Six years earlier
"I'm telling you Septimus, you have no evidence to back up this theory."
"It's my idea of the origin of magical power; it does not need to make sense Audrey." Septimus Lowell was juggling one of the singing shrunken heads from his septet which was laughing manically. Audrey watched it complete a few cycles before placing the essays in two envelopes to send to the Research Society for evaluation for funding. "Besides, I'm not going to cater to Cavan Toft's whims for funding. He claimed credit for my work once; he'll never get that chance again."
Audrey nodded as she placed a sealing wax on the envelope and pressed the Septenary insignia on the desk into the wax. The runic symbol for seven surrounded by a laurel plant dried easily and Audrey placed both envelopes in her bag; she would send Hermes with them when she returned home. "I guess I'm not the only one who decided to fabricate?"
Septimus laughed heartily, "You learned that skill quickly."
Audrey went to the door of the office to check on her girls who were playing in the main part of the store, under their godmother's careful attention. It took her breath away sometimes. Both of her daughters looked like her for the most part, Lucy had her eyes. Audrey smiled at her girls who waved at her and returned to their game.
"That's called a phoenix fire Lucy; it's a good hand that means you win immediately." Molly explained to her sister who had showed her sister her hand in confusion. It was a card game Molly was trying to teach her. Cappie had taught it to Molly but had left out the gambling aspect for now. Audrey was pretty proud of how Cappie had turned out, he was working as Celeste Scully's right hand as a Diagon Enforcer and was occasionally called out by the Ministry to use his superior aim to take down dangerous criminals. He had married Serena Scoresby and they had a little boy. Though, both he and Serena had their dealings with the other side of the law, it was not anything particularly bad, that Audrey knew about anyway.
"So," Septimus began, his voice a conspiratorial whisper, "have you heard of anything of interest lately?"
"If you are asking if I have heard anything new about Silvern, then the answer is no. Not since he cornered me in the Leaky Cauldron to ask me to join his legion of mindless buffoons."
Septimus chuckled, "Did you remind him you married a pureblood, I'm sure he'll stop trying to get you to the meetings if you mention that. Just make sure I'm nearby, I want to see face and put it in my Pensieve."
"I'm not going to bring that up; Silvern only wants me in because he has heard about my being a smalltime rabble rouser during the war, said something about becoming a symbol of the cause or something of that sort, though he seems to do that to every muggleborn he wants under his thumb."
"Even without you obligations you'd be too smart for his lot."
Audrey smiled, "That's nice of you to say, but I'm still not going to bring that up next time he corners me."
Septimus sighed, "Well, it's a card to play if he starts getting really annoying."
"I need to run to the Wheeze for a few minutes, feel able to hold down the fort that long?"
Septimus looked insulted, "I've been running this place before you were even being thought about on my own. A few mere minutes will not bring the place burning to the ground."
"Just thought I'd ask. Girls, I'm going to your uncle's for a few minutes, want to come?"
Lucy made a face of complete disgust as Molly leapt to her feet and went for the door. "I want to!"
"That's fine, Lucy, behave until I get back."
Lucy nodded and as the shop door closed behind them, Gramps told Lucy he would be upstairs looking for something if she needed anything.
Seeing as Gramps had gone upstairs to browse through some old items he had in storage, Lucy was left alone downstairs to her own devices. This action usually meant finding something to read, in a bookshop that was not known for stocking children's literature. As a result, Lucy would go find something in Gramps personal library in his office. These books were formal, factual, and far thicker than anything Lucy would ever be able to find in the children's sections at other bookstores that other shop clerks seemed to intent on selling to her. Lucy found children's non-fiction to be to… cheery, even while presenting information on the most tragic of events. Skirting the details as it were.
She slipped quietly into the office with a slight grin and soft gentle steps, Lucy never made much noise when she moved she skulked about like a cat on the hunt. Gramps would not have a problem with her being in his office, Lucy was in there with him most of the time when she came to visit or be babysat. The office itself was rather messy, books, scrolls, parchment, and a pair of mismatched slippers all over the floor. Lucy carefully stepped over these obtrusive items and proceeded to Gramps desk where she was sure to find something of interest.
Lucy took a seat in the overstuffed chair and examined the books stacked in piles on the desktop, reading the titles on the spines for something of interest, stopping only when she came upon something strange that made her stop and pull a book off the top of the pile.
The book had no title on either the cover or the spine, and seemed to be handmade with is tough leather cover. As Lucy turned it over and examined it before her eyes as she touched it, in place of a title on the front cover, it had a rune of sealing on the cover that bore a strange resemblance to dried blood. It was heavy and smelled old and a bit musty. Lucy had no idea Gramps was into horror novels. She had no idea if he read fiction at all actually. With a smile, Lucy opened the book, hearing the telling crack from the spine that despite the book's age, it was not falling apart. The hair on her arms stood as she began to read the contents.
It was a strange, surreal experience. Lucy felt like she was floating, and the time itself seemed to speed up and slow down at the same time. Everything she read was fascinating, this book contained strong magical spells that seven year old Lucy had never encountered or heard of before. She would silently mouth the words of the spell on the page before her, feeling their power without even saying the words.
She heard a voice, but it was only her in the room. It sounded rough and raspy from lack of use and it made her blood curl and grow cold in shock. "Say it… The spell… You have the power… use it…" A terrible smell began to rise from the book as Lucy found her voice and began to speak.
"Lucy, I have a job for-," Gramps voice sounded very odd and distant, farther than the four feet away from her he actually was. "Put that down!" He tapped his staff on the floor and the chair came up into the air and slammed back to the floor, snapping Lucy out of her trance. And she was able to close the book and put it in her lap as Gramps stormed over looking angrier than Lucy had ever seen him before. He reached out with an open hand; Lucy obeyed this silent order and held out the book only to have it snatched from her hands. "I don't ever want to see you with this book again."
Lucy nodded eyes wide and shaking slightly as she got to her feet and took off out the door of the office, through the shop and into the street. She was scared, Lucy knew Gramps would never hurt her, but his anger only fueled the feelings she had when she finally closed the book and returned it to his hand. A strange sense of fear. For some strange reason, she was unable to remember anything she had read or what she was saying when Gramps walked into the office.
She walked through the crowd of people in the alley, passing a dark haired boy around Molly's age who was talking to a woman who Lucy presumed was his mother. Lucy pressed on, willing the tremble in her knees to cease and steady so that she no longer felt like she would fall over. Maybe she should find mum? No, mum would coddle her and as nice as that would be, it would not help her recover the memory of what she had read in the book. Perhaps it was one of those cursed books that made sure the owner could never remember the contents of it? That had to be it! No wonder Gramps had freaked out about it, Lucy could have read that thing forever if she had finished speaking. She laughed, attracting the attention of a couple of passersby who moved on with a shrug.
Feeling her knees were no longer likely to give way beneath her, Lucy turned to walk back to the Septenary, her hands stuffed in the pockets of her robes.
There were screams from farther up the alley, flashes of light and people shouting curses as a herd of people came running in Lucy's direction. Lucy tensed, panicked and ran with the crowd deeper into the alley as multicolored spells went off behind her. She was jostled and nearly knocked over by the adults who were trying to get to safety. One woman knocked Lucy against a shop wall so hard she would later notice the blue and green bruising on her shoulder and back. Lucy stopped against the wall and looked at her surroundings as she crouched behind a crate of newt eyes.
There were people in black robes who were appearing to be the source of the chaos and attacking innocent people. Lucy made herself as small as she could behind the crate as she saw a man in a gold mask casually stroll into the middle of the conflict like there was nothing unusual going on and casually stand there and defend himself against attacks that strayed in his direction. Lucy trembled in terror and moved back into a small alleyway between the shops behind her and ducked behind a rubbish bin, peering out with a morbid curiosity of what was happening and to make sure nothing caught her unaware.
The man in the gold mask had finally joined the fight, hitting the boy Lucy had seen earlier with a jet of green light causing him to crumple to the ground and move no more, his mother screamed his name "Jack!" and ran to the body sobbing before the man leveled his wand and killed her as well. He turned his head towards the alley where Lucy was hiding behind the rubbish bin. Lucy pressed herself against the wall numbly, her heart beating rapidly in her chest.
She remained there until the noise had ceased and her mum found her an hour later.
"Molly, stay here with your uncle!" Audrey shoved her daughter into George's arms and took off out the door leaving her brother in law calling out after her as she took off into the chaos. Knocking a black clad woman into the shield charm behind her that gave her a nasty shock and caused her to fall to the ground unconscious. Audrey rushed over to the person holding up the street wide charm. "Septimus, where's Lucy?"
"I thought she was –over there you ruddy bastard!- with you." A man was trying to bring down Septimus' shield charm from the other side was thrown back into a rubbish bin.
"I left her with you!"
"She wandered off a few minutes ago, went down towards the other end of the Alley."
Audrey took off at a run down the alley her breathing tense and heart racing. Her child was in this somewhere. She thought this was over with. The only noise that reached her ears through the chaos was the sound of her footsteps on the ground below and her heart hammering its way out of her chest. Audrey ducked around a dueling pair to find herself facing someone she never wanted to see again.
Audrey felt a raw, primal terror rising in her throat, a scream that could not escape. He had not changed in the years since they had last seen each other. His mask was the same one he had worn during the post war Ministry attack that had left Lucia to slowly go blind and sent Audrey and a number of others to the hospital. He had fled afterwards, leaving no one with any possible idea as to his whereabouts.
"It's been a while, how are you Audrey?"
She reached for her wand, not wanting to answer any questions without it in her hand.
"Is that any way to treat an old friend?"
"You're no friend of mine." Audrey snapped, her wand now in her hand, the violence around them failing to reach her ears and eyes as she stared him down. "I really don't think you have any friends left after what you did."
"Many of my friends are outside the old circle. Can you say the same? Or are you still hiding?"
Audrey shifted her feet so she could move easier when they started dueling. Septimus had always put emphasis on unpredictability and footwork when he taught her to duel. Also to be aware of her surroundings, there was more than one way to take an opponent down then with a flashy curse.
There was a large brick a few feet away, a broken board that appeared to have a very sharp point, but those would be very messy…
"Audrey, you know what I'm after, just a little item that is of no use to you or the old man."
"It's long gone, Septimus destroyed as soon as he got the chance."
"You are lying." The trickling sound of water reached Audrey's ears over the roar of the battle around her. She moved her right foot and found it in the middle of a puddle that was flowing down from up the street. Audrey had always had a talent for water based spells…
Audrey moved her arm in an overreaching arch over her head, pulling the water at her feet into the air with a thought, only to drop it as a violet curse flew by her ear causing her to hit the building wall next to her. She rolled out of the way of the next spell the traitor threw her way. Leaping to her feet, Audrey retaliated with a stinging hex and a stunner, before being thrown back into a wall by a wind charm. A bright white light flashed behind her eyes as her head collided with the brick wall, fighting through the pain and the tears in her eyes, Audrey stood and deflected a hex from her former ally.
"Audrey, I really don't want to kill you, I respect you but sometimes, people need to do things that are regrettable." Audrey could practically hear his smile at the words. He stepped forward, "Just tell me everything and I will let you live."
A chill of terror shot through Audrey's spine, images of her husband, daughters and family sped through her mind at light speed. She had to get back to them, she just had to. Audrey Evelyn Weasley would not die here! Act now or die.
A sense of peace overcame her senses, the tension left her body. Audrey would go down fighting; she was at peace with this decision. If she lived or died, she would know she had done her best to bring this monster with her. The girls would be fine; they would be loved and cared for by that large extended family, plenty of people to care for them and give them the love that she would not be able to.
With a flick of her wand, Audrey knocked him back and ran forward for a counter strike, dodging a blue spell he had sent her way and countering with a blasting hex at the wall next to him. He moved out of the way quickly and used another wind charm to blast Audrey away and into a nearby puddle of water causing her to nearly be trampled by people who were clearing the area. He walked forward with intent and purpose in every step, his wand pointed directly at Audrey's heart.
Audrey could hear him talking but she could not make out the words through the rumbling crowd. The only thing Audrey heard was the beginning of one of the world's most feared spells. "Ava-"
She flicked her wand upwards towards the cloudy sky.
The water began to rise.
It froze to a point that appeared incredibly sharp.
The sharpened ice rose through the air faster than Audrey thought possible and severed Nolan Odell's hand from his body. His wand clattered to the ground and he gave a scream that Audrey would not forget as he caressed the stub, he composed himself enough to pry the wand from his severed hand and apparate away.
He had learned something that day. He had learned that Audrey was a far more dangerous opponent that he had given her credit for. He was in no hurry to challenge her again. If he could wipe her off the face of the earth without dueling her directly, it would be far safer than the alternative. No Face now knew that Audrey was no longer the sweet, clever, and angry girl he had betrayed many years ago, she was now a woman who would not hesitate to kill him if he crossed her again.
Though he also had his doubts that Audrey possessed the will to knowingly take someone else's life, no matter the crime. What was worrying was that Audrey had the shown the power needed to commit this act. Though will and ability were two very different things, he was not willing to take that risk again in a hurry.
He only had one hand left.
Author's Note: Yes, you read that right. *evil laugh*
I know this is early, but this has been done for a month. And I decided I may as well get started.