General Fiction posted September 12, 2014 Chapters:  ...13 14 -15- 


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continuation of my Harry Potter fanfiction... aftermath

A chapter in the book Who's the Bully?

Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary

by Alexandra Adele

Remus stopped his headlong dash several metres from Mary, sucking air in sharp gasps, though he wasn’t sure if he was so out of breath from the exertion or from the growing, strangling anxiety that his friend was there, on the ground, unmoving. Standing directly in front of her, was Marlene McKinnon, a look of sheer madness in her eyes as she sparred viciously with a tall Death Eater. She slashed her wand wildly, shouting spells and curses that Remus hadn’t even heard before, but the Death Eater countered each of them without undue difficulty. Remus stood very still, keenly aware that Marlene was acting akin to a angry bear mother whose cub had just been killed, and he wasn’t stupid enough to cross her just yet. 

Finally, blood burst from beneath the Death Eater’s robes, and he stumbled backward, cursing wildly. Marlene whipped her wand again, and his mask dropped from his face, revealing a young wizard who Remus would later recognize as Travers. The wizard doubled over, seizing his bleeding wand arm, as Marlene lowered her wand a fraction, back straight as she sucked in deep breaths of air from the effort of the duel.

The Death Eater gazed up at her, sneering. “What’s stopping you, coward?”

Marlene’s lips seemed to be trying to form words, but no sound left them. “Ahv-“ She began, but stopped again. The Death Eater’s gaze shifted to somewhere vaguely behind Remus, where a small group of Aurors had rounded up three unconscious Death Eaters. When Marlene turned to see what he was so enraptured by, he disappeared with a popping noise. 

Ignoring Remus, Marlene dropped to Mary’s side, gently shaking the other girl. “Mary! Mary say something, please!” She began to shake Mary much more violently. 

Finally, Remus made for the pair, but Marlene jumped up, still in her mummy bear mentality. 

“No, no, no, no NO NO!” She shouted, pushing Remus away. He took hold of her arms gently.

“Shh, Marlene, shhh. Marlene, Marlene! Have you checked her-”

She slashed her wand, cutting him short, and Remus felt himself stumbling backwards, struggling to keep his footing. Marlene turned on her heel and fell to Mary’s side, picking up the other girl’s head and cradling it in her lap. 

“Oh, Mary, I’m so sorry, Mary! Please forgive me Mary, please, please, wake up-” She began to shake, unable to speak any more. 

-:-

“Mistress Mary, Quite contrary…”

She had to be dreaming. Or dying. Or dead. Everything was bright, and quiet, except for the voice. 

“-How does your garden grow?” She was dead, surely, but why couldn’t she see anything, or move? And this voice, this voice… something was familiar about it, could it be some angel come to get her and bring her to the afterlife? No, no, that can’t be…

“With Silver Bells, And Cockle Shells,

Sing Marigolds all in a row.”

Mary recognized the voice, and finally fought against the brightness, opening her eyes without seeing. The voice was unmistakeable. Oh, Merlin, I’ve gone to hell!

-:-

Oh, Sirius, please  - you’re making her fret,” Lily’s eyes had dark circles under them, and her brow had so many worry lines that it was no wonder that she had a splitting migraine headache. Sirius, who would usually only sing even more loudly upon being asked to stop, immediately shut his mouth, throwing an arm around Lily in a short but strong hug. Lily smiled up at him, though the corners of her lips twitched downward sadly, then she glanced up to the corner of the hospital wing, where a small strangled sounding wail had just come from Marlene McKinnon, as Remus rubbed her back comfortingly, his own face drawn and pale. 

Lily looked back down at her best friend, who was writhing on the hospital wing bed, a cold sweat plastering her dark hair to her deathly pale face. She let out a string of mangled and unintelligible sounds, and Lily found that the lump in her stomach had moved into her throat. “Isn’t there anything to do for her?” she questioned to nobody in particular, searching for Madame Pomfrey among the small crowd of adults. Each time Mary shook or spasmed, Lily felt a sharp pain of empathy in her bones. She took Mary’s left hand in her own and squeezed it, hoping her friend could sense her presence if nothing else. 

“What did Marlene say happened?” Sirius murmured in an undertone so that Marlene wouldn’t hear, not that the other girl was paying attention in her hysteria. Lily bit her lip, feeling nauseous, and turned back to Sirius, who still had one arm around her. She noticed, for the first time, that the ends of his black hair seemed to be singed, as well as his once-white school shirt, which must have been on fire at one point to have reached its present condition. His tie was altogether missing, as well as his black school robes, and there was a matted bit of hair near his ear that most certainly was stained with blood. His gray eyes, however, were ever sparkling despite his otherwise grim appearance. Lily wondered briefly how awful must she look, and to think James had kissed her like this! Oh, she had to tell Mary what had happened. Mary would tease her endlessly, she knew, but instead of dreading it, she longed for her friend’s remarks. You were right, Mary, come on, please just get up. You were right, I’ll even admit! Tease me for the next year, just please wake up!

“Lily?” Sirius prodded gently, and Lily’s eyes refocused.

“I’m sorry,” she managed, “she won’t say - she’s in such a state. Remus said by the time he got to them, she was already like this.”

-:-

James pushed through the door of Dumbledore’s office, mind milling over what the Headmaster had just shared with him. Though James’ parents had basically always treated him with the same kind of respect that they would an adult, it was somehow so much more significant to have been sitting opposite Albus Dumbledore, who spoke to him as an equal. It was humbling, but also unnerving. 

“Mister Potter. It has been truly a delight to see you flourishing in the Head Boy position.” Dumbledore had begun. For what was probably the first time in his life, James had not particularly relished in the attention he was receiving. Indeed, now, as he made his way through the corridors, James felt a certain glowing pride at the remark. As the words had left Dumbledore’s mouth, however, he had felt more uncomfortable, as though there was some unsaid bit that should have preceded the compliment, such as ‘despite years of misconduct and disrespectful behavior, Mister Potter…’ he shook his head, letting his thoughts drift back to the rest of their conversation.

Never before have I been more proud of my students as I am today,” Dumbledore had said, his blue eyes grave behind his spectacles. James felt a surge of emotion at the Headmaster’s words, but only nodded slowly, dropping his head a bit. He wondered if Dumbledore had heard the last thing that James had said to Voldemort before apparating away with Lily, but decided not to dwell on it. Dumbledore knew more than anyone, being the wise mentor he was, that a teenage boy was capable of saying anything in an emotional moment. 

James put his hand in his pants pocket - he had abandoned his robes somewhere at his house in order to move more freely - and felt the old parchment paper that Dumbledore had given him. It was a list of names, of students who had fought for their school in this crazy situation, as well as a few other people who James had suggested. Dumbledore noted gravely that the time had come for the students to learn how to protect themselves and fight for the right to live in a world without fear. James was to approach each of these students personally, and see if they were interested in an extracurricular class taught by Dumbledore himself, as well as by different Aurors who had agreed to this, one or two times a week. For the students who agreed, James would procure a parchment to sign which would bind them to secrecy. 

To anyone whose name was not on the list, the parchment would look like a blank scrap, but despite this James didn’t dare take the parchment from his pocket. There were twelve names on the parchment, all of them seventh years, and most of them Gryffindors, other than two Ravenclaws - Emmeline Vance and Benjy Fenwick - and a Hufflepuff, Edgar Bones. Of course there wasn’t a single Slytherin name.

James removed his hand from his pocket, muttering a quick charm that would ensure that the parchment didn’t fall out while he walked, and quickened his pace as he neared the Hospital Wing. Several Hogsmeade citizens had been injured, as well as a few Aurors, but only one Hogwarts student had gotten hurt. James pursed his lips tightly, mentally cursing himself for grabbing Mary’s arm, bringing her to his home, making her feel responsible for something he should have been doing. Why hadn’t she stayed back at the Manor? Why had she returned to Hogsmeade as the struggle was waning? He bit the inside of his cheek until he could taste metallic blood, knowing he couldn’t blame himself. If the situation was reverse, would he not have done the same thing? 

As he neared the hospital wing, he slowed his pace again, feeling a bit sick to his stomach. He knew that Mary was hurt, but he didn’t know how badly, or what she even would look like. What if he couldn’t handle it? Lily was there, and surely even more upset than him - he couldn’t break down in front of her! 

He quickened his pace again, finally bursting through the hospital wing doors.


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