A/N: This is the fourth in the series. Wow! If you want the beginning, check out But You're My Best Friend!
Disclaimer: All characters EXCEPT Esme are © J.K. Rowling.
Midsummer, 1996. Mid-evening. Professor Albus Dumbledore's office.
"But really," Snape said cynically, "you expect me to kill you?"
"Yes," Dumbledore said, nodding almost cheerfully.
"Alright," he said cautiously. "Where's the pot? If you're smoking, you have to share with me."
"I'll pretend I didn't hear that," Dumbledore said jovially. "Now honestly, what is your problem with killing me?"
"Well, you are my boss. Who will sign my pay checks?"
"Think of it as 'becoming your own boss'!"
"Right," he chuckled, but suddenly turned serious. "What about Esme? She'd hate me."
"It's the only way you can protect her," Dumbledore said solemnly.
"What about shipping her off to Slovakia?" Snape asked hopefully. "But seriously, she's already protected by her dear godfather."
"She won't be for long," he shook his head. "What does Tom want from her?"
Snape jumped, slightly shocked from hearing Voldemort's real name. "H-how should I know?" he stuttered. Dumbledore stared at him. "Alright fine. He's hoping she'll join his side a off the whole Weasley clan, plus give him an open path to Potter," he spat out the name.
"But when he finds out she won't do that," Dumbledore said, raising his eyebrows, "Bellatrix will kill her."
"Yeah, she's pretty mad about the bite marks. They've yet to fade."
"So?" he prompted.
"Fine!" he snapped. "I'll kill you to protect the stupid bitch and her family."
"A year ago you were in love with her!"
"Still am," he muttered. "Stupid bitch."
The Burrow. A bit later.
"Well, I was sleeping really peacefully last night," Esme began, "and suddenly I have this horrible sensation that I'm being stabbed billions of times by fiery hot pitchforks from Hell. So to answer your question, Ginny, that would be why I woke up screaming last night."
"Oh, I figured it had something to do with the constant sex you two are having," Ginny muttered below her breath, so her mother couldn't hear.
"Wonderful story, Esme," Tonks said bleakly. She'd arrived at the Burrow a few days earlier and had done nothing but sit around moping and refusing to tell anyone what was wrong.
"Why thank you. Now you shall regale us with the tale of why you are so sad and mopey. Did your puppy die? Were you mugged? Did someone put a permanent natural-color spell on your hair?" Esme asked unsympathetically. In her mind, bleakness wasn't to be tolerated.
"Be nice, Esme," Molly said from her place by the stove. "She's depressed."
"Pfft. I wasn't nice to Sirius when he was depressed."
"Yeah, but that's the thing about being married to you," Sirius said, snaking an arm around her shoulders. "You've either got to toughen up, or kill yourself. And I'm too damn lazy to kill myself. Now tell us what's wrong, baby cousin."
"Well, it's just," Tonks sighed deeply, "Remus."
"Le gasp!" Esme shrieked.
"He snogged me for hours at the reception. I thought there was really something between us, but he said that we could never be together because he was a werewolf and he was nearly fifteen years older than me." She stifled a sob, "I don't care if he's a werewolf! I love him because he's gentle, and sweet, and he doesn't stare at my boobs or my hair…"
"You've met this guy what, all of four times?" Esme tilted an eyebrow.
"And one of those times he was really drunk," Sirius added, looking disturbed.
"I thought you two were supportive of me dating Remus!"
"That was before he went off to live in a werewolf coven," Esme said simply.
"I can't believe you! Esme, you're supposed to be my friend!"
"That doesn't mean I have to support you in every choice you make!"
"You're one to talk, you married a convict!"
"GET OUT!" Esme cried. Tonks turned on her heel and stormed out of the kitchen, leaving Sirius, Molly, and Ginny quite pale. Esme sat down shaking, and the room was silent.
The quiet did not last. It was no more than five minutes later when Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour burst through the front door and into the room.
"Bill!" Molly gasped. "You can't just come bursting in here like that! You have to prove it's you. Now, what was your nickname for your broomstick when you were younger?"
"Mum, do I really have to do this?"
"Fine," he glanced at the floor and muttered, "Powerstick." Fleur giggled from behind her hand. "You won't need to ask her then. She's with me."
"Oh really?" Esme smirked.
"Yes. Mum, Ginny, Esme, Sirius: Fleur and I are getting married." The glass Ginny was holding slipped from her hand and crashed to the floor. Everyone stared, their mouths agape. "I know it's quick…"
"I didn't even know you were dating," Esme said faintly.
"I thought it would be best that Fleur live with you for awhile, you know, to get acquainted with the family. I've actually got to leave for work later this afternoon."
"I think this is all the proof that we need that he's not a Death Eater," Ginny said softly. "Only Bill would do something this crazy."
"You know," Esme said, keeping her eyes on her mother, "when life turns into a soap opera, it's time to bloody LEAVE!"
"So, how exactly is this assisting to the Order?" Sirius said curiously, as Esme aimed a needle at his eyebrow.
"Through subtle rebellion, you fight against The Man!" Esme said, shaking the needle dangerously close to Sirius' eye. "Also it's the most fighting Dumbledore will let us do."
"Have you ever thought that maybe he didn't want to preserve our lives, and that he really just thinks were really crappy fighters?"
"Please, if he thinks that, then I totally showed him while in the apartment of mysteries."
"The Department of Mysteries was where we were fighting. And honestly, you're proving my theory right."
"I think he just fears our power. Our power of incompetence."
"What are you two doing?" Molly had padded downstairs after hearing their voices. Her eyes darted from the needle poised precariously above Sirius' eye to his already bleeding earlobe and lip.
"I'm piercing Sirius's eyebrow as a way to stick it to The Man." Molly stared at her daughter.
"Who, may I ask, is this man?"
"…Voldemort. You know, I was doing a little math earlier, and I discovered that he owes me forty-seven thousand galleons worth of gifts for all of my missed birthdays and Christmases. Stop laughing or I'll run this fucking needle through your eye!"
"I'm sorry. Actually, I'm really not."
"Why are you doing this so early in the morning?" Molly said, exasperated.
"We didn't want others to be around to disturb us."
"I see. Well, you didn't quite pick the best day to do two a.m. eyebrow piercings; Harry's supposed to arrive soon!"
"Harry?" Esme asked curiously, as though she'd never heard of him.
"Your biological half-brother." Molly said, her eyebrows pushing together. No response. "The boy whose shoulders carry the weight of the world." Still no response.
"Short, scrawny kid with glasses. Angsts a lot," Sirius said simply, eyeing the needle.
"Oh, that Harry." Conveniently, there came a knocking at the door. "I'll get it!" She trotted over to the door. "Who's there?"
"It is I, Albus Dumbledore, bringing Harry Potter to your humble abode!"
"Ah, hello Sir! Come right in." She welcomed them into the house with a sweep of her hand.
"Hello Esme," Harry said smiling. Then his eyes caught the large needle, brow ring, lemon, and a lot of slowly melting ice. "What are you doing?"
"I'm piercing Sirius's eyebrow as a way to stick it to The Man!"
"Excellent work, Esmeralda! Question authority!" Dumbledore praised.
"Damn straight. Harry, I didn't even know you were coming!"
"She also couldn't quite remember who you were," Sirius quipped.
"Well, I lost a few brain cells after being kicked upside the head by Bellatrix."
"That was quite possibly the greatest way to end the year," Harry said, grinning at his half-sister.
"This year I'm thinking of lighting something, or someone, on fire."
"How are you still allowing her to teach?" Molly hissed to Dumbledore.
"Oh, well, everyone needs a little comic relief every now and then."