Rose had always loved codes. It was strange to me, when we were younger, even before she started dragging Lucy around with us, how interested in codes and languages she was. Lucy had no patience for them; hated creating them, hated decoding the messages Rose hid inside seemingly casual letters. I, on the other hand, was slightly better at it, having always been a little more ’laid-back’ than both of my red-headed cousins.
But I honestly had no idea what the letter said.
I read again,
How are you? My wounds have yet to heal, but otherwise, prison suits me. I only fear that I am missing Callie’s life, which I am. Does that make me a bad mother? I hope not. How is everyone fairing? It’s still weird without having anyone to talk to. Sometimes the loneliness overwhelms me so much that I wish I would die already.
I do hope you know that, that I am not likely to survive the war; I’m sure you’ve been informed.
But that is all the room I have on my parchment.
All my love,
The fact that she seemed so sure that she wouldn’t survive this war aside, there seemed to be no sort of indication or anything that there was another message hidden among the letters and words that Rose had written so carefully on the paper.
It was getting dark and Lucy had just finished putting Callie to sleep in Scorpius’s room, before she sat down next to me on Rose’s abandoned bed, moving the candle light closer in efforts to read the letter better.
Even she understood the importance of finding this message.
“Wait, Luce,” I said suddenly, noticing something when the shadows from the flickering flame uncovered something else, “Move that just a little bit back, can you?”
She gave me a strange look but nodded, complying to my seemingly-random order, moving the candle stick just a little bit away from where she’d set it on the wooden nightstand, holding it in the air as I furrowed my brow trying hard to see what I’d seen before.
Carefully, I reached out a hand and guided her arm with the candle back and forth until I finally found it.
“Look,” I murmured, running my fingers along the words that my cousin had written, “Certain letters have tiny indents under them.”
Lucy quickly charmed the candle stick to stay floating where it was as she moved to grab a piece of parchment and an old pencil.
“Which letters, Dommy?” She asked quietly, pencil poised for writing.
“The first ‘I’ in my name,” I said, trying hard to find the almost microscopic indentations that may have just been accidental. “The ‘a’ in are, and the ‘m’ in my.”
“I am,” Lucy recited, her voice rising just slightly in excitement. “Continue, Dom.”
“Um,” I tried, shifting the paper slightly and peering at it closely, “The ‘C’ in Callie’s name, the ‘o’ in does, the ‘m’ in make, the ‘I’, and the ‘n’ in not. And the ‘g’ in fairing.”
“Coming.” Lucy stated, “I am coming. When?”
“There’s more,” I told her, “The ‘s’ in still, the ‘o’ in to, the ‘o’ in sometimes, and the ‘n’ loneliness.”
Lucy was about to explode. “I am coming soon.”
“Wait!” I exclaimed suddenly, just as she was about to go tell the others, “There’s still more.”
“This is important, Dom,” She insisted, “The rest can wait.”
“It says ‘tell’, Lucy,” I informed her, putting it together quickly, one hand clutching her shirt tightly. “The next word says ‘tell’, obviously stating who we should tell.”
Lucy let out a large breath and sat back down, making it clear that she was sulking.
“The ‘n’ in informed, the ‘o’ in informed.” I said, going back to letting her write it down, not feeling like using the brain power to put this together in my head. “The ‘o’ in room, the ‘n’ in on, and the ‘e’ in parchment.”
I let the fire consume her letter, Rose’s words repeating loudly in my head.
Anything with a message hidden in it needs to be destroyed. Always.
She took her secret-agent days very seriously, though they do come in handy.
“Lucy?” I asked, seeing my cousin’s pale face in the dull light of the flickering candle, the letter now completely ashes in a small pile on the floor. “Lucy, what does it say?”
“I am coming,” She recited in a low, hoarse voice. “Tell no one.”
Tell no one.
What were we supposed to do with a bunch of information that we couldn’t share with anyone?
Lucy looked severely upset. Rose didn’t usually keep so much away from us, and it was bothering me too.
“She still maintains that she is going to die,” Lucy murmured, burning her parchment as well and putting out the candle, the both of us laying on Rose’s old bed in complete darkness. The faint smell that was once here was completely gone. “Do you think it’s true? That she knows something we don’t?”
“She always knows things we don’t,” I told her, wrapping an arm around my younger cousin’s shoulders. “That’s why she’s Rose. But we have to trust her.”
“Do you think it’s true?” Lucy repeated, automatically detecting my reluctance in answering.
“I don’t know,” I whispered, “Lucy, I can’t be Rose and tell you everything. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but we’ll find out by being there together like good cousins and friends.”
I heard her sigh once before the door slammed open, light streaming in, a silhouette of James in the doorway.
His voice was ragged as he flicked on the lights, and I immediately noticed that his clothes were torn and there was a visible limp in his stance. Lucy and I sat up instantly as the words tumbled out of his mouth. “The war is here,” He gasped, “Macnair was murdered for allowing Rose too much freedom; everyone is fighting at Ministry. This is it.”
This is it.
Lucy pulled me up as James limped away quickly, pounding on the next door a few feet away. She tossed me my wand and the muggle Desert Eagle pistol that Rose had charmed to never run out of bullets, grabbing both of her own weapons and shoving her pistol into her back pocket, waiting for me to do the same before she strode out of the room, me following close behind, both of us following behind Al and Scorpius, who’d been sharing a room across from us.
The war is here.
Heh. Three more chapters left! For all of my pride in the last chapter, I'm suddenly not too excited about it. O_O