Jasmine groaned as she rolled over in bed, the sun streaming through her curtains that a House-Elf must have opened. It had been a late night the night before, the last guests not leaving until half-past one, and her mother insisting on her helping get things back in order with her. Jasmine had pointed out that the House Elves would see to everything, but her mother always supervised such things, believing it would not be done properly if she was not there to look it over. Jasmine wasn’t sure why she’d had to be there as well, but that was her mother for you.
Grumbling about irrational parents, and having people dictate her life for her, she finally talked herself into getting up. As she was finished getting dressed, Kurdle appeared with a pop to tell her that her father was asking for her in his study. Jasmine nodded to the House Elf to dismiss him before she allowed any of the fear she felt to show on her face. But holding her head high, she exited the room and made her way to his study.
“Jasmine,” he said calmly in greeting as she knocked and he opened the door with his wand.
“Father,” she replied, rather stiffly.
“Your behaviour last night was…pleasing,” he informed her. Jasmine stared at him a long while before replying.
“Thank you,” she said eventually, still surprised at the unexpected compliment.
“I believe you are ready to accompany us tonight,” he went on as if she had not said anything.
“Accompany…” Jasmine began before trailing off, her brain having caught up with what her father was saying.
“That is all. You may spend the day as you wish,” he said dismissively, and bent to begin scribbling away at the parchment that was on his desk.
Jasmine left quickly, cold filling her as she thought of what was to come that night. She wandered back to her room, feeling very lost and more alone than she ever had before. She vaguely wished she had not convinced herself to get up that morning, but then found herself sitting down at the small desk she used as a writing desk, quill and parchment sitting invitingly before her. She picked up the quill, still feeling that chill deep inside her and knowing only that she desperately needed the warmth. Even if she wrote to Sirius, it didn’t mean she had to send it, after all. No, it would just help her to say all the things she never could, that was all.
Pushing anymore doubts to the side, Jasmine touched the parchment with her quill and began to write in her neat script, pouring her heart into the words that formed before her.
“All right, now let’s talk about the important stuff,” Lily said firmly as Marlene showed her the last room in the house upstairs. “What’s going on with you and Caradoc?”
Marlene sat on the bed in a would-be casual manner, Lily seating herself cross legged on the pillows.
“What do you mean? There’s nothing going on, I can assure you,” Marlene said, quite able to be honest with her friend.
“But you wish there was, right?” Lily pressed.
Marlene hesitated, but saw Lily narrow her eyes.
“Well, okay, so you may have a point,” she admitted. It felt good to finally confide this in someone anyway. “But I don’t think it will ever happen, I think he still sees me as some sort of colleague, or at the very least someone too young for him.”
“Perhaps that is for the best,” Lily said cautiously, she knew Marlene was not the girl she had been, the last year had made her grow up a lot, and she was wary to be negative of her decisions.
“Perhaps you are right, but I would still want to give it a shot. Regretting something you’ve done is infinitely better than regretting not doing something, right? At least I’d know.”
Lily leaned back against the wooden headboard thoughtfully; she had to admit that what her friend said made sense. She might not think it would work out, but it really was not her decision, she realised.
“You’re right,” Lily proclaimed finally, smiling at her friend.
“I am?” Marlene asked in surprise, making Lily laugh.
“Yes, of course you are, you’ve been right all along. But you didn’t need me to tell you that.”
“Well, no, but it’s still nice to hear it,” Marlene replied, grinning suddenly.
“Reckon it’s time to go find the others?” Lily suggested, stretching before getting up from the bed.
“Yeah, they’ll be wondering where we are, and I think I heard Dumbledore was planning to give you some duelling practice.”
“Duelling practice?” Sirius repeated, looking up eagerly from where he had been picking off bits of the table with a penknife, he never could sit still for long.
Everyone was still gathered in the dining room and listening expectantly to Dumbledore, who had returned a few minutes ago. Now that they had got familiar with the inside of the house, they were evidently going to get a more thorough going over of the outside. The only one who was no longer with them was Alice, who had had to leave at a call from the Auror she was training with at the Ministry.
“Yes, Sirius, duelling practice,” Dumbledore said, his eyes twinkling in amusement. “So, if you’d all like to step out into the garden, myself and Alastor Moody will try to get you covered in the basics. This is not like learning Defence Against the Dark Arts, though what you have learned there will aid you in the future. Oh, and Sirius, kindly repair the table before you join us.”
James grinned and lightly smacked his friend on the back of the head as he walked by him to follow the others outside.
Once in the garden, they found Moody waiting for them in the middle of the expansive lawn. He looked them up and down critically and growled his orders for pairing them off. To James’s horror and Lily’s amusement, they were paired against each other.
“But I can’t fight her!” James protested.
“Scared I’ll beat you?” Lily teased, but James did not take the bait.
“You’ll fight who I say you’ll fight,” Moody told him in tones that brooked no argument. “You think there won’t be women among those you may have to fight, or even have to kill?”
James paled a bit at the thought of having to kill, but he answered anyway.
“It’s not that, it’s just that I know her and everything,” James said uncertainly, clearly feeling very wrong footed.
“There is the possibility that you will know the people you have to fight. Any one of you here may end up on Voldemort’s side, and you may be forced to fight against those you once called friends, you must be prepared to do so,” Moody explained bluntly.
For a few moments everyone was quiet as this sank in, a few nervous glances were traded before Dumbledore stepped forward.
“Let us remember that Voldemort’s greatest weapon is fear, and that through it he seeks to divide us. We must not be divided, and while what Alastor says holds a ring of truth, you must not let trust be eroded. We are only as strong as we are united.”
Moody grunted, but did not contest Dumbledore’s words.
“Right, so shall we get on with it then? Any more complaints?” he asked before moving on without waiting for an answer. “Good. First thing’s first, this morning the Ministry issued the Auror’s powers to use the Unforgivable Curses. I don’t give a damn what the Ministry says, my Aurors will not use them, and neither should anyone in the Order.” Here he paused to glare around at everyone as if they had dared to protest this order. “It’s a thin line between justice and revenge, don’t cross it or you might as well be on their side. You will each be trying to immobilise the other by any means necessary, there are no rules, your enemies will not follow any and neither should you. Any questions?” Moody fairly barked.
When everyone shook their heads, Moody nodded at them to begin while he walked back a bit to talk to Dumbledore. The pairs split off from the others to allow space of movement; James was with Lily, Sirius with Remus, and Peter with Marlene.
Lily faced James, her wand out and grasped determinedly, her eyes never leaving his face, and searching for a clue as to what his first move was to be. James looked a little more unsure of himself, but it was not in him to allow anyone to win without a fight, even if it was Lily.
“Expelli –” James began before Moody cut across the spells that were being uttered around the garden.
“Non-verbal,” he shouted in annoyance, causing those who had been casting the way their instincts had told them to, to look shame-faced.
Everyone turned their attention back to their opponents, and an almost eerie silence fell over the garden as each waited for the other to make some move, mentally running over a list of spells they could use.
For Lily, it was James who acted first again; either he wanted to get this over quickly, or he had really decided to fight her properly. Lily was inclined to think the former as she caught the slight hesitation before he flicked his wand. It gave her time to identify it as a Freezing Charm and shield accordingly. Before James could send another attack her way, she had sent a Stunner straight at him, forcing him to drop to the ground in order to avoid it. She followed rapidly in an attempt to Disarm him, but he was quicker than she gave him credit for, and was already on his feet, turning on the spot and Disapparated with a crack as the spell shot past him to his right.
Lily threw up a hasty Protego shield, hoping that wherever he had Apparated to, he would only attempt to send a minor spell at her. Her general shielding was strong, but it was still not a powerful spell in itself. As it was, he sent a Leg-Locker Curse at her and her shield withstood it, leaving her time to locate where he was now standing and return fire. She sent the same Freezing Charm at him that he had attempted to get her with earlier, but in her sudden movement in turning to face him, her aim was off and it hit a tree behind and a little to the left of him instead. As he raised his wand to send yet another spell at her, Lily tried the same trick James had, turning on the spot to Disapparate. Instead of moving away from him though, she Apparated to his side, raising her wand to Stun him as he was turning to do the same to her, his reflexes allowing him to react in time. Their spells collided, and at such close range they ricocheted right back at their casters’. Both were flung away from the other and lay, Stunned, on the ground until Moody reached them and Enervated them both.
“Not bad, but you have a lot of work to do,” he said grudgingly. “Your biggest mistake, Potter, was conviction in the beginning, and you, Evans, are too focused on only what is in front of you, you must focus on all your surroundings as well as your opponent, it will not necessarily be one on one. In fact, you should count yourself damn lucky if you get such odds. That’s why you must each be better than them, a lot better. Another thing, although it worked well here, you cannot rely on Apparation. Casting an Anti-Disapparation net over the vicinity of an attack is one of the first things in the standard procedure to dealing with one.”
He went on round the rest of the group, telling them exactly what was wrong with each of their techniques, and saying barely a word by way of praise.
“Sorry,” James muttered to Lily as he went to stand beside her, listening to Moody as he made his rounds.
“Now, now, conviction, James, conviction,” Lily murmured back teasingly and making him smile. “Next time I’ll beat you, though.”
“Well, we’ll just have to see about that, Miss Evans,” he whispered back, careful to keep his eyes trained on Moody to at least appear to be still listening.
Moody then split the group into two fours and told them they would take turns having three attack one as all of them should learn to fight and win in such circumstances.
“Black, you first in that group,” Moody instructed in James and Lily’s direction, who had been joined by Sirius and Remus. “Wait for my approval to start.”
Sirius looked round at his friends’ identical expressions of determination tinted with amusement a little nervously. Remus still sported the donkey ears Sirius had hexed him with in their fight, none of them having known the counter-curse offhand. He looked round at the other group where Marlene was standing separate to the other three, wand at the ready. He struck a likewise pose, contenting himself with the knowledge that whatever they did, he would be able to get his own back soon enough.
Jasmine stood in a house her father had sent her to, to await her instructions for the night, her hand still feeling cramped from all the writing she had done that day. She knew barely anything about the attack that was planned for that night, and she couldn’t help but think that was for the best. She didn’t delude herself into thinking this was something she could get out of, but she also knew it was highly unlikely she would have to do much. There were several young Death Eaters that were being taught the ways in which Voldemort worked, she was with them, though she refused to count herself as one of their number. Voldemort would never trust the running of an attack to one of these, or her, so she figured she was probably along for the experience.
An older Death Eater walked into the room in which four or five of the Death Eaters Jasmine had been grouped with were waiting. She had recognised only Severus when she had walked in; he looked almost bored, if anything. She didn’t listen as he informed them of their roles, if they were to play any at all, she knew it would be mostly watch and don’t get in the way. Instead, she watched the others around her, taking in their expressions and gauging what they thought of this situation they had got themselves into. Most looked decidedly nervous, though there were a couple looking resolute, and even vaguely proud to be there.
Jasmine started when they all began to move to the door through which they’d come. Hastily, she turned to follow them, but the Death Eater who had brought their instructions grabbed her arm suddenly.
“You’re to stay with him,” he said harshly, nodding towards the person who had lingered back from the group. Jasmine narrowed her eyes when she realised it was Severus, but she took satisfaction in seeing he didn’t look too pleased about the arrangement either.
Jasmine yanked her arm out of the man’s grip, striding over to Severus.
“Well, shall we go?” she said impatiently, moving to follow the others before Severus had given her an answer.
A flash of fire heralded the arrival of Fawkes, Dumbledore’s phoenix, and the training drew to an abrupt halt as Moody walked swiftly towards Dumbledore.
“What is it?” he asked gruffly.
“The Wakefields,” Dumbledore said softly, though everyone in the garden caught the words.
“If you go, I’ll send this lot home and be along shortly,” Moody suggested swiftly, already seeming in control of the situation, but Dumbledore shook his head, looking at the group of former students critically.
Moody turned to frown at them too, and Marlene shifted nervously where she stood next to Peter.
“You can’t be serious,” Moody stated bluntly. “They’re nowhere near ready.”
“They will never be ready,” Dumbledore said calmly. “It is their choice.”
“All right, you lot,” Moody said, addressing the group finally. “We have news of a Death Eater attack. It is most likely that they’ve already left, the Dark Mark is in the sky, but there is the risk of there being a few still there, not to mention that it won’t be very…pleasant. The Headmaster here seems to think it a good idea to take you along, whether you do or not is up to you. We’re leaving now.”
Dumbledore selected a rock from the ground at his feet, tapping it and muttering a spell.
“If you are coming with us, it will be easier to take this Portkey as none of you know the location you would be Apparating to.”
As one, they all stepped forward to reach for the Portkey, none electing to stay behind. The last thing Lily saw before they were being transported across the country was the faint smile upon Dumbledore’s face.
Jasmine stood on hill not far from the burning remains of the house she had watched Death Eaters attack barely twenty minutes ago. Severus stood next to her, and all but they had left, knowing that it would not be long before others came to the scene. Indeed, as she stood staring she saw Aurors appearing in front of the house, and then she could not stop herself from seizing Severus’s arm when she recognised her friends walking among them.
Severus shook her off impatiently, his dark eyes taking in the scene below with the barest hint of a smirk. Looking at him, Jasmine could barely recognise the boy she had known in Hogwarts, though perhaps he was still in there somewhere. She doubted it at that moment, he had watched the Death Eaters just as she had, but his expression had been hardened, eyes gleaming as he saw the torture and the killing, while she had been unable to keep the horror and guilt from her own face.
“How could you watch that like it was right?” Jasmine asked in a small voice, eyes still fixed on the door through which her friends had gone. She knew what they would find in there, and she hoped they were more prepared than she had been.
“Because it is,” Severus replied harshly. “They were Mudbloods; worse, they had actively tried to prevent the Dark Lord’s plans. The Wakefields deserved this. Tell me, Vaisey, does it pain you to know the name that goes with those bodies?”
“Yes,” Jasmine answered truthfully.
“We’re not in Hogwarts anymore,” Severus said coldly, eyes watching the tightly wound girl next to him. “No Dumbledore to keep everyone safe, this is life, this is the life you were born to and the one I chose. If you can’t embrace it, accept it or perish.”
Jasmine closed her eyes as she felt the weight those words held down on her, listening as Severus turned to leave. After a moment, she opened her eyes and turned to follow Severus away from this place. She couldn’t justify what had happened that night to herself, but trying to believe in Severus’s reasoning made it easier. After all, she had already made her choice.
Lily stood in the wreckage of this home feeling an anger she had never known before coursing through her veins.
“How could someone do this?” she asked James, who was standing equally as dumbstruck as she.
“I don’t know,” he said softly.
“There were two children,” she said tightly, her jaw clenched as she fought not to cry. Crying wouldn’t bring them back, and God knows she’d done enough crying in the last few days to know it. “I want to stop them.”
James was a little taken aback at the forcefulness in Lily’s voice, but he couldn’t agree with her more. Looking around at the devastation, he knew he would do everything he could to prevent this from happening to other people. His friends were all looking pale and shocked, but determined in their own right, angered by what they had seen here.
Lily fought her anger, Moody’s words from earlier echoing in her head. It would not do to wish this on the people who had created it, but it was hard not to wish vengeance for all that had happened that night. But no, she would not seek revenge for the fear and sadness that the Death Eaters brought upon the wizarding world. No, she would keep to her side of the line, but she made a promise to herself then, a heartfelt promise, that she would do everything in her power to bring them to justice, and there was nowhere on earth she would not follow them to do it.
Author's Note: So it's been a while, huh? But I am back and working on this story again now. I can't say when the next chapter will be up, I'm on holiday for a week and won't be able to work on it at all, but after I return I'll try to get back into a regular updating routine like before :) .
I hope you liked the chapter, and, as always, reviews are very welcome ;) .
Write a Review As Wings Unfold: Chapter Twenty-Two - Justice and Revenge