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.
“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.”
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