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Guiding Light by SilentConfession

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Format: Novella
Chapters: 14
Word Count: 60,806
Status: Abandoned

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Mild Language, Strong Violence, Scenes of a Sexual Nature, Substance Use or Abuse, Sensitive Topic/Issue/Theme

Genres: Mystery, Romance, Angst
Characters: Ron, Hermione, Lupin, McGonagall, Molly, Fred
Pairings: Hermione/FredOrGeorge, Remus/Tonks, Ron/Hermione

First Published: 01/05/2006
Last Chapter: 06/29/2008
Last Updated: 06/29/2008

Summary:
ABANDONED---- REWRITE IS CALLED LA MASCARADE.
 

A story of memory


Chapter 1: Amid Strangers
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The chill of the air brought small tears to the corner of her eyes as the cold wind went swiftly passed her. After quickly brushing them away, she immediately dug her hands back into the pockets of her thin jacket. It barely seemed to keep the cold out though; the winds blew through the material as if it were invisible. Trembling, she forced her legs to keep trudging through the deep snow. At some point, she kept telling herself, she was bound to run into something.

Her perceptive brown eyes looked up from the glaring snow, in front of her to the almost barren terrain ahead. There didn’t seem to be much optimism in her surroundings. A sigh escaped her thin, chapped lips; it felt like she had been walking for days. Pulling her cloak more tightly around her, she lost her footing and fell hard to the ground and for a moment she didn’t move. She didn’t want to. She didn’t even know why she was out in this splintering cold weather except that a small voice inside her kept saying that she had to keep moving. It felt, to her, that if she didn’t, something bad would happened.

Finally deciding to get up, she slowly pushed herself off the snowy ground. Her breath came out as short gasps as she brushed the remaining snow off her face and hands. Shivering more profusely now, she tried hurrying her steps to warm up.

Time seemed to drag on as her lonely figure travelled the land. Looking around her she noticed that the light of the day was slowly leaving. She knew that she would have to find a place to stay for the night, the only problem, she noted, was that the only place was the unsatisfactory packed snow around her. Again she sighed; by this time she could barely feel her feet except for the dull numbness that captured them. She pictured that somehow, she would find a suitable spot to rest, so her feet could warm up, if even for a little while. Pushing her hopeful thoughts away, she forced her eyes from the depressing sight in front of her and focussed on watching her feet slowly move through the snow. Her steps were getting slower though. She figured that if she didn’t find a place to sleep this would be it. She was already half frozen, and it was bound to get colder.

Just before the sun drifted beyond the horizon, she hopelessly took another half-hearted glance around her. Stopping in surprise, she stared at something in front of her. A grove of trees lay about a mile off. She blinked a few times thinking it was just her mind playing tricks on her, but when she reopened them the grove was still standing their firmly. In desperation, she quickened her pace.

When she finally reached the grove, darkness had settled around her. She stopped before entering, hesitant to go in. The grove of trees hadn’t always been there. She would have seen it before. But before she could ponder the sudden appearance, her exhaustion and numbness kicked in and without another thought she pushed her way into the thicket. A few minutes in, she stopped hearing the customary crunch of the snow beneath her feet. In confusion, she looked down only to notice that the snow as slowly giving away to green grass. She finally started to look around; the trees as well started to go from dead ones to trees covered in leaves. For once she found that her skin wasn’t stinging from the frigid air but was slowly warming up. The trees suddenly opened up to a meadow, cautiously she stepping in. The meadow was dark but she could tell that it was surrounded by more trees in a neat circle.

Barely being able to keep her eyes open for a moment longer, she gave into her exhaustion and curled up on the edge of the meadow and fell into a deep sleep.

Hours later the sun was shining brightly catching the last of the dew on the grass making it sparkle in brilliance. She was sitting upright against a tree trunk, munching on some berries she found a few meters away from where she had fallen asleep the night before. As she lifted her hand to her mouth, she noticed a mark on the inside of her wrist. Looking at it more closely she saw that it was shaped kind of like a skull and she could tell that something was coming out of the mouth of it. But the mark was faded and blurred and she couldn’t figure it out. She scrunched up her eyebrows trying to remember how she had gotten the mark. But memory of it had, as the mark seemed to be, faded and blurred.

Feeling not quite so hungry anymore, she figured that she should leave, something about how the winter turned to summer here gave her to cobwobbles. It only seemed like minutes and she was back out in the blistering cold. Stepping out from the grove, she wrapped her jacket around her, shivering. After a few steps she took a look back at her safe haven only to notice that it had disappeared from sight. Turning completely back around, she stared at where it used to be, but there wasn’t even the faintest sign of evidence that anything had been there at all. Frowning, she felt a shiver run up her spine, something couldn’t be right, things like that just don’t up and disappear.

Quickly she turned around again, the quicker she could get away form this place, she told herself, the better off she would be. But instead of moving forward, she bumped head into a monstrous man. Slowly, her eyes travelled up his brown coat, she could tell that underneath it would promise huge muscles. Her eyes caught a look at his hands; they were as big as saucepans! Slowly, she looked at his face, half afraid of what she would see. His face was mostly covered in a long, thick, mated brown beard but she spied out two beady brown eyes sticking out.

Her mouth opened and closed a few times, afraid to even let out a peep.

“Who- who are you?” She stuttered, her voice hoarse as if she hadn’t used it in a while.

“Name's Rubeus Hagrid but most folks call me Hagrid.“ The giant boomed with a twinkle in his eyes.

“Now I know yeh don’t rightly know me, but I got sent out ‘ere ter help yeh out. Jus’ grab onto this an’ we’ll be on our way.” He held out an old shoe that he pulled out of one of his many pockets.

She gave him an untrusting glare before taking a cautious step back.

“I ain’t goin ter hurt yeh, come on, less you wanna freeze.”

Giving a moment's thought, she looked behind her quickly. It was stay here, trying to get away from whatever happened here last night or come with this man, who did seem friendly enough.

Uncertainly, she grasped the old, smelly shoe and before she could rethink her decision she was sent spinning. It felt as if her insides were turning to mush and she had an urge to gag. After what seem liked forever, she fell to the ground abruptly. She looked at her surroundings, she was inside a dark building and the lights overhead were flickering, casting eerie shadows across the walls. Hagrid as he called himself was a few feet away.

“Well come on,” She looked at him still uncertain. Maybe it was the kindness in which he spoke to her with or the sparkle in his eyes, but she followed him through the door. In the room there was a table in the middle of it and there were a couple men and a woman sitting around it all had rather stern features.

“Thank you Hagrid we’ll take her from here,” the woman said. Her voice held a note of authority to it. Hagrid nodded and exited the room. With him gone, she started feeling trapped and a part of her said it would have been better dying in the cold then being here.

“That was a great piece of magic you did out their,” one of the men said. He had greying sandy coloured hair and a warm smile. She looked at this man in puzzlement.

“Magic,” she questioned quietly. “What magic?”

“Now’s not the time to be modest m’dear. Even the most advanced wizards have trouble conjuring that.” The other man said. Even though he said it kindly, she noticed a slight slip to his tone.

“I didn’t do any magic; I don’t even know what it is.” She replied still confused about the magic and wizard deal. The three people at the table were silent got a moment before it seemed like they came to a silent agreement.

“Well no need beating around the bush, can you tell us why you were out today, miss?” She looked around at the faces; even the man with the sandy hair no longer carried his warm smile. She frowned; she couldn’t fathom why it would matter to a stranger. She looked at the man who asked her the question. His dark eyes seared into her own look for an answer. She didn’t answer, he made her uncomfortable and she didn’t trust him. After a few minutes they stared looking impatient.

“Let’s try this again, why were you outside, in this weather, especially with what you are wearing.” He asked again, the clip in his tone more pronounced now. She looked at him with something close to annoyance, she didn’t like at how demanding he was.

“I got lost,” she said simply. Her nose twitched, it always did when she lied.

“You're lying.” he said angrily.

“Why am I here?” She said forcefully. “As far as I know I haven’t done anything wrong. Answer me that and I may be more willing to answer yours.”

“You conjured some very advanced magic in one of the most deserted areas in Britain.” The stern lady answered.

“I don’t understand I never did any – magic as you call it.”

“Does creating something that is not there ring a bell to you?”

“Terry do calm yourself,” she looked between the three people.

“I didn’t do anything,“ she said more heatedly. “I got lost and then that large man found me.” Again her nose twitched. Even though she was unsure herself why she was out there, she knew that she hadn’t been lost.

“Let me explain this better, we got word that some highly advanced magic, and lot of it, was being done where you were found. Naturally, it made us suspicious to why; it’s our job to check it out.” She looked at the woman suspiciously, it felt like there was something she wasn’t being told. “We just need to know why you conjured what you did, and where is you wand?” she looked at the woman dumbly.

“I don’t have a wand-”

“She’s lying!” The man called Terry spat out loudly. The girl looked over at him again; she wasn’t very fond of him calling her a liar.

“Can you at least tell us your name?”

“I- I don’t see why you would need it,” she replied with some hesitation. The woman looked over and the man with sandy hair.

“I think we must Lupin, we are not going to get a direct answer from her if we don’t.” Lupin sighed.

“I hoped it wouldn’t come to this.” Lupin then pulled out a small flask from his robes.

“What are you going to do to me?” A slight quiver had entered her voice as Lupin stared toward her; she dodged his grasp as he reached for her arm. “Don’t touch me.” Her voice was trembling and her eyes were wild with fear.

“I’m afraid I must,” Lupin said gently sensing her fear. This time when he reached out for her he grabbed firmly onto her forearms. She struggled to get out of his tight clutch.

“Leave me be!” Lupin paid no head to her pleading and quickly forced the serum down her throat before letting her go. She staggered back, sputtering. Here eyes were glossy with unshed tears. For a few minutes the room was silent before the roman spoke out again.

“What is your name?”

“I-I don’t know,” She answered tearfully, she could feel the panic rise up inside her, why didn't she know her name?

“Where you were outside today?”

“I don’t know I just felt like I had to keep going.” She looked to the ground.

“Let’s talk about the magic you did out there."

“I really didn’t do whatever you think I did, - I don’t even know what magic is or if it even exists.” She brought her arms up and hugged herself, barely unable to take in the fact that these people where claiming that magic existed.

“So nothing unusual happened out there,” the woman asked sceptically. For a moment she didn’t answer.

“Well, I was thinking about how I needed somewhere to go for the night and there was this grove of three about a mile off that I swear wasn’t there before. It turned from winter to summer in those trees. I don’t know how they got their though.”

“Have you ever thought that maybe you created them?” Lupin asked. She shook her head.

“I couldn’t, I don’t know how to- how to do magic.” She said unsurely. Didn't they get it? She didn't know, she couldn't even remember her own life. When no one asked her another question immediately, she asked one herself. “How did you know well, that this different world thing was created?” Lupin looked at her closely, underneath her confusion he noticed that her eyes held intelligence.

“Under some circumstances in the past, we’ve heightened our security measures so that the past won’t repeat itself. So now, we are able to tell when large amounts of magic are being produced so we can check it out and put a stop to it if need be,” Lupin explained.

“What circumstances?” She asked, unable to curb her curiosity.

“That is enough questions for you today,” the woman cut in sharply.

“Can you tell us what the last thing you even remember is?” Terry asked quietly

“A few days ago, I’m not sure how long; it’s felt like I’ve been out there for ages. Anyway I remember-” she paused for a moment, thinking. “Walking, that’s all; just walking like it would never end.” Her voice cracked and she could feel thepanic raising inside her again.

“Walking in the cold you mean? You can’t remember anything else?” He pressed.

“I remember this strange feeling and then- then I was walking.”

“Walking from what?”

“I don’t know- something though, it felt like I had to keep moving or something would happen, something that I didn’t want to happen.” The three looked at each other gravely. She lifted her arm to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. Something in her movement caught Lupin’s attention.

“What’s that on your wrist?” He asked sharply. She looked at him startled, but held out her wrist for him to see.

“I’m not sure,” she said again feeling foolish with herself for not being able to remember anything. Lupin studied the mark quickly before looking over at the woman. All three held peculiar looks on their faces.

“I see-” Lupin said quietly, almost as if he was talking to himself. “Hagrid!” He called out. The big burly man stepped into the room again. “We’re done here; can you take her to the headquarters, please?” Hagrid nodded and led the girl out.

“Lupin what does this mean?”

“It means Minerva that we may have just found the link to finding out what really happened to Hermione.”

A/N:hope you enjoyed it. :) Hermystwin helped me come up with my title and lia is my beta:) she's my hero! :)
i just rewrote the first chapter hope it's better do tell:) cheers.

P.S- i keep forgetting to put this so i don't get sued~disclaimer: i do not own anything nor to i claim to either. it all belongs to the brilliant mind of JKR. (and her hand without her hand she would not be able to write...)


Chapter 2: Found to be Dead
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Pushing herself up by the elbows, she looked around the room. The room was bordered in the colours: green and silver, even the heavy comforter that had kept her warm all night was too. The colours felt all wrong though. She pushed off the blanket and swung her legs over the side of the four-poster bed. Her body shivered as it was hit by the morning’s chill. She wrapped her arms around her body tightly and stood up. She passed the frost-covered window to get to a small cracked mirror, mantled on the dresser across the room.

She reached up and touched the face staring back at her. Her small fingers traced her features, but they weren’t familiar. It felt as if she were a complete stranger living inside her own skin. The brown eyes seemed to stare back at her, mockingly. As if they were laughing at her for not even being able to recognize herself.

"Who am I?" The voice drifted across the room, it sounded as though it didn’t belong. She swallowed hard and turned away, hot anger swelled up inside her. Why can’t I remember? Not only did it unnerve her, but also it scared her half to death. Any normal person would know exactly who they were, but she could only guess.

"Wonderful, you’re up!" A kind voice boasted from the doorway. She swung around to face the intruder. It was a voluptuous woman with greying, bright red hair. "You must be famished, come with me and we’ll fix you up."

She watched as the woman walked closer and closer. She backed away, untrusting. She didn’t know who this person was either. As the woman got within reaching distance, she felt the familiar pull of panic, rise up inside her. The woman didn’t look like she would do anything, but there was that unknown factor that made her quiver.

"I’m not really hungry." She said while taking another step back.

"Oh, of course you are, you probably haven’t eaten in ages." The woman beamed again brightly and carefully took her arm and brought her out of the room. The little ball of panic and fear that had established itself earlier seemed to heighten in amplitude. Something about being taken against her will was way too familiar, though she was unable to fathom why.

"No!" She cried out and tried pulling away, the woman’s fingers seemed to burn into her forearms. "Please, you can’t make me do something I don’t want to do!" She tried pulling away again but the woman held on tight.

"Don’t be silly, we have some warm food all ready for you." The woman pushed. She seemed bewildered that the girl didn’t want any food when it was obvious she really needed it. She was a mere skin and bones.

"Leave me be." She said. She could feel her eyes start to burn.

"Molly, what is going on here?" Lupin asked coming up the stairs to see what the commotion was.

"She needs some food Lupin, look at her!" The woman, who was called Molly, stated. Lupin sighed.

"Molly, I think that we should leave her." Lupin started. "By her reaction there may be things that have happened to her in her past and forcing her somewhere may not be the best course of action." Molly made a hmphing sound before stalking down the steps, muttering something about how she would have to eat sometime.

The girl pressed herself against the wall and while bringing her knees up to her chest, she wrapped her arms around them tightly.

"Well, if you want some food, the kitchen is downstairs to the left, you can’t miss it." Lupin said and walked back down the stairs. She watched the man leave, he was the same guy she saw yesterday, when the giant of the man brought her in.

As soon as she was alone, she let her shoulders shake softly. All she needed was the freedom her bones craved and being stuck in this house with all these strangers didn’t seem to cut it.

Unsure of how long she sat there, the next thing she knew she felt her stomach give a loud rumble reminding her that she was indeed starving. Shakily, she got to her feet and followed the man’s instructions. For some reason, she felt like she could depend on the man’s word, an odd feeling inside made her believe that she knew him. She shook her head and told herself not to bet on it.

Starting down the stairs, a pair of old black curtains caught her attention. They were closed tightly over something. The mystery compelled her to reach out and pull them back.

"I wouldn’t do that if I were you." A voice startled her hand back. She whipped around to face whomever it was that had sneaked up on her. Another redhead she mused.

"Why ever not?" She peered at him; he winked down at her with a charming smile. Her eyes widened in surprise as she stumbled backwards. In a fluent motion, he wrapped his able arms loosely around her back to steady her. His touch though made her muscles tense and she stepped back from him quickly. He held up his hands in defeat understanding that she didn’t want to be touched.

"The devil herself is behind them curtains." He said quickly going back to the question before she spoke. Mischief gleamed in his blue eyes; she looked at him for a moment wondering if he should be trusted. In the end, her curiosity of what was behind the curtains won out.

"It really can’t be that bad," she said sensibly. "The devil just doesn’t hide behind curtains." She started to reach for the curtains as if to prove her logic was correct.

"Suit yourself, but don’t expect me to hang around for this truly tragic event," Fred said looking quite horrified. "Just a warning though, she’ll be screaming bloody murder at you, and it hurts the ears really badly. She has this way about her that it makes you feel as if you not worth a cent." Fred shook his head sadly. "But by all means open them, find out for yourself." She looked at him strangely, a ghost of a smile appearing on her lips. "So, who are you anyhow?" Fred asked when she made no movements toward the curtain, shrugging her shoulders she looked to the ground with an embarrassed look. "Well then, that just won’t do at all, will it?"

She shook her head, the smile reappearing on her face, for some reason she liked his rapturous attitude; it was infectious. The way his eyes shined with trouble and boyishness seemed to scare away her uneasiness, if only for the moment.

"So I guess I’ll call you Missy from here on out, I’m Fred, it’s very important that you remember that. I’m the cleverer of the two, George is the other, but you don’t have worry about him, he isn’t very important." Missy giggled, and then as if she had done something wrong clamped her hand over her mouth. Fred chortled at her reaction. "You want some breakfast? I make a mean cereal and milk deal."

She felt her burrows furrow. "You know cereal right? It’s crunchy, you put milk in it, and it’s bloody good, especially if you’re a professional bachelor like me." She shook her head feeling very foolish at not even being able to remember something as simple as food. "Well then, you’re in for a treat. Come with me mademoiselle, if you dare." Fred winked at her again.

Fred offered his arm out to her. She studied him for a second before she hooked her arm with his. Beaming down at her, he burst into song. "We’re off to see the wizard. The wonderful wizard of Oz!" He sang out his voice cracking a few times as he started doing the standard hop.

Missy giggled and tried following his steps, but to no avail, she almost fell flat on her face in her attempts. "Whoa, slow down cowgirl," Fred said and once again steadied her. She laughed and stopped as they came in front of a big mahogany doorway. Fred coughed into his hand seriously and opened the door with elegance.

"Mr. Fred Weasley proudly presents Miss Missy Mystery," Fred said in a solemn voice. The room went dead silent; Fred smiled charmingly thinking himself pretty intellectual for thinking up such a clever name. George was the first to react; he let out a large snort into his glass of orange juice.

Missy gasped at the sight of the look-a-like Fred.

"Is he the insignificant one?" Fred snorted into his hand. George covered his heart with his hand in mock mortification.

"Why Fred, I’m rather ashamed of you. Telling her lies like that it really cuts me deep."

"You’re about as deep as a teaspoon Georgie-boy, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much." Fred said. He was standing over by the counter fiddling with the cupboard that contained the cereal.

"Yeah, well you’re as smelly as a horsefly!" George stuck out his tongue at his brother childishly.

"Boys!" Mrs. Weasley hushed them before they could go any further.

"Aw, mum we love you too!" George cried out and swept her up in a bear hug. Molly shook her head as George let her go.

"You two never learn," she said chuckling. Mrs. Weasley then seemed to notice what Fred was making and she let out a sigh. "Fred, what in Merlin’s name do you think your doing?"

"Making some breakfast mum." Fred said giving her an odd look. Mrs. Weasley rolled her eyes.

"She needs some good hardy food to build her metabolism, not that silly stuff!" Mrs. Weasley said sternly. "Oh for goodness sake!" Mrs. Weasley cried out as an owl came soaring into the kitchen and almost landed on Mrs. Weasley head. "This is not a circus!"

"But, it changes colours!" Fred whined, ignoring the owl completely. He looked down at his masterpiece. Sure enough the cereal was rapidly changing colours. Molly shook her head at him and quickly conjured up a hot plate of pancakes and eggs. Molly took the cereal from his hands and pushed the plate back into them. Fred shrugged his shoulders and bounded over to where Missy was now sitting.

"Best tasting food that you will ever consume." Fred promised and placed the plate in front of her.

Missy smiled her thanks and picked up the fork beside her. Ignoring that almost everyone in the room was either staring at her openly or discreetly stealing glances, she dug into the food. It felt like she hadn’t eaten in days, and for all she knew, that could very well be the truth.

Mrs. Weasley was cleaning up the table after everyone had finished and when she got to Missy’s plate she gasped. The only thing left on the plate was the yellow bits in the egg. Quickly, she looked over to where George and Fred were currently making a fool of themselves in the corner with Missy.

"Hermione never ate the yolk of the eggs," Mrs. Weasley said to Lupin, who was reading a report across the table that the owl had brought it a few minutes before. Lupin looked up at her sadly. "You don’t suppose-" She trailed off.

Lupin shook his head sorrowfully; he only wished that it could be. He clutched the paper in front of him and only wished it hadn’t brought in such bad news.

"There is a new report in. It appears that Hermione, well... she’s dead."


Chapter 3: Easier to Forget
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Mrs. Weasley’s legs gave way, a sob emitting from her mouth; Lupin carried the distraught woman to a chair.

“No,” she mumbled wrapping her arms around herself, tears spilling down her cheeks, “she was like a second daughter to me.” Molly looked at the young girl across her. “She looks so much like Hermione.” Lupin sighed, it was true, and this girl had long matted brown hair, which looked rather bushy, and brown eyes.

“She’ll look different once she’s cleaned up a bit, it’s hard to tell considering she’s skin and bones.” Molly shook her head and buried her face in her hands.

“May I be excused?” Missy asked, looking at the adults. They nodded looking sadly upon her, her eyes shifted uncomfortably and she quickly got up from the table.

“We’ll show you the house if you want,” Fred and George chorused, getting up from their chairs, “this kitchen is way too gloomy anyhow.” A look of pondering crossed Missy’s face before she nodded. The twins took Missy’s arms and hauled her out of the kitchen.

“This to your right is the living room.”

“Would stay away from there, mum’s still on her cleaning like a madwoman stage… she doesn’t get that this house refuses to stay clean,” Fred said shaking his head,

“And on the right is the broom closet…” George stated,

“Its rather dark and musty in there, don’t go into that either, it only brings you trouble.” Fred said darkly, thinking of Kreacher. “Now follow me up these stairs… that’s the dreaded curtain I’d stay far, far away from it.”

“Its scary in the worst sort of ways.”

“So I’ve heard,” Missy stated glancing up at Fred. Who grinned and gave a short little bow. For the next hour the twins showed her around adding extra tidbits here and there.

“This is the room mum saw us all die.” Missy gave George a questioning look.

“A Boggart,” he explained.

“They change into what you are most afraid of seeing.”

“I was touched that she would be sad if I died.” Missy still looked troubled, but hid it quickly with a soft nod.

“And this is where Sirius -- he died a while back, quite a horrific thing -- hid Buckbeak, both escaped convicts.”

“Well, they were innocent.”

“Buckbeak wasn’t, he attacked the Ferret… but that’s totally understandable.”

“The ferret?” Missy asked, her eyes focused on Fred face, “the ferret…” she whispered to herself, her eyes grazed across the room, she kept on whispering, “The ferret,” to herself again and again. The twins watched her face go from a look of deep concentration to confused. “I can’t remember,” she whispered.

“Malfoy.” Fred explained softly, “dirty little scum bag. Can’t say he was even human.” She nodded.

“I’m rather tired, can you take me to my room?” she asked softly. The lightness of the day was gone. Fred nodded and quickly led her back to her room. She smiled her thanks and quickly closed the door behind her before throwing herself onto her bed, tears streaking down her face she let out a loud sob. Why couldn’t she remember anything, even when it seemed so familiar? She hated it. Hated the fact that she was so uninformed, and how everything she thought she should know… she didn’t.

She heard a discreet tapping on the window; she lifted her face and wiped the tears. There was an owl outside her window; she swung her feet onto the ground and walked cautiously to the window. Biting her lower lip, she slowly reached out to the window. Before touching the latch she glanced around her room, as if expecting someone to be there to tell her not let the owl in. Seeing no one she unlocked the window with a click she pushed open the window. The white owl flew in she stared at it wondering what it wanted.

Without warning, Missy fell to the floor, it looked like she was having a seizure, then it stopped, her eyes glazed over and her lips slowly moved.

“Mum! Mum! There’s an owl outside our window!” A young girl bounces up and down pointing at the window in the living room.

“Honey don’t be redicul-- OH!” a slender woman with light brown hair said, walking into the living room. “So there is.” The lady’s voice rose a little higher.

“It wants to come in.”

“Owls carry diseases Hermione, we can’t let it.”

“But mum!” the girl called Hermione whined,

“I’m sorry sweetie, lets finish making those brownies.” Hermione gave the owl another glance before following her mum back to the kitchen. Hermione had a hard time ignoring the continuous tapping. “Well darling, I have to go to work, remember don’t let that owl in,” the woman told her daughter sternly. Hermione nodded like the good daughter and went to her bedroom. As soon as she heard her mum leave, Hermione grabbed a book and propped it open. Five minuets later Hermione stopped reading; she could still hear the owl’s annoying tapping on the window. Slowly Hermione got up and opened her bedroom door, her brown eyes widened as she started toward the window. She was doing something her mum told her directly not too, something she hadn’t done before. Her small hand reached for the lock on the window then pulled away, her brown eyes scanned the room expecting to see someone standing there telling her not to. She bit her lower lip no one was around. With a snap she unlocked the window and opened it. The white owl flew in and landed on the sofa.


“Missy, you alright? Missy!” Someone shook her; Missy gazed into the warm brown eyes of Fred.

“Yeah…” She stated. Her hand shook slightly. Fred pulled her off the ground and he brushed off imaginary dirt from her clothes. Still looking her up and down, his eyes telling her he didn’t believe that she was all right. She shook her head slightly, trying to get rid of the image of the little girl from her head.

“What happened?” he asked, his hands still on her forearms, his eyes penetrating into her own; she shrugged.

“I don’t know,” she whispered, suddenly she stopped and struggled from Fred’s grasp. He let her go. Looking around she noticed that the owl she let in was gone. She spun around the room looking. “There was an owl here,” she gasped out. Fred grabbed her hand to stop her spinning. “I let an owl in… through that window…” She pointed to the open window. “And it landed there.” She also pointed to the desk in the far corner of her room.

“You better come with me,” Fred said gravely and led Missy out of her room; his hand was still clasped with hers. Still glancing around the room Missy let herself be pulled out of her room. Fred didn’t say anything as they walked down the stairs; Missy trembled as he led her back to the kitchen his hand tightened around hers. She looked up at him and smiled, he gave her a sympathetic look before he entered the kitchen; the whole Order was sitting around the table.

“The owl,” Missy gasped; sure enough the white owl was sitting on the back of a stern looking black-haired lady. Everyone turned to look at her; she moved closer to Fred, her eyes widening.

“What has this girl been told?” the stern lady asked looking around the table.

“Nothing,” Fred spoke, “she hardly knows anything and there are some that are not permitting her to be told anything, or anything worth telling anyhow.” His eyes flamed with anger.

“How do you expect her to remember anything if you don’t try to jog her memory with things from the past?” the lady snapped. “Does she at least remember being a witch?” At everyone’s blank face the lady sighed, “Come here, child.” Missy looked at the woman in fear and clung to Fred’s hand.

“It’s alright, she’s on your side,” Fred whispered her and gave her a light push, Missy walked wearily to the woman.

“I’m Minerva McGonagall, Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.” Minerva explained. Missy stared at the lady, her whole body trembling still. Minerva looked up and met Fred’s eyes. “She seems to trust you, Mr. Weasley, I don’t know why she would choose you of all people, but, well, I give you full permission to tell her whatever you think necessary.” Fred smirked a little before pulling a serious face and nodded. Missy, hearing what Minerva said, bolted back to Fred’s side. Minerva smiled slightly. “With that, meeting adjourned.” Order members got up from the table and started leaving the house. “And Fred, you may want to show her this as well.” Fred took the letter Minerva handed him and he looked to whom it was addressed to.

Hermione G
Where ever you are
The world

“Impossible,” he muttered, “I’ll be right back,” he told Missy and he quickly ran to catch up with Lupin. “Remus, I thought you said Hermione was dead,” Fred gasped out.

“I did,” Remus said without hesitation.

“Then how do you explain this letter?” Fred shoved the letter in Lupin’s face,

“I don’t know, Fred, I suppose Hedwig got lost or just got tired of flying around and came here, she had no where else to go to, with Harry dead.” Fred shook his head disbelieving; he ran his ran through his hair before turning to leave. “Oh, and Fred, be careful will you?” Fred looked back, but Lupin was gone. I wonder what he meant by that, Fred pondered. He stood in the front doorway for a few moments when he hard Missy scream. He whipped around and rushed back to the kitchen, Missy stood eyes wide as George had a smirk on his face. There were remnants of their fireworks they made a long time ago were on the floor. Fred groaned inwardly but walked into the kitchen with a huge grin plastered across his face.

“George, you dolt, trying to scare the poor girl to death?” Fred said. Missy glanced over at Fred and nodded enthusiastically. Fred chuckled, “Well, we better get to our shop, eh, George?”

“Your shop?” Missy asked in interest. An idea seemed to light up Fred’s eyes.

“Our joke shop, you want to come?”

“A joke shop?” Missy said, raising an eyebrow. Fred and George nodded, looking slightly unsure until she nodded.

“Brilliant!” the twins chorused.

“Hold onto my arm real tight now wouldn’t want you splintered.” Fred said jovially. Missy grabbed his arm and pressed herself tightly against him, smiling slightly. Fred disappeared.

Shaking her head a few times, she looked up at Fred her brown eyes showing confusion, “I take it you don’t like apparation?”

Missy didn’t answer; her eyes were growing wide with fear.

“What is apparation?” she burst out shaking a little, Fred gave her a confused look before he hit his head.

“um… well” Fred stuttered, “It’s a form of magic.” He finished, rubbing his hand across that back of his neck Fred sighed. He had forgotten that she had no idea about magic. Missy stepped away from Fred; bringing her arms around herself she looked around the store.

Just then George popped into view; he was also looking rather disturbed.

“Fred, mate…” George started, “It appears…” George looked at Missy, noticing how pale she was he shut his mouth.

“Yea,” Fred muttered, knowing what his twin was about to say. George moved closer to Fred,

“She’s taking better then mum expected; mum was raving how Missy would be freaking out at her disappearance.” George muttered,

“Um… well I think she is well maybe in shock or something.” Fred quietly spoke, watching Missy’s every move. Missy was standing still her eyes darting around the room. After a few minuets of silence, Missy looked at the twins.

“How did I just disappear… then end up here?” She whimpered almost close to hysterics. The twins shuffled around nervously, not sure if they should tell her or not.

“Um… well you see Missy… that story is probably better for another day… how about you just enjoy your day and we’ll talk about it tonight?” George stated quickly. Missy frowned, and stepped back hastily, almost tripping over her feet. Missy blinked a few times she glanced to her left her body still shaking he saw a brightly coloured box, a bow and a swooning girl on a pirate ship. The label was large with flashing colours, ‘Patented daydream charm.’

A girl with long, bushy brown hair squeezed in through a crowd of kids, picking up a box she looked at what it did. “You know,” she said, looking up at a black-haired boy with emerald green eyes, “this is extraordinary magic.”

“For that, Hermione,” someone said coming up behind them, “you can have that one for free.” Standing before the two was a beaming copperhead man wearing magenta robes.


“Missy! Missy!” Someone was shaking her. Missy’s eyes focused again and were once again staring into the brown eyes of Fred Weasley, holding the box she stared at it. “What’s wrong?” he asked pulling her to her feet. “What just happened?”

“You…” She stared at him before shrugging her shoulders; she tried to pull from his grasp.

“Oh no, you don’t. This happened before, in your room; it looked like you were having a seizure and then you collapsed to the ground.” Fred demanded his eyes penetrating in to her own; she let out a short gasp and struggled harder.

“Let me go,” she demanded. Fred pursed his lips and held on tighter bringing her against his chest.

“No,” he whispered. Missy lifted her small fist and banged on his chest. Smiling, Fred pointed out, “Last time we let you go, we didn’t see you for five years.” Missy stopped struggling and looked up into his eyes.

“What do you mean?” she asked, Fred glanced away.

“You were missing for five years, Hermione,” he said, carefully watching her every expression.

“Hermione?” she asked, confusion clouding her sharp brown eyes.

“George, mate, watch the shop.” Fred called, “I’m going to the ice cream parlour down the street, the new one, Neville’s.” George yelled his affirmative before Fred led Missy out of the shop. Fred remained quiet as he quickly made his way down the street of Diagon Alley; stopping in front of a small building, Fred pushed the door open and the bell overhead rang. A man with short brown hair and crooked teeth stumbled his way to the front.

“Ah… erm… George…” the man began. Fred smirked at his confusion. “Fred, I take it, what can I do for you and…” Neville stopped in mid-sentence, staring at Missy. “Is that…” he asked looking at Fred, Fred just gave Neville a look that said this was not the time.

“Just two chocolate cones… with sprinkles,” Fred added almost as an afterthought. Sitting Missy down, he grabbed a seat across from her. Waiting for Neville to bring the ice cream, Fred and Missy sat in a tense silence. With Fred tapping his fingers together and Missy nervously biting her lower lip.

“Here you go,” Neville said, handing them two cones, turning on his heel, he slipped and fell on his too long robes.

“Are you alright?” she asked out of concern for the boy.

“Just fine, happens all the time,” Neville stated. “There was this once, I fell and spilled all the ice cream on one of my customer’s lap… good thing it was Seamus… oh, oh right,” Neville said catching Fred’s look. “Enjoy.” The silence continued as Fred licked his ice cream. Missy bit her lower lip again.

“Fred?” she asked, “I want to know what’s going on.” Fred looked upon her face noticing the look he had seen quite a few times before. It was the look when something major was going to happen and she was trying to figure it out. Like when the trio was figuring out the last Horcrux. Shaking his head, it was only 3 weeks after that Hermione went missing. He remembered the last time he saw her with her best friends.

“You must go, mustn’t you?” Mrs. Weasley had asked, searching their faces for any kind of fear, and having found it on each on of their faces, she pulled them into a hug. “Well good luck you three.” Sobbing Mrs. Weasley pulled away, the trio stood at the door of the Burrow when Fred and George popped the air with their Apparation.

“Ronniekins!” they bellowed, throwing themselves at their younger brother. Ron staggered under their weight.

“Ger’off me!” he yelped.

“But… but we’re just so… so torn! We may never see you again!” they chorused together, wiping stray tears; their small smiles gave them away. Rolling his eyes, Ron shrugged his two older brothers away. Harry was grinning slightly in the background, well, the closest thing he could get to a grin in those days, and Hermione was leaning against the doorframe. The two of them rushed to Harry bowing and stumbling over each other like one of his many fans.

“Honestly, you two, be serious for once in your life!” Hermione said crisply,

“Oh, Hermit, we haven’t forgotten about you!” the said, turning toward the bookworm. Hermione backed away from the charging twins.

“Leave her alone.” Ron said, but not very convincingly. The twins tackled Hermione to the ground smothering her with hugs and small kisses on the cheeks.

“Urg!” she protested, pushing them off her.

“Remember us when you’re on your long and tiring journeys,” the twins chorused. Rolling their eyes, the trio said their goodbyes and popped out of sight.


Fred sighed, returning from his memories. Of course, he thought, when they had destroyed the last Horcrux, the final battle began, which Hermione had been a part of, but he hadn’t seen her. The same with Ron… He hadn’t seen Ron either, it was only after that he seen saw his younger brother who he had thought dead.

“Fred?” Missy asked, touching his hand. Fred looked at Missy.

“We thought we lost you Hermione.”

“Stop calling me that,” Missy cut in; Fred gave her a pained expression.

“The last time I saw you, you were heading off with Harry and… and Ron to destroy the last remaining Horcrux. Apparently you were in with the final battle as well. Lupin said he had seen you head on with a Death Eater, after that he doesn’t know.” Missy stared at him.

“Why are you telling me all this?” she ground out tears springing to her eyes. Fred looked at her with interest.

“Because you need to know,” Fred put it simply. “You can’t go on with life without knowing what happened, without knowing your past.”

“What If I don’t want to know? What if it’s easier not knowing?” she pleaded quietly. Her mind change was evident. “Easier forgetting then remembering,” she whispered, almost inaudibly. Fred stayed silent, but Missy could tell he was thinking hard. Rubbing the back of his neck, he sighed quietly; this was not as easy as he thought it was going to be.

“Maybe you should read this,” Fred said handing over the letter. Missy gingerly took the letter from Fred’s hands; her eyes widened at seeing to whom it was addressed to. Slowly, she tore open the seal and pulled out the creased parchment from within.

Dear Hermione,
One year has passed and no one knows where you are. I think they are putting you on the death count soon. There’s just one question in my mind: where are you Hermione? Because we need you back, and something deep inside me tells me you’re not dead.
Yours truly,
Harry


Missy looked up at Fred.

“I don’t understand,” she told him truthfully.

“Harry was one of your best mates, he wrote that I suppose while he was in hiding, making one last desperate attempt to find you. That’s how I know you’re Hermione, Hedwig -- that’s Harry owl -- never screws up or gives up. If you were dead, she would have instantly gone back to Harry, but she didn’t. And coincidentally, she shows up at your window the morning after you arrive,” Fred said, “plus is does help that you have keen resemblance of Hermione, even after five years.” Missy bit her lower lip in concentration. “And,” Fred added chuckling, “you have her traits, biting your lower lip whenever your thinking, Hermione always used to do that.”

“Can… can you take me back to my room?” Missy asked softly, shaking a little she stood up, her brown eyes blinking more than needed. Fred looked at her with unease. “Please?” she pleaded, her voice shaking. Fred couldn’t refuse her request.

“Put this on our tab, okay, mate?” Fred called over to Neville who was still watching Missy intently, nodded absently. Fred decided to that apparating probably wasn’t the best thing to do so he grabbed her hand and lead her out of Diagon Alley. Fred took Missy to number twelve Grimmwauld Place the muggle way.

Upon arriving at the headquarters Fred took Missy up to her room, shutting her door behind them as he led her to her bed.

Sitting beside her, he grabbed her hand, rubbing his thumb across the back of her hand in small circles; he watched as she slowly relaxed, resting her head on his shoulder.

“Fred?” she asked, lifting her head a little so she could look into his eyes.

“Mmm?”

“Did I know you before this?” Looking down at Missy, Fred nodded.

“I was your best mate’s older brother.”

“Harry’s…”

“Ron’s.” Missy nodded her head and let her head drop back onto Fred’s shoulder.

Looking down at her a few minuets later, Fred noticed she had fallen asleep; taking her in his arms, he tucked her into the bed, and quickly kissed her on her brow as he left the room. Wondering down to the living room, he noticed Lupin and Tonks sitting on a couch together. Torn between wanting to tell Lupin and letting the two of them have a bit of time alone, he stood in the door way stock still for a few seconds before walking in clearing his throat, the two of them looked up.

“Ah. Mr. Weasley, what’s troubling you?” Lupin asked though he was looking slightly irritated.

“I told Missy that she was Hermione, thought you ought to know,” Fred said, smirking. Lupin’s eyes hardened. Tonks jumped up,

“Fred, you can’t just do that! Especially when the facts are that Hermione is dead!” Tonks shot at him, looking absolutely livid with her bright pink hair. “You cannot hide from the truth, Fred, nor can you make stories up to make this girl feel like she belongs, the report said--”

“The report was wrong!” Fred bellowed, his eyes flaming, “Why else would Hedwig--”

“Fred, there are plenty of reasons…”

“Oh yes, she simply got lost! Or got tired and decided to stop here for a grand old visit.” Lupin shook his head.

“Fred, this has gone too far, Hermione is dead, I think you need a break, you’ve been spending an awful lot of time with this girl,” Lupin stated sternly.

“When will you open your blind eyes, Lupin? Hermione is in that room right now sleeping! It’s her, just take one glance all the evidence other than that stupid report says its her.”

“Having Hermione here won’t bring Ron back!” Lupin replied harshly.


Chapter 4: Coward's Doing
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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.’ 


Chapter 5: His Burden of Fault
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“YIPPEE!” George screamed like a girl as he jumped on his brother’s back, Fred stumbled backwards with a groan.

“Geroff me you great, big ol’ lump.” Fred roared, before he backed up and smashed his back against a wall.

“Well that wasn’t very nice Freddie poo!” George yelped, scrambling off Fred’s back. “That hurt, not just in the backside, but deep down.” George solemnly stated, resting his hand on his heart. Fred rolled his eyes.

“Yea and I think Dolores Umbridge is one fine piece of work!”

“Hey mate, whatever floats your boat,” George said, giving a look of disgust.

“Git.” Fred glared at his brother.

“Oversized gorilla!” George shot back, grinning gleefully.

“Flobberworm eyeballs.” George just opened his mouth to shoot another insult at his brother, when Mrs. Weasley popped into view.

“Mum, we could have had our pants off!” They chorused together, they said this every time she came in unannounced.

“I hardly think you two would be running around stark naked in your apartment.”

“We’d have our shirts on.” George commented, as if it where the most obvious thing on the planet. Mrs. Weasley gave them a look.

“We could have at least had our trousers off,” Fred pressed earnestly.

“It’s nothing I haven’t seen before.”

“Mum!” they moaned together turning slightly red.

“Oh, this is not the time! I almost forgot! How could I forget! Fred we need you at the headquarters.” Fred gave his brother a quizzical look, as they quickly apparated to Grimmauld Place. Walking through the door, he immediately heard the blood curdling screams of the old bat, Mrs. Black. Walking down the hallway he saw Lupin and McGonagall fighting to close the curtain.

“What do you suppose they want you for?” George whispered Fred shrugged his shoulders uncertainly. They passed the living room without glancing inside and headed toward the two struggling adults. McGonagall noticed the approaching boys.

“Oh good Fred, you’re here.” She let out an exasperated sigh, “We’re having a slight problem with Missy, and she won’t let anyone go near her, we don’t know what happened. She’s in the living room now.” Fred walked back to the living room, he saw Missy huddled in the corner on the other side of the room. Walking slowly, he stopped a few feet in front of her.

“Missy?” He whispered, taking another step toward her she jumped back quickly, pushing herself tightly against the wall. Fred frowned, for a fleeting moment he thought she didn’t remember him.

“Fred?” She said, squashing his thoughts, she stared into his face her eyes tracing his every feature. Fred closed the distance between the two and drew her into his arms. She stiffened at first, but after hearing his soft comforting voice she settled down and laid her head against his chest.

“What happened?” He asked after a few minutes, he pulled out of the embrace so she was at arm's length away. He noticed the flicker of fear pass across her eyes before she covered it up and tried stepping further away from him. Holding tightly to her forearms, he refused to let her go.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” She said a determined air flew about her, he knew he wasn’t going to get anything from her. Chuckling slightly, Fred twirled her around; Missy’s eyes brightened and grabbed his hand more fiercely so she wouldn’t go spinning out of control. 

                                                             ***

McGonagall peered over at the dancing couple; her eyes saddened considerably.

“I can see where you’re coming from Molly, but look, she is so comfortable with him.” McGonagall pointed out. Molly looked at the two and shook her head.

“But as soon as he’s gone, she is completely opposite. I don’t like this any more then you do, but this seems like the only option. We can’t help her, she won’t open up to anyone.” George looked at his mum.

“Mum, how can you even suggest that?” He said accusingly.

“George, we really don’t have much of a choice.” Lupin said with a hint of remorse in his voice. George shrugged his shoulders.

“Good luck getting Fred to allow it though.” George chuckled as he looked over at the two. The group followed his gaze; for once her eyes were glittering with happiness as Fred danced her around the living room in a fast paced dance. They looked so happy, Fred was in the process of telling Missy some story about a mishap in the shop and Missy was laughing. Molly’s eyes softened at the sight.

“I’m afraid,” McGongall started resignedly. “That not even Fred will be able to help her.”

                                                             ***

About a week later, George was bouncing around the apartment waiting for Fred to get back from the headquarters. They hadn’t put Missy in St. Mungo’s as they wanted to, Fred put up quite a fight over it, saying that it wasn’t the place for her. But George knew Fred was fighting a losing battle, the Order members agreed that if they seen a change in her in a week, they’d think about letting her stay. She had changed but only for Fred, and even that was minimal. She was comfortable with him, but he had told George that Missy still kept to herself about anything personal. She refused to comment on what happened when she seemed to have some sort of seizure. Whether she didn’t remember a thing or what, Fred didn’t know.

George shrugged his shoulders, and continued bouncing around; they were going to meet Alicia, Oliver, and Lee at Hogshead tonight. It was in special celebration of the twin’s expansion to Hogsmeade. Mostly, it was an excuse to go out drinking with their friends. Just as George decided to apparate to Hogshead by himself, Fred popped into view, Missy in tow. George gave a disgruntled sound.

“Fred, come here.” George dragged his brother into the corner. “Why’d you bring her?” Fred shrugged his shoulders.

“I don’t know, it’ll be fun for her. Now let's go.”

“Do you realize you’ll have to watch her every second, not to mention she’ll freak when she sees the strange creatures that go there!” Fred stopped a moment to think, he had honestly not even thought about that.

“She’ll find out about it soon enough. Lupin just told me she’ll be going to St. Mungo’s soon.” Fred bitterly spat out. George sighed; there was no arguing over the matter, it would lead to nothing. Both of them where just to stubborn for there own good.

“Whatever mate, but if she has a heart attack and dies because of the shock of seeing a hag, I’m blaming it all on you.” George snorted,

“I’ll just go explain it to her then.” George watched him go over to Missy. Rolling his eyes slightly, Fred was getting in deep with who couldn’t even tell you her name. “Okay let's go.” Fred chirped. George glanced over at Missy to see how she took the news. All he seen in her eyes was complete and utter trust in Fred. Wondering what Fred had told her, he shook his head in wonder, someone should tell that girl never to trust a Weasley twin. Missy clung onto Fred and the three apparated out. 

                                                               ***

Stepping through the door to Hogshead, George immediately spotted Lee, Alicia, and Oliver in the corner. Skipping his way over to the table, he jumped onto Lee’s back.

“Hey mate, it’s been years! My life just hasn’t been complete without you in it!”

“Oh shucks George, stop it!” Lee imitated a girl wile fluttering his eyelashes. Fred appeared just as George blew a kiss over to Lee.

“Oi Fred, who’s that? I thought this was supposed to be a guys night out?” Lee said shocked.

“Lee!” Alicia said warningly.

“Oh sorry Alicia forgot you where here.” Lee said stupidly, smacking his hand against his head. Alicia looked at Missy a second before realization dawned upon her face.

“Is that…?” George quickly jumped over to Alicia and almost smacked his hand against Alicia’s lips.

“This is Missy.” Fred said Missy gazed at the group taking a step toward Fred her eyes grew larger.

“Come now Missy, we don’t bite, take a seat and I shall show you just how charming real men can be. Fred there is just a blunder head.” Lee flirted patting a seat next to him. Missy’s eyes danced with mirth and she let out a small giggle before clamping her hand over her mouth. Fred laughed and sank into the seat beside Lee draping his arm around Lee, gazing lovingly into Lee’s eyes.

“What, I’m not good enough?” Fred joked as Lee squirmed away,

“My taste is a little more dignified then that, hey Alicia!” Lee called; he quickly switched seats with Oliver. “Want to dance sugar cakes?” Lee grabbed Alicia’s hand and they scooted out to the dance floor, but not before Lee took anther swig of firewhiskey. George suddenly clamoured up from the table.

“Fred, Oliver want anything? I’m going to go get us some more drinks.”

“Firewhiskey for me, some butterbeer for Missy.” Oliver ordered a firewhiskey as well.

“So mate, how’s business?” Oliver asked, leaning back in his seat comfortably.

“It's brilliant, me and George almost got this new product down, it’ll be a best seller for sure.”

“What does it do?” Oliver asked getting interested.

“That’s the best part, it’s this small pill. All you have to do is slip it into the victim’s drink, it dissolves instantly and shazam as soon as you take a sip doubles of you are made up. Now some may think that’s a good thing but the more sips you take the more doubles created. They are all different parts of your personality, and no one will know who the real person is and all chaos will ensure because eventually people will see the doubles together and they will think they lost it.” Oliver chuckled.

“Wouldn’t they get the hint though when more of them just start appearing after they takes the sips?”

“That’s the ingenious part of it, they turn up in different parts of the castle, or wherever you happen to be. So you won’t find out till you run into them. And they all think they are the original one.”

“Brilliant.”

“That’s not the best part,” George added in as he returned with the drinks. “Each double takes on a different aspect of the drinkers personality you never know what they’re going to do. So one may be pulling a prank, while the other is hooking up with a girl. And when the day is done they all disappear except for the original and that one is left with all the consequences, maybe a new girlfriend or a couple of detentions. Whatever and they’ll have no clue what hit ‘em.” George popped open his firewhiskey and took a sip. “How’s the Quidditch working out for you?”

“Bloody fantastic, right now I’m only a reserve but they are talking about moving me up to an actual line for the next game just to see how it goes.” George nodded and gazed across the bar.

“Hey does anyone knows who that is, she looks familiar.” George said staring at a girl with long dark brown hair. She was sitting at a booth with one long leg crossed over the other. Oliver and Fred followed George’s gaze.

“That’s Morag Macdougal, I believe she was in Harry’s year, but I could be wrong. Her father works high up for the Ministry and they always get box seats for the Chudley Cannon games.”

“Oh, hey Oliver how bout a game of pool.” George suggested, Oliver agreed and the two sauntered off the empty pool table. Putting their drinks on the sides, they got ready.

Fred looked over at Missy; she was slowly sipping at her butterbeer, looking slightly uncomfortable.

“How is it?” he asked, she looked up at him in surprise

“It’s warms me right up.” She said smiling, Fred chuckled, he looked out to the dance floor, and he didn’t think it would be right asking her to dance yet. She’d probably get spooked; the last time it was just the two of them and not a crowd of unknown people. Plus, the dance here wasn’t as innocent as the one they had back at the headquarters.

“Did I tell you about the time…” Fred started. A couple hours passed in similar fashion, Fred reminiscing from stories in the past, usually having to do with Hogwarts in some fashion he even went as far to tell her of George’s and his escape out of Hogwarts. He could never get enough of her laugh, it sounded something akin to a dying cow but it suited her. Fred looked up to where the rest of his mates where. He noticed Lee in a corner with some girl, Alicia was dancing with this kid from Hogwarts, but he couldn’t remember the name of the kid. Oliver and George had started some Irish line dance on the dance floor; a few others had joined in with them.

Fred leaned down to Missy’s ear, “do you care for a walk?” Missy nodded, standing up Fred grabbed Missy’s hand and they walked out of Hogshead. Missy took a deep breath in, the night air was crisp and it felt better then the smoke filled air of Hogshead.

The couple walked down the streets of Hogsmeade in silence for a second. Missy looked up at Fred, he had this faraway look on his face as he walked.

“Fred?” She asked squeezing his hand tightly; he looked down at her smiling. “What’s wrong you look a million miles away?”

“I’m fine, Missy.” Fred said smiling reassuringly.

“Fred I’m not dumb, your eyes are an open book all a person has to do is take one look into them and you can tell your life story.” Fred looked out past the shrieking shack, how could he explain it to her, that he was the reason his baby brother was dead. Missy grabbed his arm with her other hand and turned him to face her brown eyes searched his. Fred turned away and continued walking. Missy hurried to catch up with his fast paced stride. Fred didn’t seem to have noticed her jogging to keep up with him, “Fred please, slow down.” Missy said. Fred finally looked down at her and slowed his walk. “Just forget I asked.” Missy glanced down at his hand; in a moment of indecision she slipped her hand into his. Fred sucked in his breath.
“You remember I told you about my little brother, Ron?” He ventured out, as Missy nodded. Fred silenced, for some reason he felt like she should know what happened. He just couldn’t find the right words sometimes. Nevertheless, he had to speak of it so as not to allow the memory to absorb him.

“In a couple of months after the Final Battle, Ron showed up at the Burrow, the house I grew up in. Everyone was so shocked to see him, because we thought he had died,” he paused. It was as if it had happened the previous day.

“Everything was fine for a few weeks, but Ron had completely shut himself out from the world around him, he refused to talk to anyone, and he barely ate. So I decided to take it upon myself to cheer him up,” Fred sighed, letting the memory fill his mind.

Fred walked up the stairs of the Burrow, as his feet moved uncommonly slow upon his reaching the landing. Walking to a door, he stopped in front of it. He didn’t know what he was going to say to his brother, or what would happen. But Ron wasn’t in his normal state, and though the war changes everyone, you have to keep going. Ron, however, wasn’t. He had stopped living; sometimes it was if he was dead.

Bracing himself, Fred lifted his hand up and knocked on the door. A muffled ‘what’ came from within the room, so Fred pushed open the door. The walls that used to shine a bright orange colour seemed duller now. Ron was sitting in the gloom of the room, the blinds were pulled shut, and the lights were off. Fred shrugged his shoulders and clicked on the light.

Waiting for Ron’s outburst but it didn’t happen, so he settled his stocky frame onto a clean piece of desk and fell silent. He was still thinking how he was going to go about this.

“Such gloom is very unbecoming you know.” Fred plunged in saying the first thing that came to his mind. For once in his life he was at lost for words, he had been put into these sorts of situations before, but just looking at Ron’s fiery expression Fred drew a blank.


Fred went quiet again, he didn’t know if he was explaining things right,

“-if I just kept my bloody mouth shut I doubt he would have left.” Fred said anger and sadness ringing in his voice.

“Fred it…” Missy stared but was interrupted by Fred.

“Missy it was I who told him that she was impossible to find, that the Order was doing all they could to trace her where about. I told him that he couldn’t do it himself. He hated to be told hat he couldn’t do, I should have known it would have provoked him to go looking for her! But no, I was an idiot and told him that she’d probably be locked away in some Death Eater headquarters on the other side of the country.” Fred burst out angrily. “The day after I talked to him he was gone. Frimley was the last place we heard from him. There was an attack there and we haven’t head from him since, he wouldn’t have cut contact with us if he… if he had made it through the attack.” Fred added, with a softer voice. Missy bit her lower lip as she watched Fred speak; the eyes that glinted with childhood mirth had disappeared replaced by a man’s eyes that had suffered too much pain. His shoulders were hunched over slightly and he refused to look at her.

Without a second thought, she wrapped her arms tightly around his torso. Resting her head against his chest she felt his muscles relax beneath her touch.

“I better take you back before they send out a search party out for you.” Fred said with an emotion she couldn’t quite pin point. He drew away from their intimate embrace, Missy let got of him slowly before she grabbed tightly onto his arm so he could apparate back to the house.

“Goodnight Fred, I had a good time tonight.” Missy said smiling slightly once they reached her bedroom. He smiled gingerly down at her.

“Night Missy.” He replied lightly kissing her cheek, he disappeared with a final wink and a cheeky grin.

Missy touched her tingling cheek as she stared at the place he had vacated; smiling uncertainly, she got ready for bed before Mrs. Weasley came in demanding where she had been all night.

Side notes: Lyn Midnight(yea!) helped correct some and work some words out better when Fred talked to Missy about Ron.

Chapter 6: Lupin's Logic
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It seemed so strange, for the first time in their lives they were going to be separated. Neither one really grasped how different living completely on their own would be like, nor did they want to think about it either.

George’s new flat this time was not connected to the shop but a five-minute walk away, it was the fifth story up. It was a cosy place with one bedroom and a spacious living room with a connected kitchen. The ground was covered with a handsome hardwood floor and, as promised, the flat was well furnished in an assortment of colours.

“Well, I like it,” George said as he finished the inspection of his new home. “The floors are a little drab but that can be fixed in no time.” George turned around to face Fred, who was still stuck at the door, almost as if he were afraid to step in. Noticing George was waiting for him, Fred walked in and emptied his pockets of the shrunken, moving boxes on the floor.

“Oh yea –it’s nice,” Fred replied. George gave his brother a concerned look and noticed something in his eyes that he wasn’t used to. The two of them had always been the ones to cheer everyone else up; they weren’t supposed to carry the look of some unsaid hurt.

But as Fred stood there scrutinizing the flat, the look was written clearly in his blue eyes. They had been told that they were open books, but when Ginny had told them that, their eyes always shone with mirth, not sadness.

George felt an odd twist in his stomach, it wasn’t normal and he had no clue how to tackle this. Though, George figured to himself, it wasn’t the first time this happened. There was that day in the shop and Fred had refused to open up, to this day George had no idea what was wrong that day.

“They sent her to St. Mungo’s,” Fred supplied the answer to George’s questions. “Just this morning, they said they couldn’t help her.”

“Oh-” George said, feeling very foolish with himself. ‘Oh’ was all he could come up with, he felt like a terrible brother, but they never had these talks, ever. This was new territory for him. They loved each other to death, but the love they shared wasn’t the 'I’ll help you through this mate, I’m always there for you.' It was the 'let’s go and prank some Slytherins because we’re not feeling up to par,' sort of love. They weren’t a touchy feely family, never had been.

The silence in the room stretched into minutes, Fred, by this time was just leaning against the wall, staring aimlessly out of the big bay window in the front.

“Said it was pointless keeping her around when there was another place that could actually do something for her. I don’t get why suddenly they would give up on her. She doesn’t deserve a place that smells like death itself,” George watched his brother’s features change from sadness to anger. “Call me selfish, but she could’ve just started anew. Whatever is in her past, I would bet on my life that it is not worth remembering. The place she was is not a happy place.”

“Hey Fred, you remember that time we transfigured a pillow into a humongous spider and charmed it to chase Ron if he were to go outside. We waited outside for three hours for him to come out and it was the middle of winter too, we were freezing our arses off,” George said.

Fred nodded saying he remembered, a ghost of a smile and appeared on his lips.

“Yea, you know it was worth it though, just to see Ron scream like a girl in front of his class, they were going down to Care of Magical Creatures or something. He ran like the devil was on his heals; I don’t think Harry ever let him live it down. But my point is, sometimes things have to happen though we may not like it at first (like us freezing our arses off), the outcome will always be worth it.” Fred snorted half in humour and half in doubt.

“So you’re saying that her getting admitted into the hospital is good?”

“If it helps her remember! Then yes it is very good. There are some things in a person’s life you want to remember. Like if right now I forgot everything -who I was and everything. Do you think I would be the same person? Probably not because all those experiences I have now will be lost. Who knows, this girl may have had a family for all we know, a family that loves and cares for her and thinks she’s dead.”

“George, it’s kind of scary when you make sense.” George shrugged his shoulders helplessly.

“They are not stopping you from seeing her are they?” Fred shook his head. “Then go see her you dolt, honestly, you’re acting as if it is the end of the world.”

                                                        ***

A week later, a group of the Order was standing just inside the door of the headquarters, each putting on their cloaks.

“Right, so everyone before we do this, just be ready for anything,” McGonagall said simply.

“We should have done this long before now,” Lupin mumbled to himself before the group apparated out.

                                                        ***

“Erm –I’m coming to see-” Fred stopped he wasn’t sure if the Order had put her under the name Missy or not. They had admitted her before he had gotten to the headquarters. “Missy?” The nurse at the front desk gave him a sceptical look.

“You’ll have to provide me with more information then that Sir.”

“Well, Remus Lupin and some others came in here last week sometime and admitted a girl who was lost in the war about five years ago. I was hoping I could go up and see her.” The nurse looked through some files and came up with a couple pieces of parchment.

“Yes there was a girl, what is your name and relation.”

“Um –Fred Weasley, just a friend, I’ve been talking with her since we found her.”

“I’m not sure the arrangements that were made but usually when someone who has just been admitted it is immediate family only until the patient has been properly assessed by a Healer.”

“Please Miss-” Fred looked at the lady’s name tag, “Macdougal, just this once can I see her, since we found her I’ve been the closest thing she has to family.” he healer bit her lower lip, she was a young girl, probably just starting her internship at St. Mungo’s, Fred was sure she would bend the rules. “I won’t tell anyone, this’ll be our little secret.”

                                                         ***

“I don’t think I have seen anything quite like this, even after not being used for so long, it still looks overpowering,” Tonks said with awe. Her hair was now a long dark brown colour tied up in a quick ponytail. Kingsley let out a rough laugh.

“There will always be an evil air hanging around this place,” He replied with morose. Kingsley shook his head at the thought of what some of the prisoners had to go through.

“Well let’s not dilly dally any longer, let’s go in.” 

                                                         ***

Fred smiled charmingly at the young lady, who giggled before he swept off to the fifth floor.

“Luna, is that you?” Fred asked in surprise, of all people he didn’t expect Luna to become a Healer. A blonde Healer turned around and Fred smiled.

“Aye –It’s George or is it Fred,” She said with a huge smile, her light blue eyes dancing. Fred was taken aback at how normal she sounded; her usual breathless manor was gone.

“It’s Fred, how are you?”

“Quite lovely, and you? How’s your shop?”

“The shop’s good, we just expanded into Hogsmeade,”

“Oh, I heard about that, Zonko retired, he didn’t want anyone taking over his great business unless it was himself. Are you coming to see the girl they brought in last week?” Luna said emphasising the word ‘they’. Fred nodded, “Right then, good luck.” Fred thanked her and went on his way.

The door was already open when Fred reached it, taking a deep breath in he stepped into the room. Missy was sitting on her bed, gazing at an empty wall. Fred was shocked at her lonely stance.

“Missy?” He called in uncertainly; slowly she turned around to face him. She looked the same on the outside but as he stepped closer the look in her eyes stopped him in his tracks.

                                                            ***

The silence that surrounded them was almost suffocating, but no one could muster up a word to say. The late Dark Lord’s headquarters were built deeply in a cave and since their had been no occupants as of the cave in a while it had plenty of bats. The inside of the headquarters were dark and musky and the walls were laden with expensive green and silver silks, while the floors were clod with thick dusty rich dark green carpet.

Remus moved into a room that he guessed was Voldemort’s own chambers. Everything looked more richly decorated with gold statues and a large four-poster bed in the corner with black and silver hangings. Though it had been a couple of years since the headquarters had been discovered, the Ministry had deemed it unimportant because the war had been over for five years.

“Hey, you guys take a look at this,” Tonks yelled, she was sitting at an old mahogany a few doors down from where Lupin was. The Order piled into the room to see what Tonks had found.

“What is it?” Lupin was the first one to ask. Tonks swirled around on the chair holding a thick document.

“I sifted through it quickly and there are hordes of names written down,” Tonks said. “There is nothing else but names with check marks beside some of them.” She handed the file over to Kingsley so he could check it out. Everyone sat in silence as he looked over the file as well.

“Well?” Mrs. Weasley said after what seemed like forever. Kingsley looked up but no answers shone in his face.

“I have no idea what all these names mean, I do not recognize any of them myself. Whatever the purpose of them was. I have no idea. Here’s a couple of them just to see if anyone recognizes them –Terran Moon, Morag Freeman, Helen Greengrass, Hestia Adams. Anyone?”

He looked around the room, but everyone shook their heads.

“Well maybe I’ll take this to the Ministry and run the names through our database to see if they are even registered witches or wizards. Other then that I don’t know what we can do with it.”

“There’s this too Kingsley, it was underneath this stack of books,” Lupin said from across the room. “Oh and look it has some of the names on here as well –Morag Freeman cell 4, Terran Moon in the back cell 15. It looks like most of the girl names are in the front cells while the guys are the in the back cells that are not quite as accessible. It’s almost like they wanted the girls to have easy access.” Kingsley took the document as well and put it into a pack he carried with him.

“Well, lets take a look at these cells.” 

                                                      ***

“How are you doing?” He asked her after a few moments of silence, he had waited a whole week before he went to St. Mungo’s. He had been so busy with the shop he didn’t find the time to visit her. He was surprised at how much more there was to do now since there was only one of him at the store.

If it weren’t for Verity, he would have surely died. The books that George had always conveniently kept, since he was better with numbers than Fred was, was a new challenge Fred had to face. He also barely had any time to actually think up any new projects and the ‘multi-person’ thing they had told Oliver about when they were at Hogshead had been put on hold.

So here he was a week later, he left work early leaving Verity in charge, telling her if she needed help she had to call George. Missy was giving no indication that she even wanted to talk to him.

“Why didn’t you stop them Fred?” She asked softly. “You promised you’d help me,” her voice was laced with hurt. Fred shook his head, she didn’t understand, he had no control over what happened.


“If I could have kept you at the house I would have Missy. The rest of the Order –they had ultimate control,” Missy shook her head.

“Don’t blame them Fred,” Fred was taken aback by her comment.

“Missy, don’t take this the wrong way. I’d much rather having you back at the house,” Fred paused, not sure how he should say this. Not even sure if he should say it at all. “But what if this place could help you, help you in ways that I –or the rest of the Order could not. Wouldn’t that be worth it? To have your memory back and know who you are.”

“Fred you promised, you promised you would help me,” she stressed, her voice getting louder. “I trusted you, one of the only ones I felt I could! I thought you believed in me.” 

                                                            ***

The cells did not shock them in the least, they were dark and dank with that smell of something that had been left sitting for too long. There were old and brave little weeds had started sprouting in the corners in small puddles of water.

Lupin touched on of the metal bars that held the prisoners in, they had started rusting and breaking down already from all the water. It was obvious that the Death Eaters didn’t put much care into them but relied on the magic that held the hostages from escaping, not as if they would have gotten anywhere if they had.

Looking inside, Lupin noticed the cots that were apparently used; they were small things that had holes covering them. No doubt infested by mice and who knows what else. These were pathetic living conditions.

“If you weren’t killed first by them, these would kill you eventually,” Tonks observed. The team nodded solemnly. “And look the numbers and labelled on each cell. Remus you were right, it looks like the girls were kept in the front with only a few in each cell, while the boys were placed all in a couple back cells.”

“They defiantly died here all the time. Disease spreads easily, and I could bet my job that some corner in each cell was the bathroom,” Kingsley noted. He had opened a cell and was inspecting the cells. “This conditions are terrible, worse than what I thought they would be, how could anyone make it out of here alive?”

“As far as we know there was no one else,” McGonagall said with a note of sadness.

“Something about this is just not adding up.” 

                                                         ***

“I don’t need these people around me telling me that this pill will help for this, and this drink will help with that. Something bigger happened to me, though I don’t rightly know what it is, it’s bigger then what everyone thinks it is,” Missy finished, her voice had grown shaky with conviction. Fred digested her words slowly, and looked into her eyes and noticed that determination about finding out what happened to her. A look he recognized as one he used to see the trio carry around during their Hogwarts years.

It was funny how one person could remind another of someone yet be so different at the same time, Fred pondered, but then he remembered George’s words. ‘Like if right now I forgot everything -who I was and everything. Do you think I would be the same person? Probably not because all those experiences I have now will be lost.’ Could it possible be true? Fred wondered, if you forgot who you were, would it change you?

For instance, how he was so sure Missy was Hermione in so many ways, yet she would never have thought that being in St. Mungo’s would be some sort of betrayal. It was small things he noticed about her sometimes, like her soft voice, as he could remember Hermione didn’t have one. At least he didn’t remember it, maybe because it never made his heart speed up every time she used it. It made him believe he was wrong from the beginning, even though she had very similar features that said otherwise.

“Fred?” She asked after he had failed to reply to her. “Why didn’t you help me?” The longing in her voice pulled him toward her and he came and sat closer.

“I’m still here Missy, whenever you need me, I’m just a call away.” Fred gave Missy’s hand a quick squeeze, Missy gave a soft smile, the first smile he had seen out of her his whole visit.

“Mr. Weasley, they are doing the patient checks right now, it’d be best if you left, otherwise we’re both in trouble,” Miss. Macdougal had suddenly appeared at the doorway biting her lower lip and taking a quick check out the door. Fred nodded and the dark brown haired girl walked off.

“I’ll come back soon, bye Missy,” Fred gave her an awkward hug before he headed for the door.

“Don’t forget me Fred.” Came her soft reply, Fred faltered at the doorframe before he headed out. 

                                                             ***

The Order was now sitting around the table at Grimmauld Place discussing what they had seen. Before they left, they had found a hallway that was slightly hidden on the top floor. Nothing big had been found but about half a dozen bedrooms were down there.

Kingsley had left to the Ministry already because he wanted to run the names right away; he said it would take a couple weeks for the results to be finished.

Fred walked through the front door and heard to low murmuring of voices coming from the kitchen. Walking into the kitchen the group looked up,

“Fred.” Lupin acknowledged. Fred nodded at everyone before turning to Lupin.

“Lupin, can I talk to you for a sec,” Lupin nodded and pushed his chair over.

“We’re pretty much done here anyway,” The two walked off to the living room. “If I’m correct you here to talk about Missy?” Lupin gave an amused look to Fred, who nodded.

“Why did you guys just suddenly give up on her?”

“It wasn’t sudden Fred; you knew we thought it would be best if we sent her to St. Mungo’s. It was all a matter of time before it would happen,” Lupin started.

“Why do I feel a ‘but’ coming on?” Fred asked grinning.

“Another reason, and the rest of the Order agreed with me when I brought this up, is this girl who knows nothing of who she is and what her life was before. Right? Then you have this guy, who is slowly getting closer and closer to this girl and the same with the girl. You wouldn’t think there is a problem with that, but there is this. Just pretend that the girl has a family that she forgot. A husband that loves her and thinks she is dead, a son who is growing up without a mother’s love. Now that’s a problem.” Lupin stated logically.

Fred almost laughed, it was a point George had brought up before, but Fred hadn’t though on it that hard.

“We just thought it would be best if she was away, and Fred I have to ask you not go visiting her until we find out the answers to our questions. The consequences could be too harsh. You’re in love with a girl who has a different life.” Fred couldn’t fight the logic in Lupin’s point –it was all very true. Although the girl looked only about 25 at the most, Fred supposed there was always that unknown factor. Then Fred remembered his promise to Missy just before he left. 'I’ll come back to visit you –I’m only a call away.'

He felt guilty because he knew he couldn’t, and wouldn’t just forget them. All Fred could do was nod in understanding.

“I have to go back to my shop, I can’t leave Verity there forever.” With a tip of his head, Fred left.


Chapter 7: Trip Down Memory Lane
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Girl found after 5 long years A girl was admitted to St. Mungo’s three weeks ago. According to sources, she was lost in the war about 5 years ago but she has no recollection of her past or what happened to her. St Mungo’s is trying to assess damages done to her and reverse her condition. The minister reckons that if her memory returns to her, she will play a significant role in finding out the behind the scenes action of the You-Know-Who’s lair. She is said to be one of his prisoners, the only one that got out of his headquarters alive. Hopefully, this will lead to new information concerning the late Lord V. Continued page 6-

The Daily Prophet was thrown hazardously across the room. “Idiots.” a man muttered to himself, rubbing his eyes in annoyance. He’d know where she was now; getting up, he grabbed his worn wand from the table. His dark brown eyes flashed in anger as he pulled on a long cloak over his dirty muggle clothes. He’d have to go and find him before he found her.



“Miss, it’s time for you to see Healer Orin,” said a lady with long pale blonde hair. The girl she was speaking to didn’t say anything, she just got up from her bed and followed the healer out of her room. “It is a lovely day today Miss, maybe you’ll want to go for a walk after your session?” The girl shook her head. “Well, maybe you’ll change your mind later. Here we are.”

“Come in and sit down,” a warm voice drifted through the air. Missy took a seat on the crisp white chair her eyes pointed down. The woman on the other side of the desk remained silent. “We can’t help you if you don’t try, for the past few weeks you’ve done nothing but ignore our efforts. If you continue like this, you may just find yourself permanently on the fourth floor.” It seemed as if Missy simply slumped in her chair at the news but looking closer, Missy’s eyes were glazed over.

They were trying to get to the Tea Room, but this man with curly blonde locks stopped them on the fourth floor. “Hello, would you like my autograph?” The three teenagers stopped and stared at the man in surprise.

“Professor?” Before he could answer a Healer cam scurrying up to them saying how nice it was for them to come see him, he never got any visitors. Following the medi-witch to a large sealed white door. The lady opened it and led them through. The man leaped back to his bed and grabbed a bunch of pictures of himself and a large black marker. Noticing that there were already a large number of pictures signed to himself posted around his bed frame, the girl in the group shook her head, the poor man; he used to be such a well-known bloke.

“-Longbottom,” at the sound of one of her schoolmates last name, she turned around to see what was going on. Looking further down the room, she saw an old lady with a large red handbag and a ridiculous lime green dress on, beside her was a fellow Gryffindor and friend, Neville. She looked quickly over at Harry, for some reason he didn’t look a bit surprised to see Neville here.

“Neville!” Ron gasped in surprise. Neville stared at them in something close to mortification. Hermione felt sorry for the poor chap, he obviously didn’t want anyone to know he was here. Just before anyone could ask questions a thin lady came floating from the end of the room. She had thin wisps of white hair and she was carrying a candy wrapper. The lady moved toward Neville and his grandmother and handed Neville the candy wrapper.

“Oh, very nice Alice dear,” The grandmother said warmly, the lady called Alice gave a fond smile to Neville before going back to her bed. “Just throw that out, she’s given you enough to cover your bedroom wall.” Hermione watched as Neville glanced at his grandmother and then pocketed the candy wrapper when she wasn’t looking. Hermione smiled to herself, Alice must be Neville’s mum.


Missy’s eyes shot open only to find that she was lying on her back with several Healers peering down at her. She also noticed a weird device was being held by one of them, it was letting out a low humming sound. Missy quickly tried to get away from their gazing eyes but they held her down firm. She saw two of the Healers mutter a few things to each other above her before they left the room.

“Luna, can you take her back to her room?” An older witch asked, Luna, the woman who had gotten Missy this morning nodded and helped Missy off the examining table.

“What just happened?” Missy asked Luna once they were out of earshot of the others. Luna looked fondly over at Missy.

“I don’t know if I should tell you,” Luna said. After a second of thought Luna shrugged her shoulders. “I don’t see why not, you should know. It’s all just speculation right now, but they are thinking that these fits you’ve been having, are your memories. But then they also say that these things could just be figments of your imagination.” Missy nodded, they had reached her room. “Well here we are, you sure you don’t want to go for that walk?” Missy nodded and headed for the small chair by the window.



A loud snivelling in the corner brought a girl with long matted brown hair to her attent

“Susan be quite, remember last time?”

“I know Hestia, I just can’t help it,” the girl whimpered. The girl called Hestia pulled Susan into a tight hug. “I hate it Hest, I wish- I wish I didn’t have to be here anymore-”

“Forget that, I wish I could just see the sunlight, even if it was just for a moment,” another girl said across the room.

“You guys shut-up, they’ll hear you!” A girl warned her voice dangerously low.

“Oh Helen lay off, I wish I could remember- something- anything for that matter.” A girl said with a dreamy sort of voice. A sound of annoyance came from the direction that Helen had spoken from. The room lapsed into an uneasy silence, though no one could see the other, it was clear whom he or she were talking too, they had been with each other for so long they knew each others voice.

A loud bang brought short edgy gasps from the group. Hestia groaned inwardly, they were here again. She could almost feel the vibration of the floor from their feet as they hurried across the cement floor. Taking a deep breath in, she sank to the wet floor; she hoped that this time they would pass her by. Feeling her way to the corner of the cell she could hear the quite crying of her cellmate Susan, she wished she could help but it would only bring attention to herself.

Lumos,” Hestia’s eyes widened, she knew that voice. It was the voice of the man who haunted her dreams. Before she looked at him, she knew his black as night eyes were watching her, she stopped moving and stared back into his face. She kept herself from shuddering under his gaze. “Miss Adams,” his voice had grown husky, shivers of fear ran down her spine. The next thing she knew, she was her feet and hands were bound and she was being dragged from her cell, she knew by now that fighting was useless, he’d only beat her harder. Behind her, she heard one of the other girls’ screams as another man with black as night robes took them.

“Leave me,” she whispered, her bruises from last time had yet to heal. A cruel, unmerciful laugh emitted from this man’s mouth, she almost cringed at the sound of it. She felt herself getting yanked up the stairs; soon she could see the sliver of light underneath the door. Hestia closed her eyes dreading what was going to come next, hearing the door creak open a burst of light hit her closed eyelids, but their was silence, usually the place was bustling with activity. Slowly, she opened her eyes, trying to adjust to the dazzling overhead light. Her eyes stung, she could barely stand the vivid light, even if it was only artificial. Closing her eyes again she let herself get dragged off to a long corridor to the left, she didn’t have to see to know where they were headed. She knew that he would take her to the third door on the right, just like he always did. She was his favourite after all. He threw her onto the bed, holding back the urge to cry out she heard him lock the door behind him.

“How should we start today?” He asked, but he had no intention of her answering. She never understood why he would ask a question if he didn’t want the answer. She remembered the first time he’d asked the very same question, she replied that they should start with a nice cup of tea, maybe some scones afterwards. He hadn’t liked her reply and had given her a bruise that lasted her two weeks.

He stared at her hard for a moment she laid on the bed, unmoving. She heard him slowly removing his black cloak it wouldn’t be long now. She could feel tears sting her eyes, trying her best to withhold her emotion she knew he would be coming soon. As if on cue she felt his rough hands touch her forearms. His simple touch seemed to burn her skin. “Don’t be scared, I’ll be nice,” he whispered into her ear. She almost scoffed at his lie. His breath was now tickling her neck as she felt his coarse lips trace her jaw line. His hands were roughly undoing her shirt. She couldn’t take it. He made her feel so dirty and used. She tried to shy away from his violent handling, hearing his gruff laugh erupt from the pit of his stomach, she couldn’t help but cringe. “You bloody bitch,” he said harshly. Then with the force of a sledgehammer his hand collided with her cheek.


The room erupted in a terrified shriek, if anyone had been walking by that room they would have thought that the person inside was being attacked. A throng of Healers did hear it though, they were right outside her door, as they came running into the room, Missy was thrashing in her bed; a cold sweat had broken across her forehead.

“YOU CAN TAKE MY BODY BUT YOU CAN NEVER HAVE MY SOUL!” Missy’s shrieked again, she had stopped thrashing and was now curling herself into a ball, sobbing. One healer walked closer and tried reaching out, but before she could fully touch Missy, Missy had shied away, her eyes wild.

“Come now Miss, we’re only trying to help,” the woman said soothingly. Missy eyes didn’t seem to register what the lady said and Missy continued shaking. Again the lady came forward, this time though another healer had joined her.

“Leave me alone!” Missy screeched at them. “Don’t touch me.” Missy had hurled herself off her bed and had pushed herself against the farthest corner. Sinking to the floor, Missy brought her legs to her body and carefully wrapped her arms around them, resting her chin on her knees. Tears were still plummeting down her cheeks and no one could mistake the telltale shake of her shoulders. “Please,” she was whimpered this now even though no one had tried getting any nearer. “Don’t lay a hand on me.”

Luna pushed her way through, her soft blue eyes rested on the Missy.

“I’ll handle this,” she said quietly, the others looked at her contemplating if they should let her, she didn’t have as much experience as some of the Healers in this room. After a few moments though the Healers seemed to come to an unspoken agreement and had started to file out of the room. “Missy?” Luna ventured quietly; she hadn’t taken a step closer. “Missy, look at me.” Missy continued trembling in the corner her eyes downcast. Luna took a cautious step forward not wanting to upset Missy anymore, but knowing that she couldn’t be left alone.

“It was a memory,” Missy whispered, her voice scratchy from crying. Inside, Missy knew it had to be, Luna had told her a few weeks before that these fits, these things that left Missy usually in tears had to be memories or just a figment of her imagination. Though Missy wished it were only that, she knew it couldn’t be, it was too real. She could still feel his hands burning her skin.

Luna was now sitting in front of Missy, cross-legged. Missy still hadn’t looked at Luna; her eyes were set on something on the floor a few meters away. Luna attempted to reach out to touch Missy’s hand but that simple action made Missy shirked away. Missy was shaking her head madly. “Please don’t.” Her voice was pitiful, Luna looked at Missy sadly, would she ever trust anyone fully again?

Luna sat in silence for a moment not sure what to do, there wasn’t anything she could say she was sure of that. Then a face popped into her mind, a smiling, flamboyant red headed man. He had come to see her when she was first admitted, he hadn’t been here since, but that was hardly his fault. Remus Lupin and Minerva McGonagall had told them that Fred should not be allowed to visit her, saying it would only complicate matters more. But she remembered the rest of the day after Fred had come to see her Missy had been the easiest patient to deal with. She would do anything asked of her with only some silly sort of smile playing on her lips.

Making her decision, Luna jumped up and headed for the door. Seeing Morag Macdougal walking a few meters away, Luna called out. Morag turned.

“Morag, come here,” the young medi-witch, still in her internship hurried over to Luna. “Can you get Fred Weasley to come here, to see Missy?” Morag gave a startled look.

“That’s George’s brother isn’t it?” Morag gave a suave smile, Luna nodded impatiently.

“Get him now, quickly, now!” Morag nodded and started to hurry away. “Oh and Morag, this would be best if it was just between us.” Morag waved her hand saying she understood and quickly disappeared around the corner.



What only seemed to be minutes later, Fred came bursting into the room, his long hair stuck up on end and his eyes looked tired. It was the middle of night and Fred was probably sleeping. Luna got up from her place on the bed and came over.

“She had one of her little fits and well, isn’t really talking and refuses to let anyone touch her, I was hoping that maybe you could help.” Fred looked at her, he was still baffled at the huge change Luna had undergone, he figured it was the war that changed her; war changed everyone. She had watched her father get tortured and then killed right after, if that didn’t change someone, he wasn’t sure what would. Fred shook his thoughts away, that didn’t matter anymore.

Quietly, he moved off to the corner that Missy was huddling in. Luna smiled at the two before quietly slipping out of the room.

“Missy, love, what’s wrong?” He asked. Missy didn’t move, didn’t even seem to acknowledge his presence. Fred hunched down so he was at eye level with her, but she didn’t look up. “Missy, it’s me, its Fred.” Without knowing what else to do Fred reached out slowly and grasped her hand. Missy jolted away from his touch and let out a heartbreaking whimper, a new batch of tears stung her eyes.

“No,” She moaned softly. But it looked as if she wasn’t even talking to him in particular. Her eyes had a far-off look to them it was if she was talking to her past.

“Missy, look at me,” Fred commanded in a soft voice. Missy looked up at him, her eyes though, were unseeing. Fred ached to reach out, to chase away her fears, or at least free her of the pain that he seen in her eyes. “Missy please, come back,” he whispered to her. He suddenly was afraid, he heard of people suddenly just becoming a vegetable. They refused to respond and it was as if they weren’t really in this world. Fred couldn’t take it anymore, he couldn’t just sit and watch her; she looked like she was so afraid. He had to help. Reaching out he pulled her against him; it was as if it set of a trigger.

“No!” She shrieked. She started to fight against Fred’s tight hold, but he refused to let her go. “Don’t touch me!” She yelled again, her voice started to crack. Fred didn’t mistake the pain he heard in her voice after her first burst of anger.

“Missy, it’s me! Its Fred, I’m here to care for you.” He whispered into her ear, Missy though didn’t stop fighting. She started hitting his chest, crying out. “Leave me!” She wailed at him, tears started falling down her already tears streaked face.

“I’ll never leave you Missy. Never! So you better stop your little tantrum because you won’t be getting rid of me that easily!” Fred roared back. He was holding onto her forearms looking her straight in the eyes. She momentarily stopped crying and just stared at him with wide frightened eyes. He was shocked at how vulnerable she looked. Her bottom lip started to quiver but instead of fighting his embrace she fell into it and started sobbing. Clinging onto his shirt, she trembled under his touch.

“It was so scary,” she choked out between frightened sobs. “I was so afraid it would never end, that I would die in there like so many of the others.” She whispered. Fred was shocked at hearing this, but didn’t say anything, she would tell him in time. “I kept replaying it in my mind, over and over again I could feel-“ Missy stopped and seemed to cling tighter to Fred. “I can still feel his touch burning into my skin, I feel so dirty.” Fred’s eyes’ widened like saucepans at what she was insinuating. “He kept coming back to me, I can’t help but wonder if it was something that I did-“she broke off wiping her nose on her sleeve.

“Missy, it wasn’t your fault. That man, -“ Fred stopped he was almost shaking from the rage he was feeling, how could anyone put her through something like that. “He was sick and twisted, that’s all. It had nothing to do with you.” Missy shuddered again, but it seemed as if she had run out of words and she just sat in Fred’s embrace. Fred started rubbing her back in soothing circles; he could remember his mum doing this when he was upset. It always seemed to calm him.

He heard her sigh lightly into his chest. He was not sure how long he sat there, but he was startled to hear her breaths deepen. Looking down at her, he noticed how peaceful she looked when she was sleeping. Carefully standing up with her still in his arms, he again looked down at her. He was stunned at how perfect she seemed to fit into his arms. He had to take a sharp intake of breath to calm his nerves. Setting her down in her bed he pulled the blankets up around her chin. Brushing away a few tendrils of hair away from her face, he smiled adoringly down on her.

“God, you’re so beautiful,” he muttered as he traced her soft jaw line. Forcing himself to step away from her bed, he walked towards the door. He was going to go find Luna. Opening the door he was shocked to see her sitting across from the door.

“I had to make sure no one would come and check on her, you aren’t technically supposed to be here.” Luna explained. Fred nodded, he knew, last time he tried getting in they had promptly shooed him away. “Is she alright?”

“Yeah, she’s sleeping now.”

“Poor thing, it tuckered her right out. She’s gone through so much Fred; I can tell by just looking into her eyes, they hold so much pain. I can only hope that we can help her,” Luna said, sounding more like an aged woman than the young lady she was.

“Luna, what’s wrong with her, what happened, do you guys have a clue?” Fred asked. Luna looked up and down the corridor.

“This is not the place to talk, there are some who wish to keep her condition under the table if you know what I mean. I need to take my coffee break now anyhow, I’ll meet you in the Leaky Cauldron in ten minutes.” Luna smiled and floated away. Fred was slightly confused to why they wouldn’t want anyone to know about it. But he just figured that they didn’t want it to leak to the Daily Prophet if there were any innocent bystanders around.

Last time, it had caused uproar for a few days after the article about how a girl had been found after five years. With Voldemort gone, it seemed as if people were craving any sort of juicy news to pop up for them to gossip about. Hordes of people had come in declaring that they were related to this girl and demanding to see her. Apparently, they wanted to be known as the people who knew the mystery girl. Ministry officials finally had to intervene and get everyone to back off.



Fred ordered a pair of Butterbeers upon arriving at the Leaky Cauldron. A few minutes later Luna showed up, she had gotten out of her Healer robes and was wearing a plain black set.

“Well, now then. Where do I start?” Luna said after they had made idle chit chat for a few minutes. “Well, no one really wants anyone to know about her anymore, you can guess why. That was quite a kafuffle she caused a few months back. If I got caught telling you, it would mean suspension for me and when I came back I wouldn’t be working on her case. So this much is safer.” Luna stopped and took a long sip of her Butterbeer.

Thanks, by the way.” She said pointing to her glass. “Well basically, now it’s mostly just guess work. We have done some test work and we have studied her. But her case, it’s a very fascinating that’s for sure.” Luna stopped again and appeared as if she was studying another wizard on the other side of the bar. “How is your family Fred?” Luna asked, bringing her attention back to him. Fred gave her a shocked look, not catching on.

“But-” Luna gave him a sharp kick with her foot. “Ow-what was that for?” Fred said, his temper flaring. Luna slumped her shoulders.

“That wizard over there is watching us, I don’t want him overhearing. He looks like nasty fellow,” Luna said in a whisper. Fred eyes lit up in understanding.

“They’re doing great, it’s fascinating to see Marie, Bill and Fleur’s kid, she’s growing up so fast, Fleur is pregnant again, Bill’s hoping for twins actually. I hope they turn out just like George and me. Charlie is still with his dragons in Romania, still girl less. I don’t suspect he’ll find one with the wild job he has. All the girls are afraid of all his burn marks. Poor bloke. Ginny’s all right, she’s seeing Seamus now. They’re getting quite serious surprisingly. He’s always staying over at the burrow. Never knew the guy very much till now, he’s not so bad. Though I still have a chip on my shoulder for what he did to Harry in their fifth year. Didn’t believe him when he said Voldemort hadn’t actually kicked the bucket and was alive and kicking.” Fred said casually.

He did come around though, before the whole thing at the ministry, so I suppose that he got some sense in him.” Luna laughed, and looked over Fred’s shoulder again.

“Finally that guy left. I don’t know why but he gave me the cobwobbles, his eyes were so black, like hell itself.” Luna gave a little shudder. But she continued, speaking quieter this time. “Anyway as I was saying before, her case is like chalk and cheese.” Fred raised his eye at this. “It is so different is what I mean. Different like chalk and cheese- oh never mind.” Luna rolled her eyes in annoyance.

"Anyway, we have tested her when she was in one of her fits –she usually slumps over and her eyes glaze over as well,” She explained to Fred, who nodded, he knew what they looked like he’d seen them on occasion. “And what we are guessing, and I’m pretty sure it’s an accurate guess, especially seeing her reaction today is that they are, to out it bluntly, her memories. Some of them don’t cause her to go on a screaming rampage though. This is the biggest reaction I’ve ever seen out of her, usually she’ll just look slightly mystified or scared, but she gets over it quickly. This time, it was like another dimension or something. I’ve haven’t seen anything like it, but then this is the first time they’ve let me work with this kind of patient.” Luna said.

“She did this one other time, at headquarters,” Fred remembered. He wasn’t afraid of telling Luna about the headquarters, she joined the Order right out of Hogwarts. “My mum was the only one there at the time. But according to her Missy had completely lost her senses, I eventually came and calmed her down.” Luna smiled.

“It seems she’s quite taken with you Fred Weasley, it appears she only pays attention to you. I don’t know why, someone should tell that girl that one of the Weasley twins shouldn’t be trusted, they’re just trouble,” Luna joked. Fred laughed along with her, but he couldn’t stop the Weasley blush etching itself across his face. This only made Luna giggle harder.

“Anyway,” Luna started again after a few minutes. “I’m only guessing that it had to do with her stay at Volemort’s headquarters. I can imagine that only something like that can evoke such fear in a person.” Luna looked at her empty glass of Butterbeer. “I’ll just go order us some more shall I?” Luna then left the table to go get another drink.

Fred sat alone and thought. It was true then, this man she was talking about, and that man who- took what wasn’t his to take. Fred felt a bubble of hate build in his chest. Missy didn’t deserve it; it shouldn’t have happened to her, she was so innocent, yet so strong. She’d have to be strong if she lived through that experience, he figured.

"Here we go,” Luna set down two bottled of Butterbeer in front of them. Fred grunted out a thank you, still brooding on how much he wanted to rip apart the guy who did this to Missy. “She told you what she saw didn’t she?” Luna asked after studying his face for a while. Fred nodded but didn’t offer any explanation. Luna took her cue and carried on with her explanation.

“Well after some testing, we still haven’t found out much. We have theories of what could have happened but nothing concrete. First, we thought that maybe her mind had been Obliviated, so we made some strong potions to correct it. We also did some counter spells, but we didn’t get anywhere. For a long time we were stumped, then Augustus Pye, he’s always been very interested in muggle treatments. He put stitches on your dad when he was at St. Mungos’ that one time. Well, he brought us this new theory. Something called Trauma-Induced Blackouts. It’s something that the brain does automatically, when someone has faced such trauma such as Missy has the brain will sometimes automatically just block that period of her life out. It probably does this because it doesn’t want to remember any of it, it was too traumatic, I can’t really explain why the brain would do it, it don’t rightly understand it. I don’t think anyone does.” Fred sipped on his Butterbeer, it was a lot to take in.

“But it’s just not adding up, if it were Trauma-Induced Blackouts would it just black out that period in her life and not her entire lifespan. That’s what I don’t get.” Luna sighed into her Butterbeer, which now was empty. “Well I better be getting back, I’ve been gone longer then I intended, I really wish I could stay and chat.” Luna gave Fred a quick smile before dissaparating.

Fred sat for a moment longer contemplating what Luna said. It wasn’t really adding up in his mind either. Standing up, Fred still felt anger residing in the pit of his stomach. He felt pity on the guy who did this to her, because when he found him, he wasn’t going to be a happy man, to put it mildly.


Chapter 8: A Man Worth Chasing
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The shop was buzzing with activity that afternoon. Fred was at the back of the shop helping a group of rowdy teenagers who fancied getting a couple bags of nosebleed nougats.

"You just take this one and pop it into your mouth, like so," Fred said. As a demonstration, he tossed a nougat into the air and caught it between his teeth and bit down. Immediately his nose spurted blood. "As you can see, it works perfectly." Fred spat out some blood that fell into his mouth. Grabbing another nougat, he slipped it into his mouth. "It’s just what the doctor ordered I imagine, a cure for the boring classroom blues." Fred smiled charmingly at the group. "A galleon per bag and get the second bag half off!"

The group grabbed two bags each and headed to the front counter where Verity was busy ringing in other purchases. Fred smiled to himself and arched his back getting a clear view of the front window. He snorted to himself at the sight he saw, a man stood outside the window wearing an oversized black trench coat and a black hat pulled down so far that it covered his face. Odd, Fred thought to himself humorously, what kind of man wears that sort of get up in stifling summer weather?

Fred continued to study the peculiarly dressed man, but just then, it seemed as if the man felt Fred’s stare and he turned to face Fred. Fred watched as the man gave a startled jump before taking off down the street. Bewildered, Fred shook his head, probably some kid fighting for attention. But even with that thought, Fred couldn’t refute how the hairs on the back of his neck stood up when the kid turned toward him.

"Fred, you alright mate?" A voice sounded from his right. There stood one of his old school chums, Katie Bell.

"Spiffin’ my dear Bell, what brings you to these neck of the woods?" Fred said, tearing his eyes away from the window, he cast an award-winning grin at Katie.

"Fred, you look like you’ve just seen a ghost," Katie said in concern. Fred shook off Katie’s concern.

"I do believe that I’ve had one too many of those nosebleed nougats today, how about we go out for a drink?" Fred took another glance out the window, but all he saw were shoppers quickly pushing their way through the crowds. Shaking his head, he pressed his way to the door with Katie in tow.

"Fred- I’m engaged," Katie said as soon as they had gotten their drinks at the Leaky Cauldron. Fred choked on his Firewhiskey.

"I didn’t know you were so serious about, oh, what’s his name?" Fred said with a wide grin. Katie gave him a disapproving look. "Okay, okay how did it happen? Tell me all the juicy details! How did that devilish Oliver steal my fair Bell’s heart?" Fred squealed like a girl. Katie rolled her eyes.

"He took me out to the official Chudely Cannons’ Quidditch arena last night at sunset," Katie beamed.

"Very Oliver, all about Quidditch," Fred laughed. Katie beamed again.

"Of course, I kind of expected it as soon as I noticed that we were going to the arena. He used to say that if he were going to ask a girl to marry him, it would be there. It was kind of obvious too, I’ve never seen him so nervous before, not even before a game." Fred chuckled and took another swig of Firewhiskey.

"When’s the big day?" Fred asked leaning back in his chair.

"Summer...sometime, we want something quiet. I think only our close friends and family will be there."

"Oliver better make me his best man," Fred replied playfully.

"I think Oliver’s older brother has that honour you nimrod. So I heard from Alicia that you have a lady friend," Katie teased, changing the subject.

"I think you have wax in your ears because I certainly do not. Either that or Alicia’s been put under the gibberish hex."

"Funny, Lee and Oliver seemed to agree with her. Something about you looked like a mother bear protecting her Young," Katie said laughing. "We’ve all agreed that even if George took a misstep around her, you’d throttle him." Fred snorted. "Hey, even George granted that one."

"I’m just helping her remember who she is Katie, nothing more. For all we know, she could be married and with children."

"I’m one of your best mates Fred, you think I can’t see right through that lie. And in all honesty, does she look old enough to be married and have kids?" Fred remained silent, but he knew the answer to the question and so did Katie, it would have been pointless to answer. She did not appear to be the "mother of children" type, but appearances were deceiving.

"Katie, is that really you? I haven’t seen you since Hogwarts!" A girl squealed from behind Fred interrupting Katie’s grilling. Fred almost let out a sigh of relief; he wasn’t particularly fond of discussing Missy with Katie.

"Daphne? You look wonderful." Katie said getting up and giving her a hug. "How have you been, take a seat, you remember Fred, right?"

"Of course, how could I forget? He liked to torment us the most," Daphne gave Fred a shrewd smirk. Fred smirked back, but he didn’t recognize her face. "I was from Slytherin." Daphne supplied seemingly. Fred immediately stopped smirking and looked over at Katie with a questioning glance.

"She’s alright Fred, she’s not like Malfoy, not all Slytherins are arses," Katie said rolling her eyes. Fred gave a quick reassuring smile, but it didn’t reach his eyes. He looked back at Daphne with untrusting eyes. Daphne shifted under his stare and turned back to Katie.

"Well I’m good Katie. Look I’ll call you later so we can catch up when there is more desirable company available. I have to get my aunt a birthday gift anyway." Daphne gave Fred a disgruntled roll of the eye and walked out to the back.

"Fred!" Katie rebuffed Fred. "She’s not that bad."

"She’s a Slytherin Katie, I never thought you associated with them."

"She was a prefect in my year Fred, but honestly grow up, Hogwarts was years ago." Fred scoffed and took another sip of Firewhiskey. Katie shook her head,

"Katie, it was mostly Slytherins that killed my father during the final battle, tortured him only because he was a blood traitor." Fred said his eyes darkening considerably. Katie looked down.

"Fred, I’m sorry," Fred finished his glass and stood up.

"I probably should get back to the shop, Verity is going to kill me for being gone so long." Fred put down a couple sickles on the table. Katie sighed and stood up and pulled Fred into a hug.

"Good luck with your mystery girl." She said winking. Fred chuckled slightly and shook his head.

"Well, don’t be disappointed when nothing comes of it." Fred said slipping out into the alleyway. He shook his head, it was true, he told himself sternly, and he was just protecting her now until she could remember her who she was. After that, he’d let her live her own life. Fred smiled to himself as he slipped back into WWW.

"Don’t go smiling like that Fred Weasley! Leaving me here with all these people!" Verity lectured, waving her finger at him as if he were a little kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar. "Next time, I’m just going to up and leave and see how you like fending for the shop all by your lonesome." Fred smiled and patted Verity on the head.

"I know how hard it is for you to function without me Verity dear, but you’re just going to have to accept that, - well we don’t really mesh well together, anything beyond working buddies we’d prob-"
Verity’s bark like laugh interrupted his speech.

"Fred, here you are again boosting your little ego, you know I’m surprised you can walk with that fat head of yours." Fred made a face at Verity. "Mature Mr. Weasley, real mature." Fred gave her a flamboyant grin before he walked over to some customers.

Dusk was settling around the shop, and Fred was busy restocking the nosebleed nougats; they had sold like hot cakes today. He told Verity to go home an hour before; the shop’s activity had slowed down considerably and she had claimed she needed to get ready for a date with a muggle boy by the name of Thomas.

Just as he was placing the box full of nougats on the front counter, he noticed someone outside the window. He stopped dead and almost dropped the contents of the box all over the floor. In the last moment, he quickly steadied the box on the counter, in doing so taking his eyes from the window for a quick second. Looking back through the window, no one was there. Fred scrunched up his nose in annoyance, this was the second time he had seen that strange man outside his window.

Fred picked up the box again; he wasn’t going to let it bother him. The man probably was just checking out the store. Even so, Fred put some extra locking charms on the store before he headed for the back to put away the stock. Pushing open the back door that still held that faded ‘Keep Out’ sign they made years ago, he let himself into the back room quietly.

"Hey mate," Fred nearly jumped at the voice. "Little paranoid little brother?" Fred made a face.

"Only by a minute and five seconds, you can hardly count that," Fred replied sharply. George jumped off the desk.

"Still!" The gleeful man grinned boyishly. Fred rolled his eyes and put the box down in the corner. "Hey, you wanna go down to Hogshead? It’s wing night tonight." Fred shrugged his shoulders. George gave him an odd look.

"I’m kind of tired George,"

"Mate, we haven’t seen each other in nearly a week, get untired!" George pushed further. Fred shrugged again; he still couldn’t figure out why the same person would be standing aimlessly out their shop twice in one day, it irked him.

"How’s the Hogsmeade shop?" Fred asked, folding his stocky frame into a chair.

"Why don’t you come and see for yourself, you can’t honestly wanna stay in the flat by your lonesome," George joked. "Kind of like a deadbeat."

"You know you really are an arse, Katie was just telling me that this afternoon. I tried standing up for you, but now I can see it more clearly."

"Dear old Kate would never say something like that about me," George said with a pout. "Plus there’s someone there I think you’d like to meet."

"Some sort of blind date or something George?" Fred asked in surprise. "You think I need a girl?" George snorted.

"You already have one," George ducked a blow from Fred. "You’re a defensive one, aren’t you?"

"Let’s go," Fred said gruffly. Grinning, George drooped his arm across Fred’s shoulders and the two headed out.

The bar was loud that night and Fred saw an assortment of different creatures around the bar already half drunk and it wasn’t even late yet. Fred went up to the counter and ordered some hot wings before heading to the table George was occupying.

"Right, so I’ve been trying to get the multi person thing going," George started. "I’ve gotten as far as being able to create multiples of the person, but the whole different personality for each, and getting them to appear in different places, has got me stumped."

"I don’t know, we probably could go work on it tomorrow after work or something, I’ll close early," but Fred could tell George had stopped listening. His focus was on something, or someone coming up from behind Fred. Fred turned in his seat to see what had captured his brother’s attention so vigilantly. He saw a young woman with long, dark brown hair open the bar door. Fred snorted into his glass, his brother looked like he would be faint at heart just at the sight of her.

When she moved closer, Fred was startled to realize that he recognized her. She was that medi-witch who let him go to see Missy the first time, and had also gotten him when she had that breakdown. She smiled at him and came and sat in the empty chair beside George.

"Fred, this is Morag," George started.

"We’ve met," Fred interrupted, smiling charmingly at the girl. George looked between the two. Fred winked at Morag suggestively, "It was one of the greatest nights of my life." Morag blushed deeply.
"Fred, that was supposed to be a secret," she said quietly looking down at her hands. Fred smirked as George’s blue eyes turned from a sparkling happiness to looking like a storm cloud.

"Sorry George, but I got to her first," Fred joked suavely.

"You arse-" George stood up with his fists clenched. Fred looked up at his brother and couldn’t help but start laughing. George looked startled for a moment at Fred’s reaction. Looking over at Morag, he saw that she was in the same condition as Fred. George cuffed Fred on the back of the head good-naturedly, their joke finally dawning on him.

"I can’t believe you fell for that, talk about mother bear," Fred said between spurts of laughter. George growled and sipped on a glass of Firewhiskey.

The evening passed into night, Fred looked like he had a few too many drinks as he was out on the dance floor dishing up some really hot moves with an older lady. George and Morag were sitting in a booth with their heads bent together in deep discussion about something or the other.

"We probably should get Fred before he decides to go home with that woman," Morag said looking up to the dance floor. Fred was dancing quite close to her and her hand was running suggestively downward. George looked over to his twin brother and snorted.

"He’s a big boy, he can take care of himself," George said shrugging it off and looking back over at Morag with a silly smile.

"George, you’ve told me a million times about Fred when he gets smashed, you’ve always said that if someone were to ask him to jump off a cliff he’d do it."

"He’d do the same thing if he were sober just so he could get the experience from it,"

"At least then he’d know what he was doing," Morag said stubbornly. "I mean look at him, he can’t actually be enjoying himself?" George sighed at being defeated and reluctantly left Morag to help his blundering twin.

"Hey sweettums, time to go home," George coddled taking Fred’s arm and leading him off the dance floor.

"Ger’off me, I wass juss’ having ssome fun!" Fred slurred, stumbling over his feet along the way. The woman he left stood erect with her hands on her hips and a frown on her face. Fred peered over his shoulder and gave her a quick wave and a wink. George pushed his brother forward a little harder.

"Mommy’s calling love, and if we don’t get that dirty face of yours cleaned up, she’ll know exactly what you’ve been up too," Fred for a second looked a little worried at George’s statement.

"She isn’, is she?" Fred asked his eyes wide with dismay.

"She will be if you don’t get your act together, that woman was nearly twice your age mate." Fred looked shocked at the news.

"Sshe said she was only 20," George snorted at his own twin’s stupidity. Fred followed his twin back to the table, waving at a few of the ladies at the bar on his way. Fred giggled when one of the girls blew him a kiss. "Mayybe I’ll jus’ go over there for a sec." George grabbed the back of Fred’s shirt collar and dragged him back over to Morag.

"I swear, he’s worse than a baby, he needs constant supervision because you never know when he’ll do something incredibly stupid." Morag laughed and looked over at Fred who was currently examining every cuticle on his fingernails. "We probably should leave before he goes and gets himself into trouble. One time, back in our days at Hogwarts, he got so bad that he went straight up to McGonagall and asked her for a shag, and that’s only the short version of what happened. Thankfully I got him out of there before she figured out that he was only slightly intoxicated." Morag snorted into her glass.

"He didn’t actually, did he?" George nodded through tears from laughter. Morag looked over to were Fred was sitting. He was completely oblivious to the fact that they were talking about him, or making fun of him, rather.

"Come on baby cakes, time to take you home," George teased. Fred looked over at George and Morag with big eyes, George stood up and grabbed Fred’s arm, heaving him up.

"Georgie, is mum going to be really mad?" Fred asked with a worried face. "I don’t want to get in trouble!" Fred looked very worried as he gazed up at George, looking very lost indeed. George rolled his eyes, and reminded himself to never let Fred drink too much ever again; he was too much of a nuisance.

"Let’s go, dork brain, before you go and hurt yourself." George pushed Fred out of Hogshead’s door and out into Hogsmeade.

"Georgie! The fun was jus’ starting!" Fred cried out shaking his hips wildly causing a few startled older witches to glance over at Fred in distaste.

"Shut up Fred, sometimes you’re such an embarrassment," George growled jokingly. Fred snorted.

"Me? Never!" George ignored Fred’s comment and grabbed onto Morag’s hand and whispered something into her ear that made her blush. Fred groaned and apparated back to his flat.

Sinking his head into his hands, Fred groaned loudly and wished the constant spinning away.

"Serves you right Freddie-boy," Verity said laughing from above him. Fred glared at her between his fingers. "Hey, don’t look at me like that! You shouldn’t have got so loaded up last night."

"Well someone should have told me that last night, this headache isn’t worth it!" Fred moaned from his seat behind the counter.

"Don’t you and George have that serum stuff?" Verity asked as she cashed in.

"We’re fresh out." Fred said with an annoyed clip to his tone. Verity laughed and opened up the shop.

"Well, you better get your act together buddy because I don’t rightly fancy running this shop by myself today." Verity said as the first customer walked into the store.

The loud rustling of medi-witches running back and forth seemed to be magnified in Fred’s ear as he walked to the front desk. His head was still a little fuzzy from last night but Luna had asked him to come in. As he got closer to the front office, he saw that it was Morag who was sitting behind the desk.

"Hello love," Fred said leaning across the desk with a huge grin across his face. Morag looked up from the report she was filling out and gave him a sour face. "That’s not the kind of welcome I expected from my own girl." Fred said wiggling his eyebrows at her.

"Fred, I can tell the difference between you two, you know that right?" Morag said chuckling. Disappointed, Fred pulled back and parked himself in the office chair. "How’re you doing Fred?" Fred gave her a disgruntled look.

"A lot better than this morning," Morag grinned. "Is Luna around?"

"She’s up with Mr. Lockhart right now, she might be there for a while,"

"Could you tell her I’ll be up with Missy?" Fred said, his lips curving into a smile. Morag nodded as Fred swept out of the office.

When Fred entered her room, the first thing he noticed was how dark it was. The curtains to the window were closed tightly and light couldn’t penetrate though them, seeing as they were magical. Fred could barely see the two feet in front of him little lone where Missy was.

"Missy?" He called out. He heard her rustling in the direction he knew her bed was. The next thing he knew, he felt her warm hands touch his arm. Jumping at her touch, Fred felt an unfamiliar quiver in his stomach. "You mind if I turn the lights on?" Fred said uncomfortably, his voice coming out higher than usual.

"I guess." Fred quickly switched the lights on and took a step back from her as if she had scorched him.

"Um-" Fred started. He rubbed the back of his neck, feeling slightly uncomfortable. "Why’d you have the lights off?" Missy looked straight into his eyes, he felt his stomach churn as he stared into her familiar honey brown eyes. Her eyes moved from his to a portrait of a famous wizard on her wall. The man wore flaring light grey robes with a ruby red sash tying them together. Fred knew him as the guitarist from Toad Breath. For a second he wasn’t sure what it was about the portrait that unsettled her but then he saw his eyes. They were as black as the devil’s.

"Every time since the first time I’d seen them, they give me the cobwobbles. I thought that if I just turned off all the lights I wouldn’t be able to see them anymore, but sometimes it feels as if those eyes are still watching." Fred kept still, unable to think of anything to say. She looked back over at him.

"I’ll just have that picture taken down then, won’t I? It’s not at all becoming to live in the dark." Fred said getting his wits back about him. Smiling delightfully down at her, he made his way to the photograph.

"Fred, you’re here, great," Luna said sweeping through the door. "Afternoon Missy." Luna smiled at Missy and walked over to Fred. "What’re you doing?"

"Taking this picture down, Missy doesn’t like it," Missy beamed up at Fred. Fred smiled back weakly. He was finding that just looking at her made him feel strangely. "Well, you needed to speak with me?" Fred asked.

"Oh yes, come with me." Fred smiled, glad for the chance to get away from these unsettling feelings, he wasn’t used to them. Giving Missy a tested smile, he turned to follow Luna out.

"Fred!" Missy said coming up to him, her eyes were filled with this delight Fred hadn’t seen come from her yet.

"Uh, yeah?" Fred said, he could feel his insides trembling as she stepped nearer. Frankly, he was terrified of what she did to him. Quickly, she wrapped her arms around his solid shoulders; Fred shook under her touch. But he was amazed to find that her embrace was more familiar than he would have known.

"Thank you," she whispered into his ear.

"For what?" Fred asked hoarsely.

"For helping me remember." Fred stiffened, did that mean…Fred pulled away and looked at her straight in the face. Did she know?

"Fred, are you coming?" Luna asked poking her head back into the room. Fred nodded, though he was staring wide-eyed at Missy. "Well come along then." Fred reluctantly pulled himself away and backed out of the room.

Luna led him down to her office and shut the door tightly. Fred lounged in the same chair he had when speaking to Morag.

"Tea?" Luna offered, pouring some for herself into a girlie pink teacup. Fred shook his head. "Suit yourself." Luna stirred her tea as if she had all the time in the world.

"So?" Fred urged. Luna looked up and almost looked startled that he was sitting there.

"Right," she said and putting down her spoon. "I have some good news and some, well, not so good news. Which will you have first?"

"The good news."

"Well, physically she is fine, she’s great actually. If it were just based on that we’d let her go," Luna said brightly. "Though emotionally she isn’t quite there yet, but that will only come with time. We’d probably even let her go with that if we were sure she would have stable care." Luna took a sip of tea. "Sure you don’t want some?" Fred nodded and crossed his arms casually. "That bad news is that we still don’t know what happened to her. That causes a problem. See, she can’t remember who she is nor can she remember what happened. So it leaves us with this huge puzzle we have to figure out. Even if we do solve it, a few crucial pieces in this puzzle would still be missing. So that makes it nearly impossible." Quickly, she downed the rest of her tea and then poured herself some more.

A soft tap on the door made Luna pause, an older witch peaked her head in.

"Luna, I’m heading out now, so you’ll have to do the final checks tonight."

"Okay, hey can you lock the back doors before you go?" The woman nodded and scooted out of the office. Luna leaned back in her chair. For a few minutes she remained silent.

"I haven’t said this to any of my superior’s yet. But I was talking to Augustus Pye again the other day and he had some other ideas on all this. Ever since he brought up the idea of the trauma induced blackouts I’ve been thinking about it a great deal. And it only makes sense to us. You know these seizures she’d been having? Well, I think that the only reason she has them in the first place is trauma. Augustus agreed as well. It’s something like an after effect, but they should go away. Pye actually went as far as to go to a muggle pharmacist and ask about that sort of thing. And it is possible to get some muggle medication that would stop these seizures."

Fred leaned back in the chair and thought for a moment of what Missy had said only a few minutes ago. He knew he had to share it.

"Just before I left her room, she said something that made me wonder if she did remember," Fred said carefully. Luna looked shocked.

"What did she say?"

"She said ‘thank you for helping me remember’," Fred quoted. "I wouldn’t expect her to remember everything, but-" Fred trailed off, not really sure what else to add.

Luna nodded in understanding, looking over at a clock, Luna yelped.

"Oh sorry Fred, I’ve got to do my rounds. I’m already five minutes late," Luna seemed flustered as she grabbed her clipboard.

"Right, well see ya," Fred stood up and left. For a moment, he contemplated going back up to Missy, but he decided against that idea. He wasn’t so sure he was ready to face her again.

Diagon Alley was already cloaked in darkness and the streets had a few less shoppers moving to and fro. It was almost peaceful here. Fred, instead of immediately heading to his flat, decided to take a stroll down the foggy cobblestone streets. Walking in and out of the street lamps that illuminated him only for a short while, he tried to remove her face from his mind, but it was impossible.

The mist in the air touched his skin so softly that he could almost feel her reach up and caress his face again. Fred stopped himself, and snorted. He sounded like a one of those guys who would hide in the corner of the closet and write poetry all night long. Truly pathetic, Fred thought to himself.

Lifting his face to the street, he stopped in his tracks. Was he mistaken in what he saw? In the shadows of Florean’s Ice Cream Parlour, Fred was sure he saw the strange man with the trench coat leaning up against the wall. Getting annoyed that everywhere he went, this man seemed to be, Fred averted his gaze and continued walking, hoping that the man hadn’t noticed him staring. But alas, he had. Fred watched as the man quickly started to shuffle away.

"Hey!" Fred yelled and ran across the street. It wasn’t the shop the man was watching, it was him. The other man started to sprint. Fred picked up his speed; he wasn’t about to let this guy go. He had seen him hanging around three times in the past two days, always wearing a low hat so he couldn’t be recognized.

Fred saw the tail of the trench coat flicker into a new alleyway before it was out of sight. Turning there as well, Fred noticed that they had turned into the breach between Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley. Fred followed as the man ahead wove in and out of some questionable looking witches.

Smiling, Fred let out a laugh. He was catching up. Fred was just about to jump onto the man when another wizard came rushing out of a store and barrelled straight into Fred knocking him to the ground. Fred cursed under his breath as he stood up and scanned the crowd. He couldn’t see the man anywhere. Cursing again, Fred walked a few feet ahead hoping to catch sight of him.

Fred sighed, this guy whoever he was, was a creep. There wasn’t any other explanation available. Just when he was going to head back, he saw the man duck out of a store ahead. Fred quickly dove behind a group of giggly witches so he wouldn’t be seen. The man looked back and forth a few times before he started down the street at a fast pace. Fred followed as quickly as he could without causing himself to be noticed.

The man turned into another alleyway again. Fred noticed that it was the alleyway that would lead back into Diagon Alley. He never learns does he? Fred thought irritatingly. Fred hastened his speed hoping to catch him unawares in the alleyway where they wouldn’t be disturbed.

Peeking down the alley, Fred noticed the man had slowed down considerably and had taken out a smoke. Swiftly Fred booked it down the alley and before the man could react Fred had pinned him against the wall of one of the shops.

"Who are you?" Fred hissed. "And why do you keep coming back to my shop?" Fred’s anger was apparent. The man didn’t reply but struggled to get out of Fred’s hold. He might have been taller then Fred, but Fred was much stronger and only held him tighter against the wall. "Well? Answer me!" Fred was yelling now. Getting tired of waiting, Fred ripped off the man’s hat.

Fred gaped at the sight before him, he just couldn't believe it, "Ron?" he gasped.

"Hello, Fred." said the man, meekly.

Authors Note: Oh and some of the spelling errors when Fred is sloshed are intentional because of his slight intoxication.

Chapter 9: His Guiding Light
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Fred shot back as if a brand had been taken and forced against his naked skin. Without Fred’s tight clutch, Ron slouched against the wall Fred had so brutally shoved him against.

"No, just a hallucination," Fred whispered, mostly to himself as a reassurance that he wasn’t going mad. Not even in the magical world could someone return from the dead. Fred tried to say more but only managed to open and close his mouth noiselessly, like a dummy without his ventriloquist. Ron shuffled his feet against the moist cobblestone street awkwardly, uncertain of what to do now that his cover was blown.

There was more than the width of the alleyway separating these two brothers. Five long years loomed over them and for once, Fred was at a loss for words.

Footsteps echoed down the alley causing both brothers to twist their heads around to see an old hag scurrying down the alley to Knockturn. The woman turned her beady black eyes onto the men, she let out an annoyed curse and pushed past them, they watched as her robes swished out of sight.

The interruption seemed to jolt Fred from the initial shock of seeing his brother. Ruffling his copper hair, Fred leaned casually against the opposite wall. Crossing his arms, one over the other, he let out a low whistle.

"Bloody hell," Fred said his eyes brightening. "So where have you been? I’ve always told mum you went to the Caribbean to get some sun on that pasty face of yours. For some reason she didn’t seem to believe me." Fred stopped as if to ponder the injustice of his own Mum not deeming his explanation reasonable. "But mate, I think you failed in your attempt, you look," Fred peered at Ron more closely. "Possibly more ashen then ever before. Well, that’s where I would put my vote if this was a democracy." Ron went a deep shade of red. Fred smirked in satisfaction at seeing his brother squirm.

But Ron didn’t answer the questions posed, instead he rubbed the back of his neck to loosen his muscles. His slow, deliberate movements showed that he had aged faster then he should’ve. If Fred looked closer, he would’ve seen the large bags under Ron’s eyes, eyes that seemed to be haunted, revealing the turmoil that ran through his veins like a drug. Fred didn’t notice though, or if he did, he simply opted to ignore it.

"You have no idea-" Ron started, his voice rough and grave. Fred snorted.

"Oh no, of course I don’t," Fred agreed amiably. "Haven’t seen you in over five years now, I wouldn’t know anything. But I guess you could tell me,"

"Shut up Fred!" Ron said angrily.

"It’s actually been a jolly old time without you. We haven’t had to put up with your constant whining these years, to tell you the truth, it’s kind of a shame that you’re back. Thanks for asking, by the way." Fred went on ignoring Ron’s comment. Ron glared at Fred, but Fred simply continued leaning against the wall as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

"Fred," Ron warned, his voice dangerously low.

"What? Am I hitting a nerve little brother?" Fred replied, his voice finally showing the animosity he felt towards his brother. Unfolding his arms, Fred smirked at Ron. He wasn’t really all that mad at Ron; well he was, but not really, if that was at all understandable. He was mostly annoyed at what he had done, or what it seemed he had done, that was more like it. Like he didn’t know what his disappearance would do to his family. It had killed them, and they had only just started putting the pieces of their life back together again. How were the rest going to take it? That was what Fred worried about the most.

"I was protecting her!" Ron burst out cutting off any snide remark Fred had left.

"Oh and faking that you’re dead is always the way to go about that then? I’ll be sure to remember that for next time I need to protect someone." Fred replied sarcastically stuffing an aggravated hand deep into the pocket of his robes.

"Don’t you understand Fred?" Ron shot back with annoyance. "If they knew I was still alive something-" Ron paused, trying to find the right words to say. "Something worse might have happened to her."

"What are you talking about?" Fred burst out. "You speak as if you know her." Ron looked shocked at his pronouncement.

"Surely Fred you’re not so dense that you don’t know," Ron said in disbelief. "Never mind. Can we just go and get a drink? I’ll explain," Ron said ruffling up his hair nervously. "I’ll explain everything." 

                                                               ***

"They don’t exist," Kingsley said. The rest of the Order looked at him in shock.

"Well then, who were they?" McGonagall asked. Concern was written across her wrinkled face. One question kept zooming through her brain. How could they not exist? Their life was written clearly across those cells.

"I don’t know Minerva, I ran them through our database and well, as I said, they don’t exist. I even took them to the Muggle Prime Minister to see if maybe they were muggles in the cells. But it appears that’s a dead end as well." There was silence in the room. Every corner they seemed to come to, they were unable to turn it.

"I think this is all going to come down to one thing," Lupin said with a sigh. He placed his face into his hands. It seemed impossible though. "We need her memory." No one asked the question that hovered over their heads as a mosquito does in the middle of the night -what if she never gets it back? Soon after, the meeting adjourned, leaving Lupin and Tonks alone in the house. Lupin stood up slowly and rubbed the small of his back. Tonks smiled and came up behind him.

"I guess we have the house to ourselves tonight," she whispered into his ear huskily. Lupin turned around, his eyes roaming over Tonks’ body hungrily. Tonks smiled as Lupin leaned down and captured her lips with his. Taking his hand, Tonks led him upstairs with a quirky smile on her face.

                                                                ***

The Leaky Cauldron was quiet that night, Tom was idly washing some cups behind the bar and a few other witches and wizards were scattered around the room. All of them though, were too wrapped up in their own problems to notice the brothers in the corner. Ron was silent as he sipped his butterbeer. Maybe he was trying to find the words to say, or simply trying to avoid the conversation that was bound to happen. Fred watched Ron intently, barely touching his own drink.

Ron finally looked up to meet his brother’s level eyes. His own eyes fixed.

"Well you see, it started on a bright August morning," Ron began.

Ron lay in his bed, staring up at his obnoxiously bright orange ceiling. It seemed to look down and mock him as if saying "hey, look at me I’m orange and happy, look at yourself you mopey slug!" Ron continued glaring at his roof hoping that maybe the ghoul would crash down from the attic and obliterate the ceiling.

As he was concentrating so much about the ceiling’s demise, he barely heard his door open nor did he hear whoever shuffle across his floor and settle on his desk.

"Such gloom is very unbecoming you know," Ron was startled to hear the voice, even more startled to see his light turned on. Turning to his brother, Ron glared at him for disrupting his deep thoughts. What right did he have coming in here unannounced? Ron turned away and decided to ignore him; he was only going to make some wisecrack or something stupid like that.

"You can’t stay in here forever. If you do, you might starve yourself, not that I’d mind, but Mum’s a totally different question."

"So what if I do? It’s not as if it really matters anymore," Ron spat out bitterly. If Ron had been looking at Fred he would have seen the flash of anger cross his brother’s face, anger that was rarely shown.

"She’s not dead!" Fred said with an annoyed clip to his tone.

"She might as well be," Fred frowned at his brother’s pessimism. Ron though, ignored Fred’s annoyance.

"Ron, you can’t do anything about it now. The Order is trying to track her down and we both know that’s probably as good as it’ll get, they’re the best!" Ron glared at Fred. Deep down he knew Fred was only trying to help, but his words fell short. He should be out there with the Order. Wasn’t he part of it too? She was the most important thing to him, couldn’t anyone understand that?

"What do you know? All you worry about is your shop and the next time you’re going to get laid," Fred looked as if he had gotten slapped in the face at his brother’s spiteful words. Shrugging his shoulders, he stood up from the desk.

"For all we know she’ll be on the other side of the country in some death eater encampment, nothing anyone can do about it." Fred said as he walked out of Ron’s room. Ron glared at the door as it slammed after Fred. He had never seen Fred angry before even though he was irate at his words, he had never been so shocked.

For the rest of the day, Ron stayed his room and refused to come down for dinner, even after his mother’s insistence. Loneliness coursed through his bones. One of the last times he had seen her alone, he had told her he loved her. The way her eyes lit up told him she felt the same way, though she never got the chance to say so as Harry had walked into the tent right then. He had never been so angry with Harry before.


Fred coughed into his almost empty drink. Ron looked up at Fred questioningly. Wiping his lips messily, Fred motioned for Ron to continue. Ron started talking again but Fred’s head was reeling. If she was the same girl that was in St Mungo’s Hospital right now, that meant, well that meant that they were in love with the same girl. But as soon as the thought clouded Fred’s brain he pushed it away. He didn’t love her; he couldn’t love her, he didn’t even know her name. Though by now that was becoming unmistakably clear.

By the time Fred could focus on Ron’s words he was already talking about Frimley.

The café was busy that night. It seemed as if everyone had the same idea and piled into the small place. Ron was sitting in the far corner, just staring out the window sipping on the strong tea. He had let the tealeaves sit for too long, accidentally of course. He had been too caught up in his own thoughts to register that his tea was darkening with every second.

The weather that day had been very unsettled and there was a light drizzle that splattered across the café windows. If Ron hadn’t been so wrapped up in his memories, he might have seen a man with long black robes across the street. As it were, Ron didn’t figure what was going on until a bright red light flashed by him. It was so close he was surprised it didn’t hit him. Jumping up, he clutched his wand at his side. Another jet of light flashed into the café, Ron dodged it as he rolled across the floor. The muggles around him started screaming and hurried to exit the building.

Following the crowd, Ron found his way outside and was shocked at what he seen. Houses were already up in flames and the screams of muggles around him were deafening. Ron closed his eyes and images of the final battle replayed themselves in his mind, the screams, the people lost. Shaking his head trying to get the horror out of his mind, he shot a stunning spell to a hooded figure. As the figure fell, Ron saw as a group of at least a half a dozen Death Eaters bursting out of a burning store across the street. Knowing that he was no match for the six of them, he quickly cast a few protecting spells on most of the villagers and buildings.

Fumbling inside his robes his felt his hands touch against a cold metal object. Ron pulled out the small phoenix ornament. It was a way to get a hold of the Order, it had been his father’s but Ron had taken it before he left the Burrow, no one else was going to use it. Once he relayed the position of the attack he apparated out, leaving the trinket on the ground in hope that someone would see and think him dead.


Ron stopped relaying his story for a moment as Tom came and filled up their butterbeers.

"Thanks Tom," Ron muttered and handed him a couple sickles. "And it worked," Ron said. "Moody found it, didn’t he? And you told him I took it with me before I left." Ron half smiled that his plan had actually worked.

"What about the Death Eaters? Didn’t they see you apparate away?" Fred asked. He knew that the Death Eaters weren’t stupid enough to assume he’s dead after the Order put out the reports that Ron had died in Frimley, especially if they seen him dissaparate. Ron looked down to his hands; a pained expression crossed his face. He obviously had hoped not to tell Fred.
"I had a decoy," Ron muttered almost inaudibly. Fred had to strain to hear the words.

"A decoy?" Fred asked, astounded. "Someone was willing to die for you? Not that it’s a surprise or anything." Fred sniggered. Ron turned red.

"No," Ron started. "He had already been killed by the Death Eaters. I luckily still had some polyjuice potion with me I changed him into me. I’m guessing the Death Eaters took the body to make sure I was actually dead or blasted the body till no returns. It's jammy though that they weren’t around him when he changed back to the real person." Ron didn’t meet Fred’s eyes. "That man he probably had a wife and kids, they’ll never know what happened to him."

"He would have been lost to them anyway, he had been killed," Fred said, though a little awkwardly.

"At least then they would have known!" Ron replied angrily. "I feel like I stole his identity, and he has no way of claiming it back, to the world he never existed."

                                                            ***

The wheels of the cart squeaked loudly as they rolled down the hallway of the hospital. The sound echoed down the quiet corridor, but it didn’t even startle the mice. Everyone should be asleep by now, well, all save one. That’s who this healer was going to go check on. Recently she had started refusing to sleep, saying that her dreams terrified her, they had to give her the dreamless sleep potion every night to let her have a restful sleep. The witch hummed softly to herself as she pushed the rusty cart down the corridor, she noted she’d have to fix the squeak later, the noise was starting to aggravate her.

Reaching the door, she knocked softly before opening it. As expected, the patient was sitting up in her bed and was reading a book the healer herself had provided. Upon hearing the entrance of another, the woman put down her book.

"You think you can sleep without this?" Luna asked as she withdrew the potion. "You might want to try, we’ve been doing this for a week." Missy bit her lower lip; she knew that if she stopped, everything would come back. It terrified her, every new memory scared her half to death. Sometimes she’d try fooling herself that they weren’t memories, but deep inside her, she knew. Part of her wanted to know everything, but the images that rose up in her mind like a horror film were enough for her to try and block it all out.

"I don’t think so," Missy said. Luna’s face fell.

"I really think you should try Missy, you can’t constantly try and fight them from coming. I wouldn’t even be doing this if I wasn’t so worried about you getting sick from the lack of sleep." Missy sighed; she knew Luna was doing her a huge favour. Luna smiled seeing as she won. "If you need anything, just give a shout okay?"
 
She heard screaming. Though that wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. It happened everyday in the back room. She didn’t know what went on behind that metal door and she never wanted to find out. The fear and pain in the eyes of the ones that came out was enough to squelch her curiosity. Looking around her living quarters, she noticed the others were trembling in the corners. Everyone was scared when those screams came, maybe not for the person in there, but for themselves. They could be next. It was really only a matter of time before they’d come and use every one of them. It wasn’t like they could hide being in these clammy cells.

She felt sorry for the person though, she felt like she should help them, but seeing the bars that held her encaged, she knew there was no way out. Slowly resting her chin on her knees, she leaned against the wall. Her shoulders shook from the chill of the stone wall behind her. She felt the wetness of the rock slowly seep into her clothes and soak through her skin. Though she paid no heed to her discomfort, it would only be minutes now before that door would be pushed open and the next chosen.

"Hestia?" A snivel came from across the cell. "Hestia, I don’t want to go there!" There was another ear splitting scream. All across the room you could hear a sharp intake of breath.

"They wouldn’t choose you Susan if their life depended on it! Whatever they want, they need someone who isn’t a wimp," A spiteful voice cut in.

"Helen, we’re all in here together, the least you could do is try to be nice," the girl called Hestia said angrily. "Susan, they haven’t taken anyone from this cell yet, hopefully it’ll stay that way."

"Oh Hestia, I hope you’re right!" Hestia smiled weakly though she knew Susan couldn’t see it. She hoped with all her heart that they’d leave this cell alone as well, especially Susan. Susan had been a wreck since coming here, and that metal door would only make it worse.

"Oh no."

An eerie silence hung across the room. The screaming had stopped. Before anyone expected it, the metal door slammed open and a string of curses followed. Obviously whatever they had been looking for hadn’t been found. One of the men lit the end of his wand and the light illuminated the whole room. Hestia saw the almost limp boy being pulled from the room. She watched as the men with black robes marched across the room with scowls on their faces.

"The Dark Lord is not going to be happy," one of the men, stated. The other grunted in response. Hestia felt her body give an involuntary shudder at the sight of the second man.

"Put him back in his cell, we need someone with the same blood type as his, maybe it won’t be completely useless." After the boy had been thrown back into one of the furthest cells the men walked along the rows and peered in each cell looking for their candidate.

"What about her?" The first man said pointing at Hestia his cold grey eyes glittering happily. "She has spunk." Hestia held her ground and didn’t blink or quiver away in fear. That would only make his job more delightful.

"No," Hestia could hardly hold back her surprise. She wasn’t the only on surprised, the man with grey eyes glared at the man. Black, hellish eyes met the stormy grey with defiance.

"She’s perfect," the first persisted and took out his wand to unlock the cell. But before he could even withdraw it from his robes, the other man pushed him harshly against the bars. His wand was drawn and pressed against the nape of the man’s neck.

"I said no, she wouldn’t do. What else do I have to say to make that any more clear to you? Other than go to the Dark Lord and trust me I have to qualms with that." The man threatened. He obviously held more authority over the first for the first winced and nodded.

"Take the one beside her."

"No!" Susan screamed as the grey-eyed man took hold of her. "No!" Her screams rose into a panicky sound. Hestia watched uneasily as they started dragging Susan out, she couldn’t let this happen. Not to Susan.

"Leave her alone!" Hestia screamed, standing up. The men stopped and stared at her, so did the rest of the captives in the room. No one had ever stood up to them for fear that it would be them instead. Hestia felt her legs quiver; she didn’t really know what she was doing.

"What did you say?" Hestia swallowed and tried to regain her confidence.
 
"I said, leave her alone,"

"And what makes you think we’ll do that?" The man scoffed.
 
"Take me instead," she spat, before she really knew what had come out. His grey eyes, danced with mirth and he let out a hollow laugh.

"There’s a hero among mudbloods," he cackled in amusement as he dropped Susan and grabbed strongly onto Hestia’s arm instead. Hestia heard Susan cry in relief as she passed her. Hestia felt the other man’s dark eyes bore into her back as she also walked past him.

"Don’t touch me," Hestia spat and yanked her arm out of the man’s hold. The man merely smiled but he didn’t try and take hold of her again. Bravely Hestia walked to the metal door, though inside she was screaming out. What had she been thinking?

"Ladies first," he said mockingly and bowed her into the room. Hestia walked in and before she was ready, the door slammed shut.
 

Screaming filled the air, but as her wild eyes searched the room she couldn’t find the source of the noise. Kicking of the blanket that covered her forcefully, she felt panic raise up inside her. Why was the person screaming? Shooting off the bed, she swiftly ran to the door only to find it locked. Her legs started to shake, she had to help them, couldn’t anyone hear her? Searching the room for a way out, her eyes fell upon four white walls. Enclosing her into it. The screaming got louder; jumping back onto the bed she covered her ears with her hands to cut off the screams. Why didn’t they stop screaming, the sound was starting to hurt. Couldn’t anyone else hear it?

Before she knew it she felt a pair of hands on her and a soothing voice filled her head.
"No!" her voice rose, why were they here? Why didn’t they go help the person who was screaming, they obviously needed it.

"Shh-" She looked up at them incredulously. Why were they shushing her? She wasn’t the one causing all the noise! Her wild eyes peered at the people crowding in her room. They all wore long white coats and one had this long blonde hair, she was the only one that seemed to dare get close to her. "Here, drink this," The lady with the blonde hair said. "It’ll be all right."

Pushing the drink away angrily, she wanted to yell at them. To tell them that they had the wrong person! Someone else was screaming, someone else needed their help, but it was not her.

"Go away!" She heard herself shriek deafeningly. The woman sighed and motioned toward the others. What were they doing? She watched as they came closer, her body started to shake and for some strange reason they still hadn’t done anything about the other screaming person. If it was possible to screaming had started to get even shriller.

Feeling their arms and hands pressing her down, then the weirdly textured liquid trickled down her throat. Tears sprang to her eyes.

"Fred!" She whimpered out. "Where’s Fred?" She looked into the faces desperately. But they ignored her question. Where was he? He was always there.

"Go to sleep now, it’ll be okay," Feeling her lip quiver, she just nodded her head. The screaming had mysteriously ceased and the panic inside her was subsiding slowly. The last thing she saw before she fell back asleep was the blonde smiling gently down on her.

                                                           ***

Leaning back in his chair lazily, Fred looked casually around the bar. They were one of the few left. Only a couple older looking women were leaning heavily on the table with a few glasses of wine surrounding them. Ron had lapsed into silence a few minutes before, the truth of the past finally revealed, had finally caught up with him, the weight of it silenced him for a time.

"There were so many times I thought of going home and just forgetting. Forgetting everything I felt and simply giving up. I never really understood quite why I never did, maybe it was the shame. I couldn’t face coming back empty-handed, especially after leaving as I had. I was afraid of what everyone would say or if you guys would even want me back. Stupid reasoning, I know.

“For years I simply wandered aimlessly around, I think at some point I even forgot what I was really doing anymore. I skipped from bar to bar and my goal became even more unfocused. Honestly, after all those years, what were the chances of her survival? But that’s the only thing that kept me going. It was her, my guiding light. The ‘what if’ in my life that kept me trudging through the darkness. Knowing that if she was still alive, however small that chance was, and I never tried, I wouldn’t be able to forgive myself."

Throughout his speech, Ron had not looked up from the depths of his drink. If he had only once chanced a glance at Fred, he might have noticed the conflicting emotions crossing his older brother’s face like an open book. Fred was sitting rigidly in his chair and his hands were clasped together so tight that the whites of his knuckles were showing. Though it was not from anger, but something more, something closer to the heart.

Finally Ron looked over at his brother, though he didn’t notice Fred’s deportment, he was searching, or maybe expecting Fred to say something, anything. But Fred didn’t meet Ron’s eyes. Instead he gazed out of the window watching as the rain hit the pane with a forceful splat. The splatter of the single droplet reminded him of how one small thing can have so many different consequence, maybe smaller, but by no means any less significant. Like how she had found her way inside him, and now Ron was back and the equal consequence was occurring.

"Excuse me boys, but I’m afraid that I’m closing for the night," Tom said as he melodically cleaned a cup with a dirty looking rag. Ron looked awkwardly at Fred for a moment, maybe he was surprised at how much he shared, or may just stunned that all he needed was someone to listen.

"Where you staying?" Fred asked, breaking the silence.

"In a motel in London." Fred again glanced out the window, as if he was contemplating asking Ron something else.

"Are you going to tell Mum? Or do I have the honour in saying that the lost sheep has been found."

"I’ll tell her," Ron sighed looking like he didn’t look forward to it. "And everyone else."

"Right, well I’ll see you later little bro." Fred stood up from the table quickly. His head had started to pound again and all he wanted was to go home and sleep. Though he doubted sleep would find him tonight.

With a quick handshake the brothers parted ways, Fred headed back to Diagon Alley, and only one face clouded his thoughts, and not even the rain could wash his slate clean.


Chapter 10: Godric's Hollow
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Godric’s Hollow. The place had seen so much. It had seen the cruelty of the human race and the greed of those too powerful to control. But it had also witnessed the endless love within its halls, enough of it to know that no matter what happens there is still hope.

As Ron stood studying the house for the first time, he felt a shudder run down his spine. He felt sorry for all of the suffering that had transpired behind its closed doors. He couldn’t help but remember all the lost dreams that had been crushed by its foundation. He found it ironically fitting in how Harry fell in the same house his parents had. Ron sighed and turned away from the house, something about the memory of it churned a feeling in his stomach; a feeling he had locked away years ago. Ginny had been there that night; he had never felt so thankful in his life when he read in the news that she had made it out alive. Though as much as he wanted to go see her, he stayed away hiding under the pretext that he was dead. They had already had the illusion that they had all three of the trio; he wasn’t going to let them know otherwise.

He started the trek up the winding path to Harry’s final resting spot. The rain that had made its presence known during the past week had momentarily stopped its stormy rage, but with one glance overhead it could be seen that it was far from being finished. Stepping over a rather large puddle, he let his soggy sneaker squish onto the grass following.

He had yet to reveal himself to the wizarding world. He felt like he should pay his last respects to his best mate first and until now he didn’t have to nerve to. Harry had saved his life more than a few times and where was Ron when Harry needed him most? Probably in some pub drowning away his sorrows, pretending that his problems were the worst. But seeing these graves rising up from the ground he knew that his own indulgences had been completely out of a selfish nature. Although he had convinced himself that every step he took was for her, he couldn’t stop this nagging feeling that he had been doing it for himself all along. That he had been running away from something, though he wasn’t even sure what that thing was.

Laying his clammy hand on one of the slick stones, Ron looked around at the unfamiliar names surrounding him. Even through the unfamiliarity, he knew he had one thing in common, they were people just like him. Witches and wizards that through time only made a small impact on the world before they were lost beneath the surface. Only in his case, he got a second chance.

Feeling his feet move without his consent, a few minutes later he found himself standing before his best mate’s grave. It was a simple grey stone, nothing too extravagant as he knew Harry would have preferred.

"Hey mate," Ron said after a few moments of silence. "Guess your kind of ashamed of how one of your fellow Gryffindor’s turned out, eh? I ran off like a dog with its tail between his legs. Real courageous I have to admit." Ron ran a hand through his hair and pondered what was supposed to be said at a grave, if anything at all. It wasn’t as if they could hear him or anything, right? Somehow he had envisioned that by coming here it would remove this huge weight that had fallen over his heart. But as he stood standing over his grave, he still felt nothing at all.

"Well, I guess-" Ron cut himself off in mid-sentence. Vaguely, he heard a crackling sound behind him as if someone was trying to sneak up on him, undetected. Standing absolutely still Ron listened closely for the sound to return. He had the feeling that whoever it was, they weren’t of ill intent or, at least they weren’t going to kill him without him knowing about it first.

After a few minutes of silence he heard it again, the sound was coming from behind him a little to the left. The quiet shuffle told him that it was someone who was smaller in structure. Quickly he whipped around with his wand held high, his eyes glazed over his surroundings. He had enough experience to know that it didn’t matter the size of the opponent, but how they used a wand.

Then there they were, standing a few feet away, their own wand raised against him. But his eyes weren’t watching that. The face that belonged to the intruder was the last one he’d expected to see that day.

***

Fred stood behind the cashier counter, it was his least favourite job but Verity had to take the day off and he couldn’t rightly let the kids get away without paying. Though at the moment the shop was fairly quiet, it was past lunch hour and most would be outside taking advantage of the weather. For once a downpour didn’t accompany the dreary clouds that hung outside.

It had been a week since he had run in with Ron and he still wasn’t feeling much better. It still seemed odd that one moment he didn’t have a brother and the next his brother was there. Dropping his head into his hands, he wished for a strong drink to calm his nerves.

"Excuse me mister, but what’s this?" A small kid with a shock of red hair asked curiously. Fred smiled at the kid, he was like a tiny George and Fred mixed into one. The boy was holding onto a small purple vial, usually boys older then him enjoyed the product more, but there was no harm in explaining it.

"Well you see, what you have in your hand there is a very fine and exquisite product," Fred started out dramatically. "Probably one of the best there is. All you do is accidentally spill some of the liquid into your friend’s drink-"

"Why would I spill it into my friend’s drink? They’re my friends," Fred had to smile at the kid’s comment.

"Well then, how about a teacher’s drink,"

"I don’t go to school mister."

"Or maybe someone you don’t like?" Fred asked with a raised eyebrow. The youngster laughed with delight. "You spill it into their drink, but the important thing is, you don’t let them know what you’ve just done or they’ll know what’s going on."

"Then what happens?" The boy asked excitedly while clapping his hands together in excitement.

"Then-" Fred paused for dramatics; the boy leaned forward in anticipation. "Then when your victim takes even one sip of his drink the next person he sees, he will fall in love with for a short time and they will follow their love around constantly." Fred had to smile at the boy’s disgusted look. It reminded him of Hermione’s when they were producing it back at Hogwarts, she tried telling them that it was almost like a love potion and that was illegal. He remembered trying to explain to her that it was only for a short amount of time and it wasn’t as if they wanted to be in love with that person anyway. Plus watching them spurting out love poems and tripping over their own feet in front of their love would be worth going to Azkaban for.

"Is that it? I don’t want to make people fall in love and all that hullabaloo, that’s disgusting!"

"Well there is this other thing, if you promise you won’t tell your mum you didn’t get it from here," Fred winked at the kid and moved around the counter to a small display called ‘Ghouls and foul smelling objects.’ Picking up a blue package from the display, he showed it to the boy. "You see this one here? Put one pill into the victim’s drink and viola he has an instant problem. Warts and open boils will appear all over his body and they will start emitting a very foul smell." The boy’s eyes brightened at the description.

"That’s brilliant!" The boy grabbed a couple packages and headed to the till.

"Oi, there you are young man! I turn my back on you for one moment and you disappear! What did I tell you about leaving mummy without telling her first!" A young woman lectured the boy as she burst into the store. At first Fred was amused by the boy’s ‘caught in the headlight’ look, but he was shocked to see that he recognized the woman.

"Now Morag, you don’t need to send some kid in here just to talk to me you know. You’re welcome any time you wish; we have a back room-" Morag gave Fred an exasperated look.

"He’s not just some kid Fred, he’s mine. And I’m sorry about it, he can be a bother. I don’t know where he got it from, I was never like that and his father was a complete bore."

"He obviously wasn’t too boring, he snagged you didn’t he?" Fred said with a wink.

"Maybe if you had seen him, you would have understood," Morag whispered under her breath while her boy was waiting at the till. Fred chuckled. "How’d you expect to pay for that young man?" Morag turned her attention back to the boy.

"You of course mummy!" He answered as if it were the most obvious thing in the world. Morag rolled her eyes and pulled out her purse. Fred made his way over to the till, his head still reeling that she had a kid.

"That’s one galleon and three knuts, ten percent off because you’re lucky," Fred winked at the boy.

"Cheers Fred, I guess I’ll see you later, are you coming by the Hospital later?" Fred paused for a moment. He had avoided going for a whole week. "She’s getting a little better I think. Though a lot of progress needs to be done yet, I think Luna was saying that she was figuring it out in her head anyhow."

"She was my guiding light", Ron’s admission ran through his ears. Was he moving in on his brother’s girl?

"Mum, let’s go, I want some ice cream!"

"Alright come on Chase, see you later tonight then?" Morag said though she didn’t wait for an answer and she quickly left with the troublesome boy trailing behind her.

***

"Who the hell are you?" Ron could hardly recognize the sound of his sister’s voice. There was harshness to her tone that had not been present before. It scared him that such an innocent girl had changed so much. "Who are you? Spit it out I’m not afraid to use this thing." Ron almost laughed at the irony of the situation. What were the chances of having two of his family members threaten his life within a week?

"Hey Ginny," Ron said. He could tell that his familiarity of his voice startled her. "Don’t you recognize your own brother?"

"He’s dead, so you better try harder then that. I’m giving you a chance buddy, though your kind hardly deserves it. I just don’t make it a habit of killing people with their backs turned." For the first time Ron seen the woman she had changed into. The harshness of the war had also taken its toll on her.

"Ginny, it’s me. I was never dead. In Frimley I faked my own death in order to get away from all this." Ron explained as he lowered his wand to his side. His action took her by surprise and she shifted her own feet, but didn’t lower the wand.

"Bullshit," Ginny ground out. "That’s what any Death Eater would say."

"Then why would I put down my wand? Bloody hell Ginny, go ask Fred, I’ve already had this conversation with him!" For a moment, Ginny looked like she didn’t know whether to believe him or not. The odds were too high against him; he knew it would take a miracle for her to lower her wand.

"I’m sorry," she said. Ron could tell that she partly wanted to believe him, but the consequences of that belief could be to high if he was lying. "Petrificus Totalus!"

***

Fred leaned against the doorframe of his bedroom; inside, lay sprawled on his bed, were notes to the morph potion. George had come over after work and the two of them had thrown some ideas on the table to get the product working properly. He had left just a few minutes ago, saying he had to go babysit Chase. Fred had himself a good laugh from thinking of George with the kid. George wasn’t too fond of little kids, said they were annoying because they pulled his hair too hard.

He had said he would look over the potion some more, but at the moment he felt like doing anything but that. They always worked better together anyway. Finally making up his mind he went into his room and pulled on one of his mum’s knitted sweaters. For some reason he loved them the most because they were so comfortable. Quickly he checked the time before he apparated out of his flat.

Appearing in front of what looked like a rundown toyshop Fred stepped up to it and talked into the dummy. Before he knew it he was admitted into the large Hospital. Walking through the large white reception he came to the waiting desk and not to his surprise Morag sat behind the desk chewing on some bubblegum.

"I dare say you have a lot of guts in entrusting your little tyke to my brother dearest." Fred said leaning over the counter. Morag looked up and flashed Fred a smile.

"Do I now? George said he’d be delighted to share his evening with Chase,"

"I’d bet he’d say anything in order to acquire a little gift in doing such a good deed," Fred winked at Morag suggestively. Morag blushed.

"Fred Weasley you are far too forward," Fred chuckled at her embarrassment. "Besides it’s hardly any of your business what goes on behind closed doors." Fred shrugged and started walking down the hall to the elevator whistling a little tune to himself.

The door was closed. Fred looked into the little window and saw her perched on her bed watching the telly. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail and the white sweat pants and t-shirt somehow made her look very endearing to him. Opening the door with a quick tap he announced his entrance.

"Enjoying your confinement I see," Fred joked. Missy narrowed her eyes at him.

"Tremendously so, how could you tell?" Fred laughed; he could tell she was feeling better today.

"I dunno, maybe it was the way your head was rested on the palm of your hand so heavily that if another one of those challenged commercials came on, your head would roll right off." Missy quirked a wide grin. "Or maybe it was the way you kept glancing out the window as if you wished for something more exciting to happen. Well your miracle has happened." Missy raised her eyebrow.

"What miracle has happened? So far nothing too great is occurring to me."

"Well, me of course!" Fred said making wild gestures to himself. "Surely you haven’t overlooked such a strong and handsome man like myself have you?" Fred fell down on one knee, grabbed onto one of her hands and looked up at her imploringly. Giving her his biggest and most convincing puppy dogface.

"All right, all right! I give up!" Missy surrendered. Fred smiled brightly and made a space on the bed beside her. "You look much too pleased with yourself."

"It’s not everyday a lovely lady, like yourself, lays down her arms," Fred said chuckling. Missy rolled her eyes. Fred opened his mouth to continue but she motioned him to be quiet.

"Shh, it’s starting!" Missy’s attention was quickly drawn back to the telly. Fred remained quiet at watched the show with her. But after a few minutes he poked her in the side.

"What’s this show called?" Missy gave him an irritated look.

"Seinfeld," she answered hastily.

"What’s going on, I don’t get it?" Fred questioned further.

"Just watch, you’re a big boy you’ll be able to figure it out." Fred stuck out his tongue at her. Missy pretended that she didn’t see that.

"Ha, I kind of like that guy with the messed up hair," Fred said later in the show. Missy smiled.

"That’s Kramer, he kind of reminds me of you," Fred made a childish face over at Missy, telling her how much he thought of that observation. "Well he does!"

"I’m much too sophisticated and classy to be compared to the likes of him," Fred whined.

"You just said you liked him," Missy pointed out.

"I would never say such a thing about another man!" Fred sputtered out as if he was very affronted at her remark.

"You’re exhausting, you know that?" Fred gave her a smug grin and tugged gently on her ponytail. Swatting his hand away Missy gave him a pointed frown before turning back to the sitcom.

"Yeah? Well you’re just too clever!" Fred said with fervour, his eyes going wider as if he had just discovered this point. Missy pursed her lips tightly together and ignored the wearisome boy.

After the show was over Fred leaned down and rested his head on Missy’s shoulder. "Wanna go for a walk?" He asked. "Get out of this little cage?"

"Can’t, unless I have a hospital personnel along." Fred snorted.

"Who said we couldn’t break the rules?" Fred suggested roguishly. Missy frowned. Fred could almost see the gears turning in her head; he almost had to laugh at how she had to mull over sneaking out. Missy started shaking her head when Fred reached up and grasped her chin to stop her shaking it. She immediately stopped her eyes going wide at his gentle touch. Fred removed his head from her shoulder and slowly shuffled around so he was facing her. Instead of the teasing glint that frequently shone across Fred’s face, a different emotion had replaced it. His calloused thumb caressed her jaw line tenderly, his eyes boring earnestly into her own. A shiver ran through Missy before she jerked away.

Fred shook his head as if trying to get something out of his head. Shooting off the bed his hand immediately ran through his shaggy mane.

"Oh, erm- so how about that walk?" Fred asked, trying to release the tension in the room. Missy gazed up at him; her bottom lip trembled as she looked at him. Fred didn’t understand the way she was looking at him. Even though her eyes were on him, it was like she was seeing someone else. "Missy?" Fred said, his voice staying low. She didn’t respond, but she stopped looking at him. Her eyes closed and a soft whimper escaped her mouth. "Hermione?" Fred’s voice was soft and cautious. Her face whipped up to meet his eyes. The look in her eye told him what he needed to know.

Taking a slow step forward, he tried reading her eyes. He wasn’t used to seeing the distrust that resided there. "Missy, I’m not-" Fred couldn’t even say it, couldn’t imagine the hurt she had gone through. "I’m not going to hurt you." Her mouth opened and closed, as if she wanted to say something but the words would come out. "I-I" Fred stuttered over his words, what could he say? He loved her? Yeah, that would go over well. With her and Ron both. "I couldn’t." He opted in saying instead.

"I know." Even though she told him she knew, he could still hear the fear in her voice.

"C’mon, let’s go," said Fred. He held out his hand letting her make the decision if she wanted to come along. She looked at his hand for a moment, and then at the man himself. Fred watched as conflicting emotions swayed her decision. Hearing her take a deep breath, he felt her warm skin press against his own. Smiling brightly down at her he curled his fingers in to intertwine with hers.

Seeing the fear slowly evaporate from her face, he felt a pang of guilt of being here with her. Quickly he pushed the feeling away and led her to the door. Opening up the door he stuck his head out. Seeing the empty hallway he pulled Missy through.

"Oh," Missy moaned worriedly. Fred smiled reassuringly down at her.

"Don’t worry about a thing, you’re with the sneakiest and most cunning prankster around, the moment someone catches me is the moment the world ends," Fred reassured her.

"Well then, should I be saying my prayers?" Fred let out a bark like laugh at her comment.

"Something like that," Fred said, still smiling. "Right, so the door is about halfway down this hall. There is nothing to hide behind from here to there, except that cleaning trolley and that’s after the door. So we’re just going to have to book it okay?" Fred whispered to her. Missy looked around her the hall was still silent.

"Why don’t we just walk casually so we don’t draw attention to ourselves," Missy suggested. Fred thought about it.

"Well, it’s not nearly as exciting, but it’ll do," Quietly the couple walked down the hallway and luckily met up with no one. "This is the next challenge we must overcome Miss. Gran-" Fred caught himself; he wasn’t supposed to let her name slip. "Our next mission is to know if there is someone beyond this door or not. And if there is someone there, then we have to know what to do." Missy laughed quietly."What do you suggest since you seem to be so clever?"

"We could open the door, and if someone is there, we run?"

"I like it. It’s quick and to the point, and I don’t have to remember all that much. I’m not very good and remembering things-" Missy clamped her hand over Fred’s mouth.

"Shh, someone is coming," she hissed at him. Fred quickly pushed her behind cleaning trolley before the door opened. Fred smiled innocently and tipped his head.

"Good evening Madam," he said grinning. A Healer gave him an odd look.

"Evening," the woman said.

"Just on my way out, lovely meeting you." The woman nodded and turned around and headed down the hall at a brisk pace. Fred waited until she disappeared around a corner before he brought Missy out from behind the trolley.

"Good with the running away I see," Missy whispered. Fred grinned and pushed his ear against the door.

"Dang it, I can’t hear anything!" Fred said. Missy giggled.

"Maybe that’s because there isn’t anyone there?" Missy suggested.

"Or maybe this door is impermeable to noise!" Fred said hysterically. "What if there is a gaggle of Healers waiting just beyond this barrier ready to take us in?" Missy rolled her eyes and pulled the door open and walked into an empty stairwell.

"Wow, that was almost too much for me to handle," Fred stuck his tongue out and Missy and tromped in after her, grumbling like a little kid.

On the way down they passed a few other witches and wizards on their way to visit their own loved ones, but no Healer or Medi-witch came into their path.

"Okay, the hardest part," Fred whispered as the stopped in front of a door which read main floor. "Reception area. This place is crawling with the enemy." Missy looked at him with worry.

"I don’t think we should be doing this, are we actually going out? I thought we were just taking a walk around the Hospital?"

"Where would the fun in that be? You’ve already seen these halls, they look all the same." Fred pointed out. "Okay so here’s what we’re going to do, we’re just going to walk out there and hope no one notices us." Missy gave him a look that clearly said the plan wasn’t going to work. "C’mon, we have to stay optimistic! Ready, let’s go." Fred pushed the door open confidently and the two of them strolled into the reception area, their hands intertwined.

At first things went all right, the reception area was so busy no one noticed the copper head or the girl wearing the white hospital clothing. Fred thought that luck must on their side because as he looked ahead, the door was so close he could almost taste the freedom.

"Excuse me! Where do you think you’re going?" A shrill voice rang out silencing the noises that accompanied the waiting room’s usual hustle and bustle. Fred turned to see a stern woman that reminded him vaguely of McGonagall storm toward him with some security wizards behind her. Missy’s eyes went as wide as saucepans.

"Oh dear," she whispered. "We’re done for." Fred smiled.

"Not yet, run!" He screamed out and quickly he dashed towards the door, pulling Missy behind him.

"Stop them!" The woman yelled. Fred dodged some of the people trying to grasp onto them. Pushing the door open with his body Missy and Fred crashed out of St. Mungo’s. Missy screamed as they fell forwards. Fred quickly stood up and he continued running.

"Oh!" Missy yelped, half in the excitement of escaping and half out of fear of what would happen if they were caught. "We’re going to be in so much trouble!"

"Rubbish! We’re only in trouble if we’re caught." Missy gave him a hard look, but he didn’t see it as he was setting the pace of their escape.

"They already know you have me!" Fred grinned devilishly at her.

"Well then, since they already know, we might as well have all the fun we can." Running down the many streets of London, Fred finally stopped to catch his breath. Missy stood beside him, her sides heaving.

"Where to?" She asked after they had a few minutes to calm down from the adrenaline rush.

"The world’s our playground," Fred said spreading his arms out wide.

"How about a real playground?" Missy asked with an arched eyebrow.

"Thought you’d say that, c’mon I think I know where one is." For a few minutes they walked in comfortable silence. As they walked, Fred was surprised to see how normal it felt to have her by his side and having no one give them a second glance. It felt good. Almost like that this is how it should be.

Ron’s face clouded into his head then. Fred tried pushing it away stubbornly; he didn’t want to think about that right now. Scrapping his shoes against the wet cobblestone streets angrily, Missy looked up at him, startled. But he ignored her unasked question and continued on down the street.

"I don’t think we’re going to find one," Missy said after a while of walking aimlessly about. Fred looked up; he hadn’t really been paying attention to where they were going. He probably missed the turn off. Feeling guilty that he wasn’t paying Missy his full attention, he sighed. What Ron had told him was still ringing clear in his ears, and every moment he spent with Missy, the worse he felt about it.

"Guess not," Fred said. "Apparently I don’t know directions all that well either."

"Yeah, basically you’re just a failure at life now," Fred looked at her and laughed. Her comebacks never ceased to amuse him.

"Well, it’s already real late, I probably should release my captive because they send the hounds after me."

"The hounds?" Missy asked, unfamiliar with the context.

"It’s when- oh never mind. I should get you back though. Before they really do something drastic to get you back." Missy nodded. It would probably be for what’s best.

Missy looked up at Fred and though the darkness covered most of his features she noticed a distinct frown on his face. Reaching up she touched the side of his face. He blinked rapidly and his eyes focused on hers. Fred watched as her eyes searched his own. He felt like an open book to her, all she had to do was look and everything he was feeling would be laid bare for her to see.

Apparently she found what she was looking for because she smiled and retracted her hand from his face. Fred felt his head move involuntarily towards the warmth of her hand again. She smiled more warmly.

"You’re a good man Fred Weasley, you know that?"

"I try and hide that under my rough, manly exterior, don’t tell anyone you know otherwise," he whispered back, his voice thick with emotion. Standing on her tiptoes she reached both hands up to bring down his face before giving him a quick kiss on the cheek. Fred leaned back a goofy smile playing on his lips. Though it was only a kiss on the cheek, it was a start.

Before he could stop it a face flashed through his mind. Ron, it was the last thing he wanted to remember at this time. But the more he tried pushing him away, the more dominant the thought became. Swearing under he breath he took a step back from Missy. He couldn’t let this happen again, no matter how much he wanted it.

Ron technically loved her first, and once she fit the remaining pieces of the puzzle together there was one question that entered his head. What would she remember? He didn’t want to make it any harder then it already was.

"We better go," Fred said rather hastily. Missy gave him a confused look, but he refused to meet her in the eye. Turning back aground he started going back briskly. Missy jogged to catch up with his walk.

Before they knew it, they had already reached the store that took them to St. Mungo’s. He stopped in front of it, only a little surprised that there wasn’t people here waiting for them.

"Well I think I’m just going to stay here, who knows what they would do if I came in again. Is that okay?" Missy nodded and quickly she headed back into the St. Mungo’s the way the Order had shown her when they admitted her without saying goodbye to Fred.

Fred watched her go with a gloomy look upon his face. This was the last time, he vowed, he would visit her. Turning after she disappeared, he apparated back to his flat.

Swearing to himself he pushed open the door. He always ended up apparating into the broom closet; it was starting to drive him mad. He didn’t even own a broom. Stepping out of the closet his eyes were taken aback by the darkness that surrounded him. Hadn’t he left the kitchen light on? Shrugging his shoulders, he had probably just forgot to leave it on. Fred ambled from the closet, but before he got very far he stumbled over something blocking his path.

"Errg!" Fred moaned and rolled off the huge object in his way. "Bloody hell," he looked down at what he tripped over. "Ron?"


Chapter 11: Just Maybe
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Fred stood up and observed the motionless Ron; he could tell Ron was under a curse. But instead of releasing Ron from his plight, Fred quickly walked passed Ron with his wand held high. He speculated who had found Ron, and why they would bring him here of all places. Heading down the hallway Fred reached the dark living room; a dark figure was draped across his leather couch. Fred walked closer and peered at the sleeping figure; putting down his wand, he snorted.

“Really, falling asleep on the job? If this was a real hold up, the captor should still be awake.” Fred said, projecting his voice so that it was a few times louder than normal. Ginny jerked awake and blinked sleepily at her older brother.

“Whas’it?” Ginny asked blearily. Fred chuckled and flopped down beside her. Groaning loudly she pulled her feet from under his sturdy frame. “Gosh Fred, cut down on those pastries will you?”

“But they are ever so good, and truly I would rather be fat and round for the rest of my days then to never eat one of those deliriously tasty devils,” Fred replied dramatically. Ginny snorted and sat up straight as if she just remembered something.

“Didn’t you see him?” Ginny demanded. The hostility from earlier quickly returned to her face.

“Who, Ron? Of course I did! I tripped over him as I came out of the broom closet.” Fred said, irritation entering his voice. This night was really chalking up for him; the last person he wanted to see was Ron to remind him of earlier.

“Yes Ron you dolt! What is wrong with that picture?” Ginny demanded in exasperation. Fred looked at his sister in amusement.

“That’s all I get? No, ‘Hi Fred, it’s good to see you. Sorry I haven’t found the time to come from my niche in Ireland, but I’m been just so busy with Seamus you know,’” Fred joked, knowing that his dismissive attitude would push her buttons. Ginny huffed angrily as Fred peered at his fingernails as if they were the most interesting things in the world.

“Fred Weasley! This is not the time for your jests; Ron is dead, if that small fact had somehow managed to surpass you. So please, can you explain why he is in your hallway?”

“Maybe cause you cursed the poor bloke and brought him here?” Fred suggested innocently. Upon seeing Ginny’s frustrated look, Fred few serious. “He-“ Fred paused. “He was never dead.”

***
Missy sat on the hospital bed with the crisp white blankets pulled high up to her chin. The telly was softly humming beside her, but she took no notice of the characters on the screen as they acted out another scene in their life. Her mind was trapped elsewhere. Maybe in the grey area of what happened and what was a hallucination.

When she got back from her escape with Fred, they had been righteously angry with her and she was sure that Fred wasn’t going to get off scot-free. The head lady, the one she liked to called Dragon, had muttered something about kidnapping he should be punished. Though she wasn’t sure what the word meant anymore, it didn’t sound at all agreeable. They had even put a guard by her door, saying that they needed to monitor the people entering her room. Though she was positive that the guard was there to keep her in just as much as it was to keep everyone else out. Stupid hospital security, Missy thought with annoyance. They didn’t want to risk another disaster, though Missy could hardly fathom why, it was only Fred. It wasn’t as if he would have stolen her away forever or anything.

She had been ready to tell him that she remembered. Well, at least, remembered enough so not to be frightened of it. She was still frightened of course, but the fear didn’t come from the things that weren’t understandable as if had been before. No, she was only apprehensive of the things that had transpired in that dark cave. The cave that seemed to have all the answers; yet, it held its secrets within the deepest if its caverns. She had almost ready to spill her guts out to him, but after seeing the look on his face after that kiss on the cheek, she sealed her lips. Never in her life had she seen such sadness, yet certain hardness enter another’s eyes before. Though, unsure if that counted since she could barely remember anything, just a few events she managed to piece together in her head, so how would she know if she had seen that look before?

Missy supposed some things are better kept to oneself. It is her problem and burdening Fred with if didn’t seem fair. He had done enough already. She could hardly imagine him wanting anything to do with a silly girl who didn’t even know who she was. He was so upbeat and spontaneous, everything she felt she wasn’t, though she hardly knew if that were true, it just seemed to fit.

Missy sighed and turned to face to wall. The pure whiteness of it glared back at her; there was not a single scuffmark on it. It was perfection. Something she couldn’t even imagine her life being. She briefly thought that she should turn the light out before she remembered that the Dragon wanted to talk to her still. They were just finishing up filling out some missing patient forms or something. Missy let her thoughts roam back to Fred; they did that a lot lately. She was surprised by what was happening. It felt almost forbidden, like, these feelings inside her had been expected to be for someone else. But expected by whom? That question remained unanswered. Missy shook her head, dismissing the thought. She didn’t know where it had come from. It was as if it drifted out of midair like a piece of dust and had planted itself inside her mind.

It was funny how the heart works. Her logical side was telling her that it wasn’t possible to care for him when she could barely feel herself, but her heart said otherwise. Was it fake then, was she just getting attached to him because he was the first there when she needed someone to lean on? Would it have been the same if that man at the ice cream parlour been in Fred's place?

Missy placed her hands tightly on her head. It was too much to think on, her brain was starting to spin. Plus the way he looked at her when he said goodbye nearly told her that she wasn’t going to see much of him from here on out. So these thoughts, these feelings meant nothing. It felt that his taking her out like he did was a sort of farewell on his part. Maybe that’s what is for what’s best, sometimes things aren’t meant to work out. These things are just placed into a person’s path to make them stronger. Maybe in the whole scheme of things, Fred was only around to help her find herself. Nothing more. Maybe she was meant for something bigger, something much more- just more she thought to herself. Just maybe… But as these thoughts settled she couldn’t help but feel the hollow pit of her stomach seem to grow larger.

Turning back on her back so she could stare at the roof, she started to get annoyed by how long it was taking. Part of her wanted to go to sleep so she could, for a time anyhow, ignore these thoughts that keep flagging her mind. Another part of her knew that no matter how hard she tried, sleep wouldn’t come.

Just then, a business like rap echoed from the door, and a lady with long billowing white robes strode in with a tight frown etched across her features. Her steel hair was cut short to her head and her striking blue eyes would stop any normal person in their shoes. She must have been very pretty in her day, Missy caught herself thinking. Even if she wore that frown, the boys would have been chasing her as if their life depended on it.

She had her sleeves rolled up her elbows and a silver quill tucked behind her right ear. Missy sat up straight in her presence; there was something about her that commanded complete attention.

“How are you feeling?” The Dragon asked, though her tone was brisk and Missy knew it was the last thing she wanted to know.

“I’m fine ma’am,” Missy replied. It felt as if she had to pay the utmost respect to this woman.

“Good,” Missy waited for her to continue. “Do you have any idea what you might have done this evening?” Her voice had turned hard within moments. It was a voice that you didn’t mess with.

“Erm… I just went on a walk with Fred. It isn’t as if he would have kidnapped me, whatever that means. Its just Fred.” Missy said, voicing her earlier opinion.

“But what would happen if it hadn’t been just Fred as you put it. What if it was someone who wishes to harm you?” Missy stopped, she could think of someone who might, but she didn’t know what had happened to him, couldn’t remember if he was still out there somewhere, just bidding his time to get her back. Or if how she escaped had taken him out as well.

Missy let out a little grunt and looked at her fingers uncomfortable.

“Not only that but you could have single handed blown out whole cover! Just look at what you’re wearing, if anyone had seen that…” Missy looked down and noticed what she was talking about. A plastic band was wrapped around her wrist. ‘St. Mungo’s; a hospital for the sick wizard or witch. Patient 2245.’

“The muggles could have found out about his world! All of our precautions would have been breached and we most likely would have been crushed just like they did in Salem!” The Dragon took a deep, calming breath.

“Witch-Burning?” Missy asked her brows creased in thought. The Healer gave her a sharp look.

“How do you know that?”

“I don’t know,” Missy responded quietly. She honestly didn’t know how she remembered or even thought of witch burning it had just come her and it seemed right. The Dragon let out a sigh.

“I know you don’t understand where you came from or how you fit into this world. I can’t imagine what it would be like to be told that you belong to something this extraordinary. But there’s one thing that must be understood. Our secrecy is one a very dangerous edge right now and if one domino accidentally got knocked down it’s outcome could effect the whole world, not just you.”

“But wouldn’t people want to use this ability that we have, for their own use?” Missy said it felt like she was echoing someone else’s words.

“Yes, some would try to exploit us, but a lot would be scared of it I dare say. Scared of things that they don’t understand, maybe even scared enough to try and do something drastic to stop it.”

“Oh,” Missy replied unable to think of anything else to say.

“That’s why you need to promise me that you will never try to sneak out again. The consequences could mean your life.” Missy thought it was a little radical to say her life depended on this, but she let it slide and agreed to be a good girl. She had never really known a reason to randomly break the rules anyway. If you just followed them, usually it would seem as if they weren’t even there. Missy shook her head again, shocked at where these thoughts were coming from. Deep inside she knew that they weren’t new, but had lain dormant in the recesses of her mind only now as if a key had slowly started to unlock a door these thoughts were returning.

“Goodnight.” Missy was startled to see the lady was still here. It had been a few minutes of since either of them had spoken.

“Bye.” Suddenly Missy felt very tired. It might have been the talk or the onslaught of these thoughts; the pieces of whom she is slowly fitting back together. It seemed as if the remembrance of these vague memories drained her of her energy and left her muscles aching. Feeling herself relax she saw the Dragon, though she wasn’t sure if the name was fitting anymore, turn off the telly with a flick of the thing she called a wand and the next thing she knew she was surrounded by darkness. Feeling the familiar heaviness in her head that happens when one is about to fall asleep she let he body sink into the bed. She couldn’t remember a time that it had felt so good. Sensing her body relaxing even more her eyes fluttered a few times before sleep pulled her into its grasp.

***
Ron, after being released from his curse, sat, leaning against a wall his head in his hands, the remorse of what he done weighed heavily on his shoulders. The three family members had let silence reign after Fred spoke his final words.

Throughout his story, Ginny had moved and was sitting on a chair in the kitchen. Surprisingly, she had remained deathly quiet through Fred’s explanation. It would have almost seem as if she hadn’t taken any of Fred words in except that she kept throwing looks over at the hallway, where Ron had lain. Even now, she couldn’t find any words to say. But, maybe in times like these, there were no words a person could really say to make the past five years go away.

“Oh Ron,” Ginny finally sputtered. Her brown eyes filled with tears as she stood up and quickly made her way across the small flat. Enfolding her arms around her older brother, she kept muttering something about how she had missed him so much.

“I loved her so much,” Ron said hoarsely. Fred, who was still sitting on the couch, held back an angry snarl. But he couldn’t stop his face contorting to a dangerous frown, but Ginny and Ron where too busy to notice Fred’s change.

“If I heard right Ron, Hermione, well she’s not gone!” Ginny said, excitement entering her voice. “You guys get another chance. You’re lucky, not many get that.” Ron nodded.

“But what if she doesn’t remember?” Ron asked, looking at Ginny. Before Ginny could answer, Fred stood up with an angry swear. Ginny and Ron both looked at Fred with surprise. He looked at them, his face contorted with resentment.

“Thirsty,” he muttered before he marched irritably over to the kitchen where he proceeded to pull out a small bottle of firewhiskey and clanged it hard against the counter. Swearing again he opened the bottle and took a long swig of the drink.

Ginny decided to leave Fred to his devices and turned back to Ron.

“She’ll remember Ron, maybe not right away. But when two people share something as strong as it seemed you two had, those feelings can’t simply be erased, it’s something deeper than memory, deeper than anything in this world. No one can take that away.” Ron nodded, but he didn’t look completely convinced. Fred glared at his brother, before controlling his features. It was fair, Fred thought, Ron deserves her. He would never forgive me if I tried to take her away from him.

“I think we should tell them, the Order, I mean,” Ginny said. “And mum.” Ginny looked at her brothers, neither seemed excited over the idea. “Don’t you think Fred?” Fred looked at his sister and tried covering up how sad he felt inside. It wasn’t easy trying to give up someone your heart had let itself get close too.

“Yeah, we probably should.” Fred agreed and took another long drink. Ron nodded as well.

“There are some other things they have to know too, we could go now?” Ginny nodded her agreement. “It’s been far too long, and you guys have had her for six months, I’m surprised nothing’s happened.” Ginny gave him a worried look at those words, but Ron gave her a reassuring smile and stood up. “Ready Freddie-boy?” Fred gave Ron a mock look, but nodded his head as he finished the firewhiskey. Ginny shook her head.

“The Burrow?” Ginny said, and then three pops were heard.

***
There was a noise in the middle of the night. It was only a quiet one, the sound a mouse might make when he’s scrounging for good. No one should have worried about it, but Missy shot up in her bed in an instant. The sound had come from in front of her closed door. Not quite understanding why her heart was hammering as fast as it was, she tried to settle back down in her bed, reassuring herself that she had merely dreamt it. Only a few moments later though, her heart jumped again. The door was slowly being opened, letting the hall light illuminate her room. Watching as the outline of the doorway get larger and longer, she couldn’t stop her heart pounding. There should have been a shadow, saying someone was there, but by the looks, it was as if a ghost was there. Suddenly one was there, Missy watched out of the corner of her eye as the huge figure blocked out half of the light.

A familiar chill ran up her spine, she opened her mouth to scream, but found that she couldn’t find her voice. It seemed as if just seeing the shadow had paralysed her from head to toe. What was he doing here? Shouldn’t he have been dead? Missy gripped her blanket tighter and told herself that it might not have been true. She couldn’t remember what she did to get away. Though something told her, he should have been gone. Squeezing her eyes shut, she relied on the fact that she couldn’t do anything; she hadn’t been able to before. Where was the guard?

All these thoughts ran through her head before the shadow moved, then as if in slow motion, Missy sensed that he had taken a step into her room. What was it about this presence in her room that rendered her senseless? Her muscles felt so tight that she was sure a drill would be needed to uncoil them.

Slamming her eyes shut, the old child line came to her. If I can’t see you, you’re not there. For some reason, she didn’t think that it would apply here. Missy’s breath got shallower, and she was sure that if she took the chance to look, the stranger would be standing right by her bed, his rank breath breathing rapidly just by looking down at her. Then she heard him, his voice was raspy with neglect, but the effect of it, still had the same result. It was spoken quietly, almost too quietly for her too hear, but she had no doubt what his word was.

“Hestia-”

***
Ron, Ginny, and Fred arrived at the Burrow. To their surprise the living room light was still shining into the darkness. Their mum must still be up. They had called a meeting for the Order, but by the time the rest of the people arrived, they’d have time to reveal Ron to her. Linking arms, they pushed the front door open.

“Mum?” Ginny called out.

“Ginny dear, is that you?” Mrs. Weasley said, excitement laced her voice; she hadn’t seen her daughter in a while now.

“Yes mum,” Mrs. Weasley came hurrying around the corner, her warm brown eyes glistening with tears.

“Oh my baby!” Mrs. Weasley started to say, but stopped dead. “Ro-Ronald?” she sputtered out. “What foolishness is this?” Mrs. Weasley didn’t move any closer. Her eyes darted wildly between all three children as if they were playing some horrid joke upon her. Uncomfortable Fred ruffled his copper hair, as if it would lessen the tension that had suddenly entered the room. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to help.

“Mum,” Ron said, his eyes grew misty with tears. “I-” Ron choked; he’d never been very good with words. “I’ve found my way back home.”

“Oh, of course you have,” Mrs. Weasley said after a few moments of indecision. Coming quickly forward, she engulfed Ron in a tight hug, her eyes spilling forth. “I knew you weren’t gone, something told me to keep looking out my window and one night, you’d find your way back. That stupid clock put you on lost instead of dead. I thought it was just fooling with me so I smashed it!” Mrs. Weasley snivelled into Ron’s shoulder. “But it was right all along!” Mrs. Weasley let out a loud howl. Ron patted his mum awkwardly on the back and looked up at Fred and Ginny who were both giving him roguish grins.

Just then, the rest of the Order started showing up. Fred and Ginny quickly hid Ron away, not wanting to start a commotion even before the meeting began.

“So, why are we here?” Tonks asked, blowing a huge, pink bubble from her mouth. They hadn’t needed a serious meeting in a long time; this was news to them. Lupin smiled at his wife, and patted her gently on the leg.

There was silence for a moment. Then Ginny hit Fred on the leg signalling him to expose Ron. Fred glared momentarily at Ginny before he coughed and stood up hastily. Everyone looked shocked to see Fred fronting this whole thing; even George was a little bewildered.

“Um, well this past week, we’ve had erm- an occurrence,” Fred stopped, knowing how stupid and unconvincing he was sounding. But what was he supposed to say? This wasn’t supposed to be funny, so that didn’t help him one bit. “There was someone who we believed to be dead for quite some time now, but it appears now, that he wasn’t.” The people at the table gave Fred an interested but confused look. Mrs. Weasley on the other hand gave a joyful yelp. “When he comes in, please just listen to what he has to say, he may have some information about You-Know-Who’s lair.”

Ron entered then, but no one heeded Fred’s request. There was a huge commotion when they seen him, Tonks tripped over her chair in haste to get to him, Lupin though stayed in his seat, and looked sceptically at the newly risen from the dead. Awkwardly, Ron let Tonks hug him; she was sobbing and lecturing him never to be such a wet blanket again. Ron had to admire how she could be crying, yet sound so demanding at the same time. A few other Order members yelled out their welcome, Ron nodded and quickly sat in the empty seat by Ginny.

“You sure this is him?” Lupin asked sharply looking Fred directly in the eye.

“Yes Lupin, I’m positive.”

Revealo,” Lupin said. “Just to be sure that in your need for him to be Ron, he didn’t put a blindfold over your eyes.”

When nothing happened at Lupin’s spell, he seemed to settle down, though he still eyed Ron warily. A few minutes after their inquiries of where he’s been, the Order gave Ron their full attention.

“For the last year or so I’ve been tracking this man, he was one of the Death Eaters and I’m positive he was very high ranking. His name is Rolf Sprinestein. He went to Durmstrang as a child, and trust me he is very well adept to the Dark Arts. He’s proven that in the few encounters I’ve had with him.”

“What makes this man so important though?” Tonks asked. “Yeah, I know all Death Eaters that weren’t forced are to be convicted to a lifetime in Azkaban, but is their something special about this one?”

“I’m getting to that,” Ron said, his hand ran through his shaggy hair. “What I’ve been able to gather, in that cave hideout they had. They used their prisoners for something. I’m thinking to generate something, or create some new weapon. Everything was either gone, or destroyed when I was down there so I couldn’t really figure out what was going on.”

“We found these,” Kingsley said, laying on the table the sheets of parchment they had discovered while there. Ron took them and looked over them with a grim look on his face.

“Fake names I’m guessing, probably to keep their operation secret, just in case something happened. Something like the end of Voldemort.” Ron strayed into silence then as he stared at the sheet. “They called her Hestia-” He whispered, it was as if he wasn’t talking to them and maybe he wasn’t. Maybe he was just remembering some far ago memory.

“They called who Hestia?” Lupin ventured. Ron looked up, as if just noticing they were there. His eyes were cloudy and he carried this faraway look in his deep-set brown eyes.

“Hermione,” he whispered. Silence followed Ron’s pronouncement. No one said anything, but everyone was thinking the same thing. It was funny how an event that happened to long ago, the story of it could still have meaning today.

Ron seemed gather his wits again and he looked over the Order with more assertion.

“That girl that you have at St. Mungo’s; the one you call Missy.” Ron stared. The Order nodded, knowing whom he was talking about. “She’s not safe.”

“Why’s that?” Kingsley asked. “St. Mungo’s has top notch security. Plus, I do believe they put a guard by her door because of a certain outing this evening.” Kingsley looked merrily at Fred. Fred blushed a little and looked at his hands.

“Have you ever wondered why she was the only one who survived that hell hole?” Ron asked, his anger flaring up. “Don’t think that everyone is on your side! That man, Rolf, that disgusting piece of filth is still out there, and he is dying to have Hermione back. He’ll do anything, and I mean anything to have her back. Don’t for one-second think that he can’t get into St. Mungo’s undetected. He has power that some only dream of.”

“Okay, wait, slow down and rewind!” Tonks said. “Are you saying that girl is Hermione?”

“Hermione is dead, there was report. Signed by the ministry, her body was found, mangled and destroyed, almost unrecognisable. Only through her dental records could they decipher who it was.” Lupin said. “I had seen the body!” Ron gave a hollow laugh, a haunted, eerie sound drifted across the room. The sound of it drew chills down the spines of the rest of the Order members. They didn’t recognise this side of Ron. Five years had changed him.

“And you believed it? Something as simple as a parchment with the crest of the Minister?” Ron said evocatively. Ron shook his head, still laughing.

“Ron, stop laughing like that!” Ginny hissed at him, she almost looked scared at the mere sound of it. Ron gave her a roguish grin, but complied with her request.

“You wrote it,” Fred said. Ron looked at his brother with amazement, but nodded.

“I had to try to get him to stop looking for her. With her on the death count, maybe he would stop. I think for a time he did, but then that stupid Daily Prophet did a special on her. She was doomed at that point.” A hush fell around the table, the mistakes made with this girl where tolling up.

“So… this means?” George asked slowly, as if he were scared to know.

“It means that it’s not a question of if he gets her, it’s a question of when.”

***
“You’re very clever you know, very clever indeed,” the man said. He casually sat on the chair with his legs resting on the bed frame. “It’s a shame you weren’t one of us, things might have turned out differently.” She didn’t say anything, not that she could. She was sure he had cast a spell on her, one that cut off her voice. “Yeah, but as it turns out. I’m a little cleverer than you. You thought you killed me. But there is one single thing you overlooked.” The man stopped as if it was pleasing to him to taunt her so.

Missy continued to stare at the roof, trying to ignore the fear that was rolling over her. He had found her; somehow, even though she denied it at times, she knew he was going to. He was impossible to escape from, no matter what happened, he was always one step ahead of you.

“You see, that’s why we wiped your memories clean. If you didn’t know who you were, it would be harder for you to fight us. How can someone who can’t feel themselves know what they are capable of?” He laughed, a wretched, poignant sound washed over her. “But then, that’s why you’re here,” he motioned to the space around him. “Trying to find yourself again? Trust me, you’ll never completely get it back.” She could tell it pleased him at how clever they had constructed their prison. It wasn’t just a prison in the literal sense; they had been a prisoner to their minds as well. They had lost everything they knew, and for what? So, the dark side could try to generate a lost power. Too bad they never found it.

“Well I don’t see the point of dilly dallying any longer. Must be off, much to do tonight.” The chair squeaked loudly as he stood up. Stretching his arms over his head slowly, he cracked each finger in succession. Walking over to her bed, he grinned wickedly down at her. Reaching for his wand, he was about to turn it on her when a large thump was heard outside the door.


Chapter 12: In Somebody Else's Arms
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The man didn’t move. Missy watched as every muscle in his body seem to strain and tense as he watched the door with cat like stealth. Energy surged through her as she realised that now would be her chance to escape. She would need to cause a distraction, not a big one; just enough for him to shift his attention from the door so whoever was outside it could get inside and hopefully stop him while he wasn’t paying attention. Quickly she tried lifting herself out of bed only to find that her limbs seemed to be glued together. Another spell? She thought to herself, the funny thing was, she had never once seen him raise his wand toward her except at the end. Wandless magic. Missy was surprised at her thought, but the answer to the question seemed to be the only one, even though she had no idea how she had thought of it. Then another thought entered her mind, one that was just as scary. Maybe what they had been telling her all this time had been correct. That she was connected to this magic world, and the reason they found her had really been her doing. Could she do it now? 

Missy peered over at him again, but didn’t know where to start. How could a person begin to do something they didn't even know existed? But as if it came to her naturally, she focussed her mind on his outstretched arm. Her eyes outlined ever curve and shutter it made as he waited, and for a moment, she wondered why he didn’t just go out there himself. He had never been the one to wait for a fight. But quickly she pushed the thought away, what did it matter? Again, her eyes detailed his hand, they  trekked all the way up his shoulder. Feeling a hot anger well up inside he, the power she recently felt flowing through her veins like blood seemed to diffuse out and release. 

Suddenly the man gasped and his arm jerked, Missy blinked in shock. She knew she would be shaking if she could move. She had done something, something she shouldn’t have been able to do. Looking at his wand hand at first nothing seemed to change, but then a short cut made its presence known from between his middle and ring finger to the centre of his hand. Definitely not what she was going for, but she shouldn’t have been able to do anything. She had always believed that what they had told her had been a load of rubbish. Were their words ringing true after all?   

There was stillness after his short gasp and as hard as she tried to hear any sound saying that someone was out there to help; the more the silence rang dully in her ears. Her eyes squeezed closed, hoping for the miracle of all miracles. She knew that it would be nearly impossible to escape him again if he were to take her from this place. 

Then she heard it, heard it before she saw it. The door blasted apart, bits of rubble flying across the room in its wake. The man shot out a fearless shielding charm as the shards of the broken door flung towards him. Missy quivered as she saw one of the nightshift Healers standing at the ready in the door. Immediately Missy knew that the Healer was no match for the hell that awaited her. The man laughed, his hollow laughed ricocheted across the halls. 

“Lovely for you to join us, really, I expected someone faster, but this will work far better.” His taunting voice seemed to send tremors through this inexperienced woman. 

“Step away from the patient sir, I have alarmed that someone is here, you won’t be able to get out of here,” Missy gave points to the girl for trying, but somehow Missy knew that this man was as close as invincible as they came. He laughed an empty, trilling noise that made a person feel as if they didn’t have anything left to live for. 

“With all due respect ma’am,” he tipped his head, his black eyes gleaming. “Let’s not play games; personally I’ve never been a fan of them. I’m going to walk out of this Hospital and Hestia will be coming with me.” The girl stood up straighter; obviously, she didn’t like to be told what was going to happen. “Now, don’t get all defensive, I’ll be nice and give you a choice. You can either let us go peacefully and live, or… I’m going to have to dispose of you, if you catch my drift.” Missy thought he would have sounded positively charming if he hadn’t been threatening her with death. It was like he was taking a balmy walk on a lazy Sunday afternoon, not trying to kidnap a patient. 

“Sir, I’m going to ask you again, please drop you wand and step into the light.” Missy cringed inside. This was no time to be polite, the girl should have acted, but now it would be too late. The man chuckled. 

“Okay, you win; with those simple words you’ve made me want to follow your directions. Is that what they teach you how to deal with dodgy situations? If you end up living, you should tell them that their standards should be raised.” The girl seemed confused, not sure if he was going to do what she asked or if he was just playing with her. In response, though she seemed to play it safe and raised her wand.

“Exp-” Unfortunately she never got to finish.

“Avada Kedavra,” he said almost lazily. The girl dropped beside the guard who faced the same doom as she just had. “Pity really, if people just learned to stay out of my way they would still be alive.” Shrugging his shoulders, he turned back to her with a pleasant look on his face as if killing had brought him joy. “I guess we must be going, come along.” Missy gave him a fearful look seeing him kill someone so outright had shaken her. “Oh right, you’re bounded.” Chuckling to himself as if he had been particularly clever, he gave her a concentrated look before she felt her limbs relax as if they had been holding their breath while she had been under the spell. 

But as he unbound her from the invisible binds, he replaced them with real binds and magically lifted her off the bed. Having to bite back her rising panic at seeing such large amounts of this magic business, she stared resolutely ahead. No matter what, she couldn’t let her panic get the best of her; it would show him her weakness. It was the inevitable hopelessness that always seemed to close in around her these days. 

“Just as stubborn I see, well that can be fixed.” He muttered and led her to the door. Missy glared at his back and hoped that his over confidence would be his downfall. Coming out into the hallway he stood in the middle, not at all worried that other Healers might be on the way. Muttering a few well-chosen words, she felt herself getting elevated higher into the air. He also started to rise as if he were made of the air itself. She couldn’t remember anyone else doing such a feat, other than… her brain stopped. Other than who? She couldn’t retain information that she knew was there somewhere. Sighing in her ignorance she saw hopelessly as a few other Healers appeared and started running towards her, each one of them spouting out different spells. Each spell was deflected and the Healers themselves had to dodge their own attempts of her survival. 

The man crowed the sound of the haunting display burned into her soul. 

“I cannot die!” He screamed at them, as he said this he started spinning rapidly. She felt herself getting pulled in with him. Closing her eyes dismally, she knew she had been caught again. Seeing a blinding flash of bright green light blaze from beneath her eyelids, she cringed, knowing that the lives of those trying to save her had been lost. 

Then as quickly as everything started, there was silence and everything around her felt still. Way to still. She knew without looking that they were no longer in the Hospital. No, they had somehow gotten somewhere else though she wasn’t sure if people could just magically appear and disappear within the Hospital walls. It didn’t seem logical. Who knew how he had accomplished it. She was beginning to realise, though she was sure not for the first time, maybe before all this, before she forgot, that this man had powers that couldn’t be surmounted. They were way too powerful, and they seemed only to increase.  

She heard the methodical drip of cool water plunge into the unknown and the steady buzz of something she couldn’t place. The coolness of the air touched her skin softly, almost as if it caressed her and reminding her of a time she was free. 

All of this she felt before she even opened her eyes. Even after she felt it, she kept her eyes closed. She didn’t want to face him, couldn’t bare the thought that the one glimpse of life without his presence(s) had been snatched away from her like a cookie does out of the hands of a mischievous little kid. 

Hearing his quiet sigh, she chanced opening her eyes. His eyes, even in the darkness, were gleaming as he looked at her. Fighting back the all to familiar shiver, she stared him straight in the eye. Though, she knew that bravery wouldn’t stop him from his devices in the days to follow. 

***

“She won’t be safe then,” Kingsley concluded.

“Then what are we still doing here! We have to go and do something if she isn’t safe there!” Fred exploded. Ron gave Fred a calculating look,not sure why Fred was reacting so savagely. 

“Yeah, if she is our only hope of finding out what happened we should be heightening security, or even taking her out of there, I see what you mean Fred,” Lupin said, covering up as best he could for Fred’s outburst. They all knew they were on dangerous ground when it came to Missy… or Hermione as it turned out to be. Ron seemed to accept that Fred was only worried about the Order and he turned his attention back Kingsley. 

“First we’re going to have to find a safe place for her, one that no one will be able to find.” Kingsley said. Fred gave an exasperated look.

“What about here?” He pointed out with a shake of his head. 

“Here could work, but it might be better if we found somewhere else. This place's security has been tipped before, it could happen again.” 

“Isn’t that house a few blocks away deserted?” Ron said. “We could put charms up that are similar to here but much stronger. We would also need to have constant supervision.” 

“Who’s going to have the time to always be there? I liked Fred’s idea about here were there is always people around. We could just redo some of the charms on this place.” Tonks said twirling on her hair absently. 

“I could be there constantly!” Ron said strongly. “I have no qualms with that.”

“We probably would need more then just one person, maybe not always, but usually,” Fred said as calmly as he could, but a threatening air had entered his voice. “One person wouldn’t stop this man. If he is as dangerous as you make him out to be. It would be better if there were more people to watch and keep a lookout.” Fred stared Ron straight in the eye. Though Fred had promised himself he would let Ron have her, it was hard for him to swallow that she would always be with him. 

“You’re probably right Fred; here does seem the most reasonable. We would have to change things around and getting in here would be tougher for all of us.” 

“It would be a sacrifice well worth it.” Lupin pointed out as he looked around the dank kitchen. “People are always checking in here anyhow, and its high time we upgraded this place’s charms anyhow, I can get right on that.” 

After a few more minutes of discussion on the right charms and spells to use, Ron suggested that they go and check with the Hospital to get her out. No one had to say it, but everyone knew that it would be a trial in itself and the head Healer would not be at all pleased with it. For all they knew they would flat out refuse saying that Missy- Hermione was not equipped to leave the Hospital due to the traumatising events that have transpired.

“I’ll stay behind,” Fred said as he watched the few stand up to leave. Ron, Ginny, Lupin, and Kingsley had volunteered to go, but by the look Ginny had given him, he knew she had expected him to come along. 

“You’re the one who made such a kafuffle about this, and you’re staying?” Ron asked ludicrously. 

“The shop’s needs are calling.” Fred said shrugging. “Give her my best I suppose.” Ron shrugged and started to head out the door. Lupin patted Fred on the back and he too disappeared out the door. 

Soon only George and him were left in the kitchen. Fred carefully avoided George’s gaze not fancying having to explain himself to George. 

“So you’re just going to give up then?” George finally asked cutting the silence. 

“It’s like we’ve always said, when you can’t have everything you want it’s time to move on to greener pastures,” Fred said gruffly while starring resolutely at his hands. A blind person would have been able to tell that he didn’t mean a word he spoke. George snorted. 

“You’re the stupidest bloke I’ve ever had the chance to meet,” George said in exasperation. 

“Well technically, since we’re identical twins and all, you’re calling yourself pretty moronic as well.” Fred said, though there was no trace of humour in his voice. George shook his head sadly. 

“If you don’t fight mate, your don’t deserve her,” 

“What would you have me do?” Fred roared. “Simply walk up to Ron and say ‘hey, I kind of fancy the girl that you spent five years of your life trying to protect, so bugger off she’s mine?’” Fred spat out his last words in distaste. 

“Yes! Maybe not quite so forward about it, but yes! Ron was gone for five years, everyone thought him as dead. He can’t expect us to save the girl he loved for a dead man? The way he acted, righteous or not, he doesn’t deserve everything to just fall in place for him. He left us, remember?” Fred shook his head slowly.

“You didn’t hear him George. You didn’t hear the agony in his voice or the pain in his eyes when he thought or talked about her. He would never forgive me.” Fred scratched the back of his neck uncomfortably. “And, it was my fault he left in the first place. The least I can do is let him have Missy.”

“You mean Hermione?” George said with a sad smile. Fred was silent for a moment.

“Yeah- her.”

“Fred, you can’t – you can’t,” George stopped; his old illness for finding the right comfort word had begun to ail him again. “-Can’t keep blaming yourself for that. He would have left anyways. Ron’s like that, he’s selfish. He acts for himself and doesn’t think about how it will affect others. You saw he was with Harry, he was so jealous of how famous Harry was. He pursued that and in the process kicked Harry to the side.”

“He was what? Fourth year?” Fred said rolling his eyes at George's analogy. 

“So? That jealousy followed him throughout their school years, always at the back of his mind. It angered him every time it was brought up, though he got real good at hiding it. Then he went at dated that Lavender girl just to make Hermione notice him, it was all for himself.” Fred shook his head. He was a little stunned at George's hostility toward Ron and for once he saw the selfishness in himself. He had been so wrapped up in his guilt and sorrow he hadn’t even realized that his own twin had been sourly affected by Ron’s desertion. George wasn’t ready to forgive their wayward brother, not yet anyway. 

“George, I can’t do it, I can’t be the reason this family is unmade. She loved him before all this happened. When she gets her memory back, who will she remember?” He knew his brother was only trying to help, but somehow his words fell short of reassuring him. George sighed in frustration and stood up. 

“So, for the rest of your life you’re going to see her in somebody else’s arms, are you sure you want that?” 

***

The handful of Order members walked hurriedly into St. Mungo’s, at once they noticed that something was amiss. Healers were running around widely and there were some ministry officials standing around, all with harried expressions on their faces. 

Kingsley immediately stepped up to one and began a hasty conversation. The rest of the Order hurried up to the section Missy was in. Luna saw them entering the corridor and came rushing out of one of the offices, her wispy blonde hair flowing out around her.   

“Oh, my goodness, thank God you guys are here. I would have come and gotten you, but it’s been so hectic here I haven’t been able to breathe.” Luna said, tucking her hair behind her ears. “Straight to the point now, Missy has gone missing, at least five Healers are dead, and some of the patients are in serious condition. Whoever it was, the spell used to kill that many Healers had more of an affect than the killing curse!” Luna continued saying in one huge breath. “They would have died in agony.” The Order answered in silence. How could this have happened? 

“Did anyone see who it was?” Lupin asked taking charge of the situation. Luna shook her head.

“Not as far as we’ve been able to tell.” Luna took a few deep breaths in to calm herself. Her hands were shaking. “The guard is also dead.” 

“Dean?” Ron gasped. Luna nodded solemnly. Dean had become an Auror after the Final battle. A real good one at that, he was usually used for undercover missions because he was the kind of person no one really noticed. He would be able to go in and out of a single pub for a week and the bartender would not realize it was the same person.  

Silence followed, each wrapped up in their thoughts. Kingsley entered the tight group with a harassed look on his face as well. 

“Well, I guess this is the time we’ve been waiting for, a call on the Order,” Lupin said standing up and straightening his shabby robes. “Best show them what we’ve still got.” The rest of the Order got up reluctantly. Though this is why they were still in operation each one of them resented when a call came, it meant that there wasn’t peace where there should have been, especially after Voldemorts tyranny.  

“The war isn’t over is it?” Ginny asked as they surveyed the damage at St. Mungo’s. Ron looked over at his younger sister and pulled her closer.

“It’ll never be over.” Ron looked over Ginny’s shoulder and gazed into her room.

Letting go of his little sister, he walked, as if a zombie, into the little space that some called a prison. The air surrounding him almost suffocated him with her recent presence. This was the closest he’d been to her in what seemed liked forever. The very air he breathed seemed thick with what he assumed was her scent. If he concentrated hard enough, he could still see her tucking a piece of disorderly hair behind her ear while she bossily yelled at him for being daft. But those were the moments he loved her most. The moments when her eyes would flare up and for that split second he would be the only person she was concentrating on. He could see her sitting in a corner concentrating so hard on her studies that she was oblivious to the party that was going on around her. He was so amazed by that, by her, everything she had stood for. 

Ron sighed, that’s all he had of her, fragments of their forgotten past, and he hoped that one day they could repair everything they had lost. He couldn’t deny that at some parts on his journey he didn’t question the burning desire inside him. Wondered even if what he was feeling was for her, or just the memory of her. But no matter how many times his heart baulked, he would determinedly look forward and remind himself that she had been everything he had needed. She still was, he figured to himself. What other person could have kept him going? 

Shaking his head, he tried to clear it from her tantalizing image. It was like a cloak on a cold winter day, shielding him from everything he had tried to block out of his life for so long. But now, standing in this very room, the memories took precedence.

The night’s frigid air clung to his skin like an overprotective mother bear. No matter how hard he tried to burrow into his clad of blankets, the cold seemed to find him. It seeped through his thoughts and seemed to steal everything that he held dear. At first, he thought he had been overtaken by Dementors, but there was no way he would be found, no, it was just the depression that hypothermia seemed to bring with its nasty clutches. It ripped a person of their memories and the only thing that reigned clean in a mind was how they wished it would all just end. This happened before the numbness, before a person would just lay still and believe that for a split second they had been rendered paralysed. At that moment, all would slowly fade. He was waiting for that moment. The moment of truth he always used to say. People had once told him that at that moment the meaning of life would become clear to them, and before darkness overtook them, they would have one more wish. Everything would turn around then and they said that they had a burning desire to live, but by that time it would be too late. 

He wasn’t worried about that moment when all you wanted was one more chance, no, he just wanted to see if being as he was had been really worth it. If that being only a second glance had really been his full potential or if somewhere down the line he would have found something so much greater. He figured that loving her would be the only great thing in his life, other then being the best mate to the most famous wizard alive. But part of him didn’t consider that great of feat, it didn’t give him anything, just the casual ‘oh yeah, you’re Harry’s friend aren’t you?’ Yeah, that had always been the brightest light in his day. But that was why he left them, couldn’t stand being the fellow who helped the boy-who-lived. Squeezing his eyes shut, he pushed his inadequacies away; they wouldn’t get him anywhere. 

His white hand reached and brushed the woolly quality of the blanket that surrounded him. It prickled his skin lightly; he had always imagined his death would be so much better than this one. Usually he was getting glory from doing something spectacular. His breaths started getting shallower and he felt his neck getting stiff from his constant shaking. Was this where it was going to end? On the side of the road where no one would be likely to see him until the snow melted away? He would lay forgotten as much of his life had been.

 

And then it happened. The moment he’d been waiting for, a brightly lit lamp shone overhead him, and for a moment he could see her face shining from above. He couldn’t help but smile at the illusion that was before him. It was her, just as he had always remembered her to be. She reached out her hand; he looked at it with wonder. It was shining, almost stunningly so. It hurt his eyes to look, but he knew that this was his angel.

“Get up Ron, it isn’t time for you yet,” her voice spoke so softly, yet commandingly he felt he had to oblige. As soon as he stood, the light started to fade, he reached out trying to capture the moment he was losing. But the light slipped through his fingers, uncatchable. 

“You’re my light,” he whispered into the darkness. “Please, you’re my light.” 

Ron shook himself from his reverie. Even now he wasn’t quite sure what happened that night. It was as if some invisible force had come and saved him. He liked to believe that it had been her, reaching out to him in her subconscious. Foolish as it be, he took that as a sign that they were meant to be forever. If she could have reached him in his darkest of hours, then there was nothing that they couldn’t overcome. He knew that if they got the chance to talk, she would reassure him that it had been her the whole time. Everything would be alright then. 

Ron started evaluating the room, hoping that something would tell him where she had been taken. But, the bed looked as if she had only gotten up to use the loo, except in this case, she never made it back. There was no disturbance other then the slight mark beside where he had killed the first Healer. Everything else was perfect. Startlingly so, but he had a fleeting moment where he wondered if she had liked it. 

Unconsciously he felt his hand brush the mused blankets, hoping for a moment that maybe her warmth would spread through to his fingers. 

“Ron?” Ginny said coming up from behind him. “Ron, promise me you won’t run after her. We need you here.” Ron looked at his sister with a troubled look.

“How can you expect me to do nothing?”

“Ron, we're here, we won’t be doing anything, but you can’t do this by yourself! It will be guaranteed that the Order will be doing everything in its power to get her back. We need you to help Ron; you have so much more information than we’ll ever dream of knowing and if you leave by yourself no one will find her.” Ginny said forcefully while putting her hand reassuringly on his arm. Ron looked down at his sister and saw the fire in her eyes. 

“I swear I won’t leave you.” Ron said after a moment in thought. He couldn’t leave like he did last time he was sure they wouldn’t welcome him back like they had this time. 

“Okay guys, to the headquarters there’s nothing here for us to find,” Kingsley said coming into the room with a sigh. With one last glance at his surroundings, Ron sighed and moved out behind his little sister. 

***

Lupin leaned back in his chair with his hands casually resting over his eyes. The events of this morning couldn’t have been more unexpected but for some reason he felt responsible. He hadn’t gotten around to telling Fred about what happened. He couldn’t imagine how that boy would take it. Lupin was afraid that the months they had spent together had bonded a stronger bond than anyone had ever thought likely. Lupin was worried what the future held in store for the young couple, or if it is destined for doom. 

“Remus, what are you still doing here?” Someone asked snaking their arms around his wearied frame. Remus opened his eyes and stared into the violet gaze of his love. 

“Wondering how on earth what I am going to do with Fred, he’s almost become a son to me in the past few years.” Remus stood up from the living room chair and stepped to look out the window. 

“Tell him Lupin, or he’s going to hear it from someone who doesn’t know how he feels.”

Lupin sighed and continued to peer out to the desolate surroundings. The street outside was cloaked in darkness; he could barely see anything in front of him. But the lone, dark tree outside the window was proof of the torment of the storm brewing. The explosion of winds coming in from the west was controlling its limbs as they were tossed like a rag doll. Lupin couldn’t help but think that it was a perfect picture of the weeks to come.  

***

Sprawling across the bed, Fred dug underneath his bed. His hand searchingly dug through the piles of mess in order to find something. 

“You got it mate?” a voice yelled from the kitchen. Fred grunted out a no and continued trying to locate the box. He knew it was down there somewhere, the trick was coaxing it out if its hiding spot. 

“Got it!” Fred yelped and scrambled out his room. Lee was lounging on one the couches with a cup of coffee in his hands. He was trying to wish away a headache from too much drink. 

“Fred, mate, remind me not to drink so much,” he moaned with his head lolling to one side. 

“Lee, you’re like a mother moose when it comes to drinking. If anything got in the way of your drink and your mouth you’re likely to murder.” 

“Hey!” Lee said in protest. “Give me the potion though, this stuff is bloody bitter.”

“What do you say?” Fred asked mockingly, pulling the box out of Lee’s hands. Lee frowned at Fred. 

“Hey, git, gimme the tonic before I bloody rip your brains out through your nostrils.” Lee growled savagely. “Like those stupid Egyptians did.” 

“What a charmer, I wonder how that blondie ever managed to escape you pre-eminent mannerism.” Fred said, obviously enjoying himself. Lee gave him a dumbfounded look. 

“Preeeemeont… what?” Fred rolled his eyes. “And believe me, if you hadn’t come ‘round,” Lee dramatically waved his arm around. “That girl woulda been beggin for some of the Leeinator!” Lee said while spanking his lower body.

“Mate, I think I’m that chit’s hero for taking you away from her.” 

“Whatever, just gimme some of that tonic!” Lee dove for the box. Fred was too busy laughing to try and dodge the blundering man. Lee hit Fred square in the stomach with is head. Fred coughed out a huge breath before the two of them fell to the ground. 

“Aye! You blundering moron! Get off me,” Fred spurted. Lee pushed himself up, though his legs were still straddling Fred’s torso. 

“Not till you give me the tonic!” Lee insisted. Fred reached in and threw a jar at Lee. 

“If you weren’t a mate, you’d be paying for that!” Fred said shoving the lug of a man off him. Lee fell over onto the floor without much of a fight, opened the vial, and drank the foul liquid.

“Shit- this stuff is worse than Polyjuice!” Lee said scrunching up his face. Fred rolled his eyes and sat on the couch. A drunken Lee was always something Fred always enjoyed. This time, instead of being just an amusement, it also was just the distraction he needed from the imminent problems facing the Order. He still didn’t know what had happened at St. Mungos, though he was sure nothing bad had happened otherwise someone would have already told him. Even so, he was a little anxious at the news. 

“Freddie-someone is in your kitchen!” Lee said ludicrously. The anti-hangover potion still had another 5 minutes till it took effect. Fred almost ignored him, but the distinct crash of his coffee maker made him whip around. 

“Sorry Fred,” Lupin said picking up the machine. “Wasn’t paying enough attention I suppose.” There was something in the way Lupin’s spoke that made Fred stop. The minister used the same voice when they told them that his father was dead. Closing his eyes, he wished away the words he was sure that followed. 

His life had been changing so fast already; he didn’t think he could take another blow. He almost wished that Lupin would just disappear and never return. 

“Fred, there is no easy way to say this but,” Lupin stopped, looking at the boy's tortured face. “Well, he’s got her.”

Chapter 13: Look to the Past
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Fred felt a faint chill submerge itself into his bones. It was like liquid mercury running down some intricate gears till it got to the core of the crisis. For a moment, it felt like he had been immediately paralysed by those few words. Opening his eyes in shock, he knew he was looking at Lupin but his eyes were seeing nothing, nothing but the faint outline of Missy whimpering at the hands of a dark stranger.

How could he have her?

Fred shook his head in defiance. This couldn’t be happening, he had just been with her. Blinking his eyes to clear them from the haze, he tried to focus on Lupin; he couldn’t let this beast take the only woman who had ever counted on him. He had to do something, if only to get her back for his brother. See her safe again.

It just wasn’t right.

If someone had told him a few years ago that three simple words would be the end of him he would have scoffed in their face. But now, it felt as if the very breath his Mum had given him had been torn out of his lungs harshly, leaving him gasping for air. Finally focussing on Lupin’s sympathetic gaze, he almost felt ashamed for being so readable.

“She’s gone?” he whispered to himself, rubbing his shaking hand through his hair.

“Who’s gone Freddie?” Lee said, not comprehending the seriousness of the situation. Fred pointedly ignored Lee, who was now currently draped across the couch with one leg sticking out at an odd angle. Instead, Fred tried to clear his brain, for a moment he felt like he was the one who was pissed, and not Lee for the way his mind was muddled.

“What’s going to happen?” Fred asked. He was amazed at how level his voice was. It was creepily still, completely the opposite of what he was feeling inside. He wanted to scream, and yell, he wanted the blood of the man who would take her. His hands started to shake piteously as he thought of her in the hands of that man.

“We don’t know, we’re trying all we can do, but, well it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack.”

“How- how’d it happen?” Fred asked, as time wore on he was finding it increasingly difficult to piece together a sentence.

“He must have come in the night and by the looks of things he hardly had to put up a fight.”

“Fuck,” Fred muttered. He didn’t know how else to respond to this other than to go tearing after that freak and ripping him to pieces. He finally, at this moment, understood Ron and that crazy maniacal desire to run, if only to try and settle things in his own mind.

For a few moments, no one said anything, but Lee, obviously getting annoyed at being ignored, jumped up, startling the two brooding men.

“What in Merlin’s underpants is going on?” He demanded, shifting his weight from one foot to the other. The sobering potion was taking longer than Fred expected but then Lee had always drunk too much.

Fred again ignored his friend, sat down, and heavily placed his head in his hands. He didn’t know what he could do, and least of all what he could do without alerting Ron of his feelings. Anything he could think of would just scream that he had a thing for Missy- Hermione and he knew that Ron would take great offence to it. She was his property, at least, according to Ron that is, and anyone treading on that would be trespassing.

“We know nothing?” Fred asked finally. Lupin nodded his head sadly.

“Not even a speck of dust that could tell us what that man is thinking.” At this news, Fred could nearly feel his blood hollow and his eyes grow vacant. It felt so wrong, so wrong that maybe he wouldn’t be able to do anything but sit back and watch this whole thing play out. If he was going to go on with what he planned and leave her to Ron, then that was the only option he had.

“Fred, I’m really sorry, if things could be differ-“

“Don’t even say it Lupin, if things were different Ron would still be dead.” Fred said through gritted teeth Lupin refrained from saying anything and instead put his hand on Fred’s shoulder in comfort.

“What- what do I do?” Even though Fred knew that helping could very well let Ron in on his little secret Fred knew he would never be able to just sit and watch the futile attempts of the Order.

“I think I’m beginning to understand Ron and why he took off the way he did. Sometimes when a person is at their wits’ end, it’s better to go out alone and catch their dream than having to wait for the ones around them to catch up.” Lupin said, giving Fred a meaningful look.

Fred was taken aback at the gleam in his old mentor’s eyes. “I will not be able to stop the Order from searching tomorrow, but tonight is looking clearer then ever, don’t you think?” With that, Lupin disappeared with a startling pop.

Lee sat up with confusion written across his face, but Fred let his head fall back to hit the cushiony couch and stared at the roof overhead. The flat was nearly empty and silent… too silent for having just heard the news. He hated times like these, hated them because they felt off the beam. Lee had taken the hint and was silently curled up by the wall, but he was watching Fred, maybe trying to make sure that whatever Fred was going to do, that it wasn’t going to be stupid. Fred didn’t blame him; at this rate, Fred almost didn’t trust himself. One small change after the other and well, it wasn’t something he wanted to admit but a Weasley twin was being overwhelmed.

He knew he should call up George or do something productive to keep his mind flowing instead of its current state, which was the vacant despair that was twisting its way through his brain. It was like a tie that was slowly getting tightened, pushing all his thoughts into one giant mess of a ball. He wasn’t able to decipher one from the other and even trying to made his head pulse with agony.

“Mate-?” Lee ventured questioningly. His worry was evident. Fred sucked in a deep breath. Lee was his best mate; he couldn’t keep him in the dark. Lee had been part of the Order once, still was, though he hardly acted it.

“Where would you go if you were a crazy maniac?” Fred asked. Lee had the courtesy not to look taken aback by the question.

“Depends on what this guy wants, everyone has a plan, it’s just a matter of uncovering it.”

***

Ron was pacing like a wild animal caged in a small chamber for too long. Anyone would be able to tell that he needed to be released. But he had promised Ginny he wouldn’t run off like last time, but doing nothing was his breaking point. His hands felt like they were everywhere yet nowhere all at once, if one could even achieve that.

Everyone in the house had by far silenced themselves for the night, each declaring that they needed a ready mind for the morning, but Ron needed to act now before he got any further away. It was as if they did not see the urgency of the situation, as if they didn’t comprehend that every second that he had her, the harder it would be for them to get her back. Well, they didn’t understand, but he knew. He was probably the only one who knew, who got the gravity of the situation and yet no one was listening to him. Not as clearly as they should anyhow, had he not helped Harry defeat You-Know-Who? Then shouldn’t they be paying attention when he said they act now or forever lose her? He knew.

Ron groaned out loud in annoyance. He didn’t want to be here, he had never meant to be seen by Fred either; he only wanted a glimpse of his brother, of his past. Obviously, that idea had turned sour and he was trapped within the clutch of his family’s suffocating grasp. If only right now he could be working by himself, he would probably be able to get her back. Then she would be back with him and everything would be as it should. That’s all he had to lean on now. Knowing that as soon as they were together everything would be just as it had been. He could settle back into that easy way of the past.

Finally sitting down to calm his nerves he shook his head unconsciously, trying to release his tight neck muscles. It was annoying that this whole thing landed on him again. Everyone else, even though they meant well, were a bunch of dunderheads it seemed. They weren’t acting and that bothered him immensely. It was mostly because of Lupin too, Lupin wanted them to wait the night out for- well only God would know why a werewolf did anything. Scratching his head lethargically, he leaned into the couch.

Feeling his eyes grow heavier Ron tried fighting his growing drowsiness. He wanted to be awake in case something happened. He wanted to be the first to know. He deserved to be the first to know.

***

“Well, what did she mean to him?” George asked as he was peering over a large piece of parchment. Fred had called George over, knowing that the more people they had to figure this out the better. Lupin had made a strange comment to him. It was as if he had expected Fred to go after her himself. Though as of now, he wasn’t sure why Lupin would say such a thing since he was always about a collaborative effort.

“Well, Ron said something about how this guy would do anything to get her back right?” Fred said. It was hard to calculate this man when they only just heard about him. “I’m assuming and I’m just going to go all out on this, she meant everything to him. If he would go to such great lengths to get her back, then she was the most important thing to him.” He hated saying this. Hated that she meant something to someone else, though it was hard to grasp that in such a twisted mind someone else could matter.

“So where would you take someone that meant everything to you?” George asked again. He was the kind of guy who would ask these questions, point out every angle that could be taken. Although he usually would be talking about products and their effects, not about the cynical mind of Death Eater.

“Somewhere he felt safe,” Lee said. “At least that’s where I would go. Somewhere I feel comfortable.” George started scribbling some notes on the parchment.

“So basically we’ve got that she means the world to him, he’s going to take her somewhere that he feels safe in, and he’s a loon.” George summarised with disappointment. “We only need to know where that safe house is.”

“Guys, let’s take a break, my mind is cracking,” Lee said stretching out his arms. Fred adamantly shook his head, but George was agreeing.

“Fred, you aren’t going to do her any good if you’re half asleep.” Fred started to protest but George cut him off. “Your eyes are bloodshot mate; it looks like you’re hammered.”

“I can’t, Lupin said something to me, something like he’d give me a head start. I think he wanted me to go get her, like I was the only one who could. He meant tonight.”

“So you’re going to do it then?” George asked with a gleam in his eyes.

“Figure out where she is, yes. I will get her back.”

“No, you’re fighting for her,”

Fred got quiet and looked uneasily around the room. He wasn’t fighting for her, he couldn’t. He hated this, hated that he had to watch everything he did so that he wasn’t discovered. He hated this feeling of helplessness too. It ate him up inside and made him feel like he was plunging head first into a dark tunnel, one in which there was no clear end.

“Can’t a guy do the right thing and let it simply be that?” George shook his head sadly.

“One day you’re going to see it Fred, one day you’ll see you’ve been lying to yourself this whole time.”

“Wow, I never thought I’d hear something so logical come out of the mouth of my big oaf of a brother.” All three boys turned to see a scruffy red head appear from the kitchen.

“Ginny, what are you doing here?” Fred sputtered, his face heating up. Ginny smirked at him and sank into one of the kitchen chairs alongside Lee.

“You didn’t think I’d let you have all the fun did you?” Ginny grinned and looked at the parchment. The three boys were speechless. Ginny looked up at their faces and giggled to herself. “One of my good friends came back from the grave; you didn’t think I’d actually be able to sleep?”

“Well, yeah.” Fred muttered stupidly. He wondered how much she had heard. He couldn’t handle if another one in the family knew. “How’d you know we’d be awake?” Ginny snorted as if it were obvious.

“Fred I don’t think you could get any more obvious with your intentions. I think I knew you had a thing for her that first night. I’m surprised Ron hasn’t caught on yet, but then he’s always been kind of slow.” Ginny grinned again. “I knew you’d still be awake for the same reasons that Ron was pacing in the living room like a caged animal.”

“Oh,”

“But anyway, that’s hardly important. Let’s see where we are.” Ginny pulled the parchment closer to her and for the next few hours they sat around the table thrashing out ideas as to where he would take her.

Fred started sharing about what she remembered and the horror of it. As Fred reminisced about how scared she had looked in the Hospital, he noticed that Ginny looked sick as well just thinking about what her friend suffered.

The parchment was full of scribbles and theories crossed out. It looked like one giant puzzle that had no distinct picture to follow.

Lee let his face hit the table, surrounding him were cups of tea and crunched up pieces of useless parchment. It was starting into the wee hours of the morning and none of them had gotten a speck of sleep.

“Go to bed Lee,” Fred muttered. He didn’t feel as if they had gotten anywhere. It was a hopeless cause.

“No,” Lee muttered stubbornly. If Lee was anything, he was fiercely loyal to the ones he cared about and would almost go to the moon in order to help them. Fred didn’t argue the point as he took another sip of his tea. No one around the old rickety table was looking much better than a zombie, but that fierce determination was driving each of them on.

“What if… what if this guy was a true loon?” Fred said after a few minutes of thought. George gave Fred a funny look.

“Fred, we already know that he was.”

“No, like truly loony? What if through this whole thing he wasn’t thinking properly.”

“Where are you going with this mate? This man was brilliant, or so it seems anyhow.”

“But maybe in his drive to get her back, he lost it? Anyone, if they are focussed on one thing for so long, become obsessed. Okay, so just imagine this guy for a moment, she obviously was his favourite so he kept coming back, right? As time goes on his lust for her grows abnormally. It feels like he can’t survive without her and it seems as he puts his happiness on her. Then just imagine that strip of happiness being stolen from you, the only thing that you ever really felt as if it was yours is suddenly gone. You’re going to want it back, right? Maybe he wanted her back so bad that in his mad drive in finding her again made him stop thinking clearly.”

“Those are a lot of assumption to make; Death Eaters don’t feel like we do, do they?” Ginny said. “And how does that help us find her?”

“They still feel they still have every normal human capacity any normal person would have. They’re just sick.” Lee said savagely. “Following that maniac… bunch of idiots I say.” George let out a snort at Lee’s animosity.

“It helps, don’t you guys see? Where was the first place he met her?”

“We’re guessing the Headquarters, though we can’t be sure,” Ginny said, though she still couldn’t see where Fred was headed with this.

“Exactly, that was the only place that he felt safe with her. If he met her there, then there is nowhere else he would feel that comfort. Ever since that point, it’s been hectic for him. Somehow she didn’t die in the Death Eater purges after the war, somehow she survived. No one knows how though. Ron said that she had been with him since those purges right. So obviously this guy has been in hiding for five years. Probably running and hiding like Sirius did, but since those times in the Headquarters he never felt the same security. He couldn’t be with her the same way since he was constantly on the run.” Fred looked around at the group. He had never felt so certain of something in his life and for once, he felt like he was on to something.

“So you’re saying that he would have taken her back there. Not thinking that maybe that would be the number one hotspot for us to look for her, he wasn’t thinking about us. He was only thinking about them and what the Headquarters meant to him, security and things going back to the way they were.” George said, the glint catching on in his eyes as well.

“It has an odd ring of truth to it,” Ginny said, though she looked doubtful. “It is kind of like Ron, he is always imagining that things will go back to the way they were. People always look to the past because sometimes that’s the only thing in their life that makes sense.”

“It makes perfect sense!” Fred said.

“This guy seems brilliant Fred, that place would be far too obvious for him to take her.” Ginny replied, her cynicism kicking in. “He’s powerful beyond measure, he got out of St. Mungo’s unharmed and barely seemed to lift a finger! He wouldn’t just waltz into the most obvious place, that’s ludicrous.”

“Well we’ve been here for hours Ginny and we haven’t come up with a better theory so unless you have something better I think this is what I’m going to go by.” Fred said, clearly ticked at his sister’s uncertainty. “You keep saying he’s brilliant and powerful. Maybe he’s become so cocky that he thinks that whoever tries to get her back, he can stop them. I don’t know that, but I do know that I’ve never felt so sure of something in my whole life.”

“Okay, I guess it won’t hurt to try, so should we get some sleep and leave after.” Ginny asked, giving way to her brother’s euphoria.

“No, we leave now.”

***

She peered into the darkness. No matter how hard she tried, her eyes would not adjust to the poor lighting around her. It scared her not knowing what could be lurking in the shadows, just waiting for the most opportune time to strike. Her body did not know this place. The soft velvety cushions around her were foreign and mystifying. The room was stuffy as if it hadn’t been used it quite some time and if she dug her way out of the blankets around her she would feel the dank chill that hung in air like an unwelcomed disease.

She had been asleep though she was sure it was involuntarily. Some sort of spell had been placed upon her, but now as she was lying awake, she was confused as to where she was or why she was even here. Her mind had that familiar fogginess clouding her brain and the harder she tried to clear it the more it seemed to entangle her.

Flinging the warm blankets off her in annoyance, she pushed herself into a standing position. She wasn’t going to let her mind go again. Ignoring the hairs that pricked on the back of her neck that spoke of the foreboding atmosphere, she felt her way around the room. Her bare feet touched the cold cement floor as she shuffled around slowly, afraid of hitting something unexpected. Curling her toes in she felt her neck stiffen as shivers ran up and down her spine. The warm bed was unexpectedly inviting, but she had no doubt that it was supposed to be that way.

Finally, her outstretched arms reach the wall. Her fingers grasped on to what she assumed were some sort of hanging. She pressed the fabric to her cold cheek and for a moment, let the warm material caress her skin. It was velvet; she was sure of it and probably very, very expensive. Wherever she was, the person who owned the place was disgustingly wealthy.

Pulling herself away from the wall hangings, she followed the wall hoping to come across some sort of door. Her hands brushed more hangings and tapestries on her way but she couldn’t find the door. She knew in her head that it was impossible not to have a door out of a room, but somehow it wasn’t improbable, especially since the way things were going she wouldn’t be surprised if she saw a flying pig.

For a few more minutes, she hunted for the door but only concluded in going in a complete circle a couple times without feeling anything remotely like a way out. Mystified by this new development she stood still, unsure of how to continue. The chill of the room itself was starting to hang onto her bones and the floor’s chill was soaking through her uncomfortably. She became more aware of how the room seemed to beat down the ominous air and the tremors that zipped up her spine were not because of the cold.

Finally deciding that nothing could be done till she had some light, though having a window in here now seemed doubtful as well and electricity seemed to be something in the past. Releasing her touch on the wall, she moved her way across the room hoping to run into the bed. She wanted to cover herself in the folds of the blankets hoping to block out the demons that were chasing her.

Finding the large bed, she crawled up into it; she had never been so thankful that it was empty except for her body. She needed this time to be alone. To think of everything that had transpired these past few months. It was like she had been pushed into this whirlwind of fate and no one had been able to pull her out of it. All except for Fred, that is. For moments in her hectic dance, Fred had stood out from the blur. He had saved her with his quick laughter when she thought she needed condolence.

Shaking her head she buried deeper into the blankets, she didn’t want to think anymore. To feel meant that she could be hurt and she knew that she needed to find that medium again, where her body and soul went numb. She would need it again in order to survive. It was funny what a person would do just to keep breathing, what a person went through in order to still grasp onto the dangling hope. It almost seemed silly to think that even at wits’ end there could be something worth fighting for, but humans were stupid like that. They kept going even when it seemed better to give in.

***

They had made it. Each one of them stared into the cave that seemed to have an ominous glow to it. Its entrance seemed like a large sea monster opening up its hungry jaws ready to devour anyone who dared to enter. It seemed as if the glow of the moon stopped at the opening and darkness engulfed the light.

Fred looked at the others. He would always feel indebted to them. After trying, however failingly to go alone, they had loyally stood by his side, relaying that he was too much of a blunder head to do this himself.

“Ready?” Lee said as he dropped his wand. They had agreed to go in without lights, hoping that they wouldn’t alert their enemy. As the time had gone on, they had all been fully convinced that this was the place. George had explored it from all angles and by the information they had this was the one that seemed to fit perfectly.

With everyone’s light extinguished, they plunged themselves into the darkness. Quickly the obscurity of the cave seemed to devour each one leaving them to feel as if they were alone and lost.

The telltale crunch under Fred’s feet seemed to grow louder the farther he walked in. He couldn’t believe the anger that was emanating from him the closer he got to this place. He kept imagining everything she went through and couldn’t stop the shiver that ran up his spine. Taking a deep breath in he tried to compose himself. It wouldn’t help if he walked in angry as a hornet.

“Fred?” He heard his sister’s small voice call out to him. She sounded scared and disconnected. This cave seemed to do strange things to a person. He felt so detached from the world right now, as if he was just floating in space aimlessly.

“Where are you?” He whispered, trying to remain quiet. Their best bet was the element of surprise.

“I found the door.” he followed her voice and soon he found her and the rest of them standing by this huge door. There was a glowing torch by the door and Fred was taken aback that he hadn’t seen it till he was almost on top of the door.

“This is really weird guys,” Ginny said as she stared at the door. “It’s not right that a light can hide itself.” They all nodded in unison but knew they had to push on. The place gave them all the creeps.

Slowly Fred lifted up his hand to the handle. They hadn’t really talked about what would happen once they got in. For the stupidest of reasons they pushed on when they should have sat back and at least thought about how three young wizards and one young witch could overtake one powerfully experienced man. Instead, they were winging it.

His shaky hand touched the doorknob and he could almost feel the power radiating from it. It was either that or he was just imagining things, which could be possible because just being in this place seemed to heighten every sense. Finally, he twisted the knob and pushed the heavy, metal barrier open. The door opened without a fuss and led them into the entryway. It was a large, round room with a table in the middle. Fred looked in disgust at the emphasised Slytherin pronouncement it was. There were thick green-carpeted floors with silver lining across the edges. He was sure that the table was used to hold some sort of idol to the late Dark Lord.

Lee whistled deeply at the ornate design across the walls, they looked magnificent even in the dark, shadowy light. Fred stepped in and immediately felt the evil tenor close in around him. It felt as if an invisible hand had come and was trying to strangle the life out of him.

“We need light,” Ginny whispered. They were feeling the same way the Order had felt when they had entered these halls. And evil presence had cascaded down on them and any words that could have been spoken seemed to be taken away. “If he’s here, I bet he already knows we are too.” Nodding in agreement the group lit their wands. Lighting areas they had not been able to see before and casting more deep shadows in those dark corners.

“I don’t like this place,” Lee commented as he walked into the middle of the room, examining the table closely. “There is the symbol of the Death Eaters on this; I’m surprised the Ministry didn’t take this away.”

“Lee come over here, we should stay together. It’s easier to target one lone person than a group.” Ginny said with worry. She kept glancing around nervously as if expecting him to appear from behind one of the tapestries.

“He killed like five Healers with one shot Ginny, I doubt that we would be any harder to get,” Lee said sardonically, though he did come back beside the Weasley’s. Ginny shivered and moved closer to Fred.

“I just don’t have a good feeling about this, not one bit,” Fred put his arm around Ginny protectively. “Walking into danger isn’t what we were taught to do.”

“Sometimes we have no choice but to face it. Sometimes justice demands it.” This came from George who had remained quiet up till now. Ginny nodded though her whole body was tense.

”I just hate this, walking around and not knowing what is lurking just out of your line of vision.” Ginny said her voice was distant as if remembering a long forgotten memory. “With- with Harry, that was the worst part. When we didn’t know who was downstairs and… and he told me to go and he’d follow…” Ginny stopped talking and looked at the ground determinedly. Shaking her head, she stepped out of Fred’s hug and paced forward.

The spent the next hour going through all the rooms and the cells, but the only thing they found was abhorrence. Fred kept feeling like hurling as they did their own little tour of the place, just imagining her in this place made him feel sick.

“I can’t believe there wasn’t one single thing here!” Lee ground out in frustration. They had come back to the entryway; each one had their own disappointment. Fred was shaking his head in disbelief. The flash of eagerness in his eye had disappeared, and for this moment, he looked crushed.

“I was so sure-” He muttered to no one in particular. “I guess it was too much to hope.”

“No Fred, it’s never too much to hope. There will always be other chances. We will find her,” Ginny said, though her voice was devastated as well. “We can never lose that hope, remember Dumbledore always used to say that, that’s what makes us different from them, we have hope.”

“It’s so weird because I can almost feel it in here. Almost feel that foreboding presence here, just we can’t see it.” George said looking around the room. “I would still almost swear that something terrible is here at this moment, like it’s watching us.” Ginny shivered.

“George don’t say that.” George shrugged and turned toward the door.

“I’m just saying what I feel.” The rest of the group turned and started to head out. Ginny, with one last look around, almost hoping that Hermione would pop out and say she was only playing hide and seek with them, but she didn’t. Sighing she turned and headed out.

“Ouch!” Ginny cried as she fell to the ground. The boys turned around to see her head neck convulse as if trying to twist off her body.

“Ginny what the…?” They rushed over to her, wands ready. Ginny stopped and looked at them, for a split second it looked like her eyes were glossy before she stood up, but it was gone within seconds. Everything looked normal; Fred shook his head knowing his eyes were just playing tricks on him. It was this place.

“Sorry,” Ginny said though it looked like she was listening to something only she could hear. “Sorry I tripped over my own feet and hit my head. I’m such a klutz.” Ginny laughed and brushed off her pants.

“You head it looked like it was coming off,” Lee said, his voice sounded an octave higher than usual.

“Don’t be silly it did no such thing.” Ginny scoffed. “My feet were just trying to get out of here too fast and I fell.”

“Well, come on then let’s get out of here.” George said taking her at her word and with a final glance around; they walked out of the Headquarters.


Chapter 14: The Death of Mundungus Fletcher
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Fred sat in his empty flat. All the lights had been doused hours ago, cloaking the room with blackness. The only light that could be faintly seen through the grimy kitchen window was the flickering street lamp down the equally empty alleyway. The blackness seemed to flow like a river, its intricate designs let it surge through any crevice and curve imaginable. 

He couldn’t bring himself to do anything, not now, not after seeing the emptiness of the headquarters. His arms were steady, his legs unmoving and his piercing gaze never wavered from the bleak darkness. There was no movement, which in return there was no sound. Not even an angry alley dog let out its vicious bark that night. No, it was silent. It cloaked the room almost like the blackness, but silence invaded more deeply than the dark. It wouldn’t just go around each crevice; it would seep into the crevice marking it as its own. There was no getting away from the deep silence. It would cling to a person like glue. Fred, though hated both the silence and the blackness, failed to notice either. Maybe because inside, he finally let the silence invade. Finally letting it take over, he sat brooding in his dark thoughts. 

Would he be the one to let her go? His Mum had always told him, not that he had believed her then, that there was one woman that could tame the wolf in every man. He was finally starting to understand that what his Mum had been telling him had been the truth all along. He felt like he had been tamed – or groomed at the very least. Fred shook his head defiantly; he couldn’t let himself think, for he felt enough already. 

Finally, he stood up, but not even his footsteps could break the penetrating silence that reached out its greedy hands for him. He walked around his couch, still not turning a light on, only letting his body guide him to where he needed to go. He found himself in his bedroom. His covers were still rumpled from last night’s sleep and his clothes were hazardously strewn across the room. Fred ignored the mess and walked into the darkness. Feeling the chill of the floor soak into his bare feet he pushed some unfinished products out of his way before heading straight to the large bed in the middle of the room. It was a comfort he could take pleasure in, letting his body sink into the pile of blankets, he curled up underneath their warmth. 

He tried to pretend that this was all in his head. That it was merely a dream in which he would wake up and find that everything was back to normal. That would be easy, there would be no complications. But then, the past was always easier to face than the unknown. It was easier having a past where he couldn’t still feel her breath on his cheek, where he wouldn’t know how it felt to have her look at him. 

Trying to ignore the familiar despair that was trying to take over, he told himself that a Weasley twin just didn’t feel this way. Squeezing his eyes shut tightly, he pretended for a moment that she was okay. But for all his pretence, it would never come close to the truth.

Allowing himself to be lulled to sleep with his unsettling thoughts, he welcomed the unconsciousness only for few hours could he forget. 

*

Ginny shoved her way through the crowds of Diagon Alley. Her fiery red hair was flying out behind her as she tried dodging all the new Hogwarts students that were doing last minute shopping for the new school year. She remembered all those times that she had been among these happy teens. When she was just starting Hogwarts, she would follow Ron and Harry like a lap dog. She had been crazy for Harry’s affections then, things hadn’t changed much since. Except this time, she couldn’t do the following. 

She let out a loud sigh and continued hurrying over to Fred’s flat, she hated when she thought of Harry. Sometimes she could still feel his breath brush her neck if the wind blew hard enough. Shaking her head to rid herself of her haunting thoughts, she stopped in front of the happiest building in the alley yet she couldn’t bring the happiness into herself. Ever since coming back from Ireland, she had felt this unmanageable weight settle on her heart. 

“Ginny! What are doing here?” Fred asked pushing open the door admitting her into the bustling store. 

“I thought the shop didn’t open for another hour.” Ginny said pushing her way in. 

“Oh, I decided to open earlier during the last few weeks of August because of the Hogwarts students pouring in. It gives them more time to beg their parents to buy some of our products.”

“Aye, seems as if my big bro is actually using some of those brains of his,” Fred shrugged his shoulders helplessly but was grinning down at her. 

“Man needs to earn his money somehow,” 

“Exploiting poor Hogwarts students who don’t know any better, honestly Fred, I’m worried about your morals.” Ginny giggled. “Things haven’t changed since your own Hogwarts years.” 

“Oh come now Ginny dearest, at least now I do it openly and Mum approves.” Ginny laughed at his flamboyancy, glad that his misery at least was hidden for a while. She didn’t care that it was all for appearance she couldn’t stand the sadness that reigned in his eyes when they found nothing. It wasn’t right to see her brother like that - he looked so vulnerable. 

Fred headed back behind the till quickly as a line of customers was waiting impatiently. Ginny took this time to look around the store; she hadn’t been here in months. She was surprised to see that it was mostly the same; there was a newer variety of Nosebleed

Nougats and the Sherbet Creams were discontinued. Usually they had new headlining products out at least every month or so. She could only guess what put a stop to it. She knew how it felt to be in his position. To feel ready to burst from the love inside but unable to do so, it zapped a person of their power. 

“Hey Gins, can you go get Verity out of the back, tell her that her break is officially cut short!” Fred said as he busied himself counting cash. 

After a few hours of helping around the shop, Ginny found herself in the back room. She had never felt so tired in her life, and at her age, she shouldn’t have been. But it felt as if her life had already been lived. The calmness that the end of the war brought, though she thought she wanted it, left little excitement in her life. Seamus didn’t want her to work, he said he could take care of her just fine but she hated being home all day.

“What are you doing in here all by yourself?” Fred said, Ginny noticed the bags under his eyes as well. 

“Just getting some rest,”

“You’re talking as if you’re an old woman!” Fred said ruffling up Ginny’s hair affectionately. 

“Sometimes I feel it.” 

“My, if a twenty-four year old is feeling old what does that make me feel like?” 

“Well, haven’t you just felt a little bored after the war? I mean, I don’t do anything anymore!” Fred sat down beside his younger sister. Her turmoil was evidently shown on her face. It had been five years, yet he could tell that she hadn’t settled into the new lull of freedom. Sometimes it took people longer to get used to it. Fred was sure that it would have been the same way with Harry had he made it. He was the kind of man who always needed action, so was his sister. 

“I don't think the war is over Ginny, we’re only getting ready now for the next struggle, for the next person to try and rise up above the rest.” Fred said after a moment of silence. “I would take these moments of peace as they come.” 

“Are you at peace Fred?” Ginny asked, looking deeply into his eyes. Fred looked away, unnerved at how well his sister could read him. She had always been the one he talked to. George was always great too, but they had always dodged the deeper topics, both never wanting to admit to each other that life wasn’t full of smiles and gags. 

“It’s her isn’t it?” Ginny pushed, resting her hand on his arm. Fred blinked, and felt his muscles tense under her touch. She could tell he didn’t want to talk about that. “We’ll find her you know.” 

“Either way I lose her.” 

“No Fred you win- knowing that no matter what happens, you loved. That’s all that matters.” Fred snorted and shook his red mane. 

“Do you feel like you’ve won, loving Harry?” Fred replied harshly. He knew he was mocking her, and hated himself for it when he had seen her haggard face. For the next few minutes the two sat with each other in silence. Each drinking up what the solace offered. 

“I still miss him, yet I know I shouldn’t. It’s been almost three years I shouldn’t still be thinking about him.” 

“Mum always used to tell us that when you really love a person, you never stop, even in death.” 

“I remember that, you always used to laugh at it with George as if it was the funniest thing in the world.” 

“It is, it’s funny because it’s hard to comprehend that you can love someone even when they’re gone. They’re gone, so doesn’t that mean feeling goes too?” Fred shook his head. He hated thinking about it, hated it only because a person would never know that it was the truth till they loved as clichéd as that was. 

 “Hey you two, get your bums out here! I’m not your slave you know!” Verity said peeking her head into the backroom. 

“Oh really? Could have fooled me, the sign on your forehead says you are.”

“Shut up Fred and get to work!” She bossed before she disappeared again into the store. 

“Well little sis, reality calls.” 

*

The sun smiled down on the Order, but the members hardly took any notice; too busy arguing among themselves to notice the beauty around them. Ron was in an uproar that they were still sitting on their arses and not out there while others believed that(,) they needed a game plan rather than blindly run out without any idea to what they were doing. Ron hated the inactivity and his brain wasn’t working fully. 

“Why the hell are we still here?” Ron burst out, his hand gripping the edge of the table tightly. 

“Settle down Ronald! What do you think we’re going to do? Run around like headless chickens? Honestly get a grip!” Ginny said folding her arms tightly across her chest. Ron glared at his younger sister and leaned back in his chair. 

“We are never going to get anywhere with Ron here breathing down our necks,” George muttered to himself. 

“Nor will we get anywhere with you three arguing like children,” Lupin pointed out harshly. The siblings quieted down but continued to shoot looks at each other. Lupin sighed and rubbed his temples. He honestly didn’t know what to do, if Dumbledore had been here he would already know what action to take, where to place the members. But with him gone, it had left Lupin with an unmanageable responsibility. 

“What we need to do is think like this man, find out what he is thinking,” Tonks said trying to break the tension. 

“We already know that!” Ron replied tersely. 

“Then stop action like a child and do it!” Lupin replied. He was getting annoyed at not only Ron’s easy anger, but also the whole Orders attitude towards each other today.
Ron grumbled under his breath about injustice but eventually trailed off angrily. 

“How much information did you get on this guy?” Fred finally spoke, his eyes directly meeting Ron’s. Fred felt the anger boil up in himself just by looking at him. 

“Why do you wanna know? It’s seems as if you’re more interested then normal.” Ron gave Fred a challenging look. For a moment Fred was worried that Ron had guessed.  

“Stop acting like a selfish dick chop!” Fred hissed at Ron, his anger finally boiling over. “Stop pretending that you are the only one who cares for her! We need to find out where this guy would take her! If you don’t tell us then you’re going to be of no help!” 

Ron gaped at his older brother, but Fred continued to glower at him, not caring what his actions revealed. He had one hell of a night and wasn’t up to putting up with Ron’s selfishness. 

“The only thing that I’ve been able to figure out about him is that he had an unnatural craving for Hermione.” Ron sputtered out. “I’ve already told you all I know! His name was Rolf and he’s obviously been a faithful follower of You-Know-Who, even death can’t part his loyalty.” 

“So, maybe him taking her has more to do with past instructions. Maybe he’s been so obsessed with following Voldemort’s orders that even death can’t cut those ties.” Tonks said quietly. 

“No, because she got out, somehow she survived. Those were not You-Know-Who’s plans! Something went wrong!” Ron said quickly. 

“So maybe he’s trying to correct it. Maybe in his deranged mind he thinks that maybe by fixing his mistake he can bring his master back!” Fred said resting his forehead in his hands in exhaustion. 

“Bring Voldemort back?” Lupin said in surprise. “Fred don’t-”

“I’m not saying it’s possible, but in his mind’s eye, maybe he sees this mess up that he might have made, cause the Dark Lord’s demise. So maybe he thinks that by correcting it, it’ll bring him back.”

“That’s a lot of assumptions,” Ron said sceptically. 

“Well do you have a better theory because I’d like to hear it.” George said coming to his twin’s defence. Ron shrugged his shoulders, obviously not ready to take his brothers head on. George leaned back in his seat with a smug smirk on his face.

“So basing it on that, and that is a very broad base and could be one hundred percent wrong, but assuming that is what he is thinking, where would he go to try and fix it?” Tonks asked twirling around a piece of bubble gum in her mouth. 

“Where can he go that can reverse things?” McGonagall asked taking her quill out from behind her ear. 

“You can’t, that’s nigh impossible. He can’t fix it surely he knows that!” Tonks said in frustration. 

“The man’s brilliant, he got in and out of St. Mungo’s without leaving a trace, he knows exactly what he’s doing.” Lupin reinstated. “He knows he can’t fix it.” 

“That doesn’t keep him from trying,” Fred grumbled under his breath, soft enough so that no one would hear it. 

“I think we should try square one,” Tonks said after a few minutes of silence. 

“And that is?” Ron said a chilling bite had entered his voice. It sounded more like Malfoy than Ron. 

“The Headquarters, I know we’ve been there, but that was before the kidnapping. Maybe he’s been there since.” 

“He’s not,” Fred said. A few of the Order members turned to him in surprise. Fred didn’t look up from the table, couldn’t face them or face the fact again that he had failed last night. 

“What makes you say that?” Lupin asked gently. 

“I was there, trust me, it’s as deserted as its ever been.” 

“Why did you go there?” Ron demanded possessively. Fred leaned back in his chair giving no intention on answering Ron’s demand. He almost had enough of him. Lupin nodded and he pushed the conversation forward trying to avoid an awkward confrontation. Eventually Ron lost interest in Fred’s claim and was pulled into the conversation. 

Ron’s dark eyes pierced every person around the table, his anger barely contained. Maybe he thought that someone at this table was responsible and by looking into the souls of the people, he should have trusted it would reveal that. His gaze kept falling onto Fred, whose long red hair was falling over his shoulders handsomely and his gaze was nearly as dark as his own. Ron shook his head, pushing his thoughts away. Fred was his brother; being so gave Fred instant loyalty. Ron leaned back in his chair feeling a little better about the situation. Lupin was finally taking control. 

*

The woods were quiet. Darkness surrounded the trees leaving a white mist swirling around the base of the trees. A man leaned against a large trunk of an old maple. His eyes were closed and the stillness in his face reflected the solace that the forest offered. The lines on his face shown that he had not had many of these moments and no matter what, he was going to drink in the silence and let it absorb into him until his memories disappeared. 

Feeling the rough bark underneath his fingertips, he pushed himself from the tree remembering his mission. He had to guard this place, though he hardly believed that there would be anything here. No one would chance to come back here, even at their wits’ end but Lupin had ordered him here just in case something happened.  He didn’t blame him, a man like him couldn’t take much action anymore; he was well past his prime. Rubbing his eyes, he stared out past the woods’ edge. He could make out the subtle objects that he was supposed to watching like a hawk. It was a graveyard where You-Know-Who was allegedly raised again. 

Lifting his hands to his forehead he tried to release the headache that pounded behind his eyes. When Lupin had told him what he had to do, he felt this undeniable twinge of misery at the pit of his stomach. He didn’t want this to start again, to have someone else try to rise to power, and by the sounds of the limited information Lupin had  given  him, this man was powerful as hell. He hated to admit that he was scared. The last war had frightened him more than he cared to admit. He ended his livelihood because of it. He might have been known to be involved in a lot of shady activities, but any sane person would have been affected by the war. He felt like had aged twenty years because of it. 

Shaking his head, he almost felt like he wanted to be part of the action instead of watching a deserted graveyard. But he had lost the trust of the Order long ago, and they only kept him in because he knew too much. He had spent too much of his life pawning off artefacts and had never given much to the Order except his allegiance that he would never join the Dark Lord. He figured that it was far better then some could say, but in twenty years, he wouldn’t be remembered as one who helped to save the world. 

Walking a little closer to the gravesite, he felt an unfamiliar shudder run up his spine. Suppressing the adrenaline that kicked into his system from just walking closer to such an evil place he guffawed at himself.

 “Going soft in my retired age?” He thought to himself ruefully. 

He had been out of the trading business since the war, he couldn’t make himself go back, though he never would have guess that walking towards an abandoned grave site would have given him the willies. 

His steps made a strange crunching sound as he walked over some rough shrubbery. Ignoring the sound, he pushed forward. Lupin had specifically told him to keep out of sight but his curiosity could not be killed. He had always been a man who had to investigate everything himself. When he was still in the business, he would have to go and check out some of the rumours about the relics for himself, he couldn’t sit around and ignore it. Though it got him into more trouble than not. 

Stopping at the tree line, he looked towards the graveyard. How the graves rose out of the ground reminded him of the lost life that lay under the surface. Shaking his head again, he ran his calloused hand through his greying ginger hair. Memories of the past war flashed before his eyes and he strove to push them away. Even though he pledged his allegiance to the Order, he couldn’t help but remember that he had helped the dark side as well. Not on purpose but his line of work had given the Death Eaters a deciding boost at the beginning. Some of his relics he sold had gotten in the wrong hands and they had somehow proved useful. He felt personally responsible for Mad Eyes death, his mentor, and the one man who saved him from going over to the dark side. If he hadn’t been pawning off for years, none of those relics would have been used against them. 

Pushing back his guilt once again, he moved forward. His eyes caught onto the graves’ intricate designs and architecture. The people buried here all were from high, influential families with a lot of old money. Letting his eyes caress the beauty that each grave seemed to have he thought of how much each piece could be worth. As he walked further into the graveyard, a funny feeling settled upon him. He almost felt like he was trespassing on these people’s tormented sleep. 

Then he saw it. He felt the familiar need to explore this amazing relic. Letting his feet guide him through the surrounding darkness he felt transfixed upon this grave. Stopping in front of it he felt his mouth gape open, he hadn’t seen something so magnificent in his life. It was art in its darkest form. It looked like a dark angel lifting its hands to the heavens; maybe it was pleading or cursing the skies, he didn’t know. The eyes looked so real, he felt if he looked into them long enough, their fire would zap through his soul. This would be worth millions on the market. Reaching out, he let his hands touch the black and green mixed marble in an almost reverent way. There were rich emeralds and other gems mixed in with the design. 

As soon as his hand touched the statue, he felt his insides quiver with an unknown fear. Withdrawing his hand quickly, he looked to see who was the guardian of this sculpture. 

TOM RIDDLE

He let out a snort and took a calculated step back. Feeling the wind pick up he decided it was time to head back to the confines of the forest - at least that was safe. Walking further away, he felt the hairs on the back of his neck prickle, whipping himself around ready to face anything he saw only darkness. Letting out a shaky breath, he tried to stand a little straighter. There is nothing there he told himself sternly, though he noticed that his arm hairs were standing on end from this unknown enemy. 

Hearing a quiet laugh, he called for light from his wand. Twisting around he tried identifying the intruder. Seeing nothing, he moved closer to the woods where he could find cover and wait for the person to come to him. 

“You can’t get away,” a soft whisper floated through the air. Turning around quickly he faced the prowler. His eyes widened as he saw the face of what he had always imagined the devil to be. 

*

“How ill-fated are we to see this sight?” Kingsley asked softly as he stared down at the body. Lupin shook his head and turned away. 

“I didn’t think anything would happen here, that’s why I gave him this place. He’s been bugging me to be involved for a while now, little did he know I sent him to his death bed.” Lupin said sadly and looked at the tree line. “He was supposed to stay in the forest and watch,” 

“You know Mundungus, he’s curious. He probably saw the statues and had to check them out himself, I can only guess that he was seeing how much they were worth.” Kingsley replied. 

“Its just crude, absolutely disgusting. Ginny get behind me, you don’t want to see this!” Mrs. Weasley demanded as Ginny popped into view. 

“Aw Mum! I’m not a kid anymore!” She said and pushed her way through. Gasping at the sight, she couldn’t help but turn away from it. Fred walked over to his sister and wrapped his arms around her. His eyes were a stormy blue as he stared at the damage done to poor Mundungus. 

“Why’d he make it look so ghastly, couldn’t he have just killed him and been done with it?” Ron asked, his face turning a sickly green. 

“He wanted to make a statement,” Lupin said, rubbing the back of his neck. 

“He did at that,” Tonks said. “We better get this cleaned up before the Prophet gets wind of this. That could mean the end of the Order, everyone is going to wonder why Mundungus was here.” 

The group moved around Mundungus’s brutal figure. Mrs. Weasley shook her head and sniffed, even though she disliked the man, she couldn’t help but feel pity at the way he ended. 

There were large gaping gashes across his body that showed his searing bright red blood as it spilled out soaking his robes a deep red. His eyes stared blankly back at them, their darkness, haunted by their last image before death. Ginny closed her eyes and leaned into Fred. 

“He didn’t deserve this,” she said wiping her eyes. Fred shook his head. He knew who did this and thinking about what he could do, sickened him. To think that he had her dismayed him even more. 

“Guys, come take a look at this,” Kingsley said. His voice was grave and a hint of remorse laced his words. 

In the grass a few feet away, a few words were spelled out with fire. Their meaning was clear and sinister. 

‘You will never find her, and those who try shall suffer the same fate.’

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