Disclaimer: Alas, still don't own anything to do with the Harry Potter universe - belongs in its entirety to the genius JKR.
A/N: A story I wrote a few years back in the middle of my Sirius obsession phase and just found it digging through my own archives thought it deserved to see the light of day (or ). Also as a note the Death Eater briefly mentioned in this story 'Rosalie Malfoy' is a tip of the hat to another of my stories where she is the main character 'Waiting for the Rose' Take a look there as well if it should so please you!
Enjoy! Let me know what you think through reviews, for they are indeed love :)
I smiled as I stacked packets of Skiving Snackboxes on the shelf. I thoroughly enjoyed working here at Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes. Fred and George have been two of my closest friends ever since our days at Hogwarts. It was three years ago when we graduated and then they set up this shop and asked me to work for them. My parents didn't like the idea of me working in a joke shop but then again they were uptight Aurors, always looking for the danger in every situation, so I never expected anything better from them.
"There! That's the last customer gone!" I called to the back as I locked the front door and waved my wand over the sign upon it to read 'CLOSED'.
"Good job today, Vanessa." Fred offered as he came out from the back room, "You really bring in the customers."
"Must be your dazzling good looks." added George as he followed his brother out into the shop. I grinned at the both of them.
"Anything is better than a clerk in the Auror's office which is where my parents' intended me to work after I had finished school."
"Glad we could be of service." Fred and George replied in unison, both bowing to me. I laughed at Fred as he hit his head on shelf on the way back up. As I went to help Fred up, a tapping sounded on the window from an owl.
"I'll get it." George said as he went over to the window and took the note from the owl and read the front of it.
"Vanessa, it's for you." George said looking up from the note to me, "It's from your parents." I rushed forward and snatched the note out of his hands. My parents had always told me they only would ever owl me at work if there was an emergency.
"Is everything alright?" Fred asked concernedly. My eyes filled with tears as I read the note out loud.
Our Dear Vanessa,
Please do not worry yourself too much but we have some news to tell you. The Dark Lord is now attacking individual Aurors and their families. Dawlish, his wife and daughter have been the first to be targeted. We fear not for our own safety but for yours. We want you to stay with a friend for awhile until we can return safely to our home. Perhaps Fred and George Weasley can help you considering you three are such close friends. Please do not worry we will owl you whenever we can to update you otherwise we will ask Arthur Weasley to talk to you when we have news.
We love you so very much Vanessa and stay safe
Mum and Dad
I bit my lip as I folded up the note and tucked it into my robes. I knew it was only a matter of time before the Dark Lord would want to stop my parents but I never knew the day would come so soon.
"Of course we can help you!" Fred said loudly, "We will do anything for you!"
"We're staying at …um…. aren't we now?" George interjected, "Maybe she can come with us, and I don't think Sirius will mind."
"Where are you staying?" I asked curiously, not sure I caught it the first time.
"We can't mention the name as it is protected by the Fidelius Charm." Fred answered. He then exchanged looks with George.
"But we can take you to someone who can." George finished. Without warning, Fred and George linked their arms with mine and we apparated. When we disapparated at our destination, I looked at my surroundings in confusion.
"Why are we in Hogsmeade?" I asked as I followed the two of them who were walking very quickly ahead of me.
"We're going to see Dumbledore." They answered in unison. Before I knew it, we were standing at the gargoyle which marked the entrance to Professor Dumbledore's office.
"How are we going to get in?" I whispered after a few moments of watching them staring at the gargoyle.
"We Order members have a way of getting in that no-one knows."
"What?" I scoffed, "standing out here staring and hoping if you wait long enough some one will come and open the door for you?" Fred and George laughed.
"Our poor ignorant employee..." Fred said condescendingly, shaking his head as George patted mine.
"You will understand soon enough." George then retrieved a key from the folds of his robes and inserted it into hidden slot behind the gargoyle's head. As soon as he placed the key in, two intertwined beams of golden light flew up George's arm and back down again. There was silence for a long moment, making me think nothing had happened when suddenly the gargoyle leapt aside leaving the stairway open for us to climb.
"What was that?" I asked in awe of what was obviously a mark of Dumbledore's skill and talent.
"The light determines if the person holding the key is a member of the Order, a person who has sworn the oath." Fred replied as we made our way up the revolving staircase.
"Ah! Fred, George! To what do I owe this pleasure?" a kindly voice spoke up from the chair at the desk once we had stepped into his office.
"Professor Dumbledore," Fred greeted with an inclination of his head. "We are here for our friend Vanessa Ravensdale." At that Fred and George stepped apart, allowing me to walk forward.
"Miss Ravensdale? It had been a very long time since I saw you last! How have you been?"
"Very well, sir, that is until today." Dumbledore's forehead creased in confusion.
"What do you mean, my dear?" Wordlessly, I handed him the note I received from my parents earlier. We waited in silence as he read it.
"Ah it was only a matter of time before this started to happen." He remarked gravely, "What can I do to help you?"
"Professor, we were wondering if Vanessa could stay with us at…ummm…" George asked imploringly. "Her parents want her to stay with us and since that is where we will be. I wonder if it is possible." Dumbledore got up from his chair and walked around his desk until he stood directly in front of me.
"I do not foresee any problems arising from this. It would be this ideal place to keep you safe." he said clasping my shoulders with his hands. "Ah, now to inform you of its whereabouts…" He quickly walked back around his desk and pulled out a sheaf of parchment and wrote a line on it, he tapped it with his wand before handing it to me.
The Order of the Phoenix Headquarters may be found at Number Twelve Grimmauld Place, London.
Dumbledore then took the slip of parchment from me and set fire to it with his wand-tip. He caught my confused expression and explained.
"We have to destroy it as so it won't get into the wrong hands. Not just anybody can discover the location and nor can you pass the details onto another person." I nodded solemnly.
"Thank you so much for your help Professor!" I exclaimed shaking his hand profusely.
"It was no trouble at all, my dear." Dumbledore replied kindly, "Stay safe." He then turned to Fred and George, "I want you two to go with Miss Ravensdale to retrieve her belongings from her house. Be on the look out for any Death Eater activity. I'll be sending somebody else to meet you there, just in case."
"Yes, sir!" replied Fred and George in unison as they saluted him. Dumbledore chuckled,
"Be off with you now. Remember to keep a sharp eye out." And with that we bid our goodbyes and left his office. I felt so overwhelmed by it all, one moment I was happily working in the shop and then the next having to keep on the look out for Death Eater attacks before I went into hiding. George must have sensed my distress because he put his arm around my shoulders to comfort me,
"It will be alright, Vanessa. You will be safe at Grimmauld Place. Everyone is real nice so there is no problem of you fitting in." I looked gratefully up at him as I took his hand, which sat on my shoulder, in my own.
"Thanks George, you too, Fred. I don't know where I would be if I didn't have friends like you." They both smiled at me as we stepped outside of the school grounds to apparate.
"My house is down this way." I said, leading the way down my street in the suburbs of London. It was awfully dark for the middle of the day; those storm clouds had an ominous feel to them. When we got there, I quickly unlocked the house and left Fred and George to guard while I quickly packed my trunk.
"Are you almost ready, Vanessa? It looks like its going to rain soon, its best we were moving." Fred called up to me after fifteen minutes.
"I'm coming down now, Fred!" I replied, "Can one of you help me with my trunk?" George quickly came into the house and met me on the stairs and took the trunk from me.
"Thanks." He nodded to me.
"That's alright, let's go." Once we were back outside and I had locked up, replacing all the complicated wards my parents use on the house, we turned around to head down the path. The sight before us however stopped us cold in our tracks; Two Death Eaters.
"Going somewhere are we?" the black haired woman cried, "How rude of her not to invite us in, isn't it Rosalie?" she turned to the blonde haired woman beside her with a mock pout on her face.
"Yes, quite right, Bella. I think we should stay, at least for awhile." The one called Rosalie continued, "After all, we don't want to have come all this way for nothing."
"Get out, Death Eater filth!" Fred cried, stepping in front of me protectively.
"Oh look who is calling who filth!" Bella cried laughing cruelly, "Blood traitors the lot of you!"
"On that note, I don't think we should stay here any longer, lest we get contaminated by them." Rosalie commented to Bella.
"Good point. Let's just take her then!" Bella pointed her wand at Fred. "Expelliarmus!" she shouted, before Fred could move out of the way, he was hit with the spell, causing him to fly off to the side and hit the ground with a sickening crunch. I had no time to see if he was alright as George shouted at me to draw my wand as he stood in front of me in place of his brother. Fear coursed through me like nothing I had ever experienced before as I stood behind George clutching my wand. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a man come out from behind a bush and kneel down beside Fred; soon he was sitting up looking alert. I shot my eyes back to the two Death Eaters lest they suspect something was amiss. George suddenly ran forward.
"Impedimenta!" he shot his spell at Rosalie who dodged it neatly and responded with spell which hit its target.
"Stupefy!" George fell to the ground.
"No! George!" I cried, on the verge of tears, this day was definitely not going well.
"No need to fret my dear," Bella said scathingly, "he's out of the way for now. You are who we want." The two women stepped menacingly closer both pointing their wands at me.
"W-Why do you want me?" I asked, desperately trying to keep the nervousness out of my voice and the shake out of my hand as I pointed my wand at them in return.
"Just because we don't like your parents." Rosalie replied, "They cause us too much trouble and now they must be punished. We will bring you alive to the Dark Lord so that he may teach you a lesson for your parents' impertinence!" They raised their wands to cast a spell.
"Stupefy!" they both shouted and before I could react I felt someone run into me from the side and push me to the ground. I was shocked to find such an attractive man lying on top of me as the spells whizzed past our heads. He grinned at me winningly, his straight white teeth adding to his considerable charm.
"Just lay low! I'll be back in a moment!" and with that he got up and ran towards the two women shooting spells left right and centre. There was no doubting it, as I watched him nimbly dodge the Death Eater's spells, he was an expert duellist. I bit back a grin as I watched him. He really was an attractive man, I thought vaguely, I wonder who he is. Suddenly Bella's voice could be heard over the commotion.
"We will get you next time! Mark my words!" she shrieked before she and Rosalie apparated. The man, who just saved my life, ran to George and revived him before coming over to me.
"Are you alright?" he asked, offering his hand to me so I could stand up.
"Y-Yes, I think so." I managed to reply as I ran a hand through my hair, removing all the little sticks and leaves that had managed to lodge in there when I hit the floor.
"Oh, I do apologize about pushing you to the floor, however it was a matter of life and death and I'm sure you don't mind, if it meant saving your life." He grinned at me with that same disarming smile. All I could remember of the moment was the heavy weight of this tantalizing stranger on top of me for those brief few seconds.
"Ah I am glad you are alright Vanessa." interjected Fred as he joined us alongside George.
"Fred! George! Thank you so much for protecting me!" I cried as I threw my arms around them in a tight hug.
"It was nothing, I assure you." Fred boasted, "Give me a Death Eater any day of the week!" the man next to me snorted.
"Yeah, if getting knocked out after one spell counts as a proper duel well then you're a master!" he remarked dryly. Before Fred could respond I interrupted.
"Speaking of being a master!" I gushed, "Never have I seen such moves when duelling and both my parents are Aurors! You really are talented." I smiled at him, a smile which he returned graciously. He stuck out his hand to me in greeting,
"Pardon me; I do not think I have introduced myself. My name is Sirius Black." I clasped his hand warmly, "I do believe you will be residing at my home for a period of time am I right? Vanessa Ravensdale?" I nodded in response.
"You know my name?" I asked curiously, "How?"
"Dumbledore took the liberty of informing me of your imminent arrival and instructed me to meet you here. I didn't actually think Death Eaters would attack so soon. However, lucky thing I was here then."
"Who were those women? I wasn't aware You-Know-Who had female Death Eaters." He nodded gravely.
"Yes, he does, only two however and they happen to be his most powerful. Ranked number one and two from what we have gathered from our intelligence. Bellatrix Lestrange and Rosalie Malfoy."
"Do you know any of them? I mean did you go to school with them, they look to be about your age?" I pressed, even more curiously, not even realizing I was still holding his hand.
"Yes, I know them. Bellatrix before she married was Bellatrix Black." He let that sink in a moment as I gasped with shock.
"Yes, Vanessa, she is my ever-so-crazy cousin." I laughed at his nonchalant tone; he made it sound like it was an everyday occurrence to have a crazy cousin who was a Death Eater. "Anyway enough about Death Eaters, let's get you to the safety of my home." Still holding my hand, he wrapped his other arm around me ready for apparition.
"Sirius, you can let go of her you know." Fred commented with a knowing smirk on his face.
"Yes, I'm sure she won't fall apart without you." George added. Sirius seemed to take whatever hint they were dropping and made to move his arm off me.
"I do apologise, Vanessa." He said humbly, "Your boyfriends don't seem to approve of me helping you. They are getting very jealous." I stopped my self from laughing as he removed his arm from my shoulders. He was taking the boys too seriously.
"They aren't my boyfriends, Sirius." I replied hurriedly, "Besides I think I need a little support, don't you? I did have a very nasty shock today."
"Of course." He said easily, placing his arm back around me. He turned his head back to Fred and George and smirked. A smirk which obviously said, 'She wants me and not you'. They just rolled their eyes and exchanged a glance; both wondering what was my motive in wanting Sirius to continue holding me. They thought nothing more on it as we all apparated outside Twelve Grimmauld Place. It was an old building that seemed to be hidden in a manner that if you weren't looking for it you would probably miss it.
"An Unplottable Charm." Sirius whispered in my ear, "My family was very paranoid in their day." The warm sensation of his breath on my neck still lingering with me as he smiled then led me inside.