Chapter 23 : The Beginning of the End
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“Can you believe it?”
“I heard forty-seven.”
“This is impossible.”
“This is awful.”
“All those people.”
Melora entered the Great Hall the next week to a buzzing student body. Something was wrong, she could feel it in the air, but it wasn’t until she sat down next to Beatrice at the Hufflepuff table she realized why.
Bea was sitting with her roommates Dorcas Meadows and Anna Hudson, their heads bent over a Daily Prophet. Melora could see the headline from across the table, ‘Attack on Diagon Alley- Death Toll Still Rising’.
Melora let out a gasp and the three girls across the table looked up. “It’s awful, isn’t it?” Dorcas said sadly, “They’re saying it was You-Know-Who."
“A few people have already been called to the Headmaster’s office,” Anna continued, “I think it’s mostly for injured family members, but I heard Ken Lyle’s mum and Peter Clearwater’s sister were both killed.”
“That’s terrible,” Melora said, thinking back to the last letter she had received from her mum. There had been no mention of going to Diagon Alley in the near future and Melora hoped that meant her parents had been far away from the attack.
“Isn’t it just?” Dorcas sighed, putting aside the paper, “I mean you hear about little things here and there, but something as big as this…I never thought it would happen.” She glanced over at the Slytherin table. “Doubt any of their relatives were harmed.”
“Dorcas!” Bea chided, “Don’t say something like that.”
“It’s true though,” Dorcas argued, “Everyone knows what house most of the Death Eaters come from, and it isn’t Ravenclaw. Every other day I catch Mulciber or Avery hexing some innocent muggleborn first year,” she adjusted her prefect badge, “Wish I could do more than just take points.”
Melora opened her mouth to respond, but was interrupted by the appearance of her head of house, Professor Flitwick.
“Miss Jones!” he squeaked, “There you are. The headmaster would like a word with you.”
Melora’s face drained of color. “Why?”
A shadow crossed over Flitwick’s face. “I’m afraid I’m not at liberty to say.”
Melora swallowed thickly and stood up. Bea grabbed her hand. “Do you want me to come?” she whispered.
“No,” Melora shook her head, “I’ll be okay.”
Bea’s face looked like she doubted that very much and as Melora followed her professor out of the Great Hall, trying to ignore the whispers that erupted behind her as she went, the blonde had to admit she doubted herself too.
Was it her parents? Her uncle or aunt?
“I’ll take it from here Filius,” Melora looked up at Professor McGonagall standing outside the door, Sirius behind her.
“Melora,” he reached out his hand, which the girl ignored as she threw herself into his arms.
“Do you know…?”
“No,” he whispered, “I don’t.”
“This way,” Professor McGonagall instructed. The two teens broke from their embrace, but remained holding hands as they climbed the staircases to the Headmaster’s office.
Surely it had to be someone from Melora’s family the girl reasoned. If it had been the Potters, James would be here too, and if it was someone from Sirius’ family, his younger brother Regulus would be here.
“Pumpkin Pasties,” McGonagall said to the gargoyle statues when they reached the office. They jumped aside, revealing the staircase. McGonagall stepped aside for Melora and Sirius, following behind them.
Professor Dumbledore was seated behind his desk when they reached the office. He gestured for Melora and Sirius to take a seat in front of him. McGonagall remained standing by the entrance.
“The reason I’ve called you both here this morning is, as I’m sure you’ve heard, there has been an attack on Diagon Alley.”
They nodded. Melora’s grip on Sirius’ hand tightened.
“While all of your family members are safe,” Melora let out a breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. Dumbledore continued, “I’m afraid the couple who were planning on adopting your baby, Kendra and David Wright were found dead several hours ago.”
Melora’s eyes widened and she dropped Sirius’ hand. “No, I mean, you’ve got to be kidding me. I wrote to Kendra yesterday! This isn’t possible.”
She stood quickly, nearly knocking over her chair in the process. “There’s got to be some mistake Headmaster,” Melora pleaded, Sirius stood and tried to reach out to her, but Melora shook him off, “Please tell me this is a mistake.”
“I’m sorry Miss Jones,” Dumbledore said softly, “There’s no mistake. Their bodies were identified this morning.”
“No,” Melora fell back down into her chair, “I can’t, they can’t…” Tears filled up her eyes. “The baby…”
Melora was vaguely aware of Sirius sitting down next to her and picking up her limp hand. She could hear Headmaster Dumbledore asking if they’d like to be put in contact with the Wrights’ family, but it seemed like he was miles away.
All Melora could think about was Kendra Wright’s bright face. Her excitement at having the baby. They had been writing regularly since their first meeting about everything from how the baby was progressing to Melora’s schoolwork to baby names to Kendra’s work at the Daily Prophet. They had been planning to meet again at the next Hogsmeade visit. In her last letter Kendra had mentioned an adorable pink jumper she couldn’t resist buying for the baby.
‘It’s the cutest thing,’ Kendra had written, ‘And it has an ‘E’ on it. I was thinking it could be for Emily. I love the name Emily, maybe Emma for short.’
And now she was gone? Just like that?
The blonde snapped to attention, suddenly aware of the wet tracks running down her cheeks. She hadn’t even noticed she’d started crying.
“I was saying you two will be excused from classes,” Dumbledore said kindly, “Until you’re ready to return.”
Melora nodded and muttered her thanks, allowing Sirius to help her out of the chair and guide her out of the office.
Professor McGonagall escorted them out, but went a separate way when they reached the bottom of the staircase.
When they were alone, Sirius turned Melora to face him and leaned down so they were eye to eye.
“Hey, you okay?”
“No,” Melora said, looking down. The tears began to build up again. “Of course I’m not okay. Kendra and David are dead Sirius. They’re dead. And now this baby, our baby… it was perfect, and now it’s all gone. It’s all gone to shit!” She broke down, heavy sobs racking her body.
Sirius enveloped her in his arms, pulling her as close has her stomach allowed, stroking her hair. “Shh, it’s going to be alright,” he said softly.
“No it’s not,” Melora mumbled into his jumper, “It’s not.”
A/N- The next chapter deals with the aftermath of their death, and the one after that will be about finding another couple to adopt. Although I know a lot of you will want them to keep the baby now haha =)
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