Seven years and seven days you've been gone
Seven years of changing faith and opinion
Would you recognize me if you walked beside me?
His blue eyes melt into mine as his hand softly strokes my cheek. Ted smiles and brushes my hair back from my face. Leaning in, he whispers in my ear.
“We’re depending on you. Don’t forget that.”
I look up at him in shock. What?
“I don’t understand.” He kisses me and I smell his dog-scent mixed with almonds.
“You will one day. I promise.” He takes my hand.
I open my eyes and instantly regret it, snapping them closed. Celestine’s house is extra bright from the morning sun bursting through the windows. I groan quietly and my mind goes back to my dream. Why do I always dream of him? And what did he mean by that? There’s no one depending on me. I’m a wanted criminal.
“Get up!” Celestine’s voice drifts through my thoughts. I hear her yank open the white curtains, showering me with extra light that burns through my eyelids.
“We have a lot to do today and a lot to talk about. Nydia left just an hour ago to go back to the Fire-Eaters. Oh, and you smell, too.” I grunt in response to her voice and slowly sit up before opening my eyes.
I let out a slight choking noise. Beautiful, shining blonde hair sits across from me on the sofa. Her long eyelashes bat as she blinks, and she leans back into the cushions, looking beautiful enough to be on the cover of an obscene Muggle magazine.
“Why are you here?” I grunt at her, scowling.
Victoire Weasley smiles at me. “We need to talk.” Her dark-pink lips mock me with every word they speak. She certainly is not happy to be here, and her smile is forced.
Celestine glances at me before leaving the room.
Victoire immediately lunges at me, wrapping slender, manicured fingers around my neck.
“I don’t care if you’re General Raven Black or if you’re a Fire-Eater. I’m not afraid of you. Stay away from my Teddy. He’s mine. My wedding is in a week and you will not mess it up.” Her voice is ice-cold as she tightly grips my throat.
I glare back at her. “And what if I do?” I choke out, forcing a smile.
She digs her nails into the sides of my throat, making me choke and gasp.
“If you do, then you will pay for it. I promise you that.” She releases me and leaves the room. I touch my throat gingerly as the front door slams.
Celestine slowly walks in, raising one eyebrow before sitting down on the sofa across from me.
“Raven, the Order of the Phoenix would like you to come to our meeting tonight, if you’re willing to help. I’m going to have to take you as a prisoner, though, because you’ve got quite a reputation to your name. Are you willing to help the Order of the Phoenix work towards the defeat of the Fire-Eaters?” Celestine’s eyes scan my face for any sign of remorse, but they find nothing.
“Of course I’ll go with you. The Fire-Eaters disgust me as much as you.” Celestine’s face lights up.
“That’s the greatest news I’ve heard in a while. They’re going to want to know everything.”
I nod my head. Of course they would.
“Raven, don’t expect them to be happy to see you. Only a few of us have actually agreed to let you come.”
I nod silently. She beams at me.
“Thank you so much Raven!” Wrapping her arms around me, she gives me a quick hug before bounding out of the room.
Celestine opens the door to Twelve Grimmauld place before pushing me in. My wrists are tied together with enchanted rope to keep me from escaping. Celestine twiddles my wand between her fingers as we walk down the dark hall.
At the end of the hall, there’s a door, which I assume has been charmed, because it’s silent as the grave. Celestine steps in front of me and turns the handle. As she pulls the door open, sounds begin to emerge from behind it. I hear quick whispering and a scratchy man’s voice that sounds like Ted. As the light pours over me, the room becomes quiet. Celestine guides me in before closing the door.
I’m standing in a very dark dining room, lit up, of course, but the wood of the furniture, floors and walls is nearly black.
Sitting at the long table is every person who I ever considered might be associated with the Order: Ted Lupin, along with Victoire Weasley and her parents. Harry and Ginny Potter, along with their son James Potter, who is finally old enough to be allowed to join the Order. Ron and Hermione Weasley, along with Molly and Arthur Weasley, sit with George and Angelina Weasley. Luna and Rolf Scamander hold hands as they sit together. Mine and Ted’s Hogwarts friend, Robert Swift, gives me a slight nod. I notice many other faces that I do not have names to, as well as faces I should know from history because of the Final Battle between Harry Potter and Voldemort.
My palms start sweating as everyone watches me. I can feel their eyes lingering on the three parallel scars running down my left cheek.
“Hello, Raven.” Ted smiles at me, his blue eyes twinkling. Victoire, who’s sitting next to him, scowls.
“What is she doing here?” Shoving her chair back, the half-veela stands up and walks towards me.
“She isn’t welcome here. How dare you bring her here?” She glares at Celestine, who raises her chin and glares at Victoire.
“I think you are forgetting who is in charge of the Order, Victoire. I believe Raven can be a valuable asset, or even a weapon of sorts.”
Victoire snorts before returning to her seat. Celestine pulls out a chair and shoves me into it, untying my hands long enough to bind them to the arms of the chair.
“I, Celestine Daisy Black, hereby declare this meeting of the Order of the Phoenix to begin. I have brought my sister and former general of the Fire-Eaters, Raven Black, with me. She has agreed to tell us everything she knows about the Fire-Eaters.”
Everyone’s eyes turn to me inquisitively. I let out a sigh before beginning.
“I know most of you are probably very confused about why I agreed to do this. I do know all the secrets of the Fire-Eaters, at least those that Auxilry has shared with me.
“From what I know, Auxilry Black’s only ambition in creating the Fire-Eaters was to create an army to pursue world domination.
“The first thing you need to know is that our side of the Black family are descended from nymphs, the ancient ones considered to have disappeared and become extinct years ago. Auxilry is the straight descendent of a nymph. Nymphs, when they are born, are given a certain element or factor that they can control, in a way. Because Auxilry, Celestine and I are both nymph and witches, our magic is stronger in this area. Celestine’s element of sorts is specialty in the heavens. This includes life and death. Sort of like an advanced Seer. My specialty is with war, weapons and strategy. Auxilry, on the other hand, specializes in fire.
“When Auxilry finally decided that it was time to work towards creating an army for world domination, she turned to ally with someone who she could use to advance herself. She bargained with Fenrir Greyback, knowing that his intentions were to create a werewolf army. Greyback, however, only wanted children still.”
I pause for a moment to reorganize my thoughts. Everyone is watching on me; all except for Ted, who’s staring at the table surface. He is a slight green color.
“Auxilry agreed to assist him in his children attacking if he’d let her change, or enhance, those whom he attacked. She created a dangerous curse which would bind the victim to their wolf-form, allowing them to change anytime they desired, as well as enhancing their ability to master fire-spells.
“Auxilry told Fenrir Greyback who the first target would be.” I take a deep breath, “On a very dark and stormy night, she allowed him to attack me, maul me, and nearly kill me. As I lay, inches from death on the ground, she changed me.
“Using a special spell, she slowly began to invade my mind, telling me what to think. But her curse had one small problem. The energy it took was expansive, and Auxilry began to weaken. Her next targets were Fenrir’s niece, Vanessa Greyback, and my cousin, Nydia LeMoure. Unaware of her failing energy, both Vanessa and Nydia were weaker versions of myself.
“Her fourth target was a girl named Delina, much weaker in her abilities than Vanessa and Nydia. After Delina, she attacked seven other people, who were the last of those who could choose when to change into a werewolf. Any Fire-Eaters who came later are only werewolves who are taught in fire-spells.
“Auxilry went into hiding when she realized her power was failing. She only showed herself to Vanessa, Nydia, Delina and myself. We were the only four who were as strong as she hoped the Fire-Eaters would become. During nights and weekends at Hogwarts, she would train us.
“After a few years, Auxilry grew tired of children. She used us to attack others, some children and some adults. She bound them as well as us in the same way Lord Voldemort did years ago.
“When Auxilry decided I was old enough, she gave me a responsibility to lead the Fire-Eaters and grow their numbers. She went into hiding, although she kept an eye on things through me. Over many long years, she had invaded the minds of those leading the organization. She influenced our actions. It was like living in a dream; you can view what’s happening, but you can’t control it. It was only recently we found ourselves free of her.
“But it’s too late. The Fire-Eaters have grown to such a large number over these years that they basically run on their own. All of them are blinded in evil.”
I take a deep breath as I finish my story. Teddy is still staring at the table and Victoire is silent, her face expressionless.
Harry Potter speaks up. “What are our chances against the Fire-Eaters?”
I look at him straight in the eye. “Truthfully? You’d need an army to defeat them. Over the course of nine years she’s been raising bases with small armies attached to them. I’m sure that remaining members of the Twelve are set up as generals like myself in various parts of the world.”
George Weasley shakes his head. “Are you saying we have a full-fledged army on our hands?”
“That’s exactly what I’m saying.”
“Bloody hell.” George swears and leans back in his chair.
“Hold on a minute.” Everyone in the Order turns to look towards James Sirius Potter, who is standing up to question me. “If Auxilry can access your mind, how do we know that she’s not controlling you now? How do we know that she’s not spying on our base through you?”
I give a cold, empty laugh. “Do you think that someone who’s managed to build an army beneath the surveillance of the Ministry for nine years would be dumb enough to tell the Order of the Phoenix all of her secrets?”
James is silent for a moment before sitting down.
“Why wasn’t Celestine also chosen by Auxilry to join the Fire-Eaters? Why only you?” Ron Weasley asks me, his balding, red head appearing as he leans over the table.
“Because I remembered what Raven didn’t, and for that, Auxilry fears me.” Celestine answers as her eyes become serious.
Ron looks at her funny. “What did you remember?”
Celestine’s eyes gaze downwards. “She killed our parents. She and Bellatrix LeStrange.”
The room fell silent, everyone’s gaze sweeping over us. I already know that. When I was younger, I refused to believe Celestine. When that package came in the mail, with that note saying to bring it at midnight, Celestine asked me not to. She pleaded with me. Cel swore that it was a bad idea. She tried to tell me, but I ignored her, told her she was stupid, that Aunt Auxilry would never do such a thing…
After all, my father loved Auxilry. That’s why he named me after her.
Raven Auxilry Black.
“Raven?” Celestine’s voice cuts through my thoughts. I glance up to her.
“Is it okay to end this meeting for now? I know you’re still a bit tired, and we can discuss some details later.” She smiles at me. I can tell she knows what I’m thinking. She knows my guilt as well as I know it. I think Celestine blames herself for not trying hard enough to stop me.
“Of course. Yes, that’s fine.” I smile weakly at her, and I feel a pair of eyes watching me intently. Turning my head, my eyes meet Ted’s, whose gentle blue eyes are interpreting my every move. Does he know what I’m thinking, too?
I stare into Ted’s eyes for several moments while Celestine ends the meeting. He doesn’t break eye contact, and I feel a tingling in my stomach, one that wants to make me start smiling.
Breaking the contact, my eyes divert just enough to see Victoire’s eyes glaring intently at me. If looks could kill, I’d probably be more mauled than I already am. She can see right through me; she knows how I feel about him, and her anger is etched onto her face.
My thoughts are interrupted as I feel the bands binding my wrists to the chair slacken before falling to the ground. I look up to see Celestine staring at me, her eyes flickering up to where Teddy is sitting.
“Raven, may I have a word with you?” Celestine asks.
“Of course.” I get up stiffly from the chair before departing into another room with her. Closing the door, she turns to face me.
“Are you out of your mind? He’s getting married in a week!” She sighs and rubs her forehead with her hand.
“Well gee, it’s not like Victoire waited any amount of time. He just got back from being tortured as a prisoner, and suddenly now they’re getting married? I just got him back!” I glare at the floor and fold my arms.
“Raven, she’s hurrying the wedding because of you! Can’t you see that? You were not only his first love, but his first snog and his first shag. You were everything to him, and now that you’re back, you’re the biggest threat to her. Besides, he’s not yours! He’s Victoire’s now, and you know that. It’s not like she didn’t see how you two were giving each other the moony eyes right out there! You two practically looked like you were about to jump up and start snogging or something.” She shakes her head.
My eyes grow wide. “He wasn’t looking at me like that!”
Celestine laughs. “Raven, I thought you knew him better? Albeit if Victoire and everyone else hadn’t been in the room, he would have.”
I blush furiously. She can’t be serious. Teddy doesn’t like me like that, and I know it. He loves Victoire. Not me. I told him not to love me.
I bite my lip and look down. Celestine shakes her head. We stand in silence for a minute before a knock sounds at the door. Celestine opens it.
“May I speak to Raven?” Ted’s voice travels to me from the doorway. Celestine grunts and lets him in before leaving and closing the door.
My heart begins to pound furiously in my chest as the butterflies in my stomach ignite.
“Raven.” Ted says my name and I feel my mouth go dry. Warmth spreads into my cheeks.
Taking a breath, I turn towards him. “Hi, Teddy.” His hair is a deep magenta, almost the same color as his flushed face.
“I…I j-just wanted to know how you were d-doing.” His eyes widen and he steps towards me before glancing downwards.
Celestine was right. Ted is like an open book. His eyes give him away, but his hair is the real key to his emotions. And if pink still means what I think it does, I feel the same way.
I step towards him, unaware of my actions. “I’m good, thank you Teddy.” My voice is steady. I’m used to feeling scared or pressured, so I can keep my voice as steady as I want it.
He steps forward, and I can feel years of practice keeping a straight face melt away. My hands start shaking as I clench and unclench my fists.
“Teddy…” I begin. Oh Merlin, please don’t do this to me, Teddy. His eyes give everything away, and I can’t stand to find myself falling in love with a man who’s going to get married in a week.
He reaches out and places a finger to my lips as he steps closer to me. I can feel my face whiten as he lowers his finger, almost as if he took all color with him.
He touches both my arms before dragging his hands to my shoulders. His fingers wrap behind my neck and I feel him pull me in.
I step into him as our lips wind into each other. Warmth explodes in my body and he pulls me harder against him. His lips are gentle at first, working against mine, but it isn’t long before his hands wrap around my waist and his lips attack mine with a passion bottled up for years and years.
My head spins as he pulls me hard against him, his lips forcing mine open. My tongue slides in his mouth and he gasps softly.
His hands begin to travel up my back to the zipper on my dress as his desperate hands try to pry it down.
I suddenly become aware of the action as my back becomes bare to the air and his hands try to shove it down.
I pull away from his mouth. “Ted, no! You can’t! Not here!” He gradually opens his eyes and stares at me for a moment before becoming aware of his actions.
“Oh, Merlin, shit. I’m sorry.” His hair turns crimson red.
“Please zip my dress back up, Ted,” I plea. I don’t want Victoire walking in here to see a scene that looks like her fiancé and his ex-girlfriend about to shag. Which, of course, it was, but I can’t let him do that.
He wipes his face, his swollen lips opening in a gasp as the shock of what he was about to do hits him.
“Fuck, Raven. Damn it. I’m sorry.” He shakes his head and angrily zips my dress back up, his hair turning black.
I don’t know what to do, so I just stand there and stare at him. I know my lips are as swollen as his, and my hair is a mess. And the worst part is that I wish he did shag me.
“Why did you let me do that?” He demands, his hands wrapping up in his hair in despair.
“I…don’t know.” Sadly, I can run a whole society of werewolves, but I can’t even face my Teddy when he’s angry.
“Were you planning to shag me or something?” His voice cuts me sharp. I look down, but don’t respond. Of course, I wanted to kiss him…but I didn’t mean for us to get so wrapped up in the moment that we would want to shag.
“Fuck, Raven…” He sighs deeply and turns towards me. “I’m sorry. I don’t mean to blame this on you. It’s just…this would be easier if it wasn’t close to the full moon.”
Oh! Of course! How could I forget? Whenever it nears the full moon, Teddy always becomes more emotional and definitely more aroused. Qualities of being the son of a werewolf, of course.
“Why don’t you go shag Victoire, then?” I turn my back to him. I’m still a bit hurt that he’d snog me, almost shag me, and then become angry.
“I have, but it’s not the same…” I feel myself gag at his words before getting a rush of anger.
“So you came in here to fuck me because Victoire isn’t good enough for you?” I snap, my voice rising in pitch.
“No, Raven, please! You don’t understand.” Ted grabs my wrists. “Please Raven, listen. That’s not what I meant.”
I try to pull away from him, but he holds me strong. “Then what do you mean?” I growl, refusing to look at him.
“I mean I don’t love her like I loved you.” Ted sighs, releasing me. My arms fall limp as I debate my next answer.
“ ‘Loved’ is the keyword there. You don’t love me anymore. You love her now. So why don’t you go back to her since you’re going to marry her anyways?” My voice cracks. I don’t know why I’m being like this; normally I’m stronger.
Someone opens the door. “Teddy?” Ick. It’s her. Victoire pushes her way in and looks back and forth from me and Teddy. I know how we must look to her. My hair is a mess, and I look like I’m about to have an emotional breakdown. His face screams guilty and his clothing is ruffled.
She clicks her teeth before grabbing his arm. “Lets go, Ted.” Turning towards me, she glares. “I’m afraid Teddy is no longer able to see you any more, as of right now.”
I give her my deadliest look, which makes her step back. “Fuck off, Victoire.”
She gives me one last smoldering scowl before pulling Ted out of the room.
I watch him leave sadly, feeling the emptiness take over. Pulling out my wand, I Apparate back to Cel’s flat. She’s already there, and gives me a sad, knowing look when she sees the look on my face.
I walk into the living room and lay down on the sofa, staring at the ceiling. It isn’t long before I feel the tears escaping down the sides of my face, leaving wet spots on her white pillows. I can’t believe that just happened.
In one week, Victoire will have Teddy forever, when I only have memories of him. She’ll get to wrap herself up in his arms every night as she falls asleep, and I’ll be alone. She’ll get to listen to the sound of his heart beating, and I’ll get to listen to the soft sound of my sobs as I think about him. I’ll remember him forever and ever, and he’ll forget me as easily as he used to love me.
I turn onto my side as I press my fist to my mouth, sobbing into the black fabric. I feel soft fingers run through my hair as I howl, unable to control the pain as my heart breaks. Celestine pulls me close as I cry, and it isn’t long until the night takes over, pulling me into sleep, wet tears still on my cheeks.
A/N: Thank you for the reads and reviews! Please welcome my new beta and one of my first fans, NaidatheRavenclaw! She's wonderful and has saved me from review embarrassments :D
This chapter has officially been beta'd. Although, I must warn all readers that due to the reappearance of the Dobby awards, I'm going to be pushing these chapters out, which may mean they might not be beta'd and will not have chapter images.
Coming up next time: A wedding
Stay reading to chapter 8 to meet: The Dementors of Azkaban
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