The shadows lingered in the streets. Haunting the hour before dawn. A hunched figure wearing a black hooded cloak strode quickly through the darkness, a bundle clutched tightly in his arms. The figure looked up at the passing apartments, looking for a number on one of the rusting mailboxes. He found the number he was looking for and strode up to the door of the apartment, paint was peeling away from the frame, and bricks lining the walk were crumbling. He knocked quickly at the door, looking behind himself to check the street for people. His shoulders relaxed a bit as he saw the walk was deserted. An older man answered the door, peering at the hunched figure, and the package he carried over his half-moon spectacles. He moved swiftly aside after considering the man for a moment, admitting him into the entrance of the apartment.
The stranger threw back his hood, letting his back hair spill out from the cloak. The older man locked the door and turned to face him, nodding.
The stranger turned to the man, a look of slight annoyance apparent on his gaunt face.
Albus's face turned to look down at the package in Severus's arm.
"So you managed it then?" He whispered quietly, peering like a curious child at the mysterious item. He extended a finger inches before the blanket, a small hand reached out and grasped the finger.
Severus stiffened. "Not without some difficulty. He has barely let her out of his sight since.." His voiced died off and his eyes clouded with the pain of the difficult memory.
Severus shifted the child uncomfortably in his arms, letting the blanket around her face fall away. Ringlets curled around the child's face, the color was unusual; it was a dark almost burgundy color, almost the same as blood. Her dark blue eyes gazed up at the man holding her, wide and staring. Severus looked at everything in the hall, trying to avoid the small child's gaze. Giving in, he glanced quickly at her and shuddered, extending out the child to Albus.
Albus took the child, smiling down at it, and making small cooing noises.
He spoke to Severus, not taking his eyes off the child.
"What's wrong Severus? Not a fan of children?"
"Just this one."
Albus looked up at him, a frown on his brow.
"We should not judge her based on her parents. You of all people should know that."
Severus looked away from Albus and the child shame clouded his features.
"I guess you are right. It's hard to get past what her father has done, what he will do. He's a cruel man."
"But that does no mean she will be cruel like him! Severus, you have given her the greatest gift someone could give her at this point in her life. You have given her the chance to make her own path in this world, to be judged based on her actions. Not her father's."
Severus nodded, not looking up from where he stared at the wooden floor.
"What are you going to do with her now?"
Albus smiled, and took a lock of hair into his fingers.
"I cannot tell you directly Severus, you know that. But I can say she will fit in nicely with her new family, with her red hair and all."
Severus raised his eyebrows, and his voice.
"The Weasly's! You cannot mean them! They already have a dozen children, and can barely afford those to begin with! No, I wont be part of this if all you want to give her a life of poverty! I'm already risking my life here!"
Albus played with the child's hair, and kept his eyes on her pale white skin while he talked in a calm voice.
"The Weasly's at the best option for the job, no one will question the girl, as she has red hair, and was born the same year as the twins Fred and George. They have agreed to say she was their triplet, and miraculous one considering the other two were identical, and needed to be hospitalized because of complications at birth, which will explain why no one has seen her in six months. I will be paying the Weasly's a monthly due for taking the child, the sum of which should cover any cost she produces for them. They are loving, and kind, exactly the kind of environment she needs to grow up in."
Severus glared at Albus, crossing his arms over his chest.
Albus looked at him, his eyes twinkling.
"That is, unless you would rather raise the child."
Severus snorted at this and turned away. Albus bowed his head. "That's what I thought."
"What about her name? Everyone shall not think it is a coincidence that two young girls are both with red hair and blue eyes share the same first and middle name, as this young girl."
Albus looked sadly down at the little girl.
"No, she will no longer be called Anna. Any faithful death eater would recognize the name immediately. No, Arthur and Molly have chosen a name for their new daughter. Jamie."
Severus nodded, and lifted his hood back onto his mass of dark hair.
"It seems our business is done here. If you don't mind, I would like to get going before word gets out about Anna's disappearance."
Albus nodded, and Severus stepped towards the door.
"Severus." Albus called, as his companion stepped out into the night.
The hooded man turned back, looking at the old man in the lighted door way.
Severus gave him a stiff nod, and disappeared down the street, blending in once again with the shadows.