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Fallen Angel



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  #1  
Old October 16th, 2005, 6:14 pm
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
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Fallen Angel

Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling and I don't own the Harry Potter characters. Any other characters that aren't from the books I do own.


Dedication


To Remquo and Slythy for their constant help and inspiration,
without which this story wouldn't exist


Spoilers: Every book up to and including HBP.

A/N: Before you start reading, you might want to take into account that this fic is a sequel to Fire Burns. It does stand alone but you might be a little less confused if you read FB first. The link is here:


I must stress though that this is not a story about Harry Potter. It is simply one in which he features. I am not writing the seventh book; I am just borrowing the timeline & history from books 1-6. Anyone who's read FB can guess who the main character in this story is. Also, I am working on a timeline for FB just as a reminder for those of you who have forgotten how it started.

Anyway, without further ado, on with the story. Hope it lives up to your expectations.

Enjoy.

Nana


Prologue

An eagle soared through the darkening sky, borne on the gentle summer breeze. Far below, on a remote hill top, three figures were gathered in a graveyard. One, a boy of no more than sixteen, lay motionless on the ground. Another younger boy with a shock of jet black hair stood bound to a gravestone, watching the scene in front of him in horror.

The eagle glided lower…


The last vestiges of sunlight glimmered down onto cold black stones. The dark ocean heaved and swelled, waves breaking relentlessly against the high rocky walls that barred their path. Moans and screams, muffled by hundreds of echoes, could just be heard above the roar and crash of the breakers.

Not even the gulls came out this far; the whole place spoke of pain and despair. You'd have to be mad to go near there.

Of course, stay in there long enough and you'd go mad anyway.

This is Azkaban, worst of all prisons, guarded by the sightless Dementors that leech the happiness out of every living being. Only the really twisted are kept here…

All together.

In the same place.

And someone has yet to spot the major flaw in this.

Prisoners talk…


The cauldron fizzed, sparks crackling over the surface in an explosion of light. The third figure had dropped to the ground sobbing and clutching at its maimed arm.

Suddenly a cloud of white steam burst from the cauldron, completely blotting out the scene below. The boy tied to the gravestone watched in impending dread as, gradually, the steam cleared…


"He'll come for me you know," whispered a voice in the darkness. It sounded dry and hoarse, as though it's owner had long ago lost the habit of using it. "And then they'll be sorry. He'll be back."

Another, deeper voice, laughed hollowly. "Keep telling yourself that Lestrange. One day, we might believe it. He's forgotten about us. You know it and we know it. Stop pretending we'll get out of here alive and let me die in peace."

The person named Lestrange didn't answer but another voice rumbled, "Black managed it."

"Dying?"

"Escaping."

"Dying is an escape," said the deep voice flatly.

"Not that Black. The other one. Riddle's Black."

The cells fell silent again, filled with thousands of unspoken words and a new wave of cold spread over the chambers' occupants. Someone moaned softly, shying away from the inescapable presence of the Dementors.

The Dementor glided past and hovered outside the first speaker's cell, inhaling deeply, every breath rattling ominously. The hunched frame of a woman moved restlessly in the darkness at the very back of the cell and for a moment, dark eyes glinted as a ray of fading sunlight filtered down through the looming walls and impenetrable shadows that plagued Azkaban.

The Dementor drew a long hollow breath…


Gradually the steam cleared and a fourth figure became visible, standing in the cauldron, liquid cascading off him, scarlet eyes burning with power.

Lord Voldemort had risen again.


…and something stirred in the bowels of Azkaban. A mind that had long ago shut itself off from the outside world suddenly burst into life.

In the inky blackness of a windowless cell, two sapphire blue eyes snapped open.

He was back.


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  #2  
Old October 19th, 2005, 12:28 pm
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
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Joined: 5344 days
Location: Behind you
Age: 30
Posts: 48
A/N: Right, you're going to have to bear with me for a few chapters until everything is explained properly – which it will be, I promise. For now, just go with it and you'll be fine.

Enjoy!

Chapter 1 – Sticks and Stones

The Minister looked gloomily down at the reports in front of him. "Well we knew it'd happen eventually, I suppose. Everyone's out?"

"Only the Death Eaters, sir," said Kensington calmly. "They left the others in there."

"But there is something strange, sir," put in Samson. "They appear to have taken a body."

"What?" asked Scrimgeour, glancing up at them, a frown on his face.

"Sixteen years ago one of the inmates died and Fudge, he'd just been elected Minister, gave the order for the cell to be bricked up," explained Kensington.

"Only when we went to inspect Azkaban, we found it'd been blown open and there was no sign of a body," continued Samson worriedly.

"Was this inmate important?" asked Scrimgeour wearily. He had quite enough on his plate without having to worry about Death Eaters going body snatching.

"Meant to be quite high up by all accounts," answered Kensington, a flicker of unseen amusement dancing in his dark eyes.

"Well then it's simple, isn't it?" sighed Scrimgeour. "They took the remains to bury them, right?"

"But-" began Samson agitatedly.

"What?" demanded Scrimgeour angrily.

"There was nothing in the cell. Nothing at all. And if something decomposes-"

"You're not trying to tell me you think no one was in the cell when it was bricked up, are you?" asked Scrimgeour, giving Samson a derogatory look. "We have people to check this sort of thing. Kensington, who identified the body?"

Kensington shifted, looking almost apologetically at the Minister. "Well you have to understand we had a hard time finding someone who knew-"

"Spit it out man."

Kensington grimaced, then said quietly. "Remus Lupin."

Scrimgeour's eyebrows rose a few inches. "Isn't he that teacher who got fired from Hogwarts a few years back?"

"He resigned," corrected Samson.

"Yes, yes, him," muttered Scrimgeour distractedly. "Well?"

Kensington nodded miserably. "That's him."

"But he's bloody werewolf!" shouted Scrimgeour. "You trusted him?"

"He didn't want to come, but since he appeared to be the only contact who wasn't either in Azkaban or suspected of working for Voldemort, we had no other choice."

"What about Dumbledore? You can't tell me you didn't think of asking him," demanded Scrimgeour.

"He wasn't considered close enough," shrugged Kensington. "If he was asked, he must have declined. We can't ask him now anyway."

Scrimgeour frowned, leaning back in his chair and tapping his fingers irritably on the desk. "Pull in Lupin. Give him Verita Serum and see what he has to say for himself. How dangerous is this guy anyway?"

"What, Lupin?"

"No, the Death Eater," snapped Scrimgeour impatiently.

A flicker of a smirk crossed Kensington's face as he shook his head. "I think you must have misunderstood us, Minister. Riddle's not a man, she's a woman."


"Alive?" asked Remus blankly. He was sitting in a cold stone room on Level 2 of the Ministry of Magic, and the patriarchal Auror opposite him had just finished filling him in on the events of the past few hours, complete with photographs of the ruined cell. "But that's impossible." In actual fact it sounded like an incredibly Katherine sort of thing to do, but he wasn't going to admit that. "I saw her body. She was stone cold, and now you're trying to tell me she's alive?"

"How can you be sure she was dead?" asked Kensington leaning forward and gazing intently at Remus.

"She wasn't bloody breathing!" exclaimed Remus, angry at the attitude of this man and his patronizing tone. "When people are alive they tend to have more of a heartbeat!"

"Even so," said Kensington calmly, sliding a small vial and a bowl across the table towards him. "If you would be so kind?"

Remus thought about refusing, but decided against it. They only needed a small excuse like obstructing investigations, to lock him up and throw away the key. Besides, he had nothing to hide. He drained the vial of Verita Serum and withdrew the memory of that visit from his mind with the wand Kensington handed to him.

"Thank you, sir. You've been most obliging," smiled Kensington.

"Can I go now?" asked Remus with a sigh.

"Of course. Have a nice day."

Remus didn't see fit to reply to this so instead he stood up and walked out of the room without a backward glance. Why were they dragging this up again?

"Everything ok?" asked a worried voice, accompanied by a small warm hand slipping into his.

"Fine," murmured Remus, smiling slightly at Tonks, with her electric blue hair. "They were just making a few inquiries."

"So nothing's up?"

Remus shook his head. "Just the Ministry being over excitable."

As if she was alive. No one could survive in a bricked up cell for sixteen years without food and water. Not even her.

"I'll see you tonight, then?" asked Tonks, grinning. "At the Burrow?"

Remus nodded. "I'll be there."

Tonks kissed him on the cheek, then hurried off, back to work. Remus watched her go for a moment, then headed towards the lifts, thinking about the interview. It had been eighteen years since he'd last spoken to Katherine. The morning of her arrest. Somehow, even when she'd been sentenced to life imprisonment, he'd still thought he'd see her again. Fate apparently had other ideas.

He stuck his hands into his pockets and to his surprise, felt a slip of stiff card in one. He pulled it out and saw it was a photograph – one of the photos the Auror had been showing to him. How it had come to be in his pocket, he had no idea. He sighed, gazing at the dark looking cell, surrounded by fallen bricks and mortar.

All those adventures, and you go and die in Azkaban. Never did understand your logic, Kat.

He shook his head and stuffed the photograph back into his robes. Some things just weren't meant to be.


Remus was sitting in a chair by the fire, listening to Fred and George explain about their latest idea for the joke shop when the door bell chimed for the tenth time that night. Remus was about to get up and answer it when Fleur came rushing into the room and almost dove for the door handle. She pulled it open, and flung her arms around the new arrival.

Fred and George exchanged curious glances; Fleur had seemed quite happy to let the others greet the visitors before, what was so special about this one? The newcomer was ushered in, Fleur talking animatedly to her in French.

"And this 'es Fred and Georg – Bill's brothers," said Fleur at last, as the robed figure removed her cloak, straight blonde falling over her shoulders. "And that 'es-"

"Remus Lupin," said the new woman softly in a surprisingly British accent. Fleur started in surprise and looked from Remus to the woman in bewilderment.

"You 'ave met?" she asked uncertainly.

"Eighteen years ago," whispered the woman, smiling faintly. "You don't remember me, do you Remus?"

Remus, who had in fact been silent as a result of shock, shook his head. "Of course I do – but whatever are you doing here?"

"She was my Engleesh Professeur at Beauxbaton," asserted Fleur, tossing her silvery blonde hair over one shoulder.

"I thought you went to America?" asked Remus, frowning.

"I did, but then I was asked to come back and teach, and Papa needed looking after," explained the woman, shrugging. The bell rang once more and no sooner had Fleur opened the door, than someone flung themselves into the room, knocking Fleur's Professor off her feet. Remus rushed forward immediately, hauling Moody back with a considerable amount of effort.

"Let go of me, man!" shouted Moody angrily. "She-"

"It's not her, Alastor," cut in Remus, as the woman picked herself up with the help of an outraged Fleur. Moody's striving lessened slightly as his electric blue eye swiveled to face Remus.

"Then who the blazes is she?" he demanded, scowling.

"Her name's Faye Belle," said Remus, gazing at Faye over Moody's head. "And she's her cousin."


Later that night, Remus and Faye sat at the kitchen table, listening to the Weasley twins' reenactment of Moody's entry going on in the next room. Remus cringed and apologized for the hundredth time that evening.

"It's fine," assured Faye, smiling wryly. "What I don't understand is why he'd think I was her. She died over sixteen years ago."

This thought had occurred to Remus as well, though he hadn't yet had a chance to run his theory past Moody. He shifted awkwardly, then pulled the photograph of Katherine's cell out of his pocket and pushed it across the table towards Faye.

"I was called into the Ministry earlier," he said in a low voice. "Some Aurors went to inspect Azkaban and they found that someone had broken into her cell. No sign of a body, or anything. Now the Ministry think she's still around. I guess they told Moody – he was in charge of her case."

Faye said nothing for a while, only stared at the photo. "Someone broke in?" she repeated eventually.

Remus nodded. "Sounds stupid, doesn't it. I mean, half of them couldn't stand her to start with."

"Where's the door?" asked Faye, barely acknowledging Remus' comment.

"What? Oh, they bricked the whole thing up. Think Fudge was worried she wouldn't stay dead if they took her outside the walls to be buried," sighed Remus, frowning slightly at Faye's odd expression. "Why?"

Faye looked up, her green eyes filled with a mixture of worry and fear and, just possibly, a glimmer of hope.

"If someone broke in," she said softly. "Why is all the debris on the outside?"


It was almost midnight when the hooded figure hurried up the deserted street, wandlight flickering before them. It stopped for a moment, the beam of white light illuminating a dirty road sign. Spinner's End.

Less than a minute later, the same figure knocked softly at the door of the last house in the row. There was a short pause, then a small, balding man opened the door an inch. The figure in the shadows raised an eyebrow.

"Wormtail. So this is where you've got to. Is Severus in?"

Wormtail said nothing, only pulled the door wider and allowed the stranger in, before leading him into the main room. Severus looked up from a book and frowned at his visitor.

"Avery?"

Robert Avery shook back his hood and grinned. "Severus."

"What the bloody hell are you doing here?" demanded Severus, standing up, wand in hand.

"Now, now, Sev. Is that any way to greet an old friend?" reprimanded Robert, drawing his own wand.

"Emphasis on old," snarled Severus. "How did you find me?"

"Lestrange told me," said Robert absently, looking distastefully around the room. "This is where you live? I thought Katherine said it was a mansion?"

Severus didn't answer, only glared at the blond man, who grinned again and pulled a photograph out of his pocket.

"Nott came to see me earlier, you remember him, don't you? Well Kensington has been in touch with him, and guess what he found out." Robert tossed the photograph at Severus, who caught it, eyes never flickering from Robert's smirking face.

"An example of poor masonry. How very interesting," remarked Severus dryly. "What is your point?"

"Ah, but it's not," smirked Robert, pocketing his wand, somewhat unwisely in Severus' opinion. "You see, that room, well it's a cell in actual fact, that cell was bricked up sixteen years ago." He grinned at the flicker of comprehension in Severus' eyes, and nodded. "Yeah, you got it."

"Why did they open it?" asked Severus, frowning distrustfully.

"They didn't. They found it like that," said Robert calmly, his brown eyes alert with amusement. "They say someone broke in."

Severus glanced down at the photo once more, and finally caught on to why Robert was looking so pleased with himself. It had probably never even crossed the Ministry's mind to take a closer look at the facts, since what they were suggesting was quite clearly impossible, but it was obvious once you knew who you were dealing with.

No one had broken into this cell, but someone had broken out.


Bright sapphire eyes gazed into glassy blue ones. The latter pair belonged to a small statue, roughly two feet high that stood on a small plinth in the center of the cavernous room.

Long, white fingers picked it up, studying it curiously. After a few intense minutes, the figure holding the statue swore profusely and set it roughly back down on the plinth.

"Just my luck," muttered the woman, running a hand through her long black hair. All this effort and it turned out she'd destroyed the real one over two decades ago.

She frowned, casting an eye over the serene statue, depicting a woman wearing a plumed helmet and a linen shift, holding a spear in one hand. On her shoulder sat a bird, but not an owl, as would have been expected, but an eagle.

She wondered why she hadn't noticed it before. When the original statue had arrived, she'd thought it strange that Athena had an eagle on her shoulder, but had copied it just the same. On later sightings of the infamous artifact, she now realized the bird had changed back to an owl.

So Tom had never been after the Statue of Athena after all; it was Ravenclaw's relic he'd wanted back. She had noticed that the spells binding the statue had been a little difficult to undo all those years ago, but she'd presumed it was just because they were old.

She sat down, hugging her knees and thinking hard. Tom must have cast the spell years before hand, then sent it off to Spain to keep it safe while he found somewhere to store it. Then, when everything was ready, he'd made arrangements to steal it back. Only he hadn't counted on a rebellious teenage daughter who was still angry at him for ruining her life.

She sighed, glancing at her watch absently. 1:00am. Well she couldn't stay here for the night.

She got to her feet and shut her eyes before taking a calm step forward into the void below her, and kept walking. As long as her eyes didn't see that she was stepping onto thin air, she wouldn't fall hundreds of feet to her imminent death.

She only opened her eyes when she felt cold air on her face and a breeze rippling her hair. The graveyard was deserted, save for a single bird, high up on tree branch. It soared down to greet her, landing easily on her shoulder.

She stroked it's soft feathers with one hand. Archimedes blinked at her in acknowledgement, then soared off again, high up into the night sky. Katherine waited a few seconds, then transformed and followed him.

-------------

Feedback goes here.

Nana



Last edited by Purple Banana; October 19th, 2005 at 2:58 pm.
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  #3  
Old October 23rd, 2005, 5:10 pm
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
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Joined: 5344 days
Location: Behind you
Age: 30
Posts: 48
A/N: Well, here's chapter number 2. A bit longer than usual, I got a little carried away. Enjoy!

Chapter 2 – Every me and every you

"Cass, if you were convicted criminal who hasn't made a lot of friends and is supposed to be dead, where would you hide?"

Cassandra Avery glanced up at her husband, tucking her short blonde hair behind her ear. "What kind of a question is – sit still Katy – is that?"

Robert threw his cloak over a chair and sat down, watching his five year old daughter squirming in her seat. She looked resentfully up at him, bright emerald eyes glittering under her short fringe.

"Purely hypothetical," said Robert casually as Cassie finished plaiting her daughter's hair and the small girl ran over to hug her father. "Well?"

Cassie looked doubtfully at him. "Purely hypothetical?"

"Of course."

Cassie sighed, sitting down opposite him. "I thought we'd been over this, Rob."

"Over what?" asked Robert innocently, as Katy climbed into his lap. Cassie shook her head and gave him a reproving look.

"You know perfectly well what I mean," she said firmly, emerald eyes hard. "And she's not coming back. If she was, she would have turned up when he returned."

Robert was quiet for a moment, one arm around his daughter. His wife had a point. Why did Katherine decide to break out now? You didn't just sit in a cell for sixteen years, then suddenly think 'maybe I'll escape today'. Or did you? No, Katherine was far more calculating than that. She never did anything without good reason.

Unless...

"Besides, if she had escaped, the newspapers would be having a field day," added Cassie, still watching her husband closely.

"Not if they didn't know," murmured Robert. He had the feeling that he'd missed something here, something important...

"How could they not? Azkaban's been guarded by wizards ever since the Dementors fled. Someone would have noticed," said Cassie resolutely, picking up her book.

Robert's head jerked up, staring at her.

The Dementors.

Dementors had no eyes, they could only sense souls and Katherine had a talent for keeping hers very well hidden. But that would mean...

Cassie glanced up, her green eyes searching his brown ones curiously. "Something wrong?"

Robert said nothing, his mind racing. If Katherine had broken out when Dementors had still been guarding Azkaban, then where on earth had she been for the two years?

"Rob?" asked Cassie again, a touch of worry in her voice.

Robert looked up, meeting her anxious gaze. "Two years," he murmured, almost to himself. "What in heaven's name has she been up to?"


"Look Alastor, I haven't seen her in over eighteen years. I'm as much in the dark as you are," explained Remus for what felt like the tenth time that day. They were in the Burrow's lounge, trying to avoid being roped into doing something towards the preparations for Bill and Fleur's wedding. Everyone else was so busy, they hadn't been missed yet.

"So she hasn't sought you out?"

"Why would she?" asked Remus, a little bitterly.

"She probably didn't want to get you into trouble," said Faye softly, coming out of the kitchen and setting a cup of tea down in front of him. Moody made a derisive noise.

"Katherine Riddle doesn't give a **** about getting other people into trouble," he said gruffly, his electric blue eye doing somersaults in it's socket. His paranoia seemed to have doubled in the last twenty four hours, making him even more jumpy than usual.

Faye frowned at him. "She cared about her friends."

"And who would they be exactly?" growled Moody. "As I recall no one stood up in her defense at the trial. She was charged for just about every crime she'd ever committed – and she pleaded guilty. She gave up because she knew she was beaten; she made too many enemies."

Remus smiled grimly, but remained silent. Remus knew Katherine too well to suppose she'd given up. There had to be an ulterior motive, there always was with Katherine. She'd never learned to do things the straight forward way.

"She was the daughter of Voldemort. What d'you expect her to do? Win the noble peace prize?" demanded Faye, looking archly at Moody, her cheeks flushed. "She did what she had to do. She's not completely evil, you know. I trust her and Remus trusts her, don't you?"

Remus waved a hand noncommittally. "She called me a fool last time I told her I did. 'Never trust a Slytherin.'" He sighed heavily, gazing morosely into his mug of tea. "Should have taken her advice. Then maybe we'd have found Snape out earlier. Still, Sirius proposed to her, so he must have found her good side. He'd seen enough dark witches and wizards to last him a lifetime. I don't suppose he would have wanted to marry one."

Moody stared at Remus, both blue eyes wide. "Black proposed?"

Remus smiled mirthlessly. "They'd been engaged three months when she got arrested. I don't think she planned on him getting locked up as well, though I must say being engaged to the daughter of Satan didn't help his case."

"How many people knew?" asked Moody, frowning deeply.

"James, Lily, me," shrugged Remus. "I don't know if she told anyone, though she may have used it to wind Bella up."

"Bellatrix Lestrange?" asked Moody, surprise evident in his voice.

"That would be the one," confirmed Remus. "Those two never did see eye to eye. I can just see her teasing Bella that they were technically going to be related once she married Sirius."

There was a pause, then Moody said gruffly, "Sirius never spoke about her."

Remus looked amusedly up at him. "Would you? He'd only just managed to convince his godson that he wasn't a Death Eater. Casually mentioning that he'd once been engaged to the daughter of the most evil wizard of all time would just be plain stupid. Besides, she was dead. Why drag it all up again?"

There was a crash from outside and the sound of raised voices.

"Look's like Tonks has arrived," remarked Faye, keen to change the subject. She'd only been at the Burrow for one night and already she'd become accustomed to the purple haired Auror's clumsy habits. Remus nodded and stood up, glancing at Moody who was frowning.

"We'll catch her, Remus. Then we'll find out what's really going on," he said firmly.

Remus smiled faintly. "You won't catch her unless she wants to be caught."

"We got her last time," reminded Moody.

"Precisely my point," replied Remus softly. He smiled again then turned and headed towards the source of the commotion outside.

Moody glanced at Faye, who shrugged. "She broke out of the highest security prison in the world. What would you do even if you did find her?"

"Make sure she dies this time," said Moody roughly.

Faye gave him a calculating look, her head on one side. "You could do that?"

"Of course."

"You sure?" she asked, wearing an expression very reminiscent of her cousin.

"Positive," said Moody, getting to his feet and limping slowly out of the room. Faye watched him go, a bemused expression on her face, then she shook her head and wandered off to find Fleur.


The back door of the small terraced house swung open and the figure stood silhouetted in the doorframe. A second later, the same figure turned on her heel and fled away, down the dark slope from which she'd come. By the time the door banged open again, she was already at the fence that divided the garden and the forest beyond. She'd be harder to follow amongst the trees.

But the second figure had caught up with her now, grabbing her from behind and hauling her down from the fence. She struggled to turn around, to see the face of her hunter, but strong arms bound her tightly. Finally, instinct kicked in and she stuck a foot between his legs and twisted, causing them both to tumble over into the small stream that ran along the bottom of the garden.

The man grunted in pain as he hit the ground, Katherine falling on top of him. She frowned and trapped his hands in hers, searching for a wand. She found in his right hand and twisted his wrist painfully until he dropped it.

The man tried to raise his head but Katherine pointed the fallen wand at his throat and he stopped. There was a long pause, interrupted only by the sound of heavy breathing as both parties tried to catch their breath, then a voice said calmly.

"I'm getting soaked, you know."

Katherine froze. That voice...

The moon was behind her, it's pale light making the garden look strangely anemic and causing a shadow to fall over the man's thin face. She moved, her tattered shoes squelching incongruously, and looked down at the features of the black robed man.

There was another pause, this one even longer than the first, then Katherine jumped up, water cascading off her jeans and made to run towards the house. The man was quicker, reaching out to grab her wrist and pulling her back down onto the muddy grass before she could get away.

"Get off me," snarled Katherine, glaring into eyes as black and cold as midnight in the arctic.

"Not until you promise not to run away again," said the man calmly, tightening his grip on her arm.

"I'm not promising anything," growled Katherine, wincing ever so slightly. The man either didn't see it or pretended not to, since he made no effort to lessen his hold.

"What are you doing here, Katherine?" he asked, his voice devoid of any emotion.

Katherine said nothing, only glared, her free hand moving slowly towards the wand that lay abandoned a few feet away.

"Oh no you don't," said the man grimly, catching her other arm and pulling both towards him, away from the wand. "Where's your one anyway?"

"They broke it when I went to Azkaban," said Katherine hollowly.

The man was silent for a while, his dark eyes flickering over her pale face and slim frame.

"You look awfully good for someone who's been dead for sixteen years," he said eventually. "Eighteen years in the worst prison in the world doesn't seem to have affected you much."

Katherine tilted her head to one side, the faintest trace of a smile on her lips. "Eighteen, Severus? How long d'you think I stayed in there?"

Severus Snape opened his mouth to reply, then closed it. The truth was that had been bothering him ever since Avery had been to visit him - there was no motive for breaking out. But if Katherine had been out for a while...

"Seventeen years?" he ventured, his grip on her hands finally relenting.

Katherine shook her head, rubbing her wrists. "Do your maths, Severus. Dad came back two summers ago."

"The Dark Lord?" asked Severus, surprise mingled with something like relief in his voice. Katherine gave him a sideways look from under her curtain of dark hair. It was shorter than Severus remembered and cut differently, making her look older and somehow more dangerous than she had before.

"Of course," replied Katherine, fiddling with a ring on her hand. Severus glanced down at it, expecting to see the sapphire studded ring that he was used to and got a slight shock. It wasn't sapphire, it was diamond and it wasn't on Katherine's right hand, it was on her left. "What else d'you think I'd break out for?"

Severus didn't answer, the sight of the ring taking up all conscious thought. Engaged. She'd been engaged to him...

"Severus?"

Severus looked up. "What?"

"I asked what happened a year ago," said Katherine, frowning at him.

"Why?" asked Severus, still not thinking properly.

"Because you guessed seventeen years," explained Katherine, her blue eyes searching his face.

"Nothing," said Severus shortly, reaching for his wand and standing up. "I shouldn't be here."

Katherine's frown increased. "What d'you mean? Didn't Dad send you here?"

"He thinks you're dead," said Severus quietly. "If you've got any sense, you'll make sure he doesn't find anything to change his mind."

"Wait," said Katherine sharply, grabbing at the nearest part of him she could reach, which happened to be his foot. Then there was the uncomfortable feeling that always accompanied apparation and next second Katherine found herself sitting not on grass, but on hard wooden floorboards.

Severus glared down at her. "What did you do that for?"

Katherine didn't answer, choosing to take in her surroundings instead. There was the shuffle of feet then a short balding man came into view, carrying a chipped mug of something that Katherine supposed was tea. She frowned, then asked very slowly.

"Peter?"

The man dropped the mug and fled up a small staircase that had been set into the wall.

"What's he so scared of?" she asked to no one in particular as she got to her feet.

"At a guess, I'd say you," remarked Severus acridly.

Katherine gave him one of her looks, then asked more carefully, "What's he doing here? You hated the Marauders."

"Your father ordered him to be my assistant," answered Severus frostily, sitting down in a chair. Katherine looked back at the staircase up which Peter had disappeared, and frowned, trying to make sense of this.

"But he's not...he can't be a...is he?"

Severus looked up, mildly surprised. "Don't you read the papers?"

Katherine gave him a derogatory look. "How am I supposed to buy a paper when everyone thinks I'm dead?"

"You're a metamorphmagus, Katherine, or had you forgotten?"

"Not all the Death Eaters went to Azkaban, Severus. You of all people should know that. Someone would be bound to recognise me."

"Well you can hardly expect them not to if you walk around looking exactly as you did before," remarked Severus, frowning at her.

"I'm staying at my parents old house. The neighbours would think it odd if someone completely different turned up when the house was never sold. And as for the small wizard village that used to be on the other side of the wood, it was burnt down during the first war, so I'm in no danger from that." She sighed, then sat down in the chair opposite him. "Why was Peter in the papers, anyway?"

"Black was supposed to have killed him," said Severus shortly. "Along with twelve mudbloods."

Katherine frowned. "Regulus? But he's dead."

Severus scowled, thought Katherine couldn't imagine why. "Not that Black. Your Black."

"Sirius?" asked Katherine in surprise. There was a pause, then, "That's why he was sent to Azkaban? That rat set him up? And now he's working for you?"

"I'd hardly call it working. He's utterly useless," said Severus sourly, casting a disdainful look at the stairs. Katherine glared at him and started towards the staircase. Severus made no move to stop her, but called lazily, "I wouldn't if I were you. I don't wish to have to explain to your father how Peter came to such a messy end whilst staying at my house. Of course if you planning on using a simple Avada Kedavra, then-"

"I wasn't," said Katherine shortly. "I don't have a wand." She smiled grimly at Severus' look of confusion. "There's more than one way to send people to hell, Severus. One of them is making sure they stay alive."

Something indefinable flickered in Severus' dark eyes for a moment, then it was gone. "I see Bella's going to have some competition. Should I tell her to watch her back?"

"If she's got any sense, she'll be doing that already," answered Katherine, smiling slightly. "But I've got no reason to harm her, have I?"

Severus stared at her for a long moment, then asked cautiously. "You do know about Sirius, don't you?"

Katherine looked at the floor, all hint of amusement vanishing from her face in an instant. "He's dead."

"Do you know how?"

Katherine glanced up, her blue eyes puzzled. "Azkaban. His cell was empty – I checked."

Severus considered her for a while. "You knew he was in Azkaban, but you didn't know he escaped? How is that possible?"

"He what?"

"Escaped. Went to find that rat upstairs, but Potter stopped him and Wormtail got away. The long and short of it is that he died the year before last – fell through a veil in the Department of Mysteries."

Katherine stared at him in shocked silence. "The veil...? But why was he there? And what does Trix have to do with it?"

"He was attempting to help Potter retrieve the prophecy," said Severus tonelessly. "And by all accounts it was Bella who pushed him through the veil."

"That's the second time you've mentioned Potter," said Katherine quietly. "But if he's alive, then why didn't he try and get Sirius out of Azkaban? And come to think of it, why did Dad disappear in the first place?"

Severus looked at her for a long moment, the extent of Katherine's ignorance finally dawning on him. She'd gone to Azkaban the year before Voldemort fell, which meant she knew nothing of the Potter's deaths or of their betrayer, let alone their son. Or of Dumbledore...

He was still trying to think of what to say when the Dark Mark flared on his arm and a muffled thump from above indicated Wormtail had felt it too. Even Katherine winced, her right hand clutching at her left arm.

"I take it you won't be attending," said Severus softly, conjuring a mask for himself.

"Are you going to tell of me?" asked Katherine, something of her old mischief dancing in her bright eyes.

"I shall not lie to the Dark Lord."

"Then I'd better hope he doesn't ask about me," sighed Katherine as Peter appeared, small watery eyes fixed on her. "Doesn't he ever talk?" she asked, staring back.

Severus glanced at the small man. "I put Silencio on him. Suppose I'd better remove it before we leave."

Katherine watched thoughtfully as Severus undid the spell, then leant down to gaze into the frightened black eyes of the squat little man.

"If you mention one word about me to anyone," she said softly. "I will hunt you down and set Moony on you. Understand?"

Peter squeaked in response and hurriedly disapparated. Severus nodded at her, and followed suit. Katherine stood alone in the deserted room, then tugged at a chain on her neck. Suspended from it was a silver pendant, composing of two snakes, twined around each other. A permanent portkey. She held the pendant in one hand and whispered softly: "Ollivander's."


When Severus and Peter returned to the house later that evening, the place was deserted, not a thing out of place. Severus was mildly surprised that she hadn't gone snooping through his things. He thought about their earlier conversation and wondered when she was going to find out the answers to her questions. Soon probably, now that she knew what to ask.

He sighed, removing his mask and hooded cloak. Funny thing though, despite her flood of questions, she'd never once asked what the prophecy was...

-------------------------------

Was that suitable cryptic for you? Let me know here.

Nana



Last edited by Purple Banana; October 23rd, 2005 at 5:13 pm.
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  #4  
Old November 5th, 2005, 9:58 pm
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
First Year
 
Joined: 5344 days
Location: Behind you
Age: 30
Posts: 48
A/N: I know this is (really) late, but school has suddenly got a whole lot harder and for some reason having only four subjects seems to produce far more homework than before. Consequently, I haven't had much time to write. However, this update is a little longer than usual, so hopefully that will make up for it. Better late than never, right?

Oh yeah, and thanks to Rem for helping me decide on that thing we discussed...


Chapter 3 – The small print

Faye found Remus at the bottom of the garden, reading the Daily Prophet in the fading rays of twilight.

"Lovely day, wasn't it?" she asked conversationally. "The wedding," she added, just in case Remus didn't know what she meant.

"Mmm," replied Remus, closing the paper and looking up at her. She looked so like Katherine, it was alarming. Same face, same eyes in a manner of speaking, save for they were bright green as opposed to Katherine's vivid blue. The hair was the only real difference; golden blonde when it should have been black.

"You miss her, don't you?" sighed Faye, sitting down on the bench next to him.

Remus smiled weakly. "When I met Sirius again, after twelve years of Azkaban, I can't even begin to describe how I felt - I got one of my best friends back, after years of solitude. Then he went and got himself killed and I was alone again. Now..." He shrugged and shook his head. "Katherine isn't Sirius. She isn't innocent. I don't know what I'd do if she turned up."

"She's your friend," said Faye firmly. "You wouldn't hand her over to the Aurors."

"She wouldn't let me, you mean," said Remus dryly. "Besides, friends don't usually try to kill other friends."

Faye frowned. "You wouldn't-"

"That wasn't what I meant."

"Well she certainly wouldn't hurt you-" began Faye again.

"I didn't mean that either," sighed Remus, running a hand through his grey flecked hair. He was silent for a moment, then said in a different voice. "I was going to go to the flat tomorrow. See if she's been there or anything. D'you want to come?"

"The flat?" asked Faye, her green eyes questioning.

"We shared a flat in London for a while," answered Remus, gazing absently down the garden. "Haven't been there since she was arrested. Couldn't stand how empty it felt with only one person living there."

"But wasn't she engaged to your friend?"

Remus chuckled softly. "Oh yes, but she refused to move in with him. Don't think she trusted him an inch."

Faye smiled faintly, the dying rays of sunlight glimmering on her hair. She'd only met Sirius Black a few times, but from what she'd seen, she could well understand her cousin's misgivings.

"Did he have a lot of girlfriends?" she asked, grinning at Remus.

"He had a fanclub," said Remus darkly, though he couldn't help smiling a little himself.

"And you?" probed Faye mischievously.

"The pale, bony boy who always looked as though he'd been in a fight?" asked Remus, eyebrows raised. "No, Sirius and James attracted most of the romantic attention. I doubt many girls paid me a second glance with Prongs and Padfoot beside me."

"I did," said Faye softly, looking playfully at Remus with bright emerald eyes. She grinned slyly at the flicker of surprise in Remus' eyes. "You didn't think I'd forgotten about that, did you?"

"It was a long time ago..."

"It's not the kind of thing you forget," interjected Faye, turning towards him, burnished eyes glittering.

"No, I suppose not," agreed Remus quietly, gazing at the setting sun. So very alike, yet so very different...

"Does Tonks know?" asked Faye abruptly. Remus looked up, startled.

"I don't see why she should. She was just a child when-"

"I meant about Katherine," said Faye, her expression torn between amusement and despair.

"Oh," said Remus quickly, flushing scarlet. "Um, no, I don't think she does."

"You should tell her," said Faye softly. "Before she finds out from someone else." She smiled faintly and ruffled his hair with a casual hand. "Night Moony. See you tomorrow."

Remus nodded and managed a small smile. "Goodnight Faye. Sleep tight."


"…don't see what the problem is, Cissa," said the black haired woman, looking calmly at her sister. "It's done now. Draco has pledged his allegiance-"

"He's too young," said Narcissa, shaking her head in despair.

"He will learn soon enough," said a sharp voice, and Narcissa turned to see her husband standing the doorway. "Many people were around his age last time."

"And how many of them still live?" asked Narcissa, a steely note in her voice.

"Not many," admitted Lucius, as calm as ever. "But that's because they were in Riddle's year and she did away with half of them."

"Katherine Riddle?" asked a new voice, a hint of awe and excitement barely concealed in it. Katherine was famous amongst the Death Eaters, albeit for the entirely wrong reasons. Lucius glanced down at his son, a grim smile on his lips. "Didn't it take twenty Aurors to catch her?" asked Draco, his grey eyes alight with interest.

From the corner, his aunt sniffed disdainfully. "I've always thought there was something a bit fishy about that. She was never quite…quite… I can't put my finger on it, but there was something not right about her," declared Bella in dark tones.

"You wouldn't be saying that if she was still around," said Lucius, smirking.

"And you wouldn't be glorifying her if she was," countered Bella. "You despised each other!"

"We may not have seen eye to eye on some occasions, but I wouldn't go so far as to say-" began Lucius.

"She called you a slimy conniving *******," said Bella, her dark eyes glittering maliciously, daring Lucius to rise to the bait, which he might well have done, had not the fireplace flared green, a man stepping out of the flames and into the room.

"Good evening Severus," said Lucius, a little too hastily to be entirely credible. "To what do we owe the pleasure?"

"I was hoping to speak with Nott. Is he here?"

"The Drawing Room," said Lucius, keen to keep the subject away from Katherine Riddle. The last thing he wanted was to mention her in front of Severus. His old friend had never quite come to terms with her death. For months afterwards, he'd been convinced it was all a hoax, even after that werewolf friend of hers had confirmed that she was indeed gone, never to return. Thank goodness.

Severus nodded curtly and crossed the room in a few long strides, closing the door softly behind him. Bella sat up a little in her chair, frowning after him.

"When was the last time he spoke to Nott?" she asked, dark eyes scheming.

"Does it matter?" asked Lucius icily. Bella glanced at him, her face a mask of innocence.

"Of course not. It was just an observation. He hasn't had anything to do with Nott since they were at school together."

"Well maybe he wants to reminisce with him," remarked Lucius sourly, his eyes mocking. "You never know, he might have a heart..."


Severus didn't bother knocking on the Drawing Room door; it wasn't as though Daemon had anything to hide. Consequently, he was a little surprised to find that Daemon wasn't alone. A red headed woman stood at the desk where he was sitting, smiling at something he was saying and a tall man stood by the window, his scarlet hair clashing with the velvet curtains. The latter turned around, fixing deep brown eyes on Severus, and nodded grimly in acknowledgement.

"Severus."

Daemon and the woman glanced around at the sound, and the woman suddenly smiled in delight. "Severus! I haven't seen you in ages! How are you?"

Severus stared at her as though she was mad. Who in Salazar's name was she? And the man? Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Daemon's hazel eyes glittering in amusement, enjoying Severus' obvious discomfort. He leant back in his chair and grinned a sly smile.

"You remember Alexandra, Severus," he said lazily, eyebrows raising slightly. "And James, of course," he added, gesturing towards the red haired man. "McKenzie," he prompted when Severus still looked blank.

Severus stared at Alexandra who was giving him a look very reminiscent of Katherine. The McKenzie twins who'd transferred to Durmstrang in Severus' second year at Hogwarts. He hadn't seen them since...since Parkinson's funeral, and that was over two decades ago.

"I didn't recognise you," he muttered, glancing over at James who was smirking.

"Evidently," remarked Alex, laughing, her dark eyes shining. "But you'll have plenty of time to get used to us again. We don't intend on going anywhere."

"Mother passed away a few months ago," filled in James, giving Severus a calculating look. "Or we would have come sooner."

"She didn't want us involved with the war," sighed Alex, rolling her eyes. "I don't think she ever really understood The Cause. Stuck us in Beauxbaton after Father died to try and get us away from it all."

"Didn't work, of course," said James wryly. He smiled shortly, then looked sharply up at Severus, as though he'd just thought of something. "You remember Katherine Riddle? She was in our year?"

Severus nodded in agreement, while Daemon smirked. Asking Severus if he remembered Katherine was like asking Voldemort if he remembered Dumbledore. There were some people you never forget.

"Well I swear there was this girl who looked exactly like her at Beauxbaton," continued James, shaking his head. "Name was Faye something or other."

"Belle," said Alex promptly. "She was Professor Belle's daughter, remember?"

"Belle?" asked Severus, frowning. There was something vaguely familiar about that name, but he couldn't remember where he'd come across it before. He was sure he hadn't met anyone called Belle. Maybe he'd read it somewhere?

"That's right."

There was a pause, then Daemon suddenly asked, "Did you want something, Severus? Only you looked a little preoccupied when you came in."

Severus glanced over at him, mind refocusing on the task in hand. "I was going to ask..." he hesitated, all too aware of the presence of Alex and James a few feet away. "...if you'd seen Avery lately."

"Robert?" asked Daemon in surprise. "I don't see why I should've. We were never the best of friends, even in school. Why on earth would you suppose that I had?"

"I didn't," said Severus shortly. "I was just asking. I wanted a word with him."

"Why?" asked Alex incredulously, tilting her head to one side so that her flaming red hair fell over her shoulders. "He's an imbecile. From all accounts he only scraped three Acceptables in his NEWT's; the rest were Poor or lower."

"True. That's why he went into politics," said Daemon dryly, his hazel eyes watching Severus closely, as though he didn't quite believe his explanation. Alex laughed again and turned back to the papers that lay scattered on the desk behind Daemon.

"No, Avery went into politics for the same reason he was made Quidditch Captain," said Severus calmly, turning to leave. "He an excellent actor and can get away with just about anything."

Daemon grinned. "You know, I always wondered why Riddle never became a politician. She could talk her way out of anything."

"Even being dead?" asked Alex, raising an eyebrow.

"She could do anything if she put her mind to it," remarked Severus darkly. "But I'm sure she was happy doing whatever job she ended up doing."

"She never said. I suppose that's in the job description, really," mused Daemon. Severus shrugged; he'd never actually known what Katherine's job was. It hadn't really seemed to matter back then.

"Well I have things to do," he said, reaching for the door handle. "It was good to see you again." He nodded to each of them, then left, closing the door behind him.


The sun shone brightly on Remus and Faye as they stepped off a red double-decker bus and looked up at the block of flats in front of them. The marble walls were grimy black where they met the street, but this faded to grey and then to white as the tower block rose up to the sky.

"Lovely clean city," remarked Faye, nudging a discarded coke can with her foot.

"You prefer Paris, do you?" asked Remus, starting towards the revolving glass doors that stood a little way down the street. "With all the maniac drivers?"

Faye cast a pointed look towards the busy road behind them, and tossed her hair over her shoulder. "It's not that much worse than here. Besides, Paris is more...picturesque."

"And London's my home," replied Remus, stepping inside the building, Faye following. "Wouldn't swap it for the world."

Faye looked around the lobby, eyebrows raised. "Well I dare say I could get used to it. Exactly how much did it cost to live here?"

"A lot," said Remus, shrugging and hailing a lift. "The lease is in Katherine's name. She bought it outright, if I remember correctly..." The lift doors hissed open and they stepped inside, Remus tapping the sixth floor button discreetly with his wand. "...which would be why no one ever came to find us to demand rent."

"Would there be a problem with that?" asked Faye as the lift slowed to a halt.

"Katherine made it unplottable, in a manner of speaking," said Remus, smiling faintly. "Well I suppose it's more like a Fidelus charm, only there's no secret keeper. The lift stops at the sixth floor if someone pushes the button, but you have to use the right wand to ensure the real flat's there when you open the door. Anyone trying to surprise us would just find an empty flat, though we could see them of course."

"Sounds complicated," said Faye as they walked the short stretch of corridor that led from the lift to two doors. "But doesn't that mean Aurors could still search the flat?"

"Yes, but Katherine always kept anything important either on her or-" Remus pulled a key out of his pocket and slotted it into the lock in the right hand door. "-in a place that doesn't exist if someone forces entry."

"Which is?" asked Faye, looking around. There was a corridor in front of her with five doors leading off it, all of them closed. To her right was a kitchen with only a sideboard separating it from the hall.

"Guess," offered Remus, walking through the kitchen and into the lounge area beyond it. Faye followed him, casting an eye over the range of furniture in the room. She'd seen portraits hanging up in the hall, but she didn't think Katherine would be as obvious as to hide something behind them. As for the lounge, there was a white sofa at the far end of the room and a bookcase leaning against one wall. Someone had positioned a table and chairs near the kitchen end of the room and a gilded statue stood near the door to the hall.

The only other thing in the room was a polished mahogany chest which looked suspiciously like a drinks cabinet. Faye glanced at Remus, who conjured two glasses immediately.

"Care for a drink?" he asked casually, setting them down on top of the cabinet.

"That's where she kept her stuff?" asked Faye, tugging at the door that was set into the chest.

"She always was protective of her alcohol," shrugged Remus, pulling another, smaller key out of his pocket and inserting it into a lock that Faye could have sworn hadn't been there a minute ago.

"Don't joke, Remus. This is serious," objected Faye, frowning disapprovingly at him.

"I was being serious," protested Remus. "She kept a few bottles in here for emergencies."

"Such as?" inquired Faye, eyebrows raised.

"Such as getting engaged or for when Tom ordered her to do something she didn't want to do, or-"

"I thought she didn't want to do anything Tom told her to do," interrupted Faye.

"I wouldn't say that," said Remus carefully, letting his hand fall from the handle of the cabinet. "She wasn't exactly a saint, Faye."

"Then why did you stay with her?" demanded Faye, looking hard at him.

"Because she's my oldest friend," said Remus, meeting her gaze steadily. "And because she needed me, almost as much as I needed her."

He paused, unable to break away from Faye's emerald green gaze, then shook his head, reaching out for the door handle. "Nobody's perfect," he said softly, pulling the door open in one smooth movement. "...least of all Katherine."

Faye frowned, then turned her head to look inside and saw what he meant. She'd been expecting a few rolls of parchment and perhaps a couple of bottles of alcohol not...this - a room the size of the Beauxbaton Dining Hall crammed with filing cabinets and cardboard boxes.

"She uh, kept busy, huh?" said Faye weakly after she'd overcome her initial shock.

"That's one way of putting it," agreed Remus. "Look, why don't you go see if she left anything in her room. I'll see what I can find in here."

"No, it's all right-"

"Faye, I insist," said Remus firmly, laying hand on her shoulder. "Go on. It's the first door on the left as you come in."

"Won't she mind us going through her stuff?" asked Faye, torn between curiosity and guilt.

"She's pretended to be dead for nearly two decades. I think she's lost the right to object," said Remus calmly.

Faye hesitated, then nodded and hurried out of the room. She found the room easily enough and opened the door cautiously. To her surprise, she found the room was painted pink with a blue carpet. Somehow pink and Katherine didn't seem to go together, but Faye shrugged it off and started paying attention to the contents of the room. There was a bed and a desk, as well as another bookcase, this one containing tomes that looked far more suspicious than those in the lounge. There was also what had probably been a plant eighteen years ago, but was now no more than a clump of dried earth and shriveled brown foliage.

Faye stood still for a moment, then bent down and felt under the bed, her fingers soon closing on cold metal. She slid the metal box out and flipped the latch open. Inside lay a journal, bound in white leather and a few rolls of parchment, surprisingly well preserved. She took these out and examined the rest of the contents. A silver charm bracelet lay at the bottom of the box along with a tatty envelope with no address.

Faye turned it over and found saw that it had never been sealed. Frowning, she opened it and peered inside. It wasn't a letter, as she'd supposed, but instead a collection of photographs. Just as she was about to take them out, she heard the lift doors open and footsteps sound down the hall. Hastily, she threw everything back into the box and snapped it shut before picking it up and running back into the lounge.

"Remus? Hurry up, someone's coming!"

Remus appeared a moment later, a satchel slung over his back. "They won't be able to see us," he said softly, though his tense expression did nothing to ease Faye's nerves. "And we have a right to be here."

"D'you think they'll see it like that?" asked Faye, raising her eyebrows.

Remus considered this for a moment. "No."

"Then what do we do?"

"We wait till they come in, then we run like hell for the lift," said Remus, moving towards the hall.

"We can't disapparate?" asked Faye, following him, just as a thud from the front door told her that someone was trying to get in.

"No."

"Floo?" she asked, catching sight of a scrap of paper lying on the floor just outside Katherine's room. She must have missed it when she was re-packing the box. She snatched it up and put it in her pocket as Remus stopped by the door.

"No fireplace – it's a modern building," he said quietly, watching the door shudder under the force of someone's foot.

"Portkey then?" asked Faye desperately. She didn't fancy trying to outrun Aurors.

"N- wait..." Remus stopped, then changed direction and hurried to the other end of the hall, opening the door to what turned out to be a balcony. There was a disused water fountain in one corner, covered in green algae and it was to this that Remus headed. He put a hand on the top of it and twisted sharply. The carved stone statue that sat atop the fountain shifted a little, then stopped. Remus swore under his breath and tried again, using both hands this time.

Back in the hall, a crash indicated that the door had given way. "That didn't take very long," whispered Faye. Even though Remus had said the intruders couldn't hear them, she didn't think it was a good idea to talk too loudly.

"We usually relied on the wards to keep unwanted visitors out," muttered Remus, tugging hard at the fountain. "They must have deteriorated a little over the past decade or so- Finally!" He held out the stone ornament to Faye with a triumphant smile.

"Quick, Reeves, out the back!" shouted a male voice.

"I thought you said no one could see us," hissed Faye, her frantic fingers closing over Remus' hand and the portkey it held.

"Perhaps they just saw the door," suggested Remus, concentrating hard on the desired destination. A man with jet black hair burst onto the balcony, wand out and pointing directly at Faye. Remus whipped out his own wand and shouted the spell Katherine had taught him years ago. He just had time to register the look of surprise on the man's face before the portkey awoke at last and tugged them away, spinning through space towards safety. Or at least, to somewhere safer than their previous location...

--------------

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  #5  
Old November 12th, 2005, 12:09 am
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
First Year
 
Joined: 5344 days
Location: Behind you
Age: 30
Posts: 48
Chapter 4 – R.A.B.

1st November, 18 years previously

"And you're not going to muck it up this time, are you?" asked Bella acidly, giving Katherine a hard look. Katherine just stared back, expression as insolent as always.

"It wasn't
my fault it messed up last time," she replied calmly. "Jenkins gave us away."

"And then he just happens to drop dead, conveniently preventing him from giving us his version of events," stated Bella, her dark eyes narrowed to slits. "Which, incidentally, is exactly what happened to the other eleven partners every time the Dark Lord's asked you to do something like this."

"Funny that," agreed Katherine, blue eyes far too innocent to be believable. "Maybe if he stopped giving me imbeciles to work with, I might actually get somewhere."

Bella smiled, a smug look of triumph in her eyes. "Wish granted, Riddle. He's sent you Wilkes."

"Leon?" asked Katherine, sitting up in her chair. "You're making me work with
Leon?"

"
I'm not making you do anything," objected Bella, still smirking. "It's your father's orders. Besides, you're twenty three, surely you're not bothered about something that happened half a decade ago?"

"Course not," muttered Katherine, scowling. "But Leon is."

"Well that's what happens when you leave someone handcuffed to a tree in the middle of snow covered Siberia," shrugged Bella. "What d'you expect him to do? Forgive and forget?"

"No," said Katherine calmly, glittering blue eyes rising to meet Bella's. "I expected him to die."



Remus caught Faye's arm as the portkey deposited them at their destination, and waited for the world to stop spinning.

"Where are we?" asked Faye, grateful of Remus' steadying hand on her arm. She looked around cautiously, taking in the red tiled floor and cabinets around the walls. It didn't look particularly well guarded. It looked, well, like a kitchen.

"Bristol," said Remus, letting go of her arm and tucking the used portkey into his pocket. "Another safe house."

"Did Katherine buy this one too?" asked Faye, watching a tap drip idly into a washing up bowl.

"No, she inherited it," said Remus, pulling up a chair and sitting down. "Childhood home," he explained at Faye's questioning glance.

"Oh, her adoptive parent's house," said Faye quietly. Katherine had told her about them; they'd been murdered here, maybe even in this very room. Faye shivered involuntarily and, to distract herself, wandered over to the sink, twisting the tap sharply so that the dripping stopped. "Are we safe here?" she asked, glancing back at Remus.

"Reasonably," answered Remus, then stopped, staring at her. She hesitated, tilting her head to one side.

"Are you alright?"

Remus frowned slightly and stood up, gazing into sink. Faye looked down at the basin and then up at him. What was so interesting?

"Someone's been here," he said softly, drawing his wand.

"How d'you know that?" asked Faye, utterly perplexed.

Remus pointed at the washing up bowl. "If that tap had been dripping for eighteen years, the bowl would've overflowed."

Faye looked down at the bowl again; there was barely an inch of water lying at the bottom of it. Slowly, she drew her wand from her belt and looked up at Remus. "D'you think they're still here?"

Remus shrugged, listening intently. After a few minutes, he sighed; the house was empty. Faye read his expression and let out a breath she didn't know she'd been holding.

"We should get back," said Remus quietly. "We can use disillusionment charms to get into the forest out the back and then apparate back to the Burrow from there."

Faye nodded, preparing to cast the spell, but she paused for a second gazing at Remus. "Was it her?"

Remus looked up, looking unconvincingly bewildered. "Was what who?"

"The someone. Was it Katherine?" asked Faye, her green eyes burning with curiosity.

Remus shrugged again and promptly vanished from sight, a faint outline of distorted air the only clue that he still stood there. Faye bit her lip but followed suit and hurried after him as the back door swung open and Remus headed towards the forest. I'll take that as a yes then...


5th November, 18 years previously

Leon Wilkes looked up at his partner over the smooth mahogany table. She'd been studiously ignoring him for almost half an hour now.

"You know, some people might think that a team have to talk to make plans," he said, smiling pleasantly, though there was a dark glint in his brown eyes. "There's no 'I' in team, and all that."

Katherine raised her head and considered him with alarmingly blue eyes. "There's a 'me' in team," she pointed out calmly. "And I intend to make full use of it."

"Well aren't we Little Miss Sunshine today?" remarked Leon, leaning back in his chair and surveying her critically.

Katherine laid down her quill and rested her folded arms on the desk, looking wearily up at the tousled haired man before her. "Leon, do you really want me to hurt you? Because I can, and believe me I will, if you don't shut the hell up."

"Is this how you solve all your problems, then?" asked Leon, meeting her gaze serenely. "With violence?"

"Yes," said Katherine simply, giving him a small smile that radiated hatred before returning to her work, just as the door to the study opened.

"Does Regulus owe you two any money or anything?" asked Bella, fastening her cloak with an elaborate silver clasp.

"What?"

"Money? Regulus? Drinks, possibly. Heaven knows he gets through the stuff," remarked Bella, adjusting her robes.

"He's usually the one buying," said Katherine slowly, observing Bella curiously. "Why d'you want to know? You're not going to see him are you?"

Bella smiled like a tiger and tossed her hair elegantly over her shoulder. "The Dark Lord had commanded me to pay my little cousin a visit. It seems his work has been less than satisfactory of late."

"It'll be even less satisfactory is he
is late," pointed out Leon, grinning. Katherine shot him a look of pure venom, then turned her attention back to Bella.

"What's wrong with his work? He's done just as much as the rest of us."

"He let those muggles escape last week," said Bella, shrugging. "You call that good?"

"Someone hit him around the head with a cricket bat!" objected Katherine, staring at her. "I'm surprised he managed to get up at all!"

"Well there's very little brain to damage in that thick head of his," said Bella with a sly smile. "Besides, he should have seen it coming."

Katherine arched an eyebrow. "From behind him?"

"You can be as sarcastic as you like, Riddle," smiled Bella sweetly. "After today, it won't matter; little Regulus' time just ran out." Bella smiled again and swept from the room, black cloak swishing in her wake.

Leon chuckled, shaking his head. "Your allies just seem to drop like flies, don't they Riddle?" He looked up, his smirk fading as he frowned at the empty seat opposite him. "Riddle?"



Harry sat on his makeshift bed in Ron's room, looking down at the list in front of him which was written in Hermione's neat hand.

1. The diary
2. Salazar's ring
3. Salazar's locket
4. Hufflepuff's cup
5. Something of Gryffindor's or Ravenclaw's
6. Nagini


Four parts of Voldemort's soul to find and he hadn't the faintest idea where to start looking.

"What you up to?" asked a soft voice from the doorway. Harry looked up to see Ginny leaning against the doorframe, her light brown eyes gazing at him.

"Uh, nothing much," said Harry, tucking the hurriedly folded paper back into his pocket.

"Well Gabrielle's downstairs. She wants to say goodbye," informed Ginny, tucking a stray strand of hair behind one ear.

"Oh, right," said Harry awkwardly. "I um, I'd better..." He gestured weakly to the stairs, smiled apologetically and sidled past Ginny and down the stairs.

After he'd bade farewell to the small blonde, Harry wandered into the lounge and found Remus and Fleur's Professor sitting by the fire, discussing some new Ministry initiative. Hermione sat in an armchair, engrossed in the Standard Book of Spells - Grade 7 and Ron was sprawled across the sofa, flicking through the latest copy of Martin Miggs.

"Having second thoughts about leaving school?" he asked, taking a seat beside Hermione.

Hermione glanced up, frowning slightly. "Of course not. There won't be a Hogwarts if we don't defeat him," she said softly, so that Remus and Faye wouldn't overhear. "But I'd ordered this book at the end of last term and I thought there might be something useful in it. If Voldemort planted the early ones just after he left school then he's bound to have been influenced by this book, right?"

Harry nodded; he was too weary to argue and besides, Hermione had a point. Now if they only knew where to start looking...

His train of thought was broken off abruptly as a bundle of ginger fur bounded into the room, a struggling gnome held firmly in it's jaws.

"Crookshanks!" exclaimed Hermione, swooping down upon her cat. Crookshanks dropped the gnome who landed on his head, watched it for a moment to see if it would do anything interesting, then padded over his mistress, purring.

The gnome sat dazed on the floor for a moment but leapt to it's feet as Ron dived for it, missing completely and cannoning into Remus' chair, whereupon the bag that had been balanced there emptied it's contents over both him and the floor. The gnome chattered angrily at him before making a rude gesture and scuttling back the way it'd come.

Ron muttered an apology and started picking up the various sheets of paper, glaring at a laughing Harry. Hermione knelt beside Ron to help, though he couldn't help noticing the smirk on her face.

Remus thanked them, then frowned at Hermione who was staring at the last piece of parchment with an odd expression. "Something wrong, Hermione?"

Hermione glanced up and turned the paper around. "Who drew this?"

Remus looked at the sketch, frowning deeply. There were four characters drawn on it, each bearing some resemblance to one of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. "I've no idea," he murmured, examining it closely. There was something oddly familiar about the four people in the drawing.

"It came out of your bag," pointed out Hermione.

"I was sorting through some old papers. It must have been my old flatmate's," shrugged Remus.

"Who was he?" asked Hermione, while Harry and Ron stared at her. What was so interesting about an old drawing?

"He was a she," said Remus shortly. "But she can't have drawn it – that's not her signature," he added, pointing to the scrawled initials in the bottom right hand corner of the sketch.

"So who is RAB?" asked Hermione, her face a picture of innocence as Harry and Ron gaped in surprise.

"No idea," said Remus, shaking his head. "She might have bought it from somewhere."

"I doubt that very much," said Faye, peering over his shoulder and grinning.

"Why's that?" questioned Remus, looking round at her.

"Because that-" she said, pointing to the figure furthest on the right, "-is you. And I'd guess that is your charming friend Black," she continued, indicating a hooded figure with a rose clutched in skeletal fingers.

"And they're Peter and James," said Remus suddenly, realisation dawning. Someone had drawn characteurs of the Marauders, but who amongst Katherine's friends had a name beginning with R? Robert Avery? But then what did the B stand for?

"You've really no idea who drew it?" asked Harry, leaning forward hopefully. If it was a sketch from Remus' school days, there was a good chance that the artist was the same RAB as the mysterious note writer.

"Must have been one of her friends," shrugged Remus.

"So it's a girl?" asked Ron, a slight note of disbelief in his voice.

"Not necessarily, she had a lot of friends. Well, acquaintances at any rate," amended Remus. Katherine had had few real friends and those she did have, she kept quiet about. Remus smiled at the trio and tucked the picture into his bag. "I'm afraid I haven't the faintest clue who drew it."

Hermione was about to ask something else but at that moment Mrs Weasley bustled into the room, hurrying them all off to the dinner table and Remus made his excuses and departed for home.

"Next time we see him, we'll ask where she is now," murmured Harry as they took their seats at the table.

Ron nodded and Hermione added in a low voice. "And what he's hiding." The two boys stared at her and she shrugged. "Didn't you notice? He never mentioned her name..."


5th November, 18 years previously

"Bloody hell, Reg, what did you do? Dad's after your blood," said Katherine, staring into her friend's brown eyes, hoping to see some glimmer of justification. "He's sent Trix after you.
Trix, Reg, your cousin. The deranged sadist."

Regulus lay down his quill, frowning slightly. "How long have we got?"

Katherine put her hands on his desk and leant forward, black hair falling around her face. "If we stay here, I'd say about thirty seconds. Trix likes to make an entrance, so she'll probably knock first." To her disbelief, Regulus simply nodded and headed towards a cabinet that stood against the wall. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but you seem to be taking this remarkably calmly," she remarked acridly, staring at him with eyes brighter than sapphires.

"And why not? There's nothing I can do, and I knew this would happen eventually. I just hoped it wouldn't be this soon." Regulus looked up, his dark brown eyes sad, but calm. "Here, take this."

Katherine reached out and took the scrolls he was offering her, casting a quick glance over them. One word in particular caught her eye; indeed she would've had to have been blind to miss it since it was written in large letters at the top of the first scroll.

Horcruxes.

Voldemort's horcruxes. Tom had split his soul. Well that explained a lot.

"D*mn, Reg. Where did you get this stuff?" she asked, looking up at him with wide eyes.

"Asked around. Did a bit of digging," shrugged Regulus.

"A bit of digging?" said Katherine, giving him one of her Looks. "Reg, this is a bloody excavation."

Far below a bell rang, announcing a visitor. Regulus grabbed her arm and looked earnestly at her. "Listen, I found one-"

"You
what?" asked Katherine. She was starting to get the feeling she'd seriously underestimated this man.

"I found one," repeated Regulus, more urgently. "A locket, a golden locket, but I couldn't destroy it, so I hid it at home. Promise me you'll get it, Kat, promise me you'll destroy it. We can't let him rule the world – you've got to stop him. So promise me."

Katherine stared at him for a long moment, vaguely aware of footsteps echoing along the long corridor outside. Poor Regulus. She should have tried harder to save him from all this, but he probably wouldn't have let her. Besides, he'd discovered Voldemort's one weakness, the one shred of hope left for the world and he didn't care that it was costing him his life. There was no way she could refuse to help him now.

"You always were brighter than you let on, Reg, and you never did belong in Slytherin." She gave him a small smile, and nodded. "I promise."

Regulus sighed with relief as she tucked his research safely inside her robes and drew out her wand to disapparate. Just as she was about to leave, he clutched at her arm again.

"Tell Auriga I love her."

"I will," said Katherine softly.

"And just one last thing, Kat," he added as the footsteps stopped outside the door and a hand knocked twice. Bellatrix had arrived. Katherine met his gaze and saw the look in his eyes. Fear and pleading, and a desperate wish to find peace at last - peace that Bella would make him wait to gain.

The knock came again, louder.

"Please?"


Half a minute later, Bella kicked the door in and stared in bewilderment at the body lying sprawled on the floor.

It looked very much as though someone had beaten her to it...


-----------------------

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Last edited by Purple Banana; November 12th, 2005 at 12:15 am.
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  #6  
Old November 21st, 2005, 11:34 pm
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
First Year
 
Joined: 5344 days
Location: Behind you
Age: 30
Posts: 48
A/N: I could spend ages apologising for the lateness of this update, or I could let you get on with reading it. Which d'you think I'm going to do?


Chapter 5 – Little white lies

Remus was sitting by the fire in the Burrow, Tonks snuggled up against him, when Faye came down the stairs, suitcase in hand. He sat up abruptly, dislodging Tonks and staring at Faye.

"You're leaving already?" he asked, unable to conceal his disappointment.

Faye smiled slightly, brushing a strand of hair behind her ear. "I've got a job to go to," she said gently.

"But-" Remus hesitated, not sure how he intended to finish the sentence. "Can't it wait?" he asked eventually.

Faye shook her head. "Term starts in a few days. Look, I promise I'll visit as often as I can, ok?"

"Come over for Christmas, you mean?" asked Remus, a little reproachfully.

"Of course," agreed Faye. "But before then as well. I mean, I need to get settled in, but how about the weekend after next?"

Remus was quiet for a moment, searching her face for the glint of mischief he'd seen so often on Katherine's face. "We're not talking about the same thing, are we?" he asked slowly as Faye's lips twitched into a barely suppressed smirk.

"Faye's been offered a place at Hogwarts," grinned Tonks, her dark eyes glittering with impishly. "Didn't you know?"

Remus stared from Tonks to Faye in disbelief. "You're teaching at Hogwarts? Here? In Britain?"

Faye nodded. "I met Minerva McGonagall at the wedding and we got talking. She said there was a position going, and since I was thinking of moving over here anyway, it sounded perfect."

"What subject?" asked Remus, though he thought he already knew.

"Defence against the dark arts," answered Faye promptly, confirming Remus' fears.

"You do know the job's cursed, don't you?" said Tonks, eyes alight with mischief.

"That's just a rumour," said Faye laughing.

"It's not," said Ginny, emerging from the kitchen, Harry, Ron and Hermione following. "No one ever lasts more than a year."

"Yep," affirmed Ron. "So far we've had an evil minion sharing his body with You-Know-Who, a self obsessed lunatic who was utterly useless-"

"He was not," objected Hermione, blushing.

"Hermione, he couldn't even stun a pixie," pointed out Harry reasonably.

"Yeah, but-"

"And then we had Remus," cut in Ginny, before the minor disagreement could escalate into a row. "But he resigned," she added resentfully.

"Leaving us to the clutches of Lord Voldemort's most loyal follower," said Ron, ticking number four off on his fingers. "Then of course there was Umbridge – enough said. And last year..." He trailed off, shrugging. "Well, you see our point."

"Ok, say it is cursed," smiled Faye. "Who cursed it?"

There was silence for a moment, then: "Voldemort."

Everyone turned to stare at Harry, who shrugged. "He applied for the post once, and Dumbledore refused him. No one's managed to stay for more than a year since."

"Well," said Faye, after a while. "It's about time someone broke it, isn't it?"

"You think you can do that?" asked Harry sceptically.

"I can try," said Faye firmly. There was a long pause while Harry and Faye faced each other, eyes locked. Harry broke first.

To fill the awkward silence that followed, Ginny turned to Faye and held out her hand, revealing the white scrap of paper she was holding. "Mum found this in your jeans pocket – you remember she washed them after Fred and George spilt pumpkin juice over you? I'm afraid the ink's probably run."

Faye took the paper, frowning. She didn't remember anyone giving her a note. She unfolded it with difficulty as the water had glued it together, and smoothed it out. "Oh, it's from the flat," she said without thinking. "And don't worry, it's written in, well, I don't know, but it hasn't run."

Remus stood up immediately, crossing the room to look at it. "Biro."

"What?" asked Faye, staring at him.

"It's written in ballpoint pen – the ink doesn't run as easily," explained Remus. "Katherine didn't use quills unless she had to."

"Who's Katherine?" asked Harry quickly, jumping at the opportunity to ask about Remus' mysterious ex-flat mate.

"She used to live with me," said Remus absently, though his eyes flickered briefly to the form of Tonks on the sofa who had raised her eyebrows. "Um, we lived next door to each other when we were kids," he added as Faye rolled her eyes. "Katherine's an old friend. Very old. Well, obviously the same age as me, but-"

"I'd give you a hand to dig that hole, but you seem to be managing just fine on your own," said Faye, conveniently cutting off Remus' babble. She smiled sweetly at him as he glared at her, then turned to Tonks. "She was like a sister to him. Anything more than friendship would practically be incest."

"Wasn't she your cousin?" asked Hermione slowly, thinking back to the day Faye had arrived and the twins' reenactment of Moody's spectacular flying tackle. Faye looked at her in surprise, then nodded, before looking quickly back at the note. The trio exchanged significant looks; Faye seemed to be strangely uncomfortable that they'd figured this out.

"Does anyone know what-" frowned Faye, peering at the paper, "-B of E is?"

"What?"

"B of E," repeated Faye. "That's what it says. B of E, then V42."

"C of E stands for Church of England," said Hermione promptly. "So B of E might be...Bank of England?"

Remus and Faye looked at each other. The Bank of England? What would Katherine want with the Bank of England? All her money was in Gringotts, wasn't it?

"That'd make sense," volunteered Tonks, from her seat by the fire. "V42 is Vault 42, right? So that only leaves one question."

Remus nodded grimly, looking down at his friend's familiar handwriting. "Where's the key?"


Bella looked up sharply, acutely aware that someone was staring at her. Her dark eyes swept the room and landed on Severus, who was sitting wreathed in shadow in one corner. He raised his glass in mock toast and smiled grimly.

"What is your problem, Snape?" she asked loudly. The others in the room turned to look at her, then over at Severus, preparing for the customary argument that took place whenever Severus and Bella were in the same room for too long.

"Nothing at all, dear Bella," said Snape silkily. "I was just entertaining a rather amusing thought."

"That concerned myself?" asked Bella, a knife edge in her voice.

"Riddle, actually," said Severus, leaning back in his chair so that his eyes fell into shadow. "McKenzie was saying just the other day that they'd seen someone who was the spitting image of her not too far from here."

In his seat by the fire, Daemon smiled to himself. It was a mark of how skilled a liar Severus had become that he could turn 'France, two decades ago' into 'not too far from here' and make it sound entirely believable.

Bella laughed, though Daemon could have sworn that she'd tensed for a moment.

"Katherine's dead, Severus. She did what she came to do and she died," said Bella lightly, shaking her head. "It's high time you came to terms with that."

"She didn't," said the low voice of Alecto.

"Didn't what?" asked Bella acridly.

"Didn't finish what she started," said Alecto quietly. "Rosier went and Wilkes went, but you Bella, you're still here."

There was a long pause, then Lucius chuckled. "You forgot Stone."

Alecto looked up at him blankly. "Stone?"

"Ryan Stone," smiled Lucius. "He went too."

"Where did he go?" asked Alecto, arching an eyebrow.

"Knowing Riddle, to seven kinds of hell," said Daemon, smirking as he stirred the fire with a poker. "But Bella's right, Snape," he added, glancing up at Severus, reflected flames dancing in his eyes. "Riddle's long gone."

Severus met his gaze, smiling dangerously. "So it would seem."

"What's that's supposed to mean?" asked Bella, her dark eyes flickering between the two men.

Severus glanced up at her slyly. "Didn't you hear, Bella? Kensington found her cell. It's empty."

"You're lying," said Bella softly, her voice dangerously soft. "Katherine's dead. Everyone knows that. Azkaban makes you see things..."

From his chair by the fire, Daemon gave her an odd look. "What was that last one?"

Bella shook her head violently. "Nothing. It was nothing. She wasn't real."

There was quiet for a moment, then Severus laughed, low and sinister. "She came to visit you, didn't she? After she broke out. And you thought she was an illusion."

"No!" snarled Bella, the madness that was so close to the surface these days rising in an instant. "I didn't see anything. I don't remember anything. She wasn't there."

"What didn't she say?" asked Daemon softly, smiling grimly.

"Nothing! Because she wasn't there! It was just a dream!" screeched Bella, glowering at Daemon.

"Of course, Trix," agreed Severus amiably. "Just a trick of the light."

"That's right," breathed Bella, the anger subsiding. "Just a trick of the light."

Severus stood up, setting his glass down on the table by his chair and was about to leave the room, when he paused suddenly, as though a thought had just occurred to him. "Lucius, refresh my memory will you. Dementors make you relive what, exactly?"

Lucius looked up at him, then at Bella, his grey eyes glinting. "The worst moments of your life, Severus."

"Ah. I suspected as much," nodded Severus, pulling the door open. "Good day to you all."

The door just had time to swing closed behind him before Bella erupted from her chair and hauled it open again, her face a mask of fury. Severus was at the bottom of the stairs, looking curiously at a hat stand. He turned when he heard the door open and stared at her with his cold black eyes.

"Is something the matter?" he asked, raising a haughty eyebrow.

"You tricked me," hissed Bella, dark eyes flashing with rage.

"I did? When was this?"

"Just now. In here," growled Bella, jabbing a trembling finger at the room behind her.

Severus stared at her disdainfully. "Bella what are you going on about?"

Bella gaped at him in disbelief. "Do you seriously expect me to believe you don't know?"

"Bella, I have spent the past hour upstairs discussing matters of importance with the Dark Lord. I cannot be in two places at once and since I am positive I was upstairs until just recently, I was most certainly not devoting my time to harassing you, although I must say would gladly shake the hand of whoever did, since they appear to have done an excellent job."

"But who would impersonate you?" asked Bella, eyeing Severus suspiciously. "They'd need to brew Polyjuice and frankly Snape, nothing on earth would induce me to drink your hair."

"It's a mystery," said Severus quietly, his dark eyes glimmering with amusement. Bella frowned, then turned and retreated into the study, keeping a cautious eye on Severus who stared back calmly. When the door had clicked shut, Severus turned his head and focused on the black hat stand that had mysteriously appeared in the hall. "You've got some nerve, Riddle," he said softly.

The stand was still for a moment, then the outline shimmered and reformed into the shape of Katherine, sitting cross-legged on the floor. She did not look amused.

"Why did you do it?" she asked, blue eyes boring into his.

"Do what?"

"Kill him."

"This really isn't the right time-"

"It never will be," said Katherine shortly, standing up. "See, I can understand you telling Dad the prophecy. I can even understand you being a double agent and betraying the Order, but what I don't get is why you murdered Dumbledore. All he did was trust you."

"He was a fool," said Snape coldly. "You always said so."

"Yes, but I didn't try to kill him," growled Katherine, stepping closer to Severus so their faces were inches apart. "I didn't try to destroy the last chance we ever had – the last chance Remus had."

"That's what its all about, isn't it, Riddle?" Severus shook his head in disgust. "It always comes down that bloody werewolf. Are you in love with him or something? Is that why you've only ever been with two boys? Because you were waiting for him to ask you out?"

"Don't be ridiculous," said Katherine coldly, her eyes blazing dangerously.

"So you're not in love with him?" asked Severus in a deceptively pleasant tone of voice. "Oh no, that's right. You're in love with his best friend. The ever wonderful Sirius Black. Tell me, how's that working out for you?"

"You b&stard," whispered Katherine, ignoring the threats of tears welling up in her eyes. "You complete b&stard. You never got it did you, Severus?"

"Got what?" inquired Snape, staring impassively at her.

"Do you honestly think I meant to fall for Sirius?" asked Katherine, almost imploringly.

"You agreed to go out with him, didn't you?"

"Only because you never asked," growled Katherine, eyes suddenly fierce at his bewildered expression. "Did you think I was going to wait around forever?"

"No." Severus shook his head, laughing slightly, though there was little humour in the situation. "No, no, no, this is all wrong. You walked out on me, Riddle. Remember? You thought I'd joined. You didn't let me explain, and you went running off into Black's open arms."

"And you didn't come after me," snarled Katherine, glaring up at him. "I gave you a month to try and explain, but you just buried yourself in books and avoided me. I didn't even speak to Sirius until after the exams, so don't play the victim Severus. It doesn't suit you."

There was silence for a moment while they stood rooted to the spot, eyes locked.

"You broke my heart," said Severus tonelessly, gazing at her, not knowing what else to say.

"Fair's fair," murmured Katherine. "You broke mine."

The floorboards overhead creaked and Severus looked up sharply, but saw no one. He shook his head and turned back to Katherine, only to find an empty patch of air. He sighed heavily and rubbed his eyes. He hated it when she did that. He was never sure whether she'd really been there or not.

He ran quickly over their conversation in his head. Probably not there, he decided. Especially not that last bit. She'd never given any indication of liking him before, had she? Or had she?

Severus pulled his travelling cloak off the hook and put it on, not really concentrating on what he was doing. His mind was on his seventh year in Hogwarts, flipping through the vague memories in an attempt to find anything that would convince him that he wasn't going mad.

A lot of things had happened that year, some of which he'd only discovered years afterwards. The fact that Evan Rosier had been the one who killed Fiona Parkinson, for instance. That had surprised him. He'd always presumed that it had been Katherine; she'd always looked uncomfortable whenever the subject was brought up.

And the entire Reuben affair. He wondered vaguely if she knew about Greyback. Then again, he was still alive by all accounts, so presumably not. Probably best not to be near her when she did find out. You never could tell how Katherine was going to react about things that hit that close to home.

He opened the door that lead out into the grounds surrounding the manor house and began the long walk to the boundaries of the anti-apparation wards. There were only two events that he'd witnessed Katherine discover.

The first was her discovery of her father. True, he hadn't know this at the time but he remembered the change in her personality all too well. She'd gone from being an quiet, reserved girl to a violent, determined witch. And he'd helped her.

It was that morning in the library in their fifth year, when she'd demanded his help then hexed him when he'd refused. That was where it had all started. He'd become intrigued by her then, and by the end of the year, he'd have done just about anything for her. The fifteen year old girl with jet black hair and eyes so blue it was alarming. What he'd never realised was that she'd felt the same way.

He sighed, tugging his cloak more firmly over his shoulders. It was foolish to dwell on the past and yet somehow he couldn't stop himself. So, the second time...

The second time Katherine had changed was when she'd found her mother. Well, not exactly found her as such, more like found out who she was. He remembered that like it was yesterday; most probably because she'd unintentionally spent the night in his dormitory. The change was so slight as to be almost non-existent, but it was there. From that day on, Katherine had an escape route. Presuming Arcadia Belle was still alive, of course.

Severus frowned slightly, the name ringing faint alarm bells in his head. He'd heard that name recently, he was sure of it. What's more, he was positive that the name had seemed familiar back then too. Now when was it? Someone had been talking about...Katherine? Was that it? But surely no one knew-

He stopped, the memory surfacing suddenly, like a lost ship appearing over the horizon. James McKenzie. He'd said there was a girl who looked like Katherine at Beauxbaton. A girl called Faye Belle – Professor Belle's daughter...

He frowned deeply, pondering what to do with this information.

Keep quiet, whispered the small voice at the back of his mind. Keep your mouth shut and see what happens. If all else fails, tell Katherine. She has a way of sorting these things out. You probably don't like the people she'd kill, anyway...

----------------

Well? What d'you think?


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  #7  
Old December 4th, 2005, 12:20 am
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
First Year
 
Joined: 5344 days
Location: Behind you
Age: 30
Posts: 48
Re: Fallen Angel

A/N: I know I took my time, but it should be worth it. Oh, and thanks to Nys for the help.

Chapter 6 – End of the line

A man sat in the shade of a sun parasol outside a small café in Diagon Alley. The lines on his face betrayed his age, which was sixty, give or take a few years. It was strange how he'd never realised he was growing older. Over a decade of peace had made him lax and now time was catching up with him.

He looked up cautiously, brown eyes flickering from one badly concealed recruit to another. Over forty years of loyal service, and this was how Lord Riddle repaid him. An ambush that a five year old could have spotted. He sighed, and returned to scribbling on the napkin that a thoughtful waitress had laid out for him.

Of course he'd always known that Riddle would finish him off in the end, but he'd hoped that he'd at least have the decency to send someone good to do it. Someone like Kensington or Snape, hell, even Rabastan Lestrange would have done. Not...well, he didn't even know the names of these people, which just went to prove his point. They were new; half of them couldn't even cast the Dark Mark properly.

He shook his head and smiled slightly, pocketing his pen and gazing bemusedly at the address he'd written on the serviette. He still wasn't sure if the rumours were true, but he had to try, and this was his last chance.

He looked up again and spotted the group of teenagers emerging from the new wizarding joke shop situated a little further along the road. It was a long shot, but it was the best chance he was going to get.

And she'd go after him, wouldn't she? She was bound to be curious at least. Or even if she wasn't, the boy would look for her when word got out. She'd been engaged to his godfather after all, and the boy-who-just-wouldn't-die would want answers.

He tossed a few sickles onto the table to cover the bill and stood up, keeping the folded napkin enclosed in his fist. Now or never...


"I don't know where those two get their ideas from," said Ron, fiddling with the latest gadget from his brothers' shop. "But I wish they'd tell me- Ow!" He pulled his hand back sharply, sucking at his finger. "How d'you make this thing work?"

"Give it here," sighed Hermione, taking the small sphere out of Ron's hands and tapping it smartly with her wand. Harry smirked at his two best friends and glanced up the street, frowning at the crowd around Flourish and Blotts. Diagon Alley wasn't as busy as it had been before the war started, but only made the bustling throng of people more conspicuous.

Of course, the fact that the narrow street was not as densely populated as normal also meant that he was able to spot the man hurrying towards him while he was still a considerable distance away. He nudged Ron who had retrieved the ball like gadget from Hermione and was tinkering with it again.

"What?" asked Ron, glancing up as the strange man broke into a run. Harry was about to suggest that they head back into the shop for safety when a jet of green light illuminated the shadows on the opposite side of the alley, bounced off a hastily contrived shield charm and sunk into a girl on the other side of the street who collapsed immediately.

A little way down the street, another burst of green light erupted from a wand, but this one rose into the sky, twisting itself into the glowing outline of a skull and snake, visible even against the bright blue of the sky.

Harry was vaguely aware of someone screaming and then the entire street was in chaos. Ron dropped the sphere, which exploded with a loud bang and a flash of blinding white light. He grabbed Hermione's hand and pulled her towards the shop door which had been thrown open by Fred, who was standing there, wand in hand.

"Get inside, quickly!" he yelled above the clamour of frightened voices. Ron pushed Hermione in front of him and hurried through the door. Harry was right behind him, but before he follow, someone grabbed his wrist and thrust something into his hand.

It was the man who'd been heading for him. Close to, he could see that the man was older than he'd thought, with lines on what had probably once been a rather handsome face and hair so blond as to be almost white. His eyes were deep brown and looked almost imploring up at Harry.

"Give it to Riddle," he said, his voice low and urgent. "Tell her she was right and that I'm sor-" He broke off abruptly, expression frozen mid sentence and at the same time, Harry felt someone grab the back of his jumper and yank him backwards, almost strangling him in the process. The man toppled over and fell with a sickening thud onto the cobbles as Harry was hauled bodily inside the Weasley Twins' shop.

Fred, or possibly George, Harry couldn't tell, slammed the door shut and slid the bolt firmly across before casting the colloportus charm.

"What were you doing just standing there?" asked Ron, staring at him. Harry noticed that he had not yet released Hermione's hand. "They were Death Eaters!"

"It wasn't my fault," objected Harry, "That man caught my arm."

"You should have jinxed him," said Fred firmly, ushering them towards the large fireplace in the back room.

"No, he wasn't trying to hurt me," said Harry, watching the last few of Fred and George's customers Floo out of the shop. Every public building had to have one way fireplaces now, under a new legislation drawn up by the government. An emergency escape route connected to the Floo network, but monitored by Aurors. You could only Floo out of civic buildings, not in, unless you had a special pass issued by the government, although after a lot of negotiation, shop keepers had been allowed to carry restricted passes that allowed them to Floo into their own shop.

"Harry, people were firing Unforgivables left, right and center!" exclaimed Hermione, face pale. "You could have been hit!"

"If that man hadn't been standing in front of you, you would have been," said George, pulling the top off a new jar of Floo powder.

"No I wouldn't - they weren't aiming for me," said Harry patiently. "They were aiming for him."

Fred gave him a sceptical look as George passed him the Floor powder. "Why would they do that?"

"I don't know," admitted Harry. "But then why would they attack me in broad daylight, for everyone to see?"

"Because you weren't expecting it?" suggested Hermione, her fingers clutching Ron's hand unconsciously.

"We can discuss this later," said George, looking nervously back at the door of the shop. "Right now, the best thing we can do is get home."

The other nodded and one by one, Flooed back to the Burrow.


In a small house in Essex, the flames of fireplace flared green. A man with short brown hair and hazel eyes stepped out and nearly stumbled back into the fire at the sight of the woman curled up on the sofa.

"I wish you wouldn't do that," he sighed, stamping on the hem of his robes to put out the flames.

Katherine glanced up from her book and grinned at him. "Good afternoon to you to, Daemon."

Daemon scowled at her and threw his cloak on a chair. "Why exactly is it good?"

"I don't know, you tell me," said Katherine, putting her book down and gazing serenely over at him.

"Well, there's one less witch in the world. One less wizard, come to that," answered Daemon, pouring himself a whisky.

"Isn't it a bit early to start drinking?" asked Katherine, raising an eyebrow.

"The wizard was Kelly Hunt."

Katherine stared at him, then walked over and took the glass he offered her. Death Eaters killing Death Eaters. Things must be bad.

"D'you know why?" she asked after a while as he refilled her glass for the second time.

"No," said Daemon shortly. "I was in Knockturn Alley at the time. I think it was Crawford and Giles, and a few of their friends." Katherine stared blankly at him. "They're new," he explained, catching her expression.

Katherine frowned. She didn't like not knowing who was who. It made things dangerous when you didn't know which side people were on.

"Who was the girl?" she asked, gazing pensively into her glass.

"No idea. Looked about eighteen, probably just left Hogwarts." He sighed, running a hand through his hair.

"Is Theodore going back?" asked Katherine softly, not looking at him.

Daemon shrugged. "Ask his mother. She never tells me anything."

Katherine gave him a sideways look and asked curiously, "Have you two actually broken up, or what?"

"She moved out," said Daemon sullenly. "And took Theo with her. Can't remember ever making it official."

"So you're still married?"

"Technically," muttered Daemon. "But considering the fact that we haven't spoken more than two words to each other for the past five or six years, we might as well be strangers."

"What about your son?"

Daemon frowned, avoiding her questioning gaze. "I tried writing, but he never replied."

There was an uncomfortable silence, then Katherine set down her empty glass. "I should get going. I've got some things to do."

"Sure, oh and try to avoid any other DE's, will you? Severus let slip to Bella that you might still be around and well, you know how fast rumour spreads. If Bella was on the brink before this, she's practically hurling herself off it now."

Katherine smiled wickedly as she pulled on her cloak. "I'll be sure to bear that in mind."


When the trio finally managed to escape the clutches of Mrs Weasley, who was alternating between fretting and scolding them, they hurried upstairs to the relative safety of Ron's room. Hermione shut the door behind them and cast an Imperturbable charm on it.

"Well?" she asked, looking expectantly at Harry. Ron glanced from one to the other with a confused expression.

"Well what?" he asked, staring at Harry.

"Harry was holding something when Fred dragged him inside," said Hermione, sitting down next to Ron.

"The blond man gave it to me," said Harry, reaching into his pocket and pulling out the soft fabric.

"It's a napkin," said Ron, looking dubiously at it.

"There's an address written on it," said Harry, examining the cramped writing.

"Did he say what it was for?" asked Hermione hopefully. "Maybe that's why people were trying to kill him - because he knew something he shouldn't?"

Harry frowned, sitting down on his makeshift bed. "He told me to give it to Riddle," he mused quietly. Ron's eyes widened and Hermione gasped.

"To Vol-?" she began, but Harry shook his head.

"No, see that's the really weird thing," he said, looking up at them, a trace of dry amusement in his voice. "He said: 'give it to Riddle. Tell her she was right.'"


Narcissa Malfoy pushed open the tall oak doors that marked the entrance to the Malfoy library and stopped just inside. She hesitated, then turned her head to the right and narrowed her eyes at the person lounging against the wall, reading a book.

"What are you doing here, Riddle? she asked acidly. "I thought I told you to stay away."

"You did," agreed Katherine shutting her book and smiling pleasantly up at Narcissa.

"And?"

"And I ignored you. Obviously."

Narcissa scowled at her and walked to the center of the room, sitting at the large table that Lucius had commissioned the year before last.

"What do you want, Riddle?" she asked wearily.

"Answers," said Katherine, tossing her book on the table and pulling up another chair. "Like, why are men so d*mn stubborn and stupid?"

"I take it you've been to see Severus, then? I told you not to," said Narcissa calmly, picking up Katherine's book with slender fingers. "What's this?"

"A book."

Narcissa gave her junior an appraising look. "I can see that. What language?"

"Greek," said Katherine flatly.

"It's not written in the Greek alphabet," pointed out Narcissa.

"It's new age Greek," said Katherine, her expression unreadable.

"Noisull id nanoit peced," read Narcissa carefully. "Doesn't sound like any language I've ever heard."

"Do you know every language in the world?"

"No, but-"

"Well that would be why you haven't heard it then," said Katherine with a dangerous smile.

"Fine. Keep your little secrets if it makes you happy, Riddle," conceded Narcissa.
"Just don't expect me to divulge mine."

"Not even why you made Severus take the Unbreakable Vow?" asked Katherine, gazing intently at the stately woman in front of her.

Narcissa held her gaze steadily. "The Dark Lord was trying to get Draco killed."

"Draco? Ah yes, your son."

"Yes, my son. Do you have children, Riddle?" asked Narcissa, a very slight tremour in her voice.

"No."

"Then you can't possibly understand what I'm going through."

Katherine looked away, fiddling with her ring idly. "He's not Severus' responsibility."

"Who else was I supposed to turn to?" asked Narcissa sharply. "Lucius was in Azkaban-"

"Dumbledore," said Katherine quietly.

"That muggle loving fo-?"

"He was a good man," cut in Katherine angrily, looking her, eyes blazing. "And a d*mn good wizard. What chance do we stand now? Tom's won. There's no one left to defy him - the Ministry's a shambles, the wizarding world's a mess and Tom's picking off the strongest people one by one. We're screwed, Cissa. So Draco was in danger, so what? How many other children are going to die because of what you did? Everyone's got parents."

"And what makes them any more important than my son?" hissed Narcissa.

"They're innocent," snarled Katherine, glaring at her.

"So were the people you killed," retorted Narcissa.

"No they weren't," said Katherine fiercely. "I killed Aurors who were trying to kill me, I killed corrupt government officials who were making people's life hell, I killed Death Eaters who were trying to hurt my friends. No one I killed was ever innocent."

Narcissa arched an eyebrow and gazed malignantly at her. "What about Regulus?"

Katherine's eyes narrowed. "What about him?"

"What did he do wrong?" asked Narcissa pleasantly.

Katherine shrugged. "Ask Bella. She killed him."

"No she didn't. You did," said Narcissa softly.

"Bella told Dad she did," objected Katherine guardedly.

"She told the Dark Lord that he was dead. I'm her sister; she told me he was already dead when she found him."

"Maybe he had a heart attack," offered Katherine.

"Maybe you killed him," suggested Narcissa, smiling nastily.

Katherine smiled back grimly. "Maybe he was guilty."

"Of what?"

Katherine smiled sweetly and picked up her book. "Wouldn't you like to know."

Narcissa opened her mouth to reply but it was too late; Katherine had already disappeared. She frowned and scribbled down the title of the book she'd been holding. New age Greek. Of course, Riddle...


Hermione and Ron stared at Harry in stunned silence. "Are you sure?"

"I know what I heard," said Harry firmly.

"But...his mother is dead," said Ron nervously.

"She wasn't called Riddle, either," remarked Harry. "She never married."

"Why did the man give it to you?" asked Hermione thoughtfully. "I mean, I know you're a national hero and everything, but that doesn't mean you know everyone."

"He knew he was going to die," said Harry, looking pensively at the address. "That's why he started running before those Death Eaters started shooting Unforgivables at him."

"Where is the address? Could we go and see what's there?" asked Hermione hopefully.

Harry shook his head. "Not unless you've got family or something we could stay with half way across the world."

"What?" asked Ron, looking puzzled.

"Read it." Harry threw the napkin to him. "Fairymeade Station, Jericho Qld 4726, Australia. So, any ideas...?"


Nicola Meliflua heard the key turn in the lock of the door and stood up, arms folded.

"What the hell d'you think you're doing, Riddle?" she asked pointedly. A woman with curly auburn hair and deep green eyes stared at her, hand still on the door knob.

"Nicki?"

Nicola rolled her eyes and grabbed her friend's wrist. "Come on."

"Where are we going?" asked Katherine, as Nicola picked up her unopened suitcase and kicked the door shut.

"To my place. I've got a spare bedroom and you can't keep running across the country like this," said Nicola firmly, her brown eyes determined.

"But-"

"No buts. You don't have a choice in the matter, ok?"

Katherine managed to pull her hand away and looked bemusedly at her old friend. "Why are you doing this?"

Nicola glanced up at her, brown eyes serious. "Because I know what it feels like to lose a friend once. I don't want to have to do it again."

Katherine gazed at her for a moment, then looked away. Nicola smiled gently and tilted her head to look at the book Katherine was carrying.

"Noisull id nanoit peced," she read slowly. "Deception and illusion. I wouldn't have thought you'd need to read a book on that, Kat. Shouldn't you be the one writing it?"

Katherine glanced up at her in surprise. Nicola laughed, and handed her a portkey. "I'm head secretary for the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. I'm used to cracking codes. You weren't even trying with that one."

Katherine grinned and took the portkey. "I think you've been holding out on me, Nic."

"Yeah, well, keep it to yourself. Men don't like women to be more intelligent that they are," replied Nicki, smiling wickedly. "Which is why you and Sirius was never going to work."

Katherine arched an eyebrow. "What would you have done?"

"Oh Sirius, definitely," said Nicola quickly.

"I said what, not who," said Katherine, rolling her eyes.

Nicola grinned. "I know. I'd choose Black, but only because you'd kill me if I said Severus because let's be honest, Kat - you and Snape are soulmates."

"Tell him that," murmured Katherine.

Nicola met her gaze and smiled faintly. "I did. The day you went to Azkaban."

"What did he say?"

Nicola smirked and tapped the portkey to activate it. "He said to tell you that."

------------------

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Nana


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  #8  
Old December 15th, 2005, 11:50 pm
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
First Year
 
Joined: 5344 days
Location: Behind you
Age: 30
Posts: 48
Re: Fallen Angel

A/N: This chapter jumps about a bit, but I think you should be able to follow it ok. Oh, and watch out for the plot points...

Chapter 7 – Three lefts make a right

Katherine woke that morning in a soft bed for the first time in nearly twenty years. She frowned at the ceiling, running through the past twenty four hours in her head. She'd seen Daemon and Narcissa, and then Nicki had turned up in her hotel room. Now that was strange.

She sighed and crawled out of her warm bed, pulling on a black silk dressing gown before wandering out into the hall and heading downstairs. Nicki was in the kitchen, fully dressed and half way through a mug of coffee. She raised an amused eyebrow at Katherine as she entered.

"I know the food is awful in Azkaban, but you're never going to make me believe that that shirt once fitted you," she grinned as Katherine poured herself a glass of milk and sat down, rubbing her eyes.

"It was Sirius'," she muttered, wrapping her dressing gown around herself defensively.

Nicki frowned slightly. "You went back to your flat?"

"No, I went to his," said Katherine, yawning. "I'm not that stupid."

Nicki gave her friend a curious look. "Nobody's living in your old flat, you know. Lupin moved out after you went to prison."

Katherine looked up sharply. "What? Why?"

"Don't know. You'd have to ask him that," shrugged Nicki, glancing at Katherine's hands which were clasping her glass; the knuckles had gone white. "Something wrong?"

"Remus is ok?" asked Katherine, voice barely above a whisper.

"Aside from turning into a werewolf once a month, you mean?" asked Nicki, her brown eyes appraising. "Did you know about?"

"Of course I did," said Katherine dismissively. "Is he alright?"

Nicki gave her friend a sceptical look. "You mean you haven't tracked him down? He's meant to be your best friend, Katherine."

"I know," said Katherine quietly. "I didn't want to find out he was dead."

"Well he's not," said Nicki. "But seeing as two of his best friends have been murdered, one's turned traitor and the fourth's on the run from the Ministry of Magic, I wouldn't say he was doing fantastically well. Oh yes, and he has no job, no money and as far as I can tell, no place to live, although there is a rumour going round the department that he's hooked up with some Auror half his age..."

"Anyone trying to kill him?" asked Katherine, ignoring Nicki's remarks.

"Apart from Umbridge? Don't think so."

"Who's Umbridge?" frowned Katherine, fingering the wand stuck into her dressing gown belt idly.

"Some Ministry official who has it in for half-breeds. I wouldn't worry about her though; she's in Saint Mungo's at present," smirked Nicki, sipping her coffee.

"How dreadful," said Katherine unsympathetically. "What happened?"

"Had a run in with some centaurs," said Nicki, now grinning. "I believe she insinuated that they were subhuman."

Katherine laughed for what felt like the first time in ages. "She deserves what she got then." The pair were silent for a while, then Katherine asked slowly. "How'd you know Remus is a werewolf?"

"It was in the paper," shrugged Nicki. "He was teaching at Hogwarts and someone let it slip. He resigned immediately, of course."

"Who was it?" scowled Katherine.

"I don't know."

"Yeah, you do."

"I don't," reiterated Nicki calmly. "But I would dearly like to know who told The Daily Prophet about this latest escapade."

Katherine stared at her, utterly nonplussed, until Nicki slid the morning paper across the desk towards her. She looked down at it and raised her eyebrows. Oh dear. Tom was not going to be happy about this...


Harry and Ron awoke to the crash of crockery from downstairs. Harry fumbled for his glasses and blinked at Ron, who was sitting bolt upright in bed. A second later, they were both running downstairs, towards the source of the commotion.

"What's wrong?" yelled Ron as they rounded the last corner to see Mrs Weasley being helped into a chair by her husband. The contents of the breakfast tray, which Mrs Weasley had obviously been holding moments before, were littering the red tiled floor, and sitting innocuously on the kitchen table was a copy of The Daily Prophet.

"I never would have thought..." Mrs Weasley was muttering faintly. "She seemed so nice..."

Harry and Ron exchanged puzzled looks as Hermione appeared behind them, face pale, her bushy hair unbrushed.

"What's going on?" she asked softly, looking worriedly at Mrs Weasley. Harry shrugged as Ron took the paper from the table and looked at it in surprise.

"What is it?" asked Harry. Ron held up the paper mutely, so they could see.

Under a large black print title of You-Know-Who's Newest Threat was a large black and white photograph of Fleur's professor...


"'Back from the dead', Kat," quoted Nicki, frowning deeply. "What the Ministry doesn't want you to know."

"Who told them?" asked Katherine quietly, gazing at the old black and white photograph, then down at the article beneath it.

"Well who knows about you?" asked Nicki, tapping her manicured nails on the table top.

"Nott, Snape, Malfoy-" murmured Katherine, then scowled suddenly. "Hey! They got my name wrong!"

"No they didn't," said Nicki. "It says Aenigma on your birth certificate."

"But I changed it," argued Katherine, looking over at her. "It says Riddle on all my school certificates."

Nicki frowned. "You're sure?"

"Course I'm sure," snapped Katherine, scanning the article for the writer's name. "Ah ha, Rita bloody Skeeter. I might have known. At least no one's told her about Remus."

"Or Sirius?"

"No one knew about Sirius," said Katherine firmly. "D'you think I would have told any of our lot I was getting engaged to a Gryffindor?"

Nicki blinked. "What?"

Katherine glanced up, realising her mistake too late. "Nothing," she managed, unconvincingly.

"Engaged? Katherine have you gone mental? You agreed to marry him?" asked Nicki incredulously.

"Does it matter?" asked Katherine, burying herself behind the paper. "He's dead now, remember?"

"Just like you are?"

"I didn't die," said Katherine resolutely.

"Well neither did he, technically," pointed out Nicki.

Katherine peered over the top of the paper at her. "He's staying dead."

Nicki sighed and drained her coffee. "What are you going to do?"

"About this, you mean?" asked Katherine, indicating the paper.

"Yes."

Katherine shrugged. "Nothing. Tom always makes the first move. All I have to do is wait."


The trio had retreated to the lounge while Mr Weasley attempted to calm his wife down, taking the paper with them.

"Look, this doesn't make sense," said Hermione eventually as Crookshanks jumped onto her lap. "Remus knows Faye and Fleur knows Faye – she's been taught by her for the past few years; it can't be the same person. This Katherine Aenigma has been in Azkaban until just recently."

"Moody thought it was her," said Ron gruffly. "Remember Fred and George's impression of him?"

"And Faye looked really unsettled when we pointed out that Katherine was her cousin," added Harry.

"That was a different Katherine," said Hermione dismissively, then stopped, looking uneasily at the other two. "It was a different Katherine, wasn't it?"

"Must be," said Ron eventually. "Remus is in the Order. He wouldn't have shared a flat with a Death Eater."

"Especially not this one," said Hermione, though she sounded less than confident. Harry and Ron glanced at her curiously. "Didn't you two read the article? She tried to kill Harry's parents."


"You-Know-Who's Newest Threat," read Ophelia Corbelle, glancing across the room at her cousin. "Now that's an interesting headline. Who exactly is she threatening, I wonder? The helpless public or the Lord of Darkness himself?"

Severus Snape frowned at his younger cousin and shut the book he'd been reading. "You shouldn't talk like that. If the Dark Lord-"

"Have you seen her recently?" interrupted Ophelia, smiling sweetly at him.

"She's been in Azkaban-"

"You're not answering my question," said Ophelia gently, her deep green eyes glittering playfully. "So I'll take that as a yes."

"When's your husband getting back?" asked Severus, forcedly changing the subject.

"Daniel's staying at work late. He's working on an important case," said Ophelia, smiling faintly.

"Really? What's it about?" asked Severus politely.

"He didn't say," said Ophelia studying him for a moment before adding softly: "It doesn't actually exist, Severus."

Severus took a while to process this comment, then asked: "What?"

Ophelia shrugged, picking up the newspaper again. "He's got a new secretary."

Severus would have pressed the matter, but at that moment, the Dark Mark flared black on his arm and he stood up. "I have to go. Remember-"

Ophelia nodded, green eyes glistening slightly. "If anyone asks, I haven't seen you. I remember."


Nicola hurried out of the study as Katherine came down the stairs again, this time fully dressed in black jeans and a black blouse.

"There is such a thing as trying too hard to be inconspicuous," she remarked, pulling on her travelling cloak. Katherine pulled a face at her and concentrated on gathering her hair into a ponytail. "Oh very mature," grinned Nicki. "Are you going out?"

"Might do-" Katherine broke off with a sharp intake of breath.

"You ok?" asked Nicki, eyeing her worriedly.

"Fine."

"What was that then?"

Katherine smiled ruefully, rubbing her left arm. "Tom - making his first move."

Nicki glanced at her watch, conscious of the fact that she'd be late if she stalled much longer. "You will be alright, won't you?"

"Of course," said Katherine, fiddling with her necklace. "Why wouldn't I be? My father's a demented megalomaniac who's trying to take over the world, and the only chance of stopping him lies with an seventeen year old kid with a hero complex. Life's just super, thanks."

Nicki gave her friend a stern look. "Who have you been talking to?"

"Friends. People who don't want to kill me. Well, people who didn't kill me, at any rate," she amended, looking thoughtful. "Probably wanted to kill me-"

"Katherine, do you remember what you were like at seventeen?" cut in Nicki. She really was going to be late now.

"Vaguely..."

"Potter's managed to escape your father at least four times now," said Nicki gently. "That's more than you ever did."

"Fluke," said Katherine, though Nicki heard the doubt in her voice.

"Four times?"

"Yes."

Nicki shrugged, snatching her bag from the table in the hall. "Well his luck's held out so far. Why would it fail now? Besides," Nicki added, as Katherine still looked doubtful. "Lupin thinks very highly of him. Or so I'm told. Maybe you should pay him a visit."

"Who? Potter or Remus?"

"Lupin. I very much doubt that Potter will be too kindly disposed towards you," said Nicki, pulling out her wand to disapparate. "Not after that article."

Katherine frowned as her friend disappeared and wandered into the kitchen, retrieving the paper from the counter. She scanned it quickly and realised what Nicki had meant. Tried to kill them, she thought despairingly, tossing the paper back down. As if anyway I ever tried to kill didn't die....


In the dark chamber, a circle of black figures stood silently in a ring, surrounding the tall skeletal man with skin paler than moonlight and eyes that gleamed blood red in the torchlight.

Shadowed eyes sought out familiar faces amongst their number, trying to guess who knew what and how much. A few frightened faces stared straight ahead, wondering how they'd come to be in this situation. The Dark Lord glared round at them all, old and young alike and uttered two words in a voice that sounded more reptilian than human:

"Find her."


Nicola Meliflua looked up from her desk as Jeremy Kensington hurried up the corridor, adjusted his robes.

"You're late, Kensington," she observed, folding a memo and charming it to dart away, into the closing doors of the lift.

"I had some important business to attend to," Kensington answered, smiling coolly.

"At nine in the morning?" asked Nicki, handing him the papers that various people had left for him.

"Very important business," replied Kensington firmly. "Oh, and call Remus Lupin in, will you."

Nicki nodded, flourishing quill and parchment. "What shall I say for?"

"He's werewolf, we don't need a reason," said Kensington callously, marching past the desk and into Auror headquarters. Nicola dutifully wrote a letter to Remus and gave it to one of her junior clerks to Owl. Then she assigned Julia Tangent to take her place at the front desk and took the nearest chimney home, claiming she'd forgotten some papers.

Katherine was sitting in the lounge, playing chess against herself. She shrugged at Nicki's puzzled expression.

"Having a split personality comes in useful sometimes," she smiled. "What are you doing back so early anyway? They didn't sack you for being late, did they?"

"Do you know someone called Jeremy Kensington?" asked Nicki, leaning against the door frame.

"Is he still around?"

"He just asked me to call Remus in and didn't give a reason," said Nicki, watching her friend closely. "And he was late for work."

Katherine frowned, idly spiraling the black queen over and over between her long fingers. "Even Trix wouldn't be that stupid, would she?" she ventured at last.

"Bellatrix Lestrange?" asked Nicki. Katherine nodded, still thinking deeply. "She's a raving lunatic by all accounts. Azkaban tends to do that to people," she added, looking meaningfully at Katherine, who grinned half heartedly.

"I'm not crazy, Nic."

"You were in there longer than she was," pointed out Nicki calmly. Katherine shrugged, turning back to the chess board and placing the queen two spaces in front the white king. Nicki wandered over to the board and took the queen with a bishop. Katherine smiled faintly and looked up at her.

"Trixie's behind this, you know. She must have told Kensington. All my fault really; I shouldn't have killed Leon. She really did like him."

Nicki frowned. "You killed Leon?"

Katherine moved a rook forward one space before answering. "He was in the way."

Nicki took the rook with her knight and looked curiously at her old friend. "Of what?"

Katherine grinned, but didn't answer, taking Nicki's knight with her other rook. Nicki glanced down at the board. There were only five black pieces left; the king, a knight, a bishop, a rook and a pawn. A pawn which was only one square away from Nicki's side of the board.

The white king was in check by the castle, but even if she took it, the pawn would become a queen and she'd be in check mate. She looked back at Katherine who was smiling faintly.

"Life isn't a game, Kat," she said softly, taking the rook because there was nothing else she could do.

"No," agreed Katherine soberly, substituting her pawn for a queen and placing Nicki in checkmate. "In life, you don't have to play by the rules."

-------------------------------



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  #9  
Old December 26th, 2005, 10:37 pm
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
First Year
 
Joined: 5344 days
Location: Behind you
Age: 30
Posts: 48
Re: Fallen Angel

A/N: Merry Christmas everyone. Hope you had a good one. Here's a present from me:

Chapter 8 – Impossible is nothing

Remus stepped out of the lift on Level 2 of the Ministry of Magic and walked up to the desk.

"I've got an appointment with Auror Kensington," he intoned wearily, hands in his pockets. The woman behind the desk glanced up.

"Identity card?" she asked in a bored voice.

"I'll handle this, Julia," cut in another woman with coffee coloured skin and dark brown eyes. Remus thought she looked familiar, but couldn't quite place the name. "This way Mister Lupin," she said sharply, turning on her heel and striding down the corridor into the middle of the Auror headquarters.

The woman stopped outside a door and knocked sharply. A male voice told them to enter and she opened the door, looking directly into Remus' eyes and suddenly he remembered who she was. Nicola Meliflua. Katherine's friend...

He opened his mouth to speak, then thought better of it as her eyes narrowed almost imperceptibly and chose instead to enter the room where Kensington sat in front of an oaken desk.

"Ah, you're here at last," said the old Auror, without a hint of a smile.

"I came as soon as I got the message," replied Remus, frowning slightly as the door closed with a definite sounding snap. "What's this about?"

Kensington smiled now, and Remus wished he hadn't. "Your friend. Riddle. Someone's let it slip to the papers."

"I saw. What's that got to do with me?" asked Remus, his frown deepening.

"Come now, Lupin," said Kensington, shaking his head. "You're not exactly the richest individual in the world. I expect a little extra cash would come in handy-"

"I didn't tell anyone," said Remus sharply. Only he had, hadn't he. He'd told Faye, but she wouldn't have told anyone else would she...? And Mad-Eye had already known...

"I don't believe you," said Kensington darkly, his brown eyes gleaming maliciously. "I'm afraid-" He stopped, frowning at the door. Remus looked around too; he could have sworn he'd heard the lock click. Slowly, Kensington got up and tried the handle. It was locked. He turned to Remus, looking furious. "Did you-?"

"They took my wand at reception," he said quickly, holding his hands up in protest.

"Funny - they didn't take mine," said a very familiar voice from just behind Kensington's right ear. "I wouldn't try to move, Jeremy," the voice continued as the Auror made to reach for his wand. "Because I happen to have a rather sharp knife in my hand, which is currently positioned in front of your jugular vein and sudden movements make me jump." Kensington growled, but remained still. "Good boy," whispered the voice, then, "Dormire."

Kensington slumped to the floor in a heap and Katherine materialised, looking down at him. She poked him experimentally with her foot, but he took no notice. Finally, she looked up at Remus from under jet black lashes. There was silence for what seemed like an eternity, then Remus stepped forward and pulled his oldest friend in a tight hug.

"Never do that again, Kat," he said fiercely in her ear.

"I won't," replied Katherine softly. Remus pulled back, eyebrows raised despite himself.

"You promise?"

"I promise," said Katherine, meeting his gaze steadily. "I'm not going to risk losing you again."

Remus smiled faintly. "I'm not going anywhere."

"I think he had other ideas," said Katherine, kicking Kensington in the ribs. The Auror just snored and rolled over.

"He's just doing his job," said Remus, sighing heavily. Katherine gave him a bemused look.

"He's a Death Eater, Rem. He was going to use you as bait to find me." She smiled at Remus' startled expression and added, "I guess it worked."

There was a crash from outside and they both jumped.

"Get out of here," said Remus quickly. "It's not safe."

"What about you?" asked Katherine. "I can't leave you with Jeremy."

The door handle rattled loudly and a voice growled. "Get out here this instant, Riddle."

"Alastor?" said Katherine softly. "He's still around?"

"He's meant to be retired," said Remus, frowning.

"How does he know I'm in here?" asked Katherine, looking worriedly at Remus.

"His eye."

"What about it?" asked Katherine, nonplussed.

"It's-" began Remus, then stopped as the door exploded.


Mad-Eye Moody limped into Auror HQ and headed for Kingsley Shacklebolt's cubicle. The young Auror was reading a report and Tonks was sitting on his desk, flicking through surveillance photos.

"Any news?" he asked gruffly. Kingsley glanced up and shook his head.

"Dawlish has gone up to Scotland to interview Faye Belle, but providing she's got the right documentation, he shouldn't be able to find some excuse to send her to Azkaban." Kingsley sighed and handed Moody the report he'd been reading. "The way I see it, if Katherine Riddle doesn't want to be found, she won't be. She's a metamorphmagus, for heaven's sake - she could be anywhere. It's a miracle you caught her last time."

"Constant vigilance," muttered Moody, his electric blue eye spinning in it's socket. Tonks grinned, then frowned as the eye quivered to a stop, staring out of the back of Moody's head.

"What is it, Mad-Eye?" she asked. Moody growled and darted out of the cubicle, running into someone coming the other way. Tonks and Kingsley followed him, jumping over the fallen Auror and the spilled paperwork that now littered the floor.

Moody headed down a side corridor, away from the maze of cubicles and didn't stop until he reached a door with a gold plaque affixed to it reading: Jeremy Kensington. He tugged on the door handle and snarled: "Get out here this instant, Riddle."

Tonks and Kingsley looked at each other and pulled out their wands. Alastor stepped back suddenly and pointed his own wand at the door which promptly exploded in a shower of splinters.

As the cloud of fragments settled, a woman stepped into the door frame. Bright cerulean eyes studied Moody for a moment, then a voice asked:

"What the hell happened to your face?"

"A few of your friends," growled Moody.

The woman glanced over her shoulder, grinning. "Honestly Moony. What were you thinking?"

Moody frowned and swiveled his eye onto the other occupant in the room. "Let Lupin go, Riddle. He's not part of this."

Katherine looked at Moody in surprise, then nodded. "Of course. Push off, Rem. This isn't your problem."

"You have three seconds," interjected Tonks, who was glowering at Katherine now. Katherine glanced at the young Auror, frowning.

"Hey, I said he could go. He's just not leaving," she objected, then tilted her head to one side. "Do I know you? You look familiar."

"She's Andy's daughter," said Remus quietly from behind her. Katherine paused, looking from Remus to Tonks and back again, Nicki's earlier words ringing alarm bells in her head. "...there's a rumour going round the department that he's hooked up with some Auror half his age..."

"Andy Black? Andy in our year, Andy? You're going out with Andy's daughter? Rem you're old enough to be her father," she whispered, staring at him. "Hell, the age you look, you could be her grandfather."

"Thanks for that Katherine," said Remus quietly, eyeing Tonks over his friend's shoulder.

"Where's Kensington?" asked Kingsley Shacklebolt.

Katherine glanced down at the sleeping Auror and muttered the counter spell. Kensington awoke with a start and, after taking a second to work out where he was, jumped to his feet and made a grab for Katherine who, to Remus' surprise, didn't try to move out of the way.

"The Dark Lord's very anxious to see you, Riddle," said Kensington nastily.

"What?" asked Moody gruffly, giving his old partner a suspicious look. Katherine grinned and slipped her right hand under the sleeve of Kensington's robes as the Auror cast a shocked look towards the door. Kensington jumped back with a cry and Remus saw the Dark Mark flare on Katherine's own arm.

"How did you do that?" asked Kensington, giving Katherine a horrified look.

"Family secret," said Katherine, burnished eyes glittering.

"Did you teach it to Faye?" asked Kensington viciously, clutching his arm as the sound of footsteps approached up the corridor. Back up had arrived. "Because she's going to need all the help she can get once McKenzie gets to her."

"Faye?" asked Katherine, voice not quite concealing the dread behind it.

"Faye," agreed Kensington, grinning heartlessly. "Your cousin. Kept that one quiet, didn't you Riddle? Not for very much longer I fear."

Remus threw himself towards the doorway just as Tonks darted around Kingsley and made to attack Katherine whose sole attention was on Kensington. He knocked Tonks over as Katherine slung a violent hex at Kensington who collapsed on the spot.

"Remus...?" asked Tonks, looking confusedly up at him. Remus opened his mouth to try and attempt to explain but was cut off as someone hauled him upright by his collar. The someone turned out to be Katherine who was looking furious.

"Tell me Faye's not in England," she hissed, glaring at him.

"Not in England..."

"Where is she?" demanded Katherine, grabbing his shoulders.

"Scotland," said Remus softly. "Katherine, she's at Hogwarts."

"And you're coming with us," said Kingsley, training his wand on her as Moody stooped over Kensington, one eye still watching his arch nemesis.

"No," said Katherine simply, vanishing from sight without so much as a sound. Moody whirled around, his eye going crazy in it's socket.

"Impossible," he growled. Remus looked at him miserably.

"This is Katherine you're talking about, Mad-Eye," he said gloomily. "The only thing that's impossible is her." He sighed and glanced down at Tonks who was gazing up at him with a mixture of bewilderment and anger.

"You know her?" she asked quietly. Remus grimaced; this was going to take a lot of explaining.


"...So if there's anything you need, just come and see me. You know where my office is."

"Yes, thank you Minerva," smiled Faye, opening the door to her quarters and shutting it abruptly.

"Everything alright?" asked Minerva McGonagall, frowning slightly.

"Fine," said Faye quickly. "It's just, uh, when are the students arriving?"

"Around eight tomorrow evening. We're still not exactly sure how many are coming, but there should be at least fifty... Are you sure you're alright? You've gone quite pale."

"I'm just tired," said Faye weakly. "I, I should get some sleep. See you tomorrow."

"Goodnight," said Minerva carefully, looking curiously at the young woman before her.

"Night," said Faye quickly, darting inside her room and shutting the door firmly. She turned the key in the lock when she was sure Minerva was out of earshot and only then found the courage to turn around. "James..."

"Good evening Mademoiselle Belle," smiled James McKenzie, bowing slightly.

"You've been following me," said Faye quietly.

"You noticed," said James. He sounded delighted. "But you didn't tell that little werewolf friend of yours. That was foolish, Faye. Very foolish."

"What are you doing here?" asked Faye, eyeing her old classmate guardedly. He hadn't changed much since she'd seen him at Beauxbaton. The same ruby hair, the same dark brown eyes...

James smiled dangerously and brandished his wand, sending a streak of violet light towards Faye. Faye had been expecting it but only just managed to cast a shield charm in time. He'd evidently become much better at dueling since she'd last seen him. She dropped the shield to toss her own hex at him when a jet of blue sparks caught her in the chest.

"And now you're dead," said James, looking disapproving. Faye blinked and glanced down at herself.

"You turned my robes blue," she said in a puzzled voice. There was a bang and the cupboard on her right burst open, a body tumbling out. It was James McKenzie. Faye's head shot up to where James had been standing and gasped.

"You don't drop the bloody shield charm when there's a Death Eater standing in front of you," said Katherine roughly, glaring at her cousin.

"Katherine?" whispered Faye faintly.

"Yes?"

"That's really you?"

"Course it bloody is," snapped Katherine, striding over to the immobile James and checking his pulse. "You'd be dead right now if it wasn't."

"Is he...?"

"No. But only because Avada Kedavra is such a mouthful when you're sneaking up beside someone," remarked Katherine, standing up again.

"What's wrong with him?"

"Nothing. He's asleep," shrugged Katherine. "I'll deal with him later. You on the other hand-"

"I'm not leaving, Katherine," said Faye quickly. "Hear me out before you flip, alright?"

"Who says I'm going to flip?" asked Katherine, scowling at her.

"Remus," said Faye simply. Katherine opened her mouth to argue this point, then sighed.

"Fair enough."

"Right, well I'm not going to hide anymore. If James is here, then Voldemort probably already knows about me and if he wants to find me, he will. Running won't change that. Besides, I want to help this time. I'm not standing on the sidelines watching innocent people get killed for no reason. He ruined my life too, Katherine. He killed my mother and sent my family into hiding for seventeen years." Faye paused, gazing imploringly at her cousin. "And I want to get to know my cousin before it's too late."

"That it?" asked Katherine quietly. Faye nodded mutely, surveying her cousin intently. "Ok, but you're going straight round to Remus' at the weekend and getting some dueling lessons because that effort earlier was poor."

"What?" asked Faye, taken aback at Katherine's sudden change in attitude.

"Rem's a Marauder," said Katherine, smiling faintly. "He's fantastic at fighting, he just doesn't do it much."

"No, I mean... Well, you don't mind me being here?"

"Oh don't get me wrong, I think you're insane," said Katherine quickly. "But if you're only half as stubborn as me, then I know no one's going to force you to go anywhere. I don't fancy fighting a losing battle, thanks."

Faye smiled, green eyes sad. "I thought we were doing that anyway."

Katherine glanced up at her, looking almost surprised. "You think so?"

Faye hesitated. "You don't?"

Katherine grinned, hauling James up by the collar. "I did."

"What changed your mind?"

Katherine smiled cryptically, adjusting her grip on James and pulling a portkey out of her pocket. "I met someone who didn't."


"I did not call you," hissed Voldemort, glaring around at his followers.

"But Master," pleaded Bellatrix, lowering the sleeve on her left arm and returning to her place in the circle.

"What?" snapped Voldemort, turning his scarlet gaze on her.

"Someone did," answered Bella quietly.

"No one else can," snarled Voldemort angrily.

"And that is where I'd beg to differ," remarked a pleasant voice from the shadows of the doorway. The Lord of Darkness whirled around, eyes narrowing to slits as he focused on two forms. A man with flaming red hair was slumped at the feet of a taller figure with dark hair and bright eyes that glittered in the gloom. This figure stepped forward, twirling a long ebony wand between white fingers.

"Hello father."

----------------------

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  #10  
Old January 15th, 2006, 12:36 am
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
First Year
 
Joined: 5344 days
Location: Behind you
Age: 30
Posts: 48
Re: Fallen Angel

A/N: Well, I finally got some free time (by not doing my homework) and wrote the next update. Now I'm off to get some sleep so I can do all that extra work tomorrow. Enjoy the update!

Oh yes, and in accordance with Nys' wishes:

Warning.
Most of this update was written when I was half asleep, and accordingly may not make much sense.

PS: Watch out for plot points.

Chapter 9 – Inopia

"Tonks, you've got to understand-"

"No Remus, I don't understand," shouted Tonks, glowering at him. "She's a Death Eater! She's killed hundreds of people! She tried to kill your friends! There's an entire filing cabinet devoted to her at headquarters, for heaven's sake! How can you be friends with someone like that?"

"She'd never hurt me," said Remus softly, sitting down miserably in a battered armchair in his flat. He'd taken Tonks there before things got out of hand and he was hauled off for questioning. "She needs me-"

"And what happens when she stops needing you?" asked Tonks furiously, swallowing hard. "If she suddenly decides you know too much?"

"It's not like that," said Remus, lifting his gaze to meet hers and realising how close to tears she was. "She's never asked me anything about the Order and I don't ask her about the Death Eaters. They're not important."

"Not important?" asked Tonks, in a horrified tone of voice. "Remus-"

"That's not what I meant," amended Remus quickly, wondering how he'd got himself into this mess. "I mean we never let this stupid war come between us. And I need her Tonks. She's the last friend I've got."

"That's rubbish," interjected Tonks. "You've got plenty of friends."

Remus sighed and leant back in his chair. "Out of the six good friends I had in school, she's the only one that isn't either dead or in Saint Mungo's."

"Yes, but only because she's been in Azkaban," pointed out Tonks.

"Sirius was in Azkaban," said Remus quietly.

"What's that got to do with anything? Sirius was innocent," frowned Tonks. "And he didn't try to kill any of your friends."

"He tried to kill Peter," said Remus, rubbing his eyes tiredly. "And Katherine didn't try to kill Lily and James." Tonks opened her mouth to interrupt again, but Remus held up a hand and said calmly: "Listen to me Tonks, if Katherine had tried to kill them, they would have died. I mean, you said yourself she's killed hundreds of people. It's not like she hasn't had any practice."

Tonks was grudgingly silent for a moment, seeing his point. "I still don't see what Sirius has to do with it," she said eventually.

"You trusted him, right?"

"Of course."

"Do you think he was a good judge of character?" probed Remus.

"He was right about Snape. He never did trust him," agreed Tonks, sounding a little calmer. Remus nodded, knowing that the temporary calm was going to vanish as soon as Tonks heard what he had to say.

"He trusted Katherine."

Tonks frowned. "What d'you mean?"

"I mean he believed she wasn't as bad as she's made out to be," said Remus, thinking even as he said it that Sirius had been wrong. Katherine was every bit as bad as Moody thought she was; it was just that she wasn't always like that.

"Sirius was friends with too?" asked Tonks sceptically.

"Not exactly friends," said Remus slowly. "No, I wouldn't call it friendship..."

"Well what would you call it then?" demanded Tonks, fed up of skirting around the issue.

Remus looked up at her, his brown eyes serene. "Well he asked her to marry him, so I guess I'd call it love."


There was a ringing silence in the dark room, then:

"I presume it was you who sent this idiot to find me?"

A black robed figure broke out of their place in the circle and rushed to the motionless body on the floor.

"Leave him, Alexandra," said Voldemort firmly, though his eyes never left his wanton daughter. Alex stifled a sob and stood up, trembling, her fists clenched. The Dark Lord ignored her, his attention focused on Katherine. "So my dear, you have decided to return to us at last."

Katherine smiled sweetly. "I never left you."

"And yet you have not deigned to grace us with your presence before now," observed Voldemort. "Despite having been out of Azkaban for weeks."

"What? You expected me to come back, as good as gold? But then how would you ever have a chance to miss me?" asked Katherine, looking angelically up at her father. "What's the point in breaking out of the most secure prison in the world if you don't get to make a big entrance when you get back?"

"So you weren't making a bid for freedom?" queried the Dark Lord, his tone indicating that he did not believe a word of her story.

"I agreed to a lifetime's service," replied Katherine calmly, noticing someone to her right tilt their head slightly as though considering this remark. Avery was evidently still as sharp as always.

"And?"

"And I'm still alive, aren't I?"

"Yes, but for how much longer is debatable," remarked the Dark Lord, running a long finger along the wand in his hand. "You see Katherine, I am not entirely convinced that you are still useful."

"Kill me then," challenged Katherine, somewhat unwisely in the opinion of many of the figures surrounding father and daughter. "Or if you don't wish too, and judging by the fact that I'm still breathing, you don't, then hear what I have to say."

As the silence that followed this proposal stretched out, Katherine began to wonder if she'd made the right decision. Hadn't she only just told her cousin that it was foolish to stand in front of a Death Eater without a shield charm? And Tom was more than just a Death Eater, he was immortal. For now.

"All right then, my dear," said Voldemort softly, interrupting her train of thought. "Convince me that I shouldn't kill you..."


"Love?" repeated Tonks faintly, quite taken aback. "Sirius loved her?"

"I think so. She certainly loved him," said Remus, standing up and moving closer to Tonks now that it looked like she wasn't going to hex him anymore.

"But-" began Tonks, then stopped as the fireplace flared green and a blonde haired woman tumbled out of it.

"Faye?" asked Remus, as Tonks lowered her wand. Faye picked herself up, brushing soot from her robes.

"Oh Remus, thank goodness you're here-" she gushed, then cast an alarmed look at Tonks, noticing her for the first time. "Oh, hello."

Tonks frowned at the cool reaction and tightened her grip on her wand very slightly. "Something wrong?"

"No," stammered Faye, wishing she had her cousin's easy way of talking herself out of trouble. "I um..."

"She knows about Katherine, Faye," said Remus tiredly, noticing Tonks' sudden scowl. She evidently hadn't guessed that Faye also knew Remus and Katherine's history.

Faye looked startled. "How did you know-?"

"Miss Riddle paid the Ministry a little visit earlier," said Tonks, looking uncharacteristically grave.

"Why on earth would she do that?" asked Faye in astonishment. "Does she want to get caught?"

"You know, that's a good point," said Tonks, turning on Remus. "What was she doing there?"

"Helping me out," said Remus, gazing dolefully at Tonks. "Kensington was planning on taking me to Tom to use as bait."

"For what?" frowned Tonks, utterly thrown by this.

"For Katherine," said Remus. "I presume he was under orders from Voldemort to find her by any means necessary."

"But Voldemort's the one who got her out of Azkaban," said Tonks slowly, as though talking to a very young child. "Why on earth would he need to send his followers to look for her?"

Remus and Faye exchanged guiltily looks then Faye said gently, "Katherine got herself out of Azkaban, Tonks."

"And she hasn't been near Voldemort," added Remus. "Else he wouldn't have been looking for her."

Tonks arched an eyebrow at him. "Ok, well if she's been out of Azkaban for a couple of weeks and she hasn't rejoined Voldemort, then what has she been doing?"

Remus opened his mouth to answer, then closed it again. The truth was that he had no idea. It wasn't like Katherine to go into hiding and yet he was sure that if the paper hadn't got hold of the story, Katherine wouldn't have voluntarily shown her face. Then again, it wasn't like Katherine was a coward. Turning up in the middle of Auror HQ when her face was on every Wanted poster in the country had proved that. She was either brave or incredible stupid and Remus knew from experience that she wasn't the latter.

"She's changed, Remus," said Faye softly, disturbing his thoughts. "She's not as careless as she used to be."

"She was never careless," frowned Remus.

"Oh you know what I mean," said Faye, shaking her head. "It's like she's found something to channel her energy into. She doesn't waste as much time being flippant. When I told her I was staying here, she just accepted it, no arguments."

"Wait a minute, she came to see you?" asked Tonks. "When was this?"

"Just now," answered Faye, looking serenely back at Tonks.

"Didn't you hear Kensington telling her he knew about her cousin?" asked Remus, frowning at Tonks, who shook her head.

"I was more concerned with the fact that you'd just knocked me on the floor."

"I didn't want you getting hit by accident," explained Remus earnestly. "She looked ready to kill Kensington."

"And you were just saying what a lovely person she really is," observed Tonks, giving Remus an appraising look.

"Well she is when you're her friend," protested Remus.

"And exactly how many friends has she got?" asked Tonks, folding her arms. Remus took a moment to think about it.

"Out of everyone I can think of," said Remus slowly. "I'd say definitely at least two. Me and Faye."

Tonks snorted. "Faye's family, that doesn't count. You've got to love family."

"Actually, she hated my father and as far as I know, she hates her father too," cut in Faye.

"Her father's dead," objected Tonks.

"I wish," remarked Faye dryly. "It's her adoptive parents that are dead."

"No, I know about that, but I've seen Tom Riddle's death certificate," said Tonks firmly. "Or a copy of it anyway. Two Ministry workers went to her flat and brought back a load of papers, well, one of them brought back papers at any rate. The other one's in Saint Mungo's."

Remus tried very hard not to look as guilty as sin as Faye asked in a creditably calm voice, "What happened to him?"

"Well no one's quite sure. Dulce says he just collapsed on the floor after going in. It must have been some kind of security measure. it didn't affect Dulce, apparently, but then, he went in second.."

"And what does the other man say about it?" asked Remus, frowning at this version of events. Perhaps Tonks wasn't referring to the man he'd hit with Katherine's hex after all.

"He's not saying anything," said Tonks, sighing heavily. "He can't say anything. The healers say he can't talk, let alone move. They're not even sure he can hear, though I don't suppose that matters too much to your friend," she added, looking accusingly at Remus.

"He shouldn't have been trying to break in," murmured Remus, trying to make sense of this new information in his head. Katherine had never mentioned any extra security measures before, certainly not one that left the would be burglar lying conspicuously paralysed in the doorway. And yet, if the man had been the one Remus had hexed, why on earth was Dulce lying about what had happened...?

"So Reeves deserved what he got, is that what you think?" demanded Tonks angrily. "He's only a couple of years older than me and now he's going to be spending the rest of his life in a hospital bed."

But Remus wasn't listening anymore, he was looking worriedly at Faye who was biting her lip, evidently thinking the same thing as him. The man who'd run out onto the balcony that day had been called Reeves, which meant that Dulce was lying about the security measure, which meant something very strange was going on, which, in Remus' experience, meant that somewhere at the bottom of it, he'd undoubtedly find Katherine...


"...so you're teaching at Hogwarts?" asked Voldemort, looking curiously at his daughter. They had retired to a back room, after he had dismissed the rest of his followers. Neither of them had thought it wise that Katherine's motives be public knowledge.

"Faye Belle is teaching at Hogwarts," answered Katherine, smiling cruelly. "At least, that's what dear darling Minerva thinks. I must congratulate you, Father, on getting rid of Dumbledore. He would have made things considerably more difficult for me."

"And this Faye Belle?" inquired Voldemort, ignoring the complement.

"Dead as a doornail," replied Katherine cheerfully. "And transfigured into a stone. Probably being kicked around on Southend sea front at this very moment."

"You murdered her?"

"Of course. Can't have a blood traitor spoiling the family name now, can we?" smiled Katherine easily. "She claimed she'd rather die than join us, so I took her at her word. That's not a problem, is it?"

"No," said Voldemort, ceasing his frowning at last. "Welcome back, Katherine. I trust you will not disappoint me again."

Katherine gazed up at him, sapphire eyes shining angelically. "Never, Master."

"Then you will kindly release McKenzie from whatever curse he is under," ordered Voldemort, resuming his impersonal manner.

Katherine pulled her wand out of her jeans pocket and made leave the room to go to the sleeping man when Voldemort suddenly commanded her to stop. She did so and glanced curiously up at him.

"Where is your ring?" he asked sharply, gesturing pointedly at her right hand, in which she held her wand. Katherine took a while to figure out what he meant, then reached for her necklace with her left hand and pulled the chain out of her blouse. Dangling from it, glinting silver in the torchlight were a snake pendant and next to it, a sapphire studded ring.

"I didn't want anyone to identify me from it," she said slowly, watching her father's face carefully. "It's rather distinctive. Alastor said it killed a werewolf when I was five," she added helpfully.

"What?" asked Voldemort, looking distractedly at her. Katherine shrugged.

"He was trying to kill me and the ring did something. I presume it was a one off; I don't recall anything of the sort happening since."

"Very well," nodded Voldemort. "You may go."

Katherine left the room quickly, shutting the door behind her. Well that had been odd...

"What have you done to my brother?" hissed Alexandra, standing up from where she'd been sitting beside James and glaring at Katherine.

"Nothing," said Katherine calmly. "Yet." She flicked her wand and James awoke and sat up, looking around groggily. Katherine knelt down beside him and took his face in one hand, turning it to face hers. "If you ever pull a stunt like that one again, Jamie, I will use Number Four on you, understand?" James tried to out stare her, then gave in and muttered his consent. "Good," smiled Katherine sweetly. "Same goes for you, Alex. You're not to mention Faye Belle to anyone. She's dead and gone, and I won't have anyone thinking differently, all right?"

Alex glowered at her as she stood up. "You should watch your back, Riddle. Bellatrix Lestrange is after your blood."

"I can handle Trix, believe me," chuckled Katherine, giving Alex an amused look.

"That's not what she thinks," said Alex resolutely.

"You know what," said Katherine, sighing tiredly. "I don't think I much care." She smiled faintly and walked around the twins, pushing open the door that lead into the hallway. Leaning against the wall opposite was a black robed man with highlight blonde and a silver earring that reflected the torchlight. He smiled as the door swung shut behind Katherine and shifted position on the wall.

"There's a fine line between genius and insanity, Riddle, and I'm never sure which side you're on."

Katherine laughed quietly, gazing fondly at her old friend. "You know what, Rob? Neither am I."

----------------

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  #11  
Old January 23rd, 2006, 8:08 pm
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
First Year
 
Joined: 5344 days
Location: Behind you
Age: 30
Posts: 48
Re: Fallen Angel

A/N: Well oddly enough, I actually had some free time so here's another update, much quicker than usual. I apologise in advance for the confusion this chapter may cause, so feel free to ask me questions, either through owl or feedback. I'll answer if it won't spoil the plot. Anyway, for now, just enjoy.

Nana

Chapter 10 – The Rose and Thorn

Katherine leant back in her seat inside the small alcove so that shadows fell across her face. She was currently wearing a face reminiscent of Samantha Stevenson, an old classmate of hers who had died in the first war, so she was unlikely to be recognise but it still paid to be cautious.

Avery appeared a few seconds later, carrying two glasses, one of which was smoking. He pushed this one across the table to Katherine, who grinned.

"Still abstaining from alcohol, then?" she asked, sipping her Firewhisky.

Robert shrugged. "I still drink sometimes, but I've got to go home later and explain to Cass that you really are still around. She's going to think I'm mad as it is; I'd rather not have her thinking I'm drunk. She'd probably lock me out."

"Fair enough," grinned Katherine, examining her long brown braids interestedly. "So, what have you been up to? Last I heard, you'd been made Minister of Magical Transportation. So that would mean you police the Floo Network, right?"

Robert gazed at her with cool brown eyes. "That's the Auror's job."

"And the blue fire network?" asked Katherine, her eyes, currently a velvety green, shining with innocence.

Robert leant back, frowning, though not with annoyance. "You found that, huh?"

"Complete accident, actually," said Katherine, running a finger idly around the rim of her glass. "I happened to rub my left arm when I was standing next a fire place and the flames turned blue for an instant. Thought it was my imagination at first." She smiled, tilting her head to one side. "A Floo network just for us. How on earth did you manage to deliver that one to Dad without him figuring out you've got a four digit IQ?"

"No one's got a four digit IQ, Katherine," said Robert gently, taking a swig of the purple mixture in his glass. "And your father doesn't know I invented it. I let Travers take the credit. In return he lets me drink here, free of charge. He owns this place," he added, by way of explanation.

Katherine was silent for a moment, then dredged up a forename from the dark depths of her memory. "Lynx? The one Nicki was obsessed with in seventh year?"

Robert smirked. "So you've caught up with Nicola then?" he asked pleasantly.

"How'd you figure that?"

"You didn't call her Meliflua," explained Robert. "As I recall, you two parted on rather bad terms."

"So did we," reminded Katherine, folding her arms defensively. "So did everyone."

"That was your doing," said Robert, leaning forward and gazing across the table at his old classmate. "You know, it's funny - we only figured that out after you'd been arrested." He sighed, sitting up and running a hand through his blond hair. "Should have seen it earlier, I guess, but Slytherins don't do things like that."

"Things like what?" asked Katherine, determinedly to make him say it.

"Like splitting their friends up so they don't hurt each other," said Robert softly, shaking his head.

Katherine smiled gently and looked up at him. "Well it worked, didn't it?"

Robert cast her a suspicious look. "Yes. But I don't get why you did it."

"That's because you've got a Slytherin mentality," grinned Katherine.

"And that's a bad thing?"

"Not exactly, but just because you're standing in London, that doesn't mean you're not part of England."

"I don't follow you."

"That's alright," shrugged Katherine. "I didn't expect you to."

There was a long pause, then: "You're crazy, Riddle."

"I know."

Robert smiled lazily, and drained his glass. "How about I get us another round of free drinks, and then you can tell me exactly what you've been up to for the past two years?"

Katherine, who'd been staring absently at her nails, looked up at him sharply, then shook her head, grinning. "You want to be careful Rob," she warned, as she handed him her empty glass. "One of these days you're going to cut yourself.."


Remus sat at his kitchen table, staring gloomily at the slim green bottle in front of him. Absinthe. Katherine's favourite. Unopened. He hadn't even realised he'd got any until Faye had gone through the drinks cabinet and asked him what it was. Apparently she wasn't very familiar with muggle drinks, even though some of them had a much bigger kick than any wizarding concoctions.

He glanced absently at his watch. 12:01. He should be asleep, but Faye was staying over in case any Death Eaters were bold enough to risk another kidnap attempt and that meant he was sleeping on the sofa, like the gentleman he was. Even though the sofa was missing half it's springs and sagged in the middle. It'd probably be more comfortable on the floor.

It'd be even more comfortable in your own bed, whispered a treacherous thought.

I can't kick Faye out.

Who said you had to...?


He shook his head violently and sighed. He'd forgotten the effect Katherine had on him; she made him reckless.

She makes you normal, put in the voice again, somewhat spitefully in Remus' opinion.

"She makes me forget," said Remus softly, then jumped as he caught sight of a movement in the doorway.

"You sure you haven't had any of that stuff?" asked Faye, fiddling with the belt of her blue satin dressing gown. She raised her eyebrows at Remus' puzzled expression. "Well you did say it makes you hallucinate and you were talking to yourself."

Remus shook his head and rubbed his tired eyes with one hand. "Just thinking out loud."

Faye smiled and drew up the chair opposite him. "So, who makes you forget?"

"Your cousin," mumbled Remus, then frowned. "I thought you were asleep."

"You thought wrong," shrugged Faye, turning the absinthe bottle around to examine it. "What does she make you forget?"

"Hmm?"

"Katherine. What does she make you forget? Your birthday? How to behave like a normal human being?" asked Faye, keeping her emerald eyes fixed firmly on the ingredients list, which admittedly wasn't very long. Alcohol, water and wormwood infusion. Wormwood? Didn't you use that in potions?

"What's that supposed to mean?" frowned Remus, derailing her train of thought.

Faye glanced up and gave him an appraising look. "Remus, when I came in earlier you were trying to explain Katherine. No sane person would ever attempt that."

"I guess." There was comfortable silence, then Remus said softly: "Everything. She makes me forget everything."

Faye looked at him with a expression torn between curiosity and sorrow, but remained silent, waiting for him to go on. Remus met her gaze and smiled wanly.

"She doesn't care, you know. That I'm a werewolf. Genuinely doesn't care. Sometimes I get the distinct feeling she thinks it's interesting or useful or...I don't know. Something. She's crazy. She's..."

"Everything you would have been and everything you wouldn't," finished Faye, her gaze fixed once again on the absinthe bottle.

Remus nodded, thinking that that just about summed it up. "And Tonks is never going to understand that."

There was a slight pause that Remus felt went on for just a fraction too long for his liking, then Faye shook her head. "She'll come round."

"And if she doesn't?"

Faye looked up this time, emerald eyes sincere. "Then it's her loss."


Robert Avery closed the door to his house softly shut behind him and glanced at the shimmering patch of air next to him where Katherine had been a moment before. He frowned, then noticed what Katherine had realised as soon as she'd stepped inside. There were voices coming from the drawing room. Cassie's clear melodic timbre and deeper, gravely tones. A man's voice.

He glanced at the grandfather clock that stood in the atrium, steadily counting away the minutes. 12:01. Who on earth was visiting his wife in the middle of the night?

A small figure moved in the shadows at the top of the wide staircase and he looked up quickly to see his daughter standing there, clutching a ragged teddy bear under one small arm.

"Katy?"

The blonde girl pattered down the stairs, holding onto the high banister with the hand that wasn't gripping the teddy. She raised her arms up as she reached the last step and Robert picked her up, wrapping his arms around her.

"Had a bad dream?"

Katy nodded, her small fingers clutching at his robes for comfort, her head resting on his shoulder. Robert stroked her soft hair and walked quietly towards the drawing room, feeling Katherine's presence beside him, even though he couldn't see her.

"...thought you should know," the deep voice was saying. Robert frowned and pushed open the door, not at all sure what he expected to walk in on. Cassandra was sitting in a leather chair, still wearing the clothes she'd put on that morning. She was also frowning at the dark haired man who stood before her, his smart bowler hat clasped in his hands.

"Daniel?" asked Robert, adjusting his daughter's weight in his arms. The young girl twisted around to gaze blankly at the stranger, then caught sight of her mother and stretched out her arms towards her. Cassie quickly stood up and took hold of her daughter, exchanging a dark look with her husband.

"Ah, Ro- Mr Avery," smiled Daniel, not quite managing to hide the nervous quaver in his voice. "How nice to-"

"What are you doing here Daniel?" asked Robert, folding his arms and treating his junior to a penetrating look.

"I uh-"

"Or more specifically, what are you doing here with my wife when all sensible people are in bed, asleep?" continued Robert, frowning.

Daniel shifted nervously, not liking the stress Robert had put on sensible. The man may be an imbecile, but that didn't mean he wasn't powerful. And besides, looking at him now, Daniel was seriously beginning to doubt that Robert was as stupid as people made him out to be. Maybe he just never showed it. And though Daniel himself wasn't astute enough to work out what this meant, he was smart enough to figure out that if an intelligent person could pretend to foolish and get away with it, that meant they were very clever indeed.

"I-"

"He's heard a rumour that Katherine is visiting old school friends," interrupted Cassie. "He came to warn me."

Robert glanced at his wife for a long moment, then nodded. "I see. Well then, Daniel. Thank you for informing us, but next time perhaps you could just sent an Owl?"

"Of course, Mr Avery," gushed Daniel, obviously relieved. He back towards the fireplace, still apologising profusely. "Sorry to have bothered you, Mr Avery."

The flames in the grate flared green for a moment as he stepped into them, then died to orange, leaving no trace that anyone had ever been there.

"What was that about?" asked Robert, turning to his now scowling wife.

"He came to tell me you left work early and then you'd been seen in The Rose and Thorn," Cassie answered, setting her daughter down in the chair she'd previously occupied. "With a woman. Stupid man thought you were having an affair."

"What did you say?" asked Robert, watching his daughter curl up in the chair, hugging her teddy bear.

"I told him must have been mistaken and to mind his own business," shrugged Cassie. "Oh don't worry, I was diplomatic about it," she reassured, seeing Robert's expression. "Mind you, from the way you acted just now, he's probably already half way to Rita Skeeter with the all the sordid details he can think of."

Robert sighed and ran a hand through his hair, before glancing up at his wife, with something like worry in his eyes. "I'm not, you know."

"Not what?"

"Having an affair."

Cassie smiled. "I know. Besides, if you were, there's no way you'd be careless enough to let yourself get caught. And you certainly wouldn't take whoever it was to the The Rose and Thorn of all places. Only a fool would take his mistress to the local pub." Robert nodded dismally as Cassie put her arms round him. "What did He want?" she asked quietly, and Robert knew she was no longer talking about Daniel.

"Nothing," murmured Robert, kissing the top of Cassie's head. "Nothing to do with us, at any rate."

Cassie pulled back, looking up at him curiously. "Then why call a meeting?"

"He didn't," said Robert, meeting her gaze with dark eyes. "She did."

Cassie was silent for a moment, then tilted her head to one side, studying her husband objectively. "Who's 'she'?" she asked, in a voice too casual to be natural.

"You know who," said Robert softly.

"Rob, she's gone," managed Cassie in a voice that amazingly still classified as calm. "I know it'd be good to have her around again but I don't care what the papers say, she died. There's no way she could have survived once they bricked her cell up." Cassie looked up at him, eyes firm, voice quiet. "There's no way she'd do that to us."

There was a long pause, then: "Cass?"

"Yes, Rob?"

"She's Katherine. There's nothing she won't do."

Cassie stared at him, at his grim brown eyes and steady gaze, and then looked over his shoulder, at the figure that leant against a sixteen century wooden cabinet. A figure with short black hair and pale skin and brilliant blue eyes that were currently fixed firmly on the floor.

The figure glanced up as Cassie stared at her and met her gaze with a mixture of shame and obstinacy, then looked away.

"Katherine?" she asked faintly. The figure shrugged, as though it wasn't sure anymore, or maybe simply didn't want to be. Cassie let go of her husband and walked over to her old friend. "You're alive?"

"It would appear so," agreed Katherine, raising her head to look at her. Cassie stared at her for a moment longer, then slapped her across the face, looking furious. "What the bloody hell d'you think you're playing at? You're supposed to be dead!"

Katherine stood still for a moment, then rubbed her jaw, looking up at her friend from under dark lashes. "D*mn, Cass. That hurt."

"Not half as much as you deserve," pointed out Cassie, ignoring the stinging pain in her own hand.

"Probably not," admitted Katherine ruefully. "But think how nice the world would be with a little less pain."

Cassie stared at her for a moment, then the corners of her mouth twitched and she smiled despite herself. "That's your motto is it?"

"Nope. Morituri nolumus mori, that's my motto. Well, I suppose it should be morituri nolo mori if it just applies to me. Something like that anyway. My Latin's not what it was."

"Not Cogito ergo vexo?" asked Cassie, smiling sweetly.

Katherine looked at her with wide eyed innocence. "Now Cass, that's just not fair."

In the small silence the followed, the two woman grinned at each other and a sleepy voice murmured: "It's cogito ergo sum."

The three adults paused then turned to stare at the small girl, who lay half asleep in the large leather armchair. Cassie sighed heavily.

"Only a child of yours would know Latin before they were six, Robert," she remarked, walking over to her daughter and picking her up. She smiled and glanced over at Katherine. "You're still not completely forgiven, you know."

Katherine nodded in acknowledgement. "I know, but I'm making up for it, I promise you."

"I don't suppose you can tell us how?" ventured Cassie, without much hope.

"Not unless you really want me to kill you," said Katherine calmly, without the slightest hint of jest, but Cassie just rolled her eyes and carried Katy out of the room and back to bed. "She's cute," remarked Katherine as the door swung shut behind mother and daughter.

Robert smiled. "She's adorable."

"And she's called Katy?" probed Katherine.

Robert sighed. "Katherine Louise Avery," he said, meeting her gentle gaze. "After you and Lou."

"You named your daughter after two dead people?" asked Katherine, arching an eyebrow. Louise had been the name of Robert elder sister who'd been killed by Aurors when he was twenty, during a raid on the Baltimore Manor.

"No, we named her after two people who deserved remembering," corrected Robert. He shoved his hands in his robes and gazed at her earnestly. "Why did you do it, Kat?"

"I thought it was the best option," answered Katherine honestly.

"It wasn't."

Katherine shrugged again. "Hindsight makes prophets of us all, Rob. I spent so much time focusing on Tom, I missed all the signs. It's a d*mn good thing Reg didn't."

"Regulus found something out?" asked Robert, eyes bright for a moment, then the light faded. "But Bella was the last one to see him."

Katherine smiled sourly and pulled a folded piece of paper out of her pocket. "Bet your life on it...?"

------------------------------------

So, what d'you think?



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  #12  
Old February 14th, 2006, 2:11 pm
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
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Joined: 5344 days
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Re: Fallen Angel

A/N: Guess what? I'm updating.

Chapter 11 – Tempus fugit

Robert was silent for a long time after reading the papers. Eventually he looked up, his light eyes shadowed.

"This is huge."

Katherine nodded, fiddling absently with the ring that hung round her neck. Tom had been so mysterious about that, but it was just a ring. Her mother's ring, at that. A ring Tom had given to her...

"Why tell me?"

Katherine glanced up, almost surprised at Robert's question. "Because you're the smartest person I know," she answered simply. "And I need your help."

"It's not like you to ask for help with anything," frowned Robert, gazing back down at the papers.

"Like you said, this is huge. I can't handle it alone and besides," she hesitated for a moment, then went on, "The truth nearly died with Regulus. I can't afford for that to happen again. Tom needs to be stopped."

"Katherine, I've got a family to support – this is dangerous. If he finds out-"

"Then we're dead, I know. But if you don't, then he doesn't die. Ever. And your family stays in danger for the rest of their lives. It's the only way to stop him," said Katherine earnestly, leaning forward in her seat.

"What about Potter?"

Katherine frowned, thrown by this question. "What about him?"

"He's supposed to be the only one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord," reminded Robert, running a nervous hand through his spiky hair.

Katherine arched a sceptical eyebrow. "He's seventeen, he's an orphan and he's in Gryffindor. That means he's all brave deeds and famous last stands which never do anyone any good. He doesn't stand a chance."

"Have you talked to Lupin about him?" asked Robert curiously.

"No, why?"

"Because you hear things at the Ministry. Potter seems to get into even more trouble than his father did and he's managed to rub Lucius Malfoy up the wrong way on a number of occasions. He's not your average teenager."

Katherine's blue eyes were suddenly alight with interest. "He's annoyed Lucius?"

"Well let's see, first there was the Philosopher's stone fiasco," said Robert, settling back into his chair, eyes dark with memory. "Only know about that through some very risky eavesdropping by one of my juniors. We saw Nicholas Flammel's name on the Floo Network and tracked him to the Three Broomsticks."

"Why?" interrupted Katherine, not understanding her friend's motives.

"Because the man is – was – over six hundred years old. The Floo wasn't even invented when he was born. He kept getting off at the wrong stop and that kind of thing gets you noticed at the office. Anyway, when he finally reached the pub, Julian hung around the chimney and listened in – don't look at me like that, it's not illegal. Well not technically – you're really only supposed to do it for repairs, but, you know."

"Hey, you don't have to explain yourself to me," objected Katherine. "I just didn't know you could hang around inside a chimney."

"Well you can," shrugged Robert. "You've just got to know how to stop between grates. Causes awful blockages if you stay there too long, but it wasn't very busy that night."

"Fascinating as this is, I feel I'm missing the point of this little tale," pressed Katherine, gazing serenely at her friend.

"The point is that it turned out Quirrel – remember our DADA professor, it was his son – had been teaching at Hogwarts and had tried to steal the Philosopher's stone that Dumbledore had put there for safe keeping. Only Potter and two of his friends had stopped him. Dumbledore and Flammel decided to destroy it in the end, to prevent the Dark Lord getting his hands on it."

"Quirrel was trying to get it for Tom?" asked Katherine. Robert nodded gravely.

"Potter and his friend broke through a lot of enchantments to get to the stone, by all accounts. Even one set up by Severus."

Katherine laughed, eyes glinting. "Bet he was happy about that."

"Bloody furious," answered Robert cheerfully. "Least that's what Julian says. Apparently Potter thought he was the one trying to steal the stone in the first place."

"Well I wouldn't put it past him," remarked Katherine grimly. "But one adventure doesn't make Potter a hero."

"No? Well he also found the entrance to the Chamber of Secrets and killed Slytherin's monster," reported Robert, straight faced. "Lucius was raging about that one for months. Lost him his House Elf too."

"What?" asked Katherine, staring at him. "But..."

"But what?"

"But Potter's a boy," said Katherine, frowning.

"Yes?" ventured Robert, missing her point.

"And the entrance to the Chamber is in a girls bathroom," answered Katherine. "Besides, you'd need to be a parselmouth..."

"That was another rumour circling the papers," frowned Robert, not at all surprised to learn that Katherine knew where the Chamber was. "I guess it must be true. As for the girls' bathroom, one of his best friends is a girl. According to Rita Skeeter, Potter was having a steamy love affair with her-"

"-which means they are almost certainly just friends," finished Katherine.

"Right. Convinced he's a boy wonder yet?" asked Robert, smirking.

"No."

"He helped Sirius Black to escape a Dementor's kiss. Casts an excellent Patronus by all accounts. Nearly got arrested for that a couple of years ago – underage magic and all that."

"Wait a minute," said Katherine, her brows creasing in puzzlement. "A couple of years ago? But then how old was he when the Chamber was opened? And when the Philosopher's stone was at Hogwarts?"

"It was his first and second years at Hogwarts, so about eleven," mused Robert, enjoying Katherine's look of open disbelief. "Told you he was a boy wonder. Now then, let's see, then there was the Dark Lord's return. He duelled with him in front of all of us. Want to know something interesting? The cores of their wands are the same – pretty golden lights and everything when they connected," grinned Robert sardonically. "Credit where it's due, I thought he was a goner."

"He had help from his parents," shrugged Katherine.

"Yeah, but could you have held on for that long?" asked Robert seriously. "He was only fourteen." He paused, running the last bit of their conversation over in his head, then gave Katherine a very strange look. "How did you know about the ghosts? You weren't there."

"I've been out for a long time, Rob," said Katherine, her face unreadable.

"Not that long," said Robert firmly. "In fact, I'm almost certain that's the night you broke out so you can't have been there."

"Daemon told me," said Katherine blankly.

"I don't believe you," replied Robert, gazing at her intently.

"Severus then."

"Severus wasn't there. He was keeping his cover at Hogwarts."

"Lucius?"

"You haven't spoken to Lucius," frowned Robert. "So how did you know?"

"Because that's just what priori incantatem does," said Katherine, folding her arms and gazing insolently back at him. "The reverse spell effect. You get taught that at NEWT."

Robert stared at her, unconvinced. Of course she was right, they did get taught that but she'd been so sure. She'd sounded like she'd seen it, but she couldn't have. It was impossible.

Unconsciously his eye fell onto the papers in front of him. Horcruxes increase your chance of survival, but you need to kill to do it. Well that wouldn't be a problem for Katherine, and she had killed Leon the day she'd been arrested...

"Actually, Evan was the last person I killed." Robert glanced up at Katherine's voice. She smiled. "Alastor took the credit for him though. I suppose he deserves it, Evan did take a nasty chunk out of his nose."

Robert frowned, how had she known what he'd been thinking? But then of course it had been glaringly obvious. Still, he had to ask.

"Did you-"

"Make a horcrux?" asked Katherine, blue eyes glittering dangerously. "Tear my soul in two? What do you think?"

"I don't think you would," said Robert softly, eyes drawn to the diamond ring that shone on her left hand. "No one capable of love could do that to themselves."

"Oh I don't know," said Katherine in a flippant voice, though her eyes were serious. "People do stupid things for love. Evan murdered his girlfriend."

"Evan was a prat," retorted Robert.

"Potter's a prat," objected Katherine. "Taking on curses and basilisks and murdering godparents and a vengeful Lord of Darkness. He's got a death wish."

"He's determined. He flew from Hogwarts to the Ministry to get hold of the prophecy," said Robert, sounding almost admiring. "Do you know the prophecy?"

Katherine nodded mutely. "That's what caused all this trouble. Can't understand why Tom wasn't more careful, I mean he practically ensured Potter would be able to defeat him, didn't he? I would have just ignored it. Far more sensible." She glanced over at Robert who was frowning at her again. He'd taken to doing that a lot lately.

"How could he have known Potter would survive his attack?" he asked.

"Because it's bloody obvious, isn't it? If you mark someone as your equal, then anything you do to them, they're going to be able to do back to you." She frowned to herself, lost in her own thoughts as Robert stared at her. "Maybe that's where Potter gets his parseltongue from. A bit of Tom went into him. What?" She'd noticed Robert's expression.

"Mark him as his equal? Where'd that come from?" Katherine's eyes narrowed slightly as Robert's own eyes widened. "Salazar," he whispered, suddenly leaning back in his chair as though recoiling from a snake. "You know it, don't you?"

"Well so do you," said Katherine cautiously. "Right? The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches, and all that? Right?"

"Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies," recited Robert. Katherine nodded, though warily. "And then it goes on," said Robert softly. "Only no one knows how."

Katherine gave him a long, steady look, then sunk her head into her hands and muttered something Robert couldn't quite catch, for which he was grateful. Robert knew why she was angry; if she knew something that was of value to Tom, she was bound to tell him.

"You could let it slip to Remus," offered Robert. That's what she'd always done before when she was having a conflict of duties. "That way Potter would know too."

"He already knows," muttered Katherine. "Least he should do if Dumbledore had any sense."

"How bad is it?" asked Robert, watching Katherine slumped over in her chair.

"Very bad," she mumbled, peeking out at him from between long fingers. "Still," she sighed, straightening up. "Tom can get stuffed for I care. If he's inattentive enough not to realise that his own daughter is an Unmentionable then he doesn't deserve to know what's going on."

Robert gazed at her, smiling faintly. "A lifetime's service, huh?" Katherine looked up at him, a lazy smile playing around her lips. "You always were one to play by the rules," remarked Robert, eyeing her with something like pride. "And you died, Katherine. I'd consider that my debt paid."

Katherine grinned and stretched luxuriantly. "I'd best be getting home."

"You still haven't told me how you knew what happened the night the Dark Lord came back," interjected Robert. "Or how you survived for that long in Azkaban."

Katherine smiled sweetly at him. "What makes you think I intend to tell you? Goodnight Robert. It's been good catching up."

"What about these?" Robert asked, gesturing to the papers still lying on the table.

"Keep them," shrugged Katherine. "They make for very interesting reading. Burn them when you're done; I've got copies. Don't worry, they're in a safe place."

"I still haven't said I'll help."

"Well? Will you?" she asked, raising her eyebrows.

"I don't have a choice, do I?"

"Everyone's got a choice," said Katherine gently. "Mistake are made when they don't realise that."

Robert sighed heavily. "There's not much to go on. He doesn't know where they are, or how many there are. And there's only a vague outline on what they might be."

"I know where to look," said Katherine firmly. "And I've already destroyed one. Regulus found another – that we have to find. But we'll pick up where he left off...if you'll help."

Robert was silent for a long moment, then he nodded. "I'll do it. For Cassie and Katy. And for Regulus."

Katherine smiled softly. "For Regulus. See you tomorrow, Rob."


Katherine didn't go straight home after she left Avery's house, even though it was approaching three in the morning; instead she did what she always did on nights like this. She found an underground bar. It wasn't that hard to do if you knew where to look. A quiet little pub that sold alcohol at any time of the day or night.

This one was called Omega and it had a dart board. Katherine eyed it while waiting for a drink. She hadn't played darts in years. Good for stress relieving, darts. She used to pretend it was Evan's face. Or James', but Sirius hadn't liked that, so it was mostly Evan. She sighed, gazing down at her engagement ring.

Robert had noticed it she was sure, but he hadn't said anything. There weren't many things that Robert didn't notice. The fact that she'd killed Regulus was one. She'd been surprised at that. After all, she'd practically told him she'd been the last person to see him. But no, Robert thought better of her than that. He wouldn't suspect her of something like that.

Just like Remus would never suspect her of hurting James and Lily. That had been one of Tom's worse ideas. The funny thing was that if he'd just asked her to kill James, she probably would have done it, Remus be d@mned. James was a smarmy git, no matter what Remus said. But Lily – Lily was a good witch; Katherine didn't have anything against her.

And Sirius would never have forgiven her. Remus would never have forgiven her.

So she hadn't done it. She'd taken the other option – not death, because that was just stupid. Prison. She sipped her drink and frowned. She didn't see why people were so afraid of Azkaban. It had seemed perfect to her. No Death Eater duties, no murders, no well meaning friend reminding you of what you could have been and most importantly – no Tom. Why had no one figured that out? Azkaban was the one place on earth you were safe from Voldemort, because he thought anyone foolish enough to let themselves get caught didn't deserve rescuing. Until recently anyway.

Of course on the downside there were the Dementors, but they didn't hurt so much when you'd already come to terms with the bad things in your life. Dementors could only get to you if you were insecure, and there were only two things Katherine had regrets about.

One was Remus. The other was Severus.

Not that she hadn't loved Sirius – she had. He'd made her laugh and he was charming and handsome and he cared about her and she had loved him. It was just that he wasn't Severus. He was a Gryffindor, and even though she knew there wasn't all that much difference between the Houses, it still mattered.

"Man trouble?" asked a slender woman beside her, with a long suffering grin.

"Something like that," murmured Katherine, tearing her gaze away from Sirius' ring. The woman drained a shot glass and ordered another. Katherine watched her curiously, wondering why she looked so familiar. Something about that bob of black hair and those eyes, so dark green they might have been black as well. Severus had eyes like that. Severus hated her right now. She hated him right now. Funny that she couldn't remember why.

"Forget him, he's not worth it," advised the woman, not sounding at all drunk, despite the row of glasses in front of her. Katherine guessed she did this a lot.

"He's dead," said Katherine absently. And well out of it, she added silently.

"Wish my husband was dead," muttered the woman with surprising violence.

"That could be arranged," smiled Katherine. The woman stopped and took a good look at her for the first time. Not that it did a lot of use. All she saw was a well worn woman in her late thirties, which chestnut brown hair and eyes that colour of oak leaves. Katherine hadn't thought it a good idea to go into a wizard bar with her usual face on. Even so, the woman frowned, as though she was adding two and two and kept coming up with five.

She held out a hand. "I'm Ophelia Corbelle. My husband's a cheating **** who spends more time off gallivanting with his twenty year old secretaries than at home with me." She raised a glass in mock toast. "Hope you're having fun, Danny boy."

Katherine gazed at her, an odd expression on her face. Ophelia? Was this Severus' cousin? She looked the same, granted, albeit old beyond her years. She couldn't be more than thirty, which was nothing in wizarding terms, where you could expect to live to an average of a hundred and fifty.

But somehow Katherine couldn't make this image fit with the sweet little five year old who'd begged Severus to stay home and read her stories instead of going to the pub with his mates. She shook her head and stood up, suddenly feeling old. Tempus fugit. Time flies...

"You're going?" asked Ophelia, glancing up at her.

"For now," answered Katherine, thinking of the man in Robert's living room. Daniel Corbelle, he had said. It had to be the same person. "Don't worry, I'm sure we'll meet again."

"I'm sorry, I didn't catch your name," said Ophelia, looking curiously up at her.

"That," said Katherine grimly, "would be because I didn't give it. Good night Ophelia. Say hello to Severus for me."

-------------------

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  #13  
Old February 25th, 2006, 7:14 pm
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
First Year
 
Joined: 5344 days
Location: Behind you
Age: 30
Posts: 48
Re: Fallen Angel

A/N: Before you read this chapter, it might be worth pointing out that Katherine has consumed a lot of alcohol in the past twelve hours and is ever so slightly drunk. This should account for why she does things she probably wouldn't do if she was sober. It's not a major issue, but just bear it in mind. I don't want you thinking she's behaving out of character...

Oh yes, and since the revelations of HBP, Julian and Ophelia's surname is now Lloyd, not Snape.

Chapter 12 – I'm ok, honestly...

Katherine closed the door to Nicki's house softly, listening intently. After a moment's hesitation, she decided her friend had probably not waited up to find out where she'd been. Katherine smiled faintly; she highly doubted that Nicki gave a toss what she got up to, as long as she didn't get caught.

Katherine was about to creep up the stairs when she heard a noise come from a room down the hall, the kind of noise that might be made by someone knocking something off a table, then catching it before it hit the ground. Frowning, she pulled out her wand and slipped out of her shoes, so they wouldn't clatter on the smooth tiled floor.

She walked softly past the morning room and paused outside the second door on the left, which she knew led to the lounge, listening. Silence met her ears and she frowned again. She'd sneaked around enough houses to know that that was the kind of silence people made when they didn't want to be heard. Hell, she'd been the one making it for a vast majority of the time.

She glanced behind her at the moonlight streaming through the hall windows and cast a simple fog spell to blot it out; it wouldn't do to be silhouetted in the doorway. That was the sort of mistake that got amateurs killed. Cautiously, she turned the doorknob and pushed. The door swung open to reveal a large room, barely discernible in the dark. Someone had shut all the curtains; now that was odd. Katherine peered into the dim room, straining her eyes to pick up the smallest hint of movement, but saw nothing. Besides, there were plenty of hiding places, even if someone was there. And there was the small alcove along the wall to her right – she wouldn't be able to see in there unless she actually stepped inside the room.

She stood still for a while, concentrating hard. Everyone had to breathe, and breathing made noise, especially when you were trying to be quiet. It only took a minute to locate the shallow breathing – there, to her right. Probably concealed in the alcove. As quietly as possible, she sidled into the room, keeping close to the wall with her wand raised at head height.

There was a white leather sofa in the alcove and Katherine could just about make out a dark shape perched there, body tense, facing her way. Definitely not Nic. She would have said something by now. Whoever it was, they didn't seem to have seen her. Not yet anyway.

Lumos she thought, and a jet of white light streamed from her wand, shining directly into the wide eyes of the intruder. The figure leapt up, diving towards her and causing them both to fall to the floor. After a brief scuffle, Katherine's wand was knocked away and she felt the tip of the stranger's wand pressed against her throat. The stranger was kneeling over her, trapping her arms next to her side.

Katherine stared up into a dark face, faintly outlined against the lighter blackness of the room. Suddenly a light flared on and Katherine screwed up her eyes against the painful glare.

"Oh honestly," sighed a very familiar voice. "I should have known better than to leave you two to your own devices."

Katherine twisted her head towards the door where the voice had come from and saw Nicki standing there, red dressing gown loosely tied at the waist, hands on hips. She was looking appraisingly at Katherine and...whoever was sitting on top of her. She glanced up and saw a pair of impossibly dark green eyes staring back down at her.

"Katherine?"


Ophelia waited anxiously outside the huge oaken door that marked the entrance to the Lloyd Manor. She wrapped her cloak tighter around herself and glanced at her watch. 4am. Any minute now...

The crunch of gravel announced the arrival of the master of the house and Ophelia stood up, peering into the darkness beyond the light of the front porch. She could see a figure approaching, gradually becoming recognisable as they drew nearer to the house. Abruptly, the sound of footsteps stopped and Ophelia looked down into a pair of amber eyes that were studying her critically.

"Morning Julian," she said softly, attempting a smile. Julian frowned slightly, but continued up the steps and opened the front door where he was immediately met by an obsequious house elf, bowing low whilst simultaneously relieving it's master of his cloak and scarf. It disappeared as Julian turned around and surveyed his sister with angry eyes. Ophelia looked away, even though she knew the anger wasn't directed at her.

"What's he done?"

"I didn't come about Daniel," said Ophelia quietly, slipping off her cloak and folding it over one arm. "I came about Severus, or rather, well...someone asked about him."

Julian frowned, pushing open a door on his left and going in. Ophelia followed him and was glad to find a roaring fire in the grate and a couple of black leather armchairs. She sank into one thankfully, and glanced up at her brother who was standing beside the fireplace.

"Who was asking?"

"A woman. In a pub."

Julian's frown deepened and he glanced over at her. "What woman?"

"I don't know. I've never seen her before," said Ophelia, trying to shake the feeling that she was lying, because she hadn't ever seen the woman before. It was just...maybe the voice...?

"Not a pure blood then?" asked Julian, one eyebrow cocked in inquiry.

"No, but...she acted like one. Like she'd been brought up around our kind," mused Ophelia. "And she offered to kill Daniel."

"I like her already," remarked Julian, a grim smile on his lips.

"She was being serious," said Ophelia evenly. Julian frowned at her, his amber eyes glowing gold in the firelight.

"Serious?"

"I think so. Certainly sounded it," agreed Ophelia.

"And she asked about Severus?" inquired Julian, coming to sit in the chair opposite his younger sister.

"I think her exact words were 'Say hello to Severus for me'," recalled Ophelia, her eyes almost black in the dim room.

"Not Snape," commented Julian, running a hand through his short hair. "So she knows him."

"But that's just it," frowned Ophelia. "Severus doesn't know any women. Apart from his old class mates, I suppose, but I'd have recognised them. Besides, what would they be doing in a pub at three in the morning?"

"Or more importantly, what were you doing in a pub at three in the morning?" countered Julian, meeting his sister's gaze sternly. "If Daniel-"

"I can handle him," said Ophelia tonelessly. "I should count myself lucky. Many girls would kill to have my lifestyle."

Julian was silent for a moment, idly summoning a glass and a bottle of whisky from a sideboard, and pouring himself a nightcap. He didn't offer one to his sister; she'd had quite enough already. "You were going to be a lawyer," he said after a while. "Before you married Daniel."

"Marriage is about compromise, remember?" said Ophelia, smiling dryly. "That's what you always tell Tanya."

"That's different," shrugged Julian. "She's my wife, you're my sister. And I don't go out having affairs with anything in a skirt."

"That's because you're married to Tanya," put in Ophelia, only half joking. "It'd be hard to find anyone worth it. Besides, you know I can't leave Daniel. Mother would have a fit. His family is very influential-"

"We don't need him anymore," said Julian darkly. "Dear cousin Severus is the Dark Lord's right hand man once again. That's all the influence we're ever going to need. Which reminds me, Kitten's back."

Ophelia stared at him blankly for a moment, then her eyes widened slightly in surprise. "The papers were telling the truth?"

"I know, shocking isn't it?" remarked Julian dryly, draining the rest of his whisky and setting the glass down.

"Be serious, Julian," reprimanded Ophelia.

"I was," objected Julian, though he smiled slightly. "Deadly."

"So she's alive?"

"Yes. Free as a bird."

"How on earth did she manage that?"

Julian chuckled darkly. "You know, I asked Severus that earlier."

"And what did he say?"

"He said he didn't have a clue."

"What about the Aurors? Do they know?"

"I shouldn't think so," said Julian, sighing heavily. "They keep asking us to triple check Floo network activity over the past month, and look for unlicensed portkey activity and so on, but there's no trace. And she can't have apparated because she didn't have a wand. Wands aren't allowed on Azkaban. Even the new guards are using special ones from Ollivander that only work for one wizard. They were the last ones he made before he disappeared."

"So what did she do? Fly?"

"Couldn't have. The Ministry put a charm around the whole prison after Black escaped. No one can get past it without the proper authorization. We only managed to get Lestrange and the rest out because Kensington knew the spells, and like I said, Riddle didn't have a wand."

"Then it's not her," said Ophelia, stifling a yawn. "If the Dark Lord didn't get her out and she had no wand, then she can't be out. There's no other form of transportation."

Julian raised an eyebrow amusedly. "She challenged the Dark Lord in front of a room full of Death Eaters. It's definitely Kitten, Lia."

"Well where is she?"

"Don't know. She went to talk with him in private. If he didn't kill her, I presume she did what she usually does after being in the same room as him."

"What's that?"

Julian smirked and glanced up, meeting his sister's questioning gaze. "Goes and gets very drunk."


Katherine closed her eyes, then opened them again. The green eyes hadn't gone away.

"Morning Severus," she said, sounding slightly abashed.

Severus stared down at her, then Nicki's words sank in and he hurriedly stood up, shaking his head.

"Um, sorry."

Katherine smiled vaguely, propping herself up on her elbows and trying to focus. "That's alright," she sighed, suddenly feeling extremely tired; it had been a very long day. She swiveled round to face Nicki. "What time is it?"

"Just gone four."

"Right, then I'm off to bed," said Katherine amiably, standing up on her third attempt. "Good night."

"Night," responded Nicki as Katherine shuffled past her. She glanced at Severus who was frowning.

"Exactly how much alcohol d'you think she's had?" he asked calmly.

"Enough to forget that she's supposed to hate you at present," shrugged Nicki, leaning on the door frame.

Severus nodded and sat down heavily on the sofa, closing his eyes. "You didn't tell me she was staying here."

"You didn't ask. Besides, I needed to get you out of that house; the Aurors were about to raid it," replied Nicki, examining a chipped fingernail critically.

"I'll find somewhere else tomorrow," muttered Severus, rubbing his eyes.

Nicki looked up sharply. "Don't be ridiculous. You're safe here for the time being. Your house is going to be under observation for weeks and they'll be searching all the hotels and B&B's. You're not going anywhere; Katherine would never forgive me."

"You just said she hated me," frowned Severus, opening his eyes and staring at his old class mate.

"I said she hated you at present," corrected Nicki. "She'll get over it."

"You think?"

"Yes," said Nicki firmly, dark eyes gleaming.

"Why?"

"Because she loves you, blockhead. Heavens knows why."

Severus raised an eyebrow. "That was a long time ago, Nic."

"Absence makes the heart grow fonder," recited Nicki, grinning.

"Now who's being ridiculous?"

"Still you, I'm afraid."

Severus shook his head despairingly. "And what happens if you get caught harbouring two wanted criminals?"

"Oh don't worry about me, Severus. I can look after myself. It's a little thing called blackmail," smiled Nicki nastily.

"Not all the Heads of Department are male, Nic," reminded Severus.

"No, but they've all got dirty little secrets they'd rather no one else knows," replied Nicki. "And secretaries get all the gossip, believe me." Nicki chuckled, plunging the room into darkness with a flick of her wand. "Good night Severus. Sleep tight."

Severus sighed as he heard the door click shut and lay back on the sofa. Women. Absolutely insane, the lot of them. He shut his eyes and tried to relax. He drifted off about ten minutes later wondering vaguely whether he should have told Nicki about Peter...


Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – Fifth Year

Severus Snape looked up at the girl in front of him with a sceptical expression.

"You want my help?"

The girl rolled her admittedly pretty blue eyes and sighed. "Yes, Snape, I want your help."

"Why?" asked Severus, reluctant to stray away from one syllable words.

The girl looked vaguely amused. "Because you're fantastic at Potions, alright? And I need to make one. Need to make one up, actually."

Severus narrowed his dark eyes and studied the girl. She was in his year, he knew that, but she'd never spoken to him before. Why now? He frowned, unable to shake the feeling that James Potter and Sirius Black had something to do with this.

"How do you know I'm good at Potions?" he asked, playing for more time.

The girl raised her eyebrows, staring at him. "You're in the Slug Club, aren't you?"

"So are lots of other people."

"Not that many," shrugged the girl. "I'm not. Besides, everyone knows you're good at Potions. So will you help me?"

"No," said Severus shortly, closing the book he'd been reading and stuffing it into his bag.

The girl's pleasant expression darkened slightly. "Why not?"

"Because I don't want to."

The girl raised a cynical eyebrow. "It's no wonder you haven't got any friends if you treat people like this. Maybe Potter and Black are right about you. You really are a loser."

Severus nearly turned around and hexed her right then, but stopped himself, remembering Lucius' advise. "At least I'm not a mudblood like you," he said coolly, sneering at her. "Some of us have class."

He turned away, heading towards the library doors, then yelped, clutching at his right arm. Three deep gashes stretched across his pale skin, red blood oozing from them and soaking into his shirt. He whirled around angrily to see the black haired girl on her feet, pointing her wand at him and looking furious.

"I'm adopted, not muggle," she said softly, voice filled with a menace he hadn't thought she possessed. She threw a scornful glance at his bleeding arm and trained her wand on his chest. "I can do it over your heart if you want," she offered, eyes that had seemed so innocent a few minutes ago gleaming threateningly.

"Where did you learn to do that," Severus whispered, looking at the girl properly for the first time. Ebony black hair and sapphire bright eyes. Strange combination for mud- witch. Definitely a witch. Lily Evans couldn't do magic like that. That was dark magic, stuff that wasn't taught at Hogwarts, and Severus was very interested in dark magic.

The girl just smiled at him, her dark hair reflecting the winter sunlight that streamed through the high window.

"Will you help me?" she asked, still not moving her wand.

Severus considered her for a while, dark eyes thoughtful. "Do you know more of those spells?"

"I will."

"And you'll teach me them?"

"If you help."

Severus glanced down at his arm, which was still seeping blood, though it seemed to have slowed, then looked up at the girl and nodded. "I'll help."

The girl smiled suddenly, all trace of menace vanishing in an instant. "Good."

She flicked her wand and Severus felt the wounds on his arm heal, the skin knitting itself back together. He wiped some of the blood away with his other sleeve and saw three faint lines where the cuts had been, showing white against his already pale skin.

"Just a reminder," said the girl softly, coming to stand in front of him. "They'll fade after a couple of weeks."

Severus looked up at her, frowning. "What's your name?" he demanded.

The girl paused a moment, then shook her head. Five years in the same House and he didn't even know her name. Well she couldn't say she was particularly surprised; not many people knew who she was. That was about to change.

"Katherine," she said softly. "Katherine...Riddle."


----------

I would just like to point out that Julian's house elf took his cloak from him; Julian didn't give it to him, so the elf isn't free. Just in case any of you had noticed that...

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  #14  
Old March 22nd, 2006, 10:06 pm
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
First Year
 
Joined: 5344 days
Location: Behind you
Age: 30
Posts: 48
Re: Fallen Angel

A/N: Well I over ran a bit and the meeting that was supposed to take place didn't, but never mind. At least I'm updating on the day I said I would. Enjoy!

Chapter 13 – Unlucky for some

"Harry, Ron, wake up!" Footsteps sounded in the dark, then the curtains were flung open and the two boys blinked in the brilliant sunlight streaming in through the window.

"'Mione? What d'you want?" muttered Ron, pulling the blankets over his head. Hermione snatched them away and looked sternly down at him.

"It's nine o'clock. Get up, we've got to go see Lupin," she ordered, turning around and handing Harry his glasses.

"Why?" asked Harry, stifling a yawn.

"Because he knew Katherine Aenigma," answered Hermione briskly, ignoring the boys' bewildered expressions. "Now get dressed. I'll wait for you outside."


Ten minutes later, the trio were sitting in Ron's back garden, eating a hurried breakfast and trying not to be overheard.

"So how did you find this out exactly?" asked Ron, frowning at Hermione.

"I told you, Madam Pince let me look at the school library-"

"When was this?" injected Harry, looking puzzled.

"Yesterday, when you two were your apparation exams," sighed Hermione.

"You said you'd waited for us!" exclaimed Ron, looking slightly hurt.

Hermione rolled her eyes in exasperation. "Well I knew it'd take a couple of hours for you to finish so I decided to spend my time doing something productive, all right? I was there when you got out, wasn't I?"

"Yeah, but-"

"Then what's the problem? Look, like I said, Madam Pince let me into the library and I found the register of Hogwarts students." She pulled a list out of her pocket and placed it on the wooden table. "Luckily her surname begins with A so I just had to skim the top of the lists of students from about 20 years ago. I copied out her year."

The boys leaned over the table to read the list, written in Hermione's neat script. Harry frowned as certain names caught his eye. "Avery, Nott, Parkinson, Rookwood, Rosier – Hermione they're all Death Eaters!"

"Actually it's Augustus Rookwood who's a Death Eater," corrected Hermione. "And Fiona Parkinson is dead. She was attacked when they were still at school."

Harry raised his eyebrows at this but Ron, used to hearing similar things from his parents, continued to study the list.

"Frank Longbottom," he read slowly. "That's Neville's dad, isn't it?"

"Yes, and Andromeda Black is Tonks' mother," remarked Hermione.

"What do these numbers mean?" asked Harry, gesturing to the scribbled digits at the bottom of the parchment.

G2 (+2) H3 R5 S8


"Well it didn't take me long to find Aenigma so I cross checked the list of names with newspaper articles. Only half that year are still alive, and two of those are in Saint Mungo's," said Hermione in a small voice. "Remus is the only one we know."

"And the letters?"

"They're the houses," answered Hermione.

"So eight people died in Slytherin?" asked Ron hopefully.

"No, eight people survived," said Hermione bleakly. "And only two Gryffindors are still around, Remus and Peter, not counting the Longbottoms in Saint Mungo's."

"Well that's encouraging," remarked Harry dryly. He sighed and looked up at his friends. "Right, so who knows where Lupin lives...?"


Remus awoke that morning in a state of confusion and it took him a while to work out where he was. Then Faye appeared in a doorway and the events of the previous night came back to him.

"Oh sorry, did I wake you?" asked Faye, looking apologetic.

"No, not at all," assured Remus, stretching and glancing at the clock above the fireplace. 9:30.

"D'you want a cup of tea?" offered Faye. "The kettle's boiling."

"Yes thanks," yawned Remus. Faye smiled and disappeared into the kitchen once more. Remus sighed, grimacing at the ache in his limbs from spending the night on a worn out sofa. An open metal box on the table caught his eye and he leant over to examine it. A white leather journal lay open next to the box, but as far as Remus could see, it was completely blank. He ignored it and peered into the depths of the box instead. A glint of silver caught his eye and he frowned, lifting the small charm bracelet up to the light so he could examine it properly.

"It's Katherine's," said Faye, re-entering the room and placing a mug of tea down in front of him. "Least, the box was under her bed, and she wrote the journal."

"I know," murmured Remus, still frowning. "I gave her this for her sixth birthday. I'm surprised she kept it."

Faye smiled gently and picked up an unsealed envelope that was lying at the bottom of the box. Remus glanced her as she opened it and slid out a selection of photographs. Faye flicked through them, then handed them to Remus. "D'you know who they are?"

"That's her adoptive parents," said Remus, indicating a photo of a smiling couple with brown hair. "Sarah and Charles. And that's the people in her House," he added, pointing out another photo of seven grim looking teenagers. Faye picked it up, noting that Remus hadn't said people, not friends. "There's a couple of me, a few of Sirius, one of James and Lily," continued Remus, flicking through the rest. "And I suppose you recognise this one." Faye glanced at the picture he was holding up and smiled.

"Aunt Cady."

Remus nodded and frowned at the next photograph. "And I can't say I know who these four are."

Faye glanced at the picture for a second, then did a double take and looked again.

"Are you all right?" asked Remus, looking concerned.

"They're Death Eaters," said Faye softly, her face pale. She pointed out a handsome blonde haired man and a taller, graver man with light brown hair. "Those were the ones that got Aunt Cady – Kelly Hunt and Simon Carr. I don't know the other two."

Remus was about to respond to this when there was a flare of green and a cloud of soot erupted from the fireplace, accompanied by muffled swearing and the sound of a number of people falling over. Remus waved his wand to clear the smoky air and looked appraisingly down at his three ex-students with some exasperation. "Harry, Ron, Hermione," he nodded. "To what do I owe this pleasure?"


"Shouldn't you be at work, or something?" asked Severus, studying Nicola over a strong cup of coffee. Nicola glanced up at him from the fridge and shook her head.

"It's my day off."

"Monday?"

Nicola shrugged, pouring herself a glass of orange juice. "Aurors work a seven day week and weekends are usually busy, so I take Monday & Tuesday off."

"Fair enough," murmured Severus, staring into the depths of his coffee cup. Suddenly, the kitchen door swung open violently and Katherine appeared, frantically pulling her hair into a ponytail and glaring at Severus.

"What are you doing here?" she demanded as Severus frowned at her shabby appearance. She was still wearing the same clothes she'd had on the previous day and her eyeliner was smudged under her eyes.

"Ah, I was wondering how long it would take for the alcohol to wear off," sighed Severus, but Katherine glowered at him and grabbed his shoulder.

"What happened to your house?" she demanded again.

"Aurors raided it," answered Nicola, frowning at her friend. "I got him out before-"

"So where's Peter?" hissed Katherine, her gaze fixed on Severus.

"Peter?" asked Nicola in a puzzled voice. "Who's Peter?"

"You left him in there, didn't you?" said Katherine, narrowing her eyes.

"There wasn't time to get him out," answered Severus calmly, giving her an odd look. "Why does it matter?"

"Because Remus hates you enough already," snarled Katherine, looking furious. "He's actually going to kill you if he finds out that for the best part of last year you were harboring the man who helped destroy his life."

"I can look after myself," shrugged Severus, twisting free of Katherine's grip.

Katherine arched a sceptical eyebrow. "Have you ever actually seen Remus angry, Severus? Really angry? Because when he finds you, you're going to think that thing you saw in fifth year was a fluffy little bunny rabbit in comparison."

"What thing?" asked Nicola, walking over to the table and sitting down opposite Severus. "What happened in fifth year?"

"Where does Remus live?" Katherine asked her, ignoring the question.

"Why?" asked Nicola, guardedly. "You're not going to do something stupid are you?"

"I'm going to try and get to him before he finds out Peter's been arrested from someone else. Now where is he? You showed him into Auror HQ yesterday and I know his address is on that card he carries, so...?"

"Um, somewhere in Brixton I think-"

"Brixton?" Katherine looked incredulously at her friend. "He's living in Brixton when we own a flat in Mayfair?"

Nicola shrugged. "He's your friend, you talk some sense into him. And if you can't use your legendary ingenuity to find him you're not the woman I thought you were."

"You haven't done a very good job of narrowing down the search area," said Katherine acidly. "And people are going to twig something's amiss if I start using magic."

"Katherine, this is London you're talking about. It's full of weird people," reminded Nicki, sighing. "Trust me, no one will notice."

"Fine," relented Katherine, distractedly pulling her hair out of its ponytail and conjuring a black trilbie from thin air. Severus glanced up at her as she put it on, the rim casting a shadow over her eyes, and held her gaze for a moment. "Daniel Corbelle," she said quietly, throwing Severus for a moment. "Is he one of ours?"

"Ophelia's husband?" asked Severus in surprise. He was about to question her as to how she knew about him, but thought better of it. The chances of him getting a straight answer were slim to none. "No, he's not one of ours."

"Does he want to be?"

"I don't think so."

Katherine smiled grimly. "Good, I'll recommend him to Dad. See you later," she added, waving a hand vaguely at Nicola. She strode out of the room, grabbing her coat from the hall on the way and a moment later they heard the door slam.

Nicola met Severus gaze and raised her eyebrows. "Right," she said, taking a deep breath. "Now d'you mind explaining what the hell all that was about...?"


Remus waited, arms folded, as the three teenagers looked sheepishly up at him.

"We didn't mean to-" began Hermione at the same time as Harry said: "You knew Katherine Aenigma."

There was a crash from behind him and four pairs of eyes turned to see Faye blushing as she picked up a metal box that had fallen on the floor. "Sorry," she said quietly, scooping the contents of the box up hurriedly and placing it back on the table.

"You missed this," said Hermione, picking a tattered white envelope from where it lay, partially hidden under the sofa. "Oh – sorry!" she gasped as a flurry of photographs fell out and fluttered to the floor.

"No, let me," interjected Faye hastily, as Hermione bent to pick them up.

"No, it's my fault," apologised Hermione, kneeling on the worn carpet. Faye gave her a brittle smile and stuffed the majority of the photos back into the envelope, trying not to seem too relieved that Hermione hadn't paid any attention to the subjects of the pictures.

"Are these yours?" asked Harry quietly. Faye glanced up and saw to her horror that he had a photograph in his hand. Please don't let it be Katherine...

"Mine?" asked Faye, glancing desperately at Remus. The boy's vivid emerald gaze didn't flicker as she got to her feet, holding the envelope tightly in her hands. "Uh-"

"Only Fleur implied you to went to Beauxbaton," continued Harry, as Ron and Hermione looked curiously at the photo he held.

"Isn't that Sirius?" asked Ron, frowning. Harry looked up, flipping the photograph over and gazing directly at Remus.

"Isn't that Aenigma?" he asked, with a touch of accusation in his voice. Remus opened his mouth, then closed it again, not knowing quite how he was going to explain this.

"Can't be, can it," said Ron, looking uncertainly at Faye, as though trying to convince himself it was her in photograph. "Can it?" he asked, glancing at Remus.

A knock at the door interrupted Remus' reply and he sighed. "Wait here." He hurried out into the small hallway and pulled the door open an inch, leaving the chain across it. "Yes?"

The stranger turned around and raised the rim of their hat slightly. "Have you read the paper?"

Remus stared at his errant friend for a moment, then said in a comparatively calm voice. "Katherine, you do know there's an entire fleet of Aurors out looking for you, right?"

"Yeah," said Katherine, though Remus wasn't sure she'd quite grasped the gravity of the situation from her flippant tone of voice. "Anyway - the paper?"

"No, I haven't seen one yet. Why?" asked Remus irritably, then continued quickly. "No, forget that, you do realise you haven't made any effort to conceal your appearance, don't you?"

"I could care less at this precise moment," sighed Katherine, rubbing her temples. "Can I come in."

"Definitely not," answered Remus firmly, frowning at his friend. Something about the stance and the way she was squinting in the sunlight was very familiar... "Kat, are you hungover?"

Katherine glanced up at him, scowling. "Would it matter if I was?"

"Remus, who is it?" called Faye from the lounge, her tone implying that she needed his help.

"Double glazing salesman," answered Katherine immediately, in Remus' own voice. Remus stared at her, and she grinned. "Well lying doesn't come naturally to you, does it? Thought I'd better help you out."

"Right," muttered Remus, stepping outside and pulling the door to behind him. "What are you doing here, Kat?"

"Or more to the point, what is my cousin doing here at ten o'clock in the morning?" asked Katherine cheerfully. "I mean, when I said she should see you for duelling lessons, I meant next weekend, but you're obviously both very keen-"

"Nothing happened!"

Katherine arched a sceptical eyebrow. "You're telling me she stayed the night at your place and-"

"-I was the perfect gentlemen," filled in Remus.

Katherine gazed at him thoughtfully for a moment. "You idiot."

Remus scowled. "Katherine, I love Tonks."

"Yeah, and you're old enough to be-"

"You think I don't know that?" asked Remus exasperatedly. "But you can't help who you fall in love with. You're living proof of that."

"So you're going to tell Tonks?" asked Katherine innocently, tilting her head to one side and smiling sweetly at him.

"Do I need to?"

"Now now, Rem. That's not a very good start to a relationship, is it? You can't lie to your girlfriend. They always find out, believe me."

"Mr Lupin?"

Katherine and Remus turned around to see two men in black suits and sunglasses walking towards them along the open aired balcony that connected the flats on Remus' floor.

"Sunglasses in this weather?" muttered Katherine in a low voice. Remus shot a warning glance at her, then turned to the men.

"Yes?" he ventured, as Katherine cast a dubious look at the strangers.

"Could we have a private word?" asked the second of the two men with a brief smile, as they stopped in front of Remus.

"No," cut in Katherine, pushing the rim of her hat up to reveal her face and smiling dangerously at them. "Now bugger off before what happened to Kensington happens to you." The two men stood frozen for a moment, apparently weighing up their options. Katherine reached out calmly and pulled the dark glasses off the nearest man. "I don't make idle threats, Rochester, you know that."

"Miss Riddle, I didn't see y-" Rochester glanced nervously at his companion, then back at Katherine who was still smiling disconcertingly. "Um, sorry, Miss Riddle."

"Good. Now toddle off and tell Alex to try harder next time," commanded Katherine, tossing his glasses back at him.

"Yes, Miss Riddle," mumbled Rochester, grabbing his associate and hurrying away, back the way he'd come.

"Alex?" asked Remus, frowning at her.

"Alex McKenzie. Red hair, got a twin brother called James. They used to be in our year. She's trying to prove I didn't kill Faye. They must have found out she was here," mused Katherine, eyeing the two Death Eater's retreating backs dubiously.

"Faye? But they asked to talk to me."

"So they could get inside," explained Katherine absently.

"And you know this how?"

Katherine glanced at him, grinning. "Legilimens – don't look at me like that, I only promised I wouldn't use it on you."

"Hmm..."

"Hey don't complain, it's your fault for leaving me a loophole." She smiled at his disapproving expression and adjusted her hat. "And don't worry about Alex, Rem, she doesn't know about you."

"Well that's something I suppose," sighed Remus, glancing at his watch. He'd been talking to Katherine for five minutes. The trio were probably getting suspicious by now.

"Right. It's Bella you should be looking out for," agreed Katherine, leaning on the balcony and gazing out over the grimy rooftops of London.

"Lestrange?" asked Remus, staring at her with wide eyes.

"He married her?" asked Katherine absently. "Yes, Bellatrix Lestrange. She's the one that asked Kensington to call you in. Didn't I say?"

"No."

Katherine glanced over her shoulder, her face the picture of innocence. "Oh don't look so scared, Rem. She hasn't got that many groupies any more. They all think she's a lunatic and Azkaban certainly took her looks, if not her mind, so she can't win people over on that score anymore."

"That's supposed to make me feel better is it?" asked Remus, coming to stand beside her. "That only people who are crazy enough to bow to Bellatrix's command are coming after me?"

"Crazy people make mistakes," answered Katherine reasonably.

"All Death Eaters are crazy," hissed Remus, pointedly.

"Yeah, but I made sure all the smart ones owed me their lives years ago," said Katherine, giving him a sly grin. "They'd follow me anywhere because they know I'm crazy enough to get them out again."

Remus frowned, but was prevented from commenting on this by the sudden scream from inside his apartment. He and Katherine exchanged looks for a moment, then he dived inside, pulling his wand out as he went. Katherine watched him go, then turned and peered over the balcony again. Far below, two figures in dark suits were emerging from the bottom of the block of flats and heading across the street. Rule No. 1: Never drop a shield charm when you're standing in front of a Death Eater...

---------------------

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Last edited by Purple Banana; January 30th, 2007 at 10:54 pm.
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  #15  
Old April 1st, 2006, 11:22 pm
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
First Year
 
Joined: 5344 days
Location: Behind you
Age: 30
Posts: 48
Re: Fallen Angel

A/N: Easter holidays are here at last. To celebrate, here's an update...

Chapter 14 – No one likes Mondays

Remus flung back the door to the small lounge just as Ron reached it, pushing Hermione before him. Harry stood behind them, facing the intruder with his wand out. "Get away from her!"

Remus frowned at Harry's words, then realisation dawned – Faye must be on the other side of the room, blocked from sight by the man with matted grey hair.

"Harry, get out of here," he ordered, stepping past Ron and Hermione, into the room. Harry glanced over his shoulder at him, but did not move. The intruder however, did turn around, and when he did, it sent shivers down Remus' spine.

It was Fenrir Greyback.

"Well well well. Remus Lupin. So you are in. Your friends implied otherwise." Fenrir's yellowish eyes roamed over the younger man, sizing him up. "Going to duel me, are you? Fight for your girl?"

"She's not my girl," said Remus, then wondered why he had. Perhaps it was because of what Katherine had insinuated earlier, perhaps because it was true.

"Really?" Fenrir raised an eyebrow. "Then you won't mind me taking her." He reached out and grabbed Faye, pulling her inbetween himself and Remus. "Should have hexed me when you had the chance," he snarled. He twisted his head round to examine Faye's terrified face. "Not very smart, that one, is he?"

Behind Remus, Hermione gave a stifled cry, but he barely registered it. All he could think about was Faye. "Let her go."

Fenrir glanced up, tilting his head to one side and smiling nastily. "Why?"

"Because if you don't release her within the next ten seconds, I will kill you."

Remus started at the voice and turned around to see Katherine standing in the doorway, glowering up at Fenrir from beneath the shadows of her hat. Behind her, Remus could see Hermione clutching at Ron's arm nervously. Fenrir gave Katherine an odd look as Faye squirmed in his strong arms.

"Have we met?"

"I doubt it. I would have remembered the smell," remarked Katherine in the same intense voice that went way beyond furious and fell just short of lunacy. Remus could only stare at her, amazed at her ability to be sarcastic in even the most serious of situations.

"You think compliments like that are going to make me want to let your friend go?" snarled Fenrir.

"She's not my friend, she's my cousin," said Katherine darkly. "Five seconds."

Fenrir laughed, tightening his arm around Faye and holding her like a shield. "Give it your best shot," he challenged, baring his yellow teeth.

Katherine raised her wand and shot a spell in his direction before Remus could stop her. The spell sunk into Faye and she promptly disappeared, leaving Fenrir grasping empty air.

"What the-?" He glared at Katherine who gazed solemnly back at him.

"I did warn you," she stated matter-of-factly, flicking her wand again. Fenrir abruptly slammed into the opposite wall, clutching at this throat.

"Katherine don't..." For a moment, Remus thought his friend was going to ignore him, but then she dropped the gasping Fenrir. "Where's Faye?"

"Hogwarts. Where she should have been in the first place," answered Katherine, voice still terse. "D'you know him?" She made a brief gesture towards Fenrir who was bent over, trying to catch his breath.

"Fenrir Greyback. One of yours."

"One of mine?" asked Katherine, looking sharply at Remus. "He works for Tom?"

Remus nodded. "You didn't know?"

"He's a werewolf!" exclaimed Katherine. "Tom doesn't employ werewolves."

"That was twenty years ago, Katherine. Things change," said Remus hollowly, avoiding her gaze. On the floor, Fenrir was getting to his feet.

"Who are you?" he snarled, glowering at Katherine and rubbing his throat.

"Don't you read the papers?" asked Katherine caustically. Fenrir's yellow eyes narrowed.

"It's you, isn't it? From-"

A pointed cough from Remus later, Fenrir was out cold. Katherine glanced at her friend and Remus thought he saw an apologetic look on her face before she turned her wand on him.

"Katherine..?" he said warily, keeping on eye on Harry, whose bewildered expression was starting to turn into anger.

"Lupin," replied Katherine blankly, and Remus was surprised to find himself shocked by the cold, blank expression on her face. So this is your other face, is it? The one you use when you work for your father? No wonder you've got a perfect track record. Anyone looking into those eyes is going to lose any hope of escape in an instant...

"Get away from him!" Harry's indignant outburst brought Remus sharply back to the present.

"Harry, this isn't what it looks like," he began, before realising just how stupid that sounded. He was in his flat, with photographs of known Death Eaters scattered over the table, a psychopathic rogue werewolf unconscious against one wall and a Wanted criminal pointing her wand at his chest. What on earth was it supposed to look like? He sighed, suddenly very angry. How did Katherine manage to turn even the most innocent situation into a tangled web of deceit that he was always left to try and unravel in her wake. Well he'd had enough...

Scowling, he reached out and grabbed her wand, giving her a look that could have curdled milk.

"Hey!" protested Katherine, trying to snatch it back, the blank mask evaporating instantly.

"What d'you think you're playing at?" he hissed, holding the wand out of her reach. "D'you want to get killed?"

Katherine gave Harry an incredulous look and shook her head. "No, I was trying not to make it look as though you were associating with a mass murderer, but I think it's safe to say that illusion is effectively ruined," retorted Katherine, glaring at him.

"Sorry to disappoint you, but I think they probably twigged something was up when you sauntered in and smashed Greyback against the wall," retorted Remus, glaring back.

"You two know each other?" ventured a small voice from the doorway. Remus glanced around to see Hermione staring at him, her brown eyes wide.

He frowned at her, confused. "I thought you knew that."

"We knew you were in the same year," said Ron nervously, gaze flickering from Remus to Katherine and back again. "We didn't know you were..." He trailed off, watching Katherine apprehensively.

Remus closed his eyes, praying this was just some kind of horrible nightmare he was having trouble waking up from. He opened his eyes when he heard Katherine laugh, and turned his head to give her a questioning look. She grinned and flopped down onto the crumbing sofa, looking up at him belligerently.

"Talk your way out of this one," she challenged, leaning back and turning her gaze on Harry who was looking from her to Remus and back again with distinct unease. She cocked her head to one side and gave Harry an odd smile which he returned with a glare.

Remus stared at her, then shook his head. Definitely not a nightmare. He didn't have enough imagination to conjure up someone like Katherine. He turned to Harry, but James' son wasn't looking at him, he was scowling down at the woman on the sofa, fists clenched. In his right hand, he held his wand. In his left, he held...a photograph. Alarm bells starting ringing far too late in Remus' head. "Harry-"

"What did you to Sirius?"

Katherine, who'd been fiddling with something on her finger glanced up at Harry, her eyes suddenly guarded. "What?" Harry thrust the photo out towards her and she sat up, frowning at it. "Where did you get that?" she asked softly, eyes narrowing dangerously.

"It's mine," said Remus quickly, stepping between them.

"Yours?" Katherine gave him a cynical look, and Remus didn't miss the faint trace of amusement in her voice that told him she knew he was lying. "Remus why in heaven's name would you have a picture of Reg?"

There was a long pause, then Remus looked at her, really looked at her. She was being serious. "Reg?" he asked, disconcerted.

Katherine shook her head and sighed, leaning back into the worn sofa and gazing up at the ceiling. "Yes, Remus. Regulus. Sirius' brother, remember?"

And Remus did. Vaguely. It had been such a long time ago...

Katherine looked sharply at him. "I don't know who'd be more horrified – Sirius, for being mistaken for his considerably less handsome brother, or Reg, for being mistaken for a blood traitor."

Remus turned his attention to the picture which Harry still held loosely in one hand. The boy in the picture grinned and made a charming gesture with his fingers. Remus scowled as the sixteen year old Katherine laughed, arms clasped around the boy's neck in a tight hug.

"He is wearing a Slytherin badge, you know," said Katherine softly. "It's not Sirius." Remus glanced up, before realising the remark wasn't addressed to him. Harry was just gazing at her, confusion competing with anger and fear for precedence on his face. "Reg was in fourth year then, I was in sixth, and from the looks of it we were both very, very drunk."

"Regulus Black," said Harry, a strange note in his voice. "Sirius told me about him once. He said he was a Death Eater. He said Voldemort killed him."

"He was. And yes, Voldemort ordered Trix to dispose of him," answered Katherine, though something in her eyes gave Remus the distinct impression she wasn't being entirely truthful on that last point. Remus knew Katherine well enough to know she very rarely actually lied, but he also knew she compensated for that by either refusing to answer or withholding information that wasn't asked for. Just like she was doing now.

"Why?" questioned Harry, holding her gaze. Katherine tilted her head to one side and considered him.

"Why the sudden interest? He died before you were born."

"Sirius never knew. He thought he got in too deep and tried to back out. Is that true?"

Katherine was silent for a long time, then shook her head. "Reg never ran away from his problems."

Harry looked down at the photo in his hand, looking slightly lost, but Remus hardly noticed. He was more interested in the way Katherine had paused before answering. She didn't do that unless she was hiding something. She looked up at that moment, catching Remus' grim expression and raised an eyebrow challengingly. Remus gave her an appraising look. Right, Kat. Now say that again and this time fill in the gaps.

A movement to his right made him look around. Hermione was standing by the table, holding a sheet of paper in her hands.

"What was Regulus' middle name?" she asked softly, gazing at the paper as though it held the secrets of the universe.

Katherine's brow furrowed, distrust flickering in her eyes. Remus noticed she'd never let go of her wand.

"What is this? Twenty questions? Why do you want to know about Regulus?" She glanced at Remus, who shrugged. He'd forgotten about Regulus. Sirius had never talked about him, except when he'd had rather too much to drink and was feeling down, and Remus hadn't seen the younger Black since he'd left school over two decades ago. He hadn't the faintest idea why the trio were so interested in him.

Hermione raised her gaze from the parchment and looked Katherine squarely in the eye. "Do you know his middle name?"

Katherine folded her arms, ignoring Ron who'd moved to stand protectively by Hermione's side. "You're Hermione Granger, aren't you?" she asked, surprising Remus who hadn't realised she'd heard of her.

"Yes," said Hermione, a little uncertainly. There was something a little disconcerting about having a notorious murderer knowing your name, especially when you happened to be a muggleborn and therefore a prime target.

"Top of your year? Having a steamy love affair with Boy-Wonder here and an International Quidditch star at the same time?"

Hermione stared at her, cheeks flushing scarlet. "I was not."

"Ah, just one of them, then," nodded Katherine, and Remus could have sworn she smirked at Ron who was looking furious. Remus caught her eye and she smiled pleasantly at him before glancing back at Hermione. "Octavian."

"What?" asked Hermione distractedly.

"Reg's middle name - it was Octavian. Regulus Octavian Black," elaborated Katherine, looking thoughtfully at Hermione. "Why did you want to know?"

"I..." Hermione shook her head and held out the piece of paper she'd been holding. "Is this yours?"

Katherine sat up to get a better look, then snatched it out of Hermione's hand, glowering at her. "What are you doing with this?" she asked angrily, eyes blazing.

"I - It was on the table," stammered Hermione, taking a step back. Katherine glanced down at the table, then rounded on Remus.

"It was in the flat," he said calmly, brown eyes questioning. "Faye found the box in your room. What's wrong?" He glanced at the paper, but Katherine rolled it up and tucked it inside her jacket before he could make out what was on it.

"I don't like people touching my things," she answered, still scowling, though not as deeply. Behind her, the dying embers of the fire flickered and went out. Ron blinked, staring at the fireplace.

"What is it?" asked Harry, frowning at him.

"The flames..." murmured Ron, stepping forward cautiously, then pausing as he realised he was heading towards Katherine. "They were...blue."

Harry raised an eyebrow at the smoking charcoal. "Ron, there aren't any flam-" He was cut off abruptly at Katherine grabbed him by his collar and flung him across the room, towards Remus.

"Run," she hissed, casting a shield charm with her wand.

Remus didn't need telling twice. If Katherine thought it necessary to construct a defense spell, then things were very, very bad. Remus caught hold of Harry and pushed him before him out of the flat, Ron and Hermione close on his heels.

"Head for the stairs," he ordered, pointing to the staircase at the end of the long passageway.

"But we can appar-" began Harry, but Remus shook his head violently, knowing he didn't have enough time to explain properly, but resigned to the fact that he'd have to try.

"Katherine said run, not go. If you apparate, they'll be able to track you. You have to go on foot."

The trio were giving him sceptical looks, but at that moment Katherine burst out of the door, sporting a deep gash across one cheek, a metal box clutched under one arm. She grabbed Remus arm and tugged him along the walkway, towards the stairs. After a slight pause, the trio hurried after them.

"Who-?" asked Remus, then broke off as Katherine stopped, tightening her grip on his arm. He looked ahead and saw another group of Death Eaters clustered at the top of the stairs. "The service lift," he said quietly, gesturing discreetly to a stained pair of metallic doors set midway along the walkway. Katherine nodded and pushed the box into his arms.

"Go up," she said softly, meeting his gaze. "Trust me," she added, as he frowned dubiously. Then she turned, smiled sweetly at the advancing Death Eaters and launched herself forward, transforming at the same time. Remus seized Harry's arm and pulled him forwards too, jabbing at the call button for the elevator. The door hissed open and he bundled the trio inside, hesitating only momentarily before pressing the button for the top floor.

The door closed slowly as the screams started outside, then the lift jerked and started it's ascent. The silence in the confined space stretched out, punctuated by the creaking of the neglected mechanism as they rose.

"She's an animagus?" asked Hermione softly, after a while.

"Not exactly," muttered Remus, rubbing his eyes. This was turning into one of the worst Monday's of his life, and that was saying something...

"Why are we going up?" asked Ron, surveying Remus nervously.

"Because she told me to go up," answered Remus, casting a cautious glance at Harry. The black haired boy was strangely quiet. He stood apart from the others, as far as it is possible to do so in the restricted space in an elevator, and he kept looking at the photograph in his hand. No, not photograph - photographs... There was the one of Katherine and Regulus, but the other one...the other one Remus remembered. Harry looked up and emerald eyes searched his for answers.

"You didn't just know each did you," Harry said quietly, and Remus knew it wasn't meant as a question. "You were friends." Remus looked helplessly at him, as Harry's eyes hardened. "And then she betrayed you. She tried to kill my parents..."

"Harry no-" started Remus, but at that moment the lift shuddered to a stop, the doors slide open and the world intruded once more. As they stepped out of the lift, Remus turned to Harry. "You've got to trust her."

"Why?" challenged Harry angrily.

"Because you haven't got any other choice," sighed Remus. "And you really don't want her as an enemy."

"I've already got Voldemort as an enemy," retorted Harry. "How much worse can she be?"

"Much," said Remus firmly. "Because you're of no consequence to her and she won't wait for an audience before killing you. If she doesn't like you, she'll just kill you and have done with it."

"She didn't kill Greyback," said Hermione, shivering slightly in the icy breeze. "She didn't kill him because you asked her not to."

Remus looked at Hermione and it hit him again how very smart she was for her age. Harry was lucky to have her on his side...

"She owes me," shrugged Remus, glancing along a walkway that was almost identical to his own, many floors below. At the end of this one, however, there was a battered looking door. He headed towards it and the trio followed him, having little other option.

"Owes you what?" asked Hermione as Remus forced the door open, revealing a dark set of stairs that must lead to the roof.

"Her sanity," replied Remus grimly, climbing the short flight of steps and kicking the next door open, then stopping abruptly. There was already someone up on the roof and it wasn't Katherine. A man with a sharp, aristocratic face and jet black hair that glinted in the morning sunlight smiled silkily at them.

"Good morning," he said in a quiet voice, that nevertheless carried across the flat roof. "Can I help you?"

--------------------------------

Was it worth the wait? Let me know here. Chocolate mini eggs to all reviewers, and special Harry Potter Easter Eggs to the first three reviewers. Happy Easter Holidays everyone!

Nana


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  #16  
Old April 16th, 2006, 7:16 pm
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
First Year
 
Joined: 5344 days
Location: Behind you
Age: 30
Posts: 48
Re: Fallen Angel

A/N: To celebrate the fact that's it's Easter, not only am I updating, but everyone who reviews gets a present from the Easter Bunny. I'm afraid you'll have to go to the feedback thread to find out what it is...

Enjoy!

Nana

Chapter 15 – Damage Limitation

Remus stared at the man, the steel box Katherine had given to him still clutched in his arms. He was half considering throwing the box at the stranger and making a run for it, when there was a scrabbling noise and Katherine herself appeared over the side of the building, looking considerably worse for wear. She gave him a half hearted grin and stretched, before her eye fell on the roof's other occupant.

She paused mid-stretch, gazing at the man, but didn’t reach for her wand. Remus hoped this was because she knew the man and not because she'd lost it in the fight.

"Ju?"

The man smiled, though Remus could detect little warmth in it.

"Kitten."

Katherine's eyes narrowed and her arms fell to her sides. "I told you not to call me that."

"You told me not to do a lot of things," remarked the man, smirking in a way that looked suspiciously familiar to Remus. "Things which you subsequently went and did yourself."

"Did I ever call myself Kitten?" asked Katherine, arching an eyebrow.

"You called yourself Kat. I'd say that was near enough."

Katherine shook her head and sighed. "You sound just like your cousin."

"Is that a compliment or an insult?" asked Julian, gazing at Katherine mildly.

"Depends on what you think of him," shrugged Katherine, folding her arms. "What you doing here, Julian?"

"Robert saw some unusual activity on the Floo network and he sent me to check things out. I was going to step in but you seemed to be having so much fun on your own," answered Julian, barely concealing a grin.

Katherine looked down at her spell singed arms and torn jeans sceptically, then back at Julian. "Oh yes, great fun." Shaking her head, she looked at Remus. "Are you all right?"

"Fine," nodded Remus, casting a questioning glance at Julian.

"Oh, this is Julian. He's a…friend of mine," explained Katherine. "He won't kill you."

"I won't?"

"Not if you don't want to die, you won't," said Katherine firmly.

"What about Potter?" asked Julian nonchalantly, gold eyes glittering. Behind Remus, the trio drew closer together, wands gripped tightly in their hands.

"No."

Julian looked almost surprised. "No? Why not?"

Katherine smiled dangerously at him. "Because I said so."

Julian arched an eyebrow. "You hate the parents, but not the son?"

"Hadn't you better get back to work?" asked Katherine, suddenly impatient.

"Robert's head of department," shrugged Julian. "He's got me covered."

"Let me put that another way," said Katherine tersely. "Go back to work."

"But-"

"That was an order."

Julian glared at her, but shrugged his shoulders submissively. "Fine, but Robert had a message for you."

"What?"

"He did some digging on the people who broke into your flat-"

"Wait, what? Who broke into my flat?" asked Katherine, casting a curious glance at Remus.

"Lucas Dulce and David Reeves." Julian frowned. "You weren't there?"

"No."

"But someone used Number Four on Reeves. Who else knows that?"

Katherine's eyes narrowed as she stared at the younger man. "More to the point, how do you know about it?"

"Robert leant me his book," answered Julian defensively.

"Hmm…" murmured Katherine, watching Remus out of the corner of her eye. "What did Robert find out?"

"They apparated to your flat from High Crest."

"Ah," grimaced Katherine. "Does he know what they took?"

"He's not sure they took anything. Dulce took Reeves straight to Saint Mungo's apparently."

"That was very charitable of him," remarked Katherine, frowning.

"You think he stayed?"

"I think he's a Slytherin. What d'you know about him?"

Julian considered this for a moment, then said slowly. "I think he stayed."

"He took a box of papers back to the Ministry," interjected Remus, remembering what Tonks had told him the day before. Katherine stared at him.

"To the-?"

"They're Aurors," clarified Remus. "Are they Death Eaters?"

"They're dead if I find them," growled Katherine darkly.

"Reeves is in a ward on Level 4 of Saint Mungo's, and Dulce is living in penthouse flat in Islington," said Julian immediately, smiling nastily. "Can't remember the exact address off the top my head but I'm sure I could track him down for you."

"Did Robert tell you that too?" asked Katherine, grinning slightly.

"No, he thought it best you didn't know. I found out because I knew you'd want to."

"She doesn't," put in Remus, suddenly looking angry. Katherine cocked an eyebrow at him and he scowled. "You just got out of Azkaban – you're on the run. You can't just walk into Saint Mungo's and kill someone!"

"No, but I can visit," replied Katherine calmly. "And I would dearly love to know what Reeves was doing in our flat, because he can't have been up to much good if he managed to trigger Number Four."

Remus held her penetrating gaze for a full five seconds before he had to look away.

"Your flat?" asked Harry softly, speaking for the first time since Remus had asked him to trust Katherine. "So you were the Katherine who lived with him?"

Katherine almost laughed. "You make it sound as if we were shacked up together."

"You weren't?"

"No!" Katherine pulled a face. "That would be incest, Potter."

The trio's eyes widened. "You're-?"

"Metaphorically!" interjected Remus hurriedly. "We're not related, and no, Harry, we are not and never have been...together."

"Nah, he's far too much of a good boy for my taste," grinned Katherine.

"And Black wasn't?" asked Julian, surveying her critically whilst twirling his wand idly in one hand.

"Black had style," answered Katherine, unwilling to be drawn into a conversation about Severus which she knew Julian was dying to do. "I thought I told you to get back to work."

Julian gave a mock bow, amber eyes glinting. "Your wish is my command, Kitten. Oh, just one more thing, were you seriously about Daniel?"

Katherine gave Julian a long look, then smiled slowly. "Deadly."

Julian straightened up, smiling maliciously. "Good."

There was a faint pop as he disapparated then the five of them were alone on the rooftop. "Devil incarnate," muttered Katherine faintly. "I think you were right..."

"What?"

Katherine glanced up at her friend and shook her head. "Oh, nothing."

"Who was he?"

"A kid I used to mentor," sighed Katherine, sitting down on the lip of the building and gazing out over the skyline. "Not really a kid anymore though, I suppose. Funny how much everyone grows up when you're away."

"Right... Mentor...?" asked Remus, leaning against the doorframe as the trio crowded together next to him, ready to fight if necessary.

Katherine glanced up, blue eyes glittering. "Use your imagination, Rem."

"Ah." Remus was silent for a while, acutely aware of the trio's accusing stares but determined to get some answers for his questions before attempting to fence off theirs. "Who lives at High Crest? You sounded worried."

"Did I?" Katherine tore her gaze away from the horizon and smiled faintly. "Simon Carr. Old friend of Dad's."

Simon Carr. Where had he heard that before...? Someone had mentioned him earlier...

"Faye said he went after your mother."

Katherine looked surprised, but nodded. "That's right. Him and Kel." She sighed heavily, and gazed at her battered trainers morosely.

"Is it that bad?"

"Oh no, Simon's...boring. He'll probably just go telling tales to Dad – and you got the box out before Dulce & Reeves got in?" Remus nodded, waving it, and Katherine smiled softly. "Then I can handle him."

Remus was vaguely aware of some discontented murmuring at his side, but ignored it. "What was the sigh for, then?"

"Kel's dead."

"Oh. Is that bad?"

To his surprise, Katherine laughed. "No, I suppose not, but...well, he looked out for me. I guess I'll just miss him, that's all. I mean, who's going to get Carr stoned now?"

This last comment earned her four very confused stares, but she just grinned and started humming to herself. Remus risked a look at the trio; Harry & Ron were now giving him questioning looks and Hermione was staring pensively at Katherine. What could he tell them? He wasn't even sure Katherine was sane, himself...

"...do you believe in rock and roll? Can music save your mortal soul?..." muttered Hermione softly in the silence. "That's a muggle song."

Katherine stopped humming and gave her a challenging look. "So?"

"American Pie."

"I know. It's by Don Mclean."

"You're a Death Eater."

"Half blood," stated Katherine. "Adopted by muggles, so to all intents and purposes, a muggleborn. Just like you. Least I was when I started Hogwarts – now I'm just a witch."

Hermione blinked, looking bewildered and Remus felt that perhaps now was the time to explain, seeing as Katherine was being unusually cooperative. If only he knew where to start...

"If you're 'just a witch', why are you part of a force that is trying to kill muggles?" asked Harry angrily, knowing exactly where he wanted to start.

"Because I made a stupid mistake when I was fifteen," answered Katherine, gazing somberly at James' son. "And as stupid mistakes go, this one was pretty major."

"You joined the Death Eaters?" asked Harry unsympathetically.

"No. I decided I wanted to get to know my father."

"I thought you said you were adopted," pointed out Ron.

"I did. I was," agreed Katherine. "But my father found me." She glanced at Remus, smiling conspiratorially. "If there's one thing Azkaban gives you, it's time to think. I figured out why he did it."

"Why he tracked you down? I thought you said Malfoy showed him photographs-"

"That's not a why, that's a how," said Katherine dismissively. "That's how he found out I existed and where I was. That's not why he bothered to make contact."

"Well why did he?" asked Remus, curious despite himself. Katherine grinned and tapped the side of her nose. "Oh what?! You go to all the trouble of telling me out worked it out, and now you're not going to tell me? That's exceedingly childish, you know."

Katherine smiled angelically. "Sorry Moony, but what did you expect? You didn't really think I'd grown up, did you?"

"More like hoped," sighed Remus, looking down at the metal box in his hands. Katherine had been rather anxious that he'd got it out of the flat, and yet there seemed to be nothing of value in it. "Hermione, what was on that paper Katherine snatched from you?" Katherine's head snapped up, all her attention now focused on him. By his side, Hermione shifted nervously. "Don't worry, she won't hurt you."

"Much," muttered Katherine, eyes narrowed. Remus gave her an admonishing look which she returned with a glare, and turned his gaze on Hermione.

"It was a picture. Just some cartoon characters..." She stopped, lips moving soundlessly and glanced uncertainly at Katherine. "Of people. Severus..."

"Snape?" asked Harry and Ron together.

"Just Severus... Severus the Envious..." murmured Hermione, frowning. Remus looked at Katherine whose attention had switched to Hermione. "There were seven people in your year when you left school. Seven people, seven sins. Who drew the picture?"

Katherine leant back slightly and folded her arms defensively, her eyes searching the brunette's face but her mouth remaining resolutely shut. Hermione glanced at Harry and Ron for support, and Remus saw Harry shrug very slightly. Whether this was a good sign or a bad sign, Remus didn't know, but Hermione was already turning back to Katherine.

"You lied," she challenged.

"I don't lie."

Hermione frowned, then tried a different approach. "You asked if I was top of my year, that means you've been checking up on Harry and us, but you haven't tried to kill him – you saved him downstairs-"

"That might have been part of the plan," put in Katherine and Remus sighed inwardly. It looked like enigmatic Katherine was back, which was a shame – it had been nice to get some straight answers for once. Still, it also meant Hermione was on to something; Katherine only got mysterious when she was being defensive, and that meant she had something to hide.

"Remus said you don't play games." Katherine raised an eyebrow at this, and Hermione hastened to amend, casting a sideways glance at her old professor. "He implied it, anyway. You saved Harry on instinct."

"Go on," prompted Katherine. Hermione smiled at this.

"You were testing me."

"I was?"

"You thought about it too much – you didn't remember Regulus Black's middle name, you changed it," declared Hermione. "And I've heard the name Octavian before – it took me a while, but I remembered."

Katherine glanced at her watch. "Not that long. Only half an hour."

Hermione gave her a puzzled look, then shook it off. "Octavian was the name of Julius Caesar's nephew. There was a programme on the TV at the start of the holidays and it mentioned him. Octavian was the first Emperor of Rome."

Katherine grinned slowly and leaned forward, eyes glimmering. "Lucius was right. You are bright."

"Malfoy?" asked Remus sharply. "He's on the run."

"So am I," Katherine shrugged, then looked back at Hermione, still grinning. "Lucius doesn't like you very much. Not only are you muggleborn, you're also smarter than his son."

"And you find that...amusing?" ventured Hermione uneasily.

"You've managed to wind up Lucius," said Katherine seriously. "I've been trying to do that for years and only ever managed mildly vexed. You're my hero, or heroine, as it were."

There was a long pause, then: "She is joking, right?"

Remus glanced at Ron, who was looking worried. "Honestly? Probably not."

"Hermione," said Harry quietly. "Octavian wasn't the first Emperor of Rome. We did the Romans in Junior School – the first Roman Emperor was Augustus."

Hermione smiled at him. "Precisely."

Harry stared at her, utterly nonplussed. "But you said-"

"Her surname's Aenigma," said Hermione gently. "I guess she likes riddles. Octavian wasn't Regulus' middle name, Augustus was. Regulus Augustus Black," she added slowly, for maximum effect. Harry and Ron stared at her, torn between amazement and disbelief.

"RAB," whispered Ron. "It's him."

"Sirius' brother," added Harry softly.

"Um, Harry," said Ron nervously. "There's something else..."


Remus walked over to sit beside Katherine, having no idea what the trio were talking about.

"Why do they keep asking about Regulus?" asked Katherine.

"Haven't a clue," answered Remus, his gaze drawn to the ring on Katherine's left hand. "You kept it."

Katherine followed his gaze and smiled. "Of course. I did love him, you know. Despite what James thought."

"James was looking out for a friend." Remus hesitated, then added, "You've got to admit - he had a point. Sirius was always going to be second best to you."

"I know," said Katherine, smiling oddly. "The thing James never realised was that when it came to Sirius, I was always second to him – to you too, so I guess that makes me third in line for his affections. Ah well, least I could be sure he was never going to have it off with either of you." She grinned at Remus' bemused expression and poked him in the shoulder for old times sake. "Now don't go getting all soppy about it, I just don't want you thinking I was stringing him along under false pretences."

Remus smiled wanly and glanced across at the trio, who were still deep in conversation. "I understand. Now we just have to figure out how to make them understand. Harry is still fixed on the idea that you tried to kill Lily and James."

"Well I did," said Katherine, shrugging. Remus stared at her for a moment.

"Say that again?"

"It's a long story-"

"Explain," said Remus sharply, frowning at her. Katherine gazed at him, something indefinable flickering in her eyes, then a shadow fell across them.


"Harry, there's something else," said Ron quietly. There was a slight tremble in his voice and his eyes were fixed on Katherine as though she was about to grow horns and eat him, which, given her condition was not entirely unfeasible.

"Yes?"

"You remember when we were downstairs and Remus said Greyback was 'one of her's'?"

"Yes?"

"And remember Katherine asked if that meant he was working for...You-Know-Who?"

"Vaguely."

"She didn't call him You-Know-Who."

Harry frowned at his friend. "So?"

"Harry..." Ron was white now, as he gazed at Katherine who was talking to Remus. "...she called him Tom."

Harry stared at him, then looked over at Katherine too. She knew Voldemort's true identity? But she was Remus' age – she couldn't have gone to school with him...

"I think," said Harry slowly. "That she's got a lot of explaining to do."

"So we can't trust her then?" asked Hermione, sounding slightly disappointed, much to the surprise of the two boys.

"Do we need to?"

"I think so." Hermione bit her lip and gazed at Harry with large brown eyes. "I think she knows about Regulus, and Harry, I think she knows about the horcruxes..."

-----------------------

Ooo... But I'm afraid how Hermione's figured that out will have to wait until next time... Happy Easter! Don't forget to collect your Easter Egg...

Nana



Last edited by Purple Banana; April 16th, 2006 at 7:22 pm.
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  #17  
Old May 21st, 2006, 2:15 am
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
First Year
 
Joined: 5344 days
Location: Behind you
Age: 30
Posts: 48
Re: Fallen Angel

A/N: I know, it's been ages, but hey, if you're reading this, that means you're still reading, so I must be doing something right.

Chapter 16 – One way or another

Katherine and Remus looked up into the bold faces of the trio.

"Augustus," said Hermione, something in her tone making her sound almost defiant.

Katherine stared blankly at her. "It's September," she put in helpfully.

"Augustus," repeated Hermione forcefully. "Regulus' middle name. Was it Augustus?"

"I think you already know the answer to that question," said Katherine softly. "Now what I want to know is, why is that important? The man died before you were born, he was a Death Eater, which you don't seem to consider an acceptable career move and he was a Slytherin which, seeing as you're all unmistakably Gryffindors, you won't be relate to at all. So why the interest?"

"You said he didn't run away from his problems," said Harry, folding his arms. "And that's practically an admission that he did have some - plus Sirius said that Regulus got too deeply involved in Death Eater activity. If he didn't try to back out, then he must have tried to destroy the organisation."

"Kill Voldemort?" asked Katherine, looking highly amused. "You think Reg tried to do away with a man who tells us on a regular basis that he is immortal?"

"No one's indestructible," said Harry firmly, gaze locked with Katherine's.

"That may be," she conceded quietly. "But I don't think anyone's told the Dark Lord that."

"It doesn't stop it being true," argued Harry, brow furrowed.

"You'd be surprised," smiled Katherine enigmatically. "There are some who would say you could fly if you didn't believe in gravity."

"That's just stupid," remarked Hermione, raising her eyebrows slightly.

Katherine grinned wickedly. "You think so? They were the ones who invented the broomstick."

"What are you saying? That he can't be defeated?" asked Harry, narrowing his eyes suspiciously.

"I'm saying that anything is possible if you want it hard enough, and the Dark Lord doesn't have any stupid things like morals to stop him doing exactly as he pleases," said Katherine sincerely, adding darkly: "You can't go to hell if you can't die."

"You think he really is immortal?"

"I think he believes he is," shrugged Katherine. "And if everyone else believes he is, I don't see that the logistics of it have to make any sense."

Harry frowned at her, emerald eyes searching her face for a clue as to whether Hermione's guess was right. If Katherine knew about the horcruxes, why was she pretending that Voldemort was indestructible...but then, just because she knew, that didn't mean she was planning on destroying them. Sure, she was concerned for Remus, but concerned enough to risk the Dark Lord's wrath?

"He's not immortal," said Harry firmly. "No one is."

To his surprise, Katherine grinned. "And that conviction would be why you're the only one who can vanquish him, right?"

Remus sighed heavily, as Harry stared at her. Vanquish... Was that just a coincidence? She couldn't know it could she...?

"Katherine, that's just a rumour. The Prophet's grabbing headlines," said Remus in a tired voice, looking wearily at his friend. "You of all people should know that."

Katherine glanced sideways at Remus. "Rem, will you do something for me?"

"What?"

"Cast your mind back a couple of decades and remember that I am not an idiot."

Remus scowled at her, but Harry spoke before he had a chance to retaliate.

"You know it."

Katherine tilted her head to one side and frowned. "Know what, exactly?"

"The Prophecy."

"What?" interjected Remus sharply, a mix of anxiety and anger on his face.

"I know it," said Katherine calmly, gazing up at Harry. "Tom doesn't."

"Wait, what? How-?" began Remus, turning her round to face him.

Katherine sighed, giving Remus an appraising look. "Really, think back twenty years. It's not that difficult." When Remus still looked blank, she rolled her eyes and said patiently, "I was head of the Hall of Prophecy in the Department of Mysteries, Rem. Seriously, why did no one notice that? Even Robert didn't; seems like everyone's dropped a couple of IQ points since I've been gone - except Nic, maybe. She seems to have doubled hers..."

"You know the Prophecy?" asked Remus, as though he still couldn't believe it. "The whole prophecy?"

"'Course I do," shrugged Katherine. "I filed it a couple of months before I got arrested – and you should really put that wand away Potter, it's only going to cause trouble."

Harry, who had been trying to work out if he knew any spells for pushing people over buildings, glared at her. "Trouble? Voldemort's trying to kill me and I'm standing on a rooftop with a convicted Death Eater who tried to kill my parents. I think I'm already in quite a lot of trouble, thank you very much. A little more shouldn't hurt."

"Firstly Potter, Voldemort is not here; he is completely irrelevant to this conversation. Secondly, yes, I did try to kill your parents – the operative word being tried. I didn't. This is unusual for me – you might want to give that some thought." Katherine paused for a moment, gazing at Harry's obstinate expression, then continued, "And thirdly, I can promise you that more trouble would hurt; I would make very sure of that."

"Is that a threat?" asked Harry angrily.

"Did it sound like one?" asked Katherine scathingly. "Because if it did, it probably was."

"Tom Riddle," said Harry through gritted teeth. If Katherine could make threats then so could he. The name didn't have quite the effect he expected, though afterwards he wondered what he had thought would happen.

Katherine just gazed at him benignly, though Remus visibly stiffened, which surprised Harry.

"Who?" asked Katherine calmly.

"Downstairs you asked if Greyback worked for Tom. How did you know his name?"

"Harry..." began Remus, but Katherine silenced him, frowning slightly.

"D'you hear that?"

"Hear what?" Remus stared at her in bewilderment. Harry had just asked about her father and she didn't seem even the slightest bit concerned.

"Police sirens," whispered Hermione, stepping up to the edge of the roof and gazing over.

"You'd better go somewhere you can get an alibi," said Katherine softly, gazing at Remus anxiously. "Because a load of muggles just heard a group of men being attacked by a big cat and that's going to attract Auror attention."

"It's not full moon," put in Remus, though he stood up all the same.

"Minor detail. You want to hang around here and hope no one suggests it might have been a wolf?"

Remus shook his head and sighed. "This conversation isn't over, Katherine."

Katherine shrugged and got to her feet. "Here, you can take this." She walked a little way along the rooftop and reached out into what appeared to be thin air. A sheet came away in her hand, light glinting off the silvery material and off the gleaming metal it had concealed.

Remus gaped, stepping forward to get a better look at it. "Is that what I think it is?"

"How did you get that thing up here?" asked Hermione, staring at Katherine.

"How d'you think? I flew," answered Katherine, looking slightly amused.

"Flying vehicles are illegal," frowned Ron, but he said it quietly.

"Not if you have a license," said Remus, running a hand over the gleaming bodywork.

"Precisely," nodded Katherine.

"Do you have a license, Kat?" he continued, glancing sternly at his friend.

"Of course."

"And it's still valid?"

"I wouldn't know. They took it when I went to Azkaban."

"You've been riding an unlicensed flying motorbike over London in broad daylight?" asked Harry incredulously, frowning a little – not in disbelief though; he looked like he was trying to put together a puzzle when he knew half the pieces were missing.

"Don't look at me like that – it's fixed with a DG," said Katherine defensively, fishing the keys out of her jeans pocket and tossing them to Remus.

"A what?"

"Disbelief Generator," explained Remus. "If anyone sees it, they can't believe their eyes."

"So they don't," smiled Katherine.

"Isn't that rather unethical?" asked Hermione, looking as though she thoroughly disapproved.

"Why? Doesn't do any harm."

"How do you know?"

"I don't. I also don't much care. Anyway, don't blame me, I didn't make it," said Katherine flippantly, peering over the edge of the building. The police car had stopped at the foot of the building and two policeman were getting out.

"You stole it?"

Katherine turned around and gave Harry an odd look. "Now why would assume that? I was sent to Azkaban for murder and crimes against humanity, not petty theft. And seeing as you seem to be in the mood for awkward questions, it belonged to my fiancée. And no, I didn't steal it – I'm just borrowing it, ok?"

"So you're going to give it back?"

"Can't. He's dead," said Katherine shortly. "Anyway, Rem – you take the bike, and you three-" she gestured to the discontented trio, "- you apparate back to wherever you're supposed to be. I've got a friend who can cover your tracks."

"You can't do that for me?" asked Remus, swinging a leg over the bike all the same.

"Too short notice. They'll track your movements first – he can erase these three while they're checking for you," explained Katherine. "Now go – but I wouldn't mention our meeting to anyone if I were you."

"Why? Scared the Aurors will catch up with you?" asked Harry, looking mutinous once more.

"No, but what d'you think they'll do if they find out Remus – a werewolf – is connected with me – an escaped convict. D'you want him to see the light of day again? Then I suggest you keep quiet," said Katherine firmly, looking Harry resolutely in the eye. Harry glanced at Remus, who looked apologetic but nodded.

"You should go. It wouldn't look good if you were found here," he said wearily. The trio looked for a moment as though they were going to argue, but a few disgruntled moments later, they thought better of it and disappeared.

"Of course," said Remus thoughtfully. "It wouldn't look good for you if anyone found out you'd met Harry Potter and not killed him. What was it your friend said? 'Hate the parents, but not the son?'"

"I didn't kill James, Remus."

"You tried."

"I don't miss."

"You hit your partner!" said Remus hotly.

"Who d'you think I was bloody aiming for?!" snapped Katherine, then shut her mouth abruptly, but it was too late; she'd already slipped up. Remus just stared at her, not quite knowing what to make of it. Finally he asked softly:

"Why did you come here? When I opened the door, the first thing you asked was whether I'd seen the paper. What's in the paper?"

"Wouldn't know. I haven't read it," muttered Katherine, looking intently at her fingers.

"What was so important then?"

She did look up that time, glancing agitatedly at the door leading up to the roof, though of course the Aurors wouldn't be around for at least another ten minutes, and they wouldn't think to search the roof for another five...

"I wanted a favour."

"Wanted? You don't anymore?"

"I don't know if you'd agree anymore," shrugged Katherine, and Remus was surprised to see she meant it. She actually thought he could refuse her something; she must be feeling guilty. The question was, exactly what did she have to be guilty for? She'd just admitted she hadn't tried to kill James, hadn't she...?

"Try me."

Dark blue eyes gazed into light brown ones. "I need you not to kill Severus."

Remus almost laughed at her for that, but the sound died in his throat. It wasn't that he didn't want to get his hands on the slimy traitor, it was the fact that she'd said needed. Not, 'I want you not to kill Severus', not, 'please don't kill Severus', but 'I need you not to kill Severus'.

All of a sudden he was fifteen again and they weren't on a rooftop in London, they were on top of the Astronomy Tower at Hogwarts and Katherine was telling him about Tom Riddle and gazing glassily out over the grounds, face whiter than snow and just as cold. She'd needed him then. And he'd been there...for a week or two. Then term had started and they'd drifted apart, like they always did around others.

Only at Easter, they were still apart. It wasn't till the summer holidays started that she'd come back, full of tears and regret, and by then it was already too late. She wasn't the mischievous, fresh Katherine he'd known. She was...well, she was the new Katherine.

And now? He wasn't sure. This post-Azkaban Katherine was a different person too. A whole new personality, but the same old traits. The same vulnerability. And she needed Severus. She loved Severus. She loved Sirius too, and him of course, but that was a different kind of love. Different love for different people. Very different people.

"I won't," he said very quietly. Not because he'd get locked up for the rest of his natural life if he did, and certainly not because he didn't want to – the man deserved it after all, but because Katherine was in love with him.

And because she'd asked. She'd never asked him for anything before. Not anything important at any rate. Only that he stay with her, and she'd never actually asked that. It was just a mutual thing they'd decided on. Outcasts together.

"Not even when you find out what he's done?" asked Katherine, gaze falling to the floor again.

"He's killed Dumbledore and betrayed the Order," said Remus heavily. And stolen my oldest friend's heart, heaven knows how... "I doubt he can do much worse."

Katherine laughed a short, mirthless laugh. "He's a Slytherin. There are no depths to which we would not stoop."

We? Just how guilty was she? And for what? For not killing one of his best friends when she'd promised she wouldn't?

"Tell me," he ordered, getting worried by now.

Katherine closed her eyes and said hurriedly: "He was harboring Peter Pettigrew at his house for over a year."

There was a long silence. Katherine opened one eye cautiously and peered at him. "You're mad, aren't you?"

"You knew this?"

"Not until recently."

"How recently?"

"Couple of days."

"Before or after you burst into Auror HQ?"

Katherine made a face. "Before."

Well at least she was honest. "You didn't think to bring him in?"

"And have him handed over to Aurors?" Katherine asked, eyebrows raised. She was actually surprised he'd suggested it. "Put up in a cozy little cell for a couple of days before Dad breaks him out? No thank you. I can think of much better punishment, thanks very much."

Remus scowled at her, not caring that he was wasting time. "And how do you suppose to find him if he has escaped? We've been trying to track him down for..." Then he stopped. Katherine had that look in her eyes again, the look that said: 'you walked right into that one, didn't you?'

Of course. That about summed up her view of the Order; bunch of idiots that couldn't find convict in Azkaban. Whereas Katherine...well, she was the needle in the haystack and as such she knew the way to find all the other needles was to get a very large magnet and wait for them to come to you.

Peter was a Death Eater.

Death Eaters had meetings.

Of course she could find him. She could find him whenever she wanted to.

"I didn't know," she said quietly. "That there was a traitor, I mean. He must have joined after I got arrested. I would have told you if I knew. Do you believe me?"

Remus gazed at her for a long moment, then smiled faintly. "Course I do."

She smiled back, and then voices floated up from the stairwell and she was on her feet in an instant. "Go."

Remus turned the key in the ignition and the motorbike purred into life. He had to give her credit – she'd even put stealth charms on the engine. Smart girl. He nodded to her, then was off without another word.

He didn't look back, he didn't need to. She would have got away. She always did.

Funny, he'd never even considered that one day she wouldn't. He hadn't believed the papers when they said she'd been arrested; he was sure they'd made a mistake. Katherine didn't go round getting caught. It went against her nature.

And yet she had. He'd always wondered about that. Didn't look like he'd find out why any time soon, either.

Still, he another piece of the puzzle now. She'd slipped up, hadn't she?

She'd got caught and it had something to do with not killing James. And then there was what Faye had said last night: "She's not as careless as she used to be. It's like she's found something to channel her energy into..."

Whatever it was, he'd find out. One way or another...

-------------------------------

Feedback cheers me up, and with the week I've had, that would be hugely appreciated.

Nana



Last edited by Purple Banana; May 21st, 2006 at 11:42 am.
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  #18  
Old June 1st, 2006, 12:36 am
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
First Year
 
Joined: 5344 days
Location: Behind you
Age: 30
Posts: 48
Re: Fallen Angel

A/N: Just over a week since my last update. I'm proud of myself. Well, you lot deserve it after waiting over a month for the last one...

Chapter 17 – Sanity is not statistical

"Katherine?"

Katherine opened her eyes at the voice and pushed herself up into a sitting position, peering blearily at the figure. She'd gone to Avery immediately after leaving Remus and made him cover the trio's tracks, then she'd lifted a paper from someone's desk in the Ministry and headed home - Nicki's home, at any rate. She must have crashed out on the sofa – she didn't remember falling asleep.

"What the hell happened to you?"

"What time is it?" she mumbled as Severus reached out to her cheek, tracing one cool finger across it. She knocked his hand away, frowning and rubbed her eyes.

"Two o'clock. I didn't hear you come home," he answered quietly, standing beside her. There was something odd in his expression as he gazed at her. "What have you been up to? I thought you were just going to see Lupin?"

"I was. I did," sighed Katherine. She had no intention of telling Severus anything about the morning's events if she could help it. "Peter escaped, then."

Severus threw an unconcerned glance at the paper, which was lying on the table and shrugged. "He always does. Who did that?" He gestured again to her face.

Katherine touched her own cheek, and felt dried blood there. She frowned and crossed the room to look in a mirror. No wonder Robert had looked at her strangely earlier - she looked as though she'd been in a war zone. Her hair was tangled and though any wounds had long ago healed, her clothes still bore the marks of spell damage. The blood from the cut one of the Death Eaters in Remus' flat had given her stained her left cheek. She grimaced and wandered upstairs to the bathroom to clean herself up a bit.

Severus followed her, still frowning deeply, his dark eyes concerned, if not worried. Katherine wiped a damp flannel over her face, washing away most of the blood, then pulled a brush through her hair.

Severus leant against the door frame, watching her silently. Finally she set the brush down and stared at his reflection in the looking glass that hung over the sink, meeting the gaze of his mirrored eyes.

"You didn't answer my question," he reminded her quietly.

"I don't intend to," replied Katherine, expression tired and closed.

"Katherine don't..."

"Don't what?" asked Katherine sharply, turning to face him. "Don't keep secrets? It's none of your business what I've been up to."

"It is if you got hurt," said Severus softly, but firmly. "It is if you turn up here looking like..." He trailed off, shrugging again. "Just don't do anything stupid, and if you do, don't get caught."

Katherine barely heard the last bit and stepped forward to catch his wrist as he turned to leave. He looked back at her as she tried to figure out why she'd stopped him. "I never get caught," she said softly, just to break the silence that threatened to stretch out indefinitely.

"History suggests otherwise," remarked Severus, glancing down at her restraining hand on his wrist. She hurriedly released him and folded her arms consciously. He frowned slightly then lowered his gaze. "I've got some business to attend to. Tell Nicola I'll be back in a couple of days."

"You're leaving?" asked Katherine, unable to stop the surprise in her voice. Severus glanced at her, a strange look in his eyes again.

"I'll come back."

Strange thing to say, Katherine thought vaguely, but, she realised, what was stranger was that it was exactly the answer she'd wanted. She didn't want him to go, not now, maybe not ever. But that was stupid. He wasn't going far...was he?

"Sofia, Bulgaria. There are some alliances that need...checking," said Severus, in answer to the question she hadn't asked.

Ah, quite far, then. Not that distance was much of a problem for her. Azkaban had given time to do more than just think...

"Right." She tucked a loose strand of hair behind her ear, wondering what it was about Severus that made her feel she was fifteen again – shy, self conscious and...intimidated? He nodded and made to say something, but she cut in before he could form the words. "Looking like what?"

He blinked and she almost laughed. She'd managed to surprise him, well that was a first. "What?"

"Just now, you said it was your business if I turned up here looking like...?" She gazed at him expectantly.

"Oh, nothing. I can't remember," he said, shaking his head. Liar, thought Katherine sardonically. It didn't matter though, she'd already seen her answer in his eyes. "Take care of yourself," he murmured, gesturing vaguely in her direction.

"You too," she said quietly as he went downstairs again. The back door shut with a click a minute later and she was left alone. She leant against the bathroom wall and shut her eyes. Looking like death, that was what Severus had meant. He'd thought someone had killed her, and he'd been...sad? Angry? No, that wasn't the emotion she'd seen in his eyes when she'd first woken up. That was only afterwards, once he knew she was alright.

She sank to the floor, resting her head in her hands, memories of their last few weeks at Hogwarts burning vividly in her mind. The hurt hidden behind anger in Severus' eyes when he thought she'd been consorting with Sirius and the real fury and pain in his cold expression the first time he'd seen Sirius with his arms around her on the grounds by the lake...

She'd called him a coward back then, called him all sorts of things to cover her own grief and she hadn't meant any of it. She should tell him that, tell him she'd long ago forgiven him for joining, tell him she still cared about him, still loved him.

It hadn't gone too well last time she'd tried it, but she'd been angry with him then - she was still angry with him now, but for different reasons. Still, at least it had brought a few things to light. She gazed down at the diamond ring that still sat innocuously on her left hand, glittering innocently in the sunshine.

"You broke my heart."

"Fair's fair, you broke mine."


Sirius Black. Quidditch star and Gryffindor. Eyes the colour of polished mahogany and hair as dark as coal. Unbidden, Remus' voice came into her head. "You kept it." He'd been surprised – surprised that she cared enough about his friend to keep a diamond ring.

Well, like she'd said – she'd loved him. On their last day of school, when she'd been late to meet the Marauders for the train home, she hadn't been so sure. She and Cassie had been the last ones to leave the dormitory, and after weeks of silence, the blonde girl had turned to her and asked: 'Is he worth it?'

And Katherine hadn't answered. Was he worth it? Worth being shunned? Worth destroying her friendships? Worth breaking Severus' heart?

She looked down at the ring again and smiled faintly. Was Sirius Black worth turning her life upside down for? Yes. Worth every second. While it lasted.

But now... She sighed, and very slowly unclasped the chain that hung around her neck. She'd spent a long time looking for that necklace. They'd taken it when she'd gone to Azkaban and it had changed hands a lot after she died. She'd finally tracked it down France, in a muggle jewellery shop of all places. The silver snakes glinted boldly in the light streaming through the bathroom window and the sapphires in her mother's ring glistened softly.

Carefully she slipped Sirius' ring off her finger and threaded it over the chain. It clinked slightly as it met the other ring and Katherine gazed at it for a long moment, eyes utterly unreadable before fastening the chain back around her neck.

Yes, she had loved Sirius. Not enough though – not enough to keep him safe. Not enough to forget Severus, not nearly enough to stop loving Severus.

Nicki's dark eyes glinted her mind's eye. "You and Snape are soulmates."

"Tell him that."

"I did. The day you went to Azkaban."

"What did he say?"

"He said to tell you that."


Katherine sighed heavily then got to her feet. She didn't have time to reminisce and there was no room in her life for something stupid like regret. Focus on the future, focus on finding the horcruxes, focus on not dwelling on what might have been, because it never will be.

As she descended the stairs and entered Nicki's lounge she knew what the emotion in Severus' eyes had been - fear. Severus had been terrified that she was dead, that someone had taken her away so soon after she'd come back. She sighed again, picking up the metal box that Remus had left on the rooftop and pulling Regulus' sketch out of her jacket. Ruefully she placed it back where it belonged – back in the metal box with the past, with the life that might have been.

She hesitated only momentarily before whispering a spell to seal it and placing it carefully on the table in front of her. Yes, she should tell Severus that she loved him, she should, but she wouldn't. It wasn't fair. Not on him and not on her. Not when she was in so much danger – because if she told him they had a chance, he'd follow her to the ends of the earth. He'd help her and he'd get caught or hurt, just like Sirius. Or he'd ask her to run away with him and the problem was that she'd give in.

She couldn't afford to do that. She couldn't let herself get distracted again and she certainly couldn't let him fall for her again when she knew she wasn't going to survive this war.


Flickering torchlight illuminated the two figures bent over a large metal cabinet. The taller one straightened up, tossing a mane of black hair over her shoulder and running a long finger down a list of names.

"This is ridiculous. She can't not have been born – everyone's born. So where's the certificate?"

The smaller figure edged away a little, light glinting off short blond hair. "Maybe she took it?"

"No, that's not her style," frowned the woman, tapping the top of the cabinet impatiently.

"It said in the paper-"

"The papers lie; they always lie. Didn't your father tell you that?" said the woman dismissively. The irritated tapping stopped suddenly and eyes as dark as black holes flickered towards the door. The door handle was turning. A wand appeared in her hand a second later as a silhouetted figure stood casually in the doorway.

"Breaking and entering, Lestrange. Tut tut, what next? Mass genocide?"

Bellatrix hissed softly and lowered her wand fractionally. "Lloyd. What are you doing here?"

Julian flashed her a devilish smile, casting his a critical eye over the open cabinet and the guilty expression of Bella's young accomplice. "Work business," he answered shortly. "I would ask what you're looking for, but I don't suppose I'd want to know."

He pulled open a cabinet next to the door and pulled out a file, flipping through it easily. Bellatrix stared at him until he looked up again. "What?"

"You're seriously not going to ask?" she said, eyes narrowed suspiciously.

Julian smiled menacingly. "Don't need to."

"Oh no?"

Julian sighed, putting down the file he'd been reading. "Lestrange, you're standing next to a row of cabinets that hold the records for every wizard born in the last millennium. There's a big R on the front of that cabinet," he added, gesturing to the open drawer behind Bellatrix. "You're trying to dig something up on Katherine."

Bellatrix almost gaped at him, but retained enough self control to stop herself in time. The blond boy glanced anxiously up at her, clearly anxious to leave, but Bella never backed down.

"What are you going to do about it?" she asked, arching an eyebrow.

Julian gave her an amused look. "Do? Why should I do anything?"

"So you're not Riddle's lap dog?"

Julian laughed, golden eyes glimmering in the torch light. "Don't be absurd, Lestrange, but you're on your own on this one."

"Scared?"

"No – sensible. I don't want Riddle after my blood. I'm very attached to my limbs, thanks very much." He grinned again, adding as an afterthought, "Besides, you're not going to find anything."

"And why is that?" asked Bella, through gritted teeth.

"Because," said Julian slowly, gaze flickering to the pale boy by her side. "You're looking in the wrong place." He glanced back at Bella, smirking in a fashion that reminded her strongly of his cousin. "Good day, Lestrange, Malfoy."

The door shut with a click behind him as Bella rounded on her nephew. "The papers – what did they call her?"

Draco almost took a step away from the fervor in her eyes as he said quietly. "Aenigma. A – E –"

"I know how to spell it," hissed Bella, slamming the R drawer shut and striding across the room to the A cabinet. Draco trailed after her reluctantly as she searched frantically down the list. "There is no Katherine Aenigma," she snarled eventually. "There's no Aenigma full stop. This is ridiculous! Are you sure – what are you doing?"

Draco's head snapped up from the list he'd been reading, flushing slightly. "Oh nothing-"

Bella snatched the list from his unresisting hands and frowned down at it. "I thought you said her surname was Aenigma? All these names start with B."

"I did – it is – it's just..."

"What?"

"Well," Draco swallowed nervously. "Pansy's at Hogwarts and...well, there's a new Professor..."

"So? There's always a new Professor," snapped Bella impatiently.

"Pansy said she looked like Riddle," Draco mumbled, looking at the floor.

"Looks like Riddle?" Bella almost laughed. "I've never seen anyone who looks remotely like Riddle. She's unique." She spat the last word like it made a bad taste in her mouth, but her scowl had lessened slightly now.

No one did look like Katherine – if she'd ever born any resemblance to her father, such similarities were lost long ago, but what was it Severus had said the other day...? "McKenzie was saying just the other day that they'd seen someone who was the spitting image of her not too far from here..." And Katherine had brought James McKenzie to a Death Eater meeting in a crumpled heap. What did he know that brought her wrath down on him...?

"Her name is Belle," offered Draco quietly. "With an 'e' on the end." Bella glanced down at the list almost absently, mind still pursuing her train of thought. Belle.

And there it was: five names. Arcadia, Edward, Faye, Katherine and Thomas.

Katherine.

Katherine Belle.

Bella smiled slowly, tugging the cabinet open and flicking through the files: Arcadia... Edward... Faye... Thomas...

She stopped abruptly, flipping backwards. No. No, it had to be there...

But it wasn't. The files went straight from Faye to Thomas, with only an empty space where Katherine's folder should have been. In the disbelieving silence, Bella could hear Katherine laughing at her, blue eyes burning bright as a gas flame. One day, Riddle. One day I'll wipe that smirk off your face.

"Come on, Draco," she hissed softly, pulling out her wand and making to slam the cabinet shut, but something stopped her. "Wait – that Professor. What's her name?"

"F. Belle," answered Draco, grey eyes glancing down at the folders lying in the drawer. Bella smiled again, with all the elegance of a lioness. She slipped the file marked Faye Belle out of the cabinet and slid it shut softly.

"Right. Now we can go."

One day, Riddle. One day soon.


"Back again?"

Ophelia looked up sharply into eyes the colour of oak leaves. The woman smiled, curly brown hair falling neatly around a pretty face. It was the woman from the previous night – the one who'd asked about Severus.

"It's my local," Ophelia murmured softly. A lie of course – but she wasn't going to admit that she'd only returned to see if the woman would turn up again. Well she had – now what?

"Right," conceded the woman, sitting on the bar stool beside her. "Do you usually drink that much?"

"I-" Ophelia stopped, frowning. What kind of question was that? She didn't even know this woman, and yet...and yet she'd been about to answer. This had been a bad idea...

"Sorry, it's none of my business," said the woman, not sounding apologetic at all. In fact, Ophelia thought, she sounded almost...angry? That couldn't be right.

"I-" Ophelia began again, but again she stopped, voice trailing away to nothing. The woman had leaned forward to make her order heard by the barman and a chain had fallen out of her shirt, hanging suspended from her neck. Dangling innocently from the delicate white gold chain were two rings and a silver pendant – a pendant that was as familiar to Ophelia as her own brother.

The woman leant back, glancing back at Ophelia. "Sorry, what was that?"

Ophelia just stared at her, searching for something, anything familiar in that face. A glint in an eye, a ghost of a smile... Then the woman arched a questioning eyebrow and Ophelia knew it was her.

Then the eyebrow lowered as Ophelia smiled slowly and green eyes that had been blue when she'd known them narrowed suspiciously.

"I've blown my cover, haven't I?" sighed Katherine, shaking her head and accepting her drink from the barman.

"Polyjuice?" questioned Ophelia softly, unable to stop grinning. She should have guessed when she'd offered to kill Daniel; no else was crazy enough to do that. Julian had known, she now realised – he'd even hinted at the possibility to her. Ophelia remembered his words now: "I presume she did what she usually does after being in the same room as him...goes and gets very drunk."

"Potions? No, I'll leave that to your cousin, thanks," smiled Katherine wryly. She glanced at Ophelia over her drink and to the younger girl's surprise, the old sapphire eyes were back.

"You never said you were a metamorphmagus," said Ophelia, lowering her voice so they wouldn't be overheard.

"Course not," chuckled Katherine. "If I went around telling people, the Aurors would figure out that all the random strangers who seem to work for Tom are the same person. Besides," she added, tucking a loose curl behind her ear. "It's fun tricking people into telling you what they really think of you. Found a lot of enemies that way."

"And that's good?" asked Ophelia sceptically.

"Yeah. Gives me a chance to get them before they get me," grinned Katherine as the barman walked over.

"Can I get either of you two another drink?" he asked, barely even glancing at Katherine, who had a half full glass in any case. Ophelia opened her mouth to reply, then glanced at Katherine, but the older girl wasn't looking at her – she seemed to have taken a sudden profound interest in the darts match.

"Do you usually drink that much?" Yes, it had been anger in Katherine's voice, the kind she usually heard in Julian - protective anger. Slowly, she shook her head.

"No thanks. I was about to leave."

The barman looked a little put out, but moved on all the same. Ophelia sighed and glanced up at Katherine who was still watching the darts match. Was she smiling, or was that just the light?

"You coming?" she ventured, gazing at her cousin's old friend. Katherine slid off the stool onto her feet and smiled.

"Where we going?"

Ophelia pushed open the door of the pub and stepped out into the cool air. "I know a take away that stays open till one."

"Sounds good," agreed Katherine, shaking her brown curls in the breeze so that they darkened to a glossy black. "Seems to me that we've got a lot to talk about."

-----------------

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Last edited by Purple Banana; June 1st, 2006 at 12:38 am.
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  #19  
Old June 26th, 2006, 12:24 am
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
First Year
 
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Age: 30
Posts: 48
Re: Fallen Angel

A/N: Ok, this update is a bit shorter than usual, but it's not by much and I haven't had a lot of spare time recently and it seemed like a convenient place to stop it. Hope you like it.

Chapter 18 – Trick of the light

"It's not a lot to go on," said Harry dubiously. "We don't know for sure if she does know about the horcruxes and it doesn't look like we can trust her, does it? Not after everything she's done."

Two weeks had passed since they'd met Katherine on a rooftop in London and due to their combined efforts, they'd managed to dig up a substantial, though nowhere near comprehensive, amount of information on the fugitive. She'd been at Hogwarts in Lupin's year – a pretty average student by all accounts, though for some obscure reason they hadn't been able to find any of her national examination results, and after she'd left school she'd moved into a flat in London, got a job and become a Death Eater, though not necessarily in that order.

According to Moody, there was a whole room dedicated to listing her various infringements of the law, but they weren't sure if this was an exaggeration on Moody's part or not. In any case, they knew she'd admitted to a dozen more offences at her trial, the specific details of which were rather hard to come by, though they hadn't the faintest idea why. She was a famous Death Eater wasn't she? So wasn't the trial more widely publicised…?

"But there's got to be a reason why she was so edgy about Regulus. Hermione's right – she would have just given us a straight answer if there was nothing suspicious about him," said Ron, staring thoughtfully up at the ceiling. "Why bother with all the Octavian stuff? She was buying time."

There was the sound of footsteps tripping up the stairs and a moment later the door opened. Ron propped himself up onto his elbows as Hermione entered and shut the door purposefully behind her.

"What?" frowned Harry, seeing her strange expression. "What is it? What have you found?"

Hermione had been trekking up to Hogwarts every day that week to try and find out anything she could about Katherine but hadn't had too much luck so far.

"You're not going to like this, Harry," she said softly, dropping a heavy book onto Ron's bed. "At all," she added for emphasis.

"What is it?" asked Ron, turning the book round and frowning down at it. The cracked leather cover looked black at first glance but was actually tinted green, the thick pages edged with silver. "And why hasn't this thing got a title?"

"For the same reason classy restaurants don't display their prices," said Hermione coolly, perching on the edge of his bed. "If you need to ask, then you can't afford it."

"So do you know the title?" asked Harry, sitting up and gazing curiously at her.

"No, because it doesn't have one," said Hermione irritably. "Those people who own a copy know what it is and that's all that matters. Anyway, that wasn't what I wanted to talk to you about; the book's not important – well, it is, but it's not the most important thing."

"So what is the most important thing?" asked Harry, frowning in puzzlement.

Hermione took a deep breath and said quickly, "I know why we couldn't find Katherine Aenigma's exam results."

There was a pause, then, when it began clear that Hermione was unwilling to continue, Ron prompted: "Yes...?"

Hermione made a face, but said quietly: "Because she's not called Katherine Aenigma. Well, she was, but she changed her name while she was at school." She consulted a piece of paper in hand and continued, "She graduated with eleven OWL's and seven NEWT's."

"Seven?" asked Ron incredulously; most people only did five.

"Seven," nodded Hermione, and there was a slight pause before she added: "And she got Outstanding in everything."

"So she's clever," said Harry softly. "But we knew that already."

"Yes," agreed Hermione soberly. "What we didn't know, however, is that her real name isn't Katherine Aenigma, it's Katherine Riddle."


"Five letters, the address from which characters can regularly go to hell," said Katherine, glancing over the paper at Robert, who was flicking through a book bound in green leather.

"Any letters?"

Katherine frowned down at the crossword. "Ends in S."

Robert paused in his flicking and thought for a moment. "Hades," he said finally. "Yes, Hades."

"Four, four. Impress toxophilite?"

"Bowl over," said Robert absently, turning back to his book. Katherine frowned at him suspiciously as she pencilled it in.

"You've done this already haven't you?"

"No," said Robert, truthfully. "You're just out of practice."

"Hmm," murmured Katherine dubiously, as the door to the study swung open. Katherine ignored the newcomer, looking studiously at her crossword. She didn't want company – especially not now – as it meant she couldn't ask for Robert's help with the clues. Both had thought it wise to keep quiet about Robert's ability to solve a cryptic crossword in under ten minutes; it didn't quite fit in with the assumption that he was a imbecile.

"You again," snarled a low voice, causing Katherine to look up.

Sapphire eyes met yellow ones as she set down the paper and wrinkled her nose. "Ah yes, Greyback isn't it? Tell me, how is Azkaban these days?"

The werewolf growled, glowering at her and clenching his fists. When the Aurors had found him in Remus' flat they'd carted him off to Azkaban immediately and the Dark Lord had only sent a retrieval team the day before.

"Same old," Greyback muttered with barely concealed malice. "Half expected your lot to leave me in there."

Katherine arched an eyebrow. "Ye of little faith."

"You wouldn't have left me to rot?" asked Greyback, cracking his knuckles idly.

"Me?" asked Katherine in feigned surprise. "Oh yeah, I'd damn you to the depths of hell, don't get me wrong, but the Dark Lord...well, he's rather fond of his pets."

Greyback snarled angrily but a figure moved in the shadows behind him and a hand was placed on his shoulder soothingly.

"Don't rise to it Fenrir," said a voice that made Katherine's blood run cold. "She's just trying to get at you."

Robert looked up as the pencil Katherine had been holding dropped to the floor, and frowned in bewilderment at his old friend. She looked frightened, more afraid than he'd ever seen her before, but that was ridiculous. Katherine didn't get scared – even her father didn't intimidate her...

"Ah, not so confident now, are we?" asked the husky voice, stepping around Fenrir and gazing cruelly down at the black haired girl. "Not now there isn't a safe row of bars and enchantments between us."

Katherine said nothing, only gripped her wand tighter, ready to use it at a moment's notice. The woman smirked, wild scarlet hair tumbling down around a gaunt, ravaged face. Brown eyes glowed maliciously in sunken eye sockets and the face that smiled was pale and covered with scars.

"You never came to visit," chided the woman, smiling oddly.

"How did you get out?" asked Katherine, finding her voice at last.

"The Dark Lord's liberation team. They convinced me of the worthiness of his Cause," the woman laughed softly. "Not that I needed all that much coercion to tell you the truth. Anything's better than another day in that place."

"You've met her?" asked Fenrir, looking questioningly at the newcomer.

"Oh yes," chuckled the woman. "We go way back, don't we Katy? Round about three decades I'd say, give or take a few years."

"Thirty five," muttered Katherine, not meeting her gaze.

"Been keeping count, have we?" asked the woman, looking delighted. "Oh don't look so upset, you weren't the one who got bitten."

Katherine's head snapped up at that, and the fear in her eyes was instantly drowned by a flood of fury, the hand that held the wand twitching slightly, yearning to be used.

"Oh come of it, darling. We both know that if you were going to do something, you would have done it long ago," sighed the woman, giving Katherine a derogatory look.

"Yeah, well maybe I couldn't find a suitably gruesome way to kill you," said Katherine softly. "Or maybe I thought that living with the curse was torment enough."

"Well if you did, you were wrong," remarked the woman, flexing her pale arms in such a way that Robert half expected her to unsheathe claws. "Being a werewolf isn't a curse, Katy, it's a gift. It's just a shame your little friend never realised that, although maybe there's hope for him yet. Fenrir tells me he's been returning to his roots..."

"Leave him the hell out of this," said Katherine darkly, glowering at the woman now. Behind the red head, Fenrir was frowning.

"Who's been returning to his roots?" he asked, tilting his head to look quizzically at the woman before him.

"Remus Lupin," smiled the woman. "Katy's little playmate."

Fenrir's eyes lit up at the name, his gaze shifting to Katherine. "Ah, so that was why you were at his flat; I did wonder. A model Death Eater consorting with the Order's tame werewolf. Tut tut, does the Dark Lord know about your secret liaisons?"

"Why are you so interested in Remus?" asked Katherine angrily, though Robert had known her too long to not notice the desperation that lay beneath the question. "What did he ever do to you?"

"To me?" laughed Fenrir. "He's done nothing to me, girl. It's more a matter of what I did to him." When Katherine looked blank, he elaborated: "I made him what he is today and I like to keep track of my pack."

Katherine frowned, looking completely confused by this. Robert, still sitting largely unnoticed in his chair decided to give her some help.

"I think what our friend is trying to say is that he, what's the technical term, sired, Lupin," said Robert lazily, looking bemusedly up at her. Katherine looked at him, expression rather sceptical.

"I realise that," she said slowly. "But he can't have. Silva bit Remus."

"Reuben?" asked Fenrir amusedly. "That little runt? Who told you that?"

Katherine opened her mouth to say 'He did', but closed it again when she realised that this wasn't strictly true. Thinking back, she didn't remember Reuben ever actually explicitly saying that he had bitten Remus, only that, what was it...? "...he's mine. He was stolen from me and I want him back..."


"He deserved it," Fenrir was continuing, oblivious to the change in Katherine's expression. "After what his father did to me..."

Father? Remus was bitten because of something his father did? Katherine's mind was racing, trying to make sense of this new information when a sudden thought surfaced, halting all other contemplation. Greyback bit Remus, but that means... That means that Remus getting bitten wasn't anything to do with me...

A slow smile crept across Katherine's face, the guilt of years washing away in that instant of realisation. It wasn't her fault – Reuben's pack may have though Remus was responsible for the death of their leader, but it was Greyback who had gone after him – and his motives lay with Remus' father, not her.

"Ruth?" Katherine murmured softly, addressing the red haired woman properly for the first time. Ruth Saevus arched an eyebrow at her junior, too overconfident to notice the change in her tone.

"Yes?"

Katherine met her contemptuous gaze with a dangerous smile. "You lied."

Ruth frowned, flicker of apprehension crossing her face; Katherine's sudden change in attitude was disconcerting to say the least and she had the sinking feeling that the slight power she'd always been able to exert over the younger woman was rapidly disappearing. Little Katy wasn't scared of her anymore; this was almost certainly not a good thing.

"I did?" she asked, managing to maintain her veneer of calm.

"All that rubbish in Azkaban about Remus, about how it should have been me... You were just messing with my head..." said Katherine quietly. She looked up, angrily. "I'm the one who messes with people's heads."

"Well it should have been you," argued Ruth, scowling. "Only you killed Dux when he came near you – you murdered him."

"I was five years old," said Katherine defensively. "I didn't know what I was doing."

"You can't kill someone when you're five," said Robert softly, looking up absently from his book. Katherine almost jumped, she kept forgetting he was there.

"What?"

"I said you can't kill someone when you're five," repeated Robert blandly.

"She did," said Ruth, using Katherine's momentary disconcertion to try and get the upper hand once more. If Katherine no longer felt guilty because of Remus, maybe she'd still feel ashamed of what happened to Gareth... "She was born with a black aura."

Robert smiled wistfully. "Black, an aura to which is attributed outer space, the universe and night. Characteristics of which include wisdom, sadness, mourning, loss, death, discord, confusion, fear and evil. Black is the absence of colours, absorbing all the light of the spectrum. Hmm, suits you, Riddle, but the fact remains, you can't have killed that man. It's a physical impossibility; a five year old's magical ability is not sufficiently developed to bring about another human's demise, else we'd all be dropping like flies every time they had a tantrum." He smiled again at his old friend, his expression conveying more than words ever could.

"I thought Malfoy said you were thick," said Greyback bluntly, staring at the blond man.

Robert sighed regretfully. "Yes, he does seem to be under that impression, doesn't he? Well, we'd hate to ruin his illusion, wouldn't we, Katherine?"

"It would be most inconvenient," agreed Katherine, smiling lazily back at him. Ruth glanced at the raven haired girl and realised too late that she had one hand behind her back. "I don't like people who lie to me," said Katherine softly, drawing a small metal contraption out from where she'd stowed it in the belt of her jeans and flicking the safety off, blue eyes glinting with malice. "And I really hate people who threaten my friends..."


"Riddle? As in Tom Riddle?" asked Harry, staring at Hermione in shock.

"Well it might explain why she knew his real name," nodded Hermione, looking uneasy.

"But she can't be related," said Ron, leaning against the head board of his bed. "I mean, Remus is friends with her, isn't he?"

"Yes but she said she was adopted, didn't she?" pointed out Hermione. "And she did say that deciding to meet her father was the biggest mistake of her life. From the way she was talking about him, it sounded like he got her to join the Death Eaters. I presumed he was just a devout follower but what if he's the actually the ringleader?"

There was a slight pause, then Ron shook his head. "That's crazy. You-Know-Who can't have a kid – it's just not possible."

"No?" asked Hermione, arching an eyebrow. "Well there's something else you should know. You remember that blond guy who grabbed Harry in Diagon Alley a few weeks ago? I overheard Moody talking to your parents about him last night; he was a Death Eater and his name was Kelly Hunt."

"So?"

"So Katherine said that someone called Kel was dead," said Hermione patiently. "And she definitely knew Hunt because Moody said he was her godfather."

"What?" asked Harry, sitting up.

Hermione sighed heavily. "He was asking if Hunt had done anything to you, because Kelly and Katherine were quite close and if she wanted you dead, there's a good chance she would have enlisted his help."

"But he didn't do anything," said Ron. "He just gave you a note..." He trailed off, suddenly remembering what Kelly had said.

Harry nodded soberly. "He asked me to give it to Riddle. He must have meant her."

"And he knew she'd go after you," agreed Hermione. "He knew he was about to die and gave the note to the closest person that might make contact with her."

"Ok," said Ron slowly, trying to take all this in. "But let's just say all that's true, it still doesn't mean that You-Know-Who is her father."

"Kelly Hunt and Tom Riddle were in the same year at school," said Hermione quietly. "I looked him up when I found out her real surname."

There was silence while they all tried to come to terms with this. Harry lay back on his bed, staring pensively at the ceiling.

"Remus said she was worse than Voldemort," he said, almost absently. "I guess if he taught her... Well, they say pupils always excel their master; that's how we get progress."

"Remus trusts her," said Ron, though it was hard to tell whether he was incredulous or trying to reassure himself that things weren't as bad as they appeared. Harry hoped it was the second – if Remus had some influence on her actions as he had seemed to have back at his flat, then maybe they had a chance.

After all, his fate now lay largely in the hands of Voldemort's daughter. Katherine Riddle knew the Prophecy, and surely it was only a matter of time before she told her father...

---------------------------------

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  #20  
Old July 21st, 2006, 11:28 pm
Purple Banana  Female.gif Purple Banana is offline
First Year
 
Joined: 5344 days
Location: Behind you
Age: 30
Posts: 48
Re: Fallen Angel

A/N: I know, it's been ages hasn't it? So long in fact that I'm sure you'd rather read the chapter than hear why it's so late, so let's put it down to stress & school workload, and say I hope you enjoy the chapter.

Chapter 19 – Hello again...

"Already tried that – couldn't find it."

Robert arched an eyebrow at his companion. "Did you search everywhere? You might have missed it."

There was a slight pause, then a grim chuckle. Katherine tore her gaze away from the crack in the door and grinned at him. "I wasn't referring to the locket, Rob. I meant the house."

"You couldn't find the house," he repeated slowly, as Katherine turned back to the door and peered out into the sunlit street.

"That's right."

"It's pretty bloody hard to miss."

Robert could almost hear his friend roll her eyes. "Don't you think I know that? I'm telling you it wasn't there. 10 & 14 and a six inch dividing wall where number 12 should be."

Robert was quiet for a while, considering this information. "When?"

"When what?" asked Katherine, easing the door open a fraction to get a better view of the street beyond.

"When did you go?"

Katherine thought about it for a moment. "About two years ago."

Robert almost laughed. "When the Order were using it as headquarters you mean?"

The door shut abruptly as Katherine whirled round to face him. "Say that again?"

Robert grinned. "You walked right up to Order HQ and practically knocked on the door and they still couldn't catch you? How long did you stay there trying to figure out how to get in?"

Katherine scowled at him. "Why would the Order use Grimmauld Place as HQ?"

"I believe Black offered it to Dumbledore – would have just been empty otherwise; Mrs Black died ages ago."

"But Sirius hated that place," said Katherine quietly, her expression hard to read in the dim light. "He'd rather walk through hell than go back there."

Robert shrugged, sliding off the table he'd been sitting on and taking up sentry by the grimy window. "He went to Azkaban didn't he?"

Katherine didn't answer, just leant against the cold wall looking pensive. Robert chose to ignore her and peered out into the street. The things you do for the people who call themselves your friends. Here he was, cooped up in a dilapidated old shack that was probably vacant for the simple reason that the roof looked as though it was about to cave in and the floorboards were more woodworm than wood, all because Katherine wanted to spy on some guy who'd been unfortunate enough to get on her bad side in the short month he'd known her. He didn't know why she wanted to spy on the man, but she'd insisted and he'd agreed to keep her company. He sighed, and rubbed the window with his sleeve in a effort to make it at least semitransparent. A little further up the road was a small tavern, and outside the tavern was...

"He turned up."

"Course he did," muttered Katherine. "You don't not turn up when the Dark Lord summons you; not if you want to keep your head on your shoulders."

Robert murmured his agreement, then frowned. "Kat, did you ask Bella to recruit him?"

Katherine chuckled mirthlessly. "What if I did?"

"That's...that's cruel, no actually that's just plain evil." Robert glanced over at the black haired woman. "You really don't like him, do you? I mean, you actually hate him – you spoke to Bella you hate him so much."

Katherine's blue eyes gleamed in a shaft of light that fell through the worn door. "Daniel Corbelle is not a nice person. Besides, I like Ophelia and she deserves better."

"So that's your plan? Sign him up and get him killed?" asked Robert, looking sternly at Katherine.

"Yes."

Robert smiled sourly. "Fair enough." They were quiet for a while, each lost in their own thoughts, then Robert said softly, "We should go look, you know."

Katherine glanced up at him, puzzled. "Look where?"

"Grimmauld Place – the Order moved out when Black died. Whatever charms they put on it would probably have deteriorated by now."

Katherine stared at him for a long time, then nodded. "Ok. Let's go."


Plumbiossis: lit. 'lead bones', use to impede flight. Note – may cause fatality if not removed promptly.

Harry shut the book and looked across the room at his two best friends. Ron was lying half asleep on his bed, a sheaf of papers lying spread out around him and Hermione was taking notes from a couple of books on Dark Magic.

"Hermione, where did you find this book?" he asked, holding up the green leather bound volume she'd sneaked out of Hogwarts.

"Someone donated it to the school," said Hermione absently. "I think it was Riddle."

Ron sat up on his bed abruptly. "Riddle? Which one?"

"Katherine," answered Hermione, tracing her finger along a line of text, seemingly entirely unconcerned about this.

"We've got Katherine's book?" asked Harry, staring down at it as though it might try to kill him.

Hermione sighed and put down her quill. "I told you, she gave it to the school – she's not going to come looking for it. I'm not even entirely sure it did belong to her. Why did you ask?"

"Well, it's just that it's got some really nasty spells in here – I mean really horrible," said Harry gravely. "What kind of people come up with spells that make you live out your greatest fear or trap yourself inside your own body?"

"Anyone who's seen a boggart," said Hermione quietly. She looked soberly at the two boys. "Any Hogwarts student could have come up with any of the spells in that book. They're simple, that's what's so awful about them."

"They're twisted," said Harry firmly. "No normal person could come up with something like Inopia."

"No, perhaps not," said Hermione soberly. "But then Katherine is hardly what you'd call normal, is she?"

"Katherine?" asked Ron hesitantly. "But just because she owned it doesn't mean-"

"She wrote it, Ron," said Hermione, gazing at him. "Not alone – the spells are quite different – they couldn't all have been thought up by the same person, but she did help write it. Look at the date, it was written a few years before she was arrested."

Harry turned to the inside cover and examined it. Above the publishing date were five words written in neat copperplate handwriting:

scientia potestas est
arma ipse

And beneath that, at the bottom of the page and clearly specific to this one copy of the book, the words: nil desperandum

Harry frowned, making a mental note to buy a Latin dictionary next time he went out. He glanced at the next page where, if this had been a normal book, the title would have been. It wasn't. There was, however, another note scrawled in the top right hand corner in different handwriting to the previous one. Tartarus super gelavit.

"What's Tartarus?" he asked, and didn't realise he'd spoken aloud until Hermione answered.

"It's part of the Underworld in Roman myths. I came across it once doing a bit of background reading for Ancient Runes. It was where all the criminals were sent – I suppose you could call it hell. Why, is it in there?"

"Someone's written a load of Latin phrases in here."

"Strange thing to do," frowned Ron, looking bewildered.

"Not really," said Hermione, turning back to her book. "They didn't expect anyone else to get their hands on it, and if they did, they would have expected them to understand Latin, most pureblood families used to get tutored in it, I heard."

"They?" asked Harry.

"The people who wrote the book," said Hermione grimly. "I think it's meant to be some sort of survival guide; that inscription in the front – 'scientia potestas est, arma ipse' – I looked it up. It translates as 'knowledge is power, arm yourself'. At a guess I'd say Riddle and her friends wrote it as a handbook for Death Eaters."

"Or a collection of how much they'd leant," put in Harry darkly, looking down at the book. A handbook for Death Eaters, that didn't sound good – but if it was, why wasn't everyone using those spells? Harry was pretty sure the newspapers would have reported people getting hit with those sorts of curses...

"You can't be sure it's written by Death Eaters," Ron said, frowning deeply.

"Avery's got a copy," said Harry quietly. His friends stared at him and he smiled sourly. "At Remus', that guy Katherine knew said he'd been leant a book by Avery – one that had Number Four in."

"Yeah – I thought that was odd," agreed Hermione. "Why call a spell Number Four? But it's not in there Harry, I checked."

"Maybe it's not a name, maybe it's a nickname," said Harry, flicking through the book to find the page he'd seen earlier.

"A nickname?" asked Hermione, glancing at Ron uncertainly.

Ron looked thoughtfully at Harry, then raised an eyebrow as he caught on to what his friend was suggesting. "A fourth Unforgivable?"

Harry nodded grimly. "A couple of weeks ago the Prophet reported that an Auror admitted to Saint Mungo's, unable to speak, see move or indeed communicate in any way at all – the Healers aren't even sure if he can hear."

"And a couple of weeks ago that man said Reeves had been hit with Number Four..." finished Hermione, looking horrified.

"Inopia," Harry read, having finally found the page he'd been looking for. "Literally meaning helpless. Totally incapacitates victim; irreversible."

There was a short silence following his words which was abruptly broken by soft popping noise. Harry started in surprise at the sight of his house-elf standing in the middle of the room.

"Kreacher?"

Kreacher bowed low, muttering obscenities under his breath. "You summoned me, Master?"

"No I didn't," objected Harry, staring at the small wizened creature before him. Kreacher appeared to hesitate, even ceasing his customary mumbling to mull this over.

"Master summon Kreacher," he decided eventually. "Despicable half-blood scum that he is."

Harry glanced at Ron over Kreacher's wrinkled head, hoping for some clue as to what was happening. Ron shrugged and made a gesture illustrating that he thought Kreacher had lost it a long time ago. Harry frowned down at the elf and asked:

"Why do you think I summoned you?"

"Master say Kreacher's name. Master summon Kreacher," grumbled the elf mutinously.

"I didn't say your name," argued Harry, getting annoyed now.

"Someone obviously did," said Hermione softly. Harry glanced at her and she continued. "If house-elves hear their name called by someone they're sworn to obey, they're compelled to turn up. They can't disobey a call and it would take a lot of effort to come when not summoned."

"But all the Blacks are dead," said Ron, staring at the still bowing form of Kreacher. "And we know he doesn't belong to Bellatrix– Harry, what're you doing?"

Harry had sprung to his feet and pulled out his wand, expression furious. "I'm going to Grimmauld Place."


"They've cleared the place," said Katherine bleakly, standing in the middle of one of the many drawing rooms. "Everything's gone – all the trophies, all the artifacts, everything."

"Well at least we know the Order were here."

Katherine frowned at Robert, who was examining a tapestry hanging on the wall. "I thought you already knew that."

"Thought, yes – knew, no. Never had any real conclusive proof." He stood back and smiled absently at her. "D'you know Black's name has been blasted off this?"

"Course it has, he was a blood traitor – cardinal sin, that. Doubt he would have cared – he hated his family." Katherine sighed, pulling a couple more drawers open and riffling through them even though she knew it was pointless; the Order had obviously been very thorough in their cleaning. "Kreacher?" she called absently for the third time that hour. "Where is that bloody house-elf?"

"Maybe he died," suggested Robert, peering out of the window into the street below.

"His head's not on the staircase," said Katherine, sliding the drawers shut with rather more force than was strictly necessary.

"Maybe he died after his late mistress." Robert turned away from the window and watched as Katherine leant her head against the polished mahogany cabinet, eyes closed. "What about his room?"

"Kreacher's?"

"Reg's."

Katherine opened her eyes and looked at him. Would Sirius have cleared out his brother's old room? She could understand him wanting to get rid of everything that reminded him of his childhood, but Regulus' things...

"Worth a try," she conceded and led the way out of the room and up the stairs. Robert pulled a face as they walked through the corridor leading to the floor Regulus' room had been on.

"What's that smell?"

"Dunno, smells like sewage doesn't it?" answered Katherine, wrinkling her nose. Robert nodded and pushed open one of the doors. "What?" asked Katherine, seeing the amused look on his face.

"You weren't kidding when you said he hated his family, were you?"

Katherine stuck her head around the door and grinned. She remembered this being Sirius' parents room and from the looks of it her former fiancé had at some point installed some sort of animal in here. Dead rodents and a few feathers were scattered across the floor and the room smelled like a cesspit.

"Shame they didn't get round to cleaning in here," murmured Robert, closing the door firmly. Katherine just grinned and headed further down the corridor and up the small flight of stairs at the end.

"Regulus' room," she announced, trying the door handle; it was locked. She poked at the lock with her wand unsuccessfully for a while, then looked at her companion. Robert grinned and rammed the door open with his shoulder.

Katherine caught the door as it tried to shudder closed again and looked into the room. Then she looked at Robert.

"I don't think it's in here," she said quietly. Robert shook his head, gazing silently through the doorway. It was like looking through a window to the past, or maybe a shrine; not a thing was out of place – everything was left as Regulus must have left it over two decades earlier. There were books and quills scattered over the desk, a jacket hanging on the back of his chair and a picture of Auriga Nott pinned to the wall over his bed.

"Something as powerful as a soul would corrupt things," murmured Katherine. "This is just..." She shrugged helplessly, this is Regulus' room, frozen in time.

"It's not in here," confirmed Robert, closing the door carefully.

Suddenly, somewhere in the house, someone screamed. Robert and Katherine looked at each other, then drew their wands.

"The Order did move out, right?" she hissed, looking worriedly at her friend.

"I thought they did," muttered Robert, frowning. "Blood traitor scum...? Is it just me or can you hear someone yelling mudblood...?"

"I recognise that voice," said Katherine slowly, brow furrowing. "That's Mrs Black."

"Deceased?"

"Evidently not," muttered Katherine. "Wait – blood traitor? What blood traitor? What mudblood?"

"Shut the curtains!"

"I'm trying!"


Robert raised his eyebrows. "That wasn't Mrs Black."

"MISTRESS!"

Katherine's head snapped down as something small and grey hurled itself at her feet, sobbing loudly.

"Kreacher, where the hell have you been?" asked Katherine, scowling down at the elf. Footsteps sounded below them and a small white face surrounded by bushy brown hair appeared at the bottom of the stairs, looking up at them.

"Kreach-" Brown eyes widened in shock and the girl turned on her hell and fled back the way she'd come. Robert was first to react, leaping down the stairs after her, closely followed by Katherine, yelling at him not to hex anyone. Behind them, Kreacher jumped up, bloodshot eyes shining with delight and ran towards the sound of his mistress' voice.


"...filthy half blood scum, befouling the house of..."

"Harry, run!"

Harry and Ron stopped trying to pull the curtains over Mrs Black's portrait and looked up at Hermione. Her face was pale and scared and over her shoulder they could see a man chasing her. Ron ran forward and caught her hand, pulling her towards the stairs, but Harry stood his ground, glaring at her pursuers.

"Harry, come on!" urged Ron, but Harry ignored him. Behind him, the yells of Mrs Black fell silent and the blond man was brought up short by someone placing a restraining hand on his shoulder.

"Robert Avery?" asked the portrait, sounding uncertain. A woman's face appeared behind the blond man, scowling at the painting.

"So you are dead, then?" she asked, black hair gleaming in the dimly lit hallway. "I was worried for a while there."

"What are you playing at, Kat?" asked the man softly, looking suspiciously at her.

"Just being polite," shrugged Katherine.

"You've nicked my wand," said the man pointedly, looking rather miffed about this.

"Oh yeah, you're not allowed to hurt them," she said absently, smiling faintly at him. "Remus would never forgive me. Besides, without Potter we're basically screwed – isn't that right, Potter?" she asked, raising her voice and smiling pleasantly at Harry. "He's the Chosen One," she added, addressing Robert once more.

"We're going to let him go? You do realise we'll be in a hell of a lot of trouble if anyone finds out."

Katherine grinned, stepping round him and regarding Harry thoughtfully. "Who's going to tell him? No one knows we're here."

"You're breaking and entering," scowled Harry, raising his wand.

"No we're not, I have a key," retorted Katherine, holding it up.

"Trespassing, then."

"And?"

"And it's my house," said Harry, glaring at her. Katherine arched an eyebrow.

"Your house? Really? Well that's a relief, I was half expecting Trix to show up any minute and demand to know what I was doing."

"What are you doing?" asked Harry, not lowering his wand. Just because she'd stopped her companion hurting them didn't mean he had to trust her.

Katherine smiled slyly. "Kreacher?"

"Yes, Mistress?"

"She's not your mistress," interjected Harry angrily. It wasn't that he didn't want to be rid of Kreacher – he did, but as Dumbledore had pointed out, the elf knew far too much about the Order to be set free or reassigned.

"Yeah, that's a good point actually," agreed Katherine. "Why are you calling me mistress?"

"Mistress was en-"

"Never mind," interrupted Katherine with an abruptness that startled even Robert. "I get it."

"I don't. En what?" asked Robert, frowning at his friend.

"Endorsed by Regulus as an honorary family member," answered Katherine smoothly and turned to the house-elf at her side, smiling grimly. "Kreacher I believe you have something of mine."

---------------------------

Feedback would be greatly appreciated, if only to assure me that people are still reading...

Nana



Last edited by Purple Banana; July 21st, 2006 at 11:39 pm.
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