Chapter 1 : Prologue
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Lily Evans sighed. “Is it so important that you see him now?”
Marlene nodded. Despite her protests, Lily softened slightly.
“Pretty please?” she said again, this time looking longingly at Jack Smith, who was waiting just outside the McKinnons’ house. They had a lovely view of the sunset; Jack’s tall, hulking silhouette was clear in front of the backdrop of reddish swirls and the late summer breeze gently ruffled his hair as he leaned against a nearby tree.
“Come on, Lily, it’s only for a couple of hours and I know Layla and Jenna love you to bits! Besides,” she added with another glance at the window, “I haven’t seen Jack for days! And it’s nearly time to go to Hogwarts, so we won’t get a chance…please?”
After a moment, Lily nodded at last. “Fine. Be back at ten o’clock at the latest, OK?”
Marlene nodded quickly. Then, without further ado, she shot off and was out of the front door so fast she might have Apparated.
However, two hours later, after countless games of chess and Exploding Snap, Lily was getting a bit worried as she sat in an armchair in the sleeping Layla and Jenna's bedroom. Marlene still wasn’t home, but she couldn’t exactly leave the sisters by themselves. Lily drew her wand from her pocket and held it steady, as if expecting an attacker. Yet the seconds trickled by and turned into minutes as she waited; the only sounds were soft snoring from the girls.
She considered sending an owl a couple of times, but before she could do little more than look around the room for parchment, there was a loud CRACK and two masked people materialised out of nowhere.
Lily was on her feet and her wand was out at once; she had already fired a hex at one of the figures and whoever it was keeled over in pain. She was wheeling round to do the same to the other one, but they were a step ahead of her.
“Expelliarmus!” Her wand flew out of her hand just as the girls woke up with frightened expressions on their faces. They both paused in action as they watched Layla and Jenna.
Lily tried to take advantage of the temporary distraction by diving for the other person’s wand, but, again, her jinxer beat her to it and pushed her down on the floor by her throat.
“Get—out—of—here,” Lily choked. She tried to gesture at the girls to run, but they seemed to be frozen to their beds.
“Listen, Lily-no-mates,” her captor snarled (this person knew her name?) in an unrecognisable rasp, “I don't know what the hell you're doing here, but you're gonna have to come along for the ride, I'm afraid.”
“NO!” she yelled as she struggled against her subjugator’s strong grip. “Jenna—Layla—GO! GET OUT OF HERE!”
It was only then that she realised Jenna and Layla were immobilised; their intruder had wordlessly Stunned the pair of them while Lily was trying to get their accomplice’s wand…
And then everything went black.
The small room they were in was almost pitch dark, so Lily wasn’t completely sure about what time she had come round. The only source of light was from an old, heavy lantern which they had placed in the middle of their cavernous cell. Layla, Jenna and Lily sat around it.
“We’ll get out of here,” Layla assured her sister, Jenna, confidently, her voice echoing into the ominous silence of the cell. “Lily will get us out, won’t you, Lily?”
Lily, who had been staring at the light emanating from the lantern for the last ten minutes, looked up momentarily at the sound of her name.
“Won’t you, Lily?” Layla repeated, some of her conviction falling away from her ten-year-old eyes at Lily’s expression.
“Yeah,” she said faintly. “Yeah, course I will.”
But it was too late. She had no idea about how to get out of there and there was nothing she could do without a wand.
They had been kidnapped and brought to this room. That was yesterday. They had had one disgusting meal since then, and that was it. There was a toilet in one corner of the room that they used; the seat was covered in grime, and Lily had tried her best to clean it with a piece of her shirt that she had ripped off. It wasn’t even in a cubicle or anything; Lily herself was disgusted at eating their solitary meal in the same room as the toilet.
Were they just going to leave them there to starve? Surely not. Surely they had a reason for taking Layla and Jenna?
And it wasn’t as if she could identify any of them, even if they did release them. All of their faces were covered; she was sure that they were disguising their real voices with charms.
Another raspy, gruff voice interrupted her thoughts.
“All three of you, stand against the wall. You try anything, I’ll kill you!” Lily put a finger to her lips and gave the sisters a look which said to obey, and they did so.
Two cloaked figures entered the room, closing the heavy door behind them.
“Right then, listen, little girls,” the first person said nastily, addressing Layla and Jenna, both who stepped forwards slightly. Lily recognised the voice as one of the two kidnappers who were at the McKinnons’. “You answer our questions honestly and we’ll go easy on you.”
“But if you lie,” added the other newcomer, “we’ll know, and we’ll make you tell the truth, whether you like it or not.”
Layla and Jenna nodded, frightened by their threat.
“And if we do cooperate, will you let us go?” Lily asked. It was a stupid question, and she already knew the answer.
“Hell, no. But,” and at this point, he drew his wand, “if you don't do exactly as I say, I'm gonna have to something rather unpleasant to you.”
“And if I do?” said Lily sceptically. She knew she was pushing her luck, but she wanted a proper answer.
“If you do, maybe the Dark Lord will have a bit more mercy on you,” the man sneered.
“I don't want his mercy. Sod Voldemort’s mercy. I want to get out of here.” Lily felt a strange pleasure as her words stung her captors.
“You dare insult the Dark Lord?” the first man half-hissed. “You dare besmirch his honour and let his name pass through those dirty Mudblood lips of yours –”
“At least I'm not scared to say his name,” Lily retorted. “At least—”
“Shut the fuck up, Mudblood,” spat the second Death Eater. They turned back to the sisters. “Now, where is your father?”
The query was met by silence.
“I’ll ask you again. Where is Adam McKinnon, the biggest Mudblood lover ever? Adam McKinnon, one of the biggest blood traitors to ever walk the Wizarding world? Adam McKinnon, that worthless piece of shit who’s a disgrace to the Wizarding race? The one who thinks it’s OK to put one of our best people into Azkaban and get away with it? Ring a bell at all? DO YOU KNOW WHERE HE IS?”
“No,” Layla whispered (but her tiny voice still echoed in the silent room). “Dad had a row with Mum a few days ago and we haven’t seen him since.”
“LIAR! Say yes!”
“SAY YES! Imperio!”
Jenna gasped. An unfocused expression entered Layla’s eyes as the Imperius Curse took control of her.
“Stop—” Lily couldn’t finish her sentence.
“If and when we want your opinion, we’ll rattle your cage, you Mublood slut,” the first Death Eater snarled as the other turned back to Layla. “Tell the truth, you liar!” He turned his wand on her again and she could see the Curse lifting.
“I'm—I'm n-not lying. I haven’t s-seen D-dad for days,” said Layla. She had never been so scared in her life. She started sobbing, tears trickling down her cheeks as she continued to speak. “I j-just thought that he—that he’d be back soon, that he and Mum would make up—”
“You’re lying! Tell the truth! Crucio!”
Layla thrashed around on the floor in agony, and Jenna, unable to see her older sister in so much pain, launched herself at the Death Eater, clawing at his face so badly that his wand slipped out of his hand. Lily, seizing her chance in the midst of the confusion around her, took a great swipe at the wand lying on the floor, yelling “Impedimenta!” at the other Death Eater. He was knocked backwards by an invisible force and fell to the floor.
Lily attempted a Leg-Locker curse at the Layla’s torturer but missed, hitting the lantern instead, so the room became completely pitch-black as the sole source of light went out. She muttered “Lumos,” and a beam of light came out of her wand. A flash of purple later and she felt a stinging pain on her left palm. She knew that it had come from one of her attackers, but she had no time to waste—half-blindly, she reached out for Layla’s wrist, and, miraculously, some part of Jenna, her lit wand held aloft.
She twisted on the spot, thinking hard of a wood that she knew of, just as one of the Death Eaters lunged at her. The suffocating feeling of Apparition left her as they arrived at their destination and Lily relinquished her hold on the two sisters. Throwing down her stolen wand onto the mossy ground, she was just breathing a sigh of relief at leaving that horrible place when she realised who was there.
There was no sign of Jenna. The other Death Eater, who had been on the receiving end of Lily’s Impediment Jinx, was on the floor holding an unconscious Layla.
Something had rooted her to the spot—whether it was fear or magic, she had no idea—but in any case, it was impossible for her to move at all.
She could hear the smirk in his masked voice, even though his face was just a dark expanse of hood to her.
“Earth is full. Fuck off and die, Mudblood. Or maybe,” he taunted in a mock-thoughtful rasp, “I’ll do the job for you.”
And before she could do or say anything, the Death Eater raised his wand and shouted, “Avada Kedavra!”
Lily instinctively ducked down, so the jet of green light flew over her head, her hands scrambling desperately on the ground for a wand. She dodged another flash of light, this time red, and at last she found it. The Death Eater decided to leg it as he turned on the spot. Lily, waving her wand wildly, screamed the first spell that came into her head: “Obliviate!”
She watched as the spell shot from her wand and hit her target just as he disappeared.
Lily’s bright green eyes widened with shock as she realised what had just happened.
She had abandoned them. Layla and Jenna were now left at the mercy of those two bastards.
She made to get up from the floor, her hands brushing against the rough ground, when she winced in pain. Lily looked down to find a small puddle of scarlet where her hand had just been.
She held up her left hand, staring at her wrist, which was now dripping with blood, her sleeve actually sodden red. Her whole body had become numb with shock and she was gradually regaining feeling in her hand. Slowly, trying not to cry out by the pain, checking that her surroundings were clear, she picked up the fallen wand from the floor and murmured, “Aguamenti.”
Water gushed out of the wand, washing away the excess blood and cleaning the cut – and it didn't make it any better that there were more than one of them. In fact, lots of small scars had already formed on her palm; it was done in such a precise way that she immediately sensed something was wrong. And she was right.
For, she now had the most disgusting series of scars on her wrist – and it wasn’t because of the amount of blood still pouring out of some of them.
It was crude, yet almost artfully done, the letters perfectly formed, in nearly calligraphic writing, inscribed on her wrist like a bracelet. But that just made it worse; it was as though they were mocking her from afar, even though they had no idea about her current location in the Death Eater’s haste to Apparate.
Slowly, ominously, Lily read the word, now etched on her skin forever, out loud, her voice echoing in the empty forest, seeming to bounce off the trees: “Mudblood.”
End Notes: What did you think? Please review or else...you'll make a fifteen-year-old cry.