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Chapter 4: Coward's Doing
Lupin stared at the young man's fallen features and instantly berated himself for being so harsh. Fred had once confided in him that he blamed himself for Ron’s disappearance after the war and now that trust Fred might have had in Lupin was surely destroyed. Stepping toward the hurting boy, Lupin attempted to put his hand on Fred’s shoulder but Fred ducked from Lupin’s hand.
“Look Fred” Lupin started, but Fred shook his head, his blue eyes clouding over.
“You know, your right Lupin. I must have slipped up, missing my brother and all. Good luck with Missy, I’ve missed so much work already.” Fred then disappeared with a pop. Lupin sighed, rubbing his tired eyes, he collapsed onto the couch.
“What am I going to do?” Lupin muttered to himself.
“Remus, don’t blame yourself, for a while now, that boy has been really hurting. He has to learn to accept it on his own; there isn’t anything you can do.” Tonks said softly showing her rare side of wisdom. “This situation has brought back memories that Fred locked away for some time and well, he better start understanding that he has to deal with it.” She started rubbing Lupin’s back in small circles and he sighed again.
“What would I do without you?”
“Probably keel over and die.” Tonks purred, planting a soft kiss on Lupin’s lips.
George came running out of the back room, a letter waving in his hand, he stopped short at seeing Fred slamming the fake wands into the bin.
“Fred, you alright?” He asked, though his voice was laced excitement.
“Fine, what are you screaming about like a little girl anyhow?” George’s eyes lit up.
“What have we wanted since –well since like ever?”
“I dunno, to get laid?” Fred asked shrugging his shoulders. George gave Fred a disapproving look.
“Something that we haven’t had yet,” George pushed. “A dream Fred! Come on, think you dolt!”
“To find the leprechauns just so we can steal their gold?” Fred said lamely. “Just tell me George.”
“Well that too, but no. Just imagine finally being able to move onto new territories. To see another part of this world all in the name of business,” George said mystically. At seeing Fred’s arched eyebrow, George sighed. “Expansion you moron!” Fred’s eyes lit up.
“No kidding mate.” George nodded.
“It’s one huge step for Fred and George Weasley, and one small step for the Wizarding World.” George said puffing out his chest. “Or however the muggles say it.”
“You just blew the moment George.” George shrugged his shoulders.
“It’ll be like a whole new world over there,” He added, as his eyes clouded over with joy.
“Where’re we going to be?” Fred asked, expecting something big.
“Hogsmeade!” George yelped. Fred snorted in amusement.
“What?” George said at seeing Fred’s reaction.
“You’re a prat,” Fred said laughing. George smirked happily and the twins high-fived each other.
“Well, of course, this means one of us is going to have to live there for a while to oversee it at the beginning.” Fred sobered up a little at George’s statement. They had never been separated for an extended amount of time.
“Since I do the bookwork and everything, I probably should go. Unless you have some sort of dying desire to take the job.”
“No –be my guest.”
“Then we should owl back tomorrow and hopefully we can have everything ready as soon as Zonko’s leaves.” Fred nodded in his agreement. Even though he was inwardly wondering how he was going to survive without his brother
“Sounds like a plan,” Fred finally replied. He pushed his thoughts away, this was a business venture, he told himself, and some things just had to happen. Plus he added to himself, it was only temporary. He shook his head; he hated the fact that he was always against change whereas George was the one who loved it.
Fred picked up another box of merchandise and finished up the stocking while George was doing the paperwork.
“Oh yea,” George yelled as Fred was just putting the last of the daydream patents on the shelf.
“Mum owled, said there was a family dinner at the burrow in a week. She demands that everyone attends. Said Charlie was even coming down.”
Remus walked steadily into the kitchen and noticed a group of Order members already sitting down around the table. He was surprised that there was an Order meeting; they hadn’t had one in a while because the war was over and the remaining Death Eaters were being caught by the Aurors.
He wasn’t sure why they were having one, but he could only supposed they wanted to keep on top of everything before it began. Remus shrugged his shoulders and sat down beside Tonks. Her hair was back to the flamboyant pink with her alluring violet eyes. She gave him a smile and grabbed his hand from underneath the table. Remus sucked in a shaky breath; even to this day he didn’t know how he got such a beautiful woman to love him.
“Right, so now that we are all here, let’s get down to business,” McGonagall said sternly.
Remus looked around and noticed that neither Fred nor George was present. He furrowed his brows, why weren’t they here? Remus suddenly looked up, he had missed what McGonagall had said the reason they were called to the meeting.
“-So we only need a half a dozen of us or less to go. It shouldn’t be that big of deal, as it hasn’t been used in years. It’ll be most likely deserted and since no one has foolishly not searched it, I think it is time.”
“Count me in,” Kingsley said. “I want to see what went on there.” McGonagall nodded, Tonks also volunteered along with Mrs. Weasley. Remus raised his hand uncertainly.
“Well, that’s probably all we’ll need; we will probably go in a few weeks, right now I’m much too busy with Hogwarts business. Meeting adjourned.”
Everyone started getting up and leaving, Remus got up with everyone and pulled Tonks aside. “You weren’t listening were you?” She asked accusingly. Remus blushed but grinned.
“We going to go and search Voldemort’s headquarters, the one where Missy was taken too.”
Remus nodded in understanding, he also knew why Fred or George was not there. McGonagall knew how close Fred was becoming to Missy and she didn’t want that attachment to go any further until they knew whom Missy really was. Tonks snorted and pulled Remus out of the room, a mischievous smile spreading across her face.
Missy went down the wooden steps she passed the portrait of Mrs. Black and ignored the mysterious black curtains. It had been a week since she had seen Fred last, Mrs. Weasley had told her it was because Fred was so busy with his shop. But when Missy had looked directly in Mrs. Weasley’s eyes, she could tell she was lying, but she let it slide, it made no sense arguing.
Reaching the living room, she grabbed a book from under the chair’s cushions and brought it over to a chair by the fireplace. “O, my dear, you need some light!” Mrs Weasley gasped as she came into the room.
The fire was the only thing that lighted up the room. The dancing shadows cast from the fire disappeared from the walls as Mrs. Weasley lighted a lantern and placed it beside Missy.
“Thank you,” Missy mumbled under her breath. Molly had to strain to her words of thanks.
“Your most welcome, dear.” Mrs. Weasley patted Missy on the shoulder, Missy didn’t respond. Giving a sad sort of smile, Mrs. Weasley left the room. It had been like this for a week now; Missy seemed to draw herself into her own little world and Mrs. Weasley would constantly catch her reading some book. Though Missy refused to show the book to anyone, it was almost as if the book had something in it that was dearly important. Lupin had tried finding the book on the shelf but nothing looked as if it would be important to Missy.
Other than the absolute necessities, Missy didn’t talk to anyone, Lupin at one point suggested getting Fred to come over and talk to Missy, but Mrs. Weasley had been quick to cut down that idea. Her son, though his intentions were well, might end up changing Missy into a canary. Lupin, though not easily persuaded otherwise, had given in finally, saying since Mrs. Weasley cared for Missy, it was ultimately up to her.
Sending her to St. Mungo’s had come up in a conversation just the other day, between Mrs. Weasley and McGonagall. Even though both of them hated to think about it, it almost looked like that would be the only option. Mrs. Weasley was even more settled on this when she seen Missy completely loose her senses and had fallen to the ground. No matter what Mrs. Weasley tried to do to revive Missy, her eyes were glazed over and it almost looked as if she was reliving something. When she finally came to, she bolted from Mrs. Weasley’s caring hand.
Mrs. Weasley shook herself from her thoughts as she reached the kitchen. Noticing that everything had been cleaned up already, she conjured up a hot cup of tea and sat down at the table. Her thoughts drifted from Missy’s misfortune to her husband, Arthur. A small silvery tear suddenly dropped from her warm brown eyes. Even after five years, she still yearned to feel his comforting arms one last time. Her thoughts often drifted to him though, especially now when she had to spend a lot of time by herself in Grimmauld Place alone. Mrs. Weasley whipped her tears away.
“It was a long tome ago, no use mopping about it now.” She told herself firmly. Staring into the depths of her teacup, Mrs. Weasley remembered how tired she had been getting lately she felt her eyelids droop. She didn’t even wake up when her teacup went smashing to the ground.
I’m such a coward; a man rebuked himself with disgust written across his face. a pathetic, disgusting creature.
The man sighed and threw the book he was reading at the wall, his anger apparent in his deep brooding brown eyes. He heaved his tall lanky form off the chair and pulled out an old photo. It was a picture of a girl he once knew. She was waving frantically at him with a wide smile spreading wildly across her face. He almost smiled back; putting the picture back into the box he found it in yesterday and shoved the box in the back of his closet.
“At least it’s done,” he whispered into the empty flat. “He will no longer look for her.”
A blood-curling shriek interrupted Mrs. Weasley’s much needed sleep. She was disoriented for a second before she grabbed her wand tightly in her hand and dashed up the stairs to the living room. Coming to a halt just inside the living room, she noticed that both the fire and lantern had gone out. The hairs on the back of her head stuck up, giving her shivers down her back. Slowly, she crept behind the chair and peered over her wand raised and ready. The first thing she noticed was the book lying in the chair, ‘The difference between Obliviation and memory loss.’