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Penultimate Year by GREX101
Chapter 25 : End of One Tragedy, Beginning of Another
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 2


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Hello everyone to the much anticipated chapter 25! This is the big one guys  no more waiting and hating. You’ve been a wonderful and loyal readership so far so you deserve this and them some! Maybe leave me a review and let me know how much you love me? Thanks, and enjoy.
P.S. Sorry that it’s a bit jumpy but I needed to skip bits to get to the action 

The past month had been a good one. Marion and Sirius had been collaborating successfully on their assignment. In fact, they had come to find that they were enjoying it. It was due the day before half term, so the people who were going to be leaving for the holidays didn’t get out of it. However, with Marion’s insider’s information on nymphs, even Sirius and Marion (who, despite being above average students, failed to bother too much with schoolwork) wouldn’t need to make up an excuse. They spent their Friday afternoons in the library writing down helpful notes to put into the essay, which was practically writing itself at the pace they were working at. Two weeks before the due date, they sat, as usual, at the back of the library where the librarian couldn’t complain about them making too much noise.

“Oh my God, Black you’re ridiculous!” Marion giggled, throwing her head back as Sirius cracked yet another joke.

“Hey, I can’t help it that I’m funny.” He replied with the same hint of amusement. Marion calmed down a little and smirked.

“Yeah, but it’s only fair to tell you that I’m laughing at you, not with you.” She joked, causing him to laugh and poke her side playfully.

“So, get this down: when nymphs reach a mature age, they develop a mark on their right ankle based on their core element.” Marion dictated as Sirius wrote. When he had finished, he looked at her in disbelief.

“Really?” he queried. Marion looked around to make sure that no one was looking. She then propped her right leg up on the edge of Sirius’ chair and pulled down her knee-high sock, revealing a small, glowing red mark on her ankle that resembled burning flames. Sirius smiled in wonder as Marion pulled the sock back up and put her foot back on the floor.

“So what element is yours then?” he asked, pushing the notes aside. Marion looked around again, and then clicked her fingers. Her forefinger produced a small flame, which stayed lit. She looked at Sirius who gazed, hypnotised by the flame. Her bright turquoise eyes flashed hot red as she extinguished the small spark, returning to normal as it disappeared.

“Oh.” Was all Sirius could think to say. Marion chuckled again at his reaction.

“Are you always this articulate?” she asked sarcastically with a grin. A smirk expelled onto his lips. Their eyes met, a little too long and lingering for comfort, so they quickly averted their gaze to the table top. Sirius cleared his throat.

“So, Preston,” he began, “doing anything special over the half term?” he asked her to get rid of the awkwardness.

“Um, yeah. I have my older sister’s wedding rehearsal. In fact,” she reached into her satchel by her feet and pulled out an envelope, handing it to Sirius, “Here.”

Sirius took the envelope from her; his name was written in on it in her familiar cursive writing. He carefully opened the seal and took out the parchment inside, discarding the envelope on the table in front of him, and read aloud what the letter said.

Dear: Sirius Black
You are cordially invited to the wedding rehearsal of:
Ryan Cornelius Atwood & Mischa Dalya Miranda Preston
On:
27th February
At:
6:30pm at Preston Manor, Cavendish Place
We look forward to seeing you at our wedding. To RSVP, please send an owl to the mother of the bride, Persephone Preston. For a list of what’s available on the menu, please contact the mother and/or father of the groom Archibald and Alexandra Atwood.

We look forward to seeing you there.

“What is this?” Sirius muttered dumbly as he stared at the invite.

“What does it look like? I’m inviting you to the wedding rehearsal, Black!” Marion laughed at his expression.

“Well, I was going anyway. With the Potters, that is.” Sirius said. Marion rolled her eyes.

“I know that, but I wanted you to come on your own, as a guest. Not just as somebody’s plus one.” She blushed a little, which went undetected as Sirius was still staring at the invitation. There were white edelweiss flowers around the edge that moved slightly as is flowing in a gentle breeze.

“So will you come?” she inquired. He looked up at her and smiled.

“Of course I will! It sounds like it’s gonna be a good time.” He grinned. She returned the gesture with a demure half smile then got up.

“I have to go and meet Lily, do you think you can finish up here without me?” she said.

“Yeah, sure. You go.” He assured her. She smiled at him kindly.

“Thanks see you later, Black.” She then turned and watched out of the library. Sirius watched her go, feeling confused, but in a good way. He looked down at the invitation again and put it back in its envelope, smiling non-stop like an idiot.

Marion met Lily outside of the Herbology room. They both took that subject but were not in the same class (mainly due to Marion’s academic insubordination and lack of effort). When she came out, she hugged Marion and saw immediately the wide smile that she was wearing.

“What’s up?” she asked inquisitively. Marion playfully pressed her forefinger against her own nose.

“Never you mind.” She answered cheekily before looking over her redheaded friend’s shoulder and spotting something interesting, “What do you think is going on with that?” She asked. Lily turned and followed her friend’s gaze. She was looked at Alice, who was standing in front of a nervous-looking Frank. He kept shrinking away from her.

“Oh, he was staring at her for the entire lesson. I think this may be his first attempt at trying to ask her out.” She explained. They continued to watch covertly as Frank shuffled and looked down, trying to get the courage to speak.

“Erm, I was wondering if-if” He stuttered.

“What do you want, Frank?” Alice asked kindly, trying to help him out. Frank made one final effort to look up and Marion and Lily held their breath in anticipation, but then he gave a defeated sigh and looked down again, shuffling.

“Nothing.” He mumbled, “Later, Alice.” He then walked away, leaving Alice looking confused.

“Aw, poor Frank.” Lily simpered. Marion nodded.

“Yeah I know. C’mon, let’s go to the owlery, we need to tell Archie what we want to eat at the wedding rehearsal.” They turned and walked away, but Marion was still thinking back on what she had seen. It made her realise something; she shouldn’t be afraid to make the first move with Sirius. She liked him, she really did and he was actually such a sweet guy. He seemed to like her too; at least that’s what he had told her at Christmas. But maybe since she rejected him she had ruined that. Either way, she had to find out and do something about it before she lost her chance forever.

On the last day before half term, Marion and Sirius entered their Care of Magical Creatures classroom with a full essay, with sketches on time. Even they were finding it hard to believe, but they wanted to show up their teacher more than anything. They had written 6 sides of parchment when the minimum was 3. They didn’t have to, but they just had so much to say. When they threw the roll of parchment down on the Professor’s desk, she looked up at them in awe, but tried to hide it.

“Thank you, Mr Black and Miss Preston. You can go now.” She said, not daring look at them. They made no effort to hide their signature smug smirks as they left the room to go to the train station. As they walked through the forest from the carriages to meet their friends at the station, they laughed about the Professor’s reaction.

“Oh, my God! Did you see her face?” Marion laughed.

“Yeah, I know. She was not expecting that.” Sirius replied.

“Well it appears that I’ve had a good influence on you, Black.” She teased.

“Oh, fuck off, Preston. Better men than you have tried.” He joked, “You can’t make an impression on the unimpressionable.” She mock punched his arm.

“You don’t get any better than me, Black.” She chuckled. Their sides brushed up against each other as they walked down a small hill and they lapsed into a surprisingly comfortable silence. After a few moments of waking closely side by side, they saw the station in view. They both saw their groups on friends on opposite sides, perfectly happy as far away from each other as possible. A few months ago, that would have been them too. But now here they were, enjoying each other’s company.

“Well, here we are.” Marion said, turning to face Sirius. In any normal situation, it would have been awkward, but they were still perfectly comfortable.

“I’ll erm; I’ll see you on Wednesday then.” Sirius said, looking down on her and gazing into her eyes. She was actually smiling up at him.

“Yeah, I’m looking forward to it.” She nodded confidently. Her confidence slightly unnerved Sirius. It made him feel as though he should be as confident as her, so he opened his arms to her, offering a hug. To his amazement, she accepted, wrapping her arms around his waist and holding on for a while. When she let go, she didn’t leave straight away. She looked up at him, almost expectantly. She then leaned up and kissed him on the cheek. Sirius stood dumb for a moment as Marion smirked cheekily and walked away, feeling incredibly pleased as she walked away. He stared after her as she went and touched his cheek tenderly where her lips had touched it. His thoughts were then interrupted as he heard James’ familiar voice calling for him.

“Oi, Pads! Get yourself over ‘ere mate, we don’t have all day.”

Sirius put on a straight face to calm himself as he approached his friends. He fist-bumped James and put his arm around Peter in a friendly hug. When they walked towards the train carriage, he tugged on the back on Remus’ sleeve to signal his attention subtly. Unfortunately, the subtlety was not returned.

“Sirius? Something wrong?” he asked, turning to face him. The other two turned to face him to as they neared an empty compartment.

“Nah, I just wanted to talk to you for a second. You guys go on in. We’ll meet you in there.” Sirius assured them. James and Peter shrugged and went into the compartment. Remus, who was confused and concerned, obediently stayed in the gangway with his friend. They waited for the other people to clear into compartments, and then Sirius began talking in a hushed tone to Remus.

“Hey, Moony, sorry for keeping you but I need to talk to you, mate.” He said.

“No problem, what is it?” Remus inquired, concerned by the tone he was using.

“It’s this whole thing with Preston. I don’t exactly know what it is. It- it’s just things between us have been really good lately. We haven’t fought since before Christmas, we have a laugh together. I really like her, and I think she might like me too.” Sirius listed. Remus smiled.

“Well, that’s good.” He said.

“That’s terrifying.” Sirius corrected, “I have no idea what to do. Should I go for it? I have no idea how long this good streak can last. Knowing us we’ll hate each other again by Easter.”

“You used to be like that all the time. Why are you so worried about it now?” Remus questioned.

“Because… because now I’ve been close to her – been friends with her- I know what that’s like now. I like it and I don’t want to give it up.” Sirius answered. Remus smiled in awe of his friends’ newfound emotional depth.

“Mate, you know how much you want this right?” He interrogated, Sirius nodded, “Then go for it. Don’t do what you used to do and deny yourself a good thing because you’re afraid of losing it. If you do that you’ll never even know how good it could it could be.” Sirius nodded again. He understood completely.

“Thanks, Moony. And by the way don’t tell James- or anyone- that I told you this. James will only get upset that I didn’t tell him and I’ve got a rep to protect.” He laughed. Remus smirked.

“Don’t worry, I’m trying to forget it myself.” He grinned.

“Good.” Sirius said, patting him on the back and going to walk into the compartment. Remus reached out and held him back a moment longer.

“By the way, just so you know, out of all the people I know, I’ve never seen two people more suited to each other than you and Marion.” He assured him with a grin. Sirius grinned back.

“Oh, I’m gonna kill you, Moony.” He joked before opening the compartment door and joining Peter and James.

On Wednesday afternoon, Marion and Lily were helping Mischa with her hair and make-up in Marion’s bedroom. She was buzzing and nervous. She held the clips as Lily brushed Mischa’s light brown hair into place. Her jitters were slightly noticed by Mischa as she saw Lily take a clip from Marion in the mirror. She was swaying a bit and looking off into space.

“Hey, Earth to Marion, wassup chick?” she asked with a smile as Lily began clipping some of her hair back.

“Nothing. I’m just nervous.” She answered which a breathy, dreamy voice. She still didn’t look them in the eyes.

“You’re nervous? It’s my wedding rehearsal.” Mischa laughed.

“Oh, you’ll live.” Marion snapped, unintentionally harsh. She went back to staring into the middle distance and Lily rolled her eyes.

“There could be Cornish pixies flying all around the room tearing it apart and I swear she wouldn’t even notice.” She laughed. Mischa nodded in agreement.

“I know. I’ve never seen her like this. You know her. She’s all ‘Let’s do it and do it well!’” she remarked. “Besides, why should she be nervous? I have two 16 year olds doing my hair and make-up!”

“Hey!” Lily laughed, “I turned 17 at the end of January. And we are both very smart.”

“Ok, I’ll give you that one.” Mischa grinned at her in the mirror. Lily then brushed the hair that remained down over her shoulders and it fell like a gold curtain around her face. She smiled at her appearance, apparently content. “Thanks you guys.”

“No problem.” Lily smiled. She then nudged Marion’s side.

“What?” she asked, coming down to Earth. At that moment, Val knocked on the door and peaked around.

“Hello, ladies. You’re all looking exceptionally beautiful.” He greeted with an uncharacteristically large grin. Mischa stood up and she and Marion both hugged him tightly. When he let his sisters go, he nodded to Lily and stood tall in his sharp, black dress robes and bow tie. “Well, we’re all ready for you downstairs and people have started to arrive. Let’s get this show on the road.”

The three girls walked out to follow Valkyrie outside to the party, which was a large, long, golden gazebo decorated with fairy lights that glowed in the twilight sky. It had a long table full of food, a live band and smaller sitting tables dotted around the dance floor, which was made of tiles which shone gold in the every time the twinkling fairy lights hit it. As they walked out of the sliding doors Marion suddenly felt very nervous. She tried to tell herself that it was just a party. That she did even have to go near Sirius if she didn’t want to and that it wasn’t important. Then why was she shivering at the thought of his name? Why was her heart doing the rumba in her chest? She then pushed those thoughts to the back of her head as they met with Ryan and the groomsmen and headed for the crowd.

Sirius turned from the refreshment table as he heard applause and saw the to-be bride and groom enter their presence, arm in arm. They then shared their first dance after a toast by Marion’s mother. And when Mischa stepped forwards to take her place on the dance floor, Sirius’ eyes fell on the most beautiful sight he had seen in his entire life.

Once she had moved out of the way, his eyes rested on Marion, who looked absolutely stunning. She was wearing a gold dress that flowed delicately down to the floor and had a long slit running up her left leg right up to her thigh (he barely noticed but saw that Lily didn’t have one in her dress, so guessed that Marion had put it in herself). Her brown hair was loosely curled and fell down below her breasts, where (true to form) Sirius’ eyes lingered for a while. She was wearing a long necklace with a ruby pendant, which almost disappeared in her cleavage, making it stand out for him. He then tore his eyes away from that particular area before people caught him staring at it. Her smile was bright and her turquoise eyes glistened as she watched her sister and her fiancée dance under the spotlight. Sirius wondered if ‘nymph’ actually meant ‘angel’ as he gazed on at her. Just admiring from afar, where it was safe for both of them.

Once the dance was finished and the ‘congratulations’ had been said, people began to dance themselves while drinking and mingling. Marion had a few Firewhiskey’s, then ran up to James and threw her arms around him in a tight hug.

“Well hello there.” James laughed as he put her down and eyed her outfit in a mock seductive manor. He was wearing a smart charcoal grey suit with a tailcoat and a rose pinned to his lapel. “You’re looking good.”

“So are you.” Marion replied. “Who’d have thought it? Sixteen years and I had no idea you owned a suit.” She laughed. Sirius, who was standing nearby, was drawn by her laughter and walked over to them. She threw her arms around him too once she saw him.

“Hey, Black, you’re looking pretty spiffy too.” she admired, seeing his attractive black suit and tie, which was slightly loose with the top button undone. His hair was neatly combed and he, quite simply, looked breathtakingly handsome. Her heart fluttered a bit at the sight of him.

“You’re looking good too.” he replied her smugly, keeping his cool and usual half arrogant half witty charm. She smiled widely at him, and then turned back to James.

“So, do you like the atrocious and rather questionable mixture they stuffed a perfectly good chicken with?” Marion asked him jokingly.

“Why don’t you just give me what I want?” He said. Sirius was (who had taken it the wrong way) looked startled. He then heard the rest of the sentence, “Information.” Marion rolled her eyes.

“Ok, but pay attention because I’m only going to say this once; as soon as she’s had her 6th firewhiskey, then walk over and say hi. If she doesn’t reply, stand back and scream for a bucket. If she insults you, we’re good. Now, she’s super sensitive about whether or not that dress makes her look fat so go over to her and say you like her dress, then give a reason. And whatever you do, DON’T say ‘slimming’. Stay away from the word ‘slimming’. Now, after that, she’ll most likely lash out a bit. If she kicks you between the foot and the knee, you’re fine. Just keep hailing her with compliments. If she kicks and/or hits you anywhere above the knee, well… let’s just say you’ll take the hint, ok?” Marion told him, not even pausing to take a breath. James grinned and looked across the room at Lily, who was at the drinks table. Sirius saw her too, and relaxed, smirking in amusement and patting James on the back.

“Good luck getting rejected Prongs.” He joked.

“Unfortunately when it comes to Lily Evans it’s something I excel at.” He joked back before setting off for Lily. Marion and Sirius both laughed as they watched him go then looked at each other. A moment of awkward silence passed by before the band started to play a upbeat blues song. Marion smiled at her chance and tugged on Sirius’ sleeve.

“C’mon.” she said.

“What?” he asked slightly worried about what he should do.

“C’mon, Black let’s show them how it’s done.” She insisted. He shook his head.

“Well, I dunno, I don’t usually dance.” He said. She smirked.

“I’m not taking no for an answer.” She told him. He returned her smirk, and was about to go with her when an older woman in a salmon dress and large dress hat stepped in front of Marion and began speaking to her.

“Oh, Marion dear, how have you been? I just adore that dressed. Oh, you look so much like your mother.” She began to rant. Marion looked sadly at Sirius.

“Maybe another time?” She asked. He nodded.

“Sure. Have fun.” He joked. She shook her head at him and left with the old woman, who was still shouting at her.

An hour and a half later, the sky was dark and the fairy lights’ reflections glistened in the lake next to the gazebo. It was more of a large pond, but James and Marion had called it ‘their magic lake’ since they were children. Sirius was leaning on one of the gazebo legs looking out at the lake, his back to the party. He had taken off his jacket and had it slung over his shoulder. His tie was now loosened considerably more, not hanging below his collar bone. As he looked out, he saw a figure sitting atop one of the rocks by the waterfront. The figure had long flowing hair, and the fairy lights reflected the gold of her dress. It was Marion. Looking behind him to check no one would see him leave, he set out after her, finding her perched on the largest rock of a cluster of about 10. She had kicked off her heeled shoes and they were sitting at the foot of the rock. She was shivering with no jacket and was swigging from a bottle of red current rum, which was now only half full. He looked on her in concern. He was going to leave to get Lily or her sister when he heard her voice.

“Don’t go.” She said, in a voice no louder than a whisper. She didn’t look at him, but continued staring out into the open water.

“I- I didn’t realise you knew I was here.” He stuttered.

“I could hear you breathing.” She smiled coldly, still not looking at him. He raised the corner of his mouth in a small half smile. Then he looked at the bottle in her hand as she took another swig with concern. She swallowed and laughed.

“Don’t worry, I’m not drunk. That would take at least five of these.” She assured him, examining the bottle. She then looked up at him, and offered him the bottle. He talked over and sat next to her on the rock.

“I’m not your mother. I don’t care if you are or not.” He joked, taking the bottle from her and taking a big gulp from it before setting it down next to him.

“I’m not!” Marion persisted with a laugh.

“Ok, ok I believe you.” Sirius chuckled, raising his hands in surrender. Marion nudged him. She then shivered again and rubbed her upper arms. Her dress was sleeveless and she had no jacket.

“Here, put this on.” Sirius said comfortingly, taking his jacket and swinging it over her shoulders. She wrapped it around her quivering frame and then looked pensive.

“I’m getting the strangest feeling of déjà vu.” She smirked. Sirius agreed, and then they both stopped smiling and lapsed into silence as they both remembered what had happened that night in the owlery. After a few moments, Sirius looked at her.

“So why are you out here all on your own?” he asked her. She looked at him for a while and didn’t say anything. Then she let out a deep sigh, faced out to the water again and answered.

“I was just thinking.” She said.

“About what?” Sirius quizzed. She steeled herself for a moment before continuing.

“About everything,” she began with a shrug of her shoulders, “About you and James and Lily and Michael and Kyle and everything that’s happened since we went back to school. It’s scaring me how much has changed this year. Some of it is brilliant. My sister’s getting married, me and Lily are still best mates, Johnny’s doing well at school,” she then looked at him, “I made new friends.” She smiled at him. He returned the smile and she looked away again. “But so much of it is so scary.”

“How so?” Sirius put in again. Marion let out a shrill sigh of frustration.

“Well, apart from being cheated on, lied to, beaten and attacked by three thugs on broomsticks? I’m so confused. I thought this whole ‘doing it alone’ thing would help me get to grips with things. Help me see why these things have happened and how to get over them. I was so sure that if I just stopped throwing myself into random relationships and dumping all my shit on my friends I could finally find a way out. But all I’ve discovered is that I’m useless.” She ranted, burying her head in her hands. Sirius wrapped a comforting arm around her.

“You are not useless. You’re very wise. And you’re right; sometimes going it alone is how we best deal with the situation we’re in. But sometimes, in order to move on we need to lean on those around us.” He assured her. She looked up and he removed his arm.

“But then how do you know which you need? I know I can’t do this alone, but right now I have no family to lean on because they’re all having a great time and I don’t want to bring them down, I have no friends to lean on because I could never burden them with all this shit. I have no boyfriend to lean on because they all turn out to be in need of psychological help and- oh…” she nearly whimpered as she heard the band change the song they were playing to a slow song, “And now I have no one to dance with to my favourite song.” She finished. Sirius thought for a moment, then got up and offered his hand to Marion.

“Yes you do.” He said. She looked at his hand, and realised what he was doing. The stress on her face relaxed and became a cheeky smirk.

“I thought you said you couldn’t dance?” she quipped.

“I believe I said I didn’t. I never said I couldn’t.” he returned with the same playful tone. She shook his jacket off of her shoulders, suddenly warm again, and took his hand. He hoisted her up off the rock, placed his left hand in hers and his right hand on her waist. She slipped her right hand into his and rested her left on his muscular shoulder, and they swayed to the music, their eyes never leaving each other, studying each other as if looking for something. As the song progressed, Sirius wrapped his right arm around her back rested it on her hip. She snaked her left arm around the back of his neck and rested her head on his shoulder. She had never felt so at ease, so comfortable with a man before. He held her as close as he could, wanting to eliminate all space between them, wanting to protect her for all the horrible things that were troubling her. She deserved to be happy. So very happy. As the song slowed to a halt, they pulled away slightly and looked into each other’s eyes. Sirius brought up the hand that was holding hers to cradle her face, caressing her cheek delicately. She rested her hand on his chest, feeling it heave as he breathed. They both leaned in and kissed chastely.
They held on for a few seconds, and then the kiss deepened, becoming more urgent and hungry. Sirius held her closer still, pressing her hard against him and he stroked her hip with his thumb. He felt Marion smile against his lips as she pushed her tongue past them to explore his mouth. They carried on kissing through the next song, and then Sirius pulled away from her perfect lips cheekily, leaving her wanting more.

“So this whole ‘doing it alone’ thing?” he asked mockingly.

“Yeah, we just agreed. It was a bad idea.” Marion retorted before pushing her lips to his again. Her lips had the texture of rose petals, but she responded to him with such ferocious enthusiasm that it almost hurt to kiss them. Not that Sirius was complaining. He finally had her; Marion. He had got what he wanted. Soon the kiss wasn’t just wild hunger, but was filled with passion and care. Marion brought her hand up from his chest and cradled his neck, lightly tugging at the hairs on his nape. He groaned into her mouth, giving her a feeling of accomplishment. They then stopped kissing, but continued to hold each other close, eyes locked.

“Listen to me, ok?” Sirius started. “I know why all this stuff happened to you. It’s because of me. Because I was afraid to take what I wanted. Because I was afraid that if I did, I’d hurt you. But I’m not afraid anymore. I’m not going to let anyone hurt you ever again. Because I do want you, and I don’t care what anyone thinks. I’ll protect you from anything if you’ll let me. Will you let me… Marion?” He finished in a whisper, squeezing his eyes shut and leaning his forehead against hers. She was silent. She was completely struck dumb by what she had just heard.

“You called me Marion.” She sighed in awe. He gave her his most devious smirk.

“Well, that’s your name isn’t it?” he joked. Marion chuckled happily and kissed him again.

“Yes.” She whispered against his lips. “Yes, yes, yes.”

They beamed, elated and kissed again. They both finally had got what they had wanted for so long. Suddenly, they were rudely interrupted by a scream from the gazebo. Parting, they looked to see flashing trails of black smoke whooshing around it, causing it to billow about while guests underneath it grabbed their wands and fought the descending Death Eaters. Marion and Sirius looked at each other bravely. Marion grabbed her shoes, Sirius his jacket and they ran back up the bank to the gazebo together. They cast the shoes and jacket under a table and pulled out their wands, joining in the fight.

They began on the outside, just defending themselves from attackers, then Marion heard her younger brother cry out, and saw him being disarmed. She ran over to him, knocking his attacker away with a flipendo jinx. Sirius followed her, fending off incoming attacks. Marion grabbed Johnny and held him next to her. She and Sirius stood back to back and fought with all their might, ducking multiple jets of green light that lit up the underside of the canopy. When a Death Eater materialised in front of them, Sirius blocked his spell, causing him to fly backwards, hit a table and land crumpled on the floor. Instructing Johnny to take cover, Marion ran over to him and held him close. Another Death Eater swooped over, and was about to strike when.

“STUPENDOUS MAXIMA!” Dumbledore cried. Mischa had invited him as an old friend. As he screamed out the spell, a bright yellow glow filled the canopy, immobilising every Death Eater for a moment. Once mobile again, they all vanished in wafts of thick, black smoke. Sirius came to in Marion’s arms and she smiled ecstatically and let out a whimper as she held him close. They then got up and looked around and saw the devastation the attack had caused. No words were said. The only sound audible was Mischa’s weeping into Ryan’s shoulder amidst the ruin.


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