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In My Time of Dying by Stag Night
Chapter 9 : The Daily Prophet
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 13

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In My Time of Dying
The story title is a song originally recorded (under that title) by Bob Dylan. The world, characters and canon events belong to J. K. Rowling. Everything else belongs to me. It is illegal to publish and distribute fanfiction without J.K. Rowling's permission. You may not copy, post elsewhere, change or edit any part of this story. You may not claim it as your own.

C H A P T E R . N I N E
The Daily Prophet

Dorcas Meadows looked grimly at the four young men standing before her, their wands clutched in their hands. They had a look of readiness about them, with straight faces and hard eyes and set jaws that made them look older than they should. She knew the four had done the rounds with a few of the other members, learning bits and pieces of things that might help them survive.

Now it was her turn, for Albus Dumbledore had asked her to teach them how to cast a Patronus.

Part of her was quite irritated, for she'd have rather been out spying on somebody, or surreptitiously standing guard around the Ministry, than sitting here playing teacher to a bunch of teenagers (not that she was much older herself).

But part of her was curious. She wanted to know if the newest Order members had what it took. She wanted to know if they really belonged here, if they were as skilled as Dumbledore claimed they were, or if they would simply fall under pressure when their first battle came.

Dorcas herself took the Order very seriously. Her father had been killed rather brutally by Death Eaters four years earlier. Back then, the world didn't even know they were called Death Eaters, or that they were part of an organised group for one lone, dark man. But she'd vowed to get her revenge, for her father was very dear to her.

Since then, she'd personally captured five wizards suspected of Dark Magic. She sometimes went too far, and had almost been killed several times. But, defending herself, she'd done her fair share of killing as well. And she kept count.

She lived for the Order. It was the only family she had, and as she surveyed the Marauders standing before her, she wondered if she'd be able to accept them as part of that family.

Without a word, she flicked her wand and an eagle soared out of it. Four pairs of eyes followed its flight around the room before it faded.

"The Patronus," she stated, and then she faltered, feeling slightly awkward. Why couldn't she be off with Benjy Fenwick tonight, who was keeping an eye on the Muggle Prime Minister? Why couldn't she be away with Gideon and Fabian, who were off in France keeping track of the giants' travels?

She swallowed and tried again. "The Patronus Charm is one of the most important spells you'll ever learn here in the Order. As you no doubt know by now, it's what we use to communicate. It's much faster than owls, and there is no risk of being intercepted."

They stared at her, taking in her words. She felt herself blush; she never was a people person. She wished she could be at the Ministry with Edgar Bones tonight.

James smiled. "Relax," he said simply, and Dorcas realised how perceptive he was then. She blushed even more furiously, and offered a small smile.

"I'm sorry," she murmured. The four mumbled their reassurances, shifting their weight and waiting for the lesson to continue.

"Right, then. You should have learned in Hogwarts that the Patronus can also fend off Dementors, which, obviously, are a pretty big problem right now."

They were friendly. They were cocky, yes, but they were friendly, and she warmed to them quickly as she spoke. She explained about the happy thoughts, the incantation and all the practise needed before the Patronus actually took on a shape. And they smiled warmly, they didn't laugh at her nervousness, and they seemed to take the Order as seriously as she did.

Perhaps they'd fit into this little make-shift family after all.


The weeks went on, through September. The Marauders found themselves in the basement of the Hog's Head Inn at least three nights a week. Sometimes, even when there was no meeting, it was just them and one other Order member who'd shown up to teach them something new.

They worked in earnest, knowing the dangers they'd soon face, and wanting to be as prepared as possible. They learned spells worthy of the most senior of Aurors, and it was becoming rare for Alastor Moody to be able to catch them off guard at all. They made record time, Sirius and James picking up on the spells quickly, and in Sirius's flat continuing the practise, helping Remus and Peter achieve them as well.

They were tired, exhausted, often not getting home until after two in the morning. But they were proud as well; they had something to live and fight for, and tired as they were, they looked forward to the next meeting.

The next Order meeting was never too far off.

This one was the usual sort of meeting, in which various members, all of them assigned to their own specific task, informed the group of any changes that had happened. Others gave suggestions as to how they could stop certain scenarios, and musings were made of what might happen next.

Sirius came to learn that the musings were incredibly accurate. He wondered how they could guess so easily, how they always seemed to know just what the next move might be. How they were ready to defend against it before it even began. Left and right, the Order was thwarting Death Eater attacks - attacks of terrorism all around the country. They could now even control the tornadoes that ravaged through Britain.

The Marauders all felt rather useless, for while they were there to hear of all the hero stories, they had yet to have their own. When, finally, the meeting ended, everyone began to leave, bidding them goodbye and good luck. Peter frowned, wondering what kind of terrible lesson this might be that they would even need luck at all.

Tonight, Caradoc Dearborn remained with them, smiling widely.

"Dumbledore has asked me to teach you to defend yourselves against Legilimens," he said, rolling up his sleeves as if readying himself to dig into the dirty work.

James raised his eyebrows. "Occlumensy," he said. "How are you supposed to learn it?"

"Practise," replied Caradoc. "You've only got to keep your mind clear, so that the Legilimens can't break into your thoughts and emotions." He leaned forward a bit. "If you get really good, you can even lie and create illusions in your mind and the Legilimens won't know it from the truth."

Peter raised an eyebrow. "I can see why that'd be useful," he said, astounded.

Caradoc nodded, and tipped his chair back on two legs, surveying them.

"How are you supposed to clear your mind?" asked Sirius, feeling suspicious. He didn't like it already.

Caradoc shrugged. "I don't know; it's hard to explain. You just sit and search for the calm within. It's helpful if you close your eyes at first. Some people like to focus on something to keep distracting thoughts at bay. Right, then. Who wants to go first?" he asked brightly.

"Are you a Legilimens?" asked Remus doubtfully. He exchanged glances with Sirius. Neither of them thought there was a calmness within any of them. They were nothing but a mess of opinions, thoughts, worries and fears. They were monsters and demons, and they had secrets.

Caradoc nodded. "Not very good yet, mind you. But I've been studying it for the last twelve years. I worked for the Ministry."

"I'll go first," said James.


Sirius hated Legilimens.

He didn't think he would ever look Caradoc Dearborn in the eye again, just to try to give the latter a harder time of trying to delve into his mind. He wasn't very good at clearing it, and he rather thought he thought too much to have any sort of success.

Caradoc had easily broken through his weak concentration on the Marauders Map.

Caradoc had uncovered things within him that he had wanted to keep forgotten and buried. He was but a passenger as Caradoc drove him through his own memories, and he hated seeing everything. Sirius hated seeing Grimmauld Place again, hated that Caradoc now knew the dark ways of how his family lived, or the things they never showed him; Caradoc now saw the way his mother had yelled at him, or the evil ways in which Bellatrix had always teased. And now Caradoc could see Regulus, all of the shattered hopes that Sirius had held for his younger brother.

Regulus... he'd failed him. He'd failed...

Caradoc abruptly pulled out of the memory. He seemed to keep his eyes down as well, unwilling to face Sirius. With a slight pat on Sirius's shoulder, he moved on to train one of the others instead, and Sirius ended up practising his Patronus on his own.

(After what he'd just gone through, he folded dismally; his spell casting was terribly lacking. Not even a feeble wisp would emerge from his wand, as Sirius was much too bitter, the memories now fresh in his mind, to possibly think of anything happy.

He flung his wand across the room and buried his face in his hands; his friends watched apprehensively but knew better than to bother him. And Caradoc started up a hearty conversation about the Kenmare Kestrels as Sirius heaved a miserable sigh.)

It was nothing against Caradoc, thought Sirius. He was a decent enough fellow; he had a gentle way of teaching and talking, and when he smiled it could light up the entire room. The young man hadn't seemed judgemental in the slightest after viewing Sirius's most personal thoughts. He was no older than his late thirties at the very most; he was single, he was a massive Quidditch fan, and he was never seen without his hat.

If he had discovered from any of them that they were illegal Animagi, he never said a word.

But Sirius hated Legilimens.


Lily Evans wrapped her cloak around herself as she walked through Diagon Alley one fine morning. It was early October, and by now all of the crisp leaves from the trees blew about on the cobbled roads. They swirled mischievously around her feet and she took great pleasure in the familiar crunching sound as she walked. It was enough, almost, to distract her from the sheer emptiness of the normally busy street.

It wasn’t quite dark outside, but it did look as if a thunderstorm were approaching. She glared upwards at times as she walked, silently blaming the Dementors for four long months of gloom.

Still, despite the weather and the ominous presence of Dementors, the redhead was positively glowing. She’d been doing a lot of thinking since attending the wedding of Frank and Alice. Much to her embarrassment, she found herself planning her own wedding. And where, when she was younger, her groom’s face was nothing but a blur, these days it was the endearingly obnoxious face of James Potter.

Occasionally, she wondered how she had gotten here. She'd been unreachable throughout Hogwarts, in early years focusing on Quidditch and having fun, and in later on her studies and Prefect duties. Only a few most unlikely boys had ever gotten past her no-nonsense facade.

One was her former best friend, Severus Snape, who had taught her everything she knew about the wizarding world and had stood by her side no matter what. One was Sirius Black, who was the only one who wanted nothing from her, but understood her better than she understood herself. And the last was the very boy she’d despised for six years (and a good part of the seventh), the boy who had mercilessly teased Snape, who had teased her as well. How was he the one she could now see herself marrying? One cocky, fun-loving boy, always in her thoughts and dreams.

She smiled at the irony. Potter, a name that had always rolled off her tongue with disgust, annoyance, impatience. The name that caused a feeling of dread and dislike whenever she heard it. The name that would one day be hers as well.

These thoughts of bliss were enough to push her frustrations towards The Daily Prophet from her mind, and those frustrations were many.

For weeks she’d been obsessing over work, and how it wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as it had been when she’d first started the job. She’d seen the inner workings of the paper, and it was nothing wonderful anymore. In fact, it was quite shameful, because she knew of certain things that were being kept hidden from the public, and she wasn’t at all keen on the paper’s way of handling things.

She pondered quitting the job more than once. As an apprentice, she wasn’t receiving pay yet. It really wouldn’t matter if she did quit, she reasoned, for she would be no worse off - aside from never having an opportunity to work in journalism again.

Unfortunately, Lily understood fully now what James had gone through at the Ministry when his own dream job had been a disappointment. The paper felt deceitful and one-sided, printing only the good news, and never letting the citizens properly know of the looming threat of Voldemort.

Still, despite her qualms with the job, she continued to go into the office every morning. Part of it was for the friends she had made there. And part of it was that she hoped, one day, to publish stories that actually made a difference, actually meant something, actually touched or helped people.

(She'd always been a writer; she'd written down short stories and poems since the day she learned to write.

In fact, she and Petunia had been lectured by their parents many times late at night for telling stories and giggling in the dark rather than going to sleep.)

For now, the paper’s main feature was Rita Skeeter’s gossip column. Lily sighed at the thought, because she hated Rita Skeeter and her sodding quill. The woman flounced around the office like a queen, and it was only because she flirted with the bosses so much, thought Lily scathingly, that the woman could even get anything published at all. Her stories certainly weren't anything spectacular, anyway.

What Lily hated the most was the looks of disdain Skeeter bestowed upon anyone she deemed lower than herself (which happened to be, in fact, anyone who wasn’t male).

Sometimes she couldn't help but feel guilty for not being more like her boyfriend. For not standing up for what she knew was right - for not dropping the paper the instant it began to seem so traitorous. She couldn't let go of her dream the way James could. But then she would remind herself that James hadn't really given up what he wanted at all - he had simply found a different way to approach it. And she had yet to discover an alternative for herself.

But for now there were no thoughts of Rita or the paper or anything else, for that matter. It was just Lily, and the Autumn leaves, and sweet, small weddings, and James Potter.


“Good morning,” said a bright young man as Lily took her seat next to him in the crowded office.

(All of the apprentices were shoved into the tiny room, each with their own desk, so that everything was cluttered and there was very little walking space. There was also a very old printing press in the room, which had, on more than one occasion, sprayed them all with ink.)

Lily smiled back as she took off her cloak and hung it delicately over the back of her chair. “Hallo, Harry,” she said pleasantly in return. “How are you?”

Harry was, quite possibly, one of the best friends Lily had had in quite a while. After ending her relationship with Severus, she’d been left floundering among several friends (and a boyfriend) but no single best friend. They’d been sitting beside each other for several hours a day for the past few months now. It had allowed for much time, amid complaints about the company and Rita Skeeter, for a friendship to blossom.

“All right,” Harry spared her a grin and then turned to a sheet of parchment in his hand.

He wasn’t like the other wizards. Harry was sick with a Muggle disease. He’d been receiving treatment at St. Mungo’s, but even their magic wasn’t far enough along to do much more than stop it from progressing. There was no cure, but at least he wasn’t getting worse, either, thanks to advancements in modern Potion-making. He was in his early thirties, and he was already completely bald from the treatments.

(Harry wasn't fussed, however. He was pleased his disease was halted in its tracks, and he hoped that in the future, new progressions in the medical field could remove it from his body altogether.)

“What about you, then?” he pressed as she sat down.

“Oh, you know,” sighed Lily, who still felt bliss from her thoughtful walk. “Same old,” she said with a smile, as if her boring and unchanging schedule was quite wonderful.

“Oh?” he asked knowingly. “You seem curiously pleasant today.”

Lily smirked at him. “You act like I’m not pleasant every day,” she suggested teasingly.

Harry blushed. But then his eyes suddenly widened. “You shagged James, didn’t you?” he demanded. He had only met James a couple of times, on the rare occasion James stopped in to take Lily to lunch.

At his guess, several co-workers turned their heads in interest.

“Harry! I did not,” she insisted with a blush. She moved quickly on, to stop him from dwelling on the possibility, especially in case he might picture her naked, romping in bed.

(She was, in fact, saving herself for her wedding night, though that was her little secret. Not even James knew.

He had bothered her on many occasions, asking whether she'd ever shagged Snape and looking scared to death at the idea. Her response was usually the Silencing Spell.)

“I was at a friend’s wedding last week,” she confided. “Only now I’ve been thinking about it quite a lot. Getting married, that is.”


“You sound disappointed,” she mused.

Harry shrugged and turned away from her, concentrating instead on the work in front of him. “So disgustingly innocent,” he muttered under his breath as his quill scratched away. “It’s rather boring, really. This is the Seventies, Lily Evans. Sex and drugs, and Rock and Roll!”

Lily was torn between looking embarrassed and looking guilty. It didn’t matter, for he did not look her way again, and didn’t see her expression anyway.

For all his kind manners and illness fighting heart, Harry did have a wilder side. When he was Lily’s age, he’d liked to have fun, liked to party, and had even travelled the world. Though Lily enjoyed his friendship, there were, sometimes, occasions where she really wasn’t sure what to say or do around him.

This was one of those times, so she sighed and turned to her work for the day as well.

“By the way,” Harry said after a moment, mentioned it almost as an afterthought.

Lily looked up at him, and he gave the piece he was editing one last quick glance over before he finally met her eye.

“You’ll want to watch yourself today,” he said. He leaned in closer, as if divulging a secret.

Lily automatically leaned closer as well.

“There’s some strange thing’s been going on around here,” he said under his breath.

“How so?” asked Lily curiously.

Harry looked around the room and then nodded his head towards a girl in the corner. She was a few years older than Lily was, and she was concentrating very hard on typesetting a page for the printing press. “Liandra’s been acting very strange,” suggested Harry.

And Lily immediately knew he was right, just by the sheer fact that the girl was actually working. Liandra was, in fact, quite possibly the laziest person Lily had ever met (and even more unmotivated than Peter). She spent the majority of her days primping, doing her nails, fixing her hair, and writing love letters to her boyfriend. It was only in the last couple hours of a workday that she would really get anything done, simply to avoid getting into trouble.

But now the girl was dutifully working away, first thing in the morning, and hadn’t even been distracted by their brief chat about shagging.

“She’s working,” Lily uttered her observations in surprise, her bright green eyes flickering briefly to her friend before returning to stare at Liandra. “And she didn't even look up when you mentioned 'shagging'!”

Harry nodded quickly. “Yes!” he said, pleased she’d caught on so quickly. “First thing this morning, she was called into the boss’s office, and when she came back, she became entirely responsible! It was absolute madness!”

Lily smiled at his sarcasm and mock wonder. “Perhaps she finally got a talking to, then, and if so, then it was well earned.”

“Perhaps,” he agreed. “Or, perhaps, it was something else.”

By now, Liandra had finished the typesetting project and moved on - she was going through a stack of papers. Lily had never seen anyone typeset so quickly in her four months at the Prophet. The girl seemed almost robotic.

“I said ‘hallo’ to her when she passed my desk,” said Harry now. “She didn’t even look at me, the little blight. And look at her, she doesn’t even look up or anything. You’d think she’d know we were talking about her with all the staring you were doing...”

Lily blushed and quickly looked away. Her fingers ruffled the edges of her own work for a moment.

“Do you suppose she’s been Confunded, then?” asked she, after a delicate moment. “Maybe they’re trying to force her to work harder.”

Harry just shrugged and returned to his own work. “Don’t know,” he said as he picked up his quill. “I’m just saying, is all, Lily. I think that something is up, and I thought I’d warn you.”

Lily’s eyes lingered on Harry for a moment. He was rubbing his bald head as he worked, crouched over his parchment, and she had to fight off a smile because in that moment, he reminded her of James (who always seemed to have one hand absently running through his hair).

“All right, then,” she said, turning back to her own work.

She heeded his warning, and kept an observant eye out all day long. She watched the bosses carefully as the morning slowly passed, and indeed, she began to notice something different about them. Just like Liandra, they seemed to do everything automatically, with little thought or consideration. Neither of them spoke much at all, except to call in other apprentices for brief meetings.

All of the apprentices came back with somber looks on their faces, and none of them would respond when Lily asked them what was wrong. She was beginning to worry, slightly, and she and Harry exchanged grim smiles to hide their fears.

“Confidential,” was the response Harry got when he asked somebody who passed.

“Blimey,” said Harry under his breath.

When new news came in suggesting that the wild, outcast werewolves were serving Voldemort, there wasn’t even deliberation as to whether or not it should be printed. Lily thought it should be front page news. The bosses simply smiled wanly, and then crumpled the note up and tossed it in the rubbish bin.

That was it, the moment when Lily decided something was definitely wrong, and also the moment in which she realized she was going to have to leave her job, for she couldn’t stand the way the news was covered up any longer. Not when things were getting dangerous, when werewolves were on the move, when vampires were increasing their numbers, Dementors were attacking Muggle villages, and giants were coming down from the mountains.

And so, with both those thoughts floating about her head, she was becoming quite stressed by the time noon rolled around and she took her lunch break.

Eager to get out of the office and away from everything, she hurried out the door. The cold, late Autumn breeze was swift to greet her, and it was refreshing. She savoured it as she hurried down the Alley, although she found herself glancing back over her shoulder with each leaf that crinkled. She was becoming paranoid.

She fervently wished she had James’s invisibility cloak - he’d offered it to her, but she’d declined. Curse herself and her stupid self pride and independence.

Despite her worries, she made it to Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour safely and she even allowed herself a slight chuckle at her paranoia. The bells jingled merrily as she pushed open the door.

“Hello, Miss Evans,” Florean greeted with a smile. There were only two other customers in the parlour and they both looked up warily. Lily smiled carefully at them before turning to the shop owner.

“Hi, Florean,” she responded warmly. “I’ll have the usual.” She laid a few sickles on the glass counter and then sat down at a table, pulling out a book and hoping to drown her fears in reading. After a few minutes, Florean brought over a deli sandwich.

“Enjoy,” he told her merrily, turning away and heading behind the counter again.

It was no use, however. She couldn’t concentrate on her book, and her appetite slowly left her as she pondered the day so far. She really wanted nothing more than to go home at this point, go home and curl up on the couch in front of the fireplace and gossip with Lucy about anything and everything. Or even better, curl up with James in her old bedroom and chat about nothing at all.

She wondered, then, what he was doing now. Probably hanging around Sirius’s old flat. She wished he’d have come around to meet her for lunch today. Today of all days, she really could have used his company.

Lily placed her bookmark back in the book and put it away with a sigh. She nibbled idly at her sandwich as she thought of James. She hoped he was all right, wherever he was - she couldn’t help but think of all the times at Hogwarts, all the trouble he’d gotten into, all the dangerous dares and bets just to show off.

Of course, those thoughts, mingled with her paranoia from the day, set her off on a long train of worry. Where was he, anyway? It had been quite a while since he’d come around to see her for lunch. Surely he was due. He should have been here today, in fact, by her reasoning, and he hadn’t shown up, and something must definitely be wrong...

She felt suddenly too ill and anxious to eat anymore, and she pushed the sandwich away.

“Is everything all right, Miss Evans?” asked Florean from behind the counter.

“Fine, thank you,” she managed to choke out. Feeling slightly guilty, she tried not to let him see how much of the sandwich would be wasted as she dumped it in the trash and hurried from the shop. She hurried back down the empty street, trying to look nonchalant, though every dried leaf that scraped across the ground in the wind caused a slight panic to erupt within her.

She felt like she was going to snap by the time she was back in the office. She would rather be here, however, with work and her bosses to worry her, rather than sitting alone in a restaurant worrying about James. There was nothing as horrible as fearing for a loved one’s life and she determinedly pushed James from her mind as she concentrated on work once more. He was extremely talented and intelligent, she reminded herself firmly. He could take care of himself. And anyway, he probably had Sirius with him, who was also talented and smart. And Sirius, she knew, would die before he let anything happen to James.

It wasn’t working, however. Nothing could quench her paranoia after her observances this morning; she couldn’t believe how much it had grown as she’d walked alone through Diagon Alley. It was now uncontrollable and she wanted nothing more than to go home and owl James.

It was only when her boss emerged from his office and called a name that Lily was able to stop worrying about James.

“Harry Faucett,” the boss announced flatly, his voice intimidating. Harry looked over at Lily in alarm and Lily looked just as horrified back at him.

“Yes, sir?” asked Harry after the briefest hesitation, his blue eyes flickering to Lily’s every couple seconds.

“I’d like to see you in my office, please.” The boss turned around and walked out of sight again, not waiting around to see if Harry would oblige or not - he knew Harry would.

Harry remained seated for a moment. “Well,” he said, feeling Lily’s eyes on him. “I’ll be back, I suppose.” And he stood up.

“Yes, I suppose,” agreed Lily. They all came back. But would he still be Harry when he returned?

But he was already manoeuvring through the desks in the room, and then he was leaving, and the office door closed behind him with an ominous click.

The seconds ticked by agonizingly slow. Lily gave up on any hope of getting any work done; instead she stared at the door, waiting for Harry to emerge again. Despite the fact that it seemed like an hour had gone by, it was only a couple of minutes before the door opened and Harry walked rigidly out of it. He sat down at his desk without glancing at Lily.

“What happened?” she asked him urgently in a whisper.

He looked startled at being addressed. “Hmm? Oh. Nothing, Lily, he just had a few questions. Apparently they’ve been speaking to all of the interns, deciding who to take on as a full time employee, who did the best work. Things like that. That explains Liandra this morning - see how she suddenly started working hard? She doesn’t want to be let go. I was wrong about this morning, Lily. I expect you’ll be called in soon enough.” And then he went back to his work without another word.

Lily eyed him apprehensively before slowly turning to face the report on her desk. Something was definitely wrong; Harry was never so stiff and focused. He was right, however; barely a few minutes had passed before the door opened again and the boss emerged, uttering the words she dreaded hearing.

“Lily Evans.”

Despite her suspicions that something was wrong with Harry, she cast him a look of panic. He caught it and gave her an encouraging nod, urging her towards the man. She couldn’t see any way out of this except to run from the building, screaming, which she was reluctant to do considering her awareness of how paranoid she’d been all day. Perhaps she was wrong about everything.

She got up slowly and followed the man into the office.

“Have a seat, Miss Evans,” the boss told her in a deep voice as the door closed behind her. He motioned to a chair in front of his desk and she took it nervously.

“We’ve been meeting with all of our prospective new employees today, Miss Evans, as I’m sure you have noticed.”

“Yes, sir,” replied Lily faintly. Maybe it was the truth after all, what Harry had claimed.

“You’re an excellent journalist, Miss Evans,” said the boss now, trying to lure her in. It wouldn’t work; she was still on her guard, even if she was now doubting what for and if it was necessary. “We’d like to offer you a position to work with us full time for a salary, if you are willing to accept?”

“I’ve always wanted to be a writer,” Lily told him with fake cheer; she couldn’t help but feel flattered in spite of her suspicions. She forced herself not to dwell on it and lose her focus.

“Very well. Look this way, please.”

It was coming, she knew it immediately. He was about to do something. But it was not for nothing that Lily had been very gifted at Charms. Her wand was especially excellent for them, and her charms had always been the most powerful in the class. She’d mastered nonverbal spells with ease, and she was fully prepared. She’d been paranoid about this all day, after all.

Protego! she thought strongly, her hand clenched around the wand in her pocket. She felt the magical shield erupt around her just as she heard the boss’s incantation.


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