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Chapter 8 : Marlene
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That was another thing. Dam’s confession of his parent’s split earlier that day had left her feeling sad. She loved his family; they had welcomed her more than once and their father’s knew each other from the Ministry. She could hardly believe they had separated. They had always seemed so happy. She did, however, feel this was probably at least part of the reason for Dam’s ongoing quarrel with Demetri. She wondered if the brothers had chosen opposite sides of their parent’s feud.
When she arrived outside Professor Fenwick’s door she could hear voices inside. Once voice in particular was one she had loved her and admired her entire life. And it sounded distressed.
“…bad Benjy. I’m not sure how much longer we can hold it out, he’s getting angrier by the minute.”
“I know,” Professor Fenwick replied, his voice sounded older than he was, “a fight is brewing. Especially if that new witch gets her way and pushes those regulations through.”
“Umbridge,” Marlene said the name as if it tasted bad. “She’s not all that new, just new to our department. She’s been working under Crouch for a while now, but from what I understand he was never overly fond of her.”
“Is that why he had her moved?”
“I think so,” her voice was muffled, but Elise had her ear literally against the door. Marlene and Professor Fenwick sounded as though they knew each other well. It was strange; Elise had been introduced to most of Marlene’s friends. At least the ones she spent any real amount of time with. “She hates what she calls “half-breeds” though, and she does have some backing from others within the department. I think she’ll get it passed.”
“It’s just going to cause more problems!” There was a muffled thud and Elise assumed Fenwick had banged his fist on the table. “They’re already making things difficult and he’s recruiting them.”
“I know but short of one of us getting bitten and infiltrating them we’re never going to know exactly what they’re up to,” Marlene was exasperated.
One of us? What did that phrase refer to?
There was a beat of silence and then Fenwick spoke, quieter than before. Elise couldn’t make out everything he said, but it sounded like he knew of a werewolf who might be able to do just that. Elise gazed out the window for a moment, her eyes focusing on the full moon. All over the country on this night men and women were transforming into werewolves. She felt pang in her heart for them; no one asked to be one. The room was quiet now, or they were whispering so quietly she couldn’t make anything out so she decided it was time to knock.
“Come in,” her Professor’s voice was much louder now. She entered the room to see her sister and Professor sitting next to one another by his desk. Marlene stood and rushed to embrace her as soon as she’d entered the room.
“Oh Elise,” she held her close, “it’s so very good to see you.”
“You too Marlene,” she pulled back and smiled. She saw that Marlene looked tired. The laugh lines that were just beginning to take shape next to her mouth and eyes were more defined than she’d ever seen them. She looked older than her twenty-three years. Her eyes flitted to her Professor, who gave her a kind smile.
“Having a nice evening Elise?”
“Yes sir,” she returned his smile although hers felt halfhearted on her lips. Their discussion she had eavesdropped on and the mere presence her Marlene here made her slightly on edge. “Just finished dinner.”
“Yes, I had some here,” he pointed to a tray with the remnants of the same meal she’d been served in the Great Hall. Enough for two, along with wine glasses; had Marlene dined with Professor Fenwick? “It was quite good tonight. Steak and kidney pie is a favorite of mine.”
Elise just nodded. She was unsure what to make of the situation she was currently in. She felt out of place, as though she’d interrupted her sister on a date. This was ludicrous, considering Marlene was engaged to be married to Sylvester Travers. Fenwick appeared to be studying her and he offered another smile, this one seemed to be of the reassuring kind.
“I’ll leave you,” he touched Marlene’s arm, “I know you’ve got a lot to talk about and Elise will have to be in before curfew.”
“Yes, thank you Benjy,” Marlene smiled at him and with that he collected the dinner tray and was out the door. Once the soft click had assured them the door was closed, Marlene waved her wand and Elise heard it lock. “I don’t want to be interrupted,” she answered Elise’s unasked question. Marlene sat down in the seat she had apparently vacated. She patted the other seat and Elise obeyed, turning slightly so they were facing each other directly.
“What is going on?” She said in a voice that sounded childish. She felt her cheeks burn at this, not wanting Marlene to think her a child. Her sister didn’t seem to notice and reached out to pat her on the leg.
“I know you’re frightened and confused and I understand why,” she glanced out the window as if searching for the right words. “Your letter about Sarah convinced me I needed to speak to you. That had I made a mistake in not doing so before.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well,” Marlene took a breath, “to begin with, I’m no longer engaged to Sylvester Elise. I haven’t been for a while.”
“What?” She was shocked by this news. They had seemed so perfect; so in love. “What do you mean for a while? He was at our family dinner not long before I left for school!”
“Yes,” Marlene nodded sadly, “we ended things that night.”
Elise thought back to that night and remembered Marlene speaking openly about her views on the Dark Wizard who was rising among them, killing innocents left and right.
“Why?” She whispered fearing she already knew the answer.
“Because we realized we were fighting on opposite sides of the war,” Marlene’s voice was just above a whisper and when Elise looked at her she saw tears glistening in her brown eyes.
“War?” Elise was still whispering, “Is it really a war?”
She said it matter-of-fact. Elise felt as though the weight of a thousand hippogriffs were on her chest. She gazed out the window, the moon reflecting on the water of the Black Lake. So much was changing this year.
“So you’re fighting against you-know-who.” It wasn’t really a question.
“Actually fighting, not just talking about it?”
“Yes,” Marlene looked torn for a moment but finally gave a small sigh, “and that’s really all I can tell you about that.”
Elise thought about this; wondered how Marlene had gotten involved. But she knew her sister, and she had closed the door to more questions about her role in the fight. She realized suddenly that this must have been what she and Fenwick had been talking about. He must also be involved.
“I can’t talk about him with you Elise,” she didn’t seem happy about not sharing the information just firm. “I know this is a lot to take in…” Elise interrupted her.
“So Sylvester is a Death Eater then?”
“Yes,” again Marlene seemed sad. Elise couldn’t blame her. It must be heartbreaking to realize the person you love isn’t who you thought they were.
“What about Thornton Nott? They’re making Sarah marry him!”
“They aren’t making her Elise,” Marlene reached out and held her little sister’s hand. “Sarah chose him; I knew about that before Sylvester and I split up.”
“Fine, she chose him,” she said bitterly, “but is he a Death Eater?”
“Yes,” the word seemed to pain Marlene.
“She can’t marry a Death Eater!” Elise cried out.
“I don’t want her to either Elise, but it’s not our choice. He is who she and her family want; Regardless of his affiliation with the Death Eaters.”
“Does she know he is one?”
“About that I’m not sure,” Marlene shook her head, “but she knows how he feels about muggles and muggleborns so it’s not a stretch to assume she knows.”
“I have to stop her,” Elise clinched her fists, “she cannot marry him.”
“You will do nothing of the sort,” Marlene snapped and Elise was startled by such a tone of voice.
“Why not?” She sounded like a petulant child, even to herself.
“It’s too dangerous. You can’t give an opinion of her choice of mate Elise.”
“She’s my best friend it’s not dangerous.”
“Not to tell her but it is dangerous to tell her family. I can’t let you Elise. You can’t risk that she’ll pass on your thoughts to her mother.”
Elise understood what Marlene meant but how could she stand back and watch her friend go down such a destructive path? Marlene patted her knee.
“I’m sorry to have to tell you all this, but you needed to know.”
Elise only nodded. The sisters sat in silence for a while, Marlene finally talking about their sister, Felicity, who was expecting her first child soon. They chatted about family things until it was time for Elise to return to her dormitory. Marlene hugged her again, holding on longer than was necessary.
“I love you Elise,” she whispered.
“I love you too Marlene.”
That night she lay awake for a long time. She hadn’t felt like talking when she got back to her room and was thankful Sarah was busy writing a letter. She pulled the hangings closed on her bed and began to cry. She was scared for her sister and her best friend. Marlene was fighting, entering the fray against the Darkest Wizard of the age. Her best friend would shortly be bonded to one of his supporters. It was a lot to take in and she found herself wishing her biggest worry was simply passing her N.E.W.T.s. At the moment those exams were the furthest thing from her mind.
A/N: Thank you for reading! I would love to know what you think.
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