Two men stood quietly, frowns on both of their faces as they looked down at a pale face that was surrounded by a halo of blonde hair. The young woman lay still on the bed, having not yet regained consciousness after the attack.
"What do you make of it?" the first man asked, turning his head to look at the older man, who sighed wearily.
"I can't say for sure. I doubt Voldemort would issue an attack order in the middle of London. Not now. Not when the Ministry is so conveniently ignoring the fact that he's back."
"Well, perhaps it was a Death Eater not acting under You-Know-Who's orders," the younger man said. "It could be like what happened at the World Cup. Someone decided to have sport with the muggles there. Maybe a Death Eater had too much firewhiskey and thought he'd have a spot of fun. The girl was just in the wrong place at the wrong time."
"But she's no muggle," the older of the men said, drawing a surprised look.
"What do you mean by that? D'you know her?"
"Can't say that I do, but I saw what she did. You must have arrived too late to see it. She didn't say a word, but when the Death Eater first cursed her, she deflected it somehow. She managed to shield herself from the Cruciatus curse," the man said, sitting down heavily in a chair near the bed as he continued to look at the girl. They'd gathered her belongings before bringing her back here, knowing that they couldn't take her to a muggle hospital for spell damage, and also knowing that taking her to St. Mungo's would be a bad idea as well. If the Ministry was so determined to ignore the return of Lord Voldemort to the land of the corporeal, then the Ministry probably wouldn't take too kindly to someone being brought in because a Death Eater tried to use an Unforgivable on her... Thankfully, the girl, whose name they had discovered was Tara thanks to the identification in her wallet, had been able to deflect that spell, but the second one, an Impediment curse, had hit her with such violent force that it had caused her to slam backwards into the wall with its force, knocking her unconscious.
"Then she must be pretty quick... And she has to have some power... But that was muggle identification, wasn't it?" the younger man asked, running a hand through his hair as he stared down at the girl. She was rather fragile looking, her skin pale. Though no physical damage was readily evident now, there had been blood in her hair when they'd brought her back to number twelve, Grimmauld Place, something they had done with no small amount of trepidation, but they knew they couldn't take her to St. Mungo's or a muggle hospital, and finding a way to transport her to Hogwarts was out of the question as well with that horrible woman Dolores Umbridge there now. They'd instead spoken to Dumbledore, who had sent Madame Pomfrey to them, the woman sending them out for an item or two so that she could leave the healing potion the girl needed with them, and the Medi-witch had left them with strict instructions not to alter the girl's memory for at least seventy-two hours to give her time to recover from the knock on the head. Fortunately, the use of magic shown by the girl meant that they wouldn't have to remove the attack from her memory, though they would probably still have to remove the memory of number 12, Grimmauld Place from her mind. The owner of the house, one Sirius Black, had been instructed to stay out of the girl's sight, as he had been shown as a wanted man on both wizarding and muggle news, and they all felt that the less of the girl's memory that had to be modified, the better.
"Yes, it was. Perhaps she's muggle-born. I don't know," the man muttered, rubbing his hand over his face, and the younger man frowned.
"Perhaps we should move her to the Burrow now. I don't know what will happen if she wakes up here. Dumbledore's the secret-keeper for the Order, and he hasn't told her where it is, so..."
"I spoke to Dumbledore about it, and he said it should be fine. Once she leaves here, she won't be able to find the place again unless he tells her where it is, but it should be all right when she wakes." Sighing, the older man stood up, beginning to prowl about the room. "I don't like this... A Death Eater attacking a girl in an alley just off a busy London street. Any amount of muggles could have seen it, and he more than likely thought she was a muggle as well. Voldemort would want to continue hiding, or at least avoid an outright attack at the moment. He doesn't want anyone to know that he's back-"
"Maybe there were orders to make it look like a muggle attack. Perhaps it was done outside of You-Know-Who's orders. Perhaps he needs a muggle for something-"
"But for what? I suppose it's just lucky we were nearby-"
"Do you think the Death Eater knew we were nearby?" the younger man questioned, his eyes narrowing a bit as he removed his gaze from the girl and looked over at his friend. "Do you think he was trying to draw us out, find out for sure that the Order is back?"
The other man heaved out a sigh. "It is possible. We know they have their agents and spies just as we do. And he did disapparate almost as soon as we showed up."
"And it's damned difficult to see any facial expression behind those bloody masks, so it's impossible to say whether the Death Eater was surprised or pleased to see us," the younger man said with a sigh, the two men falling into an uncomfortable silence, both of them clearly wishing they could discover the reasoning behind this attack. After a long moment, a sound caused them both to sit up a bit straighter, the younger man glancing at the door as if expecting to find someone (such as the owner of the house) standing there, but no one was there. Frowning, he looked back at the other man, his brow furrowing when he saw the man was looking at the girl. "What-"
"She's waking up."