Disclaimer: I do not own any of Ms. Rowling's wonderful creations. Nor do I own any of the various songs that may be presented throughout the length of this fanfiction. The various songs will be named at the end of the fic, as well as in the chapter within which they lie.
A big thanks and a shout out to all of my reviewers! Thank you so much!
I know already that some of you won't like the way that this story ends…however, I feel that it fits in. Honestly, I was just as surprised as some of you will be at the turn that this story took…but believe me when I say that the ending- such as it is- is much happier than it was going to be originally. I will say nothing more on that line of thought and will let you get to your reading. This, ladies and gentlemen, is your Christmas present. Seventeen pages worth of writing. Merry Christmas.
My beloved, beloved Lucius is gone...but I move on. Sirius and I have worked past our differences, and we're dating again. I'm not sure whether to be frightened or exhillerated by this fact. Sirius could easily be used against me, as Lucius was.
I've had a series of small heart attacks recently...Poppy says that they might be due to the stress of the war coupled with the stress of time travelling. I seem to have aged about ten years since I arrived...though Sirius doesn't tell me so. He says that I'm still as beautiful as ever...but Sirius would say anything to keep me from being irrationally angry at him. I wouldn't be angry. I would almost be glad. I don't feel much different...the only reason that I know that I've aged so quickly is because Poppy was checking me over after one of my heart attacks when she gasped, dropped her wand, and ran for the fireplace to floo for Albus in a half-amusing display of needless dramatics.
When they turned to me, all worried-like, I seriously thought about telling them, with Lucius' old drawl, that I was ten years older than I had been the day before. Not Deaf. And then Poppy sat beside me and stroked my back all motherly-like as she began to try to explain.
I daresay that my patience rather ran out at that moment. I'm afraid that Poppy won't be allowing me into her hospital wing for some time. And this whole time, Sirius was rolling on the ground laughing- howling, really...there's not much difference between his canine form and his human form, after all (He is reading over my shoulder as I write this. Nope, there he goes, storming off. I suppose I'd best make amends...)
"WHERE IS SHE?" Maya's eyes lifted from the paper that she was marking as the door to her office slammed open and an angry parent stormed in. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY TEACHING OUR CHILDREN TO CAST THE UNFORGIVABLES! DON'T YOU KNOW THAT THOSE ARE ILLEGAL!"
"Mrs. Abbot, perhaps you'd best sit down." Maya said, her voice curiously empty and courteous.
"I DON'T WANT TO SIT DOWN! I WANT AN EXPLANATION!"
"With recent events, the Headmaster and I agreed that it was best for our students to know how to protect themselves." Maya kept her voice level.
"BY MAKING THEM CAST THOSE...THOSE..." Maya rubbed her temples. Don't go there. She pleaded silently. Do not go there. "Minister Gurgeon." Mrs. Abbot said, obviously fighting to keep her temper on a leash. Alastor, who was standing in the corner, tensed. "I know that your own questionable past makes you prone to mistakes." Alastor's eyes shot to the woman in question as she grit her teeth without a word. "But that is no excuse for turning our children into Deatheater imitations. I know that, given your affair with Lucius Malfoy, this might be hard for you to understand, but..."
Maya lost it. She could sit there and keep an empty face while she was being insulted...but when Lucius' honor was questioned? The papers in the wastebasket burst into flame as she stood, the inkwells lined out on the desk shattering, one by one, as the chair turned to dust and the desk itself slammed into the wall with the force of the minister's rage. "SILENCE! Mrs. Abbot, I am aware that where you come from, Manners are a thing of the past, but where I come from, we do not insult our dead." Maya snarled, one wand coming to her hand and pointing at the woman before her. "You don't want your child to learn the Unforgivable curses? Then you can go knock on Voldemort's back door asking him to spare her the pain of this war!" A painting ran off quickly to fetch Albus. "I don't know where you get off telling me that I'm wrong for wanting a few of these children to emerge alive from this war, but BUGGER OFF!" Maya snarled.
Sirius and Albus burst in suddenly to see Maya's wand at Mrs. Abbot's throat. "Maya...she didn't mean it..." Sirius said.
"Shut up, Sirius. She insulted Lucius." Maya snarled.
"Mrs. Abbot has realized her mistake and will gladly apologize." Albus said, gently.
"I...I'm so sorry, Minister." Mrs. Abbot whispered, pale at the look in the Minister's eyes.
Maya seemed about to speak when she gave a short gasp and her eyes widened, filling with pain. Batting away Sirius' helping hand, she stumbled backwards, searching for the chair that was no longer there. Unable to find it, she stumbled to one wall, one hand on her chest and her head against the cool stone. She wasn't breathing, simply sitting there riding out the pain. Albus looked at Sirius and nodded as he and Alastor escorted Mrs. Abbot hastily from the room.
"Maya!" Sirius whispered. "For God's sake...breathe!"
As if he'd flipped a switch, the woman began fighting to take small, shaky breaths. Less than a minute later, she lifted her head from the stone wall and turned to look up at Sirius. He moved to her gently, but she shrugged him off, rubbing her chest as she walked silently out of the room and towards the Headmaster's office. Arriving, she watched impassively as the gargoyle sprang aside, allowing her to climb the steps. When she arrived in the office, Alastor was escorting Mrs. Abbot out. Clearly, Albus had assuaged her fears. She murmured an apology to the Minister, who sighed softly and stepped into the office, with Sirius close behind her.
"Another attack?" Albus asked, not bothering with the pleasantries.
"Yes, Albus." Maya said quietly. "I don't think that they are heart attacks, though. Poppy said that I'm perfectly healthy. The only thing that suggests otherwise are these attacks." She knew more, of course, than she let on. She and Severus had discussed things after her third attack, and he'd confirmed a suspicion of hers.
I seem to recall Lucius having a few of these same attacks, not too long before Hermione Granger disappeared.
He'd seemed to realize who he was speaking to, then, and had shut up...but the words had been spoken. A terrible suspicion had begun tickling at the back of her mind and she'd immediately sent an owl to Narcissa, as well as to a great many of the contacts that she'd used when researching a way to return to this time period. She had begun getting the books from them just that morning...and was going to spend the weekend- it being Friday- at her mansion, researching.
"I see." Dumbledore's eyes were twinkleless, and she had a feeling that he was sharing her suspicions. Nobody else- not even Severus- thought twice about her attacks. They all just assumed that it was the stress of being a professor and the Minister during the war combined with the stress of so much time travel. She wondered how they would take it if her suspicions were confirmed.
Her eyes moved to Sirius, who was watching her with a worried look on his face. She smiled and he moved to her, taking the smile as permission to touch her. He slid his arms around her and nuzzled her neck, pressing his face into her hair and closing his eyes. Maya looked at Albus. "Albus..." Her voice was soft. "Have you spoken with Severus since his last summons?"
"Yes..." The twinkleless eyes went- if it was possible- even more twinkleless. "It has been taken care of, Maya."
A thrill of foreboding went down her spine. "Of course, Headmaster. I'll leave things to your hands." She murmured. "I'm going to disappear for the weekend." She said, suddenly. He looked at her and arched an eyebrow and she felt Sirius stiffen. "I have something that I want to look into."
"You may, of course, come and go as you please, Minister." Albus said. "Now that we have a backup Defense Teacher...if he ever gets his face out of your hair." Sirius raised his head long enough to glare at Albus before turning his face back into Maya's neck. He drew comfort from her warmth and love. Even touching her made him feel better. It soothed her as well, which was why she allowed it in the first place.
"Thank you, Albus." She said. "I should be back in time for classes on Monday, but I may be held up slightly."
"Understandable." Albus nodded. "I do, however, wish to inform you that we seem to have a spy in our midst." He looked gravely at the couple standing before him as they looked up, their eyes widening and narrowing in turn.
"A spy?" Maya growled.
"Who would be stupid enough to turn traitor to Maya?" Sirius asked.
"I do not know." Albus admitted. "However, vital Order information is being passed to Voldemort. I have given Severus a piece of decoy information...to see."
"Severus would never..!" Hermione began.
"I seem to recall..." Albus' eyes met Maya's silently. "A young man about sixteen years ago assuring me that Peter Pettigrew would 'never,' Maya." She shut up. "It is merely a precautionary measure, my dear..."
"Yes, Albus..." Her voice was low. "I'll be going now...I'd best get to my work." She turned and swept out, leaving Sirius and Albus alone.
Little is known about the Sin un Alma infection and the virus that causes it. I'm sorry, Maya, but Lucius' sources couldn't dig up much more than anyone else would be able to. They all say the same thing. "Little is known about the Sin un Alma." It was so frustrating. Why are you trying to research it now? Maya...you haven't come up sick, have you?
Maya sighed and set the parchment aside. "Batty!" When the House Elf appeared, bowing, Maya looked up from rubbing her temples. "Could you bring me some tea in here, please?" She was in her library, studying the Sin un Alma infection. Sighing gently as Batty reappeared, setting the tea down beside her, she absentmindedly poured a cup, fixed it the way she enjoyed it, and took a sip.
The cup slipped from her hand and shattered on the floor as she doubled over, her head slamming into the desk as she clutched her chest. Batty squealed with fear and Libby apparated in immediately, hurrying to her side.
When she remembered to breathe again, the attack passed fairly quickly and Maya was able to relax once more.
"Mistress?" Libby whimpered.
She lifted her head from the table, touching her forehead gingerly. "I'm okay, Libby. The attacks aren't as intense as they were a week ago." Sighing, she rubbed her chest absently as she set her work aside and stood. "I daresay I won't learn much more than we already know, anyways." She said sadly.
"Mistress Maya musn't give up!" Batty said. "Mistress must live for Master Sirius' sake!"
"I know, Batty. I know." She patted the House Elf's back. "But I don't know if I can. If my suspicions are correct...if I have Sin un Alma...then by all accounts in the past two thousand years, I'm not going to survive."
"Mistress will find a way." Libby said, confidently. "Mistress is the smartest Mistress!" This brought a faint smile to Maya's lips, and she embraced the two loyal elves before straightening.
"I'd best get back to Hogwarts. I've been away a day longer than I said I would, as it is." Maya said. "Off to the kitchen with you two...I'm okay. I'll owl you with the next date that I can come to study." She walked out of the library, sealing it off, and began the descent to the main part of the house. She had reached the second to last step when she saw a green tint in the den, a roar of flames. A wand was in each hand, a spell on her lips and on her will non-verbally when she stepped into the den...
...Only to see Draco and Harry stumble out of the flames.
"What's happened?" She was beside them in moments.
"Fighting...in the dungeons!" Harry gasped.
"Professor Black shoved us through the fire." Draco added.
"LIBBY!" The elf appeared. "Take care of these boys." She disappeared into the fire. "SEVERUS SNAPE'S OFFICE, HOGWARTS!"
She came through into chaos. Small fires had sprung up around the room...the desk had shattered, and the walls were covered in scorch marks. "No, no, no! Severus!" She paused before lifting her right-handed wand, a fire coming to her eyes. "BOMBARDA!" The door blew to pieces and she ran out of the small room. There was a body laying near the door of the potions classroom and she moved to it, using the toe one boot to flip the body over.
Both wands fell to her sides and she knelt swiftly, slipping the left wand up her sleeve and into its holder, checking for a pulse and finding none.
Her slender hand gently slid the eyelids down over the glazed over black eyes. "Rest well, beloved." Standing, she drew her left-hand wand once more and...with a flint-hard, deadly gleam in her eyes. Walking silently towards the upper levels, she continued walking along the halls. She was passing Moaning Myrtle's bathroom when she heard a soft voice. "Professor?"
Turning, she saw Ginny Weasley. "Oh, Ginny! Are you harmed?"
"No, Professor." Ginny said. "Myrtle helped keep the Death Eaters away."
"Get to the Room of Requirement, Ginny." The professor said. "Take whoever you have in that loo with you...as well as Myrtle. Have her gather the other ghosts, she'll know how, and scour the castle for any other students once you are safe inside. Instruct the Room of Requirement to let inside only those with the password 'Wyvern Hall.' Let the ghosts know the password...that way every group of students will be escorted in safely. Until I or Professor Black arrives to let you know that it is safe, I do not want you to emerge. The room will provide for you until then."
"Yes, Professor." Ginny whispered.
"Good girl." Maya caressed Ginny's cheek. "You can do this. Where is Ron?"
"I don't know...we were separated in the rush." Ginny said, tears gathering.
"Shh...none of that...you have a duty to fulfill." When the girl nodded, Maya looked around one last time. "If I see him, I'll let him know that you're safe. Now off with you...be careful, be safe." Maya turned and, in a billow of robes, continued down the hall. She hesitated at one set of intersecting halls before turning silently and moving for the Headmaster's Office.
It was as she had feared. The gargoyle lay to one side in pieces, the steps beyond singed and blackened at random points by the battle. Maya walked silently up the steps and into the office, looking grimly down at the man who was so revered by everyone. Inside, her heart was bleeding. So much death...apparently the information leak had been greater than Albus had let on.
She heard a soft sound behind her and turned to meet her boyfriend's eyes. He moved up to her left...he was a lefty, so it didn't matter. She slipped her left-hand wand into its holder and took his hand gently. "The dungeons?" He asked.
"They aren't down there." She said, grimly. He didn't ask how she knew, simply nodded. Then, wands in hand, they walked hand-in-hand out of the Headmaster's office and continued their search. "Sirius...you went to the decoy meeting didn't you?" She sensed his glance.
"Yes, I did." Guessing her next question, he continued. "I was one of the only ones who did. Dumbledore, Moody, Remus, Trevor Zabini, and I." She stopped short, her eyes widening.
"Maya? What is it?" Sirius looked into her eyes, his own eyes worried.
"The spy..." She whispered. "It's Trevor."
"What? He's never given us a reason to doubt..." Sirius said, slowly.
"He's never given us a reason to trust, either...and all of a sudden...just after Trevor finds out for certain that Severus is a spy for Albus, both Albus and Severus come up dead? It's too much of a coincidence to be a coincidence." Sirius was frowning by now.
Her lips thinned. "At the doorway of his classroom. The office is torn up from fighting, as is the classroom..." She trailed off for a moment before shaking herself. "Damn it, Sirius, we don't have time for this! Come on!" She pulled her hand from his and drew her left-hand wand. The Bloody Baron floated up to her.
"We've found all of the students that we could, Professor." He said. "Professor McGonagall is leading the fight against the Deatheaters on the fourth floor."
Maya and Sirius looked at each other for a moment before they broke out running.
Five students had been killed. Three professors, including Albus and Severus, had also sacrificed their lives. Well, in Binns' case, soul. He'd taken a hex into his ghostly spirit to protect a second year girl who had tripped when running from the Death Eaters. All in all, ten deatheaters had fallen. Ironically enough, they had fallen only after Maya had burst onto the scene of the fight, looking very much as if Hell itself was behind her. Most of them were previously unknown, for the most part untested, young witches and wizards too young to have been of the last generation's and too old to have been in the new generation. They were, in short, much like the middle children.
Maya had killed Antonin Dolohov.
Trevor Zabini had escaped.
Ron Weasley had been the first dead student that they had come upon. He had died fighting...had seen his sister trying to get all of those with her to the relative safety of Myrtle's bathroom and turned to make a stand...to delay the deatheaters long enough that the other students could, possibly, get away. Beside him on either side was Pansy Parkinson and Blaise Zabini. Slightly behind them had been Neville Longbottom, who had found in him one last burst of courage.
The Professors Sprout, Flitwick, and McGonagall had all been gravely injured. Poppy Pomfrey was trying to heal everyone at once, working around her own injuries.
The battle inside of the castle had been only a mere touch of the true battle. Thanks to Fenrir Greyback, the werewolves had also attacked. Maya was thankful, internally, that she had approached the Griffen Queen only a week or so before Lucius' death about fighting for the Light Side. As Maya was, through her animagus form, an honorary member of the Queen's Nest, the queen had granted her request.
The Forbidden forest had been torn apart by the battle between the werewolves and the griffens. Even the centaurs and the unicorns had pitched in to drive the werewolves away.
Remus Lupin had died in a fight to the death with Fenrir Greyback. The two werewolves had latched onto each other's throats and held their jaw locks, even into death. Percy had sent in the Aurors, near the end, in an answer to his Co-Minister's request for reinforcements to drive the remaining deatheaters from the halls of the great castle. He had even come himself, fighting side-by-side with Mad-Eye Moody and Tonks.
Maya had discussed things long and hard with Minerva, Percy, Alastor, and Kingsley. Sirius had been left out of the meetings, which was not a horrible thing in his mind. It meant that he was much more level-headed than Maya when she stormed into their shared quarters cursing and flinging things around wandlessly...scaring the shit out of her poor godsons, who were staying in Maya's suite so that she could be near them. None of them knew exactly what went on in these talks, save for those who were enclosed within the Headmistress' office for those long days, but they obviously weren't pretty.
The students had been left to their own devices in the Room of Requirements. Maya had scryed the room several times, and those huddled within...though worried...were all healthy and whole. They would be fine until Hogwarts was secured once more. It had been immediately taken off of the Floo Network...and while funeral preparations were going in full-swing, those within the Headmaster's office argued.
"It's too dangerous, we have to send the students home!" Percy fumed.
"What makes you think it will be safer for them at home, Minister Weasley?" Kingsley asked. "There was a traitor in the Order. That's only happened on one other time..."
"A time that was fatal for an entire family, if you'll care to remember!" Percy pointed out. Maya and Alastor stood to one side, their eyes identically hooded as they listened. They didn't say much, these two much-respected beings, but when they did...well, needless to say, people listened.
"The final battle is coming up." Minerva said. "Soon, Harry and Voldemort will have to meet. As much as I hate to do so, I must agree with Minister Weasley. The safest place for the students is their own home." Alastor and Maya exchanged a glance. Soon, it would be time to bring up their plan. The plan that they had argued over for a good hour and a half before agreeing on...the plan that would, with any luck, end the war. They'd even gone so far in their planning to breach the subject with Draco, Harry, and Sirius...as all three would be major players in the final battle.
"We don't even know when the final battle will be! Or where!" Kingsley said, frustrated. "We're completely in the dark!"
"So it's time to light a candle." Maya said, unexpectedly. Alastor stood impassively beside her. When everyone turned to her and she was certain she had their attention, she spoke with a cold finality in her voice. "Voldemort has already proven that he will not stop until he has broken us. The fact that he forced the elder Zabini to break his cover and kill both Severus and Albus proves that."
"We're doomed!" Percy began, taking a breath to begin another of his doomsaying lectures. A sharp-eyed glare from Maya shut him up before he'd even begun to draw the breath.
"Therefore...Alastor and I have discussed things with Sirius, Harry, and Draco." Maya continued as if she hadn't been disturbed. "And we have a plan..."
Maya walked back into the quarters that she and Sirius shared and gave a sharp nod. "They agreed to it." She said, calmly.
"Maya?" Sirius asked, hesitantly. "Have you...have you considered what I asked you last night?"
She clenched her fist, looking down. "I have."
"And..." She sighed, heavily. "I know someone who will be free to do it the day after Severus' funeral."
"Oh, Maya..." Sirius moved to her and took her in his arms. He couldn't believe that this wonderful woman had chosen him...again. He knew what it cost her to agree to marry him so soon after mourning the funeral of the last of her Slytherins. Severus and Lucius had been Maya's closest friends and confidants. She had been all that had separated them from the seduction of the Dark Arts. Without her...first Lucius, and then Severus caved only weeks afterwards. They had done it to try to find her, in the beginning, but soon the Dark Arts had twisted their purposes.
Severus had barely had the mental strength to go to Dumbledore to spy, months later. And now...now Maya had lost her best friends to something more final than a simple trip through time. She would not see them again. Sirius knew what it cost her to let go so readily...to be happy without one of the other men to walk her down the isle.
He knew what it cost her...because he, too, was paying that cost. Remus had been the last of the Marauders. Pudge had turned traitor, killing James. Maya had killed Pudge and now...
Now, Remus had died. The funeral for Remus was the day before the funeral for Severus. Only one in a long line of funerals from the Battle for Hogwarts, as Rita Skeeter had appropriately named it.
Maya hadn't shed a single tear. She'd held Harry, Sirius, and Draco while they cried, lending them her own strength and comforting them as best she could...but she herself had never shed a tear, even when she was alone. There would be time enough for that, later.
"Do you, Maya Elizabeth Gurgeon take this man...Sirius Lazerus Black...to be your lawfully wedded husband? In sickness and in health, Through good times and bad, so long as you both shall live?"
"Do you, Sirius Lazerus Black, take this woman...Maya Elizabeth Gurgeon...to be your lawfully wedded wife? In sickness and in halth, Through good times and bad, so long as you both shall live?"
"The rings, please." Draco and Harry stepped forward quickly. "Sirius, place your ring on the third finger of Maya's left hand and repeat after me." When Sirius was ready, the minister smiled. "Maya Elizabeth Gurgeon, with this ring I thee wed."
Sirius' eyes met Maya's and he gave her a tender smile. "Maya Elizabeth Gurgeon, with this ring, I thee wed." He slid the slender band into place.
"Maya, place your ring on the third finger of Sirius' left hand and repeat after me." Maya smiled at Sirius. "Sirius Lazerus Black,with this ring I thee wed."
"Sirius Lazerus Black, with this ring, I thee wed." Hermione whispered.
"I now pronounce you man and wife. You may..." The rest of the words were ignored by Maya and Sirius both as they kissed deeply and passionately, their arms wrapped around each other and their bodies pressed together. Only when they pulled back did the preacher smile and turn to the small crowd that had come to see the wedding. "It is my pleasure, Ladies and Gentlemen, to introduce Mr. and Mrs. Sirius Black.
It had been three weeks since Maya had proposed her plan to Minerva, Percy, and Kingsley. Two since she and Sirius had been married. She now sat silently in Poppy Pomfrey's domain, staring at the floor in worry. She hadn't had an attack in a week and a half...which truly didn't mean much, really. She wouldn't know for sure about the Sin un Alma until it was too late to do anything, but she didn't want to upset Sirius about these things.
No...she was here for an entirely different reason. She'd been sick the past few mornings, and she had a horrible feeling about it. Well...horrible and exhilerating at the same time. If her hunch was correct, then she couldn't tell Sirius until after the final battle. If she was pregnant and Minerva and Sirius knew it, they would never let her play her own role in the final battle. A role which was quite important indeed.
She looked up worriedly as Poppy walked up to her with the potion inside of which she'd placed a small urine sample from Maya. The potion was a dark blue in color. "Congratulations, Minister Black." Poppy said, quietly.
"Poppy...You know that I must ask you not to tell anyone? Not even Minerva or Sirius?" Maya said, her head down.
The mediwitch stiffened. "You know I will never betray the doctor-patient confidentiality that you demanded when you agreed to make me your primary physician, Minister." Poppy said. "But I must protest at your role in the coming battle."
Maya had picked up her cloak as she stood, and she paused just before she swung it around her shoulders. "Take a number, Poppy. I am the only one who can do this. Trevor would not meet anyone else in a duel." She swung the cloak around in a flowing wave of warm cloth, fastening it easily. "I will be careful."
As the Co-Minister walked silently out of Hogwarts' Hospital Wing, Madam Poppy Pomfrey watched her retreating back sadly. "That woman has more on her shoulders than anyone should be forced to take on in an entire lifetime." The mediwitch whispered to herself, shaking her head as she went back to work.
Maya stepped, silently and alone, onto the field that she'd chosen for the duel that would begin the final battle. Trevor was already waiting for her. She knew that there were legions of dementors and werewolves and other creatures in the woods behind Trevor on those vast plains. Just as he knew that behind her, somewhere, was the army that she had raised. What he was unaware of, however, was that she had no intensions of fighting honorably.
This man...this fool...had killed the last of her closest friends. The last of her Slytherins.
Harry and Draco watched their Godmother from the safety of the trees for a long moment before Harry turned to Draco. "Whatever happens, you have to let go and move on." Harry whispered.
"Harry..." Draco began, but he was cut off when the Green-eyed Gryffindor pressed his lips to the Blonde's.
"Promise me." Harry said, meeting the dazed silver eyes as he pulled away.
"Draco, please." Harry said. The duel was about to begin and he wanted a promise out of Draco before he was called into it. On impulse...much like the kiss had been...Harry lifted his hand to Draco's cheek, caressing it.
"I promise." Draco whispered reluctantly, tilting his head into Harry's hand. After a moment, he leaned up and pulled the Gryffindor into a kiss, just as the first of spells was thrown on the field.
"Zabini." Maya's voice could have frozen nitrogen. "What a pleasure."
Trevor gave an obvious shudder. "You don't know the Dark Lord's power, Maya...Severus and Lucius..."
"You don't have the right to dirty their names by allowing them to roll off of your filthy tongue, Zabini." Maya said, slipping her wands into her hands silently.
"They gave up a piece of an empire. You should hear the Dark Lord's dream, Maya...it's beautiful."
"It's a fake! He tells you only what you want to hear so that you continue to serve him willingly and so that he does not have to force you to fear him to command that same loyalty!"
Trevor looked at her for a long time before sighing softly and nodding his head, seemingly resigned. "Very well. I can see that I won't convince you. Shall we duel then?" He drew his wand and stepped back. "First, my lady, we bow."
"Of course." She bowed, never taking her eyes off of him. She came out of the bow quickly.
"Protego! Come, Zabini. This is Second Year stuff." She taunted.
The duel was an intense one...that lasted for hours but only minutes at the same time. The two duellists were fairly evenly matched...their casting speeds and reactions numbering about ten per duellist per second. So quick was their speed that when Maya cast two spells simultaneously...one non-verbal with her right wand and one verbal with her left...Trevor was caught hard by the non-verbal spell...
"Expelliarmus!" AVADA KEDAVRA!
Trevor vaulted into the air, spinning away from the red beam of light, just to catch the green in his back. Even before he had hit the ground, Maya was in the air, her solid black wings working with the winds as she shot back towards the woods from which she'd come. The first wave of wizards and aurors rushed out beneath her...the Griffens began flying past her towards the battle while the centaurs led the charge below, some carrying riders...albeit reluctantly.
Maya let her wings sink into flesh easily as she landed in a run, using her momentum to carry her into the bushes. "Harry!" The boy was waiting for her, running towards her. She transformed once more, as quickly as she could, and spread her wings as her godson vaulted to her back. Two beats of her strong wings later and they were soaring above the battlefield, riding the warm thermals easily as they waited for Voldemort's appearance.
"There, Maya!" Harry pointed and Maya followed his gaze. She gave a screech and paused for just a moment in her movement before spinning and diving towards the wizard who was killing those against him left and right. Her wings were folded almost flat back, her body taking on the shape of an arrow as she dove. Voldemort looked up and shot a curse at her, making her barrel-roll to the side swiftly, her wings pinned against Harry's knees all that kept him from falling.
She yanked out of her dive as Harry shouted a curse at Voldemort from her back, flying towards the Dark Lord with her hollowed claws extended. The werewolves of Voldemort's Honor Guard as well as the few wizards left of his Inner Circle turned quickly towards her, intent upon dragging her from the air. She struck once...her hollowed claws slicing into Tom Riddle's flesh and knocking him flying as she pulled out of her arching path, inky black wings working hard as she shot skywards once more, circling around as she moved and beginning to work her way in for the opportunity for another strike.
She could see Sirius duelling his way across the field to work in as backup for both herself and Harry...but that was what a lot of the griffens were doing as well. Natural Griffens had an innate resistance to curses that Maya, as a Griffen Animagus, lacked. She had planned it out with the queen that each time she pulled out of her swooping dives and climbed back to the safety of the air, a pair of griffens would flank her and ward off magical attacks from the deatheaters. They would have to trust in the centaurs and the Aurors to keep the werewolves from bringing them down. Sirius was doing fine...he had several others, including Kingsley and Alastor, with him to help him out. Her sharp eyesight then found the mass of redheads fighting back to back. Percy wasn't among them, she knew. He was at Hogwarts with Minerva McGonagall and a select few Aurors of Maya's own Personal Guard. They were the two that Hermione and Alastor had agreed were irreplacable.
Maya paused. She hadn't been able to learn telepathy quite yet, so she wasn't able to ask Harry if he was ready. He patted her neck as if he sensed her thoughts. "Come on...I'm ready." He assured her. She would have grinned had her beak been capable of the expression. Her wings flattened back once more and she turned in a dive. This time, Harry was ready. Spells from his wand paved their path straight into the ranks of the Inner Circle and Honor Guard once more. This time, Harry concentrated on keeping the werewolves at bay as Maya struck, lifting Voldemort into the air about ten feet before dropping him, straight onto the back of Ashlyn Greyback...the late Fenrir's daughter and inherited leader of the werewolves. She had been running towards Voldemort and the Honor Guard to assist.
PULL UP! Maya heard the voice of the Griffen who had been training her in battle maneuvars in her mind and she obeyed without question. A green spell shot underneath her, where she'd been moments before. Barrel Roll right! She immediately did so, her wings flattening just enough to keep Harry secure. She heard him shout a spell whiles he was upside down and would have, once more, grinned had she been able. She continued climbing, aware that two Griffens had floated in to flank her, warding off the spells from below. Once she was in the air, she began circling, waiting for another opportunity.
"SIRIUS!" She heard Harry cry from her back turned her head to look. Sirius was being overwhelmed. He'd been separated from Alastor and Kingsley, and was surrounded. She gave a shriek of despair and began to alter her course to move to him.
STOP! The voice of her queen stopped her immediately and had her circling in despair. You cannot abandon your own mission, Maya!
Sirius! Maya cried, letting out another shriek of helplessness as two of the griffens broke ranks and dove towards the man who had turned into a dog and was now leaping, running across the field to escape. There was a jet of green light flying towards him and Maya let out a third shriek. Harry screamed on her back and the griffens flattened their wings even closer to their bodies, driving their dive harder. They were too far away...it was too late...
The light struck the huge, solid black dog square in the back as he moved to leap over a bush and into the relative safety of the forest. Giving a yelp that could be heard from even where Maya and Harry were circling, he disappeared into the dense underbrush. Maya turned her dark, wrathful eyes to Voldemort. Harry, once again, was on the same wavelength as he saw Voldemort sway in his place. "Let's end this." He said.
With a roar of rage that had most of the Inner Circle and Honor Guard regarding her with fear, Maya dove one last time. Even as she barrel-rolled to avoid the spells thrown at them, Harry was casting spells in a fit of rage. She spun up and used her whip-like tail to break the necks of a pair of deatheaters, her hollowed claws striking two werewolves in the throat. Harry dropped two more deatheaters as she pulled up and circled once, diving back in. They decimated the ranks of the Honor Guard and Inner Circle both with each turn that they made, until Voldemort was the only one left standing. Maya pulled out one more time, circling to get up the momentum. Moving around, she dove.
Ashlyn Greyback leapt over Voldemort's shoulders to meet the Griffen, who jolted in place, catching the werewolf in the back with her hollowed claws and going down. Harry leapt free as werewolf and Griffen went down in a roar of snarles and shrieks, claws, teeth, and beak flashing, wings and tail beating. The Griffen Venom from Maya's hollowed claws was obviously taking its effect on Voldemort, who looked up only then, as if he'd just noticed Harry.
"AVADA KEDAVRA!" Harry shouted. Voldemort lifted his wand, but in his weakened state, he couldn't resist the spell as it hit him. He fell.
To one side, Maya's clawed hind legs shoved Ashlyn Greyback off of her and she rolled to her feet, wings melting into flesh as they folded into her back. She walked over and held out her hand to Harry, where he'd fallen to his knees. He looked up and took her hand and the two walked towards the edge of the battlefield. Draco was already running to greet them when his smile fell away and he pointed. Maya didn't hear the words on his lips, but her instincts kicked in and she shoved Harry hard aside and dove away as a green flash passed by them. Draco jumped to safety and the spell hit a tree, making the trunk explode.
"Harry! Get to the bushes!" Maya snapped, a wand in each hand as she stood to face off against the deatheaters that were advancing. "RUN!"
Trained to obey her...both as his professor and his godmother, Harry broke into a run while Draco drew his wand, covering the Gryffindor's retreat. Harry grabbed the blonde's hand on his way boy and they disappeared into the trees. Maya watched them go while defending herself, keeping the attention of the deatheaters on her. Once they were out of harm's way, she spun, spells jolting from both wands. A spell struck her in the chest, just as Alastor and Kingsley arrived to help.
She fell backwards, lying on the ground and staring up at the cloudy sky. It would soon begin to snow, she knew. The snow would blanket the world and the magical field that she had chosen for the battle would do its part. No sign that a battle had ever taken place would remain in three days' time. She was aware of Kingsley and Alastor trying to reach her, but the last of Voldemort's followers were massing towards them, keeping them back. Her limbs were sluggish...she couldn't move, and she was slightly cold.
Knowing that she couldn't comfort her friends, the witch gave a soft sigh, eyelids slowly fluttering closed over the tired chocolate-colored eyes as the world went dark.
Upon scouring the battlefield the next day, Mediwitches and Wizards, as well as the Aurors and those who had volunteered for the task, began to search for survivors. Sirius Black's body was found fairly easily, for Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy were crouched nearby. Harry's head was in Draco's lap, his green eyes unseeing and rimmed with red from his tears. Both of the boys were treated for Hypothermia and released.
Besides Ron, the Weasley Family also lost Charlie, Fred, and Arthur to the final battle. Molly was distraught and had to be checked into St. Mungos not long after, leaving Ginny to be the strong Motherly Figure in the family. Draco and Harry lived on to marry and adopt two children, one girl who looked much like Harry and a boy who was a carbon copy of Draco. They named them Lily Elizabeth and Lucius James. Minerva McGonagall took custody of Harry and Draco in the remaining months before they came of age, as she had taken custody of their shared godmother when Maya was sent spinning into the past for the greatest adventure of her young life.
Ginny Weasley grew up to marry Seamus Finnegan, eventually letting go of the rape and inheriting the Burrow from her parents upon Molly's death, four years after the final battle. They lived to fill the house once more with the laughter of children. The werewolves had, at the death of their leader, Ashlyn, turned on the deatheaters, helping to end the battle with much more ease than would have been possible otherwise. For this, they were given pardons and allowed into wizarding society once more. The staff at Hogwarts had been decimated during the final battle, and the new generation moved to fill it in. Draco and Harry were two of many of their classmates who became teachers. Draco became the Head of Slytherin and Potions Professor, while Harry was the Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher and Head of Gryffindor.
Sirius was laid to rest beside Lily. There was enough space on his other side for Maya between him and Severus. On Severus' other side was Lucius. Narcissa joined them on Lucius' other side...ten years after the war's end. Trevor Zabini and Peter Pettigrew were tossed into a random hole somewhere, giving them no more honor in death than they'd shown in life.
Maya Gurgeon's body was never found. After a year, she was assumed dead and a funeral was held, laying an empty coffin to rest between Severus and Sirius. In death, as she had been in life, Maya became a bridge between the two very different worlds that had been Slytherin and Gryffindor.
My dear, dear Harry:
If you are reading this, then I have died. You see, I've charmed this letter (and my will) to appear exactly one year after my death. Until that time, there was a lock placed on all of my accounts to allow none but Libby and Batty to withdraw any money whatsoever...and Libby and Batty were only to withdraw money as they needed it to supply and care for Zorra Manor.
Do not shed a tear for me, my heart. You and Draco are strong. Even if you did not have each other, I would not fear leaving you. As it is, however, you do indeed have one another and I am content. Also, if I have died, I know that my beloved Sirius is also dead...for I vowed to him that I would not leave him again. This vow included death. Thus, I can leave you all with a clear conscience. I trust that you and Draco will insure that the recipients of my will get what I have left to them?
I will not tell you not to miss me, for such is life. We miss those that have left us behind, spreading their wings to float up into the heavens. This is all well and good, but do not let it hinder your life. I have lived a (more or less) full life, and I must say that to die will be a great adventure...one that I willingly embark on.
Your Loving Godmother,
Maya Elizabeth Black
The Last Will and Testament of Maya Elizabeth Black
The life that I leave behind is one that I will always remember. I must ask that those that I am forced to leave behind do not mourn too greatly...for with every death comes a life and vice versa. It is merely a part of nature...a mere link in the chain that begets our lives.
It seems that I have many more worldly possessions than I first thought. Very Well. This is my Will as it stands upon the night after my marriage to one Sirius Lazerus Black.
To my Godsons, Draco Orius Malfoy and Harold James Potter, I wish for my entire Gringotts Vault 19956 to be emptied and split equally between them. Half of each portion will go straight into a trust fund, not to be accessed until their Thirtieth Birthdays. The other half, they may do with what the will. Also, to these two young men, I leave Zorra Manor.
To my loving husband, Sirius Lazerus Black, I leave the Hidden Manor and the treasures therein. At my death, the Hidden Manor will have been revealed. Within the Manor is a small fortune in itself, to add to the fortune in Sirius' own Gringotts Vault. In the event that Sirius cannot, for whatever the reason, claim his share of my inheritance, the Hiddem Manor and all within will go to my Godsons as well.
To the Weasleys, I leave the contents of my Gringotts Vault 89387 to be placed in a trust fund for any children that will need robes, books, and other school supplies in the future. My Gringotts Vault 28945, small though the total contents within may be, will be an emergency fund for this family, to be drawn upon only after the Ministry has signed several forms accepting that it is an emergency. Should the time be short, and the Ministry's insufferable incompetence show itself all too clearly, a signature from Minerva McGonagall will suffice. She will know my definition of an "emergency."
To Hogwarts, I leave my entire Library. Harry Potter knows the password to the sealed off room within which my library rests. Many of these books are old, and I request that Madam Pince first prepare a dust-free saferoom for the books within my library prior to the removal of my library from my home.
Do not worry...my affairs have been taken care of. The funeral has been paid for, though you will likely only be burying an empty box. It's time to let go. I've been dead for a year now, and it's truly time to let go. After all...this isn't really the end. I'll see you all again, one day.
Remember, my dears...
Learn from the Past.
Live in the Present.
Look to the Future.
Maya Elizabeth Black
So mote it be.
"She didn't really die, did she Grandmother Black?" Ten-year-Old Abigail Black asked of the ancient woman who was sitting in her easy chair, wrapped in shawls and robes in front of the fire. Abby and her eight-year-old brother, Alex, were sitting cross-legged on the floor before her, along with their cousins, Macie and Jonathon, and their second cousins, Jasmine, Christopher, and Casey. Outside, the Chicago sky poured snow and the lights strung up around the house by both their parents and grandparents glittered merrily. The tree in the corner of the room was nearly overloaded with presents to and from the ancient woman whose voice had kept the children entranced.
The faded eyes of an indistinct color peered down at the young girl who had, at first, protested that she was far too old for fairy tales. Elizabeth Black smiled gently, sitting back in her chair and revelling in the warmth of the fire. Her arthritis was acting up again, and she was thankful for the reprieve from being the active woman of One Hundred and Three Years of age that she was. "No one knows, my dear." She told her great, great granddaughter, gently. She noted that Casey, the youngest of her twice-great grandchildren at the age of six, had fallen asleep in his elder sister's lap. "Nobody found Maya's body, you see."
"But Grandmother Black..." Macie began. She was the oldest, at eleven. She was attending the Great Lakes School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for the first time that year, so Elizabeth had decided that for their traditional Christmas Eve story, she would tell them of a young British Witch who had become very famous in her life.
"Macie..." Elizabeth's Great-Granddaughter, Alice said, sternly. Elizabeth watched quietly, letting the young woman take control. These stories tired her out, as she grew older. Sighing softly, she relaxed even further. "It's time for bed." As was tradition, the entire family was gathered in Elizabeth's Chicago Mansion for Christmas Eve. It was a tradition that she'd begun with her son, and that had carried on throughout the years since.
"Yes, Mama." Macie poked Jonathon until he was fully awake once more, and the eleven-year-old and the nine-year-old followed their mother up the stairs to bed.
"Abby, it's bedtime for you, too." James, Elizabeth's great grandson, spoke. His wife had taken her pregnant body up to bed hours before, though he'd stayed to get the children tucked into bed.
"Jasmine, Chris, you guys too." Ron, James and Alice's cousin called as his wife picked up the sleeping Casey.
"Yes, dears..." Elizabeth said, gently. "Santa, after all, cannot come unless you are all in bed." They smiled sleepily at her as they moved upstairs. Only when they were gone did Elizabeth begin to work her way into a standing position.
"Grandma, let me help..." Elizabeth's elder grandson, Andrew, said gently. He and her younger grandson, Percy, helped her up and Andrew escorted her to her room.
"Thank you, Drew." Elizabeth said, gently. She touched his cheek delicately, caressing it lovingly.
"Good night, Grandmama." Drew whispered, hugging her. She returned it, despite the protests of her arthritis, and smiled, kissing his cheek.
"Good Night, my love." Elizabeth said gently. "Kiss Vera for me."
"I will, Grandmama." Drew smiled as he left the room. Once he was gone, Elizabeth made her way to the windowseat upon which she used to sit on Christmas Eve, watching it snow. Her body barely had the energy for that now, however. Sighing gently, she pulled a long, polished wand from its place in the bedside table, lifting the wand easily and casting the spell that she'd casted for the past seventy without fail on Christmas Eve. Santa Clause was real for Chicago.
Setting the wand away, back in its place, Elizabeth looked down at the picture beside her bed. It was the only photograph that wasn't of her family that was on display in the house. In it, a group of young people were standing, laughing and waving. They were bundled up to avoid the cold, waving at the camera and wrapping their arms around each other in turns. In the background was a forest, heavy with snow, over which snow-capped mountains finished off the background, making the picture seem like something out of a fairytale. A sad smile twisted at the ancient woman's lips as she touched the simple wooden frame that encased the picture.
In the picture, a redheaded young woman with green eyes was standing by a much taller black-haired man. The man was wearing glasses that couldn't quite contain behind them the mischief in his brown eyes, and his hair was all a mess. The man and the woman would embrace, kissing, every now and then...obviously in love. To the redhead's other side was a beautiful young woman with a dark, natural tan and straight brown hair that fell down past her shoulders for about six inches. The silky brown locks had golden streaks in them where her natural blonde highlights showed through amazingly. She was holding hands with a man who was about the same height of the redhead's chosen beau, with equally black hair and brown eyes. This man's hair fell to his shoulders, however, and he watched the young brunette as if she were the only person on earth. When the woman wasn't beaming out of the picture, she was kissing him.
To the other side of the brunette and her long-haired man was a man with long, silvery platinum blonde hair that fell to his shoulders. He had an imperious look on her face, though one could see the love in his bright storm-cloud gray eyes each time he turned to kiss the equally blonde woman standing beside him, her head resting on the taller man's shoulder. Her eyes rarely left him, even when he was leaning around the man beside him to wink roguishly at the brunette woman, who laughed in reply. Sitting on a bench in front of the three couples were two more couples. In front of the pair of blondes was a man with black hair that fell to his chin, his black eyes glittering with more emotions than could be truly felt in one lifetime. Perched in his lap, her legs crossing his and her arms wrapped around the back of his neck as she rested her cheek against his was a tiny blonde woman that couldn't have been more than 5'2, standing. Her bright blue eyes sparkled with an inner fire and a love for life that only the brunette could truly match. She kissed the man whose lap she was perched in on the cheek every now and then, and he would make a face that was so obviously fake that it made her laugh openly, turning his face for a kiss that- even merely watching- made the blood in one's veins rush with passion.
Beside that couple was a second couple of a pair of Italians. Their skin-tone was the signature shade of their heritage. The man's eyes were a deep indigo, while the woman's were a brighter, lighter blue. They were well matched, and kissed at random intervals when they weren't laughing at the antics of the couple next to them. Kneeling on either side of the bench, grinning widely out at the camera, were two men. One was short and squat with an ugly, rat-like air about him. He was watching the brunette with an envious, adoring air. Kneeling opposite to him, before the redhead and her beau, was a thin, pale young man with brown hair that was cut short and styled easily. Friendly, albeit tired, brown eyes gazed out towards the camera, a gentle, wistful smile curving at his lips. Every now and then, the man standing behind him would rest a hand on his shoulder and the friends would look at each other, exchanging a smile that told the world that they knew things that the viewers didn't. All of the young people were happy...so much so that it made one long for that same type of happiness for onesself.
Elizabeth sighed and went about readying herself for bed, changing into her long, warm flannel nightgown and turning on the electric blanket that covered the bed. Sitting on the edge of the matress, she looked towards the photograph one last time and smiled, pulling the covers of the bed over her and reaching over to turn off her lamp.
Her son, Sirius Severus, had died three years before, and Elizabeth continued to expect him to be filling the house with his laughter as he kissed her cheek and sat beside her as she told her stories, as he had every christmas since Andrew and Percy had been old enough to appreciate the holiday. Before that, when it had just been the two of them...and later, Siri's wife, Natalie...he had been the one on the floor and she had sat in that same chair, smiling the same smile, full of love and tenderness. For all that her past had been so awful in spots, Elizabeth had led a full and happy life. She was a well-known part of the American Wizarding Community, she had organized and run several charities, and she had been the Headmistress of the Great Lakes School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for fifty years...up until her ninetieth birthday. Before that, she'd been the Potions Professor for twenty years, her first job after her immigration into the United States.
All in all, she wasn't displeased with her life. She had studied long and hard and sealed off an area of her soul...had been the first person in history to be a documented survivor of Sin un Alma. She had raised a wonderfully powerful son to be a great wizard. Siri had been the American Minister of Magic for many years before he had finally retired, leaving the way open for the ambitious Percy Black. Andrew was much more content in his position as Headmaster of the Great Lakes School of Witchcraft and Wizardry...up until his grandmother's retirement, he'd served as the Transfiguration Professor in the school.
James had inherited the Transfiguration position from his father once his apprenticeship in France was finished. He'd met his wife, Nicoletta, during his apprenticeship, and they had married three years later. Abigail had been born almost exactly nine months from their wedding day, making her the second oldest of Elizabeth's great great grandchildren. Alice, Andrew's second child and daughter, was a very famous journalist, who was able to travel around the world to cover some of the most bizarre and wondrous news stories.
Percy's son, Ron, had been a hard birth for Percy's late wife, Charlotte. Charlotte had died in childbirth and Percy had been unable to truly care for Ron with his budding career in the ministry, so Siri and Natalie had been the ones to raise him. Percy's career had nearly collapsed into nothingness when it was realized that he had turned into an alcoholic after his wife's death, but Elizabeth had emerged from her school and taken Percy under wing, creating a very special bond with him as she nursed him back to health and gave him her full support when he began to pursue his dreams once more. It was her support more than any doctor's bills of health that had stablized Percy's ministry career once more. Ron was the American Ambassador to the United Kingdom and spent most of his time in the London Ministry. He and his wife, Shannon, still came back to America without fail every year for Christmas...allowing their three children to know their grandparents and great great grandmother.
Yes...the ancient matriarch could honestly say that life was good.
As she drifted off to sleep, Elizabeth thought she saw a bright light in the corner of her room. Her dreams, such as they were, were filled with the bright tinkling of laughter...laughter that she recognized, though she hadn't heard it in fifty-seven years or so. It was the laughter of her Siri...her son. The laughter of a carefree child. The light in the corner of the room grew in intensity and three voices that she felt she should recognize sang out together. It wasn't as if they had just begun. It was as if they'd been singing the entire time, and were only now growing loud enough for the words to be clear.
Oh Come, Angel Band
Come and around me stand
Oh bear me away on your snow white wings
To my immortal home
Oh bear me away on your snow white wings
To my immortal home
Two of the voices trailed off, leaving only one...a feminine voice...
I've almost reached my heavenly home
My spirit loudly sings
The holy ones behold they come
I hear the noise of wings...
The two deeper, male voices chimmed back in as Elizabeth rose, looking down at hands that only hours before had been wrinkled and old. They were now the strong, shapely hands of her youth. She gasped quietly.
Oh Come, Angel Band
Come and around me stand
Oh bear me away on your snow white wings
To my immortal home
Oh bear me away on your snow white wings
To my immortal home
Elizabeth lifted her head to look at the three people waiting for her in the corner. One was a young redheaded woman, whose green eyes sparkled with delight. One was a tall, gorgeous young man with silver hair that brushed past his shoulders. The third...
The third was a man with shaggy black hair that touched his shoulders and brown eyes that sparked mischief and mayhem.
They reached for her silently, bidding her to follow.
...And she did.