A/N: You all know the disclaimer song and dance so I'll spare you. This is going to be a short series of one-shots, so if you like it, feel free to alert it since there'll be more coming this way. Anyhow, there's a number of characters who seem like they should have been in the First Order of the Phoenix but weren't, for reasons never given. I just happen to have reasons in my head for a few...
The Order came calling on Amelia Bones in the form of her brother Edgar, and before he could even ask her to join she told him no.
She didn't ask him in, not even for a morning tea. She cinched her robe tighter over her nightgown and squinted her weak eye as she looked up at him. Once she could look down at the crown of Edgar's head, but that was many decades behind them and the crown of his head was bald.
"What do you mean, 'no'? Not so much as a good morning? You haven't even heard me out," said Edgar, his chin wobbling with surprise.
"I won't, Ned," said Amelia, using his boyhood nickname. "Don't make me Silence you, because I will-"
He tossed his head in annoyance, a gesture that'd been far more effective when he'd had hair, and raised his voice. "This isn't a time to be bull-headed, we could use you-"
The tip of Amelia's wand jutted into his ribcage and his words fizzled into a sharp exhale. "Of course you could use me," she said. "Now as your sister, I advise you not to elaborate on your 'we' any farther with senior personnel of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, because if you were to admit or even suggest any entanglement with the supposed 'Order of the Phoenix' I would have to have you at least indicted, possibly arrested, and certainly fired."
Edgar's mouth moved wordlessly for a moment, trying on shapes until it found something functional. "Come again?" he said carefully, his gold tooth glinting in the dawn light.
"You know our position on all Phoenix-related activity," said Amelia, wand hand and lips holding steady. "The British Ministry will not condone vigilantism- let me finish, Edgar," she said tautly, "and while not forbidden, neither do we approve of secret societies. You must recall the disaster with the Bang-Up Brotherhood of Weathering Warlocks, your office had quite the clean-up with all the Assyrian contraband in their possession-"
"That was a devil of a thing but it's hardly comparable," said Edgar. "The worst danger the warlocks faced was combusting from their hexed hookah, which I'd give a thumb and forefinger to get the Death Eaters to partake in. That'd save us a good deal of fuss, but 'Melia, they are not the grand old sort of secret society. And, speaking in only the most general of senses o'course, your judgeship, the Phoenix is an Order, not a bleedin' society. More like a big lovely neighborhood watch, eh?"
"And what neighbors are these that have appointed them guardians?"
He furrowed his brow in surprise. "Well- only our- themselves, but that's hardly-"
"No one has duly elected them. We have Aurors. Trained, certified trustworthy men and women to confront threats on the level you're suggesting. We have a Hit Patrol, Obliviators, we have a Werewolf Capture Squad-"
"And we can't trust them," said Edgar, so harshly Amelia took a sharp breath. "They're subverting the ranks, they hardly need infiltrate the bureaucracy when it's already under the wand tips of the Lestranges-"
"Need I remind you that I am the bureaucracy?" said Amelia in a soft voice that cut his legs out from under him.
Edgar wobbled. "Part of the bureaucracy- "
"And still. Do you see Rigel Lestrange or one of those sons of his standing over my shoulder? Hmm? No? Or perhaps Abraxas Malfoy?" Her imperious glare, perfected down to the half-turn of the head, would have been much more effective if she had her monocle in. She fished hopefully but vainly into her robe pocket for it.
"'Melia," said Edgar, sadly. "You are beyond reproach, it's the rest-"
"No one is beyond reproach," said Amelia, jabbing him again with her wand. He backed up and nearly lost his balance as he accidentally went down a step. "No one is above the law. Not me, not you, not the Lestranges and Malfoys no matter how much money they line in government pockets, not You-Know-Who-"
Edgar flushed at once, snapping, "Can't you say his name? Is he so terri-"
"Oh, not him," said Amelia, rolling her eyes and her whole head gesturing with them. "I was referring to your man. Wherever there's an Order there's an orderer, is there not?"
"He's the best of men," said Edgar, proudly. "You know him. You're fond of him- you are, 'Melia, and you can be so difficult in approving of people. And you know Dumb- 'Melia!"
Edgar had to stick his arm in the door to keep it from closing on him. The wood hit hard.
"Perhaps if I do approve of this orderer, if not his actions, I'd rather not arrest him either," came Amelia's voice from behind the door. "And if you are attempting to propose what I am quite confident you are attempting to propose, it should be made cleared to you once and for all that I will not engage in any way, shape or form in activity that would ethically bind me to put out a warrant for my own arrest."
"The government isn't doing enough-"
"We're pouring everything we have into this fight- against men who wear masks, against people used against their will- we're trying- now if these Phoenixes would deign to come into my office, or even yours, and begin the process of filing permits towards a sort of citizen's protection-"
"And in the meantime how many children's grandparents are murdered in their homes!"
He sounded inflamed and a little bit broken behind the fire. She slid the door back all the way open. "Don't make this about Mum and Dad-"
"He killed them!" She thought perhaps she should reconsider letting him in from the porch. Any louder and the Muggle neighbors would have the bobbies out to sort the trouble.
Amelia Bones stayed collected. She was good at that. "We can't prove it."
"Take his wand and we'll see about proof-"
"Oh? I don't believe this Order you're so keen on is faring any better in seizing the so-tilted Lord Voldemort."
Edgar shook his head for a moment, raising his hand to his temple and stalking her porch step. "…I can't understand you. You're far from a coward. Why won't-"
"As your sister, I'm asking you to leave choosing my battles to my own judgment," said Amelia, and pursed her lips solemnly. "As I leave yours to your own. As long as you kindly refrain from telling me about it."
He drank that in, and nodded. "I appreciate that… but if you would only hear me out-"
"Edgar. We're not discussing this."
She looked at him and saw the baby brother who'd briefly been exactly half her size and easy to knock over with one good shove, who'd left Filibusters Fireworks in her Hogwarts trunk because he was so furious she was leaving him behind. Their arguments had been petty things then even when they ended in tears, forgotten as soon as teeth marks faded off each other's arms.
She wished she could give his thick brown hair a good ruffle, the way she'd always set him straight, but it was gone, shaved since it grew in only thin and in spots these days and left barely enough for a stringy comb-over that Edgar's dignity couldn't stomach. The sideburns he kept as some misguided point of pride made him look like a man of the last century, like their grandfather Bones who everyone said Amelia took after, both in her hatchet of a mind and, unfortunately, hatchet of a face. She put a hand to her hair, thinking of the strands of steel slipping in, and wondered when they'd become the older adults, responsible for running countries and averting wars.
"My tea's getting cold," she said. "I'll see you at work on Monday."
His shoulder sagged and all Amelia could think, desperately, was that he looked so old, and nearing fifty wasn't old, oh no, certainly not for a wizard. It was hard times doing this to him, hard times all around, but really what was he thinking, a grown-up man and Ministry officer, with little ones at home. She was sorry. She was doing all she could but she couldn't do what he asked of her. It went against everything she believed in and lived by, what she spent her days building up and keeping from crashing down.
"I suppose you will," said Edgar at last, looking dazed. He was smart, her brother, always had been a whip-smart boy, but could talk circles around him still.
She lowered her wand, and with a nudge from her foot, opened the door a crack more. "Promise me," she said sternly, summoning every drop of iron in her blood till it rang cold in her voice, "that you shall not involve Timon in this."
Edgar's lips turned up a little at the name of their youngest brother, nice-looking and a little silly, married a few years now and just beginning to try for children even in the midst of everything. Timon was even throwing around names, perhaps Edmund seeing as Edgar had named one of his Timothy, or Susan after Amelia Susan. Sometimes Timon seemed half a century younger, not half a decade. He certainly had the gumption to join the fight but Edgar felt better about everything with his little brother safe on the sidelines. He thought, with a sting, his poor sister probably thought the same of him. "No," he agreed quietly, "no, not Timon." He cleared his throat, which felt rather thick. "Shall I tell Polly and the nippers you sent your love?"
"Please do," said Amelia, "and kisses as well." She watched her brother turn away, back to the Order she did her best to turn a blind eye to, towards battles she couldn't officially condone and duels that could be the death of him. She was very angry at him, if she was honest with herself.
Though if she was being honest, she was a bit proud of him too. She felt the temptation to holler it after him and almost let the words fly, but didn't, quite. Some few years later and in time to come, Amelia would wish she'd called out to him, but now she simply sighed and shook her head.
And shut her door against her brother's back and the morning's bold light.
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Next up: Marlene McKinnon and Dirk Cresswell