It was so difficult returning from Africa on Monday; it was so beautiful and tranquil- and I came back to news that Azkaban had been liberated by Dementors freeing all the inmates in the process. All our hard work over the years has been for naught. I was furious and terrified when Mum showed up and personally told me that Aunt Bellatrix was amongst those who escaped. Remus and I just didn’t know what to say to one another.
I Owled Kingsley for an update and found out the worst news of all- Harry was on duty that day, and the only guard to survive! And, he’s officially been sacked. Pissing Ministry.
I was hoping my week would improve, but tonight things got worse…
There are certain words I have been accustomed to writing in ministry reports: chaos, destruction, mayhem, raid, violence, annihilation, obliteration- the list goes on and on, but writing the words 'Death Eater attack on Phoenix House Orphanage' was deeply unsettling.
Our evening started out quite normally- me, HAND SCRUBBING pots and pans from the dinner I burnt, and Remus was upstairs playing ‘Spanish Armada’ with Ella while she bathed in the tub. I could hear splashing, and the sound of the two of them making sound effects for their cannonade and explosions. When I initially met Remus I doubted he could have been one of the illustrious Marauders I’d heard of, but I was quickly assured that he could have been as much of an instigator as cousin Sirius, as daring as James Potter, and- let’s not even think about that rat, Pettigrew.
I sighed, watching the soap bubbles swirl into the drain as the fireplace roared to life behind me.
I whirled around hearing Kingsley’s voice in a distinctly panicked tone. “Hey Boss, what’s-”
“Tonks, I need you and Remus over at Phoenix House immediately; there’s been an attack by Death Eaters- the house is on fire. If you have to, go without Remus until you can find someone to mind Ella, but we really need both of you. Preliminary reports are that there are dozens of Death Eaters there.”
I steeled my expression and nodded. “Give me two minutes.”
As soon as Kingsley’s head disappeared from view, I threw a fistful of Floo powder into the grate and hollered “Ted and Andromeda Tonks!”
Mum and Dad’s kitchen fireplace came into view and I yelled until both Mum and Dad knelt down at the brick hearth.
“There’s been an attack at the Orphanage and Remus and I need to Apparate over there. Can you come and mind Ella- she’s still in the bath.”
Mum and Dad didn’t hesitate to Apparate into our kitchen in the very next instant. I thanked them quickly and ran up the stairs two at a time to the loo.
I exhaled, trying to appear calm as I barged into the room. “Remus, we’re needed at Phoenix House immediately, there’s a- situation,” I said, choosing my words carefully.
He nodded in response to my hint and handed Ella one of her toy boats as he pushed up from the floor. “Did you Floo your parents?”
“Yes. Accio Auror’s robes,” I said, catching my garment as it zooms toward me. “They’re already here. We need to be going.”
Remus paled for a moment before bending down to kiss Ella. “Be a good girl, all right. Dad loves you.”
“Aye-aye, Cap’n!” she squealed, splashing the water again.
He tousled her wet hair and disappeared from the loo, hurrying down the stairs to the kitchen.
“Ellie, Granny and Granddad are here. Be good, go to bed after hot chocolate, all right? I love you THIS much,” I add, stretching my arms wide. “I’ll see you in the morning, Twinkle.”
It’s times like this that I’m glad she has no idea what’s really going on, and that there’s always a distinct possibility that Remus or I won’t be home in the morning. For that specific reason we always tell her we love her before leaving so there will be no doubt in her mind years down the road.
Mum and Dad were suddenly behind me at the door, and I said a hasty good night and thank you as I brushed past them and hurried downstairs to find Remus waiting in the kitchen.
“Do we know anything?” he asked, drawing his wand.
“D.E. attack at Phoenix House; house is ablaze, that’s all I know,” I answered, pulling my robes on.
Remus took me by the shoulders and looked me square in the face. “Darling, be careful, promise me.”
I leaned in and quickly kissed his lips. “I swear, the same goes for you, got it?” I asked, poking his chest.
“Yes; let’s go.”
We clasped hands and Apparated over to Phoenix House.
As we arrived at the Orphanage we could see shadowy figures running around the house, illuminated by amber flames snaking up the side of the building. It was easy to spot the Death Eaters, and Remus and I parted hands, bidding each other a quick ‘I love you’ before heading off in opposite directions.
I ducked a stunner and blocked a glowing purple hex aimed at me by a faceless Death Eater, complete with fancy pointed hood. I returned with a Body Bind curse, hitting him squarely in the chest. I smirked with satisfaction as I watched him go down, glad that I was a greenhorn no longer.
I quickly looked over each shoulder, taking in my surroundings. There were people running in every direction, some screaming for help, others yelling their taunts and hexes. I couldn’t see much in all the billowing clouds of grey smoke set against the indigo-painted starry sky, but I could hear Ginny’s voice urging some of the children to follow her. I sighed with relief, hearing the children coughing and sputtering, knowing at least some of them have been safely removed and the evacuation procedure is going as planned.
I shielded myself as another blast of light zipped toward me from behind a tree. I cursed and ran to my left, giving myself a better shot at the D.E. behind the tall pine.
“Expelliarmus!” I shouted, flicking my wand in his direction.
“Is that all you’ve got, girl?” came the reply as he peeked out from behind the tree trunk once again.
A beam of light erupted from my wand and a hole was blasted through the centre of the tree, leaving the Death Eater horribly exposed. He panicked, staggering around the right side of the tree and I quickly cast another Disarming spell before yelling “Incarcerous! and seeing magical ropes eject from my wand, binding the prisoner.
As I prepared to take on my next target, I saw a child standing directly in the middle of the fray. I’ll never know how so many spells completely missed her. I ran toward the young girl as I spotted Harry, Ginny, and Kingsley shooing children toward safety. “Oy!” I yelled, wrapping my arms protectively around the girl’s head, giving her a quick visual sweep before guiding her toward Shacklebolt, who’s just looked up.
I quickly see Ernie MacMillan, another Auror from the department and Justin Finch-Fletchley being supported by Arthur Weasley as I pass the girl off to safer hands. I distinctly hear Finch-Fletchley say the word Wormtail, and I felt my blood run cold.
Remus. I don’t know if he knows. Merlin, I don’t know if he’s safe!
Pettigrew- this coward is the reason Harry has no parents, he’s the reason Sirius went to Azkaban, he’s the reason Remus felt utterly alone, defeated, and consumed with guilt that he ‘should have known better’ for more than a decade of his life! Oh, but a part of me would love for him to see what Remus has become; what he will never have. Remus has a respectable job, a family, and some of the deepest personal relationships he’s had since was at Hogwarts. Pettigrew could have had all this, but he blew it, selling the Potters to Voldemort instead. He’s a weak-minded, contemptible, boot-licking idiot, and I still can’t believe, or fathom why, he arranged this attack.
I want to see Remus, I want to warn him, I- I have to find him.
I set off through the dense smoke, wand aloft, binding disarmed, unconscious men as I called out Remus’ name, listening for a reply.
I heard nothing except the pounding of my heart.
“Remus!” I called again, straining to hear his return call over the sound of the burning building, the crackling embers giving way for the wooden beams that once made up the house to give way.
Finally, as I fanned the smoke in front of me, I could see Remus standing in the distance- just standing there! Blimely there was still a battle raging on this side of the house! What’s he doing just standing there?
I felt hot tears sting my eyes as I called out his name one final time, feeling it tear from my throat in an panicked cry.
He turned quickly, watching as I stumbled around a Death Eater sprawled out and unconscious on the ground, and he took a hesitant step toward me and turned to look in the opposite direction once again before walking toward me.
I blocked a Reducto curse as he approached with a indistinguishable expression on his face. I took his face between my hands and forced him to look in my eyes. His face was cut and bleeding, and his eyes still held a glassy appearance, but otherwise he seemed all right. For a moment I was beginning to debate whether or not he was Imperio’d when he appeared to snap out of his stupor.
“Dora,” he whispered, “I- are you all right?”
I nodded vehemently. “Yes, fine; Remus, Pettigrew is here.”
He shook his head. “This isn’t the time to discuss that.”
“Not badly, I’ll let you fix me later. Go show me what a brilliant Auror you are.”
The screaming had all but subsided, but occasionally I could still hear a child crying or a person moaning. The apprehended Death Eaters were bound, awaiting Law Enforcement to take them away, and Phoenix House personal were scurrying around accounting for staff, friends, and the children, who had been led away.
I saw blue sparks erupt and Remus and I slowly approached Mad-Eye Moody, fellow Auror, Justin Finch-Fletchley, Susan Bones, Lavender Brown, and a couple of trained field Healers who were responding to the girls.
Moody, Remus, and I disabled the Anti-Apparition wards allowing the injured to be taken to St. Mungo’s for proper treatment. We stood by, watching the medical personal prepared Susan and Lavender for Disapparition before turning back to Moody, Justin, and the rest of the team who were slowly gathering together.
Justin, who was clearly injured himself, took off his cloak and dropped it on the ground and began to stagger off into the trees. Remus, Mad-Eye and I all looked at one another before Remus reached for Justin’s shoulder, drawing him back.
Poor bloke was so confused. He thought he was back in Remus’ classes and that he hadn’t turned in his homework. He babbled incoherently about Guilderoy Lockhart, Werewolves, and marriage- and none of it made sense. He vehemently resisted going to St. Mungo’s until I reminded him that he needed to be there for Susan. He thanked me as Moody Side-along Apparated away with him, and Kingsley gave the order to take away the Death Eaters who had been apprehended.
Aurors fanned out, covering the area as Remus took me in his arms. “No, wait,” I protested, wriggling out of his embrace. “You’re hurt; you promised.”
I mastered the Episkey spell quite early in my life, so as I could quickly heal the many minor injuries I sustained. I pointed my wand at Remus, casting the repairing spell, instantly mending his injuries. I wormed my way back into his arms and resumed the comfortable position with my head resting over his heart.
“I can’t believe it’s gone,” I whispered, closing my eyes tight, not wanting to look at the ruined building any longer. “All of Harry and Neville’s hard work- gone. I wonder where the children will go.”
I felt him sigh. “I don’t know, but Harry is like his father, and from the moment that James married Lily he considerably stepped up his responsibilities. I know Harry will find homes for all those children. This house will indeed rise from its ashes.”
I couldn’t help it, I had to smile at his positive attitude. “Who are you and what have you done with my husband?” I teased, looking up at him.
“Very funny, Mrs. Lupin,” he replied dryly. “Pop over to the office and file your report. I’ll wait up for you.”
I exhaled, ignoring the scent of charred wood. “What are we going to tell Ella? She’ll be devastated.”
At the mention of our daughter I felt Remus stiffen in my embrace- there was something niggling at him. “Let’s wait until we have something positive for her to look forward to. She’s like you, she’ll be deeply involved in whatever rebuilding takes place.”
“What’s wrong?” I asked, slipping my hands behind his neck, directing him to look at me.
“I- just want you and Ella to always be safe. I don’t know what I’d do without either of you.”
I tried to smile encouragingly, but I secretly wondered what our world was coming to. “Thankfully we shall always be here, but we couldn’t bear to be without you either.”
He smiled sadly as I stood up on tip toe and pressed a kiss to his lips. “I’m going to go file my report, my love, but please do wait up for me. I’ll be home as quickly as I can.”
I watched him nod in confirmation, and as I stepped out of his arms, I knew I would count the seconds until I was back in them.