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Last night had been particularly rough for the Marauders. Remus-the-Werewolf was more agitated than normal, and took most of his frustrations out on Sirius. James and Peter had taken their fair share of wounds, however. Remus was spending the day recovering in a private section of the hospital wing, and the other guys were bandaging and covering their cuts and scrapes in their dormitory Saturday morning.
“Padfoot, how are you going to conceal that?” James asked, pointing to Sirius’s left leg. Almost all of the skin on the back had been ripped off by Remus-the-Werewolf, and Sirius could barely limp when he walked.
“Dammit, I don’t know. When’s our next Quidditch game?” Sirius asked.
“In a week,” replied James.
“Well, ahhh!” exclaimed Sirius, cleaning the wound with antiseptic, “I just hope that I can fly alright by then.”
“Maybe you should go see Madam Pomfrey,” Peter suggested.
“No, Wormtail, we’re illegal Animagi, remember? She’ll tell Dumbledore and we’ll be arrested, dumbass,” said Sirius patronizingly.
“Lay off him, Padfoot, he might be right. If that thing gets infected you could get gangrene or something,” said James.
“Then I won’t let it get infected,” said Sirius stubbornly.
“Come on, let’s go down to breakfast before all the doughnuts are gone,” James said. They walked down to the common room (Sirius dragging his leg) where they saw Lily.
“Hey Lily,” James said, “Where’s Rhian?”
“Oh, the most terrible thing happened last night. Rhian’s father…died,” said Lily quietly.
“Oh man, I’m so sorry,” said James.
“Me too,” said Peter.
Sirius just looked flustered and surprised.
“Don’t tell anyone, okay? I’m not even sure if I’m allowed to tell you,” Lily said.
“Do you know how? He died?” asked Peter.
“Another stupid question,” Sirius muttered.
“No, it’s an appropriate question, but I don’t think I should be the one to tell you all,” said Lily.
“Are you heading down to the Great Hall?” asked James.
Lily nodded in her head, and the four of them went down to breakfast together.
About half an hour later, Rhian walked down from her dormitory into the common room. Thankfully, everyone else was down at breakfast, so she could sit by the fire in peace. She wasn’t feeling very hungry.
She hadn’t slept much that night. She kept thinking about how her father must have died, wand pointed at the figure with red eyes and slitted nostrils, surrounded by menacing hooded figures. Rhian wondered if her mam had been told what had happened. Did the ministry know how to send letters by Muggle post? Was her mother even told the true story, or did they deem that too much information to give to a Muggle?
Rhian took the letter from her pocket and reread it for the umpteenth time. She really hated the ministry at this point. It was like they didn’t even care that the Minister’s Assistant died! Sure, lots of people had been killed by Voldemort and the Death Eaters, but just because so many have died you shouldn’t stop caring! Every person murdered had family and friends who find every day painful because they’re gone!
“Ow!” Rhian exclaimed. She had cut her finger on the letter. This just keeps getting better and better, she thought to herself. Rhian decided to go to the hospital wing to get a band-aid. When she arrived, Madam Pomrey was nowhere to be seen.
“Madam Pomfrey? Woo-hoo, are you there? My finger’s bleeding, dammit, and it hurts real bad!” she shouted.
“Would you PLEASE be quiet?” a guy’s voice said.
Rhian was surprised, because she thought the room was empty. “Who are you?”
“Madam Pomfrey’s at breakfast, and my head is hurting quite a lot, so I’d really prefer if you would just go away,” said the voice. Rhian saw that there was a curtain around the bed in the corner, and the voice seemed to be coming from there.
“Who are you?” Rhian asked again, opening the curtain.
“Oh, Rhian, it’s you,” said Remus, lying on the hospital bed covered in stitches and bandages.
“My God, Remus, what happened to you?” said Rhian, sitting on his bed.
“Er, um, well, run in with the Whomping Willow, yeah, Whomping Willow,” said Remus very quickly and unsurely.
“Why were you near the Whomping Willow?” asked Rhian skeptically.
“Well, the guys and I were…mischief, you know.”
“Um, sure,” said Rhian.
“So, you hurt your finger?” asked Remus.
“Yeah, got a…paper cut,” replied Rhian, remembered what the paper that had cut her had said.
“Those can be quite nasty. Madam Pomfrey keeps the band-aids in that drawer over there, if you just want to take one.”
“Okay, thanks,” muttered Rhian, sounding very distant. For the brief moment, she had forgotten about her dad, but now she remembered again.
“Hey, are you okay?” asked Remus while Rhian wrapped the band-aid around her finger.
Rhian felt her eyes fill with tears again. “Of course I am!”
“Sorry, just checking.”
Rhian stared at the floor for a minute, then burst out saying, “Oh, no I’m not! I try to be brave and strong and stop crying, but I can’t!”
“Rhi, tell me what happened,” said Remus, taking her hand.
“Well,” sniffed Rhian, “last night I was reading the Walter Nizz book you gave me, and I love it by the way, it’s great, and I kept hearing this noise behind me coming from the common room window, and I checked it out to see what it was, and it was this owl, and I was like why is this owl so determined to find me so late at night, why can’t it wait ‘til morning, and then I took the letter and it was from the Ministry of Magic, and it said…it said that my dad died!”
“Oh Rhian, I’m so sorry,” said Remus most sincerely.
“Hug me, Remus,” cried Rhian, throwing her arms around him. Remus managed to stifle an “ow!” because Rhian hurt his shoulder. “There was this raid at the ministry last night, and all these Death Eaters and even Lord Voldemort came,” Remus also stifled a gasp whilst Rhian was talking, because he, like so many others, feared that name, “and they killed so many ministry officials trying to get to the Minister. And my dad, my dad defended the Minister and gave him time to escape, but Voldemort himself murdered my dad!”
“I’m so sorry,” Remus said again.
“I’m sorry for HIM, because I’m going to KILL HIM!” yelled Rhian so forcibly that she almost scared Remus. “He’s killed so many people and ruined so many lives that I’m going to make sure that he never ever hurts anyone again!” Rhian paused for a moment. “Will you help me, Remus?”
“You know that I’d do anything for you, Rhian,” said Remus.
“Come with me to Dumbledore.”
“Well, I don’t know, I’m supposed to stay here—”
“Dumbledore’s the only wizard he’s ever feared, right? So why doesn’t Dumbledore fight back against him?”
“Excellent point, but my arm is sort of broken—”
“Come on, let’s go!” said Rhian, grabbing Remus’s broken arm. In response, he screamed in pain.
“Oh crap, I’m sorry Rem. Uh, you stay here, I’ll go by myself—”
“No, no, I’m fine,” said Remus, getting up, clearly still in pain, “I’ll come with you.”
“I need to speak to Professor Dumbledore,” said Rhian firmly. The gargoyle did not move.
“The password is usually a type of Muggle sweet,” suggested Remus.
“Mars Bar! Tic Tac!” Rhian tried, with no success.
“Lemon Drop!” said Remus.
“Turkish Delight!” said Rhian.
“What’s a Turkish Delight?” asked Remus.
“I don’t really know. I read it in a Muggle children’s book once,” Rhian said.
“Miss Clark? Mr. Lupin?” a voice said behind them. Turning around, Rhian and Remus saw that it was Professor Dumbledore. “Why are you shouting the names of many excellent candies outside of my office?”
“Professor, could I talk to you quickly, please?” asked Rhian.
“Of course you may,” replied Dumbledore. “’Zitronetropfen’,” he said to the gargoyle, which moved to reveal the staircase. “You were close, Mr. Lupin. However, I’m afraid your ignorance of German is to blame.”
“Miss Clark,” began Dumbledore when they had reached his office, “I am sorry to hear about your father.”
“That’s why I’m here, sir,” said Rhian, “I want to know what you plan to do about Voldemort.”
Remus cringed, but Dumbledore did not. “What I plan to do, Miss Clark?”
“You’ve got to do something! Sir,” she added, “You’re the only wizard he fears. You can stop him.”
“I’m afraid that what you ask of me is a rather daunting task,” said Dumbledore.
“But you’re the only one who can stop him!” Rhian’s voice got louder.
“As you have stated twice now, Miss Clark. I am sure that you are angry and confused about you father’s death, but I must remind you to remain calm and honor his memory. He fell defending the life of another, which is one of the most noble deaths a person can have.”
Rhian said nothing, frustrated that Dumbledore seemed unwilling to fight Voldemort.
“Sir,” Remus began, “you must have some plan. You-Know-Who has been terrifying the country for who knows how many years now; you must have thought of something.”
“In that you are correct, Mr. Lupin,” said Dumbledore, “I have been contacting as many Aurors and powerful wizards and witches as I can for the past year now, in the hopes of forming an anti-Voldemort coalition.”
“Really?” asked Rhian excitedly.
“Unfortunately, many people are afraid that if they defy Voldemort, he will attack their friends and families. For this reason, it has been very difficult to find people willing to stand up,” said Dumbledore.
“I’ll join,” said Rhian immediately.
“So will I,” said Remus, thinking only of how it would make Rhian happy.
Dumbledore chucked. “I thank you for your enthusiasm, and I don’t mean to insult your magical skill, as you are both excellent students, but it is policy not to allow wizards and witches still in school to join the Order.”
“Order?” asked Remus.
“The Order of the Phoenix. That is what the group will be called,” explained Dumbledore.
“Well, good, then,” said Rhian, “you’re going to fight Voldemort. I guess we’ll be going then.”
“Thank you two for your concern,” said Dumbledore graciously as Remus and Rhian left.
“Rhian, good, you’re back!” said Lily when Rhian and Remus returned to the common room, “I was worried!”
“I’m fine. I got a paper cut so I went to the hospital wing to get a band-aid and I found Remus there and we went to go talk to Dumbledore and now we’re back,” said Rhian.
“I’m sorry about your dad, Rhian,” James said offering his condolences.
“Sorry, I told them, I didn’t know if that was—” Lily began.
“Naw, it’s okay. Thanks, James,” said Rhian, “Hey, um, can we all go somewhere, um, private? I need to ask you all something.” The Marauders and the girls went to the guys’ dormitory.
“Okay,” began Rhian when she was sure that their conversation would not be overheard, “Dumbledore’s organizing this group of people to fight against Voldemort—”
All four Marauders flinched. “Since when do you say his name?” asked Sirius.
“Since he killed my dad,” said Rhian.
“Wait, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named killed your father?” asked Peter dumbfoundedly.
“Um, I left out that part,” said Lily.
“Well, yeah, he did. In the attack on the Minister last night. Voldemort killed my dad while he gave the Minister time to escape,” explained Rhian, “And, anyway, Dumbledore’s starting this coalition of people who want to fight against Voldemort called the Order of the Phoenix, full of powerful witches and wizards and Aurors and the like. He won’t let us who are still in school join but, well, I consider all of you my friends, and I was wondering that if when we graduate, we could all join the Order. I mean, not everyone has to be in the front lines all the time, I’m sure that there’s safer stuff to do as well. So what do you say?”
There was a pause for a moment until Lily said, “Of course, Rhi. Anything I can do to help, I will.”
“Definitely,” replied James, “fighting crime is what I do best.”
“Only if it’ll piss off my parents,” said Sirius, grinning.
Peter, although terrified for his life, said, “Sure, yeah.”
“I already said I’d do anything to contribute,” said Remus.
“Wow, great, thanks everybody. But remember, this is all sort of top secret, if we need to discuss anything about the Order make sure that there’s no one around who may be a Voldemort supporter,” said Rhian. The fates of all six friends were sealed on that day.