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Wired for the Task

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Summary: Post HBP. Harry is preparing to destroy the remaining Horcruxes. Susan shows up on his doorstep. Oneshot.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Harry Potter > Non-BtVS/AtS StoriesKensingtonFR1315,896051,4459 Sep 089 Sep 08Yes
Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns the intellectual property contained within. It's not mine.

A/N: Canon up through HBP. Toss your DH out the window. Credit goes to Warlocke for the Alapa Magnus spell and ArseNick for the Aegis Shield concept. Both can be found on the DLP forums under the DLP Spell List topic.

Special TtH AN: The Bourne Resurrection hasn't been abandoned. It's just temporarily on hold while I write The Doorway to Dawn, a HP/WoT crossover that I'm posting at my fanfiction.net account

Thanks to Mindless and Vash for their help with proofing the fic.



It's damn irritating to eat with people staring at you. Used to being ignored and banished to the shadows, my first year at Hogwarts made every mealtime a taxing event. My appetite would simply vanish upon feeling several pairs of eyes tracking my every move. Only when I realized that with the encroachment of summer my nearly unlimited access to food would vanish, did I overcome my nerves to eat like the rest of my classmates. I never could enjoy a meal in the Great Hall though.

My situation at the Dursley's was the complete opposite. There I had complete anonymity, but no food to eat.

Now I faced the worst of both scenarios in my waning weeks at the Dursley home. Their nerves shot at the prospect of losing the protection I provided them with my presence; they felt compelled to track my every move. Dudley and my Uncle weren't too bad; they simply stared at me dumbly as if it were incomprehensible that I had been responsible for their survival the past seventeen years. My Aunt was far more disconcerting; with her birdlike eyes observing my every move as if she were committing it to memory. Unlike the others her expression contained intelligence. I could tell that she was simply compiling a list of my sins and was simply awaiting the moment she could tattle to a higher power.

This led to my current predicament. I knew I had to eat dinner to keep my health up, but it was a chore and a half with all three of them watching while I shuffled around the scraps of roast they had deigned to bestow upon me. How they had managed to shuffle their roast, mashed potatoes and greens down their throats while maintaining constant eye contact was beyond me, but they managed to achieve it.

A sharp rap at the front door diverted their attention, allowing me to scarf down three forkfuls of this slop.

"Boy! Make yourself useful and answer the door," he grunted before digging back into his meal.

I stood up quickly, eager to get away from my relatives. It wouldn't surprise me if they were hoping that if our guest turned out to be a threat, my demise would provide them with enough time to escape. Expecting to only see one of Dudley's crew, I swung the door open.

"Hullo Harry. How's your summer going?"

I blinked at the sight of my guest. Susan Bones stood in front of me, dressed in passable muggle fashion. She certainly didn't look like one of the girls from the magazines, yet could actually blend into a crowd - unlike a certain metamorphmagus I knew.

"Smashing Susan. What brings you to my neck of the woods?" I answered in what I hope passed as a sincere voice. Apparently it failed judging by the frown that flicked across her face.

"Um, I wanted to see if I" Susan started before she was interrupted by my Uncle.

"Dammit Boy! What's taking you? Tell them we want no solicitors."

I scowled at the interruption. Worse, Susan looked interested as to why my uncle sounded so acrimonious.

"Give me a moment, I'll be right back," I assured her before closing the door.

Naturally my relatives took the fact that a witch was outside the house poorly, but I made it very clear that I could talk to her either outside at the park or she could come in to enjoy their hospitality. Aunt Petunia couldn't put my food in the fridge fast enough in order to get me and the other "freak" away from her.

Reopening the door exposed a Susan who looked entirely too nervous. "Sorry for the wait, just had to let my relatives know that I was going to be out for a bit. Care to head to the park?" As I exited the house it occurred to me that Mad-Eye Moody would have a coronary with the way I left myself alone with Susan.

She nodded shyly, before picking up a satchel from the ground and clutching it to her chest. The walk to the park went slowly as neither one of us were willing to speak. Cookie-cutter houses provided little distraction; all in perfect shape with perfectly trimmed lawns. I really hoped she didn't come out here just to try to snag a date. It wasn't as if I wanted to break up with Ginny; I just didn't have time to worry about girls.

Finally we got to the park where I motioned us over to the swing set. She followed my lead in sitting down on the swings. Still wouldn't say a thing. Great, looked like it would be up to me to break the silence. "So how did you find me? I was under the impression that where I lived was a state-secret."

It was nice to see a sly grin appear on her face. I didn't want to talk with someone shier than me.

"It does pay to be related to the head of the DMLE growing up. All I had to do was go down and bat my eyes to Yarham down in records and I had their entire file on you."

There goes the last reassurance I had for my safety. Narcissa Malfoy could probably pull the same act as Susan and leak the information to Voldemort. "Ah. So what can I do for you?"

Nice tact there. She immediately turtled back into her shell, looking as if I was a dementor. Bloody hell. "Look Susan, I'm sorry if I'm coming off as rude. It is nice to see you. I'm just a little perplexed as to why you're here when nearly no one else has made the effort in the past sixteen years."

She started speaking, but it was so damn soft I had to ask her to speak up louder. "I'm ashamed, alright! I can't explain what happened last year, but it was like I forgot everything from the DA. I didn't have my DA galleon on me, so when your friends needed help fighting off the Death Eaters I was off in my bed. Dumbledore died because I was off ignoring the war!"

I would not laugh. I would not laugh. I would not…oh bugger. Judging by the expression on her face I laughed. She went to stood up but I quickly latched onto her wrist, holding her in place as she stood and tried to leave.

"Susan, I’m sorry. I'm laughing because there was absolutely nothing you could have done to save Dumbledore. He had frozen me in the corner, hidden away so I could watch Snape kill him. I spent the whole year telling Dumbledore that Malfoy was up to something, but he refused to listen. So did Hermione and Ron for that matter. I shouldn't have laughed, but it sounded as if was completely your fault he died, when none of it was your fault. The old codger was just too stubborn."

Susan no longer looked like she was going to cry at least. "I think that's the most you've ever spoken to me Harry," she says while sitting back down. "Anyways, I want in."

What was she going on about? "In what?"

She jutted her chin as if she were physically making a point. "You know. Your fight against Voldemort. You're always smack dab in the middle of it. He killed my Aunt. My parents have immigrated to the Colonies to get away from him."

"Wait, if your parents are there, why didn't you go?"

"I refused to. My prerogative at being seventeen. I'm not going to flee the country and abandon my friends to the Death Eaters."

Ah, there was the Hufflepuff spirit climbing out from under its rock. "So, you're crazy enough to volunteer to get involved. I think if you join in with Hermione and Ron you three can get a group discount for psychological treatment. Disregarding the fact that I've been advised to let nobody else get involved mind you, why should I let you run about and have me worry over you?"

I did not like the wicked grin that appeared on her face as she reached into her satchel to withdraw a book of sorts. Merlin, wasn't one Hermione enough?

"Don't roll your eyes at me. Do you have any clue what this is?"

"Not a one."

"It's my Aunt's diary. She became a tad dedicated to the job after Death Eaters killed Uncle Edgar. She basically listed every spell and tactic she found useful in her various roles with the DMLE. It's yours if you let me tag along."

I took a closer look at the book. While far from being in pristine condition, it didn't look ancient like those that could be found in Hogwarts. If Susan told me the truth, this could be a useful resource for keeping us alive while we hunted Horcruxes.

But I also had access to the entirety of the Black library. The odds of her Aunt knowing about Horcruxes and actually writing down a way to destroy them were slim at best. It simply wasn't worth it to worry about another person - especially a pseudo fangirl - to tag along with me just for a crib sheet of useful spells.

"I’m sorry Susan," I said as kindly as possible. "It's just not worth the risk to bring another person along."

Her eyes lowered momentarily, resulting in me feeling fairly guilty. Damn women and their ability to make me feel bad. Still, I didn't give into Ginny and I won't for Susan.

"Fine," she bit out in a stubborn tone. "I'll just start fighting Death Eaters on my own." I gaped at her as she placed the book back in the satchel and stood up from the swing, brushing the dirt off her bum. "I wish you good luck," she growled as she reached for her wand.

"Wait!" I blurt out. The book was a nice resource. Another wand wouldn't hurt either. I vaguely recalled her being in the top tier of the DA sessions. While it took her longer than others to get the basics down, once she accomplished that she could master a spell to a high proficiency in frightening time.

Susan blushed as I stared critically at her body. Her conditioning would be an issue. We were most likely going to be roughing it in the wilderness to avoid Death Eaters while searching for the Horcruxes. Her pale skin told me she didn't spend much time outside. Her mahogany hair framed a pretty face that still held a fair amount of baby fat. A quick glance at her exposed arms told me that while she was not the slightest bit obese, she lacked significant toning.

Well, it wasn't like Hermione had much conditioning either. I could set up an exercise regime for her to work on until after the wedding. Blast, Ginny would not be happy that Susan was coming along. Oh well, Susan was a year older and didn't include the wrath of Mrs. Weasley.

"You can come," I said at last. Her face lit up while I prayed I wasn't making a mistake. ______________________________________________________________________________

My breath condensed in front of me as I started my sixth set of push-ups. The brisk mid-October air stabbed at my lungs as I attempted to keep my back straight.

I was working out in a small copse. It was dense enough to conceal any spellwork done, with enough open space for up to three to work out comfortably. Last week I made the mistake of noting how lovely the leaves had become recently as they turned a brilliant orange and was mocked mercilessly by my so-called friends since.

Fun fact: Death Eaters aren't an international organization. Sure, they can find sympathizers in every nook and cranny of this planet, but every nation had their own wannabe Dark Lord who didn't want their turf encroached upon. Grindelwald had tried to take Europe and all he got in return was a multi-state wizard army that set the German wizard population back five hundred years. As long as Voldemort operated solely in Great Britain, nobody else gave a rat's arse what happened to us.

Which led to the four of us staying in a hostel near the village of Skibbereen in Cork County, Ireland. After being smothered to death by Mrs. Weasley, Hermione had remarked that we'd get no progress done if we had too many distractions; hence our trip on a ferry over to the Emerald Isle. The hostel was a converted old mill that looked like it belonged in Hogsmeade. It was perfect to operate out of: located in the middle of nowhere, private rooms where we could keep our belongings and research, and remote locations to practice our magic. Too bad they were going to kick us out in a little over a month as they shut down for winter.

"Helga's soggy tits! How the hell are you learning these so fast? I'm still stuck on Alapa Magnus."

Damn witch for giving me that mental image. For some reason I imagined Helga Hufflepuff resembling Professor Sprout. I waited to finish my last set of push-ups before bothering to give her my attention. Dressed in muggle track pants and jacket in a hideous yellow color, she looked as if she wanted to curse her own wand. Huh, I wondered how she knew so much about muggle clothing and habits. "Oi Susan, how do you know so much about muggles?"

She looked at me like I was daft. "You do know that my dad is muggle-born, right?"

"Nope, I assumed you were a pureblood after meeting your Aunt during the trial. Anyone with that much pull in the Ministry just has to be a pureblood."

It was nice to see a smile cover her face. Thankfully she got over her awkward shy phase rather quick. Now though she spent all her time being pissed at either Ron for ogling her or at her wand as a surrogate for her inability to learn spells at a faster pace. I can't fault Ron too badly though, her consistent physical regime made Susan much more pleasant on the eyes.

"Well, dad is a muggle-born. Mum was the youngest of three siblings. Uncle Edgar was the oldest, followed by Auntie Amelia and then mum. Now that I'm done bleeding my heart, will you teach me this flaming spell?"

My hand waved for her to give it a try. She huffed before standing back up in a ready position. She started and immediately I saw her error. Instead of doing a half counter-clockwise flick following the initial thrust, she was doing it clockwise. She didn't notice this simple error in over a week of practice?

"Stop." I ordered as she went to try it a second time after her first failed to produce the grayish beam that signaled a successful Alapa Magnus being cast. It was a damn useful spell. If I could get one of these off in a fight the opponent would be deaf, dizzy and hopefully bleeding, making them an easy target to knock off. Not a socially acceptable spell, but I'd rather survive than worry about the fickle opinion of wizards. "After the first thrust, you're flicking the wand the wrong way. Here, like this," I said as I grabbed her hand to run her though the spell.

I had to give her credit. Once shown her mistake, she quickly fixed it and had now moved to casting Alapa Magnus silently. Streaks of dim grey repeatedly hit the tree trunk in our little copse. Her work ethic was commendable, although it was vexing how she wouldn't ask for help when she got stuck.

Too bad my other friends didn't share her mentality. Sure, I could excuse Hermione. While she wasn't afraid to throw herself into a wand fight, she was in her element with books. Having her track down auction and sales records of artifacts belonging to the founders of Hogwarts put her to much better use.

Ron though was starting to get on my nerves. He refused to learn half of the spells that Susan and I were learning claiming that "respectable" wizards wouldn't be caught using them. Personally I was convinced he was just lazy. Didn't he know that respectable wizards tended to end up dead? He split his time practicing between spacing out and doing the standard spells from OWLS. He tended to get bored an hour in and then go off to harass Hermione.

Hermione put up with it for all of a week before she started to send him off to run errands in Skibbereen. Since we were trying to pass off living as muggles, he was forced to walk the mile there without the aid of a broom or Apparition. It would take roughly an hour depending on the errand for him to complete the trip. It made me smile thinking about how one day last week Ron made eight trips. I guess one of us had to hold the position of pack mule.

"So, are you missing Ginny?"

Where did that come from? To be honest, I hadn't thought of her much at all since the wedding. "Nah, not in the slightest."

A queer expression fell on her face. For the life of me I couldn't figure out what she was thinking. "Why not? Your lips were glued together when we left Hogwarts. From the way Ron speaks, you nobly put your love on hold to focus on Voldemort."

Unfortunately I couldn't contain the grimace that appeared on my face as she spoke. Looking up her expression was now clearly identifiable as feminine rage. I would never understand how a slight on one girl was interpreted as a slight on the entire gender. "Listen, don't get your knickers in a twist. She was throwing a giant-size tantrum that I wouldn't let her come, irregardless of the fact that she was underage. I just can't focus on someone…so immature." This seemed to appease her as she lost her glare and returned to that unknown expression.

It was probably for the best that I wasn't truly honest. I doubt telling her that upon seeing a picture of what I thought was Ginny, only to find out that it was a young Molly Weasley was the impetus to consider breaking things off with her permanently would be taken well by Susan. I was still utterly confounded by girls, but I'm pretty sure that would get me labeled "shallow."

Oh well, I had a new shield spell to learn. I figured that anyone capable of winning a priori incantatem duel against Voldemort had the power to cast an effective Aegis Shield.



Involuntary spasms wracked my body as I made my way to Susan. She was slouched against the wall maintaining eye contact with me. The rotted wood looked like it could barely support her light frame. What the hell was that curse that hit me? The beam had been dark purple. All it had served to do was make me shake like a wound-up Tigger. I didn't feel any pain, but it was very annoying.

"You alright there?" I asked concerned. Now that I was closer I could see that she was far paler than normal and had a fair amount of blood blended in with the black wool of her cloak. Bloody hell, she had to be ok.

She nodded weakly, making me sigh in relief. "Are you good to Apparate back to the campsite?" I asked. I hoped she was. We had just finished a raid on a Death Eater safe house looking for a Horcrux. What we found were eight Death Eaters and no Horcruxes. While I think we killed them before they could get a message out, I didn't want to hang around here any longer than necessary.

"Harry? Harry?"

I looked up at Susan. Wait - wasn't I just standing above her? I had only blinked. Her face looked far too upset for her to be alright. Stubborn woman, she really needed to learn to complain more. "Don worry. I'm getting you outta here."

She gave me a gentle smile. Now I just needed to get off the floor and Apparate out. Weird. My arms didn't want to move. Huh, she was holding me in place. Didn't feel her hands on me at all though.

"Harry? Good, stay with me. Just stay calm. Did you see the color of whatever hit you?" she asked in that weird tone again. She was starting to get far too confusing to deal with. I used to be able to read her like a book, now it was like reading Chinese. Huh, it had been a while since I last ate Chinese food. Hogwarts really needed to spruce up their diet. "Harry!"

"Oh, hi Suse Sus Sue. Your name really should be one shyllable. There was purp…purple. Why are you so confushing?"

Her face noticeably relaxed. Good, if she could just let me up I'd be able to get her back to camp and patch her up.

"Alright Harry, you can call me whatever you want," she began softly. "The good news is that I know what's effecting you, a variation of the paralysis curse. The potion to counter it was sent in one of the batches Hermione provided us. The bad news is that I'm going to have to side-Apparate you back with me. Never done it before. Let's hope I don't splinch both of us."

Uh-oh. True to her nature, the first time she tried to Apparate she screwed up and splinched herself. Susan can never get a spell right the first time. Thankfully she learned from her mistakes. Too bad this was likely to make me one of her mistakes.

Now she was hugging me. I assumed that this would be more pleasant but for some reason I couldn't feel her. Odd, she ate nearly as much as Ron. Perhaps she was bulimic. I'd find her a support group. My eyes were getting rather heavy. It had been a while since I slept. No! I had to Apparate us back to the campsite.

I felt a light tap on my cheek that sent my head reeling to the left. What the hell? Now I was in the middle of a snowstorm. Didn't make sense. Wasn't even cold. How did I get here? I focused up for a moment to see Susan leaning over me with red eyes and an extended arm. "Su…ho-how?"

"Harry! Stay awake dammit!" she hissed at me before standing up. She flicked her wand too quick for me to track. Were we under attack?

I guess not. Susan set her wand back into her sleeve before limping over me. Pity she wasn't wearing a skirt. Weird. Everything was moving. The tent approached Susan and me before she straightened up to open it. "How is the tent walking?" I asked. I didn't know magic could do that.

Next thing I knew she was opening my eyes. I thought we were over this fangirl phase. I actually enjoyed her company. Now she was sticking her fingers into my eyelids with her other hand jamming a vial down my mouth.

"Creepy bint," I muttered as soon as she withdrew her hands.

***

It's light outside. I'm in no rush to open my eyes. For some reason my entire body is sore. There's also a strange pressure on top of my right leg. It's nice to just lie in bed and collect your thoughts. No rush to get up, especially in the middle of winter.

The thought of winter immediately dampened my spirits. Saying it was cold and wet was an understatement to say the least. Despite anticipating the need to use a tent to avoid people, I had rather hoped to avoid it. Unfortunately it wasn't in the cards. Upon being given the boot out of our hostel at the end of November, we had returned to Grimmauld Place. Little did we know that Mrs. Weasley had charmed every floor to alert her if anyone took a step in that damn place. Within minutes Order members were literally pouring out from the chimney, as they demanded an accounting for our whereabouts for the past four months.

It took Susan and me nearly a week to gather the camping supplies to make our escape. We had already decided that Hermione would stay behind to utilize the resources at Grimmauld Place. Susan balked at Ron coming along, so we convinced Hermione to take him as her assistant. Finally we established a dead-drop for us to pass information and supplies to one another in a meadow outside Godric's Hollow.

Since then the two of us had been changing campsites every week. We worked out in the snow and learned spells in the snow. It was bloody cold. If Krum flew in weather like this…he was the better man. The only high point was when the two of us would raid a location for Horcruxes. It definitely broke the monotony. Granted, we had yet to find a Horcrux, but climbing around Riddle House or infiltrating Malfoy Estate was much more enjoyable than trying to run five kilometers in knee-high snow. Thankfully neither of us had to kill anyone yet….

With a start I opened my eyes and sat up in my bed as memories of last night came to me. Five dead by my wand. Before I could properly start my sulk, I felt the weight on my leg shift as I heard a low moan to my right.

Susan shifted in the comfy chair next to my bed, where her arm was twisted up at an unnatural angle to make a pillow for her head. Her bare left leg stretched to my bed, where it rested upon my right leg. I could see a generous amount of bandages applied to her thigh. Thank Merlin she looked alright. But what the bloody hell happened to me? Last thing I remembered was seeing her slouching against that wall.

I decided to wake Susan up. I'd be doing her a favor with the way she had contorted her body. Least I could do for her watching over me. "Susan. Susan. Wake up and take my bed while I make us some breakfast," I whispered.

Her eyes fluttered open quickly before she stared dumbly at me. I have to resist the urge to laugh as she slowly untangled herself. "Harry! You're up! Are you alright?"

"I'm perfectly fine. Just a little sore," I answered to her visible relief. "How about you? As a matter of fact, what happened last night? Last thing I remember is seeing you against that wall."

Susan's face scrunched up as she organized an answer. It was cute. "I'm fine, just some shrapnel nicked my thigh. You on the other hand were hit by a variant of the paralysis curse. You were still in the spasm stage when you found me. Thankfully I recognized it and brought you back here for the counter-potion." Her voice lowered as she continued, "It was close Harry. A few more minutes and you would have been in cardiac and respiratory arrest."

I owe her my life. Strange. Since entering Hogwarts, I was the one who saved - or failed to - save lives. "Well, I'm good now," I said awkwardly after a few moments of silence.

Her lip trembled slightly as she withdrew into herself. "Harry, I killed three people last night," she stated in a flat tone. "Shouldn't I feel bad for what I did? I don't feel bad at all about killing them. Their deaths won't give me nightmares."

My hand reached out to clasp one of hers. She tightened her grip on it, seeking support. "I killed five. Susan, they were the worst type of people. Killing people like our grandparents just because they are muggles is sport for them. We saved lives by killing them. I won't lose any sleep either," I stated honestly. I knew I said the right thing when I saw her smile back at me. She squeezed my hand before releasing it. Time to further lighten the mood. "So I just laid still for you while you saved my life?"

A flash of guilt coursed through me as I saw her eyes darken at the reminder of last night. Should have changed the subject. I'm surprised…and then a little worried when her expression lightens up and a mischievous grin appears on her face. "Well, I did learn a few things. Apparently my name is too many syllables for you, you find me confusing and tents often walk up to you." I started to laugh before her mood shifted again and I found myself dodging a slap. What the bloody hell? "Oh, I’m also apparently a 'creepy bint.' Mind explaining that one?"

I stared with no response. True, when we first started out I may have thought she was nutters to volunteer for this. But creepy? "Sorry, for the life of me I can't think of a time I thought you as creepy."

The stony expression melted into a soft smile. "You also ignored every injury of yours to try to help me out. Thank you." She leaned in to brush her lips against mine. I just stood there, flabbergasted. Smooth. Her hand struck out again, this time to smack my arse. "Get breakfast going, I'm starving after watching over you all night."

I just stood dumbly and stared as she limped back towards her partition of the tent.



The wizarding world needs to learn about the concept of "political correctness." I first heard of it over at the pub in Skibbereen. The First Lady of the United States, Hillary Clinton was in North Ireland to do something with the peace process up there. I know scarcely any details. Why study an intricate and prolonged peace process for a near-century old conflict when one has a custom-tailored terrorist hunting you down? Anyways, all anyone talked about was the number of women her husband had boffed while married to her. This went on for some time until some pixy of a woman stood up on a table and loudly berated the patrons for not being "politically correct." This of course spawned a new round of arguments over whether the term applied to the situation, but the concept itself became ingrained in my mind.

The wizarding world does need to learn political correctness, because they choose the absolute worst days to celebrate on. The murder of my parents is virtually a national holiday. My final defeat of Voldemort has now turned into a two-week holiday. Never mind that Professor Lupin and Ron are a few of the many who are dead. Ignore that Susan spent three days in the hospital getting her arm repaired. My friends and family are dead, so lets all go on a one-month bender.

I heard a soft crack as I felt the air displace around me. I swiveled the chair I'm in to see Susan standing next to our bed, a proud smile on her face. It quickly transformed into a frown upon hearing a series of rockets set off outside in Diagon Alley.

"Are they still bloody celebrating?" she ranted as she stalked towards the window to peer out. "It's eleven in the morning. Don't they have jobs to go to?"

I stand up and walk over to wrap my arms around her to calm her down. It's hard to feel righteous anger when Susan is joining in. "Shh, let them have their fun. They’ll all just die the next time a dark lord rises," I assured her.

She turned her head briefly to look at me incredulously. "Have you lost your mind? For the past week you've been in the worst of moods due to them celebrating after all we've lost. And now you expect me to calm down? I've lost count of the times I tried to lift your spirits to be brushed aside."

I just perch my head on top of hers. It fit rather well, although I do have to stand on my toes. "It doesn't feel proper to be moody when you are as well. Besides, if you tried to elicit a lift of something else you may ha-" I found myself breathless as she dug her elbow into my side. "So, what had you so happy when you popped in?"

"Two things," she stated as she led me towards our bed. Technically it's Fred's bed. We were watching over the shop for them while they stayed at the Burrow to be there for their parents. Losing Ron…hurt. He had gotten on my nerves this year, but that was just because he wasn't wired to do what Susan and me had to. Merlin, I wish I could floo over to the Burrow to play some pick-up Quidditch with Ron.

"First, apparently we're now celebrating Memorial Day." I just stared blankly at her. What is Memorial Day? Seeing my look, she answered, "It's an American holiday. There was a tour bus outside the alley just full of Yanks watching the fireworks." I chuckled at the mental image. "Second, I think I found a job suitable for the two of us."

This grabs my attention. She left this morning to gather the last of the belongings from her Aunt's office. We both shared the same opinion about working for the Ministry in any capacity - not the slightest chance in hell. What type of job did she stumble across at the Ministry that didn't entail us working for them?

"I was walking out when a pair of rough looking men walked in. Between them was Draco Malfoy, bound in chain." Yes! No one had seen him since the death of Dumbledore. I was afraid that he had escaped justice. "Turns out he was hiding in France," Susan continued, ignoring my wiggles of jubilee. "The men were Bounty Wizards. They get paid large sums of money to capture dark wizards for governments. Like what we did for the past year, except we did it pro bono," Susan said in a dry tone.

It sounded brilliant. We both wanted to make the world a better place, but refused to work for some idiotic bureaucracy. Best to kill those who would kill others for sport or misguided beliefs. Better yet, Susan was the only one I trusted to watch my back. Most importantly, she was the only person I could put up with at any given time. It still boggled my mind how well we got along with one another after the sheer frustration of last winter when we only found two Horcruxes after eleven searches.

I pulled Susan down to the bed and pressed my mouth to hers to convey my consent to her idea. It's going to be a brilliant partnership.

The End

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