Chapter 21 : Flash
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I'd left my new home in France as soon as they'd left me. I couldn't stand the thought of being so far away when everyone I loved was in constant danger.
I couldn't lose anyone else.
I was staying in the hotel Regulus and I had met in, in the same room where he'd proposed. Even though it was likely many people had travelled in and out of this room, I could still feel his presence.
Every night when I went to sleep, his arms wrapped themselves tightly around me. When I broke down into sobs, he'd brush the hair back from my face and I'd sit there with my eyes closed, revelling in his touch.
As soon as I opened my eyes, his touch left me.
I knew he wasn't coming back, but that didn't mean he wasn't still with me. He was near me all the time, I could feel it. He wouldn't leave me. He'd promised, after all.
I usually transfigured my face when I ventured out of my room, to ensure that I was never spotted. In the outside world, I had a short, wavy blonde bob with bright blue eyes and a dimple in my right cheek. If asked, I was called 'Jane'.
Every other morning I would usually visit the local dingy cafe for breakfast, as I'd gotten used to the Muggle life in this area. There were shifty characters about everywhere, but as long as I kept my wand safely hidden on me I felt at ease.
That was until they came into the cafe. I'd immedietely recognised them, the burly pair of Slytherins that had been two years above me in school.
I instantly lowered my head, my heart thumping wildly as they settled themselves into the booth behind me. I could barely hear their murmers, so I strained my ears to catch some of their conversation.
What were two Death Eaters doing in a Muggle cafe?
Unless... they knew I was here. Unless they were after me. I finished my coffee quickly, readying myself to leave as I continued to listen in on their conversation.
I tried not to jump as the one sat closest to me mumbled my surname. Maybe they didn't recognise me, but by responding to them, I'd give myself away.
I fleetingly wished for Regulus to be here. But wishing was useless, I reminded myself.
"They've found them... tonight," there was a low chuckle shared by the pair of them.
I stiffened and slowly edged my way out of the booth and towards the door, trying hard not to break into a run.
They didn't mean me. They meant Marlene, David and little Gracie. They were going to attack.
I hurried into a dark alleyway, checking for no sign of Muggles as I pulled my wand out from my pockets. What could I do?
I disapparated without a second thought.
Lily shrieked as she dropped the plate she'd been holding, whipping her wand out and aiming it at me with a shaking hand.
"Lily!" I gasped. "Are you alright? I'm sorry I didn't think you'd be... oh," my eyes found her rounded stomach and I fell silent.
In the midst of all things, I'd forgotten Lily was pregnant.
Her bright green eyes were wide as she stared at me. "Who are you? How do you know who I am? How did you get in here?"
"James!" she yelled and I flinched as within a matter of moments James, Sirius and Remus were sprinting through the door.
"No stop!" I shrieked as I quickly deflected their curses. "What are you..? Oh, merlin," I groaned. In my haste, I'd forgotten to change myself back. I still looked like 'Jane'.
I hastily waved my wand over myself, the blonde curls straightening out into the brown straggles I'd not bothered to tame this morning.
"Adrienne?" Sirius gaped at me, his wand lowering slightly.
"You shouldn't be here," James shot me a stern look.
"I know, I know, I wouldn't have come but..."
"But?" Lily promoted eagerly, shoving her wand back into her pocket despite James' frown.
It was obvious he didn't trust me.
"Marlene... I was in a muggle cafe... I heard two Death Eaters... they said they'd found them. They're going to hurt Marlene..."
"How can we trust you?" James asked immedietely.
"James!" Lily protested, grabbing at his arm but he shook her off.
"No, Lily! I mean it! It could be a trap, how can we trust her after everything she did?"
"Please, no. I'm not lying-"
"But how can we trust that?" Sirius couldn't meet my eyes. "You betrayed us."
It was like they were stabbing me in the chest with their words, but I held back my useless tears and sent them a pleading look.
"Please, you have to believe me. Marlene's in danger!"
"What if this is just a ploy so that you can return?" James demanded. "We all know you haven't been abroad all this time. You've been staying in London. We're not stupid."
"Please," I begged, stepping closer to them.
"I think we should check," Remus broke the thick silence. "She could be telling the truth."
"Fine," James agreed briskly. "But we should contact the rest of the Order first."
"No! There's not enough time!"
"Why did you come straight to us?" Sirius demanded.
"Because I knew Moody would have killed me on the spot. I knew you'd just give me a chance to tell you, ask you to save them..."
"Sirius, the Order," James grabbed his best friends arm and gave him a forceful look.
"Lily, please..." I looked to my former friend, who turned away with tears in her eyes.
"Adrienne, we just need to contact the Order, then we'll..." Remus instructed but I shook my head vehemently.
"No, I have to go now. It's already too late, they'll be there... I have to go to Marlene..."
I disapparated before they could even try to stop me.
Too late. My heart thumped in my chest as I looked at the house from across the street. It was eerily quiet.
I hastened towards the door, but froze at the threshold, unable to move.
The door was slightly ajar, and I could hear harsh voices from inside the house.
I entered quietly, sure my beating heart would give me away. The voices continued, they were in the kitchen, it seemed.
"Tell us what the Order is planning."
It was David. If David was still alive then there was hope...
"A little persuasion, perhaps? Crucio!"
The house was filled with Marlene's screams. "Stop, no! NO!"
"Marlene, don't," David gasped as they released the spell from him and he fell to the floor. He yelled as the Death Eater aimed their wand at him and a deep gash appeareed in his side, his blood seeping out onto the floor.
No. No, no, no. Grace was here. Watching them torture her father, watching them...
"How about we play with little girlie here?" one of them sneered. "She might loosen your lips."
Marlene began to scream and I watched as they wrenched Grace from her grasp.
As they aimed their wands at my neice, I burst through the door and aimed my wand at their throats.
"Put her down."
"What are you going to do, eh girlie?" one of them sniggered, raising their wand as I screamed a curse that flung them back into a wall.
"Grace, behind me!" I yelled, sheltering my neice behind my body.
"Auntie Addie," she whimpered, digging her hands into my leg as she clutched at it, crying.
The other Death Eater advanced on me, snarling, as the one I'd flung to the floor steadily rose to his feet.
I shot hot, white sparks at the Death Eater who was cornering Marlene and he immedietely began to writhe in pain, as if he was burning.
"Accio wands!" I screamed, throwing Marlene and David their wands as soon as I caught them.
Marlene was hunched over David, crying as he shouted at her to leave him behind. He knew he was dying. It was too late for him.
"Marlene!" I screamed as I deflected the Death Eaters next curse and used a sheild charm to propell him backwards. "Take Grace and go! Please!"
"Avada Kedarvra!" I ducked as the flash of green light skimmed over my head, hitting the banister behind me.
"Marlene!" I yelled. "Go! Now!"
"Ade..." she grabbed Grace and looked me in the eyes.
"Go," I whispered, before turning back to the Death Eater.
His wand was aimed at me, a glint in his eye as the curse errupted from his wand so fast I didn't have time to react.
It all ended with a flash of green light.
A/N - all I will say is that this is not the final chapter. That will be the next one.
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