The Dark Lord Knows All
"We need to talk," Remus said nervously, sliding down on a chair next to Lisa as she was writing her Herbology homework with Dorcas in the Library.
"No, we don't," she replied casually, not even bothering to look up.
"Yes, we do," he insisted. "This... us... it can't go on."
She rolled her eyes with a sigh and looked at him pointedly. "Are we really doing this again?"
Over the last week and a half, he had tried to break up with her a total of twelve times. He went between being deliriously happy to crumbling under guilt every few hours. She reached out to caress his cheek, making his eyes unwittingly close with pleasure, and brought her face close to kiss him.
"We're not breaking up. Now go away, I have to finish this before lunch."
He opened his mouth to protest, but she threw him a sharp look and he closed it, fumbled for a moment with the strap of his bag, then left.
"I don't know how you put up with this," Dorcas said, but there was a smile playing on her lips. "I swear, he tries to break up with you like once a day."
"Twice." Lisa shrugged. "But it's worth it."
"It better be, after all that pining and sighing and oh, why can't he just snog my brains out..."
"I never said that!" Lisa laughed, throwing a ball of parchment at her friend.
"Might as well have!" Dorcas giggled, throwing it back. "I bet that's exactly what you did on the last patrol, isn't it?"
Lisa snorted. "Who the hell makes out when they're supposed to be looking out for Death Eaters? Unless... oh, no, don't tell me you and Sirius last week...? I thought you were doing me a favor by switching!"
Dorcas gave her a wolfish grin. "I was. But hey, what's life without a bit of fun, eh? Play the cards you've been dealt and all that..."
"That was dangerous, you know!" Lisa scolded her. "What if they had caught you?"
"Please." Dorcas waved dismissively. "Between him and me, we could take the whole lot of them."
The girls stifled a laugh.
"By the way, Slughorn is having another 'get together'. Wanna go?" Lisa suggested.
"Am I allowed to?" Dorcas raised an eyebrow. "I did attack three of his 'pets'."
"I know, but... you really wanted to go and I botched it up for you. You didn't even get to meet any celebrities."
"True... and your new boyfriend has been cutting into girl time lately..."
Lisa couldn't help but smile at the word 'boyfriend'. It seemed so strange to refer to him like that, but it made her feel all warm inside.
"Speaking of Slughorn's parties…" Dorcas said, suddenly serious. "Be careful. I don't like what those girls were saying about you."
"You mean that I'm a slag? Why does that matter?"
"No, not the silly rumors. About you being pureblood."
"What about it?"
"I don't know… That you're not on their side. How many purebloods are against the Death Eaters?"
"James, Sirius, Frank…"
"I wasn't talking about them. Men can date whomever without… sullying their bloodline."
Lisa's jaw dropped. "You're not serious."
Dorcas threw her a look. "I'm just saying."
"What about Alice?"
"She's with a pureblood. Most are at least sympathizing with them already, not that there are that many of you, but none that I can think of are dating half-bloods or muggle-borns. Except you."
"You've lost it." Lisa shook her head. "They care about killing and torturing, not—"
"They're blood purists. They kill and torture because they think being pureblood makes you better than the rest."
"Being a blood traitor makes you about as bad as a muggle-born!"
"Still, it wouldn't hurt to be cautious. Why not schedule patrols with more people?"
"You know it's not up to me. Everyone signs in when they have time."
"Why don't you just watch for an opportunity when more are going then?"
"I don't need body guards! And I still think your idea is barmy."
Dorcas rolled her eyes. "Excuse me for looking out for you."
On the other side of the shelf, Severus Snape put back the book he was perusing and smiled ominously.
"Could you two be any more nauseating?" Marlene groaned playfully in the Gryffindor common room late that afternoon.
"Hm?" Lisa lifted the gaze from her book. "What do you mean?"
She was sitting in Remus' lap in one of the squishy armchairs, legs hanging from the side and head leaning on his shoulder, as the two of them were reading The Decline of Pagan Magic together, him holding the book and she turning the pages.
"You're just kinda... disgusting," Sirius joined in from the other chair. Lisa and Remus exchanged confused glances.
"We... aren't doing anything," Remus said.
"You don't have to! Just looking at you two makes me want to kill myself," Marlene said.
"Really? It makes me want to vomit," Sirius added jokingly.
"What do you want us to do, stand in opposite ends of the room?" Remus said sarcastically.
"Well, that's not happening," Lisa said quickly and wrapped an arm around him, nuzzling his neck. Groans and gagging sounds immediately echoed around them, but it only made her chuckle against his skin.
"I think if I look at this scene any longer I'll develop diabetes," James said, standing up. "Anyone up for a trip to the kitchens?"
"Anything to get away from here," Peter volunteered immediately.
"Frank and Alice at least have the decency to do such things away from others," Lily added, getting up as well.
"We'll try to read less disgustingly in the future," Remus said and rolled his eyes.
Their friends laughed and went out, which left Lisa once again free to snuggle up to Remus, inhale his amazingly sweet scent and sink into a good book. It was a little odd how fast and easy the transition from 'friends and classmates' to 'a couple' was for them. It just... seemed natural, as if that was how it had always been.
Near the end of chapter twenty-six, a thought popped into her head.
"I'm going to one of Slughorn's soirées next week."
"I thought you didn't like those."
"I don't, but... Cass said she wanted to go, and last time I took her we ended up in a brawl."
"You've been in the Slug Club a while. Haven't you ever brought her?"
"Er... I try to avoid them... and normally the invitation is only for one. He makes exceptions, like on holidays or when someone important has a birthday..."
"Right. So... it's alright that I'm taking her and not you?"
He gave her an amused look. "Did you think I'd get mad about that?"
"Not really…" She trailed off, playing with his tie.
"What's wrong?" he asked seriously, closing the book.
"It's nothing," she said stubbornly. "Just something Dorcas said."
He waited for her to continue. She sighed.
"She's got this idea… because a few weeks ago, when I got into that fight with the Slytherin girl…"
"When she took your hair."
"Yes, then. But before that she said something… and since she turned out to be a Death Eater…..." He stared at her expectantly without interrupting. "She sort of said something about me being pureblood and about my family being one of the Sacred Twenty-Eight… and how I should… keep the line pure."
"I wouldn't worry about that," he said reassuringly, kissing her forehead. "The Death Eaters have never had an interest of… breeding purebloods. They have most of them in their ranks already."
"So you don't think…?"
"I'm sure they won't try something like that. It's just not the way they've been doing things up until now."
"But before Voldemort didn't have such a strong following and…"
"Voldemort only wants power. The only way he sees of 'keeping lines pure' is to cut off the 'corrupted' branches. Sirius was blasted off his family tree when he ran away last summer."
"He ran away?!"
"Wouldn't you? His home life wasn't exactly a happy one."
"Where did he go?"
"To James'. Where else?" Remus smirked and she chuckled.
Talking with him helped alleviate her worries. As much as she thought the idea was ludicrous, a small part of her must've taken it seriously after all.
"Much better turn out than last time," Dorcas noted upon entering Slughorn's office. "He sure likes throwing parties often."
"Like, once a week," Lisa said with disdain. "Sometimes more."
"Is that... Celestina Warbeck?" Dorcas said, her eyes growing to the size of tea plates.
"Let's go talk to her," Lisa said with a smirk and took her dazzled friend's hand.
After an hour or so of speaking to famous and successful people (not to mention the usual twenty minutes with Slughorn), Dorcas seemed very pleased with the evening. Lisa, on the other hand, was rather bored. Outside of Quidditch stars and inventors (none of which were present in that night's events), she rarely found the ex-Slug Club members all that interesting.
"Don't you want to make some connections? You're in, why not take advantage of it?" Dorcas asked, as the two of them were hovering around the buffet.
"I just don't see the point. I don't much fancy a career in the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes," Lisa replied and shrugged, inclining her head towards the head of the department, who was talking jovially with Dahlia Fleur-Peri.
"How about the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures? That was always your favorite subject. Haven't you thought of a career path yet?"
"I... I don't think I'll have much time for that, after I leave Hogwarts."
Dorcas looked at her friend pointedly. "You don't mean what I think you do."
Lisa continued to stare straight forward. "There are others out there that need someone to fight for them."
"And what are you going to do, patrol the streets?"
"I'm not sure exactly." Lisa leaned in and whispered, "Dumbledore's got some sort of opposition going."
Dorcas' eyes widened in shock. "So you want to... you want to... join him?" Lisa nodded. "You realize what this means, don't you?" Another nod. Dorcas found herself at a loss for words. "After they almost killed your entire family? After what happened to Julie?"
"Especially because of what happened to Julie," Lisa said in a steely tone, which the Slytherin didn't often hear in her voice. "You don't have to come, you know," she added, more softly. "In fact, it'd give me one less person to worry about."
Dorcas was quiet for a while. Going off against Voldemort was madness. Protecting all muggles and muggle-borns was not a goal they could realistically strive for, and stopping him was even more impossible. What were they hoping to accomplish by dying for a cause they couldn't achieve? But then, Dorcas thought, Dumbledore was no fool. He seemed a bit barmy at times, but there was no question about the sharpness of his mind or the power of his abilities. If he had assembled a fighting force, then he must have some sort of plan. A man like him wouldn't casually risk lives, after all. And if they actually managed to kill Voldemort, if they somehow pulled it off... the Death Eaters would scatter without a leader. And Voldemort was, after all, just a man. A very powerful wizard, but nonetheless, not immune against Avada Kedavra. Maybe with some of the Defenders on his side, Dumbledore stood a respectable chance. And someone had to look after Lisa.
"What the hell," Dorcas said with a shrug. "Everybody dies at some point, right? Why not make it exciting."
"You can't make this decision lightly," Lisa urged her. "It'll be great to have you by my side, but I need you to be sure."
Just as Dorcas was about to answer, a worried Ravenclaw pushed his way though the crowd and came to them, panting heavily.
"What's wrong with you, Fenwick? Late for the party?" Dorcas quipped, but Benjy's face was dead serious as he shook his head, still unable to speak. He reached into his robes and gave them a blank piece of parchment.
The girls exchanged glances and dragged Benjy off with them outside.
Lisa pulled out her wand and said, "I solemnly swear I am up to the fight."
The Defenders' schedule appeared immediately, but both of them gasped as they saw it was, for a lack of a better word, vandalized. Right across the multicolored columns, someone had written with big green letters: THE DARK LORD KNOWS ALL.
"What does this mean?" Dorcas asked, a bit of panic showing under her usually calm voice.
"There's something here," Lisa noticed, bringing the parchment closer to her eyes. In the corner, someone had scratched hastily 'Same bat-time, same bat-channel!' "It's from James," she added, recognizing the messy handwriting.
"Bats? Channels? What the blooming hell does that mean?!" Dorcas exclaimed in frustration.
"It's from an old muggle telly show," Benjy called beside them. The girls exchanged confused glances. "We learned about it in Muggle Studies. When the show ended, the main character, who is a muggle that dresses as a bat to fight crime, says that to remind the viewers to tune in again next week."
"Muggles are off their nut," Dorcas said, shaking her head in disbelief.
"When did this happen?" Lisa cut through.
"Er... in the sixties... but they still show re-runs."
"Not the show! The schedule!"
"Oh. About an hour ago. Why?"
Lisa looked from Benjy to Dorcas. "Because James is calling a meeting. Same time, same place."
The next day at exactly 2 pm, Dorcas and Lisa entered the Three Broomsticks. They were quickly relieved to discover their theory was correct, and at least half of the Defenders had understood the message and sneaked out to Hogsmeade. The two girls quickly grabbed a chair and sat down.
"Were you followed?" Sirius asked, barely above a whisper. Dorcas shook her head negatively. Everyone at the table exchanged grim glances.
"They know," Frank muttered through gritted teeth. "Someone sold us out."
"No one sold us out," James said matter-of-factly.
"Someone did," Dorcas chipped in. "Only a member knows how to make the schedule visible."
"No one could betray us, even if they wanted to," Remus explained. "We charmed the letters we sent you. If you tried to tell anyone who didn't get one of those themselves, you'd lose any memory of the whole thing."
Everyone gaped at him.
"That not excessive or anything!" Marlene growled.
"Anyone could be tortured or Imperiused into talking," Sirius said and glared at her in kind.
"What about Legilimency?" Lily asked. "Se— I mean, we've seen some of them can do it."
The Marauders exchanged glances. It seems they hadn't thought of that.
"What does it matter how they found out?" Dorcas said. "They know, and the schedules are useless now."
"We have a substitute." Sirius pulled out three black notebooks and gave one to Benjy Fenwick, one to Dorcas and one to Emma Vance. "They work the same way. We figured less people walking around with it, less of a chance the Death Eaters will find it. From now on, you tell the notebook holder in your house when you can go on patrol and they coordinate with each other. James is the holder for Gryffindor."
The students around the table nodded in agreement.
"One more thing," James added. "They saw the timetable, before we could erase it. They know our names now, so try to be alone as little as possible and be on your guard."