AN: *Strong language warning* the moment felt necessary for a 4 letter word.
All thanks to my beta Katherine.


That summer was spent planning. Mia wasn't the one planning, it was mostly the Order, but she found ways to know what was going on, and force them to let her be involved. Kingsley and Arthur Weasley went to Harry's home with his aunt and uncle to explain things. When Harry turned seventeen the protections on their home would break, and Voldemort could come and kill them all, and likely would, or would use them as a tool to get to Harry. So instead they wanted to break the enchantment early. The Dursleys would go into hiding, and Harry would stay at the Burrow till Bill and Flur's wedding, and Harry's seventeenth birthday. Once he was seventeen he could travel freely without fear of the trace, so he could floo to stay with Mia and Sirius if he wanted, or go back to Hogwarts, or homeschool with Mia, as Sirius was trying so hard to convince her to do.

Sirius wasn't invited to the meeting with the Dursleys, because as Kingsley explained, they needed to have a rational conversation, and Sirius would never be rational when it came to Harry's family and how they had treated him for years.

The world was in shambles, people were going missing, or turning up dead everywhere. The Hogwarts muggle studies professor was one of many who disappeared, and the Order was convinced the Ministry had been compromised. The head of Magical transportation had passed laws for Harry's "Protection" that would make it nearly impossible for them to get him to safety, as long as he had the trace, further proving the Ministry's corruption.

Mia and Gabe still traveled to see each other regularly, that was fine, no one cared where they went, and Gabe could apparate legally, but when Harry went to the Burrow he would have to stay put till he was seventeen. Although Mia didn't think he would really stay put long. She was quite sure he was planning something.

Draco was sullen and mopey most of the time. Gabe and Mia tried to draw him into conversation regularly, and he made an effort not to be rude, which had always been his default, without the rudeness, he was just sad. Gabe and Draco worked on their occlumency to pass the time. His aunt had taught him some, to help him keep secrets the year before, and with his knowledge and Gabe's they were able to practice effectively. His information had helped the Order immensely. Mia wasn't allowed to know the particulars, but it had helped the Order to prevent a few key assets from being compromised. Eventually, they got a message to Draco's mom, Tonks's mom had managed it, although she wouldn't tell Sirius how. Narcissa's reply had been no. If she left, then Bellatrix would stop at nothing to get them both back. If she stayed, and Narcissa pretended not to care too much, Draco's loss would be less felt. The message implied, as it was, with Draco's father's failure at the ministry the year before, and Draco's abandonment, the Malfoy family was out of favor, and their home had been taken over by the Death Eaters.

Mia could tell his mom's reply had hurt him, even if Draco didn't show it. His mother ultimately was sacrificing herself for him, but he felt like she was abandoning him all the same. Draco had told her how his aunt Bellatrix had been staying with them since she escaped from Azkaban. She was obsessively protective of Narcissa, and had also tried to protect Draco, but her idea of protection included teaching him nasty spells, after first showing him exactly how they felt. Mia shivered when he told her how the Cruciatus curse had felt.

Harry gave evidence against Snape, as the one who had killed Dumbledore, but the Ministry didn't seem to move on the idea, and the news was buried among articles about Dumbledore's life. Then the smear campaign started, with rumors of a book telling about Dumbledore's troubled past. Sirius was surprised it took so long to start.

Hermione came over a week into summer, planning on staying for a few weeks before she went to the Burrow when Harry arrived.

Mia's summer project was potions. She made every useful potion she could think of, pepper ups, strengthening, veritaserum, and then labeled each bottle in excruciating detail with dosing instructions and warnings. Mia showed the potions to Hermione, all stacked neatly on a shelf in her lab.

"I thought if there was any reason why a huge stash of potions would be useful to you over the next few weeks, or months or something, you might want these?" Mia said. She didn't say outright that she knew they were planning something, but Hermione understood all the same.

Hermione looked at Mia, her eyes welled with tears, and then she cried and hugged Mia, thanking her. Then she confided in Mia what she had done. She had erased herself from her parents' memories, and convinced them to move out of the country. It was the biggest sacrifice Mia could never imagine making, but Hermione knew her parents would be a target, and she had to keep them safe, so she could help Harry. She didn't tell Mia what her Ron and Harry were planning, she didn't have to. She just packed each potion away into her tiny hand bag as she wiped away her tears.

"I'll have a few more at the end of the month if you are still here," she told her.

No one was totally sure at first, if Hogwarts would re open, and if it did, if they should go back. Sirius spent days trying to convince first Mia, and then Gabe and Hermione that homeschooling options were a very valid possibility. They argued about it constantly.

Mia refused all of Sirius' suggestions. She and Gabe had talked about it. Grades, NEWTs? They didn't matter anymore. If they graduated, getting jobs as an auror or a healer were right out now. All of those institutions were being invaded by Voldemort's corruption. No, Gabe and Mia didn't care about graduating any more, they didn't want to stay safe locked up at home studying. The war was upon them, and based on the ministry's continued interference, Hogwarts would be one of the first battlegrounds. But telling Sirius that would only make him fight harder.

Mia was making lunch for everyone when Sirius came into the kitchen and set down the two-way mirror. He was frowning as if he didn't notice Mia was there.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

He looked up at her, and smiled slightly, then sighed again. "I think Harry's planning something, but he won't tell me what."

"I'm not surprised."

"What do you mean?"

She wasn't sure how much to tell him of what she expected, but he needed to prepare a little so he didn't panic when Harry did leave. "I can't exactly see Harry going back to Hogwarts now. Dumbledore spent all year teaching Harry, training him, like he knew their time was short. I think Dumbledore gave Harry a task, and now he's going to do it."

"What did you hear?"

"Nothing. It's just the way he would talk with Hermione and Ron."

Sirius sighed. "Then he should talk to me all the more. I could help him."

"But that's not how Dumbledore worked was it?" Mia asked. Saying his name was a heavy weight on her chest, but she kept going. "With the Order, he always compartmentalized tasks. Everyone who needed to know was told and no one else, right?"

Sirius looked at her shrewdly this time. "And how did you pick up on that bit?"

Mia just smiled. "I think Dumbledore told Harry who all he was allowed to share with, and I think that list ended with Ron and Hermione."

"But they are just kids!"

Mia shrugged. "Ron and Hermione are both seventeen, and Harry will be soon too." Mia looked at her dad again meaningfully. "I will be seventeen soon as well."

"Oh, planning on going off too then?" he asked, anger in his eyes, and maybe a little fear.

"No, not in how you mean. But I am going back to Hogwarts."

"Oh you are, are you?"

"Yes," Mia said. "I will be needed there."

"I don't want you-"

I know what you don't want, dad," she cut him off. "You don't want me to be hurt, ever, under any circumstances. but that's not the world we live in, and keeping me safely wrapped up where no one can hurt me will only last till I'm seventeen, so maybe instead of trying to stop me, you can help me and Gabe prepare, and plan."

He sighed and left the room. He would have to figure out what he was willing to accept on his own. Eventually, he started in on Hermione instead, trying to get the answer out of her, until she started spending more time at the Burrow.

It wasn't the only fight they had.

The plan to pick up Harry from his aunt's and uncle's house, and deposit him at the Weasley's was set, and Mia had a big row with Sirius when he said she couldn't go. She wasn't yet seventeen. She threatened to apparate to Harry's house on her own and help anyways, but Sirius explained the tracker to her. The tracker that all underage wizards had. If Mia apparated there, she would get them all killed.

"Gabe's going! It's not fair that I can't!"

"Gabe turned seventeen last Christmas. He isn't being tracked, and you can't even use magic legally."

Mia stopped and took a deep breath. Her anger wouldn't help her argument.

"Illegal magic isn't tied to the trace, they won't know it's me doing the magic. You're planning on using several means of transportation, hippogriffs, thestrals, what if I go to Hogwarts and fly one of the thestrals to Private Drive?"

Sirius's face went blank, and Mia stopped her flood of excitement from showing. If he couldn't argue against it, it meant she was winning!

"No," Sirius said flatly.

"What would you have done in my place?" Mia asked. "In this situation if you were told you couldn't go help James or Remus because you were too young, what would you have done? Would you have sat home like a good little boy waiting for everyone else, or would you have done something reckless and put yourself in more danger?" Sirius's face looked grim now. That's what she thought. "What will a few weeks difference in age really mean for me, dad?"

Sirius sighed and turned around as if looking for another answer. Then he got a gleam in his eye and grinned. "Convince your godfather. If he says yes, you can do it."

Mia sighed, and grabbed the floor powder.

"How did you hear about the thestrals?" he asked.

Mia smiled and threw the powder into the fire. "I hear everything, dad. Get used to it." After a muttered direction she swirled away in a wave of green fire.

Tonks and Remus were happy to see her, until she explained why she was there.

"No," Remus said shortly.

"I'm not totally against the idea," Tonks said, and Mia smiled. Remus turned to her, shock on his face.

"What's gonna change for her in a month and a half of life? She's basically an adult now."

"If she comes we'll have an uneven number."

"I'll take your place then," Mia said, crossing her arms.

Remus gave her a look like his patience was wearing thin. Tonks nudged him. "Mundungus doesn't want to go anyways, he's a security risk."

"She's underage. If she tries to apparate out at any point she'll be traced."

"So send me in the opposite direction of Harry. If I'm traced, all the better."

Tonks looked at Remus with a small smile and Remus sighed and fell back on the couch. "Let me talk to your father."

Mia started to squeal with excitement but then stopped herself at Remus's look.

Sirius was livid when they got back to Meadow Lake. "How could you say yes, Mooney? I made you godfather so you would be the voice of reason! If I'd wanted someone to encourage her to risk her life for cheap thrills I'd have made it James!"

"Don't you dare, Sirius. You sent her to me to be the bad guy because you can't say no to her!"

"Exactly!" Sirius yelled. "look at that face," he said, pointing to Mia grinning on the couch. "How am I supposed to say no to that face? It's just not possible! That's why I have you!"

The fire flared and Gabe stepped in. Neither man seemed to notice and he edged around the screaming match to sit next to Mia.

"What's going on?" he asked.

"Dads are fighting."

Gabe grinned. "About what?"

"I get to be a Harry."

"Let me guess, Sirius said yes, and Remus put his foot down?"

"Other way around actually."

"Hmm, interesting," Gabe said, nodding with appreciation. They continued watching the argument. Hermione came to watch the, and then Draco popped in to see what it was about. Eventually, the two men dissolved into Sirius threatening to corrupt Remus's future children, and Remus swearing to make Harry the Godfather instead.

Tonks went to get food from the local diner, and when she returned the two men gave up, hugging and saying how much they appreciated and loved the other. Mia had won, they had both agreed and couldn't get out of it now. She would remind them later when they were well fed.

On the day of the plan, Mia and Sirius went to Hogsmeade, and walked down to Hagrid's hut. The half giant called the thestrails, and Mia and Sirius mounted up, then followed Hagrid flying a motorcycle, which had once been Sirius's till he gave it to Hagrid the night Sirius went after Peter Petigrew. They landed at Harry's aunt and uncle's house where they met the others who could all apparate.

They crowded around Harry's empty living room and joked till Moody called them to order and explained the plan. Harry didn't like the plan. All of his friends and family turning into him so they could act as decoys to get him out? No, he didn't like the plan at all. He was the only one who was allowed to sacrifice for others apparently. But he was outnumbered, by a lot, so eventually, he stopped arguing, and Moody passed out eight cups of polyjuice potion. Besides, this was all just a precaution anyways, no one knew they were leaving that day, so they would all be safe.

Mia took her cup, and swallowed it in one go. After a moment her whole body felt like it was bubbling and burning. Her body started stretching in weird directions, and her scalp itched as her hair receded into her head. After a moment, the world was fuzzy and blurry, and her body stopped changing.

Mia turned towards the Harry standing next to her who was wearing Gabe's sweater, now very baggy, and grabbed his boney elbow till he looked at her, squinting to see better. "Am I still cute enough to kiss?" she asked him, in a voice that felt so weird coming out of her throat.

Gabe/Harry looked a little green and grimaced. "Let's never talk about this again," he said, patting her awkwardly on the shoulder.

"What's wrong, honey?" she asked, trying to snake a hand around his waist. It felt wrong, because the waste was not Gabe's but the look of utter distress as he dodged away from her was totally worth it. The others all seemed to be having just as much fun or distress in Harry's body, and Moody started handing out glasses and spare clothes. Harry really was quite blind. When Mia changed, she felt weird at first taking off her shirt, and then her bra in a crowded room, but it wasn't her body after all. She tried really hard not to think about anything at all as she changed her pants into jeans that fit.

When they were dressed, they all paired back up with the ones they would travel with. Sirius insisted Mia would go with him. Moody warned him the enemy would think him likely to be carrying the real Harry after Kingsley and Moody, but Sirius didn't care, he was keeping Mia with him.

Harry went with Hagrid on the flying motorbike. It was a good plan. Most blood purists doubted Hagrid's abilities at literally everything, so they would never imagine he would be trusted with the real Harry.

Mia and Sirius were to travel a ways to Ron's great aunt's house, then portkey to the Burrow. Everyone had a different destination where portkeys were waiting for them, but they would all end back at the Burrow. There were a dozen destinations, Meadow Lake included, that had been given the most extreme protections so that no one would guess which Harry eventually ended at.

When they were ready, everyone mounted up, and they set off into the sky. As soon as they were in the air, they were attacked. Mia's heart raced and she shot hex after hex at Death Eaters, and blocked spells along with Sirius. Someone must have sold them out. They swerved away from the others, heading west and trying to draw some of the Death Eaters away from Harry. Mia wanted to go back and help the others, but they all had to stick to the plan. She saw one of the Death Eaters she had battled the night Dumbledore had fallen, a light haired woman with an evil sneer. One of her spells connected, hitting Sirius hard in the shoulder and causing him to slide off the thestrails back, but Mia grabbed his arm and pulled him back up. He was bleeding, and couldn't use the arm, but Mia couldn't pause in shooting spells long enough to heal him.

When they were nearing their destination, all of the Death Eaters swirled away as one, and disappeared into the night. The silence was even worse than the chaos, like something bad had happened. They landed at Ron's aunt's house, and Mia set to work healing Sirius's arm. They made it inside the house as the portkey was starting to glow, and grabbed it just in time, not even saying hello to Ron's aunt.

When they arrived at the Burrow, Remus made them both answer security questions at wand point before they could go inside. Harry was ok, he had been attacked by Voldemort personally, and Hagrid had fallen through the sky, but was mostly fine. George was not ok. Snape had attacked him, and he lost an ear, and Mia had to break the news that it likely couldn't be regrown. She got the bleeding to stop, but it was severed with a curse, and such wounds left their mark.

Ron and Tonks, Gabe and Moody all should have been back before them, and the fear and worry were growing in Mia's chest. Hermione and Kingsley arrived next, just as their potions started to wear off. They had also seen Voldemort before he had disappeared, likely to chase after the real Harry. Apparently Voldemort could fly, without a broom.

Mr. Weasely and Fred came next, and dropped next to George, who woke when they came. He made a joke about being "Holy", and Fred, teary-eyed, pronounced that he was finally the better-looking twin.

Eventually, Mia, Hermione, Harry, Ginny, Kingsley and Remus all made their way outside to look up at the sky and watch for their loved ones. There was a gust of wind, and then a broom appeared and streaked towards the ground, Tonks and Ron stumbled off. They had been delayed because of Bellatrix facing off with them. She had tried very hard to kill Tonks.

Kingsley left, back to guard the Muggle Prime Minister, and everyone else kept looking at the sky until finally a thestral flapped awkwardly to the ground, and landed exhausted. Mia ran to them, along with half the others, as Bill dismounted and Flur handed Gabe down to them. His arm was bloody and he was unconscious as they carried him into the house, and set him on the floor next to George. Mia barely listened to their story while she healed him. Voldemort had gone after Moody first, and hit him straight in the face with the killing curse. His body started to fall and Gabe tried to dive after him, but he too was hit with a spell, and tumbled towards the ground. Bill and Flur saw him, and the thestral managed to dive in time to catch him. Flur had a sprained wrist, and Bill some bruising, but Voldemort had taken off to take out Kingsley, and they had escaped. Their thestral, overburdened, had taken too long to get them to their destination, and they went straight for the Burrow after missing the portkey.

Mia's hands were shaking by the time she had finished healing Gabe's arm. They'd had too many close calls that night, and she didn't know what she would have done if she lost Gabe. When his eyes finally fluttered open, she leaned down and kissed him, her tears falling on his face. Somehow they needed to be better prepared next time, only luck had saved them this time, but they needed more if they would survive through it all.

They drank to Moody's memory that night, and Mia also drank to Hedwig, who had been killed in the battle, taking a killing curse meant for Harry.

Mia and Sirius stayed the night. Mia slept next to Gabe and George in the living room, and Sirius joined Harry and Fred in Fred's old room. Gabe was awake and groggy in the morning, and promised to apparate to Mia's after a big breakfast and another nap. Mia and Sirius flew the thestrail back to Hogwarts, then returned to Meadow Lake, and a Draco who felt very left out.

Tonks and Remus came over the next day. She was pregnant and glowing with joy. Mia hugged her and celebrated with them. Remus had a look of near-constant bewilderment, that sometimes dipped into joy, and sometimes to apprehension. Tonks explained later that he was worried about what would happen, with him being a werewolf. Even though he wasn't strictly speaking a werewolf anymore, he still had the fear. Mia hoped he got over it soon.

The rest of the summer was spent in relative peace. Mia spent a lot of time going through potions books in their personal library, making lists of anything that could be useful for their seventh year, and then lists of potions ingredients they needed. Sirius, reluctantly agreeing to help instead of fight, helped her in ordering enough potions ingredients to keep Hogwarts stocked all year. She bought out all the dittany she could find in three apothecaries.

She brought additional potions to Hermione, when they went to the Burrow for Harry's birthday. Just before dinner, Mr. Weasley's patronus appeared and said he was bringing the prime minister. Tonks and Remus left, Remus was still registered as a werewolf officially, and the ministry had been passing a lot of sanctions and laws that would look bad for the Weasley's if they were seen there. His werewolf status meant he could still treaty with the others, trying to win them from Voldemort, but it made life harder.

Apparently Dumbledore had left Ron, Harry and Hermione things from his will. Ron had a cool magical light putter outer that Dumbledore had invented. Hermione had a book of kids' stories, and Harry had a snitch he had caught in his first quidditch game. Mia, and most of those present, knew they were likely more than they seemed, but the Ministry hadn't figured it out, so Mia hoped they helped on the quest the three seemed to have.

The next day was Bill and Flur's wedding. It was beautiful. Mia was so happy for them, and could never be thankful enough to the couple for saving Gabe's life. Luna and her father came, and so did Viktor Krum. Mia and Gabe danced a good bit, and snuck off a while later for some alone time in the cool summer night.

As the evening grew late, Mia and Gabe wandered back towards the tent, just in time for a patrons to fall through the roof and open its mouth speaking in Kingsley's Voice. "The ministry has fallen. Scrimgeour is dead. They are coming."

There was silence, then people started screaming, and running. People apparated away where they stood, as the protections on the Burrow failed. Mia and Gabe ran into the chaos, as masked Death Eaters appeared all around, shooting hexes at guests. Sirius ran to them as Gabe deflected a spell.

"Gabe! Take Mia and go!"

"No!" Mia yelled, but it was too late, she saw Sirius deflect another curse, then they were twisting through nothing, and landed in the back field of Meadow Lake, just past their enchantments. "No! We have to go back and help!" Mia called.

"Mia think! You're still underage! If you use your wand you could be arrested. You know they will look for any excuse if the ministry had been taken over. You will be sent to Azkaban!"

"But they could be hurt!" Mia snarled, her anger melting into fear.

"I know." Gabe pulled her in for a tight hug. "But we don't have any choice. We will stay here, and when it's all over we can maybe go back to help."

Mia nodded in resignation and they crossed the meadow into the house protections and entered through the back kitchen door. Draco was in the sitting room, and looked worried when they told him what happened.

"If they broke the wards at the wedding, they could do it anywhere," he pointed out. "If the minister is dead, they have the full weight of the ministry behind them."

The realization dawned on Mia just as a loud bang sounded at the front door. Gabe was a little quicker to think. "Draco, go hide, now!"

Draco's eyes shown with fear, but he hesitated for just a moment as they could hear people moving through the entrance, and he ran for the upstairs. Gabe shot a spell at the stairs behind Draco, and the movement cost him. The door to the foyer burst open, and Gabe's wand went flying in the air as he shoved Mia behind him.

"Well, well, well, what do we have here?" Mia's aunt asked. Bellatrix crossed into the room, her wand up and trained on Gabe, a few Death Eaters at her back. Mia noticed Narcissa was with them too, although her wand wasn't out. "A couple of baby blood traitors?" Bellatrix cackled.

" Homenum Revelio ," Narcissa called, and Mia felt a light breeze wash over her. "Only these two," she said with a frown.

"But he could be hidden with a spell," Bellatrix said, her voice sharp and suspicious.

"Or he might not be here at all. Who would think to guard human presence in their own home?"

Gabe would, Mia thought. Gabe thought of everything. He was protecting Draco, who was the most vulnerable at the moment, and Mia could kiss him for it. She would if they survived.

Bellatrix sneered. "Go and check anyway. I'll keep these two busy while you search, Sissy."

Narcissa's eyes met Mia's for just a moment, and she saw the worry and fear. The Death Eaters broke apart. One heading for the kitchen, another heading up the staircase for the library, and Narcissa and the blond Death Eater who had cursed Sirius the night they had retrieved Harry headed up the staircase towards the bedrooms where Draco was hidden.

When they were alone, Bellatrix grinned and turned back to them. "Now, we have a few questions for you two, and believe me when I say I hope you refuse to answer."

Mia gripped her wand behind Gabe's back, and prepared to fight. "Go to hell," she told her aunt.

Bellatrix smiled. "Oh goodie, I so prefer the hard way."

Gabe's hand dropped behind his back. He was asking for her wand. He didn't want her to use it, and be sent to Azkaban. There was so much fear and anger pulsing through her, she wasn't scared of the prison at the moment, but ultimately she knew he was right, and he was the quicker dueler. She put the wand in his hand, and his fingers closed tight around it.

Bellatrix shot a spell at them, and Gabe whipped his arm around and deflected it, then another and another. He was shielding and deflecting so quickly, Mia couldn't believe it. She knew he'd been practicing, even dueling with Sirius that summer, but she didn't realize he had gotten so good. In any other situation, it would be incredibly attractive, but just now, Mia's emotions were too close to the terror side. After a few tense moments of dueling, the kitchen door opened and a Death Eater reappeared, and Gabe couldn't deflect them both.

A spell got through and Mia's wand went flying, then Gabe was screaming, and falling to the ground, his body writhing as Bellatrix tortured him. Mia moved. She didn't have a wand, but she could fight Bellatrix with her hands. But then the spell was taken off of Gabe, and a moment later a white-hot fire was racing over every inch of Mia, and agony worse than anything she had ever felt coursed through her. It was like she was being stabbed a million times over by tiny fiery daggers. Her flesh writhed, her throat burned as she screamed and screamed. And then it was over. She was lying on the ground next to Gabe, her body shaking and rippling in aftershocks of pain. She could hear Gabe's ragged breathing beside her, and his hand carefully moved to her shoulder. The Death Eaters in the room were laughing.

"Now, why don't you tell me where Harry Potter is."

Somewhere in her mind there was relief knowing they hadn't yet caught Harry.

"Fuck off," Gabe spat, and then he was screaming again, thrashing hard against Mia's back.

"No!" Mia yelled. "We don't know! He could be anywhere!" Mia shouted, unable to lift herself from the floor.

Then the fire was back on her, and she was screaming again, and Gabe was shouting, and the world was nothing but pain and agony.

When it stopped, Mia's brain pulsed in her head. Her vision was blurry, and sounds were fading in and out.

"Did you find him?" a voice said as though speaking through a tunnel.

"No, he isn't here," another voice said.

"Pitty."

The pain was back, and her skin was crawling with fire. Then it faded again, and she was again shaking on the floor.

"–she's family," a voice said faintly.

Mia tried to look around, but her eyes couldn't focus.

"You mean blood traitor scum."

Mia tried to reach for Gabe, see if he was still there, but her arms wouldn't respond, spasming uncontrollably.

"If they knew they would have said something by now. Let's check in with the others, see if someone else found Draco."

Her fingers connected with another hand. Warm and soft, Gabe's fingers laced with her own.

"Fine, Sissy. We can keep looking for the boy."

Sometime later Draco was leaning over her, saying her name, fear intense in his eyes. He was asking her things, but she just closed her eyes and gripped Gabe's hand harder. It was a while before she felt ready to sit up, and even longer before she could drink the tea Draco made without spilling it in her shaking hands. Eventually, they worked on rebuilding the wards around the house. They could only do the most basic ones, Sirius would have to do the rest when he returned. She worried about him. What had kept him at the wedding, if he was ok? But she agreed with Gabe that they needed to wait for him at the house. The effects lingered, and as she settled into the couch next to Gabe, and pulled a blanket over their legs, her and Gabe's arms and legs occasionally spasmed and throbbed.

As they settled in to wait for Sirius, Draco sitting on the edge of his chair, guilt and pain in his eyes, he told them how his mother had seen him, and made him promise to stay hidden, to stay safe. She cast a Confundus Charm on the Death eEater with her, Alecto, before returning back to the sitting room to convince Bellatrix to leave.

Gabe had tried to apologize when they were putting the protections back up, but Mia made him stop. It wasn't his fault they had been attacked, or that he couldn't fend off two Death Eaters with decades more experience than him, and if he had tried to protect Mia instead of Draco, she likely wouldn't have forgiven him for it. He'd made the right call, and it would never be his fault they had been tortured.

It was hours before Sirius finally returned, he looked disheveled, his dress robes were torn, and he had a small cut on his cheek. He told them no one had been badly hurt. The Death Eaters had rounded up everyone they could, and questioned them for hours while they searched the Burrow from top to bottom for Harry. He, Ron and Hermione had escaped, and no one was quite sure where they had gone, which was for the best, because that meant he hadn't been caught. Sirius was beyond livid to hear what had happened at Meadow Lake, and worked on restoring all the enchantments he could. Slowly reports came in from other Order members, the Death Eaters had broken through every known Order member's enchantments. No one had died, but Ted and Andromeda Tonks were also both tortured. Bellatrix and Narcissa had gone there after visiting Mia. Another Order members house had been burned down.

Things changed drastically after this, the Daily Profit made a complete turn from speculation about Voldemort's whereabouts and all the things the Ministry was doing to keep the people safe, to completely avoiding the topic of the dark wizard, and talking instead on the true threat to the wizarding world: Mudbloods.

Pius Thicknesse became the new ministry of magic, but the Order knew he was under the Imperious curse, so he was basically just a figurehead for Voldemort.

The ministry was also making some questionable choices with who they did or did not convict of crimes. Draco's dad, for example, was acquitted of all charges, and set free from Azkaban. When Draco heard this, he returned to his room, and didn't come to dinner.

Then it was announced Snape would take over as headmaster, appointed by the Ministry, and Sirius was dead set on preventing Mia from going back to Hogwarts. Then it was announced that attendance at Hogwarts was now required for all underage wizards. Where before, homeschooling was an option, now everyone would be forced under the eyes of Snape. Just thinking about it made Mia's blood boil. She had trusted him, truly and completely trusted him, and she felt like such an utter fool.

The only ones not required to attend were muggle-borns, who were now seen as not really wizards. For anyone under age, this meant no returning to Hogwarts, no letters for their next year of term or for new muggle-born eleven-year-olds. For anyone over Seventeen, this meant a new muggle-born registration, no one was quite sure what would happen if a muggle-born couldn't prove their blood status.

Death Eaters were watching the house, and apparently the houses of all the well known Order members. They were looking for Harry, and they weren't the only ones. Sirius kept leaving with Remus, heading off for mysterious trips. Mia didn't question this, just worked on her own plans for the new school year. She and Gabe had been right. With Snape as the new headmaster, Hogwarts would be a battleground, and they would help lead the defenses.

Three days later Sirius showed up "Don't call Kretchure for a few days, ok?" he asked, looking smug.

"Why not, he's still working in the Hogwarts Kitchens, right?" They had sent him there after headquarters had been compromised. Inviting Kretchure to Meadow Lake, forcing Sirius to be alone with him all year just seemed like a bad idea.

"Loaned him out for a few days," Sirius said, cagily.

Mia narrowed his eyes at him. "You found them," she said, positive he had seen Harry, Ron and Hermione.

Sirius just shrugged. "If I did it would be unwise to share it." Mia smiled, reassured they were safe. She didn't know what they could possibly need Kretchure for, but knowing they were safe was reassuring.

Mia's birthday was a small affair. Sirius took her to the Ministry to get her Apparation license. The atmosphere was bleak and grim. Afterward, they had a small dinner with Gabe, Remus and Tonks. Sirius got her an invisibility cloak for her birthday. "It's not as good as Harry's cloak," he told her, "but it should help a little with your plans this year."

Mia smiled and hugged him. It wasn't just an expensive gift, it was him supporting her plans to return to Hogwarts, and she couldn't be more thankful.

Before the night was over, Gabe handed Mia a small packet of old paper. She unfolded it, shocked to see the Marauder's map. She looked at Gabe in confusion. He shrugged. "Harry told me to give it to you. Said it was your turn to keep it for a while."

Mia smiled and looked down at the blank parchment. It would come in handy in the year to come.


AN: What do you think? Only two more chapters till the story is over! It's been such a long road. Anyone still here who has been with me since the beginning? Drop a comment and I will mention you in the last chapter. I think I first started writing this in 2011... crazy.