Death involving Calista
"I’ll go," he had told her when the last of their food had gone from the cabinet. She had clutched at his arm and begged him to stay under the quilts with her, but he had quietly insisted. "I’ll be back within the hour."
Thomas apparated into an alleyway near the grocery where they went infrequently to stock up on food. They had been living as Muggles in Manchester for several months, now, using as little magic as they could manage, working Muggle jobs, and living in a Muggle neighborhood. Although Voldemort’s regime found it amusing to use non-magic folk as target practice, it was generally known that the lot of them usually struck people walking alone or in pairs at night, unprotected and unawares. In large crowds or public places the danger was less prevalent, and therefore Thomas and Calista spent as much time as they could at home, only leaving for the absolute necessities.
And so Thomas found himself in the little corner grocer’s, the fluorescent lighting making his head ache. He threw item after item into the cart, reading from a list that went on for several pages. Calista’s handwriting could be infuriatingly difficult to decipher when she scrawled in a hurry, and he was struggling to make out something that looked puzzlingly like kitten hair soup.
The door to the shop, several yards away and hidden by multiple aisles of cereal and seasonings and shampoo, swung open with a faint tinkling of bells. Thomas pushed his trolley forward, reaching for a large glass jar of tomato sauce. Gargoyle pizza, read the next item. He shook his head to himself, his lips curving into a smile with a great rush of affection. God, Cal, you great-
And then the light of the store was green instead of dizzying white, and Thomas did not have to hear the lazily-spoken words for his blood to run ice cold in his veins. He reached for his wand, heart thumping so loudly that he was sure the noise would lead them straight to him. They know I’m here already, he realized with paralyzing panic. That’s why they wasted no time torturing the cashier.
"Come out, Tom, or we head back to your flat and kill her instead.” The voice was amused, almost bored, and horribly, horribly familiar. They’ve been following me. Watching us.
Swallowing, wand drawn, he slowly made his way towards the front of the store. There were three of them. Two of the faces were unknown to him, and both of them were alarmingly young- no more than seventeen years old. Thomas slowly moved his gaze to the leader of the group, and his heart dropped. If it was truly him, he was lost. His old friend was not the sort to forgive.
"Mulciber," he greeted him evenly, trying desperately not to betray his fear. Mulciber could sniff out fear like a dog, and he never failed to utilize it.
The boy- the man- who had once been his dearest friend smiled slowly. Mulciber looked much the same, Thomas thought, but somehow different. His hair was cropped shorter, and he was not quite as lanky as he had been at school. Any trace of teenage awkwardness had turned into hard, dangerous muscle. His face was harder, crueler; his cheekbones jutted out of his face like stone, and his pale blue eyes looked like chips of ice. This is not the Mulciber I knew.
"Thomas," Abaddon returned pleasantly, never taking his eyes from Thomas’s. "You know why we are here." It was not a question.
Thomas’s eyes moved to the shopkeeper, laying motionless near the cash register. The man’s eyes were still open, and his face was frozen in sheer terror. Thomas felt a horrible rush of regret. He had known the old man, called George, and liked him; they had always had a nice conversation whenever Thomas and Calista came in to do their shopping. “Been married fifty years,” George had once remarked proudly. “Reckon you two will last as long, eh?” And it was Thomas’s fault he was dead, now. If Thomas had never come in…
He looked back to Mulciber. “Are you going to kill me?”
Mulciber’s smile slowly faded, and something like an apology appeared behind his cold blue eyes. “You know I do not wish to, old friend,” he replied sadly. “But you know I must.”
At that moment the door of the shop swung open once more, and a pale blonde head appeared, turning away from some funny conversation with a passerby. Calista’s eyes were still twinkling and the smile was still on her lips as she entered, saying, “Tom, I forgot, we’ve need-“
Her face froze in shock as she regarded the scene unfolding before her. “Abaddon,” she breathed, terrified. “What are you doing here?”
The tall Death Eater spun to face her, but the wands of the other two continued to point at Thomas. “Calista,” he sighed, unveiled regret now apparent in his tone. “I’m afraid to tell you your husband has been aiding the Resistance.”
Calista’s eyes jerked to Thomas. “Tom, you stupid idiot,” she whispered, beginning to shake violently. “We weren’t going to take any bloody part; it was going to be me and you and we were going to make it out alive. You great bloody stupid idiot.” Tears filled her eyes and she bowed her head, body racked with silent sobs.
"I’m so sorry, Cal." Every inch of him seemed to ache. Oh, my darling, I’m so sorry. "I just couldn’t stand by and let our friends-"
“Your friends!” she shrieked furiously, face glistening with tears. “Bloody hell, Tom, my friends were the Slytherins! The only one I had to protect was you, and look what you’ve done! You have ruined our entire life!”
The two young Death Eaters looked ill. Thomas wondered if it was their first mission. Mulciber was frowning, his expression pained. “Calista, please…”
She rushed up to him with blind courage and grabbed at his robes, begging. “Please, Abaddon, for me, for me, you can’t kill him, we’re meant to have a baby.” She sank to the floor, crying so loudly that Thomas was sure the neighbors would come, or call the police… “Please, Mulciber, I’ll lock him up and take his wand and he’ll never help them again, I swear to you, we were friends, you were friends, you always were fond of him-“
Gently, Mulciber stepped away from her, extracting himself from her clutches. She knelt in a crumpled heap on the floor, still begging. “You know I wish he had not done this thing,” he replied quietly. “But he has. Treason must not go unpunished, and you know that. Don’t worry. After he’s gone, I’ll make sure you are pardoned. I’ll look after you, I promise.”
Mulciber turned again, to face Thomas once more. Thomas’s world seemed to have muted; he could no longer hear Calista’s desperate cries, or the wild thumping of his own heart. He found himself, inexplicably, remembering his Sorting. Through years and the dull foggy layers of his mind he somehow recalled the sight of Fionn’s curly hair, of Bindy’s graceful black robes, of the way it had felt when the Hat had bellowed out Slytherin.
I asked him to, Thomas remembered suddenly. I asked him to put me in Slytherin. The thought of it seemed strange to him now. If I could do it all again, would I have done it any differently?
"I’m sorry, Thomas," Mulciber repeated, and raised his wand. He said the words, soft and deadly, and with a flash of green light all was gone.