no light in your bright blue eyes
And in that same moment, she realized that her own spark of hope had been extinguished as well, the cruel boot of fate snuffing it out as if it was a lit match, delicate and flickering.
The Ministry had fallen. The Cadena had infiltrated. The Minister was dead. And yet, with her fingers clutched around the sleeve of the person beside her, Tatiana couldn’t help but feel at least a little spark of hope. If her brother was alive, at least that was one constant in her world that had actually stayed one; and with all the variables that had presented themselves as of late, that was what she needed.
They’d come when she was visiting her brother at his place of work, their masks firm on their faces, their wands firing out curse after curse and adding to the cacophony of screeching. Daniel, thinking fast, had rushed both himself and his sister out of the Ministry and into a Muggle town nearby. It would have been a great plan spare for her healer’s robes and his Ministry ones that made them stick out like sore thumbs in the crowd of business suits and lab coats.
Tatiana wrapped her arms around herself, casting a watchful eye around the area. “Do you think they can track us out here?” There was an answer she was expecting, and an answer that she wanted – and hopefully, they’d both be the same thing.
Her brother surprised her by not answering either of the ones that she’d had in mind, “I don’t know.” His blue gaze roved the vicinity quickly before his eyes widened. “There.” He jerked a chin toward a Cadena soldier coming toward them out of one of the alleys, somehow having managed to catch onto their trail.
Her heart thudded in her chest. “Where do we hide?” There wasn’t any hope of merely apparating out of there, not if they’d been found within seconds of leaving one place. There was no time to change, either, and she glanced down in annoyance at her bright robes, knowing that she couldn’t blend in with Muggles now.
Her brother didn’t answer and merely grabbed her wrist, tugging her behind him as he weaved through the crowd, past people shouting in annoyance and those jumping aside in surprise, and then quickly proceeded into an alley. There was only a dumpster on one end of it to serve as a hiding spot, and the siblings quickly crouched behind it.
“Do you think we lost him?”
There were footsteps then and they both waited, holding their breaths. After what felt like an eternity, the person continued forward, past the alley, and Tatiana allowed herself a small exhale, holding her wand close to her. For several minutes, they remained silent, still not making a noise, before at last, Daniel untangled himself from behind the dumpster and peeked out.
“Stay here,” he murmured to her, his voice low as he tentatively stepped away. He moved closer to the end of the alley, his footsteps almost silent as he came to the edge of where the brick wall and the nearest building met and peered around it.
Before Tatiana could register what was going on, there was a flash of green light and Daniel suddenly fell back, blasted against the nearest wall. His limp body slumped against it, and a lithe figure – the Cadena member tracking them – leapt forward from where they’d been concealed from the shadows.
Ignoring her brother’s last words to her, the brunette burst out from her hiding spot, hazel eyes wide in shock that hadn’t entirely registered yet. She made a beeline for Daniel’s body, grasping onto him, but he was already limp, his blue eyes wide. “Dai!” she shrieked, and didn’t flinch as her voice echoed in the alley. When he didn’t respond, she punched him hard in the stomach, a blow that surely would have elicited a reaction in any other case.
This time, he didn’t move.
A choking sob forced its way up her chest, her shoulders beginning to shake even as tears pricked at her eyes. She beat his chest again, still in denial, but there was no real reason, for he was gone. There was no light in his blue eyes, the spark all but faded – and in that same moment, she realized that her own spark of hope had been extinguished as well, the cruel boot of fate snuffing it out as if it was a lit match, delicate and flickering.
And there was that boot again – only this time, it wasn’t the boot of fate but rather the boot of the Cadena soldier, who kicked her viciously in the side until she tumbled into the wall. There was no fear, nor panic. If she didn’t have her brother, then she didn’t have hope. And if she didn’t have hope, what was the use in fighting anymore?
The man lifted her by her hair, pulling her close so that she was forced to focus on his horrible mask. She didn’t screech, and nor did she flinch. Tatiana merely went limp in his grasp. “We only need one,” he rasped, adding, “Your grandmother will be delighted to see you. Maybe we can even get her to talk.”
She had neither the energy nor the inclination to respond as he turned on the spot and whisked them away.