Chapter 30

The Aftermath

June 19th, 1996

It was the scream that woke me. The scream that didn't exist in this time. My eyes opened upon the hospital wing; I was propped up against several pillows, so instead of facing the ceiling, I could gaze across at a curtain. But I knew exactly where I was, disoriented as my brain felt. I cleared my throat, but before I could attempt to call the nurse, the curtain split open and I was faced with the last two people I anticipated.

"THEODORE IGNATIUS NOTT!" Daphne bellowed once she laid eyes on my face. "HOW DARE YOU MAKE ME WORRY ABOUT YOU!"

As she charged the bed, I instinctively went for my wand and cast a shield charm before she could touch me. Behind her, Draco entered through the curtain's gap. "Lay off, Greengrass he's clearly unhinged." He then turned a cold stare on me, one I knew he reserved for people that held a healthy amount of his hate. "Care to explain yourself, Nott?"

Ooh, surnames is it? Suddenly I'm in the doghouse. Bite me. "I don't, but you wouldn't be here if it wasn't important that I do." I replied, starting to feel an ache across my chest the longer I remained conscious. What happened to me?

"Important?" Draco gave a harsh, mirthless laugh. "It's only the small matter of my father being sent to prison. Potter I slightly understand but why in the world were you there last night?"

My head felt heavy, and my memory was sluggish and hazy. What month was it? "Honestly I can't remember," I admitted softly. "Not a thing."

Daphne, who was silently fuming at my side, reached for something on the bedside table. I went to turn my head but found that my neck wouldn't respond. I couldn't move my head-it was this that alerted me to the fact that my head and neck were heavily bandaged. She shoved something under my nose, indicating with every signal in her arsenal that she was very cross with me. "Madam Pomfrey left this for you when you woke up."

"Mm." I might need a second opinion on that. "And where is Madam Pomfrey now?"

"She went to find Snape," said Draco. "He's been filling out orders for her since last night. Granger was hit with an unknown curse and it's all they can do to keep her alive," he added quietly, and I couldn't tell if he was hopeful or concerned...I mean, it had to be hope, right? Right?

"Do they know what happened to me?" I asked, barely moving my lips, unwilling to risk Daphne shoving the smoking potion down my throat.

"Your diagnosis was inconclusive; it could've been a spell, or possibly someone caused you to fall a great distance, nearly shattering every bone in your skeleton. " The three of us winced involuntarily at Daphne's description. That did not sound pleasant in the slightest. I'd hardly been in the hospital wing for a cough; how could I have been so reckless?

"Where's Kowalski?" I asked at length. I didn't miss the silent glance between my old friends. "What?"

"Um, you'd better drink this. Madam Pomfrey said it would help clear your mind and then about ten minutes after you woke up you needed to take a dose of Skele-gro." Daphne explained. "Open up."

I wanted to duck my head away from her and the potion she held, but once again, I couldn't move my head. "Not until you tell me where-"

"Malfoy, pinch his nose," Daphne instructed. Draco moved to the other side of the bed and did as requested. I glared at both of them before finally relenting and opening my mouth to breath. At once, Daphne had me chugging the entire contents of the flask. "There, that wasn't so bad."

Easy for you to say, I wanted to fire back at her, but I was slightly hindered by the slight buzz that took place in my prefrontal cortex. The faces of my friends winked out of my vision, as my minds eye took over. It was very much like my trip into the Pensieve, only I was showing myself my own memories, much clearer than they had ever been before. I was beginning to remember the events of last night…

Lian had sent me a last, sharp look. I knew she was trying to tell me something, but in the next second she'd dodged around Mr. Crabbe and charged on into the next room after Harry. She was insane, I knew, because she'd left her wand here. Well, I say left, but the truth is she'd dropped it in the lift without noticing, so I picked it up and held onto it. I didn't think for a second that we'd get separated. After she and Crabbe had left, one of the death eaters had locked the door that let to the prophecy room with a swift jab. I looked around at the other four, who watched this happen in dismay. Well, Lovegood still looked a little absent but I'm sure she was upset too.

"What do you want with Harry?" Wealsey demanded, his ears turning a violent shade of red and blending in with his hair. He'd taken out his wand and was pointing it at the nearest cloaked figures, and the other idiots had followed suit. I kept my hands where anyone could see them-clearly not a threat. I think one of the death eaters answered, I wasn't paying attention. I was trying to understand what Lian expected me to do. Dissecting her behaviour had always been a challenge, tonight wasn't going to be any different.

She'd insisted that she needed to keep Harry safe, should this very situation arise. It wasn't even a question, it was like she was following...an order.

In that second, I knew that Harry Potter was going to live. I didn't know the details, but it they weren't important. Lian Kowalski was going to protect him, by any means necessary. Which left the rest of us surrounded by eight hooded, and dangerous wizards-not so safe. She wanted me to do something. I wasn't so good with dueling, I wouldn't get out unscathed if I suddenly started shooting spells; and besides, that wasn't the Slytherin way. They were anticipating a random burst of spells, and they would be prepared to shut any such action down by any means necessary. I had a plan, well, half a plan.

"This was a very good plan," I said off-handedly. About twelve pairs of eyes landed on me. "Luring Potter here; I'll wager no one predicted how many idiots were willing to follow him. What I don't understand is how the house-elf knew to lie at the right moment."

"Someone did their homework," growled one of the death eaters; pretty sure it was Macnair.

"Anyway, what's it matter how, boy?" another death eater, probably one of the Lestrange brothers, said. "It worked, didn't it? And now Potter's going to have to give in, or we lay waste to his little entourage."

I shrugged. I had more to say, but it was at that moment that there was a thunderous roar echoing in the next room, shortly followed by loud crashes and the recognizable sound of glass shattering. That also was followed by the sound of wails from hundreds of voices.

"What the-" Lestrange crossed the room and threw the door open, before slamming it shut again immediately. "Something's wrong. You three-" he pointed at the nearest men in cloaks. "Go after them." They approached the door and he barked at them. "Not this way-it'll be covered in broken glass and wood by now-there are other doors that lead in there, go on!"

Three left, leaving five against five. "NOW!" Granger cried, and all at once they shouted a variety of spells and hexes upon the cloaked figures, before bolting towards the only unguarded door-the one that led back into the circular, black room. The spells used were not strong enough to silence their foes, who merely stumbled back-or in the case of Rookwood, yelled as several slimey, green bats began attacking his face. I ran after the group, sending a few defensive spells behind me. In the circular room is where it got messy. The five death eaters pursued and locked the doors around the walls to prevent a further chase scene from unfolding. Spells flew from both sides. I saw Granger get hit by a shot of purple flame from Dolohov-who's mask had fallen off after the she-Weasley hit him with a few hexes. Granger emitted a soft cry of surprise before she collapsed on the floor in a heap. I was closest to her, and with her wild hair all over her face, she could've easily been Lian. Following an instinct I did not know I possessed, I took a protective stance over her body, fending off any spell that flew our way.

"BLOOD-TRAITOR!" someone screamed at me, and I watched a jet of light shoot in my direction. I put up a shield charm, but the curse slipped through my barrier like it didn't exist.

"NO!" one of the other cloaked figures cried. I knew who it was immediately, but it wasn't possible that he should be here. He leapt in front of the spell. His body crashed into mine under the impact of the spell that now hit the both of us.

I remember lying between him and Granger. I remember feeling every nerve in my body commit suicide. I remember hearing a loud, wailing scream that cut through the impenetrable gloom that was trying to melt my brain. I remember shouting, from new voices I didn't recognize.

"Theo?" Daphne's voice broke the trance, bringing me back to the hospital wing. "It's time to take your skele-gro."

I choked it down, coughed as it burned its way through my body, then took a shuddering breath.

"Do you remember now?" asked Draco, obviously knowing the answer. "Did you see what they did?"

"They?" I repeated.

"The aurors!" Draco snapped impatiently. "They arrested eleven people last night-and you were there, so tell me what happened! Which one of them died?"

I winced. "If they haven't made a statement, then it is none of your damn business." I tried to sit up but of course it didn't work. "Now tell me what you do know. What happened to Kowalski?"

"I think you should rest a bit, the Skele-gro will start to hurt in a bit and sleeps the best way to-" Daphne began to back up quickly, a contrast to her bold entrance. "We'll visit you after din-"

"If you leave now I'll tell your parents the thing you're afraid to," I warned softly. Daphne stopped on the edge of the curtain, meanwhile Malfoy hadn't moved from his chair. They exchanged a look again.

"You really didn't see? In your memories, I mean?" Daphne whispered.

"Obviously not. She was nowhere near when I got injured-if I have to bloody ask one more time I'm going to start using this." I brandished my wand at them, ignoring the pain that shot through my arm.

"Calm down, and put that away," Draco reached over and plucked it from my hand, placing it out of my reach. "Daphne's right, you need to rest."

I uttered a few curses I'm not terribly proud of, and glared up at my oldest friend. At present, there wasn't much I could do; granted I would do so when I healed. Their behavior puzzled me-whatever they knew they didn't want to share it with me. I hadn't seen so much dancing around since over a year ago at the Yule Ball.

"Please, Theo," Daphne begged. "Please just rest for a bit...we'll tell you anything when you wake up but for now...you need to let yourself recover."

"Is she hurt?" I pressed.

"Theo-"

"Is she alive?"

Both Daphne and Draco released a slow exhale, and then Draco finally answered. "We don't know. We saw them bring you and Granger and the rest in here-Potter never turned up and neither did Kowalski." He swallowed as he paused. Something in his grey eyes told me that he was withholding information.

"And?"

Daphne spoke up for him. "And we may have overheard Snape talking to a few adults from America. One of them was definitely Lian's mother." She bit her lip, casting a slightly pitying, mostly frightened gaze over me. "We tried asking Snape about her but he sent us away."

"On that happy note," said Draco quietly, but I was beyond listening to either of them at that point. What had happened last night? Draco waved his wand over me and soon enough I was out. I would later be grateful for the enchanted sleep, because there was no way I would've relaxed enough to rest.

It did allow me to dream though. It was strange too, because I normally didn't dream. I told myself that I never dreamed before in my life but that was a lie; I dreamed a lot when I was younger, back when Mother was alive.

In the vision that came over me, I was back in the Department of Mysteries. I was watching the battle as though an observer, not a participant. I moved through the jinxes and bodies as though they weren't solid, merely images on display. I stepped over Granger, myself, and his body. I moved through a hex from Macnair and opened the first door I came upon. It led me down a narrow passageway, that opened out into a large room filled with broken glass and varied, destroyed objects. No one was inside, but the room bore the marks of an intense battle. Traces of dark magic could be found along the floor and the walls. In the center of the room was a dark puddle of fresh blood. I tried to move on from the room but every door I opened led me back to that spot. I couldn't leave no matter how hard I tried. This was my answer. This was the only answer. It didn't suddenly make sense, but it wasn't going away either. I approached the puddle and peered into it, slightly surprised to find a face staring back at me. It wasn't mine, it was Lian's; and while my face felt relaxed and relatively unused, hers was scrunched up, her mouth open wide in a screech I couldn't hear, her eyes shut to the horror of whatever she was experiencing.

I felt thoroughly unrested by the time the enchantment wore off and I was allowed to wake.


Potter came by on Monday morning, if only to visit with his friends. This I knew because I could hear them chatting away beyond my curtain. Granger read aloud the newspaper article detailing in the events from Thursday night. Apparently the Dark Lord had revealed himself to the world, forcing everyone to accept that he was back and rising in power.

Madam Pomfrey came in to remove my bandages and test my reflexes. The spell that had been intended for me fully, only managed to do half the damage it was intended. If he hadn't jumped in front of me, I'd definitely would've died. Instead, nearly all the bones from my rib cage on down decided to break in several pieces. The nurse assured me that I would make a full recovery over the summer, but in the meantime I would remain frail and sore. Just what every sixteen year old boy wants to hear.

After she said I could go, I did, leaving without saying a word to Potter and the rest. I did count heads, and sure enough, Lovegood, Granger, Weasley and Weasley were all present; which did nothing to calm my troubled mind. Did they deserve to die? Of course not. Would I trade their lives for Lian's? . . .of course.

I marched straight into Snape's office, without knocking or announcement of any kind. It was there that I was met with three adults that were not the Head of my House. They looked around at me, two women and a man.

"Sorry to intrude," my upbringing seized the better of me and began to spout manners before I could chicken out and run. "I was looking for Professor Snape."

"He said he'd be back soon," said the man, in what was unmistakably an American accent. "You're not intruding; if anything we're the intruders. You're welcome to wait for him here, if you'd like."

"Mr...Kowalski?" I asked before I could stop myself.

The man raised an eyebrow. "Yeah?"

One of the women tapped his arm. "Don't be rude, David. He's probably one of her friends." I looked at her. She had Lian's eyes, (or maybe Lian had hers,) her hair was long and dark and she had an athletic build, like her daughter.

"Not quite, Mrs. Kowalski," I said to her. "Lian insisted we weren't friends."

The other woman, slender with honey-colored hair, laughed softly. "Then you must be a good one." She extended her hand. "May Kowalski. I'm Lian's aunt. Who might you be?"

I gulped. How could these people find the strength to be polite at a time like this? "My name is Theodore Nott." my eyes swept over the three of them briefly before I looked at the floor. "I am so sorry for your loss." I shouldn't have said that; now they're going to cry and I still don't know what I'm supposed to do when people do that.

"Our loss?" repeated Mrs. Kowalski. I met her gaze. "What are you talking about; didn't anybody tell you?"

"Huh?"

"Well they wouldn't, it only just happened, Amaya," said the aunt, watching me closely. "Kid, she's not dead. Calm down."

I don't know what my face looked like in that moment but apparently it wasn't a neat sight for the Americans. "But… no one had seen her, and she wasn't in the hospital wing with the rest…"

"Well she wouldn't be," Mrs. Kowalski sniffed. "Her condition is hardly within that nurse's criteria."

"She means that no one in the hospital wing would know what to do to help her." The aunt clarified for me. "Fortunately the little smart-aleck was conscious enough to ask for me."

"Was?" I repeated numbly, not daring to hope.

"Hold on," Mr. Kowalski was giving me a funny look. "Were you there the night it happened?"

"Can I see her?" The words fell out of my mouth before I could think of a better way to say it.

"Sure thing, if you don't mind traveling across the Atlantic first." He replied, smiling slightly. "She'll wake up at home, the way God intended. We stayed behind to pick up the paperwork."

"What?" I muttered, glancing at the huge file upon Snapes desk for the first time.

"I mean, no offense kid, but I gotta protect my family. I can do a much better job if we're all on the same continent." He went on bluntly.

My brain took a second to function. Paperwork...protect...they weren't going to allow Lian to stay at school here. This led to me thinking of several ways to not let that happen. I could grab her file and make a run for it-I knew the secret passages better than most and these guests wouldn't stand a chance. I could run to intercept Professor Snape before he returned and argue with him about it. I could tell Lian's father that if his daughter were here right now she'd fight tooth and claw to remain at this school. Anything she'd done this last year, questionably or nobly, was to ensure she stayed at Hogwarts. Granted, I never asked for the real reason, but I chose to believe that her opinion wouldn't change overnight.

"Kid? You still with us?" They were all watching me curiously. I cleared my throat, raising my gaze to Mr. Kowalski's. He was a big, barrel-chested man with large, worn hands, indicating that he used them for work, whatever that was. His arms and legs were thick, indicating that he could snap me like a twig if I provoked him. He had scruff, but not a full beard, telling me that normally he shaved but the weekend must've distracted him from his usual routine. His hair was dark and slightly disheveled, though it was so curly the casual observer could barely tell. He had deep blue eyes, and his face at rest was rather imposing and stern. He couldn't have been more intimidating if he bore the Dark Mark.

"All due respect sir," I began shakily. "But I don't think Lian wants to leave Hogwarts." I expected cliche answers like, I'm her father, I know what's best; or I'll have to disagree with you, young man; or None of your business, Kid!

"And what evidence would you have of that, Mr. Nott?" he replied diplomatically, as though we were equals, politely disagreeing over proper potion ingredients. I also noticed he used my proper title, an action likely brought on by my use of the word 'sir'.

"Assuming I have my facts right," I continued in that same, calm tone. "She's been trying to get into Hogwarts since before her magic turned up. In my ten months of knowing her, she's never struck me as the type to get knocked down and simply give up. Whatever injuries she is currently suffering, I doubt she'd allow it to keep her from returning to this school."

The aunt was grinning, but I couldn't be sure why. Mrs. Kowalski was watching her husband, a certain gleam in her eyes. Mr. Kowalski gave a small sigh as he gazed at me. At length, he said, "Spoken like a true ally."


Trunks locked and loaded, students stuffed onto the single platform in Hogsmeade; the term had finally come to a close, and it was time for all of us to go home. The end of year feast had come with a few not-so-surprises: The High Inquisitor would not be making a comeback in September, on the contrary she would spend the majority of her summer in St. Mungo's making a recovery. Dumbledore had returned to the school to reclaim his position as Headmaster, and the post for DADA teacher remained wide open, yet again. Lian's parents hadn't given me a straight answer over whether they'd allow Lian to return in the fall, but that wasn't my main concern. My issue was that even though I knew she was alive, I didn't know what state she was in. What kind of condition was beyond the knowledge of Madam Pomfrey's healing abilities? What kind of ailment required such a specific person, rather than the room's full of Healers in St. Mungo's?

By Merlin's beard, perhaps Lian would tell me when I saw her again.

I joined my friends in Compartment J, my eyes lingering on the window seat where I'd first laid eyes on Lian Kowalski.

"There you are Theo!" said Daphne brightly, waving from her place between Zabini and a girl I'd never seen before. "I thought you'd gotten lost."

Zabini looked terribly grumpy as I moved past him, and only grunted a greeting. "Nott."

"Zabini." I replied, my eyes glancing over the new girl. "Who's this?"

"She hasn't been quite forthcoming-" Daphne began to say, but was interrupted by Zabini.

"Bloody mind-reader, that's who." he growled, partially explaining why he looked upset. It was her fault, whoever she was.

The stranger gave a false laugh. "Hardly, I assure you. My name is Lian Kowalski, and you don't recognize me because I'm transferring to Hogwarts from another school."

She'd been reading the newest edition of Newton Scamander's book, Modern Magizoology. Her Uncle, I reminded myself quietly, taking my usual seat opposite it. I glared at Daphne for a brief moment when she sat across from me but couldn't hold a grudge against her. As the train pulled away from Hogsmeade, I could've sworn I saw a student still standing on the platform, alone. But the steam engine gathered speed before I could be certain.

Only three hours into the trip did something interesting occur. Nearly everyone was sulking, the weight of the future and what it meant hanging over their heads. I wasn't particularly looking forward to going home either; I had a funeral to plan, undergo a certain amount of therapy after the spell I survived, and find a way across the Pacific. I was going to be very busy. While I was lost in thought, there came a loud rapping at the window. We all jumped and looked around, and Pansy screamed when she laid eyes on the bald eagle that was gliding along the train. In its talons it clutched a roll of parchment. I opened the window and the enormous bird tucked its wings into its side and dove into the compartment. He shifted into a boy in seconds, landing on trainer-clad feet, scroll in hand.

I recognized him immediately. The boy with the musical letter. Lian's animagus friend. What was his name again? Jason.

He sized up Draco and Zabini before shaking his head, tutted at Crabbe and Goyle before rounding on me. "Yeah, it's gotta be you. Theo Nott, am I right?" He shoved the scroll under my nose before I could confirm. Arrogant little twit.

"What's this?" I asked, taking the parchment from him.

"Little note from three guesses who," Jason replied with a knowing grin. Little? I scoffed silently, judging the thickness of the scroll.

"Why you?"

"Eh, she wasn't sure if your mail order system was still being watched or not, so on the off-chance that this would get intercepted, I volunteered." he said easily, winking at Daphne, whose nose turned bright pink. As Jason turned to say farewell to the rest of the astonished group, I raised a single eyebrow at her, determined to get answers from her later. "Feel free to drop by Manhattan, next time you're on my side of the pond!" he proclaimed, before jumping out the window. He shifted into an eagle about half way through his fall and shot into the sky with a load of unnecessary flare.

Glancing around at the faces in the compartment as I closed the window, I wondered if that guy was aware of the type of people he'd just invited 'over'. Draco looked properly speechless, it was how I pictured him if one day Goyle decided to become a ballerina.

Zabini nodded at the scroll in my lap. "What's she say?"

Right. I unrolled the parchment cautiously; the last time Jason had delivered a letter it had burst into raucous song.

To my ally,

Hello. I'm sorry I couldn't be there after the Ministry. I think I owe you an explanation more than anyone else. I told you about Umbridge blackmailing me, but I never told you about the new order I'd received. We were sort of avoiding each other around Christmas time anyway, so…

After checking out of St. Mungo's (I never thanked you for that either, by the way. Send me a bill or I'll send you Belters until the day you die) it was arranged that my brother and I stay at a secret location until the holidays were over with. I received a visit from Dumbledore while there, and was informed that he knew about my situation. He had a counter-offer, you see, he knew it was only a matter of time before the Minister and that pink abomination found a way to unseat him as the Headmaster. He requested that I continue playing my role as Umbridge's agent, enough so that I could fool her into putting more trust into me. It worked obviously, as she elected me as Captain of her Horrible Squad.

Umbridge wanted me to keep a close eye on Harry, Dumbledore, and encourage anyone around me that they were mad liars and that they should all put their faith in the Ministry.

Dumbledore required that I protect Harry from himself. He tried to arrange for him to learn how to defend himself, but he was afraid that the connection the Dark Lord held over him would prove to be too strong; and he was right, as we both saw. He wanted me to help defend the school when he was gone. He asked if I could 'rally his students, when they are unsure where to stand'. That one didn't make sense until now.

"Well?" Draco pressed, trying to look over my shoulder at Lian's words. "What's she saying?"

"Hang on," I replied softly. The next part was basically addressed to the whole group but I wanted to read it in private first.

A war is coming to the Wizarding world, and we all need to decide which cause we believe in. I don't know about Dumbledore vs. Voldemort; that looks like an older argument that I don't care to see the result of-but I care what happens to the people I want to protect. Not because anyone told me I had to, but because I chose them. Like I chose you and everyone in Slytherin. I want to protect you. The last ten months, I didn't see a bunch of ruthless, cruel teenagers hell-bent on being death eaters; I saw people with true souls, sharp minds, and practical actions. I think when you're frightened, your instinct is to kick back with all you've got. I think when it comes down to it, you'll all do what you think is right, to save those you've chosen to protect. Family. Friends. Allies. You're all stupidly loyal, in that regard. But I worry that you haven't been given all the facts. As you are, most of you believe that Muggles are the enemy, that they are tainting the good wizarding bloodlines and making the magical claim on the world weaker as the generations go on. You choose to believe this, and that's okay. You can keep believing that, or you can stop sneering at my words and actually try to believe something new.

It doesn't matter to me what you all think; I believe I made that quite clear in the beginning. I think I should say a few things that might blow your minds, though. You like to be informed, don't you?

Merlin wrote a few books on the matter of magical blood; you won't find those in your family library because it's the one teaching by that marvelous man that no one talks about much. I covered the subject in fourth year for a History of Magic report; and it was the best decision I ever made in that class. Merlin was researching how muggleborns came to be, and oddly enough, he chose to compare the study to werewolves.

Werewolves are looked down upon in wizarding society, but none more so than those that were born, not bitten. Who would ever dare to breed such a monstrous creation, right? Merlin compared born werewolves to pureblood wizards. They were taught to believe that they were better just because they happened to be born a certain way, much like born werewolves were taught that they were disgusting, just because of something they couldn't help. Before either were born, they had no say in their circumstances. If purebloods were taught from the first day they opened their eyes and ears that they were less than the dust of the earth, they'd believe it.

In my home, we never talked about blood status. I didn't even know what that phrase meant until I was ten, and by then I didn't really care. I've always looked at people for who they choose to be, not how they were born. Theo, you've seen what I can do more than most; would you ever say that I was less powerful because my blood isn't pure? If Hermione Granger was born a Malfoy she'd be just as skilled and powerful as she is now. In case you're still confused: blood doesn't matter.

I squinted at the edge of the page, where a drop of dried blood had been imprinted. I suppose that was one way to make a point.

I digress. On the topic of the approaching war, let me tell you what I believe. I believe in you. I believe in people, magical or not. I believe in life, and light magic, not whatever dark curse struck me on Thursday night in that retarded Ministry.

I heard about your father, and I am sorry for your loss.

I know you spoke to my parents, and I know they weren't exactly supportive of my future. Too bad I'm a legal adult and am quite capable to make my own decisions by now.

You'll see me again.

Lian

I finished the letter with several mixed feelings stirring around inside my chest.

"Hm." Draco grunted beside me, having read everything without my permission. "Does she say which books by Merlin?"

Giving him a surprised glance, I unrolled the last bit of the parchment. In Lian's handwriting was inscribed, 'Secrets of Excalibur', 'Magi in Sanguinem', and 'Lupus est Natus, et Veneficus'.

Draco copied down the titles, his brow furrowed. The rest of them were watching the pair of us carefully, if not apprehensively. Well, if a purist like Draco was willing to listen, perhaps they would also. As Lian's letter was shared throughout the compartment, and the others made their various opinions on her words, whether verbally like Zabini and Pansy, or silently like the rest; I watched the countryside roll by.

You'll see me again, she'd promised. When?

"You know," Draco muttered so only I could hear him. "My family owns an estate in SoHo. . ." I gave him a sideways glance, raising my eyebrows a fraction. He was pretending to read a novel he'd pulled from his luggage, his lips barely moving as he continued to speak. "I bet I could find a reason to visit over the summer. . .borrowing a few of Merlin's books, for instance."

I returned to gazing out the window, dipping my head ever so slightly. So maybe it won't be a terrible summer holiday after all.

The End


Author's Note: Thank you for reading 'There's an American in the Dungeons!' This was fun, I hope you enjoyed it!