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diana_citanul in ootp_united

Dementor Population Control

When: Sometime after midnight
Where: London
Who: Sirius, Diana
Rating: PG-13?

How long was it since she had been in London? A month? And no progress to show for it. Diana went through the usual litany: she was her own worst critic, it had just been a month, these things took time, and yet, casualties were splashed across the pages of the Daily Prophet well, daily, and she had learned throughout her career that there was nothing more demoralizing than watching people die in a war zone, having information, and not being able to act on it. After all, she had information-- just no network to utilize it. And now the flat was seeming increasingly cramped, it was late at night and she had another bout of anxiety-induced insomnia, and she was being reckless and stupid and muttering to herself strolling around on deserted streets and enjoying every moment of self-pity she could glean from the experience.

Sirius, as usual, couldn't sleep. He couldn't remember the last time he had slept; properly, anyway, not dozing on the couch for twenty minutes at a time.

At times like this, when he spent hours laying awake in the darkness, staring at the ceiling and feeling the night closing in around him while Samantha slept peacefully on in the next room, he usually wanted a drink. Then he had an argument with the inner drunk, that stupid little voice in his head that always tried to convince him that booze was the answer to all life's problems, and wound up dragging himself out of bed for a smoke instead.

Except he was out of cigarettes. The squashed packet that perpetually occupied his back pocket was completely empty. Sirius crumpled it up and kicked it down the sidewalk in frustration. He needed a smoke, a distraction, something that wasn't going to result in him passing out and hating himself in the morning.

Maybe the Muggle convenience store on the corner was still open. Samantha was asleep; she'd never notice he'd gone.

Okay, okay, she would admit it to herself. She was homesick, too. This was the time of year the family headed to the Hamptons, and the idea of kicking back with some fairy wine was sounding increasingly appealing, despite the fact that her mother would complain about her yet-to-be furfilled familial duty of obtaining a pure-blood husband. Anywhere with career options and away from death and destruction sounded blissful. Not to mention she was tired of speaking in that English accent. She loved it, but wanted her normal voice back.And yet, nostalgia had a way of sending signs to oneself. There, neon signs buzzing, florescent lights flickering, was a convenience store. She felt a very sudden craving for a Slurpee. And a Milky Way. Actually, a whole horde of chocolate. And maybe a soda.Hopefully they actually had Slurpees in this country...

Ignoring the increasing swirl of mist, Diana made a beeline for the convenience store, mentally tasting the artificial cherry flavor and longing an easier job and much less demanding moral conscience.

Sirius pushed open the door to the store, which always seemed to be open regardless of the lateness of the hour, and cringed when an inane little bell rang above his head, announcing his presence to the bored-looking, balding man behind the counter. He was reading an inane Muggle magazine with inane pictures of vapid celebrities on the front. Sirius rolled his eyes, marched up to the counter, and asked for a pack of cigarettes.

"What kind?" the balding man grunted from behind his magazine.

"Anything cheap. And make it two packs, since I'm here."

Another grunt, and two packs of the cheapest cigarettes appeared on the counter. The man grumbled out the price, took Sirius's money, and gave him his change, all without looking away from the magazine.

Reality is always a couple of miles away from fantasy. She should know that by now, but the inside of the convenience store was not a Slurpee heaven, though she did find Cadburry eggs. It was dingy and there was a man with a magazine with that...strumpet on it. She didn't know why people found such things interesting. Maybe there was a correlation between smutty celeb followers and graveyard shift minimum wage jobs... Diana shook her head at herself. That was probably mean, but she couldn't help it. She was in the worst mood. She even scowled at the back of the man who was taking up space at the counter buying nicotine sticks that would pollute the air. It was only when the lights started flickering that her senses started tuning in.

The negativity, the depression... The bone chilling mists...

Quietly, she slipped her hand into her pocket, clutching her wand.

Sirius didn't make the correlation until he went outside. As he was pulling a cigarette out of one of the fresh packets, it struck him how cold it had gotten during the short time he'd been in the store.

Extremely cold. Too cold for the time of year. Goosebumps rose on his arms of their own accord, and he flattened himself against the wall of the building, fishing in his back pocket for his wand.

Damn things. Couldn't they skulk somewhere else for once?

She had no choice, not when there were two muggles around. She gripped her wand, and kept it low, out of the sight of the ignorant muggle behind the counter, whispering the Confundus charm. Now that he was sufficiently confused, she could grab the edge of his shirt and tug him outside, her want lit and at the ready. That other muggle man couldn't have gotten far... If she got slammed by the Ministry for this...Well, surely they had other priorities than investigating a Confundus on a muggle and a Lumos in front of another...A Patronus might be more difficult to explain, but that would have to come later...

Sirius caught sight of the woman coming out of the store, wand drawn, and tensed a bit. Having company of the wizardly sort wasn't always a good thing these days, but she did look as though she was on the defensive. That could be helpful.

He didn't have time to think further, because the first Dementor came out of nowhere, swooping in his direction as if he knew he was prime prey. Which, of course, he was. His entire body went icy cold as soon as the thing got close, and he only just managed to whip his wand around and thunder, "Expecto Patronum!"

The familiar silvery wolf shape erupted from the end of his wand and drove the dementor back, but by that time it had brought friends.

She barely had time to exchange a wary glance with the man when they struck. And at least she wasn't alone, the silvery light was enough to see them coming, just enough time to prepare for the feeling of being pulled into an icy underwater current, being drowned by memories...A whole swarm. Would two of them be enough? She stepped closer, her own wand raised.

"Expecto Patronum!" Happy memories, now those were hard to come by... But to her immense and momentary relief; the silvery mirage of a dolphin splashed out and assaulted the onslaught of dark creatures, a momentary reprieve... She started counting... How many where there?!

The presence of the woman's Patronus gave Sirius enough time to recover and send his own galloping back at the swarm. And it was a swarm, half a dozen at least, and who knew how many more lurking...

His second attempt at the Patronus charm turned out to be weaker than the first, and the silvery shape dissolved too soon, leaving him open and vulnerable. He thought he could detect screams just on the edge of hearing, the sound of his psyche breaking down in the face of dark depression embodied.

One of the dementors was swooping toward him, ghastly hand outstretched. Sirius backed against the wall again and raised his wand, his breath beginning to come in icy gasps.

By now protection was an instinct. The confunded muggle was lurking behind her, and the patronus of her feller fighter was flickering out. They were coming nearer, and nearer, and it was harder to think, so much easier to feel and to succumb...You're better than that, Diana, she told herself, pushing away the emotions and trying to focus on serenity and keep alive the one memory that gave her any sense of peace...

So the dolphin splashed out again towards the throng, and she stepped between the wizard and zooming Dementor, hoping, praying that this was enough. She refused to feel anything save the projected memory, nothing but magic to feed of it, it was suicide to fear right now, in fact, she tried to take satisfaction in defying them.

"Stay with me," she hissed to the man, keeping her gaze on the enemy.

"I don't think we can hold them off," Sirius panted, trying to muster the strength for another Patronus.

"We're going to have to," Diana replied simply. "Just think about how happy you'll be after this is all over and you get to light up," she tried to joke, wanting to ease the mood just a smidgen to allow his Patronus to take flight. Despite the cold she was sweating with exertion to keep the energy flowing, wand-hand trembling slightly. "Sorry, but giving up just isn't an option right now."

"I know that," Sirius hissed through clenched teeth. He could feel the darkness licking at the edges of his mind now, darkness that held the worst parts of his life. If he let that overtake him, let Azkaban or the Potters or anything of the sort get inside his head right now, it would be over. Samantha didn't even know he was--


She had saved him from Dementors once, what seemed like an eternity ago. She had found him in the depths of personal darkness and pulled him out. And since then, she had saved his life over and over again. She wasn't here now, but she was back at the flat, and he had to get back to her.

"Expecto Patronum!" he gasped, sending the silvery wolf into the fray once again.

Thank God. Diana let his Patronus surge to the front, pulling back her flickering one for a moment of reprieve. She could hardly breathe; and nausea was creeping at the corners. At least he found his center again, it seemed like. She would forget his snappy comment. Most people got that way when under a psychic attack... Heck, she was thinking some really snotty things back in the convenience store that her conscience would dearly like to forget. But just one or two seconds was all she could afford before she rallied the remnants of the memory and thrust it out into a Patronus, advancing toward the Dementors; trying to push them back. If this didn't work, well at least she'd be a moving diversion. Being a Human Shield was not a job for wimps.

Sirius could feel his strength failing him and hoped against hope that the woman was as strong as she seemed. Dementors were his weak point, for obvious reasons...

Some of the swarm seemed to have retreated, leaving what looked like three remaining, but in the semi-darkness Sirius couldn't be sure. He took a deep breath, steadying himself for one last Patronus charm if the need arose. But after that, he would be useless. His hands were starting to shake in the cold, mental or not, and there were definitely screams echoing inside his head now.

Some were leaving. They were either bored or truly out-numbered. Looked to be about three, they could do this, right? She didn't dare look back at the man. Surely it was more encouraging to be advancing with chest thrust out and head held high, despite her trembling hands and weak knees, and the sense in the back of her head that was screaming that this was all a Very Bad Idea...

Sirius worked one last Patronus charm, this time sending his Patronus snapping and growling into the midst of the remaining dementors, scattering them. Unfortunately, that wound up sending one of them towards him as one of the others retreated, and dementors knew a snack when they sensed it. The terror clawing its way up Sirius's throat and the unending cacaphony in his head were signal enough.

The dementor glided towards him, even as its companions melted into the shadows, drawing a rattling breath and reaching out. Sirius backed away, stumbled, and feel into a half-crouch, still holding his wand out protectively.

Inside his head, more screams. The sound of clanging bars. And darkness...

For a moment she was stunned, she thought he was done for a moment there, and then the feriocity of the wolf, the scattering of the Dementors, a brief silence, and yet that same bone-numbing cold, the wisps of decay and effluvium... It was always so slow when things got like this, when the light disappeared and the darkness settled in.

The man had apparently had his last hurrah. She turned, seeing the gliding, seeing the last one, and the sudden exhaustion of realization that yet again, she had to do something, anything...But her memories seemed scattered to the wind, so she tried to remember just how it would feel afterwards, the knowledge and satisfaction that came from helping someone out, there was no better feeling in the world, and the overworked Patronus once more came blossoming from her wand as she advanced.

"Get away from him," she said, but doubted the creature could understand.

Sirius sagged as the woman's Patronus drove the last dementor back. He was definitely shaking now, hard and uncontrollably. His mind was as numb as if someone had dumped a bucket of ice in his ear. As the dementor disappeared back into the shadows, he managed to prop himself against the wall of the building, but it wasn't much of a help.

Gone. Gone! She could hardly believe it when the Dementor faded away. The sense of relief was so profound she could hardly stand. It took extreme effort not to the weep, to succumb to the bad memories, and the nausea, but there was someone else in need, now. She suddenly realized with acute clarity that she had never really put back the Cadberry chocolate eggs. They were smooshed in her pocket. It took a moment to dig one out, her fingers shaking so much that she scraped sizeable amounts of milk chocolate under her fingernails while removing the foil. Coming up near the man, she put a suprisingly strong arm beneath his back, trying to provide a measure of support.

"You're alright," she said calmly, for both their benefits. "Here, eat this." She didn't bother to wait for a response, all but cramming the chocolate down his throat. "What's your name?"

Sirius concentrated on the chocolate for a moment, still shaking so hard that his teeth were chattering. But even in that condition, he knew better than to go giving out his real name, even to someone who had just pretty much saved his ass.

"Edward," he muttered at last, using the name he rented the flat under. And, because she had just stood between him and a Dementor, he even remembered to be tactful and ask, "You okay?"

"I'm Diana," she offered, belatedly wondering if that was his real name. It seemed these days she was the only person who offered her real name anymore. "Yes, I'm fine. A little nauseated but nothing time won't cure. Do you want more chocolate?" She offered, pulling out a handful of eggs.

Sirius shook his head, opting instead to pull out the cigarettes he had stuffed in his pocket. It took him several tries to slide one out of the pack.

Diana managed not to roll her eyes. Chocolate was infinitely better, but she had all but promised him he would be able to light up.

"Well I'll try not to eat it all in case you want more," she joked, popping one in her own mouth and relishing the warmth as much as the taste."You know I never got a chance to actually pay for these," she mused aloud. "Oh, well."

Sirius made a noncomittal noise as he lit the cigarette. He took a shaky drag and blew the smoke into the night air. As soon as his legs were steady enough, he ought to get up and go home...

He was silent, he seemed lost in his own thoughts.

"I was really stupid coming out this late," Diana said, still filling conversation in merely to decompress from the experience. Her adrenaline gland had gotten more exercise tonight than in the past two weeks combined. "Couldn't sleep, needed a chocolate fix. You?"

"Same, but cigarettes instead of chocolate," Sirius replied. He didn't really feel like talking, but answering was better than listening to this Diana try to fill the empty air with one-sided conversation.

"Well we both got our fix, at a higher price than we supposed," Diana mused. "Do you live around here? Most wizards and witches are scarce in London. I'm foolhardy and damn curious, hence I lurk in places I probably ought not to." She was determined force conversation. Human interaction had been scarce to non-existant, and the least two people who had been through a harrowing experience together could do was at least exchange pleasantries.

Sirius waved a hand in a vague direction that didn't necessarily indicate where the flat was. "Here's better than a lot of other places."

It was official, now. He was avoiding answering questions. Usually Diana could understand the reluctance, but, she had probably saved his life, or something like that. A certain kind of trust was established after something like that-- or maybe not, in this case.

"Fair enough, it's better than Knockturn Alley at 3 am in a club, though at least the absinthe is good there."

Sirius knew better than to instinctively trust people. His experience with Pettigrew had deeply ingrained the idea that you couldn't completely trust anybody, and it took more than a tandem fight against dementors to override that.

He finished his cigarette and lit another, cringing at bit at the mention of absinthe. Firewhiskey had always been more his thing, and it would be just the ticket now to calm his screaming nerves...

Had it not been the fact that she was sure more were lurking out there, Diana would have left, or apparated. But for now they had to stick together despite "Edward"'s stony silence and non-cooperativeness. This time, though, she didn't try to fill the air. Worse than no human interaction was a grudging human interaction, so she was left with her thoughts, just biding her time.

Sirius was on his third cigarette before he spoke again. "You drink a bit, then?"

The question was odd. How many vices did this man have? "Socially," Diana replied. "And sometimes to unwind. Mostly wine and beer, but at the clubs nothing beats hard liquor."

Sirius gave a little laugh that was part sarcastic, part knowing.

"What's funny about that?" She asked with a raised eyebrow. "I can honestly say I have never been drunk in my life. Just have to eat a lot before I go.":

Sirius laughed harder, though there really was nothing funny. Maybe it was macabre humor, the feeling of being emptied of all emotion and forced to cope with the world regardless. He had never been very good at coping.

Chills ran down Diana's spine as "Edward" continued to just laugh. It was mirthless, nearly mad, and her sudden goosebumps had nothing to do with Dementors-- for somewhere, she recognized that laugh, it was a famous laugh.

"Lumos," she whispered, holding the wand light up to his face, scrutinizing him. Why hadn't she seen it before? The face had changed a little, but..."You're Sirius Black. That famous Azkaban laugh, I didn't know how I didn't see it before. You're supposed to be dead, but I suppose you can't put it past the Order or Dumbledore to fake those kinds of things," Diana remarked dryly.

Sirius abruptly stopped laughing and shielded his eyes from the light of Diana's wand. His other hand found his wand again, just in case. For him, being recognized could be fatal.

"What's it to you?"

Diana gave a little snort. "Don't get so defensive. You think I would help someone keep their life only to take it away?" She rolled her eyes. "Don't worry, I won't go blowing your cover, either. The Ministry is completely incompetant, despite the former head of the Aurors at the helm, it's all about apperances and Scrimgoer is a complete idiot in that he's running this from a law-enforcement perspective instead of a military or intelligence-oriented one. The Order has and still is the only organization that seems to understand the nature of this conflict and knowing your history I can say you're involved in that. The last thing I would do would jeopardize it. I have a far greatest interest in helping it along, both personally and for the rest of the world," Diana replied coolly.

Sirius hauled himself to his feet. "Seems like you've done a fair bit of snooping."

"Snooping? It's only logic and public knowledge. It's in history books, for God's sake, the Order and you and then of course it was big news last year when the Dark Lord returned and things were set straight in the papers. The snooping I've done has been mostly been on Death Eaters, thank you." Diana replied. "So, one night by chance I run into Sirius Black, who is supposed to be dead, it's not hard to put two and two together."

Sirius raised an eyebrow. At least this Diana seemed to be sincere, if a bit brisk.

"Well, thanks for making sure I didn't become a dementor snack," he said.

"While you're at it, thank me for promising not to blow your cover, either," Diana said, wondering if she could manipulate a favor, or at least a recruitment out of this. "And you're welcome to the first, I'll remember it when I need to ask you for something."

Sirius laughed again, shortly. "Sorry?"

Diana leaned forward. Apparently she would have to be the one doing the cold pitch. "You heard me. You wanna know the real specific reason I was wandering about the streets tonight? Feeling sorry for myself because while I have loads of information, I have no network to make it useful. It's hard to sit there and watch people drop like flies because some megalomaniac is getting the better part of the our incompetent government. So though I'm not a real believer in fate, it's pretty interesting that on that same night, I run into someone who's a bona-fide Order member. You think I'm going to let this opportunity pass me by?"

"You think it's up to me who's in an who's not?" Sirius asked, rather put off. The Order was...well, they were broken and scattered, truth be told, and the decisions that had been made in the recent past weren't necessarily the best that could have been made. Not that he was going to up and admit that to some foreward young woman who wanted in. The Order could do with more people, that much was true, but you didn't just recruit any old person you met on the street. That was suicide. Sirius, more than anybody, knew that it was nearly impossible to trust your friends, much less people you didn't know.

"No. I'm not sure who makes that decision, or if it's even up to one person. But you're an introduction, at least, and I would hope for security's sake that isn't a 'you're in, you're out' type of thing, I would hope to be thoroughly vetted," Diana explained.

"You're barking up the wrong tree, kid."

It was Diana's turn to laugh. "I'll tell you another something about myself, I didn't get this way by making it a hobby. I'm an operations officer, that's my career, we're the best poker players in the business. I'm not above playing quid pro quo."

"And I'm tired and I want to go home," Sirius said with a shrug. The first part was a lie, and the second part was...mostly true. He also wanted a drink very, very badly, but going home was the better of the two. "I don't owe anybody anything, and there's nothing you can give me that'd get your foot in the door."

"Not even your life?" Diana asked with a smile, rising to her feet. "Have it your way, Sirius; if that truly is how the Order treats possible recruits then perhaps it isn't for me after all. If you're happy with letting an opportunity to expand and get someone with knowledge and professional skills to join the fight go, then perhaps the Order isn't what I thought it was-- you'll end up losing just like the government. If you think it's about giving you things and if you think the business isn't about owing anyone anything, well... Perhaps it's better," she said, her odd little smile never wavering. "I suppose giving you your life, the one you went to all the trouble of faking losing before, isn't enough to warrant some personal help, well there's nothing left to do." Sometimes, the best tactic was to reverse and walk away.

"Keep your patronus in front of you as you return home... Who knows if they're still out there..." she said, drawing back into the shadows.

She was in the shadows, but she wasn't gone. Sirius could feel her standing there, watching him. He stood for a moment, pulling out another cigarette.

"You really think there's hope left?" he said at last, blowing smoke.

She didn't expect that question. Diana sighed.

"I'd like to say yes," she replied, regret creeping into her voice. "Let me... Let me put it this way. The Ministry is going to fall. They have been infiltrated and they never knew how to run this from the beginning. Most private citizens are either morally ambivilant about Voldemort or too scared. The Order is all that is left... I'm not sure if it'll be enough. There's a need to reach out to other countries, I don't think Voldemort is going to stop at the United Kingdom... But, all I can say is this... hope or not, we've got to try... I'VE got to try," she said, adjusting her emphasis. "So many people are dying, even my family is caught up in it--" and that was true. They were enamored with Voldemort. "I just-- I can't take it anymore."

Sirius was silent as he smoked. Wasn't that why he was still involved, even though he knew that any hope there might have been really rested on Harry, and that Harry was a useless little twonk with an overinflated ego and a hero complex? Dumbledore was...useless, now that he'd decided it was time for the Order to fly on their own, or whatever it was he thought. And the Order wasn't big enough or strong enough to fight the stupidity of the Ministry and the growing strength of the Death Eaters. It was like in those Muggle books about the magic ring: they were fighting a losing battle to buy time for one small glimmer of hope. Only this glimmer of hope too often shot itself in the foot because it was a headstrong teenager.

"I could put in a word to the Order," he said at last, though he wasn't sure why he was offering. "I don't know what good it'll do. The best advice I can give anyone at this point is to lay low and get a vice a bit stronger than chocolate."

It wouldn't help, of course; he knew that much. But not noticing the world was better than being beaten down by it.

Diana nodded. "This will probably smack of utter arrogance, but it better do some good... If there's anything I've learned the past month it's that you can't do these things alone." She shook her head. "I'm going way out on a limb here, but would you happen to know someone called Kingsley? I ran into him awhile back... If you do, tell him I heard more about that muggle Ben."

Sirius's ears perked up. "Did you?"

So, it was a sensitive issue. Diana nodded in the affirmative. "I got some Death Eater named Lucas drunk as a doorknob the other night in Knockturn Alley. They all have this big joke they like to tell about the Dark Lord and some muggle they've nicknamed after the bell in the tower. Said he'd be transported within the next week; Voldemort is getting tired of him and the Death Eaters are still complaining about being overextended and not understanding his importance-- I don't understand it either, for that matter."

Sirius dropped his cigarette and ground it out, muttering, "Damn," under his breath. That meant the Order was going to have to act fast if they wanted to get Ben away from the Death Eaters. Who knew where they'd take him, or if he'd be traceable once they had?

Drunk as a doorknob sounded pretty good about now.

"I think they might have meant away from England entirely," Diana suggested. "Look, if you want to talk about this further, we should do it in a safer location," she cast a look about the shadows. "I have transcripts in my flat, if you want it."

Despite this information, Sirius was still wary. Trust didn't come easy to him, as well it shouldn't. He backed up a step without really noticing he was doing it. If Samantha woke up for any reason, and he wasn't there...

"I shouldn't really be--"

"Be what?" Diana asked with a sigh. "Where would you feel comfortable talking about things, Sirius? Just let me know. And if you don't, will you stay here long enough for me disapparate and apparate back with the transcripts? At least they might be useful with you, less so with me."

Sirius hadn't been on the wagon long enough for pubs to lose their feeling of comfort, but he knew better than that.

"Could we meet somewhere when it's not nearly four in the morning?" he suggested.

"As long as you actually show up, though you said you weren't sleepy and that's one of the reasons I came out here to begin with. What place would you have in mind?" She asked again.

"Someplace Muggle. There's a--sort of a sandwich shop not too far from here. Do you know it? Tiny place with outdoor tables."

Diana wracked her brain. "Yeah, I know what you're talking about. They have good pastrami there. I'll look up some conversation-obscuring charms just in case there's someone there who ought not to be. What time?" she asked, thinking he might be comfortable if he made all the decisions.

It would have to be while Samantha was still at work. Sirius didn't like keeping things secret from her, but he needed to be sure about this before he went mentioning it.

"I don't know...one o'clock?" After the lunch rush, but before dinner, and at that hour he wasn't likely to be tempted by any drinks the menu might have.

"Works for me... today or tomorrow?" she asked again.

"Today works." He doubted he was going to be sleeping, after all.

"Alright," she shrugged. "I'll bring my bona fides then, I suppose." If he flaked out she'd put a magical tracker on every pack of cigs in the city.

Sirius couldn't see a reason to flake out. If Diana did have information on Ben, then it would be infinitely helpful to what was left of the Order. If she didn't...he'd be a little pissed off, but she didn't seem dangerous, per se. Just a little overzealous.

He'd bring his wand just in case.

Stepping forward, Diana put out her hand. "I can't say it was nice to meet you. I'm not sure what to make of you. But it was definitely interesting, and will be, I hope, fruitful. Be safe."

Sirius's wariness was still evident as he shook the proffered hand. "Make of me what you want. It can't possibly be worse than the truth."

Diana rolled her eyes at this comment. "Buck up. You're doing the right thing, you can't be such a bad person, even if you're awfully confusing to me. Surely you make sense to other people."

"If I do, they don't let on," Sirius said with a dark chuckle. Well, Samantha tried to understand, but she was different.

Diana laughed herself, the first real time all night. "Eh, well I'm a strange confusing person, too. So I suppose you're in good company. Goodnight, or... good morning, as it is."

"Right. Er, goodnight."

"Stay safe," she reminded him, removing the confundus charm from the muggle, and just as swiftly making a half-turn, apparating with a loud crack.

Sirius stared at the space where she had been for a moment before pulling out his own wand. It would be safer to Apparate home, even if his arrival wound up waking Samantha.



September 2008

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