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Remus sauntered into the kitchen and raised an eyebrow at the sight of Peter dreamily wiping a plate at the sink, apparently completely oblivious of the fact that it was already immaculately clean. He sat down quietly in one of the chairs and watched, his elbow resting on the table and his chin cupped in his hand.

When Peter eventually noticed him he started and the plate slipped from his hand and smashed in the sink. 'Bloody hell Moony. Make some noise would you?'

'Sorry.' He couldn't hide the faintest hint of amusement. 'Didn't want to interrupt what looked like a moment of deep thought.'

Peter scowled. 'Lily always says doing chores the muggle way helps her think. Thought I'd try it.'

Remus lifted his head and allowed his arm to fall to the table. His fingertips drummed briefly, and he looked at his friend's serious expression. 'Want to tell me about it?'

Peter looked at him nervously and took a tentative step towards the table. 'You won't tell Sirius?'

Remus hesitated a little at that, but shook his head slowly. 'Not if you don't want me to.'

Peter dropped into a seat and let his head fall back, his eyes tracing the swirling pattern in the artex on the ceiling. 'I'm thinking of moving out.'

'And you think Sirius will…?'

'Be angry about it.' Peter lowered his head to look at him. 'He wanted…he wanted to keep us all together, like we were at school. That was the whole point of getting a house, so that we could all stick together. He was so pissed at James for getting engaged.'

'You think he's going to be pissed at you too.' It wasn't a question. Remus was well aware that Peter was probably right. Sirius had always been possessive of his friends, had always wanted to shepherd them along, keep them all together. It was why he was still, somewhere in the bottom of his soul, angry about James and Lily, despite the fact that he loved them both and wanted them to be happy. Sirius had more to lose than any of them in a sense, because they were all he had. Remus sometimes wondered if that was what forged the connection between him and Marlene; that they were both adrift and on their own, no matter how hard the Potters – all three Potters and one future Potter, in fact – tried to be there for them.

'You know I've taken that job at the Leaky.' Peter had gone back to staring at the ceiling. 'There's room and board included if I want it, and Dumbledore thinks that it would be even better for the Order for me to live there, rather than just work. More immersed, like.'

Remus nodded. 'It's logical enough.'

'But Padfoot…' Peter trailed off. 'I don't want to fuck with our friendships for the sake of doing a slightly better job of keeping an eye on Diagon Alley. You saw how mad he was at James, and he's closer to James than either of us. He might never forgive me.'

'Don't be stupid.' Remus spoke sharply. Peter's insecurities were never far from the surface, for all he did a better job hiding them these days. There would probably always be a part of him that was the chubby eleven year old that couldn't understand why the other wanted to be friends, and if anyone could understand that, it was Remus because Merlin knew he still didn't know why they wanted to be friends with him.

'Padfoot might get mad, he might not, but you shouldn't be afraid that he'll be so mad with you that he wouldn't forgive you. We're friends, and we've all screwed up, and we've always forgiven each other. I mean, what could you do that would be so bad he couldn't forgive you? Certainly not moving out, something which he knew was going to happen at some point. We weren't going to share a house together forever after all.'

'I think he was hoping.' Peter rapped his knuckles on the table before standing up and heading for the door. 'Thanks Moony. I'll talk to Dumbledore again and take it from there.'

'If you want a bit of advice,' Remus called after him, 'I'd tell Sirius soon, before you've actually agreed to anything. He'll get over it quicker if he's included in the decision.'

Peter nodded once in acknowledgment before he left the room, and Remus was left to himself. He dug through the cupboard until he found coffee - thank you, Lily - and was in the middle of making some when his eye was drawn to the pile of letters on the table, his attention caught by his name in a familiar looping script on one of them.

He picked up the creamy envelope and turned it over and over in his hands. His mind ran over dozens of conversations he'd had with his friends, including the one he'd just had with Pete, and before he'd really realised what he was doing he'd abandoned his coffee and was heading for the door, not even bothering to grab his cloak as he left.

He apparated too quickly, and his head spun as he landed near a small clump of trees in a park. He leaned against the trunk of one of them for a minute until he regained his composure, and then he strode off towards a street of neat little houses.

Number twelve didn't look much different to any of the others, and its pretty garden and neat driveway should have made it friendly rather than intimidating...but the thought of what - or rather who - was in there was enough to have his palms sweating.

He rapped quickly on the door and waited; it opened after only a moment, and the instant she recognised him Julia offered a beaming smile, hair falling from her messy bun and framing her face with shimmering blonde. Not for the first time, he wondered if there was any veela in her family.

'Remus! I wasn't expecting you. Come on in, but you'll have to watch me pack I'm afraid; I'm off in the morning. Three months in France!'

Remus followed her in to where several stacks of books were scattered over the dining table. 'You sound excited.'

'I am mostly.' She didn't turn back to face him as she spoke, simply continued with organising her things. 'As long as I don't give too much thought to being in a foreign country where I don't know anyone and don't speak the language brilliantly, I'm very excited.'

'You'll be fine.' Remus' voice sounded confident, but then it would do wouldn't it? He had every confidence in her. 'Of course you will. You're beautiful, and you're brilliantly clever, but most importantly you're a wonderful person, and they'll love you.'

She did turn at that, one hand holding a book over her heart. 'Remus...I...thank you.'

'I should have told you that before. I should have told you how much I...how much I like you, but I couldn't.'

'Why not?' She took a small step towards him. 'Why not, Remus?'

'Because I...' He took a deep shuddering breath. 'Because it's quite possible that I could feel...more than I already do for you, and I...I can't do that. I'm a werewolf.' He spoke the words almost with a sense of relief. 'I'm a werewolf, and I can't.'

She'd frozen in place at some point, and he nodded in acknowledgment of her shock and implied rejection. 'I just thought you deserved to know. I'd, uh, appreciate it if you could keep it to yourself.'

He turned to go, and was stopped by her whispered, 'Wait.'

He faced her nervously, and she fiddled with the book in her hands. 'It explains a lot actually.'

'It's not...it's not something I tell people.'

'Lily knows.' Julia looked at him steadily. 'Doesn't she? Some things she said to me have just kind of fallen into place.'

'Lily.' He confirmed. 'James, Sirius, Peter. Marlene. Dumbledore and some of the professors. I wouldn't be surprised if a few other people had suspicions, but they're the only ones that I've spoken to about it. And you.'

'I...don't know what to say.'

'In all honesty, I'm surprised that you haven't run away screaming yet.'

'I can't, we're in my house.' She managed a weak laugh at herself as she dropped the book and covered her eyes with one hand. 'You just had to do this right before I leave didn't you?'

'I'm sorry.'

'No, no, it's okay, it's just...I need to process this, and you haven't given me any time to do so.'

He didn't say anything, just felt the guilt and the shame and the rejection burn through him. Julia dropped her hand and regarded him calmly.

'Will you write?'

'What?' He had to mentally shake himself before he could even get that one word out.

'Write to me. While I'm away?'

'If you want me to.'

'I do.' She spoke firmly, then immediately looked hesitant again. 'Can I...ask you questions? About...that?'

He answered slowly, his tone unsure. 'If you have them.'

'I always have questions.' She managed the ghost of a smile for him. 'And I've never knowingly spoken to an actual werewolf before.'

'You've probably never unknowingly spoken to one either, besides me.' Remus answered evenly. 'My kind don't habitually mix well with humans.'

Julia's hand fisted on her hips, her expression turning stern. 'Remus Lupin, don't you dare do that.'

'What?' He asked, baffled at the change in turn.

'Refer to yourself as if you aren't human. You're one of the best people I know.'

He was silent for a moment. 'Thank you, Julia.'

'You're welcome.'

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'Mum?' Lily kicked the door shut behind her. 'Mum?'

'Kitchen!' Her mother's voice drifted down the hallway, and Lily followed the sound. Rose smiled widely at the sight of her younger daughter. 'What brings you here sweetheart?'

'Very important news.' Lily kissed her mother's cheek and stepped around her to help herself to coffee.

'Do enlighten me.' Rose elbowed her aside and refilled her own mug, and Lily dipped a hand in her pocket and handed her mother a small roll of parchment. Rose gave her daughter a strange look and put her mug to free her hands to unfurl it.

'The wedding of James Potter and Lily Evans….1st November 1978….Mould-On-The-Wold?' She read slowly and out loud before she looked up at Lily, her expression incredulous. 'November 1st is less than six weeks away sweetheart.'

'I know mum.' Lily answered calmly. She knew exactly what questions to expect, and she was prepared for all of them she was sure. 'But we don't want to wait. And since we've decided to have a small wedding - close friends and family only - it won't be difficult to organise. And magic has definite advantages when it comes to that anyway.'

She smiled winningly, but Rose's attention was back on the parchment, and the furrow between her eyes was getting deeper. 'Where on earth is Mould-On-The-Wold?'

'Gloucestershire, quite near to Potter Manor. It's a wizarding village, and it's very pretty. It has a lovely hall.'

'Lily, if you have your wedding in a wizarding village at least one of our family will surely realise something is amiss?'

'Another thing I needed to mention.' Lily was fidgeting a little nervously now. 'We're going to have a wizarding ceremony. So only people who know about magic can come...you and Dad, Tuney.'

Rose sat down heavily in one of the kitchen chairs. 'You're going to get married without your family there?'

'Well, I rather hoped you and Dad would come.' Lily joked weakly.

Rose allowed her annoyance to show on her face. 'You're really going to shut your family out of this?'

Lily shifted her weight from one foot to another. 'Well, all of James' family are magic. All of my friends are magic. It would be so difficult for them to keep a pretence of being muggle up, someone would surely slip. And the thing is Mum, that aside from you, Dad and Tuney I barely see the rest of the family. I don't know them. And I'm not willing to push aside people from my world who are important to me so that I can have a muggle wedding and invite all my distant relatives. I'm a witch, that's the world I live in, and I want my wedding to reflect my actual life. I hope you understand.'

'I don't.' Rose answered frankly. 'I don't understand why you don't want a nice, proper wedding...'

'I'm having a proper wedding.' Lily responded, a trace of irritation creeping into her voice, but her mother continued as if she hadn't spoken.

'...Tuney's wedding was so nice...'

'And I'm not Tuney!' Lily actually raised her voice at her mother, and Rose was instantly shocked into silence. She may have had regular rows with Petunia, but she very rarely argued with Lily.

'We don't even live in the same world. And I don't want the same things; I don't want the production, I don't want a roomful of people watching me. I just want to marry James, and have the people I love most with me. And that's you and dad, and Tuney if she'd come, but I know she won't. I don't want to waste any time planning minute details that won't matter, and I certainly don't want to compromise what I want for the benefit of distant family I feel no connection to.'

Rose lifted her hand to stop her daughter's spiel. 'Are you sure this is what you want, and not what James wants?'

Lily caught her breath. 'If you knew him at all, you'd know that he's not capable of that kind of manipulation. And if you had any respect for me, you'd know it wouldn't work anyway.' She slammed her mug down on the counter. 'I'll come back in a day or so to see Dad. I hope you have time to think about whether or not you're coming.'

She left before Rose had recovered enough to call after her.

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'Six weeks Lil.' Alice nibbled on a stick of cucumber. 'You're nothing if not ambitious.'

Lily sighed as she poured juice into glasses and passed them out to her two bridesmaids. 'It's not as bad as it sounds. James has already arranged the hall and the official - I suspect Dorea or Charlus may have pulled some strings there - and he's taking care of the boys' outfits. We've got to do our robes - though I'm thinking dresses instead actually - flowers, food, cake, music. Not all that much really.'

'Reception venue and transport?' Marlene chipped in as she reached for a pumpkin pasty, but Lily shook her head.

'We're having the wedding in one part of the hall, then moving to a reception room in another part. And there are dressing rooms there for us, so we don't have to worry about arriving either.'

Marlene nodded approvingly. 'Sounds nice actually, not to worry about moving everyone from one place to another.'

'The benefits of thinking small.' Lily muttered dryly. 'Knew there must be some.'

Alice gave her a sympathetic look. 'No word from your parents?'

'No.' Lily picked up a carrot baton and nibbled gloomily. 'I thought she'd have written by now. I must have upset her more than I thought.'

Marlene patted her hand sympathetically. 'She'll come round darling. There's no way they'll miss your wedding, and they love James. And Charlus and Dorea.'

'She just doesn't understand.' Lily reached for another nibble. 'I'm more or less estranged from most of my family, just with no ill feeling involved. We have very separate lives, that's all.'

'I'm sure she'll realise that.' Alice assured her. 'Maybe you should talk to her again.'

'I'm going over tomorrow. To see Dad. I'll try and corner her then. Or at least get Dad onside.'

'He'll probably be much more understanding.' Alice said approvingly. 'Men don't really get the whole wedding fuss, so he'll probably be relieved that you don't want to put him through all that again so soon after Petunia.'

'We can hope. I'd really like my dad to walk me down the aisle.' Lily reached for a stack of catalogues. 'Anyway, this isn't getting my wedding planned is it?' She threw a catalogue each at the two girls, and they got down to work.

'Colour scheme first.' Marlene looked expectantly at Lily, who looked lost.

'I...don't know. Not red and gold. I refuse to be a Gryffindor cliche, and besides, it clashes horribly with my hair. I put up with it for seven years at school, but not anymore.'

'Okay, no red or gold.' Marlene leafed through a magazine and then held up a page showing lilac and cream table settings. 'Purple?'

'Nope. Too similar to red. No orange or yellow either.'

'Cool colours then?' Alice suggested. 'Like a pale blue or green?'

'Hmmm.' Lily grabbed a catalogue. 'I saw something earlier...but I wasn't sure...here.' She turned the page towards them so that they could see the dresses she was pointing out. 'I liked the midnight blue, and I thought it was a nice colour for both of you, but I wasn't sure about using it for a wedding though.'

Alice shrugged. 'I like it. And it's your wedding, use any colour you like.'

'Winter wedding too.' Marlene commented as she cast an approving eye over the dresses. 'So darker colours would sit well. Might make flowers difficult though. Though we could charm them blue if needs be.'

'I was thinking cream actually.' Lily offered. 'Since I'm going to have a cream dress. Blue and cream?'

Marlene drummed her fingertips on the table. 'The boys could wear dark blue too, it's a good colour for everyone.'

'Sounds good to me.' Alice sat back in her chair. 'These are muggle dresses though Lil, did you want robes?'

'No, actually I was hoping to have us in muggle dresses.' Lily turned the pages quickly. 'And the boys in suits.' She passed the magazine back to them to show them what she meant. 'I just like them better than dress robes.'

'I think it's a nice idea. A little bit of muggle culture.' Alice approved, and Marlene was quick to agree.

'Dress robes are always so old-fashioned.'

'Okay, we have colours.' Alice grabbed a quill and piece of parchment. 'So we need to pick flowers, but we know they need to be cream, table decorations need to be midnight blue...food and cake?'

'The Potter house elves will do food, if you ask.' Marlene pointed out. 'Just set them a menu and let them get on with it. They'll do the cake too if you want, unless you have someone else in mind.'

'No, that's good.' Lily pointed approvingly at her best friend. 'Always knew you were smarter than you looked.'

Marlene smiled sweetly but gestured rudely, and then Alice cleared her throat and called their attention back. 'So do we need to think about a menu, or a cake design?'

'I'll get Dorea on it.' Lily answered. 'She'll be better than me at that anyway.'

'Okay, so...' Alice consulted her list. 'In theory, we just have to choose flowers, go out and buy dresses, and find some entertainment.'

'I'd like some muggle music as well as wizard. James is letting me pick the song for the first dance.'

'That's a good thing.' Marlene drained the last of her juice. 'Because if he chose you'd be dancing to "Belt the Bludger".'

'I'm not that bad.' James' indignant voice announced his presence in the kitchen, carrying a collection of glasses he'd gathered up from the boys that had taken over the living room for a gobstones tournament.

'You bloody are.' Marlene replied, still leafing through Lily's collection of bridal magazines.

James chose not to reply, and instead her peered over Alice's shoulder at her extensive notes. 'Bloody hell.'

'Weddings are complicated. Even small ones.' Alice said mildly, quill still working.

James glanced over at Lily, who was moving little images of various flowers around to see how they looked together. 'We can delay if you need more time you know. I know we picked the date because it's already sort of our anniversary, but if it's going to stress you out...'

'We're not moving the date.' Lily frowned as she removed the image of white roses and replaced them with freesias. 'I didn't just pick it for the anniversary.'

James slid into the seat next to her. 'Then what was your reason?'

Lily glanced over to see if Alice was listening, but realising that she was intent on her conversation with Marlene she answered quietly. 'Lunar cycle. It's halfway between two full moons. Maximum recovery time from one, then a good week to have a honeymoon and get back before the next one. And it should guarantee that Remus feels okay for our big day.'

James was staring at her, and she shifted self-consciously under his scrutiny. 'What?'

'I adore you.' He leaned in and kissed her, his hands catching hers and holding her in place.

Marlene stopped talking and looked over. 'Oh Merlin. Everyone out, they're off again.'

Alice laughed and stood up, but before they could leave the room a glowing patronus flew in, and Moody's voice echoed around the kitchen.

'Emergency meeting tomorrow, for anyone who can attend and has time over the next week for several errands. 7am, same place as before.'

James' eyes met Lily's. 'I do not like the sound of that.'

She shrugged. 'It's what we signed up for.'

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They landed with a thud in what looked like a barn.

'I hate portkeys.' Lily grumbled.

Remus and Sirius laughed, but James shrugged. 'You honestly do get used to them.'

'Says you.'

'Here they go. Let's leave the lovebirds to their bickering.' Sirius groaned, and dragged Remus off in the direction of Caelum, the auror they knew thanks to their adventures in Hogsmeade, who was already seated.

'Potter and almost-Potter!' Fabian's cheerful voice echoed in the rafters as he approached them. 'I hear you've both suddenly had the driving ambition to do dangerous unofficial work for no pay. Good to have you.'

'How are you Fabian?' Lily asked politely as the gangly redhead stopped in front of them.

'All the better for seeing you.' He grinned at her and then shoulder bumped James. 'Heard you're rushing the wedding. Anything you want to admit to Potter?'

'Get your mind out of the gutter Fabian.' James scowled at him.

'I was just suggesting that you were worried she'd change her mind and ditch your sorry arse.' Fabian answered innocently, and James found he couldn't not laugh at that.

'She's stuck with me this far.'

'Yeah, I've already seen the full depths of James' ability to be an arse, believe me.' Lily stuck her arm through James'. 'Luckily he has redeeming qualities.'

Fabian grimaced. 'I don't need to know.'

'Mind. Gutter.' James repeated, but before Fabian could respond Moody was yelling at everyone to sit down. Lily eyed the conjured chairs with distrust, but slid into the next to James. She felt a brush of air and got a whiff of expensive perfume from her other side, and turned to see the ever-impeccably turned out Dorcas Meadowes seat herself next to her.

Dorcas gave her a warm smile. 'Married yet?'

Lily smiled back. 'Six weeks to go. How about you? Married yet?'

Dorcas laughed at her teasing. 'Nope, but there are several men who believe they're close to getting me there.' She winked at Lily. 'A lesser woman would struggle to keep them all straight in her head.'

Lily laughed at that, wondering how Dorcas could be so cheerful about the fact that her parents were desperately trying to marry her off to anyone with money. The fact that she could turn the situation around and use it to the advantage of the Order...sometimes Lily thought that the traits and values of Slytherin house deserved more respect than they currently got.

Dumbledore stepped forward. 'I appreciate you all coming today, at such short notice and so early. As you can see, only a small percentage of our number are present today; many of our members are in employment and are unavailable to us for a large scale project.'

There was some shifting in seats at the mention of a "large scale project", but Dumbledore did not look too concerned as he turned to call a tall brunette witch that looked vaguely familiar from her seat.

'Emmeline, if you would be so good?'

Emmeline stood in front of the chairs, a sheaf of mixed paper and parchment in one hand. 'A few days ago my brother contacted me because of something that disturbed him at his neighbour's house. He's not magical, but is obviously aware of our world through me. He felt that something was amiss.'

Looking around and seeing attentive faces, she continued. 'His neighbours, a couple and their ten year old son were all found in what the muggle doctors are calling a "persistent vegetative state", whatever that means. They have no means to explain what caused it, and apparently the muggle authorities are assuming some kind of mass poisoning. I humoured my brother's concern and went to visit the family in hospital, where I found he'd been right to be concerned, because that entire family has suffered the dementor's kiss.'

There were a number of gasps and whispers at that, and then Gideon leaned forward in his seat. 'A muggle family? Just one in a whole street?'

Emmeline nodded. 'Yes, which I found strange. As you know, loose, uncontrolled dementors will typically feed as much as possible, so they would be unlikely to drift into a muggle street and only attack one home. At the same time, if it was an attack on that family, it was done quietly and without fanfare, hardly the hallmark of the Death Eaters; they want people to notice the atrocities that they commit; and like the dementors, they'd be unlikely to leave the other people in the area unmolested. I was curious, and I did some digging.'

'And?' Moody growled, presumably frustrated by how long it was taking to come to the point.

'And while the parents were muggles...the boy wasn't. Since he's only ten, he hasn't been notified yet, but he's a wizard.'

'You think the attack was aimed at the boy?' The question came from a wizard way over on the right that neither Lily nor James recognised.

'I do.' Emmeline answered. 'Because I was concerned enough to ask Minerva if I could consult the Muggleborn register, and by cross-referencing the names with newspaper reports I was able to discover five more attacks in the last fortnight against muggleborns and their families.'

'Wait, that register is held at Hogwarts.' Fabian interrupted. 'So Minerva gave you access, but how would anyone else know about muggleborns? Who has access to it?'

Dumbledore cleared his throat. 'I may be able to cast some light on that. The register at Hogwarts is available only to the Headmaster and Deputy; other people can be given access, but they cannot achieve it by trickery, force or other means. I do not think it was accessed at the school.'

Fabian did not look convinced. 'Then how?'

Dumbledore hesitated very briefly before he continued. 'It is not widely known, but a copy is also held by the Ministry; access to it is extremely limited, but it is not so secure as the school's version. It was felt some years ago that it was worth monitoring the number of magical persons in Britain - a census of sorts if you will. The register allows the Ministry to keep an accurate account of precisely how many people fall under its jurisdiction. Its use has always been for statistical purposes only, and the Ministry has never advertised its existence, fearing, I believe, exactly this kind of situation were that information in the public domain.'

'So we theorise that someone at the Ministry leaked at least some of the names of muggleborns to the Death Eaters, and that they are what? Eliminating them?' Dorcas spoke confidently as she posed her question, and as she so often did when she was around her Lily admired the complete self-assurance that the other girl possessed. She couldn't imagine Dorcas ever second guessing herself, and resolved to emulate her whenever she was in a room full of snooty purebloods.

'Actually...' Emmeline glanced over at Dumbledore, who nodded almost imperceptibly. 'We think this may be connected to the legislation that's being proposed in the Wizengamot next month.'

'What legislation?' The question came from the far side of the room, and Lily couldn't see who'd asked it.

'A new version of the Muggleborn Registration Act.' Dumbledore answered solemnly, and James swore loudly.

'Really? Don't they get bored of doing the same old crap over and over?'

'Unfortunately not.' As always, Dumbledore seemed completely unperturbed by James' outburst. 'Each time they try it, they believe the outcome will be different.'

Lily snorted. 'That's often considered the definition of insanity you know.'

'So...perfect for them, then.' Dorcas said with a perfectly straight face.

'They've amended it.' Moody spoke up. 'They're arguing that muggleborns aren't worthy of magic - same old stuff there - but also that they're weaker. Inherently so. Also bollocks, but there you have it.'

'But why would attacking muggleborns help their legislation?' Remus asked, his voice soft. His presence was so quiet Lily had almost forgotten that he was there.

Emmeline sighed. 'This is pure speculation...but we think they're going to argue that it's the muggleborns supposed weakness that leaves them vulnerable to this kind of attack. They're going to argue that muggleborns are unprepared for our world and shouldn't be introduced to it at all; they may believe that some members of the wizengamot who are not blood purists may be swayed by the idea of protecting children. But they'd need to convince those people that there was genuine danger.'

'By having actual children kissed by Dementors?' Fabian's voice was a mixture of disgust and disbelief.

'It's the exact kind of twisted thing they'd come up with though.' Sirius spoke up. 'And I bet this isn't the only thing they've got planned; it would be awfully suspicious if huge numbers of children suddenly got kissed. They'll eliminate them in a number of ways, to keep it from seeming disproportionate.'

The whole room looked gloomy at that, and Dumbledore stepped forward again. 'Which is why I asked people who have lots of free time to attend this meeting. We have no way of knowing if someone has access to the entire register or just parts of it. We have no way of knowing who will be attacked, or when, or how. We are at a distinct disadvantage. So we can only take a protective approach.'

'Which is?' The question came from Gideon, who looked like he was itching to do something.

'So far all of the victims have been attacked at home. We cannot provide protection for all these children all the time, but we can ward their homes.'

'That is...a lot of people.' Remus said in slightly worried tones.

'I know.' Dumbledore looked solemn. 'And it will take us a long time to ward them all, but we cannot leave them unprotected.'

'Can't we take the information to the aurors?' Lily asked quietly, eyes flicking towards Moody. 'Get the Ministry to take protective steps? They've got more people.'

Moody shook his head. 'I wish I could. It would be a good idea, if the Ministry weren't crawling with Death Eater sympathisers. And more than a few actual Death Eaters. If they had any idea that we'd stumbled onto this they'd just speed up their timetable. That's why the Ministry can't fight this war effectively; they're overrun from within. We have to do this in the shadows.'

'I hate this.' Sirius grumbled. 'Cloak and dagger crap. Give me a nice fair fight any day.'

Moody almost smiled at him. 'I don't disagree with you lad. Unfortunately the other side prefers an unfair fight.'

'If you agree, Minerva will provide addresses, and we will divide up to place a basic protective enchantment on those locations. It is not much, but it's the best we can do for them.' Dumbledore looked around for a consensus, and it seemed that he had it; Lily looked around to see a number of nodding heads. Apparently everyone was happy to help, even in such a small way. She began to wonder if they were just desperate to do something.

'I should also point out that there is a possibility that you may be caught up in an attack.' Dumbledore said. 'You will need to work in pairs, and take precautions. Your safety cannot be guaranteed.'

'Can it ever?' Caelum snorted, eliciting a laugh in response from Sirius.

'Very well then.' Dumbledore nodded. 'I must return to the school. Alastor will go over the basic charm we will be using with you, and you will contacted with a list of addresses that you will need to attend to later. Pairs will be assigned.' He paused for a moment to gauge response. 'Thank you all for coming.' He nodded once to the room at large, then turned and left.

The meeting broke up into a number of smaller groups, and James shifted in his seat to face Lily.

'You okay?'

'I'm fine.' She smiled thinly.

'Sure? I thought it might have hit a bit close to home, that's all.'

Lily laughed, but there was no humour in it. 'I've always known that people like me are their enemy James. I'm not remotely surprised that they'd target children.'

James nudged her cheek gently with a knuckle. 'I meant the Muggleborn Registration Act. I remember how pissed you were last time round.'

'Oh, I'm pissed.' Lily answered. 'But at least this time I have some way to fight back, however little it is.'

James looked unusually grim. 'I'm sure they'll be more dramatic ways for you to fight back soon enough. In the meantime, if this isn't enough for you I'm sure my mum would welcome some help on the rebuttal I have absolutely no doubt she'd planning.

'That would be great.'

'Rather you than me.'

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