. It was Mary they wanted.” James said but he stood, drawing his wand in preparation despite the words he spoke. 

“Exactly.” Dumbledore said striding out of the room.

“Exactly?” James said hurrying to catch up to Dumbledore obviously still not understanding.

“It’s exactly what we’re not expecting.” Sirius said following after them even though his exhaustion was so visible now, he was barely able to lift his feet as he walked.

 

I had to do a side along apparation with Fabian because I didn’t know where Marlene’s home was and it was just as well. I needed to conserve as much energy as I could. We popped into the brilliant midday sunlight. In the distance I could see a smoke bellowing into the air. My heart quickened uncomfortably.

“Not strong enough.” Said the knowing voice inside me. I couldn’t even muster the cold to creep through me. It felt totally spent.

“I know.” I said irritably in response. Sirius looked at me concern plain on his face. No one had said a word as we waited for the others to arrive.

“Are you alright my love?” he asked.

“Yeah, fine.” I said walking towards the house. Dumbledore walked beside me until we heard the crackle of magic. I began to run as quickly as I could, holding my wand at the ready. I couldn’t let another Order member die, not today. I pushed my aching body harder skidding into the garden to see a circle of Death Eaters surrounding the McKinnon family, their house burning behind them. They were watching the McKinnon’s with a kind of an obliging patience, the kind that could run out at any moment. They were taking it in turns to send spells at Marlene, her younger brother, mother and father who were deflecting them like it was some sick game of tag. But I could tell that they were just amusing themselves, waiting for something… A hand closed on my shoulder pulling me back but before I could completely disappear from view, one of the hooded Death Eaters moved their head in my direction, almost imperceptibly nodded, before again looking back at the family.

“What are we waiting for?” I hissed looking at Sirius challengingly.

“A plan maybe?” He said looking at me as though I had lost my mind.

I looked around and saw Dumbledore considering me before he strode out into the open without a word.

I followed without hesitation. The moment I was in the clearing, curses flew past me, one narrowly missing my chest. The McKinnon’s had fallen to the ground, Mr McKinnon shielding his daughter and son with his body, his wand flaring as he cast a spell knocking the Death Eater nearest him to the floor.

“Protego.” I said shielding myself from a tremendously well-aimed spell that would have hit me square between the eyes. The Death Eaters were casting wildly, deflecting and attacking furiously but a bevvy of spells flew their way from our group. One of the Death Eaters realised their predicament and turned to run towards the McKinnon’s, her robes flaring exposing hideously heeled feet and black stockings. I ran as fast as I could and reached her as she took hold of a fist full of Mrs McKinnon’s clothes. She began dragging her away, her wand pointed threateningly at her chest but before she could use her as a hostage, I slammed a fist into the side of her head with as much force as I could muster. She seemed disorientated, teetering precariously but she didn’t let go of Mrs McKinnon. I kicked her violently in the stomach and she recoiled, bending over, her arms wrapping around her body. I pushed Mrs McKinnon behind me and towards her husband before the sky began to grow dark.

The woman lifted her head and began to cackle, removing her mask as she did so.

“He’s coming.” She said in a singsong voice that made the hair on my arm raise in warning. Her hair was black and flailing around wildly. There was an edge to her, perhaps it was her eyes, but she was completely unnerving. Her eyes widened as if she recognised something.

“You’ll be dead before he gets here.” I said pointing my wand at her.

She made a slashing motion with her wand. The curse collided with my shield but I shook it off as best I could.

“So…” She said taking a step closer, “you’re what all the fuss is about.”  

Everte Statum.”  But she blocked it easily, swatting it away irritably.

“Personally,” she said sounding as though this entire endeavour was quite tedious, “I don’t get it. You’re actually quite pathetic.”

I sent a flame roaring towards her but with a flick she sent a jet of water, extinguishing the blaze.  

“You’re going to have to do better than that.” She said cackling. She was right, I was weaker than I should have been.

Behind me a shot hit the ground. Large rocks were unearthed and went flying, spitting debris with them as they went. I ducked for cover but made a fatal mistake.

“Avada…” the woman said raising her wand.

Before she could finish the Unforgivable Curse, I was knocked out of the way; a body covered me as we landed on the ground. I was drowning in the bellows of a long black robe aware that the woman was shrieking in anger.

“What are you doing?” she screeched. I flipped over as the weight removed itself from my body and saw underneath the robe the distinct sheen of sleek black hair. Although masked, his eyes were pleading.

“The Dark Lord,” be said casually and quite softly despite the noisy battle all around us, “will be most unimpressed if you kill her Bella.” He was still looking at me. His voice did not betray his eyes and he rearranged his features before turning to square off against the witch.

My body ached but I had to get to my feet. The woman had lifted her head to the sky, a devilish smile appearing on her features.

“He’s here.” She said satisfactorily.

Sure as hell, Voldemort appeared right beside Bella. His eyes were on me even before he surveyed the surrounding madness.

A smile spread across his face.

“Yves.” He said in greeting.

“Fuck.” I though taking aim. I wasn’t ready for this. Before I could even think about what I was going to do someone yelled ‘Expelliarmus’ and a jet of red flew past me towards Voldemort. With a flick of his wand he blocked the spell and looked up as if he was about to observe a mildly annoying fly.

His eyes immediately narrowed as he surveyed the scene.

“I believe we should be going.” He said to Bella. She looked up at him adoringly and nodded.

“Until next time Dumbledore.” He said before he dematerialised. Bella cackled one more time before disappearing with a pop. There were a series of pops around me and when I could, I looked around to see the only people left were the McKinnon’s and the other Order members. Lily and Dumbledore were standing immediately behind me. Lily was shaking, her wand still held out in front of her, her eyes wide and watering.

“Lily?” I asked walking toward her, “Did you…”

“Yeah.” She said before I could finish my sentence, “I tried to disarm him.”

“Well done.” I said well impressed with her nerve.

“I didn’t do it though.” She said looking at me quizzically, her arm still raised.

“But you tried.” I said taking her arm and lowering it, “And that’s all that matters.”

“I saw him. He was going to go after you and…” the words dried up in her mouth. I pulled her into a hug.

“Come on.” I said breaking away, “let’s see if anyone is injured.”

That seemed to pull her out of her reverie and she immediately walked over to the fallen to see what she could do.

“You do not seem to have any sense of your own mortality Yves.” Dumbledore said beside me.

I shrugged instead of answering him.

“And you seem weak.”

“I am.” I said simply before walking away to survey the damage.

We had saved Voldemort’s targets; most of the Order members were more or less intact but most certainly alive. I looked over to see Sirius and James tending to Peter, Frank and Lily attending to Alice and I felt a warmth spread through me and, for the first time in a long time, there was no accompanying pain, no voices telling me to turn away from it.

 

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