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"I will not go into hiding, Minerva,” Amelia had said, not three days ago, when the woman had come to her with intelligence from the Order that said she was on the Death Eaters' hit list. "If I change anything at all about my daily routine, it means they've won, that their terror is succeeding."

Minerva had sighed. "Stubborn."

That had pulled a snort from Amelia. "Like you can talk. Besides, if I go into hiding, they'll just go after my family. I can defend myself, and if I can't, well. At least they'll be satisfied. Rufus will make a fine Minister in the event of my death." She had turned away, then, so as not to see the look in her friend's eyes.

"Amelia-" A raw, guttural note on the 'e'.

"You'll watch over Susie for me, won't you?"


Fudge had resigned that afternoon. Amelia expected to be promoted tomorrow. That meant that they would come tonight, if they were going to.

Amelia poured a glass of whiskey but didn't drink it. She lit a cigarette, tossed the pack out the window. If she didn't die tonight, it wouldn't do to leave that sort of temptation lying around.

It was the best thing she'd ever tasted. There was still an inch left when they came for her.


She felt it, singing in her blood as she rose, as she turned, as ash burned a hole in the carpet. Her wand was already in her hand.

Disarm. Stun. Bind. They weren't exactly toddlers, these Death Eaters, but they were no match for her Aurors. Probably they thought her an easy target - an old woman with a desk job who hadn't done field training for years.


An arc of red fire hit the light fitting, flaring bright for a moment, then pulling all the colour from the room. Amelia transfigured the bookshelves and they lumbered to her defence, books tossing themselves at the hooded figures like birds attacking. When arms and wands raised to fend them off, Amelia struck again. Disarm, stun, bind.

There were four of them on her floor and she was swinging around to aim at the dark mass hurtling toward her window when her wand flew out of her hand and shattered against the wall.

She didn't see him land. One moment he was a dark mass out in the sky, and the next a towering figure with his wand digging into her chest.

"Amelia Bones," he whispered, twisting the wand point. His eyes were red and his face barely human, but there was a definite smirk on those lips. "Still a fighter, I see."

She punched him in the face. She felt her fist connect with his jaw, felt his flesh mould itself around her knuckles, and it reminded her of childhood. It reminded her of the Muggle school she’d been to before Hogwarts, at which she’d been the strange, boyish girl who refused to wear a dress, and was picked on mercilessly. Lashing out with her fists had been the only way to keep the uncontrolled bursts of magic at bay, and detention was better than exposure.

When she’d gone to Hogwarts, she’d been determined to work hard and follow the rules, and she’d done it her whole life. Now, though. Now her fist connected with the Dark Lord’s face, and it felt good to be that butch, violent little girl again.

He reeled, Voldemort. Riddle, she knew was his real name, but he didn’t look like the boy she’d been at school with. Didn’t look much like a Dark Lord, either, when his head snapped back and he stumbled just enough for her to knee him in the crotch. He went down, doubled up and she kicked the wand from his hands, spinning, searching for one of the other four wands in the room that would be loyal to her.

There, by the settee. She lunged, but his cold fingers closed around her ankle. She fell, twisting, kicking out with her free leg and feeling it connect, but it was a weak kick and he was strong and faster than she would have imagined, catching her other ankle and pulling her toward him. She writhed, growled, trying to free herself, but he pulled her underneath him and pinned her with his body. She lashed out with her hands, but couldn’t take him by surprise this time.

His face was twisted into an angry snarl, mottled with fury. He wrapped his fingers around her throat and pressed down hard. His eyes bored down into hers as his fingers curled tighter, as she thrashed beneath him, her body’s fight reaction almost involuntary. Panic beat hot in her blood, sharp and animal, but her mind was calm.

She felt herself weakening, felt him trying to break into her mind and steal her secrets before she went, and she let it fill with a thought.

I might be dying, but you’re on your knees killing me like a Muggle, and my secrets will die with me. Enjoy your defeat, you pathetic little man.