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In My Time of Dying by Stag Night
Chapter 29 : Be Warned
 
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 13


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In My Time of Dying
Disclaimer:
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 . T W E N T Y - N I N E
Be Warned




It was rather plain, and normal, and even boring, thought James sullenly. Typical, the type of wedding one would see in a magazine. Perfection. They were in a large church, the location of which (and time and date of the event, for that matter) Lily knew only because she’d managed to grab an invitation whilst clearing her parents’ house out months before.


The seating was split into two sides, with a long aisle up the middle - the usual church layout, though James had never been to one before. Instead of chairs that were set into rows as he had seen at the Longbottoms’ wedding, here there were fancy pews adorned with flowers and ribbons. Ushers stood ready to escort people out again when the ceremony was over; right now, the last couple of people were being shown to open seats.


A priest stood at the head of the church. He was dressed in a robe and clutched a Bible in his hands. Behind him, the wall was nothing but a beautiful stained glass mural. Candles and more flowers surrounded the sacred place where the couple would soon be joined in marriage.


The double doors to his left suddenly opened, and several ladies in matching dresses were escorted to the font of the room by men dressed handsomely in Muggle tuxedos. A moment later, a girl stepped lightly after them, tossing rose petals on the floor to lay a beautiful path for the bride.


It was horrible, James thought. He had to wrinkle his nose against the smell of all the roses, and when he pulled his wand out to cast a spell against the fragrance, or at least one to dull his sense of smell for a while, Lily stubbornly grabbed his arm and shoved it down again.


She didn’t want to take chances. Petunia would die if she knew they were here. If the magic somehow went wrong, it would ruin everything.


(James thought this was rather stupid. He was a gifted wizard, one of the top in their class at Hogwarts. What could go wrong?)


James kept his mouth shut and humoured her, and tried to hold his breath against the smell as much as he could. The flowers reminded him of death, of funerals that he’d been to recently. The smell of roses that overwhelmed the McKinnons’ burials. The same blood red flowers that had been laid carefully over the casket of John Lupin before it was lowered into the ground, and also the same with Lily's parents.


These roses were mingled with white ones, but they smelled the same. Or at least James thought so.


At the front of the room, a hefty Vernon Dursley stood, now surrounded by the matrons of honour and his best men, waiting for his future bride and smiling haughtily at his family. Unseen under the Invisibility Cloak at the back of the church, James frowned at the man. Vernon gave off an aura of luxury, of spoilery and expectedness, as if everything were owed to him, as if he was entitled to anything he dreamed of. He knew his family, many of whom gave off the same feeling, would give him anything he wanted.


This fancy big wedding, James knew, was all about Vernon. Perhaps Petunia was thrilled with it, and perhaps she wanted it this way just as much, but James had a feeling that if she’d married somebody else, it wouldn’t be this way. It would likely be smaller, less fancy decorations and stiff ushers. Less entitlement and showing off.


The double doors suddenly opened once more, and before he knew what was happening, organ music began to play, and everyone suddenly stood up. Petunia stepped into the aisle, dressed in white and clutching a bouquet, and the audience gave a collective gasp.


(James didn’t think she looked all that cracking. Her scrawny, thin figure didn’t fully fill out her dress the way it was meant to be filled. Her bony face beneath the veil could never look as lovely as Lily’s softer one.)


He found himself carefully wrapping his arm around his own fiancée’s waist, feeling thankful that he was with Lily and not somebody else. That she was beautiful and lovely all the time, first thing in the morning, or crying about somebody’s death, or furiously casting spells against an enemy. He loved every freckle, every curve (especially in comparison to her bony sister), everything. The way she chewed her nails and they were never as long and lovely as she wanted them to be, or the way her temper was so quick to flare when she didn’t agree with something.


With his gaze still set on Petunia, he lowered his head and gently buried his nose and lips in Lily's silky hair, and to his relief, the scent of her drowned out that of the roses.


Lily’s eyes watered slightly at the sight of Petunia. Her older sister walked down the aisle alone, no father to escort her, no parents to give her away. A sudden, unexpected sob escaped her, and Petunia’s head turned suspiciously their way, her wooden smile still plastered on her face.


Lily clapped her hand over her mouth and recoiled slightly, trying to hide behind James. It was only a natural reaction, however; she hadn’t been under the Cloak as often as James and his friends had been. She wasn’t used to trusting that she couldn’t be seen.


And Petunia continued on; she didn’t stop to investigate further, and she didn’t want to mess up the timing of her steps to the music. She walked away, she was walking away from everything, it seemed to Lily. Of course, there wasn’t much left at this point to walk away from. Their childhood lives were long gone; it wasn’t as if they were friends anymore. Now they didn’t even have parents to tie them together. Petunia seemed perfectly content to leave it all behind and join Vernon’s spoiled lifestyle.


Her hand remained over her mouth in heartbreak and horror. She was vaguely aware of James’s arm curled around her, the way he rubbed his hand idly up and down her own arm in an attempt to comfort her with the warmth and friction.


The rest of the wedding passed by in a blur. From the back of the room, they could hardly hear the vows being spoken, and though James offered to cast a spell to enhance the volume for her, she refused. She wasn’t sure she actually wanted to hear them.


After a few moments, Petunia and Vernon kissed, and then turned proudly to face the applauding crowd. And just like that, it was all over, it was done. She was no longer Petunia Evans; she was now Petunia Dursley. Her children wouldn’t be ‘the Evans children.’ They would be ‘the Dursley children.’ And her own children would be ‘the Potter children.’ Lily felt a wave of sadness that her parents had never had a son to continue the Evans name.


The bride and groom made their way back down the aisle, now sporting fancy gold wedding bands and waving at their onlookers. They were followed by the rest of their party, the ladies escorted out once again by the best men, the flower girl grinning cheekily at the job she had done.


And then the ushers began to let the rows of people exit one at a time. In the sudden noise and commotion, James felt it was safe to speak.


“Do you want to go to the reception?”


“No,” said Lily in a firm tone, although her voice shook slightly. “I’d rather not see the Dursley family dance and mingle and show off, thank you.”


James chewed his lip for a moment. Personally, he was rather thrilled she didn’t want to go, because he didn’t want to go either. But he wasn’t sure if she might regret not going later, if perhaps he should force them both to sit through it just so she could be there and see it all. She’d made it sound like it was so important to her to be here, after all. She’d wanted to see her sister get married, and perhaps she was just too upset now to think rationally. Perhaps he should make her go.


“Are you sure?” he finally asked, feeling lost.


“I’m sure, James, lets go home,” she said, grabbing his hand. Home. It sounded like heaven. She missed her old life and her old family, but after watching Petunia leave it all behind for her new family, Lily felt rather blessed.


Her new family, with the Potters and the other Marauders and the Order, at least, wasn’t unbearable.






II.

Sirius was there when they arrived back at their little cottage. It wasn’t surprising. He was always there; he practically lived there, now, and he spent more time napping on their couch than he spent in his own flat.


“Hey, Pads,” was all James said when they arrived. He turned to take his cloak off, and carefully hung the Invisibility Cloak up beside it.


“Hey,” said Sirius, looking up from where he sat in the armchair, reading the Daily Prophet. “How was the wedding? Did you not go to the-”


And he was interrupted by Lily suddenly throwing herself at him, her red hair flying wild and free behind her as she moved. She wrapped her arms around his neck and held him tight, and Sirius cast James a wide eyed look over her shoulder before hesitantly returning the hug.


“What-” he started to say.


Lily pulled back and released him, quickly swiping at her watery eyes. “Nothing, Sirius. I just realised that you lot are the only family I have left, is all, and I love you.” She turned to James, who stood, looking rather unsure of himself, near the door. “Can we have them all over for dinner, James? Remus and Wormy, too?”


James looked surprised by her request. Up until this point, Lily had always seemed to crave alone time with him. Normally it was him begging her to let the Marauders come over. He idly rubbed his head slowly, messing his hair up. “Of course, Lily,” he said cautiously, as if afraid she was playing a trick on him. “Of course.”


“Can you stay, Sirius,” she demanded, turning quickly back to the boy still sitting, shocked, in the armchair.


Sirius set aside the mangled newspaper, crushed when Lily had hugged him. “Yes, I suppose I can make room in my schedule to stick around,” he said gruffly, clearing his throat and trying not to smile at James. He really had nowhere else to be, anyway. It was why he’d been sitting in the living room, waiting for his best friend to return.


It was mere minutes later, or so it seemed, before there was a lot of coughing coming from the fireplace, and their remaining two friends stepped through, brushing each other off. Remus seemed pleased to be with his friends, and Peter had hardly been able to contain his excitement, feeling particularly eager.


The sat and chatted and drank tea. They spoke of their days at Hogwarts, and Lily laughed at how uptight she used to be, back before she understood them so well.


“Did you go to your sister’s wedding, then?” asked Peter after a while.


“We went,” affirmed Lily. She didn’t seem to have much more to say on the subject, but Peter, who was never very good at picking up on such things, wanted to know more.


“Well, did you have fun?” he asked.


“No, not at all,” said Lily bluntly. “Actually, it was miserable. I hated to see the family she was marrying into. I hate the way they all show off and act like they’re better than everyone else, when they really aren’t.”


“They’re all a lot of podgy blokes, if I ever saw any,” input James, taking a sip of his tea. “Petunia looked like a toothpick compared to their lot.”


“James,” sighed Lily, trying not to giggle. James only rolled his eyes at Sirius and took another sip.


Remus was more subtle in his gentler tone. “But at least you got to see it,” he encouraged. “I know it was what you wanted.”


“I suppose,” agreed Lily. “It was bloody miserable to watch her walk down that aisle, away from everything in her past. Away from me.”


“She didn’t know you were there,” reminded Peter.


Of course, she was already aware of that.


“Wormy!” she barked in exasperation, throwing her hands into the air, but she couldn’t hide the laughter that bubbled inside of her at his utter ignorance. It wasn't meant in a bad way; he was so clueless, it was almost endearing. She cleared her throat a moment to regain control of herself. Peter needed everything laid out in black and white, it seemed, and she had forgotten that he was never as brilliant as his three friends.


She finally sighed and said in a controlled voice, “She didn’t want me there, anyway. It makes no difference whether she knew I was there or not. She walked away from me a long time ago... it just took today for me to finally see it.”


“She’s stupid,” said Sirius simply.


“Really, Sirius,” Remus said, aghast, and his cheeks flushed slightly as he cast Lily an apologetic look for his friend's behaviour.


“She is,” Sirius shrugged defensively. He swirled the dregs in his teacup around and flipped it over on the saucer.


Peter watched him, admired (nobody could make reading tea leaves look as careless and cool as Sirius could), and then suddenly said, “Why do you always do that, Padfoot?”


Sirius looked up in surprise, as if he hadn’t been aware of what he’d done. “Er… habit,” he mumbled. They had always done it in the Black household for as long as he could remember.


“What’s it say?” asked Peter.


Sirius rolled his eyes and grinned, peeking underneath his cup. “Says I’m going to eat some Italian food.”


(He lied. It warned him of death and heartache and disaster.)


“Ugh!” said Lily, standing up and swatting him in the back of the head on her way to the kitchen. “You’re so demanding. Fine, I can take a hint, I’ll get to cooking.”


“You can use magic!” piped up Peter helpfully after her.


“Shh!” said James loudly. Peter looked at him in surprise while Sirius tried not to laugh. “It tastes better when she makes it from scratch,” hissed James in explanation.


“Oh.”


(Peter was thinking about her disaster of a birthday cake for Remus, and how that had been made from scratch, but he decided to keep his mouth shut.)


In the end, they all ended up helping her cook, because it was more fun when they were all in the same room, anyway. Thus, the tiny kitchen was crowded and warm and soon smelled like garlic and spaghetti sauce.


Sirius casually tossed a garlic bulb in the air and caught it again, again and again. The fourth catch made him suddenly think of Remus’s dad, and standing in James's kitchen making garlic necklaces to save him, and he quickly set the bulb back on the counter. Instead, he distracted himself with tasting a spoonful of the sauce when Lily’s back was turned.


(James promptly told on him, and he was soon banished to sit at the table with a butterbeer for company.)


Remus, for his part, thought it was the best night that he had had in a long time. Even his birthday party couldn’t top this, for he had been ill for that one. Even James’s birthday party hadn’t been as good, for Lily hadn’t been there and James had been in a bad mood. He knew why Lily wanted them all over, and he understood that. He had no siblings himself, and now he only had his mother left; regardless, these were the people who had accepted him no matter what, and who had risked everything to help him.


And Sirius could understand that, because he’d hated the Blacks for the last eight years now.


And Peter could understand that as well, because he didn’t think his mother really loved him at all, and though he’d never had it quite as bad as Sirius, her strict ways with him stung more than he wanted to admit.


And James could also understand, because though he’d always had a wonderful life, he’d always considered all of them as family from the very start, and felt he’d be lost without them.







III.

A middle aged couple stared at him through dead eyes, their faces still frozen in terror. They were slumped in a corner, where they’d huddled together in fear at the sudden intrusion. It hadn’t even been fun to kill them; they hadn’t even fought back. It had barely taken a flick of his wand and they’d collapsed, still hanging onto each other.


Hadn’t even fought back. Worthless, wastes of lives. This was the reason he wanted the magic world out in the open, the reason he wanted the witches and wizards to rule everything. Muggles such as these weren’t worthy of having a say in things like government. Why should such great beings as wizards have to hide from these weak people? Why were these people in charge?


He was a god. He should never have to hide. He felt smug when people cowered in his presence. He felt powerful when he took their lives with nothing but a whisper.


He sat at their unremarkable table in their unremarkable little house, his long fingers steepled together. He clicked his long fingernails impatiently and stared at them. He could make them do things. He could play with them like puppets. He had done it in the past, with other corpses. He could build an army.


But not right now, he thought, as he heard several loud pops outside in the garden. He had more important matters to attend to right now.


The Death Eaters shuffled in through the front door, looking around at their surroundings, not amused. They had seen many different houses over the last couple of years. They couldn’t have meetings in anyplace consistent, after all, or they would risk being discovered. It was so much easier to just kill somebody for use of their home for a few moments. They victims were never anyone special, anyway. They were just Muggles.


“My Lord,” said the first Death Eater to approach, and he got to his knees beside the table and crawled forward, pulling back his mask and kissing the hem of Voldemort’s robe.


Voldemort watched boredly as two more of his loyal followers did the same.


“That is enough,” he finally said idly. “There isn’t enough space in this excuse for a house. We have more important matters to discuss.”


An uncomfortable murmur passed through the Death Eaters. They knew what he wanted to talk about: the Minister of Magic’s untimely escape.


“Lucius,” hissed Voldemort.


Lucius Malfoy gave an audible gulp and stepped forward out of the group.


“Yes, my Lord,” whispered Lucius, getting to his knees and kissing Voldemort’s robe. He visibly shook.


“Why, Lucius, you look terrified,” said Voldemort, feigning amusement.


“No, my Lord,” insisted Lucius, his eyes going wide.


“Perhaps you should be,” Voldemort said shortly. His eyes glinted red.


“Y-yes, my Lord…”


“Did you not have the Minister of Magic properly locked up, Lucius?” said Voldemort now, lazily.


“I did, my Lord. I did. He was locked in the dungeons. He was chained to the wall!”


“You must not have,” complained Voldemort. “Or he would still be there right now, hmm?”


“My Lord,” Lucius whispered. “I do not know how he got away. I… We had curses up around the house to prevent break ins! We had security spells to stop anyone but the family from being able to enter the property!”


“You must not have cast your spells well enough, Lucius,” replied Voldemort coldly. He twisted his wand in his long fingers, and Lucius’s eyes were drawn suddenly towards the dead couple in the corner.


He suddenly winced and cried out, grabbing his head as it felt like it was going to explode. And then the next thing he knew, he was seeing all of the events of the last two weeks flying through his mind. He saw himself practising the Imperius Curse on the Minister, who cowered and cried in the corner of the cold dungeon. He saw himself fail and fail, until he finally succeeded. But he always removed the Curse again so that he could continue to practise the next day. He saw himself having tea and conversation with his sister-in-law, Bellatrix, and his wife, and Rodolphus. He heard them discussing his progress on the Curse, and talk of who they could get to take over the Minister’s job.


And then he saw himself going down to the dungeon that night, in the dark. He saw his lit wand illuminate the empty corners of the room, searching desperately. The light fell over the shackles that were bound around nothing. He let out a horrified scream and turned and raced up the stairs, searching the house. He tore it apart, desperately searching for where the Minister could be hiding.


He wasn’t even sure how long the man had been gone. He hadn’t been down to the dungeon since the night before. He saw himself calling his house elf and demanding to know if he had seen the Minister. Dobby had mentioned bringing the man lunch that day, but he hadn’t been down to bring dinner yet. Lucius snarled at the elf, and Dobby had wrung his ears and cried and ironed his hands for letting the Minister get away.


He could remember hearing the Minister underneath him as he’d spoken to his visitors. He could remember banging on the ground to get the man to be quiet.


The memories suddenly stopped.


Lucius pressed his forehead to the ground, breathing heavily as he hunched over.


“Did you have the Imperius Curse on him when he escaped, Lucius,” said Voldemort, waving his wand idly in the air and watching it’s movements.


“N-no, my Lord,” said Lucius breathlessly.


“I see.” Voldemort stopped moving his wand now, and his eyes examined Lucius’s submitting posture. He trembled, as if unable to hold his rage any longer, and then he suddenly lunged forward, throwing out his wand arm. “Crucio!” he snarled, showing no mercy.


Lucius screamed in pain. After a moment, his screaming subsided, and he was left gasping for air and lying on the ground in the fetal position. For several long seconds, he struggled to move, to send the signals from his brain to make his arms and legs work again.


“Get up,” spat Voldemort after watching the pathetic display. It was almost embarrassing.


“My Lord,” Bellatrix Lestrange suddenly said, stepping forward as Lucius slowly got to his knees. She gave a quick bow.


“Yes, what is it, Bellatrix,” said Voldemort impatiently.


“The Minister was there. He was there when Rodolphus and I visited the Malfoy Manor. We heard him in the dungeons as we conversed. Might I suggest that Dumbledore may be behind his sudden disappearance?”


She cringed and remained bowed, as if waiting for her master’s wrath at her interruption.


“Dumbledore,” repeated Voldemort angrily.


“Yes, my Lord,” said Bellatrix, not sounding quite so sure of this. “And his secret Order.”


Lucius took the sudden distraction to hastily back away from Voldemort. He slipped back to the crowd of Death Eaters in the room and stood erect, though still wincing in pain, and hoped to disappear from Voldemort’s view and his thoughts.


Voldemort suddenly slammed his fist onto the wooden dinner table, causing the carefully laid placemats to slip from their positions. “I don’t care about Dumbledore’s little Order,” he snapped loudly. “I will have the Ministry. Apparently, it is something I will have to conquer myself.”


“My Lord,” Bellatrix uttered apologetically, feeling nothing but shame over their failure. She was ready to grovel before him to replace his trust in them, in her specifically. She wanted to win the Ministry for him; she would do anything.


“Silence!” Voldemort drummed his long fingernails against the table for a moment, his face deformed with a sneer, before he spoke again. “Get out of my sight, the lot of you. Clearly, I have put too much faith into your abilities. Nothing has been done so far that hasn't been countered by Dumbledore and his sorry group of pretend Aurors. And all that any of you have managed against this so called Order thus far is to kill one member and her family! Leave me! I must think of another plan.”


The Death Eaters wasted no time in leaving the small house. Out in the garden, they quickly Disapparated, returning to whatever it was they had been doing prior to being called by the searing scars on their arms, grateful that their master had been too distracted to exercise his wrath upon any of them.


Bellatrix, however, had an idea. Something that would hurt the magical community. Something to make them fear. Something that might bolster her master's spirit once more, if only temporarily, while a new plan for taking over could be worked out.


And then she began to watch. She paid special attention to the most prominent, well known people around the Ministry.







IV.

It was late.


Edgar Bones was assigned tonight’s shift to guard the Ministry. It was often his job to guard the place. He was the most suited for it, after all. As an employee, he had a reason to be there, for one thing. He had an identification coin to allow him access without going the visitor’s way. It wasn’t as if Dumbledore could have Peter Pettigrew guard the place, after all. Pettigrew would never be allowed to remain in the Ministry after hours.


And second, the Bones family had always been very prominent within the Ministry of Magic. One of his relatives had been Minister before, many generations before. His sister was on the Wizengamot, and his brother (who had just welcomed a daughter with his wife), worked in the Department of Mysteries.


Nobody questioned Edgar’s presence in the Ministry. He always had work to do, after all, and if he stayed after hours, nobody said a word.


For those reasons, he and Alastor both were assigned to guard the Ministry often.


Tonight, Edgar strolled through a corridor. He had cast a protective spell upon the Atrium. He did that every night when he stood guard. He couldn’t be everywhere at once, after all, and the Atrium was the main entrance to the building. All of the fireplaces that were currently sealed, he knew meant little. He figured a wizard as powerful as the Dark Lord could overcome that easily if he really wanted to. And then there was the loos, the temporary employee entrance whilst the Floo wasn’t running. And of course, the lift and the visitor’s entrance.


He had just been casting a security spell on the fireplace in the Aurors’ offices when he’d felt his spell in the Atrium break.


“Bloody hell,” he murmured, straightening stiffly. He lifted his wand and his Patronus flew out. It was a graceful owl, and it slipped silently from the room in only a blur of silver. It was on it’s way to alert Moody. There was an intruder in the Ministry, and the Order needed to know.


And then, with a deep breath, Edgar straightened his belt and strode down to meet whoever it was.


When he stepped into the Atrium, everything was dark, pitch black, just as he left it. But there was an eerie, uneasy feeling in the large hall. He felt a breeze, which made no sense for an indoor building. He felt watched, and he could have sworn something touched him. It was suddenly cold as ice in the area as he jerked his arm away.


“Hallo?” he called out with hesitance, rubbing his arm.


An answering laugh, female and cheeky and wild and teasing, echoed around the room, bouncing off the walls and decorative arches, off of the fountain and the floors and ceiling. Edgar turned in a slow circle as he followed the sound. Before he even got the chance to locate the source of the voice, there was a flash of green light, and Edgar Bones slumped to the floor.







V.

“Somebody has broken through my spells at the Ministry,” said the owl in Edgar’s voice. “I’m going to check it out. Please reinforce immediately.”


The silver ghost of an owl barely croaked its message out, flapping it’s wings wildly as if struggling against something. And when it was done, it closed its eyes softly and tipped forward. It was already evaporating before it hit the ground. Little bits of silver floated into the air and drifted away.


Moody narrowed his eyes. “Did that Patronus just die, Benjy,” he demanded.


Benjy Fenwick’s eyes were wide as he glanced from the spot where the owl was to Moody’s chiselled face. “I.. I couldn’t tell. If it did, it died at the very last second… it got it’s message out first, not like Marlene’s,” he said softly.


Moody groaned. “Edgar is in trouble.”


The giant bear suddenly lumbered out of his own wand, and flashed through the window in a blur to get to Dumbledore.


Benjy bit his lip as he watched Moody's Patronus depart. “Should we wait for the others?”


“No,” said Moody gruffly, standing up and striding quickly towards the door. “Edgar is in trouble,” he repeated. He had a one track mind when it came to his old friend. Edgar had been at the Ministry for as long as he himself had been, and the two ate lunch together every day. On the few nights that they were free from Order duties, Edgar would often come over to play a card game, and sometimes he and his wife would invite Moody over for dinner instead.


Benjy scuttled out of his chair and hurried after Moody. Once outside, they both Disapparated, appearing again almost instantly in London.


Moody fingered the coin in his pocket, the one that would allow him access to the Ministry. It would be much faster to go through that way, but Benjy would need to try to get in through the visitor’s entrance. He didn’t think that would be possible at this hour, but then, somebody or some thing had clearly gotten in somehow.


“Go to the visitor’s entrance,” he barked at the younger man. “I don’t have time to escort you in, see if it will let you in on your own.” And he took off limping, loping, towards the men’s loo.


Benjy hesitated, and then turned and sprinted towards the alley. The telephone box waited, it’s door hanging wide open. “Ah, bloody hell,” he grumbled, stuffing himself in and struggling to close the door.


He turned and picked up the receiver, which was hanging by its cord. The hook that held it was broken, he could see. He pressed his finger against the hook a few times, and it easily gave way.


“Welcome to the Ministry of Magic,” said a cool clear voice. “Please hold.”


“Please hold?” demanded Benjy. “What in the bloody hell is that supposed to mean?”


Wasn’t it supposed to ask his name? For that matter, wasn’t he supposed to dial the magic number first to even be able to get the voice to recognize him? Any Muggle could step into the telephone box otherwise, and suddenly be transported into another world.


But before he could do anything else, the floor shook, and then suddenly began to lower stiffly.


That was it, he realised then. The box was broken. Whoever was intruding had broken the box.


Benjy waited impatiently, still clutching the telephone receiver in his hand. He didn’t know what else to do with it, and it was quite frankly at the very back of his mind as the dark Atrium began to come into view at his feet.


At first he could see nothing as his eyes adjusted. But then he saw a dark mass in the corner, by the far doorway. “Edgar?” he asked, dropping the phone and quickly striding forward out of the box. His soft voice echoed around the Atrium. He had his wand out and ready, just in case. But as he drew closer, he could see the grizzled gray hair of Alastor sticking out above the back of his collar. Moody’s back was to him, and the older man was hunched over something.


Benjy’s eyes travelled to the black mass on the ground. It was a body. Another few steps, and he could make out features. It was Edgar Bones.


“Oh, Merlin,” he breathed, stopping short.


“He’s dead,” said Moody hoarsely, not bothering to turn around.


“Oh, God.”


“He was targeted specifically.”


“What?” breathed Benjy, his face paling in disbelief.


Moody passed a piece of parchment to Benjy, who cast his wand light upon it. He read aloud, “Let the death of a prominent wizarding employee from a prominent wizarding family serve as a warning. The Ministry will be His. Your Aurors can not save you.”


Benjy lowered the parchment slowly to his side and stared at Moody’s slumped form. “I’m sorry,” he uttered in barely a whisper. He knew that Edgar was probably the best friend Alastor had; he didn’t have many, at any rate.


“Shut up, Benjy,” growled Moody. He covered his gnarled face with his hand.


Many soft footsteps behind them alerted the pair to the rest of the Order’s arrival. Everyone’s faces were sullen. Every single one of them looked at Edgar with pity. Benjy silently passed Dumbledore the note that had been left.


Dumbledore read it quickly and then immediately passed it to Frank Longbottom. The old man took a step forward.


Moody stood up. “Permission to go home for the night, Dumbledore,” he requested wearily.


Dumbledore nodded. “Granted, Alastor, but I will be by to speak with you later,” he promised. Alastor didn’t look completely thrilled about that. He took his hat off and walked forlornly away.


The rest of the Order members were still passing around the note as Dumbledore knelt in front of Edgar in Moody's place.


James could only stare at Edgar’s still body with wide eyes. Peter had recoiled almost instantly, and tried not to look at the corpse. Alice sobbed into Frank's arm; as Aurors who worked at the Ministry, they'd spent a lot of time with Edgar, sometimes joining him and Moody for lunch. Lily's eyes watered and Sirius patted her shoulder and watched James clench and unclench his jaw. And Remus (who could barely stand from the exhaustion and lingering aches of last night's full moon) sighed and stared after Moody’s retreating form.


“I think they’re getting rather frustrated,” mumbled Caradoc, reading the note.


“Yes, and poor Edgar is the one who paid for it,” sighed Elphias Doge.


Author's Note:
While the Harry Potter Lexicon says that Edgar was killed "with his wife and children, by a Death Eater before Voldemort fell," the actual book only says "they got him and his family too, he was a great wizard..." (OP pg 174 US). This means you can probably guess what will be discovered in the next chapter, and I'm sorry to point it out and spoil it for you, but I had to just in case anyone disputes how Edgar died due to the Lexicon (which is not 'always' right, as I have found). As I pride this story on being canon, I want to cover all the bases ahead of time, and just because Edgar didn't die "together" with his family doesn't mean it's wrong :)


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