“Can you think of anyone who would want to kill her?”
“Would you want to kill her?”
“Where were you on the night of the murder?”
“Can anyone vouch for your location at the time of Miss Alessio’s death and torture?”
On and on it went. It was a vicious circle of questions, posed to both James and Lily (although they were in separate rooms in the Ministry of Magic). They had been awake for the last day; the Ministry hadn’t even thought of the fact that Lily and James hadn’t slept, and they showed no sign of relenting as the interrogations continued further. It didn't help that the Christmas holidays had already started, which, in the officials’ opinion, gave them just cause to retain Lily and James for a longer amount of time.
After what seemed like eternity (during which time the interrogators had yawned and swapped with others so that they were able to get sleep) James had finally had enough, and in the other room, Lily had decided likewise.
“OK, can you stop now, please?” Lily said at last, her voice weary due to lack of sleep.
“I am sure that he has every intention of doing so, Miss Evans,” interrupted Dumbledore pleasantly, appearing suddenly in the room and making Lily jump. “Mr...ah, Mr Jonas Smith, is it?”
The man who was questioning Lily nodded, clenching his teeth.
“I believe Miss Evans has had to suffer far too much with your incessant questioning for the past...how long has it been?” Dumbledore asked Lily politely, as if asking about the weather.
Lily glanced at her watch, frowning. “They brought me and James in yesterday night at ten o’clock. It’s now sixteen minutes past eleven p.m., sir.”
“That doesn’t—” Jonas Smith began, but Dumbledore cut him short.
“You will release Miss Evans, and Mr Potter in the next room,” he said to the man sharply. It was not a question — it was an order. “Anything they have said or done in the past twenty-five hours and sixteen minutes will not be valid in the Wizengamot because, as you very well know, anyone questioned by a member of the Ministry of Magic, whether a suspect or a helper in an investigation, should not be interrogated for a millisecond longer than ten hours. See the Rights of Witnesses Act, 1689, for full details — that is, if they are slightly fuzzy in your brain, which I suspect they are. I advise that in the future, you do not ambush my students — particularly not my Head Boy and Girl — or bring them here without just cause, no matter what the circumstances are, or what part, if any, Miss Evans and Mr Potter have played in the events of yesterday.”
Within fifteen minutes, James, Lily and Dumbledore were standing near the fountain; its bottom was littered with bronze Knuts, silver Sickles, and while they were few and far between, a couple of stray Galleons. James added to the coins, throwing in five Galleons like they were Muggle pennies, adding a few Sickles after a moment’s thought, along with two Knuts.
“I trust you will be able to reach your families by yourselves?” Dumbledore asked, just as James straightened up.
“Yeah,” said James immediately. Lily nodded somewhat drably a moment later as she was reminded painfully that she had opted to avoid her family for even longer. She had already made arrangements with Mary to spend Christmas in the MacDonalds’ house.
“Very well. I shall see you both after the holidays. Until then—” He held out his hand to James, who shook it, and then to Lily, “—farewell, and merry Christmas.”
“Same to you, sir,” said Lily, letting go of Dumbledore’s long fingers after a moment.
“Yeah, Professor, have a good Christmas.”
“Jamie, darling! Are you all right? Where have you been? Have they been feeding you?”
James thought that he had never been so disappointed to hear his mother’s voice before. Then again, he’d never stayed up twenty-six hours straight before either, so he supposed that his mind was simply addled.
“I'm fine, Mum,” he muttered as he crossed the threshold. He noticed vaguely that his trunk was at the foot of the stairs, and wondered when it had arrived. He hugged his mother, not feeling the usual comfort in her maternal embrace, and over her shoulder he spotted his dad.
“Hi, Dad,” he called as he let go of his mum.
“Hello, son,” said his father, raising his hand in greeting. Despite Callum Potter’s small smile, James thought that he only looked marginally better than he did when he had last seen them, which was at the very end of August, just before James was starting school. “So, what did they ask you, James?”
James sighed; he really wasn’t in the mood for answering even more questions. He wasn’t even hungry. All he wanted to do was curl up in his bed and go to sleep.
Thankfully his mother came to the rescue.
“Callum, Jamie’s tired. He's just been interrogated by the Ministry about whatever happened in Hogwarts. The last thing he wants is for you to be bombarding him even more. Jamie, if you're hungry, I’ll fix something up for you, but if you'd rather have a kip and then eat whenever you fancy, that’s fine by me. Just ask Honey. I've got some tidying up to do anyway — stuff that I can’t trust the elves to do. Is that all right with you?”
James nodded, exhausted.
“Go on, then, Callum. Don't just stand there — take James’ trunk up for him. It’s the least you could do right now; look how tired Jamie is!”
Mr Potter scowled for a moment, but then he plastered a fake smile on his face and levitated James’ trunk with his wand up the stairs, something that James, due to his sleep-deprived brain, was unable to do at that current moment.
“Dumbledore sent it,” Laura Potter explained, answering James’ unasked question. “Have a good sleep, Jamie darling!”
Sometimes, James really did love his mum.
When he opened his eyes several hours later, James pulled back the heavy curtain in his bedroom and saw, outside, that the sky was a dark, inky blue, streaked with the murky charcoal grey of the clouds, the dull colour dotted here and there in the stark expanse of indigo. The moon was shining brightly against the shadowy depths of the skies, and James grimaced as he thought of Remus, who would be transforming later that week, without his friends to keep him company.
He realised just how hungry he was; he hadn’t eaten anything for more than a day. Putting his feet into his slippers and slipping on his dressing gown, James carefully opened his bedroom door and shut it behind him quietly. He listened circumspectly; despite the late hour, he could hear the low rumble of voices coming from the passageway, and he wondered who would be there at this time of night (or early morning, if he wanted to look at it that way).
Straining his ears, James distinguished a familiar-sounding voice.
“Yes, you're perfectly welcome to stay for Christmas, Anne,” Callum Potter was saying. “Would you like some food? A drink?”
“N-no, Cal, but th-thanks anyway. I — I don't want to impose on you or anything, arriving so late, but I—” Anne King, wife of Joseph King, trailed off in a quiet voice. It sounded shaky, as if she’d been crying.
“Not at all,” Laura insisted. “Let’s take your bags upstairs, Anne.”
James heard the sounds of footsteps coming up the stairs and he hid inside a nearby airing cupboard just as his mother and Anne went past. Abruptly, they sounded like they halted, and James heard the unmistakeable sobbing of his surrogate aunt.
“It’s — it’s just that empty house,” Anne cried. “It’s so...big, and all to myself! I couldn’t bear to be there for a second longer, Laura, honestly, especially after...oh!” She subsided into a fresh wave of tears just as James was beginning to feel his obvious discomfort, both at hearing Anne during such a personal moment and due to his uncomfortable position in the airing cupboard.
“Oh, Anne, don’t cry,” Laura said kindly, although James was sure he could detect weariness in her tone, as if she had done this many times before. “Everything will be all right.”
She sounded like she was leading her away and, sure enough, moments later, James heard a door close. Finally he came out. He wasn’t entirely sure why he was hiding from Anne; all he knew was that if she was here, she was bound to make a big fuss and cry about everything even more, and James was certainly not in the mood for that.
After careful consideration, James set off down the stairs as his hunger kicked in again. He was met by their house-elf, Honey.
“Honey, can I have...actually, just give me anything. Anything and everything. I'm starving.” The elf nodded dutifully and within seconds, she had scurried to the kitchen and back with a plate laden with steak, chips, peas and salad.
“Is there anything else Honey can get Master James?” Honey asked.
James shook his head, his mouth full of chips. His ravenousness and thirst slowly became satisfied as the house-elf placed a huge slice of vanilla cheesecake in front of him, refilling his glass with Butterbeer, and finishing with a Victoria sponge, despite James’ insistence that he wasn’t hungry (which belied his rumbling stomach, of course).
By the time he managed to stagger back upstairs, feeling so full he could fall over, he found an owl sitting on his bed, bearing a letter. He didn't recognise the owl.
As soon as James detached the letter from the owl’s leg, it flew towards Sadie, James’ tawny owl. The cage door was open, so the owl flew straight towards her and began drinking from her water tray.
James slit open the letter and read:
Are you all right? I don't know much about what happened. Someone was killed — that’s all I know, really. (I won’t say who in case this gets into the wrong hands, but you know who I mean.) Padfoot said that he knew he told you he’d visit at Christmas, but because you weren’t there when we took the train home, he thought it was a bit...you know, a bit intrusive that he go to yours when you're not even there and your parents are probably worried sick about you.
Padfoot is at mine. He said that there was no way he was going to stay at his flat for Christmas on his own. Wormtail’s here too; he was invited to my house before anyway, so it’s the three of us at the moment. I wanted to ask if you could to join us, since we’re all here already. If you want to spend Christmas with your family, we all understand, but it would be more fun if you could come too.
Send your reply with Remy. If you come tomorrow, it would be great, as my mum has got me roped in helping her with the Christmas decorations and everything, now Wormy and Paddy are here, so you could help too. If you're too tired or you just can’t be bothered, it’s not a problem, but reply anyway to tell us. Just let your parents know and send Remy back when you find out.
Hopefully see you soon,
P.S. Don’t laugh about Remy’s name. My mum gave me him as an early Christmas present and she chose the name because she thought it was so cute. And now if I don't call him Remy he won’t answer, so Remy it is, sadly.
As soon as James finished reading, he heard an extremely distant wail, from the room below him, and his decision was made for him. Sod his parents, for once. He’d rather be with his friends.
“I’m sorry,” Anne said for the tenth time as she sat on the bed in the guest room.
“Stop apologising,” Laura insisted, almost snappishly, as she seated herself in the armchair nearby and prepared herself for the latest melodrama with the Kings. She was more than a little annoyed, despite her words, as it was very late — or very early, depending on how she looked at things. Nevertheless, Laura supposed that Anne’s arrival was partly her fault; she had always told her that she was welcome, whenever she wanted, after all. “Now, what’s the problem?”
“The boys asked me round to theirs today.” Anne had two boys, who were in their thirties. In fact, if Laura remembered correctly, Tom and Chris King were both happily married with children of their own.
“You know that Robbie still hasn’t shown any signs of magic yet?” Laura nodded, remembering Anne’s ten-year-old grandson. She continued, “Well, today, over dinner, Chris told me that they’ve had someone look at him, some sort of Healer, apparently, and...and...the man confirmed it. Robbie...he’s a Squib!”
“There, there,” said Laura gently, reaching forwards and patting her arm. “So what did you do?”
For the first time since Anne arrived, she looked embarrassed. “I...I yelled at Chris,” she finally admitted, in a small voice. “And at Mia. I told them what a failure they were, the pair of them, and that Chris didn't deserve to be a father if he was going to conceive...I said a lot of stuff. I shouted at Mia, told her how useless she was, that she couldn’t even produce anything half-decent, and then I started on...I started on Robbie, too.”
Laura shook her head disbelievingly. She had not expected this from someone who was supposed to be a grieving widow. Not this.
“What did you say to Robbie?” she asked softly, dreading the answer, but knowing it was necessary to ask.
“I was such a bitch to him, Laura,” said Anne faintly. “It didn't help that I was drunk, to be honest. I said that...that he was an embarrassment to the family, and that — that he was as good as...dead...” She trailed off, and Laura patted her arm again.
“There, there,” she said gently. “I’ll make you some tea, shall I?”
Anne just about registered Laura leaving the room as the repulsiveness of her words and her actions tattooed themselves into the windows of her thoughts.
“You know what?” Anne had yelled at her grandson, whose face was filled with terror at the sight of his raving grandma, his dinner forgotten on his plate. “You're fucking useless, you are, you stupid Squib. You might as well be dead...better you than your grandpa!”
Chris and Tom had both stood up at the same time, making the cutlery at the dinner table clatter. Chris’ wife, Mia, and Tom’s wife, Tiana, also stood up. Without a word, the two women dragged the four children, including Robbie, out of the room, shaking their heads as they went. The children were evidently very upset, and the sounds of struggle and crying filled the air, which was already thick with pent-up tension.
“Ma, who the fuck d’you think you are?” asked Chris in a quiet, furious tone. His fists had been clenched the entire time, and it was only now that he unfurled his fingers, all the while staring at his mother.
“Don’t talk to me like that, son,” Anne insisted, and in her tipsiness, she dropped her glass of Firewhiskey.
“Ma, this isn’t fair,” said Tom as evenly as he could. “You can’t talk like that to Robbie—”
“And why did you have to bring Dad into this?” Chris interrupted his brother. “Seriously, woman, what the fuck is wrong with you? You have the bloody cheek to talk to my son like that and you don’t expect me to—”
“Why shouldn’t I bring your dad into it?” Anne countered. “Your dad has everything to do with it.”
Chris took a deep breath. “Dad is dead, Ma,” he said finally, and suddenly, all the anger in his voice was sucked out of him by the insistence in his mother’s. “When are you going to accept that? He’s gone, and now we’ve got to move on.” His expression was now one of frustration mingled with pity.
However, while her son’s fury abated, Anne’s rage merely increased tenfold. “I can’t!” she cried. “How do you expect me to move on?”
“We loved him too, you know,” Tom said quietly, trying to sound placating, ever the peacemaker. “You’ve got to understand—”
“Understand? Understand? Of course I fucking well understand — you two don't give a flying fuck about your dad! All you care about, the pair of you, are your stupid wives and your even more stupid children. If you're going to pretend Joseph never existed because you don't care about him, then you two are no sons of mine anymore! Especially,” here she fixed Chris with a rather drunken glare, “if you’re going to produce dirty Squibs. I'm leaving, and I don't want to see either of you ever again. And when I die—” now there were tears streaming down her wrinkled cheeks “—don't fucking bother coming to my fucking funeral.”
With that, Anne spun unsteadily on the spot and Disapparated back to her house.
The next day, James repacked the little he had removed from his trunk and bade goodbye to his dismayed parents and sobbing honorary aunt. Once he had Apparated outside Remus’ house — a quite, isolated cottage — he was greeted by Remus’ mother, a kindly woman with a round face and friendly eyes.
“Why, hello, James!” she said the moment he let go of his trunk. “I haven’t seen you for so long!” Mrs. Lupin gave James a huge hug which left him slightly overwhelmed. Aisha Lupin was a Muggle, and he’d only ever seen her at the train station and once at James’ house, but James had never met a kinder woman in his life, except perhaps his mother. When she finally released him, James turned left into the sitting room where Remus, Peter and Sirius were putting the final adjustments to the Christmas tree.
“Prongs!” said Remus and Peter in unison, halting in their work to greet him. While James answered his friends’ questions about where he’d been and the interrogations in the Ministry, James’ attention was fixed on Sirius, who had remained seated, Conjuring tinsel and draping it artistically on the tree. He hadn’t looked up since James entered the room.
Suddenly sensing the tension, Remus, frowning, said quickly, “Er...I think Mum’s calling me. She probably wants me to make salad or something...come on, Wormy.”
“But I thought we had to—” Peter began, but Remus quelled him with a warning look, gesturing none too subtly at Sirius and James. “Oh,” he said as comprehension dawned slightly too late. Remus and Peter left the room.
James and Sirius didn't talk to each other for a few moments. Then Sirius broke the silence.
“Are you...” he began tentatively, “are you talking to me?”
James stared at him but didn't say anything.
“Listen, OK; nothing’s going on between me and Evans,” Sirius insisted. “Trust me. It was one kiss. We did it because the fourth-years wanted us to. We both said no at first, but then one of the girls had a right hissy fit, so we had to agree to it in the end. Besides, she's too besotted with you to think about me.”
The last comment made James laugh; it was the first time he had done so since Maria Alessio’s torture and murder.
“I — I know,” said James finally. He was smiling now, as he remembered what had happened just before the discovery of Maria’s battered body, and the tension eased completely. “We had to patrol, you know, that night, and she...well, put it this way, Padfoot. She told me that she liked me since — guess what? — third year!”
“I'm not. That’s what she said, anyway. Well, she said she thought I was attractive ever since the end of third year, but she only started liking me this year. So we were in the broom cupboard on the third floor when the murder happened, and...”
“Oh. That’s why you were taken to the Ministry.”
“So what went on when I left?” James asked, his grin fading away from his face as he realised that they were going to have to talk about depressing matters now.
Sirius grimaced. “Well, I was with Tilly—”
“Matilda Fawcett? What happened to Michelle?”
“We’ve been on-off for far too long,” said Sirius promptly. “It was about time I found myself someone else.”
“Right,” said James, silently urging him to carry on with his eyes. Sirius got the message and continued.
“Maria interrupted us and...and the details go a bit hazy here,” he said apologetically. “That’s because of all the Firewhiskey I had — after-parties are great fun, but I had a bit of a hangover the next day. But I can remember that Maria left only a little while after you, because someone else was wondering where she was, and...yeah. That’s what happened.”
James nodded, wondering why he hadn’t seen Maria during their patrol. “The Ministry were asking all sorts of questions,” he admitted. “They really pissed me off, actually — not to mention the fact that they kept me and Lily awake for so long.”
“How long?” Sirius asked.
“According to Dumbledore, twenty-five and a half hours is how long we spent in the interrogation rooms.”
“No shit! Bloody hell, Prongs. You’ve had a rough time.”
“I know,” James sighed. He perked up slightly as Peter and Remus appeared again, looking relieved that Sirius and James were talking normally. “Still, let’s put this depressing stuff behind us. It’s Christmas, guys!”
In the run-up to Christmas Day, James, Remus, Sirius and Peter all helped with decorating the house, making food and cleaning up. According to Remus, they hadn’t had guests around for a long time, as neither Aisha nor John Lupin were on very friendly terms with their respective families (made none the better by their son’s lycanthropy).
James enjoyed himself immensely; it was the first time he was doing real work for fun and with his friends, something he had never had to do with the many house-elves in his house at his disposal. Peter and Remus, on the other hand, were used to this, and did not understand Sirius’ or James’ enthusiasm to do yet more chores.
Often, the four of them would go to the woods, where they would lazily walk and talk and fly on their broomsticks, even though James always out-flew the others. There was an old, disused hovel there, where, Remus informed his friends, he would transform, in the few months he was not at school.
On Christmas Eve, it was full moon, and Remus’ parents were surprised as their son and his friends left the house cheerfully in the morning, telling them that they would be back before Christmas Day. Although concerned for Remus’ friends’ safety, John and Aisha decided to let them be, knowing that intelligent boys like them would know better than to put their lives at risk like that.
When the time came for Remus’ transformation, it was different from the usual procedure. This time, Remus, Sirius, Peter and James were all in the hut together, the latter three in their Animagus forms, as Remus transformed into a werewolf.
James still found it rather unnerving to watch his kind-faced, decent-minded and ridiculously intelligent friend turn into something which James found so hideous in its potential dangerousness. Even in James’ animal form, while his thoughts were ever so slightly stag-like, he couldn’t help but feel that tiny thrill of fear run through his spine as Remus became a monster and charged at Sirius.
Barking, the dog pushed him away in an almost playful manner and the wolf’s jaws bit at the air instead of Sirius. The wolf advanced on Sirius again, but this time James came forward, and the werewolf clawed, satisfied, into the stag’s torso. James could barely feel the pain but he could see the vicious swipes on his chest, and he reminded himself that it wasn’t Remus who was attacking him; it was a wolf...as it started chasing Sirius in a circle, James brought up the rear, a rat trailing after them, its tail wagging.
The Marauders, led by Sirius, went out of the shack, and they roamed the woods, James and Sirius keeping the werewolf contained and Peter distracting it when needed. It was difficult work, far more difficult than anything the Marauders had ever attempted in their lives, but they relished the satisfaction of it; the fact that their friend’s life was made that much easier felt rewarding for the Animagi. In fact, there was nothing more rewarding than seeing Remus’ happy anticipation of his next transformation, James reflected.
All in all, James couldn’t have asked for a more enjoyable Christmas...even if it was spent, he thought wryly, in a werewolf’s lair, with a rat and a dog for company.
The day before James was due to return to Hogwarts, Callum Potter was sitting, alone, in his vast living room. Sighing, he looked around, taking in the ever-familiar cream and brown hues of the walls and furniture and carpet and rugs. The décor was tasteful and pleasant, but Callum frowned as he fingered the soft upholstery of the arm of the sofa. Nothing ever seemed right these days, for him. He barely registered the sound of footsteps going up the stairs, thinking it to be Honey or one of the other house-elves.
His wife did not appreciate his sullenness. She had endured it for a while, blaming it on Callum’s grief for his best friend, Joseph King, but then, yesterday, Laura had finally snapped. He was not sure what exactly had triggered her temper, but he suspected it had something to do with Anne. Whatever the cause, Callum finally realised that after months of being patient and making excuses, Laura had had enough, and she hadn’t talked to him since their argument, despite their being in the same house. Today, before Callum had woken up, Laura had scribbled a note to him, telling him that she had gone to visit a friend, and not to expect her back until later on in the night.
It was uncommon for the couple to have fights now — they were far too old for such trivial things — and it did help, Callum conceded, when James was born, for it gave them reasons to spoil and indulge their only son, and in doing so, bury their unsaid problems and past, hoping that it would not resurface in the near future. And for a while, that seemed to be the case, as the Potters appeared to be a happy and wealthy family, and with James’ glowing results, which Laura proudly showed off to all of her friends, it seemed that nothing could go wrong.
Callum buried his face into his hands, consumed with his moodiness. Lifting his head again, he examined his hands, which were now wrinkled and worn with age, just like the rest of his body. He knew he was getting on — his brown hair, streaked liberally with grey and even some white, said that much, and there were more lines under his eyes than he could count. Callum felt older than ever, but it did not give him any satisfaction to know this.
He stared into space glumly, wondering if every day was going to be like this. It certainly seemed that way.
Unbidden, a squeaky, familiar voice emanated from upstairs.
“Master Callum! Master! Master must come here at once!” Honey’s tone was one of fear mingled with shock; Callum leapt to his feet with surprising strength, his agility betraying his old age. It was almost as if he was waiting for something out of the ordinary to happen.
“What’s wrong, Honey?” Callum called a minute later, catching his breath as he reached the top of the stairs. The elderly house-elf emerged from the guest room where Callum knew Anne was residing.
“Master Callum...Mistress Anne has...has...” Honey trailed off, tears all over her cheeks, unable to say a word further.
Brow furrowed, Callum moved towards the door of the guest room, steeling himself for what he might find. Suddenly, his fatigue overwhelmed him again and it took all his remaining energy to make himself open the door.
What he found made him gasp aloud. Anne King was sitting on her bed, her wand pointing at herself, her head bent, emitting small green sparks, as she repeated the spell haltingly, her eyes red from trying: “Avada...Avada...Keda...Kedavra...Av-av...oh, Rowena!”
“What on earth are you trying to do, Anne?” Callum breathed. He maintained his distance, unsure about what Anne would do next.
“I'm going to be with Joe,” Anne informed Callum almost matter-of-factly. “I'm not for this world anymore, Cal. You of all people should know that.” She started muttering again, cursing under her breath when all that came out of her wand were feeble puffs of green smoke.
Callum thought, for one wild moment, that Anne had gone mad, mad with the grief and pain that surrounded her. But then he looked at her, properly, and realised that she was as sane as he was.
“I can’t let you do this, Anne. Laura would never forgive me if I—”
“This isn’t about Laura,” Anne interrupted. “And at least you’ve got a spouse. Never mind how faithful you’ve been to her — the point is, she's there. And Joe...Joe’s up there.” She pointed upwards and smiled a terrible, sad, soft smile. “I don’t think he’s down there. I don't know where I'm heading, but I'm beyond caring now, anyway.”
She continued to murmur the spell, now jabbing herself in the stomach impatiently. “Why can't I die?”
Callum shook his head disbelievingly, unable to comprehend Anne’s actions.
“I do care about you, Anne,” he heard himself saying. “I just can’t believe that you're going to—”
“If you care about me, Cal, let me go,” Anne urged. Her blue eyes, once as dead as her husband, were filled with fire, nearly as lined as Callum’s.
“Your kids — your grandkids...”
“They won’t miss their grandma or their ma, for that matter; I can assure you that much. They’ll be glad to see me go. They can’t help me right now. But you can. Help me, Cal. Please.”
“D’you know how selfish you’re being?” Callum tried a different tack: guilt.
“You're Joe’s friend. You're the only one who gives a fuck about me,” she said, the expletive leaving her mouth before she realised how literal her words were. It was quite lucky, she thought, when Callum seemed to disregard this.
“There are other ways of dying...without magic...you’ll be able to...to say goodbye...” He was trying to distract her, delay things a bit, but to no avail.
“No.” She was resolute. “I have to die. I want to die, and I want you to do it — now. If I could, I’d have did it myself, but I can’t. Do it for me. Please. Please!”
“I can’t,” said Callum. He noted, nervously, the sound of the door opening and closing, and hoped it was one of the house-elves. Callum was rooted to the spot, unable to turn around and see who it was because it was as if his eyes were glued to Anne’s.
“I'm already dying, Cal. I was dying of loneliness before and I'm dying from loneliness now, as well as grief. I just want to speed up the process a little. No one will know. No one needs to know. It’s just one spell. Take my wand. You can make it look like I did it. Please. Just do it. For me?”
Joseph King’s face floated into Callum’s mind unexpectedly. It had an uncharacteristically serious look on it as he instructed his friend, “Do what she’s asking. It’s best for her, Cal. Tell her I’ll see her soon.”
It disappeared as quickly as it had arrived, and Callum reached forwards to Anne, asking her wordlessly for her wand. Raising his shaking wand arm, he pointed the wand at Anne King and whispered, “Joseph said that he’ll — he’ll see you soon. Goodbye, Anne.”
The words “thank you” were on Anne’s lips, yet they never made it out of her mouth, because of what happened a moment later.
To James, it was as if everything was moving in slow motion; a jet of green light exploded silently from the wand; Anne’s body shook a little at the spell’s impact; her eyes became glassy at once, but there was an unmistakeably peaceful (or was it grateful?) smile on her face as she left the world, only a little too early.
Callum’s hands were trembling as he placed Anne’s wand in her outstretched hand, which was still warm, as if she wasn’t dead. And then, to make matters even more complicated that they already were, his worst fear became true. Callum heard the one voice he had never wanted to hear less — it seemed that he and Anne had had a most unwanted audience.
Chapter End Notes:
I'm sorry if this upset anyone, but I did have the warning at the beginning. I have a really bad habit of ending chappies with deaths, don't I? :P Review please! Did you think that Callum would do it? I didn’t expect things to happen the way they did, and I didn't plan on making Anne such a b!tch, but I hope you liked it anyway. If you didn’t, please review and let me know, and if you did like it, please review and let me know that. I love reviews of every kind, and it’s embarrassing, frankly, about how pleased I am when I receive them. So please review!!!!