This chapter is dedicated to one of my readers, Bella_15. Bella has been waiting anxiously for almost two years now for this chapter and I really do appreciate her patience and dedication in sticking with this story for so long. Here you go Bella. I hope it lives up to your expectations.
It was another of those very bad crawl-into-bed- and-stay-there-all-day episodes. I haven't had one of those for quite a while and this one was one of the worst.
The letter from my brother came early in the morning while I was getting ready for school. "Get the mail, will you?" I asked Mary Ann when the owl showed up at the window.
"What do I look like? A pet dog? Next you'll be making me fetch your slippers." she griped. I heard her complaining all the way down the hall and all the way back, not even bothering to mutter under her breath. "Tonks's hair is pink again." she announced as she placed an envelope with no return address into my hand. "I think she has a secret boyfriend."
"Sure I do." came Tonks's voice from the direction of the kitchen. It sounded like her mouth was full. "I'm keeping him under the bed."
I was looking at the envelope in my hand. I recognized my brother's handwriting.
"As long as he doesn't eat our food, I don't care where you stash him." Mary Ann answered. "And how come you haven't had any letters lately from your other boyfriend, Kerri?"
"Charlie isn't my boyfriend." I answered absently. "Go stuff your face or something."
"Okay -- I will." said Mary Ann cheerfully, sprinting off toward the kitchen.
I sat down on the edge of my bed to read the letter and knew that my face must be going whiter and whiter with every paragraph. I felt sick, but thankfully had not eaten yet that morning and didn't have anything to throw up. Instead, I curled up on my side, facing away from the door, staring unseeingly at the sun creeping in around the edges of the window shade.
Maybe I went into shock. I don't remember much else that happened after that until Tonks was suddenly shaking me by the shoulder and shouting in my ear. "Kerri --- KERRI ! What's wrong?"
"Maybe we should throw a bucket of water on her." Mary Ann suggested.
Tonks spotted the letter still clutched in my hand and grabbed at it. I came to life then, holding it out of her reach. The last thing I needed was for her to wonder why I was corresponding with the potions monster. I was in no mood for coming up with creative explanations.
"Go read the newspaper --- I'm sure it's in there." I said, more harshly than intended.
"O -- kay." said Tonks, eyebrow raised.
"I suppose you want me to go fetch it." said Mary Ann sarcastically.
Tonks ignored her and stalked from the room. There was a pause after which I heard her exclaim, "OH-MY-GOD!" She came running back and hit my bed like a ton of bricks, shocked questions at me rapid fire. "Dumbledore was sacked? Students injured? Hagrid arrested? What? How long has this been going on? Did you know?"
"Yes. I don't want to talk about it. Just leave me alone." I answered dully.
"Well this is just...insane." said Tonks, sounding completely floored. "Dumbledore sacked? What were they thinking? That's not going to solve anything. This doesn't have anything to do with that special job you were doing there in January, does it?"
I shook my head and rolled my eyes in frustration, wishing she'd shut up and go away. I had promised Dumbledore not to talk about it and I planned to keep that promise even if he wasn't the headmaster anymore. Dumbledore -- not the headmaster. What a strange, horrible concept. At the moment I was just too overloaded to wrap my mind around it.
"Kerri, about Hagrid..." Tonks began.
"I don't want to talk about it !" I exploded, tearing out of the room and locking myself in the bathroom. If I was forced to listen to it or discuss it I felt like I'd have a complete meltdown. Or go to Azkaban and try to take it apart brick by brick with my bare fingernails. I wasn't that concerned about Dumbledore but the thought of Hagrid being thrown to the dementors was pure torment. I almost felt like I'd rather die than deal with it, or at least go to sleep and stay that way until something happened to change the situation.
"Kerri, what about school?" asked Tonks on the other side of the door.
"To hell with school." I snarled.
"Whoa. This is serious." said Mary Ann, sounding shocked. "She's obsessed with school. I've never seen her miss."
"Kerri, can I do anything or get you something?" asked Tonks.
"No -- just go away!"
"But she's in the bathroom!" Mary Ann complained. "What if I have to go?"
"Go outside and dig a hole." Tonks suggested. "Give her some space, will you? I can't stay here -- I have to go to class. I have a test that I can't miss. "
"I have a cartoon I can't miss." Mary Ann answered.
It got quiet like that. Tonks left and Mary Ann settled down on the sofa in front of the television. When I was sure that it was safe, I quietly left the bathroom and crawled back in bed where I stayed for the entire day.
It was a long time before I could actually cry. I spent all morning and a large chunk of the afternoon in a state of numb shock. When the tide finally did break, it was with a vengeance, and I cried into my pillow for hours on end, mercifully ignored by Mary Ann. Although I was disgusted by my own wallowing behavior, I couldn't help it. Hagrid's arrest and the knowledge that there was nothing I could do about it was just too much to take.
After the tears came the anger. I blamed anyone and everyone that I could. Severus -- for being too overprotective to let me keep hunting the basilisk. Dumbledore -- for humoring him. Myself -- for not finding the basilisk in the given time. By sundown I had decided that it was all Voldemort's fault and I was thinking of trying to hunt him down since my basilisk hunting expedition had been forbidden. Severus would never approve, but then he didn't need to know.
Tonks and Mary Ann ordered a pizza. I knew because Tonks slipped in to invite me to join them, but by that time I had worked myself up so much that I was sick. Eating pizza was not an option when I knew that I wouldn't be able to keep anything down.
"It'll be okay." said Tonks, awkwardly patting my shoulder as she left again.
Tears started to spring up in my burning eyes and I didn't answer. What a stupid thing to say. Obviously it would not be okay. I'd seen enough so-called justice lately to know that. The best case scenario was that the basilisk would eat someone and prove that Hagrid was not the culprit. I wasn't quite virtuous enough to hope that it didn't. An evil part of me hoped that the basilisk would go on a complete killing spree that could not be ignored or covered up by the Ministry. With any luck, Lockhart would be one of the victims.
So my thoughts became more vicious and hateful until I almost felt poisoned by them. They weighed heavy in my heart like radioactive sludge. They made me feel dirty and contaminated yet for quite some while I took savage pleasure in thinking them. And why not? Wasn't I Voldemort's daughter? Wasn't I the same person who drugged Gustav Goyle and put flesh eating slugs on him, imperiused a burglar, and cursed the McNair's well?
By nighttime I had shifted from fury to despair. I was too exhausted to cry, too miserable to sleep. By then I wanted the comforting that I'd rebuffed all day from Tonks and occasionally from Mary Ann who was beginning to seem slightly alarmed by my behavior. Even more than that, I wanted to go running to Remus.
I laid very still, hardly breathing. There was nothing to stop me from just going over there and telling him the whole thing --- all of it. I didn't feel like I had the right to go running to him for anything unless he knew the truth, for the sake of his safety if nothing else. Voldemort had managed to detach Dumbledore from Hogwarts and land Hagrid in Azkaban. What could he do to Remus?
I uncurled myself from the ball I'd been scrunched into and got out of bed. I felt very stiff and tired. It's incredible how completely worn out grief can make you. More than running a marathon, more than being kicked by a thestral even. It's not just a weariness of the body, but a weariness of the soul too.
"Where are you going?" whispered Tonks, sitting up. Lately she sleeps so lightly that nothing gets past her. I'm not sure if it's a result of partying less or of her law enforcement training. Already she was completely alert and probably poised to tie me up and cart me to St. Mungo's if I seemed likely to do something drastic. Which I was.
"I want to see Remus." I whispered back, not wanting to wake Mary Ann. "Why am I explaining this anyway? I have to go."
Before she could protest I hurried from the bedroom and stepped out into the yard to apparate. The exhaustion caused by the day's alternating fury and grief had left me feeling numb. As long as I was numb, I'd have the courage to tell Remus the truth. If I couldn't feel the pain and humiliation of it, I'd be able to go through with my plan, though I sensed that the window of opportunity was short. If it was going to be done, it had to be done now.
I apparated outside the front of Remus's little apartment. There were some suspicious characters loitering on the litter strewn corner and I glared warningly at them before knocking. If they messed with me, I was poised to turn them all into cockroaches.
It took a while for Remus to answer.
"Did I get you up?" I asked. My voice was so hoarse from crying that I scarcely recognized it. I didn't even want to think about how I must look.
It was a stupid question for me to have asked anyway. Remus was shirtless and slightly bleary eyed. His hair was mussed and had pulled loose from it's tail. Nevertheless, he sounded very alert when he asked, "What's wrong Kerri? Come in."
He backed away from the door, groping for a shirt and I knew he was trying to hide his scar from me. It didn't matter. I sat down in the chair and buried my face in my hands, struggling to compose myself to say what I'd come to say. The numb feeling was beginning to wear off, replaced by panic generated by the thought of what I was about to do. If this ruined my chances with Remus, I really would have to go hunting for Voldemort.
"Kerri, what's happened?" asked Remus, sounding alarmed. I could feel him kneeling down in front of me and he rested his hands on my arms.
I was crying again. It took a while to get it under control. "I have to tell you something."
"All right. I'm listening."
"I should have told you before now....before we got this fond of each other. No one else knows...I've never told anyone."
I looked down at him through reddened eyes. He was looking at me with an expression of great concern. What would he do when I told him? Would he throw me out of his house?
"You have to promise not to tell anyone ever....no matter what happens. It could get me into serious trouble."
There was no sense beating around the bush. I had to say it and it would be better to just do it and have done. "Voldemort is my father."
There were several moments of stunned silence. Horror and surprise crossed his features before he managed to smooth them out again, but I could still hear the shock in his voice when he asked, "What? How...is that possible?"
"I don't know the details. I've never wanted to. It wasn't my mother's fault. She was young, and as I understand, her father was very vocal about Voldemort. He had known Voldemort's mother's family....he told a lot of things that Voldemort would rather have not been told...."
"It's all right. I don't need to hear it." said Remus. I had the impression that he was trying to calm me. Then, almost unwillingly he added, " Are you sure?"
"Dumbledore is." I said darkly. " So am I...I have some abilities that....they obviously came from his side of the family. And I look just like he did when he was young."
Remus wasn't looking sickened or disgusted. He was looking thoughtful and concerned. "Twenty one years ago he'd been through so many transformations....I'm surprised he was physically capable of....This is why bogarts take on your own appearance when they see you. You're afraid of your own blood, that you take after him."
I buried my face in my hands again as more tears threatened to flow.
"And you've had to live with this all your life?"
"My mother never told me." I explained, the words coming quickly as I fought to choke them out. " I got curious and did research when I came over here. I was fifteen when I put it all together. I...wanted to know where my ability to talk to snakes came from." Since I was telling the story, I decided that I may as well tell all of it.
"You're a parselmouth?" His tone still wasn't disgusted or accusing. It was merely surprised.
I raised my head and risked a glance at him. He didn't look disgusted either. He looked worried. "I wanted to tell you. I've wanted to tell you for a long time but I couldn't make myself do it." I babbled. Then deciding I wanted to know the worst, I asked quietly, "What are you going to do?"
He took a deep breath. "First I'm going to kiss you and then I'm going to get you something to wipe your face with."
"If I were you I'd do it in reverse order." I nervously giggled in a hysterical sort of way. "I must look horrible."
"You're exactly perfect for me. I love you --- I've told you that, haven't I? I didn't bandy those words around recklessly. I meant them."
I couldn't help myself. I threw my arms around him. "You're okay with it? It doesn't change how you feel about me?"
"I don't care who your father was...or is. If things continue on their current path then it's you that I'll have to live with and no one else. If you can tolerate my illness then I can tolerate this."
I couldn't believe how well he was taking it. I had never quite been able to imagine anyone being able to accept it and certainly not with such apparent ease. True to his word, he kissed me and then went to get a warm, wet washcloth for my face. "You've been like this all night, haven't you? he asked. "What made it suddenly so urgent for you to tell me?"
"Hagrid is in Azkaban." I said, pressing the cloth to my face. The warmth alleviated some of the pounding pressure in my head but did nothing to take away the pain of knowing.
"What ----?" He sounded horrified again.
"Haven't you seen the paper?"
"No. They raised their rates again and I let my subscription slide."
I explained the whole thing -- all of it. The petrified students, the Chamber of Secrets, the excursions into the sewers in search of the basilisk. My father's framing of Hagrid fifty years ago.
Remus listened to the whole story with astonishing patience and calm. "Hagrid is...tough." he said slowly when I finished. "He'll be all right."
"Remus --- I wanted to tell you." I reiterated, still feeling guilty. "I really thought about it last year when I found you going through those old pictures and I knew that you'd been friends with the Potters. It just made me sick thinking about all the pain that my --- Voldemort had caused. "
"I knew there was something wrong that day. I should have pursued it. Listen to me. You are nothing like Voldemort. Voldemort was evil. You --- you have the devil's own temper but you're good through and through."
"You're sure you don't care?"
"What I care about is that this has clearly been torturing you." said Remus seriously. "I'm glad that you've told me and now that you have, you can stop worrying about it."
"I love you." I told him, throwing my arms around him for the second time.
"Oh come here." he said, pulling me off the chair and onto his bed.
For a brief moment I stiffened in alarm and then decided I didn't care. Right at that moment I'd probably have given him anything he wanted. Possibly he knew that, but that's not how Remus Lupin is, and that's only one of the many reasons I love him. He gave me a chaste little kiss on the forehead and folded me into his arms. The last conscious thought before I fell asleep was that it felt very nice to be held like that.
When I woke up it was daylight, probably late morning judging by the light leaching in through the threadbare shade hanging over the only window. Remus was sitting near it, reading a book on art history. He held his wand loosely in one hand, spinning it between his fingers while he read.
Had I really told him the truth last night and had he really not thrown me out? The obvious supporting evidence was that I had indeed woken up, nestled warmly in his bed after having apparently slept there all night. My heart swelled with gratefulness and love, pushing out the dirty, sludgy feeling caused by my hateful thoughts from yesterday. I jumped out of bed and went to throw my arms around him. "I love you so much."
Remus dropped his book and hugged me back. "I love you too. Are you better this morning?" He held me at arm's length and studied my face. "You look better."
I considered. Physically, I felt as though I had just woken after being beat into unconsciousness. Emotionally I had never feet so happy or so free. I hadn't realized what a burden it had been, keeping the secret from Remus, until it was finally removed. "I feel better."
"I always think you look especially pretty first thing in the morning when your cheeks are still flushed with sleep." Remus told me. We both looked down as my stomach growled.
"I didn't eat yesterday." I explained. Probably my cheeks were even redder than they had been before.
"I'll make bacon and eggs." said Remus, getting up.
"I'm sorry I woke you up last night." I apologized. "And I'm sorry about missing work too."
"I'm glad that you came here. I'm glad this is all out in the open now so you won't have to be tormented by it anymore. As for going to work alone, I didn't mind. But I do hope I wasn't wrong in not waking you up sooner. I thought you needed sleep."
"I don't feel much like going to school. This will be two days in a row, but who cares? It's not like I can possibly fail. Comes will probably have heart failure if she notices but she'll get over it."
I wasn't in much of a hurry to go anywhere, let alone school. I was enjoying the novelty and intimacy of waking up in Remus's house and had no desire to go rushing off anyplace else. I watched in silence for a while as Remus made breakfast. The salty, fatty smell of the bacon made my stomach growl even more, which seemed a good sign. Yesterday I'd been too upset to feel hungry.
"You know how strong Hagrid is." said Remus, looking over and interpreting my expression.
I sighed. "He was so scared of Azkaban. He was afraid this was going to happen and --- I promised to take care of his dog." I realized.
"Eat first." said Remus, seeing that I was about to jump up and run out the door.
"Now I have to feel guilty about neglecting the dog." I complained, sitting back down. "Shame on me for going to pieces like that."
"Do you want toast with this?" asked Remus as he slid two eggs onto a plate.
"It if isn't too much trouble."
"Of course not."
I kind of got the impression that Remus was enjoying waking up with me as much as I enjoyed waking up with him. There was no awkwardness, everything seemed natural and in it's proper place. I kept watching him, half waiting to catch disgust or disappointment on his face, but I never did. He seemed to be in a very good mood actually.
"How are you able to be so calm about this?" I asked when we sat down to breakfast, me in the chair, he sitting on the edge of the window sill.
"Nothing you told me last night changed who you are. You're the same person today that you've been during all the time I've known you. I wish you'd told me this sooner. I hate to think about the worry it must have caused."
"But --- Voldemort."
"You are nothing like Voldemort and you are not to blame for anything he has done." said Remus calmly.
"Do you have any questions for me?" I asked, knowing that there were probably some things he'd be curious about.
"The part I want to hear more about is this Chamber of Secrets business. Dumbledore suspected Voldemort was behind the attacks?"
"There's more than that. Dumbledore didn't really want it told but he's been fired and I know it won't go any further so .... last year there was an attempt to assassinate Harry Potter. The culprit in that case was confirmed to be Voldemort for certain."
Remus went perfectly motionless for a few seconds. "It's starting again then. Harry is safe?"
"He's fine. Or at least as fine as anyone in that school is right now with Dumbledore gone. Do you remember last year around the end of term when I told you one of my old friends had died?" And from there, I launched into the story.
"So that's the real reason Flamel got rid of the stone. I knew it was odd. So he sacrificed himself to buy the rest of us more time. But what does Voldemort hope to accomplish with this latest plot? Why Hogwarts? Is he after Harry? Or does he just want to discredit Dumbledore? What's coming next? One thing is certain, it won't take Fudge long to realize his mistake. Voldemort is not going to just disappear. Something else will happen and Fudge will go crying to Dumbledore for help. When he does, I'm sure Dumbledore will make sure that Hagrid is released. He's not going to just leave Hagrid there."
Remus's words put me in mind of my brother. You'd think that this little incident would have taught them that Dumbledore is not infallible. "Dumbledore isn't perfect."
"No one is. But Dumbledore understands Voldemort, and Voldemort is afraid of him. Perhaps that's the reason why."
I saw Remus eye me in a speculative sort of way. "What?" I asked.
"I always thought that Voldemort made such a waste of the talents he'd been given. Imagine if he had turned his mind toward doing good. He may have been evil, but he was brilliant. I have the impression that that's where you get your brains. My hopes for a lycanthropy cure have risen exponentially."
"Oh not you too." I said, rolling my eyes. "You sound like my...brother."
"Yes, you've mentioned a half brother." said Remus. It was not quite a question.
"On my father's side of the family. I'm not going to tell you who it is because it's not my secret to tell. Besides, he'd kill me."
"I don't need to know then."
"I love you so much." I told him again, feeling overwhelmingly thankful for his understanding and love.
After breakfast I went home to change clothes and Remus came with me, planning to go with me to Hogwarts to check on Fang. Tonks was still at school and Mary Ann was absent. "Maybe she's with Ryann?" I wondered aloud. "Jillian is at work now. What kind of surrogate parent am I if I don't know where my charge is? And now I've gone and neglected Fang."
"Kerri, you're too hard on yourself. Mary Ann is fourteen. She doesn't need to be watched every moment."
"If she is with Ryann, I hope she's not being a pain. I could just see her opening a drape or something and letting in the sun. 'Jillian -- I'm so sorry about your girlfriend. Mary Ann vaporized her today.'"
"I'm sure Mary Ann would never do that."
"Not on purpose at least." I agreed.
I was glad that Remus went with me to Hogwarts. For the first time in my life I dreaded going to the cabin. Seeing it standing there abandoned seemed almost as bad as last year in the hospital wing when I'd viewed Quirrel's body.
The grounds were completely empty, not a soul in sight.
"I've never seen this place so still." Remus commented.
"It's been like this off and on all year. It wasn't so bad when I was here last week, but people were relaxing because there hadn't been an attack since December."
Fang bypassed the usual greeting and ran frantically to lift his leg on the nearest dandelion, the trees being too far away to bother with.
"Big dog." Remus commented. "Typical Hagrid. He had a huge wolfhound when I was here."
"Fang is just a big baby."
"So was the wolfhound. He'd have run from a terrier, let alone a wolf. Actually....I have a story I might tell you about that sometime. My friends and I, well, we weren't very well behaved on full moons. It's a long story."
Inside the cabin, three plates were set out with fruitcake that had not been eaten. Actually, it looked as though Fang had chewed on the corner of one slice but had been unsuccessful at breaking through.
"I can see that Hagrid's cooking hasn't improved." Remus commented.
"He makes good sausage." I protested.
I fed Fang, and while he ate, Remus and I straightened up the cabin. Neither of us voiced what we were doing -- preparing it for the extended absence of it's occupant. After that we walked down to the tree line to give Fang some exercise after his full day of being stuck inside.
"Are you going to take him home with you?" asked Remus.
"No. He's like Hagrid. He's been here all his life and it would just kill him if he ever had to leave." It was the wrong thing to think about. I felt a lump rise in my throat.
"You're probably right. Hagrid will worry when he comes home and finds him gone." said Remus quickly.
I nodded in agreement.
It was early evening when we shut Fang up in the cabin and headed home.
"Thanks for everything." I told Remus as we said goodbye at my door. "It's so much better having you know the truth and to know that it doesn't make any difference."
"I love you. I'll always love you no matter where our relationship leads."
I frowned at that slightly. There was only one place I wanted our relationship to lead.
"Look --- I'm sorry." said Tonks, yanking open the front door and interrupting our goodbye kiss. She sounded very frazzled. "Finals are next week and I'm trying to finish my senior research. Someone needs to go get Mary Ann from Ryann and I'm just too busy."
I looked at Remus and raised an eyebrow.
"I'm sure no one has been incinerated." he reassured me.
"Well, I guess I'll find out." I answered, not quite able to laugh.
When I arrived at the front door, the heavy metal shutters installed for Ryann's wellbeing were indeed hanging open. It was nightfall though, so that was normal. No reason to worry. I was especially reassured when Mary Ann herself answered my knock, knowing that if she had vaporized Ryann, she'd have made a run for it. She said something to me but her mouth was full so I had no idea what.
"She says 'come in.' " called Ryann from the direction of the kitchen.
Ryann's dark, gothic decorating style is the one that dominates the place, nearly everything there being in various shades of purple and black. Jillian's lighter style is evident too though in the butterflies everywhere.
"Actually, what I said was, 'want to see the coffin'?" asked Mary Ann, swallowing whatever she'd had in her mouth.
I followed the sound of Ryann's laughter to the kitchen where she was making pasta. Mary Ann was right behind me and helped herself to a spoonful of meat sauce.
"Want something to eat?" asked Ryann, taking a sip of something in a pewter goblet.
"That's blood she's drinking." Mary Ann informed me, clearly hoping to gross me out.
"How do you know she didn't mix some of her dinner into ours?" asked Jillian, walking in the door, clearly just home from work. "It's the same color."
"Eew." said Mary Ann, backing away from the sauce.
"And I'm supposed to be the wicked one." said Ryann with a smirk.
Jillian kicked off her shoes and sat down at the kitchen table. "I've been on my feet all day."
"I made spaghetti for you." Ryann answered. "And I have to be heading to work in a bit."
"Have you been up all day?" I asked apologetically.
"Yes. But I don't need to sleep as much as you human types do."
"I really appreciate it. We should get out of your way now I guess."
"Does Dumbledore's arrest complicate your plans for Mary Ann?" asked Ryann out of the blue, taking me by surprise.
"Probably." I acknowledged, noticing Jillian perking up and paying close attention. "I haven't thought that far ahead yet. Fenrir was around the other day talking about taking her back when I start teaching."
"Well, I wish you luck." said Ryann.
Behind her back, Jillian rolled her eyes and threw up her arms in despair.
"I saw that." said Ryann, eyes flicking minutely in that direction.
"Well, we'll go so you can have dinner." I told Jillian, who was now looking disappointed.
"Yeah, bye." said Mary Ann, snatching up a couple of breadsticks and cramming one into her mouth. "We have leftover pizza, right?"
"I hope so." If not she might eat down the entire house.
"Bye." said Jillian, looking distinctly wistful.
Ryann looked anxious as if she was dreading something that was coming.
So the Mary Ann thing must still be an ongoing debate between them. Good. I've thought about talking to Ryann about directly but I don't think it would do any good. If anyone will get her to cave in, it will be Jillian, who generally does seem to get her way in everything else. The knowledge that she was still working on it gave me hope. Hagrid's situation might be completely beyond help but maybe there's a chance for Mary Ann.
If I was not completely happy when I went to bed that night, at least I wasn't wallowing in despair. One thing I regretted as I drifted off to sleep -- that Remus's arms weren't around me again as they had been the night before.
Author's Note : The new banner is complete and I have begun work on the first chapter of the next story. This one isn't finished yet, but by working slightly ahead I'm hoping to stay that way so I won't always be so rushed to finish by the Monday deadline. My goal is to finish this story and begin the next one on the following week with no gap in between.
Next Chapter : Mary Ann disappears
Excerpt : Tonks had gone to a end of finals party and I had stayed home to sort of lay around in a relieved stupor, glad to have it all over. I did vaguely wonder where Mary Ann was, though it wasn't unusual for her to be out. She likes to explore the woods and with the weather nice like it is right now she's been doing that a lot lately. I didn't think too much about it until I finished making dinner and she didn't show up.
I immediately began to panic. Mary Ann has never missed dinner. I doubt Mary Ann has ever missed any meal in her entire existence.
The first thing I did was send a message to Tonks, via patronus : "Do you know where Mary Ann is?"
The reply, via Tonks's silvery, lace winged butterfly was : "No. When you find her, come here and get wasted."
This was not a helpful response and I felt a bit miffed about it. My next message was sent to Jillian : "You don't happen to know where Mary Ann is, do you?"
The reply came back promptly, via a graceful little silver dove. "No. Don't you?"
That's when I had to fight the urge to hyperventilate.
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