The Search for Life and Death

The Letter

THE SEARCH FOR LIFE AND DEATH

X

The Letter

Hermione,

Dad took us all to Hogwarts to see Harry. I talked to Snuffles some and ended up accidentally telling him about the snake problem in second year, and that really bad teacher we had in first. He was really unhappy about it, and so was Lupin.

I didn't say anything to Dad yet, but Lupin said he'll send him a letter when they've "relocated" Harry. I think they might be leaving.

- Ron

Ron,

Ron, are you sure? Did Professor Lupin say anything else to you to hint at that? Did he give you any clues about where they're taking Harry? Just tell me what he said exactly and I'll see if I can't figure it out.

And how was Harry? I haven't been able to go see him, yet. I tried to use the floo in the tavern near my house, but for some reason, it's not working now. I was able to floo to Dumbledore's office before, so I don't understand why I can't get to Hogwarts now. I thought about flooing to Honeydukes and walking, but I have a feeling they lock the gates over the holiday.

Let me know as soon as Professor Lupin sends your dad a letter! Are you sure they're leaving, Ron? That might not go over well, and Harry was hurt pretty bad, wasn't he? I mean, wouldn't it be safer to stay here, where Madam Pomfrey can help Harry if he needs it?

- Hermione

Hermione,

I don't remember everything that was said, but Lupin said 'Let your dad know I'll send him a letter when we've relocated Harry' or something like that. He didn't hint at them going anywhere specific, but I just got the feeling they weren't planning on sticking around.

Harry's deaf and he can't speak. He shakes sometimes, too. I don't know if it's permanent or not. No one would really talk about it or tell us anything.

No news yet.

- Ron

Hermione,

Couldn't wait until you sent a letter back, so I'm sending this with Errol. Though you better send your reply with Pig - I don't know if Errol can handle another run.

Dad just got back from talking to Dumbledore. Lupin and Snuffles vanished from the hospital wing, and they took Harry with them. They left Dumbledore a letter – I don't know what it said. No one knows where they are.

- Ron

Ron,

I got your second letter just before I sent back my original reply, so I'm rewriting my reply. Errol looks horrible, so I'm going to let him go home now. Pig looks content enough to wait for me.

I guess you were right about Professor Lupin's hinting, if they're gone. Do you know why they left? If Professor Dumbledore doesn't even know where they are, I wonder if the letter they left might have been a little negative. Did your dad tell you anything about it?

I suppose they have to have had a good reason for disappearing. Professor Lupin doesn't seem like the type of person to go running off without thinking things through, though I can't say the same about Snuffles. You don't suppose Professor Lupin got dragged into doing something, do you?

Deaf and mute? Are you sure, Ron? That's really not good. And he's been shaking? The speech and hearing impairments might be indicative of brain injury, and I think head trauma can cause tremors, too. How often did he shake – was it constant or only some of the time? I'm going to do some research into this.

If you hear anything, let me know right away. I hope Harry's all right.

- Hermione

Hermione,

Mum and Dad are really angry. Lupin sent my dad a letter like he said he would. I got a look at it, but it just said they've taken Harry somewhere he'll be safe from Dumbledore, until he's ready to be honest with them. And then they told my dad not to try looking for them, because he'd never find them. I'd quote it word for word, but I didn't get a good enough look to remember it exactly.

He didn't shake all the time – it came in spurts, I guess. And yeah, Lupin told us when we got there that Harry's hearing and speech had been affected. He didn't say if it was permanent or not, but he looked sorta worried about it.

Lupin and Snuffles will take good care of Harry. They love him – you know that.

- Ron

Ron,

I did some research on head trauma and brain injury. If Harry was struck the right way, that could cause impairments to his speech and hearing. Unfortunately, it could be temporary or permanent, and it's impossible to know whether it's temporary until he regains his ability to hear or speak, which he might never do.

Snuffles stayed hidden for a long time. If they don't want to be found, I bet even Dumbledore won't be able to find them. You said Snuffles and Professor Lupin were angry about the snake king and the garlic turban? If they didn't know about it, that means that Harry didn't tell them, and neither did Dumbledore. I wonder if that's what they meant about him being honest with them. It would make sense, and I could understand why they would be angry about it.

The tremors could be from anything, really – head trauma, stress, an extended fight or flight reflex, a reaction to a potion, or something else. Harry might already have recovered from it, if it was from something like stress. Being with Snuffles and Professor Lupin would help ease his mind, I'm sure. And you're right, they do love him, but so do we, and I still worry about him.

- Hermione

Dear Hermione,

Mum and Dad grounded Ron from sending any post. Dumbledore came over to ask if any of us knew where Professor Lupin and his dog would take Harry, and Mum and Dad are really angry that they've disappeared. Ron told them it was "none of their bloody business," and he's been confined to his room. Don't send anymore letters or you might get into trouble. Dumbledore might come to your house, too, to ask if you know anything. He's angry about it, too, I think.

Hopefully we'll see you sometime this summer. We can talk then.

- Ginny

Albus Dumbledore removed his half-moon spectacles and pinched the bridge of his nose, gusting out a weary sigh. Not even halfway through the holiday, this was racking up to be the most stressful summer he had experienced in years.

It had been just over a month since Sirius and Remus had disappeared with Harry, and though Dumbledore had spent the time since then searching for them, he had nothing to show for it. Not a hint of where they were or where they might have been. He had asked for help from some of the members of the Order of the Phoenix, but even Mundungus Fletcher (who was quite talented when it came to finding things that didn't wish to be found) was at a loss. Sirius, it appeared, had at least gained that small benefit from his imprisonment in Azkaban for all those years.

Dumbledore shook his head lightly, disappointed in himself. There was no good way to look at what had happened to Sirius – no silver lining on the storm cloud that had been his lot in life. Dumbledore should never have even thought such a thing, that the man could have benefited from that horrific and ongoing event. There was not enough light in the world to dispel the shadow of that misfortune. And to think, it hadn't affected him alone, either. Harry, too, had suffered from Sirius' fate, for if the boy's godfather had not been sent to Azkaban, Harry would have grown up loved and cared for…

Dumbledore replaced his spectacles and glanced over at Fawkes with a sigh. The phoenix was standing on his perch, looking decidedly content – a direct juxtaposition to his human companion's state of mind.

"I don't suppose another attempt might convince you?" Dumbledore asked, knowing it was futile before he even opened his mouth. Still, it reassured him that he had tried, even as the phoenix gave him a look that was clearly sardonic, and turned to stare out the window.

Phoenixes were not like wizards.

The magic of wizards brought with it the limitations of combatable magicks. The owls used by wizards to deliver post had all been bred for that particular purpose, from the original ten owls that Ulrich Aviahart had enchanted centuries before. Wizard owls were much smarter than regular owls, and though they were able to find the recipient of their letters through the magic bred into them, the magic was not theirs to manipulate – it was wizard magic passed through their genes. Because of this, a wizard who was sending a letter could use a spell to block the recipient from tracing the letter's origins, and block the owl from being able to find them again. It could be useful on one side, but was quite annoying on the other.

Phoenixes were not owls. They had not been enchanted with a wizard's magic; phoenixes were creatures of magic. They had magic they could use, and were one of only a few creatures that existed only so long as magic itself existed. There was no wizard in existence more powerful, magically or otherwise, than a phoenix. Fawkes, if he had any desire, could easily flame straight to the side of Sirius Black and bring him back before Dumbledore, and there would be nothing that could be done to stop him.

The problem was that Fawkes didn't want to, and Dumbledore, despite his many titles and grand standing in the eyes of the public, could not make him.

There was no doubt in Dumbledore's mind that Fawkes knew precisely where the three missing people were. The phoenix had once appeared to Harry when he'd had need of him down in the Chamber of Secrets, and that was not something done lightly. Phoenixes were notoriously finicky creatures, and much like cats in that regard. However, their reasons were different. Cats were simply undomesticated and, in Dumbledore's opinion, would never be tamed, though people still insisted on trying. Phoenixes, however, were wild creatures, and this was accepted, at least by those who actually cared to think about it. Some actually did think that Fawkes was Dumbledore's familiar, but this was not the case. Fawkes was a friend and, as far as Dumbledore was concerned, he did not deserve the phoenixes' company, but he was grateful for it, nonetheless.

Although a phoenix was known well for appearing only to those who had kind hearts, it was still rare that one should appear to any wizard at all. Fawkes had appeared to Dumbledore nearly a century before, but it was only a few decades ago that he had become an almost constant companion. And though the phoenix would often perch on the stand in Dumbledore's office during his meetings with various professors, students, and otherwise, Fawkes was still quite a solitary creature. It had come as quite a shock to learn that the phoenix had not only appeared to Harry down in the chamber, but that he had carried the Sorting Hat down with him, no doubt with the knowledge in his fire-bound heart that Harry would draw from it the blade that had been lost for generations.

Talking to Harry after he returned from the Chamber with Ginny Weasley en tow, Dumbledore had hinted to Harry that Fawkes had appeared to him because the boy had shown great loyalty to Dumbledore. It was not an outright lie, because he had not said that it had been only that which summoned Fawkes to Harry's side, but he had not elaborated. He wondered now if that had been out of shock at learning such a thing, or petty jealousy.

"You would protect him, even from me, dear friend?" Dumbledore was aware that his voice was quiet as he spoke, almost plaintive, and he wished he could make it sound stronger. Unfortunately, he had begun to doubt himself in the last month, as each day passed without sight of the missing three. Arthur Weasley had received a letter from Remus Lupin, assuring him of their safety and cautioning them in the futility of attempting to find them. Dumbledore sighed. It had further implicated him as being the reason that they had left, and he had no doubts that they meant every word of it, even after this amount of time had passed. Dumbledore's mistake in placing Harry with the Dursleys had been an honest, if foolish, one, and though it had caused Harry no small amount of harm, Dumbledore had done it with the best of intentions.

Young Ronald Weasley had revealed to his father later that Sirius and Remus had learned from him about Harry's encounters with the various faces of Voldemort over the years, and it wasn't hard to realize that it was their lack of knowledge about these dangers that had driven them to leaving. Dumbledore wasn't sure that he disagreed with them in their anger that they hadn't known, but it had seemed foolish to tell them about past events that they could do nothing about. Harry had accomplished a great many feats since coming to Hogwarts and Dumbledore was profoundly proud of the boy. He was also well aware of the boy's modesty and how he tried to avoid the attention that so often came with his natural desire to help – and often to save – people. Not bringing up the past seemed like the best idea.

Dumbledore sighed again. Apparently, he was mistaken.

"I don't suppose you would appear to them if my intention were to apologize?"

Fawkes had turned back around on his perch, watching Dumbledore. At this, he raised his head slightly and then tilted it to the side. A feeling of mild disbelief rippled through Dumbledore and the man sighed.

"No… no, I suppose they would have no reason to." Believe him, that was. From what they had said so far, it was clear that they distrusted Dumbledore, and even if he should reach them with an apology, it was unlikely that they would trust his sincerity.

Fawkes was very observant, and in moments such as these, Dumbledore appreciated his council. The phoenix did not speak – Dumbledore had coined a theory about three decades prior that phoenix were incapable of speech, or rather, not incapable so much as that they had no use for it. For a phoenix, emotion and intention were all that mattered, for that was what defined a creature. Humans had long been separated from each other by a language barrier, and it was even more difficult for humans to understand animals. Words, so often relied upon, fell short when communicating with other beasts, and meanings were lost in translation. Words could be so misleading, and so easily misunderstood, that they were undoubtedly unreliable.

Emotions, however, and intention, drove all creatures. Emotions – what a person felt about a particular action or instance – and intentions – the why of the person feeling that way – was all that a phoenix needed, because together, that was truth. Fawkes was perfectly capable of getting his point across to Dumbledore by projecting an emotion – in this case, by suggesting the disbelief that Sirius and Remus would feel under the circumstances the headmaster had recommended. Knowing the phoenix for as long as he had, it wasn't difficult to come to the appropriate conclusion.

"Then what do you suggest, my friend? Do I simply wait for them to return September 1st? That is, if they choose to allow Harry to return?"

The phoenix gave him an encouraging look, and sang a gentle note of reassurance. Dumbledore closed his eyes, sighing as the emotions of calm and contentedness washed over him. There was nothing so beautiful as the song of a phoenix – nothing that could so easily calm a frantic heart. Dumbledore was reminded that Fawkes had once sang to Harry, a feat even more rare than a phoenix simply appearing to another person. Fawkes truly did care for that boy.

With a sigh, Dumbledore turned back to the letter he had been reading before he attempted to move Fawkes again. He had been receiving quite a number of letters recently, and though this was not unusual, he wished they held some better news.

Headmaster Albus Dumbledore,

I am Officer Reanna Garda, of the Muggle & Magicks Bureau in America. I'm writing you on behalf of a rather unorthodox occurrence earlier today. I am aware of the fact that a witch or wizard attending Hogwarts that becomes involved in a case of child abuse are assigned to the Ministry of Magic in England. For whatever reason, we recently not only received a full and detailed report of child abuse for a young wizard in the Ministry's jurisdiction, but we also received the abusive muggles in question.

Vernon, Petunia, and Dudley Dursley arrived in the lobby of our offices here in New York, via a spell the likes of which I have never seen before. Not just the three muggles in question, but rather, their entire house, which had been carefully shrunk down to such a size as to fit perfectly inside an empty cubicle, without disturbing anything.

I'm afraid that we are somewhat at a loss as to how to reverse the shrinking charm on the house, but the three muggles were swiftly retrieved from its confines, wherein they were immediately returned to their normal sizes. A few other effects of the spell remained active, however. Vernon and Petunia Dursley were caught in a stasis spell that not only paralyzed their movement, but halted all of their bodily functions. They remained unaware of anything that had been going on around them, until we released them from the spell. In my opinion, that was quite a mistake, and you should know that Vernon Dursley is currently being contained, considered a danger both to himself and those around him. Petunia Dursley is also in confinement, pending a decision about where a trial should be held, not only concerning the damages done to her nephew, but also those done to her son.

Dudley Dursley is now a ward of the state. He has been removed from the care of his parents, a restraining spell has been put in place to make certain that neither of his parents can get within thirty feet of him, and we are simply waiting for an Obliviation Crew to come and erase his memory.

I have sent all of this information to you, because I have a younger cousin who attended Hogwarts and now works for the Ministry of Magic. She has never had anything but good things to say about you, and has told me how much you care for the students under your guard. I do not know who performed such a spell to send these reports and the muggles to us, rather than to your Ministry, but we are currently working with the Ministry of Magic to decide where a trial and punishment should take place. I would not be adverse to hearing your opinion on the matter, Headmaster, as this incident is rather unprecedented and, quite frankly, these reports have me at a bit of a loss. I have seen the damage done to Dudley Dursley, but if half of the information in these reports is true, I may have to ask that someone perform a diagnostic check upon Vernon and Petunia Dursley, just to ascertain that they are, indeed, human.

I have included a copy of the reports for your perusal. If I may be so bold, sir, I would advise you not to review them in any place but utter privacy. My partner was, unfortunately, taken off of the case due to the fact that she had been emotionally compromised by the information within. Regardless of how many officers within the Bureau I believe would turn a blind eye, it's against protocol to murder suspects.

I would tell you that I look forward to hearing from you about this matter, sir, but frankly, I hope I wake up tomorrow to learn that it was all a nightmare.

Still, I await your owl.

Reanna GardaMuggle and Magick BureauChild Services and Safety DivisionNew York City, NY, United States of America

Dumbledore lowered the letter back onto the desk with a sigh and pinched the bridge of his nose again. He had been wondering what had happened to the Dursleys. In all of the initial chaos, the muggles had been forgotten, and Dumbledore had only remembered that they had not done anything in regards to them once Sirius and Remus had disappeared with Harry. Even then, it was two days after the disappearance of the three that someone finally made to Number Four Privet Drive, only to find that, though the yard, flowerbeds, and mailbox were still in place, the Dursley's house had simply vanished.

Tracking, revealing, and summoning charms had been used in great excess, but to no avail. The house had simply disappeared, and the Dursleys along with it. A little over three weeks later, it had finally been found.

Sent to America! Dumbledore didn't have to think very hard about that. Who would have more reason to distrust the Ministry of Magic than a werewolf who had been outcast all his life for a disease he could not help, an innocent man who spent twelve years in hell without a trial, and a young boy who had been nothing more than a tool to sell more papers? Dumbledore had little doubt that at least one of the three of them had seen fit to send the cause of so much damage to a place far more likely to properly react to it. The name Harry Potter did not have nearly as much meaning over in the states as it did in England. Perhaps that was for the best.

Dumbledore thumbed through the report that Garda had sent him with the letter. He had yet to read it, and was somewhat disgruntled with himself for this. It wasn't that he hadn't had time (not that he hadn't been busy), or that he had never been alone, as his current location suggested, but rather that he had been disturbed by the officer's warning. He was not looking forward to discovering all the hell that his foolishness had cast upon Harry, and how selfish of him. Young Harry had been forced to live whatever horrors lie within those pages for nearly fourteen years, and all Dumbledore would have to do is read about them.

Still… he set the report aside for the moment, and turned to another letter. He didn't bother reading this one again, as he had already done so multiple times. Instead, he merely glanced at the signature, and sighed.

Miriam StroutJanus Thickey WardSt. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries

One of the things that had been bothering Dumbledore since learning about the truth of Harry's home life and his own mistake was that he had never received word for Arabella Figg. The old squib had been placed on Magnolia Crescent as a way for Dumbledore to make certain that Harry remained safe. A squib was perfect as a lookout in the muggle neighborhood, because she was accustomed to living as a muggle, but able to see things that they chose not to.

Dumbledore had thought it was the perfect plan, and had been quite happy when Arabella had volunteered herself all those years ago. She had always had a soft spot for those who didn't quite fit in with the rest of the world. Dumbledore thought it probably had something to do with how she grew up as a squib in a family of wizards and witches, watching as her brothers and sisters went to school to learn magic, leaving her behind. The woman hadn't been resentful, but rather sympathetic toward any creature that didn't quite fit in. She had, over the years, taken to adopting half-kneazles who wandered into her home. Unaccepted by full-blooded kneazles but too smart to fit in with regular cats, the half-breeds had been left alone to find their own place. Once Arabella had taken a couple of them in, word had got around to the rest, and Arabella became known quite well as being mad for cats. Dumbledore had always been rather fond of the woman for her view on life in that regard – finding the silver lining in what most would consider to be a damnable fate, as a squib.

Like her half-kneazle companions, Arabella had been more than happy to keep an eye on Harry, who himself was an outcast in Wizarding society for his fame, and in Muggle society for his magic. Dumbledore had been certain that if anything had gone wrong, he would have heard about it.

He honestly hadn't considered the possibility of something happening to Arabella.

Mental deficiencies were quite rare in wizards. Their magical core grew inside of them from the moment they were born, and in most cases, any great illnesses or problems were healed and corrected by the magic itself – self-preservation. It was easy to forget, sometimes, that squibs were quite like muggles in that regard.

Arabella Figg had once had a younger brother whom she was quite fond of. He had been born a wizard, but his magical core had, for whatever reason, not grown very fast or very large. When he became ill in his youth, his magic wasn't strong enough to combat the illness, and he had deteriorated over time until, at age fifteen, Newton Figg died.

It's funny how the mind works. It was horrible that Harry had suffered because no one had thought to check on Arabella's welfare, but Dumbledore was glad to know that Arabella had suffered no greater distress from what she had come to believe was her brother next door. Apparently, the woman had been seeing visions of her brother infrequently for a long time, but had always been able to tell that they were mere memory or hallucination. It had never occurred to her to inform anyone about it, and so no one knew when she began to see Harry and mistake him for another vision of her brother. And when Harry began to look more worn, injured, and sick… he simply began to look more like Newton Figg had, before he died.

Arabella had sometimes had Harry over to visit, during which time she would show him photo albums of her family and her cats. It was unfortunate that she had often mistaken Harry's visits for spending time going over old memories with her younger brother, and that Harry had never picked up on that. So much of it had occurred in her mind, however, and she had spent so long keeping Harry out of the loop, not telling him who she really was and why she was there, that perhaps it came of no surprise that she never realized that she thought he was someone else. And no one had ever checked on her.

Dumbledore sighed. No one had ever checked on Harry, either.

And all of this because they were trying to keep things quiet and unknown, from the general public, the media, Voldemort, and his followers. But things had been kept from Harry, as well – so very many things, but that was for the best, Dumbledore was sure. As brave as he was, Harry was still a child. He was not ready to know of the prophecy. Dumbledore wouldn't place that on his shoulders yet.

But he had seen what had come of keeping things from Sirius and Remus. Perhaps much of this could have been prevented if he had simply told them about what had occurred in the past. What harm could revealing that small truth have done? Nothing could be done to change it now, and perhaps then they wouldn't have lost their trust in him, even if he did intend to keep some things from them still. There were some truths they simply weren't ready to deal with, and he would not burden them. They had quite enough to deal with, as it was.

A knock on the door interrupted Dumbledore's musings. Surprised at being visited at such an hour of the night, he called out for the person to enter, not bothering to check on who it was first.

The door opened and Minerva McGonagall stepped into the office, a rolled piece of parchment clutched in her fingers. She glanced at Fawkes for a moment, before turning her eyes to Dumbledore.

"You're up quite late this evening, Minerva," Dumbledore noted, leaning back in his chair and steepling his fingers. He noted that, as usual, the movement did nothing to alter McGonagall's temperament. The woman would never be swayed by him.

"Albus," she greeted, sounding a little distracted. "I wonder if I might ask for Fawkes' assistance with something." It wasn't quite a request, because it wasn't something that Dumbledore could truly grant or deny. The phoenix would do as he wished, regardless of Dumbledore's opinion on the matter. That much had already been made clear.

Dumbledore made a gentle sweeping gesture with his hand. "Whatever he desires, Minerva, you know that as well as I."

"Yes." Minerva pursed her lips and then stepped up to the phoenix. "Would you mind?" she asked quietly, holding out the roll of parchment.

The phoenix reached out with a leg and took the roll of parchment in fierce talons. He chirped in affirmation and glanced at Dumbledore with an expression that the headmaster couldn't quite read. Then, without another sound, he disappeared in a burst of flame. For some reason, he left behind the impression upon Dumbledore that a question of his had just been answered.

"Ah, Minerva," he said, as the woman turned to leave with a word of gratitude, "may I ask whom you asked Fawkes to appear to?"

The Head of Gryffindor House hesitated a moment, her hand on the door, before glancing back at the headmaster. "Remus Lupin sent me a letter," she said quietly. Dumbledore's eyebrows shot up into his hairline as she continued, "He ended it by offering Fawkes' services as a post carrier."

"Did he indeed?" Dumbledore asked softly. He wondered if, perhaps, the phoenix had appeared to the missing trio. Remus was no man's fool and he knew better to trifle with the idea that a phoenix could be mastered. It was entirely possible that Fawkes had offered his services to the werewolf, and Remus had simply passed on the message to his former Head of House.

"Well, that is interesting," Dumbledore said, blue eyes like candlelight. "I wonder, Minerva, if you intend to continue correspondence with your former student?"

"I would, of course, not be adverse to the idea," Minerva said cautiously.

No, of course you wouldn't. Minerva had always had a soft spot for Remus Lupin. That had been clear from the first day that the stern woman had met the shy, sandy-haired eleven-year-old, so unsure of himself. Over his years attending Hogwarts, the two had held a relationship that underwent a series of transformations. Minerva had started as a distant, stern professor, but had progressed to advisor, then mentor, then friend, and later to something almost parental. Dumbledore wasn't certain if Minerva knew how much she meant to Remus, who had gone from an uncertain, cautious little boy to a young man with a loyal and steadfast heart, all under her watchful eye. He knew that Remus Lupin meant a great deal to her, and it really shouldn't have surprised him so much that Remus would turn to her for aid, when he himself had become something of a… liability.

"I wonder, Minerva, if you might be so kind as to help me with something in regards to Remus and his charges." Dumbledore held back a sigh when the woman's caution was not cracked by a smile at his gentle teasing. He continued on, before she might become more concerned about his intentions. "I feel I must make amends, Minerva, for a great many things. The first of which will be doing what I should have done the moment there was time."

Fawkes flared back into existence on his perch, flames dancing wildly into non-existence. There was a rolled up piece of parchment clutched in his claws, filled with magic. Dumbledore could sense the privacy charms from where he sat. Fawkes gave him a look that, on a human, might have been quite identical to a raised eyebrow.

"I believe it's time I was honest with them."

Is there a muggle treatment for Dementia Pugilistica?

There is no known treatment to cure Dementia Pugilistica. As with many things, there are medications to slow the degenerative process, but nothing that will halt it.

Also would a muggle hearing aid help Harry?

No. A hearing aid will help a person who is partially deaf to hear better, because it amplifies the vibrations that allow a human to hear sound waves. As Harry is unable to hear at all, a hearing aid will do him no good.

Author's Note: I would also like to make a note that sometimes things are unclear more than just due to accidental confusion, but also because the story focuses on a select few perspectives. I do not write in third person omniscient, so you will, of course, not know everything, and neither do the characters themselves. If any of you are fans of Edgar Allan Poe, you are likely familiar with the unreliable narrator - a favorite writing technique of mine. If you would like to read a good example, I would suggest his short story, "The Black Cat." It is exquisite.

As always, reviews are welcome in the form of comments and questions, but I won't answer everything. :D It is the mystery that makes it fun, but I'd love to hear your guesses.

Also, today's recommended quote is a personal favorite of mine. Never Alone, Never Again, by Bored Beyond Belief holds its position as one of my top five favorite fics of all time, and I'll be hard-pressed to find a fic that can topple it. It truly is a must-read.

Many thanks for reading, and I'll see you next chapter! As always,

Live long. Live well. Write. Read. Dream.

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