As they appeared on the island, Nina finally pulled away.
"Look," she said, "I've giving you a free pass on that whole Faith thing, considering Spike and I did kiss. It was just...in the heat of the moment. I didn't mean for it to happen, and it will never happen again."
"I know," replied Sirius, stepping forward and taking her hands. "I know. I'm sorry."
"Good. Well now that that's cleared up..." Nina began, turning to look around. The Sun was setting, and though they had reappeared at exactly the same place the ritual had taken place there was no one around. It was deadly silent. "Is it just me or..." she tried to listen harder, "is there no life on this island? Where are all the animals? Birds? Bugs? Anything? Even the trees look different now. Like they're dying."
"It seems that's just what happens when you have so much concentrated evil in one place," Sirius responded, turning to look around himself. "Even the animals can sense they're no longer safe here. The trees are being drained of their life force. Come back in a month and all you'll see is dirt and sand. Scorched earth. Like after a wildfire."
Nina continued to look around for a moment. "Right. Let's just get this over with then. The less time we're on this island the better. They must have Lily in the mansion somewhere. I think it's this way."
They walked back into the forest. Every step sounded like a thunderclap in the silence. As they approached the house, Nina held out her hand, signaling they should slow down and get low. Crabbe and Goyle were stationed on the front porch.
"I guess we're not walking in the front door," Nina whispered.
"Was that ever an option?"
"It would've been if those bastards believed my story."
"No. And I'm not quite sure why to be honest. Still, I don't think Voldemort will kill me. I'm not even sure he can really. I haven't really figured out this whole 'power of Goddesses' thing."
"Yeah, I...get down!" Sirius pulled her to the ground.
"Look." Sirius pointed toward the house. They peered through the branches. Lucius Malfoy came walking out the front door and looked around.
"Keep your eyes peeled," he spat at Crabbe and Goyle. "It seems we have guests."
"What?" Goyle questioned. "How do you know?"
"The Master has sensed it," Lucius responded. "Nina is among them."
"What do we do if..."
"Alert me if you see them!" Lucius cut in. He turned quickly and reentered the house.
"Well so much for the element of surprise," Nina whispered. "Damn."
"What do you want to do now," Sirius asked. He could see in her face the usual calm and confidence had been replaced by nerves and fear. He reached for her hand. She jumped, surprised. "It's alright," he whispered, moving closer. She looked seriously frightened. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah," she lied, trying to appear at least confident. "We should wait until it gets dark. Then at least we'll be able to move in the shadows."
"I saw a cave about a mile back," Sirius offered, taking her hand. "We can wait there."
Slowly they moved back under the cover of the forest. The wind picked up. It was getting colder. Sirius now had his arm around her waist to guide her. She was shivering. Out of fear or cold he couldn't tell. She kept looking back over her shoulder.
As they reached the cave it began to rain. The ground was mostly smooth, just dirt and leaves, and the cave was shallow. It wasn't much of a hiding place if someone were to come looking for them, but it would do as cover for now.
Sirius used his wand to light a small fire in the center, and they sat down together. He still had his hand around her waist, and after a moment, she leaned in closer, placing her head on his shoulder.
"Are you alright?" he questioned again. He could no longer hide the concern in his voice.
"No," she answered honestly. "I don't really know how to explain it. When I didn't know Voldemort was my father, I was fine. I saw him a few times before...but this time...I looked into his eyes. I felt like my soul was burning, like I was entering the gates of Hell. And at the same time...it felt...like we were supposed to be together. He's the only one that can teach me how to access this power I have..."
"I don't know," Sirius cut in, "We don't know that for sure."
"What am I going to do?" Nina picked her head up, turning to look into his eyes, "summon the Goddesses and ask them to teach me?"
"Why not?" Sirius replied.
"What?" Nina paused and thought for a moment. "No. It's impossible. You can't summon a God."
"Average witches and wizards can't summon a God, that's true. But you're their creation, their daughter. If anyone can, you can."
Nina stared at him. Was it really possible? Could she really summon the Goddesses who created her?
"You're the most powerful witch I know," Sirius continued. "It can't hurt to try."
"I guess you're right," Nina responded, finally a small spark of her usual calm confidence finding it's way back into her face. "I'll need your help."
"Of course," Sirius replied. "Shall we try now?"
"No, it's too dangerous here. With all the evil in the air, my spell could get blocked, or worse, corrupted. I could summon the wrong parent. We'll try when we return to your place. After we've rescued Lily."
The wind outside was getting stronger, and the rain heavier. Nina shuddered again.
"Come here," Sirius took off his jacket, and put it around her shoulders as she moved closer. The fear had returned to her face. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her close, placing his lips on her forehead. "Everything's going to be alright. We'll be back with the Order in no time."
"What if we can't find her?" Nina questioned. "What if they've already brainwashed her?" It was not like her to doubt herself. Sirius was taken aback.
"Look at me," he whispered, taking his hand and gently lifting her chin until they were face to face. "We'll find her. Her love kept Harry alive, there's no way they could brainwash her so quickly. It'll take time, and we will get there in time."
His eyes seemed to exude the confidence she lacked. She leaned forward, her lips barely touching his. She raised her hand to brush a wayward strand of hair from his face, and then softly placed her palm on his cheek.
"Every night I dreamed of rescuing you from Azkaban. I can't imagine the terror you suffered through being there. Every morning, I woke up, resolved to find a way to get you out. I tried everything: the Ministry, Dumbledore, I even thought of trying to break in and rescue you myself. But eventually I lost hope. Every plan failed. My dreams changed. You were with me in them, everyday. There when I woke up, there when I went to sleep...those dreams were the worst. I'd wake up missing you, longing to be with you." Tears began to stream silently down her face. "It was like my mind was torturing me. You can't imagine the joy I felt when I heard of your escape, but I was already deep undercover with Spike. We had to make it look real, make them believe we were evil. Everyday I woke up wishing I could leave, I could find you, I could tell you..." she looked up, meeting his gaze, "I love you."
It was as if time had stopped. He looked into her eyes, searching for some falsehood. There was none. He took a deep breath, finally letting go of the years of anger he had stored up thinking she had moved on...had fallen in love with a vampire. He reached up a hand and brushed the tears from her cheeks. "I love you too."
The years of repressed feelings overcame her nervousness. She no longer cared about Voldemort, about the war, even about Lily. In this moment, all she could think of, all she could see, was him. Instinct overtook her, and she pushed him back onto the ground. Lying on top of him, she paused, staring into his eyes. He reached forward and pulled her closer, kissing her. Though she was stronger than him, she let him take control, and they rolled over, still kissing. The cold no longer seemed to be a factor. The fire felt almost too hot. She unbuttoned his shirt and removed it. He slid his hands up under hers. Her mind was no longer racing with questions or consumed with fear; it was quiet. She could feel his heart pounding against her chest as he kissed her neck and ran his fingers down her side and across her stomach, lingering on her hips. She was sure her own heart would beat right out of her chest. Before she knew it, their clothes were lying across the cave. The Sun had gone down, and the island became dark. The only thing she could see was him, and the reflection of their bodies locked in passion against the cave wall.