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.