For the Drabble Game Challenge (JohnAmelia, "Let's run away together.", requested by Bex) and the Friends Competition (TOW The Fertility Test: Write a tragedy)


"Amelia, please."

Amelia closes her eyes. It's so rare for John to actually call her by her proper name. No annoyingly sweet Milly, no darling. Amelia.

She shakes her head. "John, you're asking me to be a coward."

"I'm asking you to live!" he snaps, his voice cracking with the weight of his emotions. "You know he's going to come for you. I have family in America. They will keep you safe."

She almost laughs. Safe. The world is hardly safe anymore. Running away and hiding might protect her, but it won't protect the rest of the wizarding world. With Cornelius nearing his official resignation, someone will have to step in. Amelia knows that she's the current favorite, that her record has proven that she will take a firm stance and oppose You-Know-Who at any opportunity.

But she also knows that these whispers that she will take his place have placed a target on her back. Lucius Malfoy's arrest has proven that even the Ministry houses enemies, that You-Know-Who has agents everywhere. How long will take for that bloodthirsty creature to learn that she is most likely to become Minister? Amelia would bet that he's already planning her murder.

"And would you come with me?" she asks dryly.

"All you'd have to do is ask," John answers without hesitation. "Let's run away together, Milly. Start a new life away from this mess."

She wishes that his offer wasn't so tempting. Amelia can imagine it so clearly in her head. They could have a life together, far away from constant pain and fear that Great Britain has become. It would be such a beautiful life, a perfect life with him at her side.

But she knows that it is a foolish dream. As long as war threatens to break out, she will stay. They need all the help they can get to fight You-Know-Who.

"John," she whispers.

He presses a kiss to her lips, tears falling from his eyes and dancing across her skin. In that kiss, she knows that he knows her answer. The risk is too great, and she has more to think about than herself.

"I wish you'd change your mind," he murmurs, pressing a second kiss to her forehead.

"I know."

"You don't have to walk me home, John," she tells him, though she knows it's no use.

They've already had this conversation at the Ministry. John insisted that, as an Auror, it is his duty to see her safely home. Amelia supposes it isn't so bad. After all, he'd walk with her even if her life wasn't in danger.

She invites him in and pours them a drink.

"I take it you haven't changed your mind," he says dryly.

Amelia shakes her head, a small frown tugging at her lips. She wishes she could. Once again, that temptation to leave all her troubles behind and run away is so strong that she almost gives in.

But she has a duty to fulfill. Even if she doesn't become Minister, she still runs the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. What example would she set by running off whenever the world turns too cold? She knows that she is stronger than that.

"Milly-"

Amelia finishes off her glass of wine and sets it to the side. She closes the distance between them, silencing his protest with a kiss.

If he keeps talking, if he keeps pleading, she doesn't know if she can trust herself to stay strong.

"I could stay the night," he says as she walks him to the door.

She smiles, closing her house coat around her body. "As much as I would like a round two… and three," she says before placing a kiss to his jaw, "I have paperwork to go over tonight. I'm sorry to say that you are quite a distraction, Dawlish."

With a snort, her boyfriend rolls his eye. He brushes a hand through her short hair. "Oddly enough, you've never complained about being distracted before," he teases.

"And it's not a complaint now. Just a fact."

They linger at the door for several moments. Truthfully, Amelia would love to have him stay over. She's always enjoyed his company.

"I'll see you in the morning, boss," he says, pressing one last kiss to her lips.

"Bright and early, Dawlish," she says sternly, but smile on her lips betrays her. "I have a few things I'd like to discuss with you before anyone else gets there."

With knowing smile, John offers her a mock salute. "Looking forward to it, ma'am."

Even without John there, Amelia finds it hard to focus on her paperwork. Her eyes drift and wander, and she often finds herself reading the same line multiple times.

She pulls out her wand, casting another protective charm just in case. She's played it off nicely, putting on a brave face for John, but, truthfully, she is afraid. It's only a matter of time.

Eyes heavy and mind exhausted, she puts the quill away and decides that she'll save the paperwork for the office in the morning. Sleep is calling, and she can't resist it much longer.

A noise startles her awake. She bolts upright, grabbing her wand, fighting the fog in her brain.

"Lumos."

She immediately wishes that she didn't cast the spell. Her wand illuminates, casting light on a pale figure that she recognizes instantly. Maybe Amelia should be flattered. It's her understanding that You-Know-Who rarely makes an appearance. She had assumed it would be one of his followers who called upon her when the time came.

"Amelia Bones," he hisses, caressing his wand. "Quite a promotion you're in store for."

Amelia holds tightly to her wand. She wonders if she has a chance. "Stu-"

"Expelliarmus!"

Her wand flies from her hand, and her last flicker of hope fades.

"We don't have to be enemies," he continues. "I have heard about you. You could prove quite useful."

She can hardly believe what she's hearing. You-Know-Who has the audacity to try and recruit her? "I'd rather die," she says darkly.

He laughs, a chilling sound that sends a shiver down her spine. "So bold," he says. "But where will that courage get you, Amelia? Are you really so eager to see your brother again?"

She keeps her head held high, though her heart races painfully in her chest. In the back of her mind, she hears John's voice in her head. Let's run away together.

She takes a deep, trembling breath. John. At least she sent him away for the night. At least she knows that he will be safe. It makes it a little easier to be brave.

"I've given you my answer quite clearly," she says.

Another laugh. He points his wand at her. "So be it."

The flash of green is the last thing she sees.