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Mermaid Merlynn by Maitri Harys
Chapter 57 : Dead Flowers
 
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Dead Flowers


 

The MacArthurs’ funeral was fixed on the Saturday before Maitri was to return to Hogwarts. A muggle aunt of Emily’s had been called on by the Ministry of Magic and gently informed that her brother’s family had been killed by a racist serial killer. She didn’t, as anyone could’ve have predicted, take it well and was screaming obscenities about the magical community for a good hour before the Obliviators arrived and modified her memory to remember a car crash that killed the family, instead of magical murder.

 

Maitri had become extremely quiet ever since Emily’s death. It was so sudden and painful that she couldn’t bear to look at any of the healers. She felt she’d failed to save her friend, and it was a sour reminder that Voldemort had threatened her he would do that – kill Emily to force Maitri into joining his violent, murdering squad of villains.

 

For the first two days after Emily died, Maitri refused to take in any potions or food. In the end, she became so weak that the healers put a body bind charm on her and force fed her with the medicinal potions and bread. She had tried to gag, but the bind was powerful enough to make it physically impossible for her to do so. Healer Ethel Kramer was quite good with different body bind charms. 

 

Charlus Potter went back to his jovial self a day after Emily died – though Maitri was ready to gamble on the fact that he was pretending to be alright, to refrain from showing the anger and sadness he had shown out during the MacArthur girl’s death aftermath. Or she didn’t know if it was for her sake; the healer had brought in a dozen books on Magical healing and left them at Maitri’s bedside, knowing that they may take her mind away from the morbid situation, atleast for a while.

 

It had taken the girl two days to even pick one of the books up. She glanced at the cover and felt a pang of regret inside. Before Emily’s death, she would have devoured the book heartily; now, The Art of Mental Healing wwas something she felt loathe to read. It was like the times when Nyx and Twinkles had been killed; she didn’t want to exist any longer with the knowledge that she was a reason for her friend’s death, though she lacked the courage to kill herself. Instead, Maitri shut herself down against everyone who came to visit her – starting with a very worried Andromeda Tonks to a very hassled Gideon Prewett.

 

Arthur Weasley had dropped in once, too, his hands full of Molly’s baked goodies, done in a manner she thought would cheer the girl up. Hagrid had come over in Dumbledore’s stead, carrying the necessary paperwork for Maitri to return to Hogwarts, and wailed like a baby on her bedside when he heard that Emily MacArthur and her family had been maimed to kill for no reason other than they were muggles and muggleborn.

 

On the third day, two days before the funeral, three Magical Law Enforcement Officers and an Auror Detective came over to meet the survivors of the kidnapping. The kind Healer Brown suggested that they visit the traumatic Ms. Harys the last of the thirty victims they wanted to get the reports from.      

 

The detective, Mr. Holmes, a white-haired wizard in plain brown robes, spoke nothing throughout the morning, only taking notes in a small pocket notebook with a muggle biro and wandering between the wards on the spell damage floor. Maitri had glimpsed him three times as he walked past her ward, his wand held loosely in hand, and hawk-sharp eyes observing everything he crossed. He nodded over to Maitri when he caught her eyes but didn’t say anything. The girl, with nothing better to do anything other than mourn, peered at the detective with a wry interest.

 

By the time the reporting rounds came over to Maitri, her interest was duly peaked and she forgot to protest against Healer Kramer when the kind witch brought her food and potions. She quietly took what she was given and stayed quiet, wondering if there was anything she could say to immediately incarcerate Emily MacArthur’s causes of death: Voldemort and his Death Eaters.

 

“Ms. Harys, this is Mr. Crouch and Mr. Holmes from MLE, dear,” Healer Brown introduced the two morose wizards as they walked in. The older witch nodded at them both, smiled reassuringly at Maitri and bustled away. Crouch conjured a handsome straight-backed chair for himself, while Holmes sat on the rickety visitor’s chair. The former neatly shuffled rolls of parchment and cleared his throat when he found the appropriate one.

 

“State your full name, young lady,” Mr. Crouch demanded gruffly, flicking his wand at an elegant peacock feather quill poised on empty parchment. 

 

“Maitri Kairavan Harischandran,” the names rolled off her tongue. “But I’m registered at Hogwarts under Maitri Harys.”

 

“Need for name change?” Crouch drilled. “Disguise? Deception? Or does your real name point to some sort of criminal offence in the muggle communities of your country or here? Possible action in remand for social or magical offence?”

 

“Possible racial discrimination or just plain mispronunciation of nativist Indian names by British people whose language skills are far more suited to spell out misspelled nouns,” Maitri said, her eyes beady with misinterest. Holmes the detective snorted.

 

“She took on her relative’s surname for easier identification,” Holmes explained to a glaring Crouch. He then held up a sheet of parchment from his pocket. “It’s all there in the brief Minerva McGonagall sent to us.”

 

Barty Crouch Sr. took an irritated glance at the parchment. His lips grew thin and colorless.

 

“You’re related to Vib Harys?”

 

“He’s my uncle, yes.”

 

“No wonder you have that arrogant gall, young lady,” Crouch spat out. “To mock a high-ranking ministry official. Your know-it-all uncle was the same, never thought before he shot out his smart-alecses. Look where it got him.”

 

Maitri stared at him, lips pursed. Crouch glared back, as though challenging her to poke tease at him again.

 

“Age?” Crouch demanded once he was satisfied with her silence. He probably thought he had intimidated her.

 

“Fourteen.”

 

“But you’re starting your fifth year at Hogwarts?” Mr. Holmes asked.

 

Maitri nodded. “Professor Dumbledore insisted I start at Hogwarts when I was 10.”


  “Is it true or not that your home and family are in India?” Crouch enquired.

“It is true,” Maitri affirmed.

 

“Why pursue your education in another continent when there’s a perfectly good institution in your own country?”

 

“My uncle studied at Hogwarts. My parents are muggles, and chose what they knew about over what they didn’t. It’s not a criminal offence, is it?”

 

Crouch ignored the jab.  “The date on which you reached London in Summer, 1975, and your mode of travel?”

 

“August 2nd, trans-continental railway through the Magical Interspace.”

 

“It states in your St. Mungo’s profile that you have already spent a considerable amount of time here for a previous injury sustained in crossfire. Elaborate, please.”

 

Maitri worded the Trafalgar Square attack in frugal sentences, explaining how she happened to be touring around London that day and had gold particles embedded in her body because of a curse.

 

“There are accounts of you also being present in the last Diagon Alley attack. Care to confirm?”

 

“I was in Flourish & Botts because a couple of my friends locked me in for my safety.”

 

“The store did not escape unscathed,” Crouch said, a frown on his face. “Several shelves had reportedly fallen over.”

 

“I was bruised a bit, but nothing too serious. The attack was over very soon.”

 

Crouch nodded his head in agreement, forgetting to be rude with Maitri.

 

“Describe what happened on August the 17th, the day of the attack and kidnapping of muggleborns at the Diagon Alley.”

 

It was then that Maitri realized that she had been in that hell-hole for barely 3 or 4 days, even though it had seemed like a horrible lifetime when she thought about it. Swallowing the lump in her throat, she slowly recounted wwhat happened: the old witch, who was first to die, Ben Fenwick caught under rubble, McAvoy unconscious, the Death Eater pouncing on her and manually knocking her out.

 

“Helga Littleton,” Mr. Holmes said quietly. When Maitri looked at him curiously, he explained. “The first casualty as you described. Her name was Helga Littleton, a pureblood matron working in the Muggle Liaison offices at the Ministry.”


Crouch looked unusually sad at the account. The face of the MLE officer was quite unbecoming without the perpetual scowl and rigidity.

“What happened once you were kidnapped, Ms. Harys?” he asked, being polite for the first time that afternoon. “I assume you regained your consciousness not long after.”

 

Maitri’s breath quickened slightly as she described how her hands and feet were bound and bruised, Grace Perkins, Emily MacArthur being Legilimized, Ed Moon, Terry Mathews, tiny Sally Jones and the twenty other unfortunate witches and wizards in the same confinement. She told them about the Cruciatus used on everyone by either the Death Eaters or the monstrous overlord himself, Voldemort, and the “meetings” everyone had to undergo.

 

Maitri omitted the fact that Voldemort threatened Emily’s life in an offer for Maitri to join the Death Eaters, rationalizing that it would put her into more trouble than it was worth. She merely described a shallow account of him familiarizing her with a strange name and berating her for being in Slytherin, the house he used to be in.

 

“He made sure spoke to everyone before cursing them senseless,” Mr. Holmes noted grimly. “I’m not sure if the man loves the sound of his own voice or whether he is intent on educating the dead.”

 

“Please, Sherlock, do not mock a mass-murderer,” Crouch snapped at Holmes. “This is not the muggle world, where people have only pistols to threaten others’ lives. The fact that this so-called Dark Lord knew the background of each and every person in his custody, despite their muggle heritage, is indicative of a long-term plan, most probably developed with care so as to not be caught in his own lair. Infact, if he hadn’t been foolish enough to let his servants recruit hapless wizards, Mathews would certainly not have been able to break out and contact the Ministry.”

 

“Do you mean to say he targeted specific people to kidnap?” Maitri asked, her attention fully snapped up for the first time in days. “That he collected information about who will be in Diagon Alley that day, and then planned the kidnap?”

 

“It is prudent to never underestimate one’s enemy,” Crouch said in enigmatic tones. He shot Holmes a pointed look before continuing. “Every single victim have reported that Voldemort knew their names before they were forced to meet him. Each person was made aware that he knew basic details about them. Though none of them were sure if he used Legilimency on them, except for Mr. Mathews, who had received basic Ministry training to spot such curses. The fact that you exercised Occlumency against him is commendable, child, but I’m sure he never meant to gather information from you that he didn’t already know.”

 

“What does that mean?”

 

“You are almost an immigrant,” Crouch explained. “You don’t know who the muggleborns and the half-bloods are. You don’t know purebloods closely. You occupy Slytherin quarters, just as Voldemort is used to. You are not part of any vital Ministry union, nor do you hold importance to any prominent pureblood in the society. While all others captured had information to be taken from – about families, about other muggleborns, about basic muggleborn activity, about possible purebloods who might be associated with them, and thereby prove detrimental to his cause – you don’t have much. He probably knew everything about you from his source already, keeping in mind that the person would have had plenty of chances to know about you and your activities if he or she had been in Slytherin.”

 

“Then, why was I kidnapped along with the others?” Maitri asked, bewildered about Crouch’s inference. She was, as he surmised, practically useless for information that Voldemort was looking for. She didn’t even know where her muggleborn classmates lived, nor did she know any half-blood well enough wo was not a Slytherin.

 

“That is the question we are asking you, Ms. Harys,” Crouch nodded at her and folded his arms across his chest and leaned back into his armchair. “Why did you choose to kidnap you? He must have told you.”

 

Maitri froze. She couldn’t tell a Ministry official that Voldemort had wanted to recruit her. Instead, she wracked her mind to find a better suited reason that would not jeopardize her victimized state.

 

 

“He – he said something about a person,” she said slowly, closing her eyes shut, trying to remember the strange name Voldemort had uttered. “That I resembled someone he knew. It was Erin- Eyrin- Eyrndor Almirah…?”

 

Holmes gasped, his calm composure momentarily lost, eyes wide and wild. “Eyrindor Arnorra?”

 

Crouch stiffened as well and the two wizards glanced at each other, in some silent communication Maitri tried hard not to mentally eavesdrop into.

 

“What did he say about Arnorra?” Crouch asked, his tone more brusque than earlier.

 

“That she was dead… and one of his friends killed her,” Maitri said, uncertain whether this piece of information was actually better than Voldemort’s offer. The reactions of the two wizards opposite gave her jitters. “He also referred to her as a she-pest.”

 

Holmes chuckled, utterly uncharacteristic of the serious situation. Crouch turned his glare on him, to which he retaliated with a shake of his head.

 

“That she must have been,” the detective mused. “Always gallivanting around and giving lectures on magical equality. She nearly convinced a lot of the pureblood society that muggleborns were equal to them before she died.”

 

“Who killed her?” Maitri asked. “Who was she?”

 

“Her killer remains an unsolved mystery,” Crouch said gruffly, as though he were thoroughly displeased by the fact. “The Department of Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures are responsible for the investigation, and they have regarded it unimportant.”

 

“Was she killed by a magical creature, then?”

 

“Oh, no, no,” Holmes said, shaking his head. “You see, Eyrindor Arnorra was the magical creature. She was no witch, but an Elf.”

 

Maitri unconsciously felt for her ears. “A house elf lectured purebloods on blood equality? And I resemble her?”

 

“Not a house elf, Harys,” Crouch said in an exasperated tone. “A full-grown, white-haired, Irish-origin, Wildland Elf. The sort that fought against goblins in the Pre-Merlinian Wars.”

 

“I thought they were extinct,” Maitri said, confused. “The Care of Magical Creatures professor says so.”

 

“And for the last thirteen years, they have been,” Holmes affirmed her statement. “The Eyrindor Family was the last to die out, and Arnorra was the last in her bloodline.”

 

“Oh.”

 

“But the most curious thing about this is the connection between you and the elf,” Holmes continued.

 

“We’re connected?”

 

“Arnorra was your uncle’s last test subject before he was murdered.”

 

Curious indeed, Maitri agreed. The three of them fell silent for a few moments, thinking about the repercussions of deaths aged at least 13 to 14 years.

 

“Ms. Harys,” Crouch called quietly. “We still need your account of the escape. The other captives reported that it was you who initiated the plan to escape, and yet, you were found among the ruins of the collapsed tower.”

 

Maitri told them how she had managed to smuggle her wand into captivity with her, though she had no way to use it, nor was Emily MacArthur steady enough to use it most of the time. When she told them about stunning and body-binding the guards outside, she stopped midway.

 

“One of them was a Bulgarian,” she informed. “Voldemort’s recruiting from other countries as well.”

 

“Petrov Romanoff,” Holmes replied. “The ministry now has custody of him and Mr. Svenn & Ms. Kodowski. The three of them were found unconscious outside the confinement cell. They refuse to tell a word, though, about Voldemort’s hide-abouts.”

 

Maitri doubted whether they even knew about Voldemort’s hide-abouts and were probably the weakest links in his Deather Eater chain, but she didn’t want to mention it. She instead continued her account, explaining how Ed Moon had accompanied her, the discovery of the chamber where the torturing had been taking place, the arrival of the aurors, and the collapsing tower.

 

Crouch and Holmes listened quietly, the latter scribbling furiously into his muggle notepad with the biro. It was a few minutes before the next question wormed its way into their midst.

 

“We found something like a solid metal sheet among the ruins,” Holmes began. “Forensic alchemists told us that it was transmutated gold, from either lead or mercury. If either were the case, then the lead or mercuric amalgam must have been hit with a curse that was powerful and forceful enough to collide with the molecules at a speed that caused the transmutation. Judging by its fairly new condition, we believe it was one of the shields put up by someone just as the tower was collapsing – against a very strong, dark curse. Do you, perchance, remember who cast the shield, and the incantation they may have used?”

 

“It was me,” Maitri admitted, remembering with a jolt the liquid silver that had sprung from her wand. “I wasn’t thinking clearly – the Sanskrit word just came to my head, and I said it – ‘Paadarasam’; it means mercury, I guess.”

 

“Against what curse, can you remember?”

 

Maitri frowned, trying to remember. “It was a bright green, and directed at Emily – Emily MacArthur. I couldn’t hear the incantation Voldemort used. The curse collided with the mercury, changing it into a solid sheet, before rebounding –,”

 

“The Alpha Gold particle reflection,” Holmes interjected, scribbling something down again.

 

“It hit the wall opposite to us and shattered part of it,” Maitri finished. “I don’t recognize the curse from anything I studied at Hogwarts – except for the Tickling Charm, but I rather doubt Voldemort wanted Emily to laugh.”

 

“The color does narrow the nature – and the speed, down,” Holmes assured her. “Perhaps the Spellogists will be able to work out the kind of curse that will give out a green color, be dark and aim to hurt. Unless, of course, it was the Killing Curse, then we just found a new way to counteract with the deadliest curse in Latin.”

 

Maitri gaped at the detective, wondering if he were joking, but the frown on his face and the accompanying scowl on Crouch’s dissuaded her againt the notion.

 

“The Killing curse?” Maitri guessed weakly. Holmes raised an eyebrow at her, but no one replied.

 

“The curse will be analysed by qualified Magical Law Enforcement spell theorists, Ms. Harys,” Crouch cut across curtly. “It is not your place to do so, however. Nevertheless, we still need to talk about the anomaly in your case.”

 

“What anomaly?” Her whisperer blood?

 

“The fact that you were able to heal Ms. MacArthur wandlessly when professional healers had not been able to,” Crouch said in a matter-of-fact voice, as though she were supposed to know about it. “We need to confirm how exactly were you able to heal her in such a short matter of time, and what kind of spells did you use?”

 

Maitri held her silence for a few more seconds before telling about the no-restriction-on-underage-magic in India, and how her friend from Nalanda was training to be a healer. She avoided mentioning the fact that she learnt them to be able to protect herself while at Hogwarts, especially against pureblood sympathists, and instead told them she was interested in being a healer herself, which led her to compare Latin healing and Indian healing methods. It was just the simple job of learning how to form proper Sanskrit sentences during the healing, substituting different words for different body parts, though the general incantations work just as well, she informed them.

 

She also told them about the nodal points of nerves, lymph cells and spinal bone marrow, all of which had to be healed simultaneously in Emily’s case. Maitri briefly explained the anatomical significance of the shoulder plates – which was the specific connective bone tissue she used to connect with Emily’s nodal points – and therefore, why it was easier to heal Emily that way.

 

Holmes also had a version of the same incident from Healer Brown, whwo had been in the scene, and prodded her about the energy loss she suffered from after the process of healing.

 

Maitri told them that it was probably because of her own injured state, and the generalization of the healing method – she had used up as much energy as was used for her own body’s healing; because she wasn’t sure what exactly needed to be healed in Emily, she had healed her entirely. It had, as everyone remembered, exhausted her, just as even the account of it did, even now, days after it happened.

 

“It’s rather unusual for anyone to treat spell-damage injuries in this manner,” Maitri added. “Healer Potter says there are passive healers who heal patients this way – healing spells through the nodal systems – who treat chronically ill patients in St. Mungo’s. He said it as because of the energy consumption that it wasn’t a widely popular method of healing.”

 

“I’d imagine it would be a wreck to heal anyone this way right after a sting operation or another attack like the one in Diagon Alley,” Crouch said, grunting. “If the healer became tired after treating just one, we’d be filled with casualties, not scarred Aurors or survivors.”

 

Although Maitri agreed with him, she felt foolish to let it show. Despite everything, it had seemed the best way out when Emily had been on her bed, shuddering and heavily sedated with calming spells, and it worked, too, for a while before her memories drove her into an aneurysm.

 

The girl winced at the thought. It had that effect on her everyone she remembered Emily MacArthur was no more. It seemed like something in her was missing, and a draught fed through her body everytime she realized she couldn’t save Emily.

 

Crouch got up, vanished his chair with a flick of his wand, nodded to Holmes and told them he was going to check up on the other MLE officers in the Spell Damage floor. The detective nodded back before conjuring some official looking parchments for Maitri to fill up.

 

It was when Maitri handed them back, filled up as much as possible, that she remembered something from earlier in the interview.

 

“Mr. Holmes, can I ask you a few questions?” she started reluctantly. “If it’s alright with you?”

 

The detective smiled at her, shrugging impassively, scrutinizing the parchments that she had handed to him. The girl took it to as agreement.

 

“You said three wizards – Death Eaters – were found unconscious outside the confinement area,” Maitri said. “Have they identified anyone? Or any of the other Death Eaters at all?”

 

“Why, do you know anyone from that crowd, Ms. Harys?”

 

Maitri considered his question for a moment. She didn’t know how deep she was in trouble with the Death Eaters and their relatives, but it couldn’t possibly get worse than being on the brink of death, as she had been just a few days earlier.

 

“I can identify those who started the attack at Diagon Alley,” she confirmed. “And a couple of those at the manor.”

 

Holmes peered in with a curious look as she wrote down names on a spare sheet of parchment that he handed her.

 

“How acquainted were you with these wizards and witches?” he asked, his eyes growing wider as they surveyed each name on the list.

 

“I shared a Common room with them,” Maitri said with a grim smile.

 

“Ah,” Holmes smiled thinly. “A Slytherin’s prerogative.”

 

“A Slytherin’s prerogative,” Maitri repeated, tasting the words in her mouth.

 

“You must have another question, Ms. Harys,” Holmes said, not looking at her at all. “Please do not hold back, by any means.”

 

“I couldn’t help hearing your full name, sir,” she said shyly.

 

Holmes smiled a normal smile for the first time that day and looked at the girl.

 

“I wondered when that’d prop up,” he said in a matter-of-fact voice, as though he knew that his name had puzzled her so. “All muggleborns I’ve ever met have a question about it. The same one, though altered in various cases. I take it you are familiar with Sir Arthur Doyle’s works, then?”

 

Maitri nodded. Holmes continued. “He was a friend of my uncle’s – Sherlock Holmes the First (I was named after him, you see). You see, my uncle was a retired Auror who addressed wizarding and muggle domestic disturbances for his daily earnings. Mr. Watson – who appears in the books – was the pseudonym of Sir Arthur himself, who had insisted on following Uncle to his cases. Well, Sir Arthur was himself a lawman at the time, so it wasn’t technically wrong for him to do so.”

 

Maitri gaped at the wizard who was now casting a cleaning charm on his spectacles, as the words registered in her mind. “Sherlock Holmes – from the muggle storybooks – was, in fact, an Auror?”

 

The detective nodded, still smiling. “He was a Slytherin, actually,” Holmes said in a thoughtful tone. “Grandfather used to compare him to a snake sniffing out rats – the way he found his clues. You see, he was a bit of a rebel in the family; all the rest in Ravenclaw, while he alone was a Slytherin. He took the house qualities seriously enough to make sure he possessed all of it.”


Maitri realized later that it was probably something to cheer her up instead of casual repartee, by which time Holmes had tipped his weird hat and left without a second glance, leaving with her a single note verifying that she had gone through the survivor’s interview about the Death Eater attack.

 




 

HE-WHO-MUST-NOT-BE-NAMED: THE SURVIVORS’ WHISPER

By Aisling Buckley, Law Enforcement Correspondent for The Daily Prophet

 

 

The attack on Diagon Alley on the 19th of August, which involved the much publicized kidnapping of more than twenty witches and wizards has been identified and confirmed as Dark Activity, reportedly caused by a wizard who addresses himself as “Lord Voldemort”, and injures anyone else to call him so – say the victims of the kidnapping.


 What has been curious about this kidnapping and killing, the same fact which makes it more horrifying, is that almost all the victims were either muggleborns, or those closely associated to muggles by familial or filial connections. This both confirms and provides a solid base to the Auror rumors that were spread in July 1962 about a secret magical community being created to antagonize and target the muggleborn population in the magical society of England.

Nearly all the victims refused to speak out the name of their captor, choosing instead to write it down or turn catatonic,  bar one or two of the braver ones. It may also be noted that most of the captives were students set to attend Hogwarts Academy this September, children aged between eleven to eighteen, with only two of them of Age.

Anna Noble, who returns to her Sixth Year at Hogwarts Academy of Magic the end of this month, repeatedly told the over-seeing Law Official that the dark wizard vehemently threatened to “eradicate the magical community of the mudblood filth”.

 

Noble, a muggleborn, was visibly experiencing mental trauma regarding to her memories of captivity, a symptom almost all the rescued victims face currently. Adam and Micheal Hodges, thirteen year old muggleborn twins from Bristol, suffered interrupted, alternative comatose for about a week before either of them were lucid at the same time. The rumored twin connection between them had been severely shaken by the physical separation and cursing they had undergone individually. In fact, the repercussions had become terrible enough to make Micheal Hodges lose his power of speech, while Adam suffers from relapses of nervous seizures every few days.

 

Found amongst the survivors was Ms. Victoria Gray, of the Gray-Benson Stables for Magical Mounts, also known for her well publicized engagement to a muggle Earl, announced a month ago. (Contd. On Page 6)

 

 

Currently, Ms. Grey is in a magically induced comatose, undergoing healing for the severe mental abrasions that were found in her brain tissue upon the rescue. The healers assure that she is on the road to recovery, though it might be a few weeks before Ms. Gray can wake up lucid to the world, and months before she may be completely healed from all the injuries she had sustained during captivity. Lord Thornton, her fiancé, provides hope and moral support with his continued presence in the magical corridors of St. Mungo’s.

 

Emily MacArthur, Edward Moon & Maitri Harys, all three of whom were to return to Hogwarts for their OWL year, found themselves in critical wards in St. Mungo’s, one dead after a week due to the dark curses, one currently in a muggle hospital, recuperating from multiple bone fracture, and one reduced to a fifteen-potions-a-day diet to keep herself from following the same fatal destination as one of her classmates.

 

Arielle Murray, a twelve-year old witch with muggleborn parents, lost her mother in the Attack, and was found with her left arm missing. Upon waking up, she refused to speak, eat or recognize human activities, and is currently a temporary resident of the mentally disabled ward, with healers trying to break through her catatonic shell of denial. Healer Warwick, who is the head of Mentally Affecting Magic section in the St. Mungo’s worries that it may be her mind’s natural defense mechanism to protect her from disparaging memories of what may have happened during the attack.

 

Witches and wizards from purely magical families have suffered losses, too. Grace Perkins, an autistic witch from a notable magical family, was also among the dead victims, while her sister, Ms. Rachel Perkins lives.

 

It is the deepest of condolences that the crew of the Daily Prophet offers these victims of what has become known to the general public as the Pureblood Mania. One must remember what happened to Nazi Germany when the Jews were hunted down and killed in racial prejudice, and let it not become the heart of Magical London.

 

NOTE: The funeral venues for the dead victims can be found in the obituaries’ page.


 


 

Dumbledore had not stopped by at all for the rest of Maitri’s stay at St. Mungo’s, though he owled Healer Potter and her explaining the work at Wizengamot regarding the capture of the three wizards. Maitri had owled him back asking for a breakfast meeting on the Sunday morning she was due to arrive at Hogwarts, just like the regular meals they had had together in her first and second years at the school.

 

A disheveled Paul Trump with a scarred cheek came by on the Saturday of Emily’s funeral, asking her if she minded him accompanying him to the funeral in Ludlow, where Emily’s family used to live. Though Maitri knew it was Dumbledore’s way of making sure she was not alone in a new place, she still pretended that Trump was coming out of his own accord.

 

Emily’s aunt was a bedraggled middle-aged woman who looked like pushing the breath out of her lungs was in itself a mammoth task. Though she couldn’t have been much older than Maitri’ parents, she had more greys in her hair than Professor Sprout, who was well past 70 years of age, so much so that the ash-blond of her hair remained for a greater part just ashy. Her thin frame, emphasized greatly by the threadbare black gown and the tweed jumper that she wore, was gaunt and frail, as though she would fall over if someone spoke to her loud enough.

 

The pastor of the church where the MacArthur funeral was held was undeniably muggle. Like almost ninety percent of the congregation. Like the brittle Ms. MacArthur sniffling her nose over the four closed coffins.

 

But witches and wizards peppered the crowd in odd muggle costumes – a mousy wizard in a muggle dress, a witch with a cloak over her muggle formal suit, an extremely short wizard who didn’t get under anybody’ss feet, always managing to disappear and reappear elsewhere whenever someone came close to crushing him. Pomona Sprout stood out in the crowd in her robes, slightly elfin ears and noisy sobs. Paul Trump dragged Maitri towards the sweet professor.

 

To her surprise, Maitri also found Minerva McGonagall sitting a-ways from the front pew, in severe-looking muggle clothes and a well-worn grey hat. Beside her sat a man, dressed just as strictly, a monocle on his pointed nose and dark hair sparsed with grey. He behaved much like a muggle, but Maitri knew he could spot out who the witches and wizards were.

 

“That’s Mr. McGonagall,” Professor Sprout said, pointing at the man beside the Tranfiguration teacher, not really taking in her student’s look of surprise as she continued sniffling into her dotted handkerchief.

 

It seemed like hour before the pastor finished delivering the speech and asked Ms. MacArthur to say some last words to her relatives. Her thin voice was hardly audible over the commotion of the crowd until a rowdy, red-faced man stood up and glared at all of them.

 

Gladys MacArthur nodded her thanks to the man before continuing her eulogy about the only family she had left after her parents passed away in a skiing accident. Not only was it tragic, but it was sickeningly ironic that her brother and his family die by a car veering off a cliff in Ireland – a fact that many old women  found as a reason to clutch at their hearts and squeeze a tear or two out of their eyes. By the time she was finished, Sprout was positively wailing, her face buried in a mud-stained handkerchief, though only Maitri could hear her protests about injustice to the murders.

 

Slowly, the congregation made it to the open gravesite, where 4 rectangular holes met them. One by one, the caskets were lowered, with a sombre choral accompaniment of a muggle violin and piano from the church.

 

Sometime during the lowering of the third casket, rain started to pour, adding more grief to the already macabre event. As people jostled each other on the way back into the church, Maitri found Ed Moon squashed by two rather large women.

 

“Ed!” she called, surprised to find him there. Though it was not extraordinary, she surmised. “Ed Moon!”

 

The muggle hospital had put his left arm in a cast, thus, making him very visible to spot from far off, as well as clumsy enough to hinder fast movements. The boy turned around, spotted Maitri, and toppled over when an old man held his cane out too far.

 

By the time Maitri reached him, a woman was already pulling him up to his feet.

 

“Harys,” Ed said almost quietly. The woman who helped him up turned to look at Maitri. “This is my mum,” he said, nodding to the woman. “Mum, this is Maitri Harys. She was, er, in the accident with me.”

 

Mrs. Moon looked at Maitri critically, as though analyzing whether the bruises on her arm were superficial, or whether they had been as serious an injury as her son’s.

 

“So, I suppose you, too, are like Eddie, dear?” she asked, raising an eyebrow. The rest of the crowd was now ushering everyone into the church as the drizzle turned to a downpour. Maitri was saved from answering as Mrs. Moon and Paul Trump pulled her and Ed into one of the back pews.

 

“Yes,” the girl answered once they were no longer running from the rain. “We both are,” she gestured at Paul. “Paul Trump, he works at the Hogwarts Express.”

 

Ed Moon’s face, which had been stoic all along, crumpled as Paul bowed lightly. His mother made a harrumphing noise.

 

“Do mot mention that name to me, young lady,” the muggle woman cried. “I never want to hear of that – that horrible place again!”

 

“But – but, your son studies there!” Maitri exclaimed, surprised. Ed’s face, however, crumpled further, and he turned away.

 

“Not anymore, no,” Mrs. Moon said, her eyes angry and filled with tears. “Edward will stay here, with me, and go to Pickwick Grammar School, just as he was supposed to before that awful Mr. Flitwick knocked on our door. I am not willing to send my only child to a grave like the MacArthurs.”

 

Maitri was struck speechless. It had never occurred to her that someone non-magical would find magic dangerous, and not beneficial at times of crisis. But it was apparent that Ed had no say in the matter, and as the boy stared away, embarrassed, Maitri found, disconcertingly, tears gathering in his eyes. And then, it hit her, too.

 

Sending a child away to a far, unseen place, where he or she could be subjected to horrors of all kind, life-threatening even. A world, as much as it suited him, would kill him, and no one would be able to repair him, just like a broken girl who lay but few yards away, six feet under the ground. Maitri paled considerably, again, at the memory of Emily’s death. Suddenly, her parents’ decision to let her continue in Hogwarts earlier that summer did not seem quite right.

 

Would her parents have allowed her to come back if they knew she was in danger?

 

“And if your parents are as sensible, dear girl, you shouldn’t subject yourself to that again,” Mrs. Moon continued, her voice and face softened now that remembered Maitri was also just another muggleborn like her son. But her suggestion worked quite unexpectedly – at least, for her.

 

What if her parents didn’t know what had happened?

 

“Mum! She’s the reason I’m not dead today!” Eddie hissed, his face livid for the first time in Maitri’s memory. “To tell her to give up on her magical education is like telling someone to stop breathing!”

 

“Ed!” Maitri gasped, just as Mrs. Moon exclaimed “Oh, good heavens!”

 

“You may be able to control me now,” Ed reminded his mother. “But when I am of age, I shall reprise what I have been left out of, and very veritably belong to.”

 

With that, Edward Isaiah Moon turned on his mother, held the arm in cast close to his body, and stormed out of the church, never turning back once.

 

“You will do no such thing, young man! You will listen to me!

 

Mrs. Moon was pale and shaking. She held a hand to her lips, her knuckles white in fear. Maitri stared, unable to come to terms with the sudden, nerve-wracking thought that had formed itself in her head.

 

What if Dumbledore had never informed her parents, if he had, at all, about the true nature of her injuries, because he didn’t want to let her go from Hogwarts?

 

Mrs. Moon was being noisy, sobbing as she followed her son out of the church. The rain was still pouring, which made their hasty departure the centre of sombre attention. People began to turn and look.

 

Paul nudged her elbow. “We need to leave, Harys.”

 

The girl stumbled as the older wizard pulled her along with him out into the rain and hailed a taxi to the railway station. Maitri remained silent as doubt gnawed through her newly-healed insides.

 

Why did Dumbledore want her to stay at Hogwarts? What did it matter to him?


 

 

Sirius lay on his stomach, pressing his face to the newly washed sheets. He made no sound, no movement that let anyone believe he was still alive. He was as silent as a grave. In fact, he rather wished he was in one.

 

There was a single rose enclosed in his right hand, his fingers wrapped so tightly around it that the thorns had pierced into his flesh. Blood trickled slowly onto the ancient stone floor, each plop of the liquid making an odd rhythm as it splashed faithfully against dirt.

 

Slowly, as though coming back to life, the fifteen year-old turned around, eyes open and unblinking, red and swollen, and rolled onto his back, wincing ever so slightly as he did so. Cousin Bella’s new whiplash curse was still healing.

 

A roughly drawn portrait of a young, smiling girl was pasted with a simple Sticking Charm on the wall above his bed. His thin, pale lips twisted into a smile as he looked at her portrait.

 

Even though it was rough, and sketched by an amateur who had come across a drawing spell only day ago, the girl in the portrait a near perfect. The simplet of lines brought out her carefree smile, bright eyes, flyaway hair and an expression of divine surprise. The girl’s eyes, as in every magical portrait, moved around the room, her mouth silently giggling at a few cluttered possessions lying on the floor, her smooth forehead frowning at a dirty set of Quidditch robes on the next bed. However, she lit up in absolute happiness as her eyes found the boy looking at her.

 

Sirius gripped the stalk tighter, pushing the thorns further into his palm. He wanted to feel the pain in his hand, which was so visibly bleeding, but he couldn’t feel it above the pain that was twisting his insides. He drew a ragged breath and opened his palm to survey the damage.

 

A few cuts and scratches were showing dark against the bloody mess of what used to be smooth, unmarred skin. His Quidditch calluses had opened, creating what looked like 3 rows of wet, red lines on the insides of his knuckles. James was going to flip out when he saw that. James would worry about his good sporting arm, whether such an injury might loosen his grasp on the Beater’s bat.

 

The rose rolled out of his palm and onto the clean sheets, its stalk glistening with his drying blood. For a moment, Sirius looked at it in horror, wondering how he had brought himself to hold it. How he had dared to touch it. He was not worthy of such a perfect thing.

 

Sirius raised his eyes to the portrait he’d made of Emily, his smile now gone. The gir looked back at him quizzically, wondering why he was unhappy. Because he hadn’t drawn any arms, she couldn’t lift hers up and hold them out, but she still retained the same look from his memories, the one she had on whenever he felt sad and she felt like giving him a hug.

 

Sirius picked up the rose and stuck it under the picture with a charm, bloodied stalk and all. He had cut it out from Emily’s favourite bush in the Hogwarts Rose Garden. It was fitting and all, seeing how he wasn’t allowed to go to her funeral; he was paying tributes from the only place where he felt he could.

 

Sirius lay back down on the bed, refusing to listen to his grumbling stomach. He decided he would probably lay there until James, Remus and Peter came back from Hogsmeade. He couldn’t go down and face Harys. He couldn’t go out and face Evans, who had protested with McGonagall until she was allowed to go to Emily’s funeral. She had returned in tears, and even Alice Messiers had been unable to console her.  

 

It was all his mistake, Sirius knew. Bellatrix told him how the Dark Lord had been into Emily’s mind and found out. It had made Voldemort terribly angry to understand that one of his future recruits had been fooling around with a muggleborn. Sirius had prodded Voldemort to hunt out the MacArthurs and kill them all, to show him how they were filth who couldn’t stand up to save themselves against the simplest of spells. Bella had been sad that Sirius hadn’t seen the beauty of Voldemort’s ‘righteous’ anger.

 

Sirius swallowed a lump in his throat as he remembered how Emily had been lying on her hospital bed, shuddering, dying by the second. He had wanted to kill someone, and push their life into her, so she could live. But what he had not realized then was that his Rose had died the moment Voldemort had murdered her family. He closed his eyes.

 

Sleep would overtake Sirius eventually. It was bound to haunt his burning eyes and attack when he felt weakest. But sleep, Sirius thought, was a sweet distraction. It was what came after that haunted him more.

 

He would dream of roses and gardens, a girl with a sweet face and wonderful laughter.

 

Emily would laugh at his joke, throwing her fair head back. But when she turned back to look at him, her face would change. Red eyes would glare at him, and a thin mouth would sneer. The laughter would rise into a horrible cacophony. Emily’s nose would become long and sharp and terrible, and her tiny frame would grow bigger and bigger until it dwarfed him. It would say terrible, terrible things, this apparition that came from Emily, and it would do terrible, terrible things to the lovely garden. It would be joined by countless others, and he would recognize with fear the faces of his family, the mother he feared, the father he respected, the brother he loved.


The apparition would then swish its cloak and disappear. So would everybody else. Sirius would find himself all alone in a garden of dead flowers. 





 

A/N: I know this chapter and the previous few were sad, sad, sad. I'm sorry, is it all depressing you? I'm trying very hard to pull this off - give Sirius a reason to forever loathe Dark Arts, and to stop himself from falling into love, like James and Lily did. It will work out... trust me? - M.H.


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