Hot beads of sweat burned Bill's eyes as they trickled from his brow down into his blue eyes. The fury powering the spell pouring from his wand burned the very wood clasped so tightly between his fingers. He could see the dread and confusion etching their way onto the faces and defense stances of his opponents. His leg-weakening curse had met their more malicious curses halfway and was steadily pushing them back on their casters.
The prospect of victory surged through him, boosting the amount of power in his spell even more. It gave him more time to consider what he would do next.
He prepared to drop his leg-weakening curse to whip a destructive splinching curse onto his two opponent before he was viciously bludgeoned in the side and sent flying into a china cabinet in the Dursley's sitting room. A quick healing charm flew from his tired wand and, before it had managed to pull the fatal amount of glass out of his body, he threw a ridiculously strong banishing curse that surprisingly and successfully decapitated his two assailants.
He wheeled around away from the disgustingly gory sight, casting more simple healing charms on his person, and observed the bloody battlefield that was destroying the once unnaturally tidy and clean house. Dark wizards fought like savages, he noted with a grimace. The Ministry officials, who had noticed the enormous amount of magic being used in a muggle neighborhood, had been barbarically chopped down. Those who were still fighting were either very lucky or very experienced.
I don't which category I fall under in this situation, Bill asked himself. He leaned more towards the lucky and desperate side. Draco Malfoy, who surprisingly was the first person Bill was acquainted with on the scene, however fought the dark wizards like a veteran Auror.
As he stood admiring the blonde's impressive fighting techniques something heavy barreled right into him, knocking him to the floor and the air out of his lungs. His head swam slightly, and he was barely able to register the dark wizard's wand pointed at his throat before the heavy man shriek in agony. His body constricted in the most unnatural way. Bill could hear several bones cracking and breaking in the man's body as he convulsed and screamed on top of him.
He gave the man a mighty shove and decided to let him suffer rather than kill him and spare him a painful last few minutes. He stepped quickly on the man's wand and limped around his twisting form. He sent Malfoy, who had cast the dark spell and thus quite likely saved Bill's life, a quick nod of thanks before he moved on to find the muggle residents of the house.
Malfoy had just arrived at his cottage when Bill received the message that an attack was underway. He told Bill that he was there to "mend the relationship between their houses." Bill was still unsure how Malfoy wished to accomplish that with the most loathed man in the wizarding world, who was as good as disowned from his own family.
Bill's heart skipped as he passed two fallen Aurors on the stairs leading to the second floor of the house. He had known the two men from their time at Hog. Two of the brightest in their class, what a waste of life and talent! He bent down quickly to close their lifeless eyes.
He still clutched the message that he found on the counter in his kitchen as he went to offer tea to Malfoy, the message that he wrote. He hadn't known when he wrote it or how he got it into Bill's cottage without him knowing, but he and Malfoy decided to not waste anytime trying to figure out Harry's stealth methods.
Why me though? Bill weighed the reasons why Harry chose to send him a message and not directly inform the Order or the Ministry. They would all end up coming soon enough. He heard Malfoy conjure his patronus as he reached the top of the stairs, and decided that by following the sounds of louds noises and voices on the second floor of the house, he would be bound to find the Harry's muggle relatives and insure their safety as the note asked.
Attack at my aunt's. Please help if you can. That was all written on the note.
His thoughts drifted back to Harry's motives, and he knew that Harry was not ready to reveal himself to the wizarding world yet, but he could have definitely taken care of the problem without Malfoy or Bill.
In quick succession, three loud pops sounded from the room on the farthest end of the hall in front of him and were followed by silence.
Bill quickly made his way to the room and threw open the door with haste. He threw himself to the floor as something flew over his head, immediately followed by a woman's shriek. With him on the floor lie two bleeding male bodies, one with only half of a face and the other with two bloodied holes in his chest.
Bill raised his hands in submission before Harry's aunt who pointed a metallic object at him. He struggled briefly to remember her name along with the name of the weapon she had shakily trained on him.
"You?" She practically growled from her corner beside the bed, the only whole piece of furniture in the room. "Of all the wizards he could send to help me, he sends the one who caused him the most pain."
Bill sighed slightly. He did not expect a different greeting. The woman suddenly pointed the object in her hand more steadily at him, and he immediately ducked once more. The bang rattled him to the bones and behind him another body fell to the ground. Bill didn't bother to turn around to see the newest edition to the dead men's club on the floor.
"That's three that I've killed. I've killed three men. I never thought-." She interrupted herself by dropping the metal object and then jumping at the bang it made.
Bill quickly stood guard over the door and the now empty hallway. He felt the woman approaching him slowly from behind before he saw her on his side.
"You would do anything for him, wouldn't you?" She asked him quietly. Bill furrowed his brow in confusion. "Even risking your life for his muggle aunt?"
His answer was quick and honest. "That and more." She nodded slowly in understanding
"He said you would say that." She shook her head. "Him choosing you makes more sense now despite..." She drifted off.
The noises from the fighting below increased significantly, drawing both of their attention, and brought her out of her reprieve.
"Quickly, we don't have much time." She hurried to the corner where she dropped the metal object (a gum, Bill remembered the name to be). She picked it up and rushed from the room with Bill hot on her heels.
"Where are you going?" Bill asked.
"All will be explained when we meet the others downstairs. You did call for the others, correct?" She spoke with such urgency that Bill began to worry.
"Of course I did." Malfoy did at least, he thought remembering the eagle Patronus that the blonde conjured and sent earlier
"Great! So you can help me inform them that they should go straight to the prison, Azkaban. Harry said that he would need assistance there."
Bill stopped midway down the stairs. "What do you mean? You and Harry spoke?"
"Yes, how else would I know what he said?" She asked irritated and impatiently. "There is much that I have to share with you and the others when we-." She stopped mid-speak as a sea of spell-lit wands met them in the foyer.
In front of them stood the entirety of the Order minus Dumbledore. Bill sighed internally and met the bewildered and questioning stares of the Order members with a slightly raised chin.
If they think they can intimidate me en masse again, they are poking the wrong mandrake. He wasn't sure where he was received the sudden confidence but it was greatly accepted, despite how it frightened him.
Bill ignored the whispering of his name by the Order members as he continued descending the stairs. He noticed then, as Harry's aunt approached the Order, writing on the wall next to him.
A muggle for your thoughts, Potter.
If it were not for the severity of the situation, and for the fact that everything was obviously written in human blood, Bill would have snorted at the pun.
"NO!" Harry's aunt produced an unearthly, heart wrenching scream her gaze too few upon the wall. She collapsed, fell to her knees and wept loudly.
Bill was the first to reach her. Wordlessly, he placed a hand on her shoulder attempting to squeezed sympathy and reassurance into her now destitute world.
She looked up to him with watery eyes. "Bring them back," she said simply, flinching slightly out of his grasp. Bill nodded solemnly. It was obvious to him that she did not just mean her husband and son.
He made brief eye contact with Malfoy, who merely raised a platinum eyebrow as if to say 'well, hop to it.'
Why does everyone believe that I am the one who can do something to bring Harry back? If he wanted to be back, he would. He instantly muted the voice in his head that told him otherwise.
He turned away from Malfoy to the others, remembering why he and Harry's aunt had rushed down the stairs. "We must go to Azkaban." He continued despite the confusion and dismissal that met his statement, "According to her, Harry needs us to go to the prison-."
"He needs assistance there. He said he could be more of a help there, while you all assisted here." Harry's aunt said through sobs. "Not my baby, anyone but my baby." She shook under Bill's hand.
"When?" "What?" "Where is he?" They shouted in unison. The questions continued to pour from their mouths.
Bill used his wand to make a loud BOOM. "Are you really going to sit here interrogating the woman when Harry is obviously fighting Merlin knows how many Dark wizards at Azkaban!" He growled. He saw the internal conflict many of them had taking orders from him.
Not a moment too late, a woman dressed elegantly in white fur and green silk stepped forward and spoke. "Let's head there and check it out. We are done here anyway." As she gestured quickly to the massacre around her, Bill realized that it was his youngest and only sister who spoke. "It will not hurt to just-."
A phoenix Patronus appeared and interrupted her unnaturally urgent in Dumbledore's deep voice, Azkaban under attack.
Timed seemed to slow for Bill. He felt all attention return to him and knew that he had to do something
He merely raised his wand and poured as much power he could into depower the Apparation wards surrounding the house. It sucked power straight from his core in painful surges. He struggled. Damn these wards are strong. I can't imagine being on the outside and trying to break in.
"Apparate!" He commanded them. They did not need a second telling, considering the unheeded warning and insight he tried to provide them earlier. Numerous pops followed his directive. His sister, right, no longer blood-relative, waited a moment clutching the infamous pendant around her neck and gave him an indecipherable look. He closed his eyes briefly due to the strain his magic was under and, when he reopened them, she and the rest of the Order were gone.
Bill dropped his spell and a hand landed on his shoulder. He jumped nearly a foot or two into the air. A spell flew out of his wand wordlessly and nearly struck Malfoy in the face. The blond gave him an empty smile.
"You are still your normal nervous self, I see," the blond drawled. He dusted his robes off absentmindedly.
Bill did not bother to respond. He turned to the still crying woman at his feet. "Did Harry say where you should go? A secure, safe haven?" He tried not to agitate the woman more, but the question was necessary.
She gave a small cry of despair. "My home was my safe haven. LOOK. Look around you. Do you feel safe here? More of the those beasts could come any second and finish off what they started with my husband and my poor baby boy."
As he opened his mouth to respond and ask another question, Malfoy cut him off impatiently.
"She's right, you know." He suddenly looked more cautious and as dangerous as he looked as he had fought earlier. He observed their surrounding with a sweeping vigilance and settled his gaze on the window through which the sun was surprisingly setting. "There could be more on their way."
Bill decided not to argue against their logic. As Malfoy looked out the window and whispered to himself ("why hasn't the Ministry sent any more Aurors or Obliviators"), Bill prepared to Side-Apparate Harry's aunt and the blonde to his cottage.
He raised his wand to temporarily take down the Apparation ward again as a murky brown spell whizzed past his arm and struck the wall with the writing in blood behind him. The wall wobbled slightly. He watching in surprise as the wall simply stopped moving and suddenly imploded.
Malfoy blocked the onslaught of debris by summoning the front door. Bill released a breath that he did not know he was holding, and the house groaned from the sudden lack of support.
"They enchanted the windows and placed a silent bubble on the house! The clever buggers." Malfoy admitted angrily while removing the enchantment on the window
Malfoy conjured a corporal shield to protect them all from head to foot. He quickly sent the Killing Curse twice in the direction of the curse. Bill heard a heavy body hit the floor.
"I will depower the wards!" Malfoy said suddenly to Bill. "You can Side-Apparate the two of us to your place. Hurry!" He sent another Killing Curse over Bill's shoulder.
Still shivering from the power and intention of the curses that just passed mere inches from his head, he wasted no time reaching out for the blonde's shoulder. He felt himself subconsciously squeezing the woman's shoulder again.
Several more dark curses of various colours flew toward them. Bill ducked automatically. He instinctually prepared to send a curse back, but a hiss from Malfoy reminded him of his task.
The disenchanted window, showing the battle unfolding outside the house, suddenly exploded in a deadly shower of flying shards of glass. Malfoy wandlessly conjured an intensely powerful shield and staggered from the amount of power he put into the piece of magic.
The familiar feeling of Apparation almost conquered Bill's magically and physically exhausted body. He closed his eyes in concentration, focusing on getting to his destination as well as bringing the two people with him.
When he felt the ground return to its original position beneath his feet, relief overwhelmed him completely. He dropped like a ragdoll to the floor, followed soon by Malfoy, though with a more elegant landing on Bill's living-room floor.
Harry's aunt did not seem to notice the change in location, though Bill did notice the green tint to her complexion. She had yet to leave her kneeling position.
He was quite unsure of what to do for and with her. How do you tell a woman that all will work itself out with time when she's probably lost her husband and son? He felt himself go a bit pale as he remembered his reaction to the similarly apparent death of Harry and their child.
He swallowed painfully as he took a quick journey down the agony-paved memory lane. He realized then that he had yet to let go of the woman.
Slowly he grabbed her and drew her into his shoulder. She resisted slightly but soon gave in. He wrapped his arms around the woman he barely knew, but who he commiserated with and connected to on a deep level of soul sorrow.
"Mine came back, when all looked bleak… yours will too." The woman shuddered violently. Bill could practically feel the inner struggle she was fighting with one part of her knowing that he was right, but the other wanting immediate physically evidence of such. "Harry won't allow anything to happen to them."
She went stiff in his arms. He did not let her go. But apparently that was the right thing to say as she soon relaxed, though she did not stop silently crying.
Bill was not sure how long they remained in that position, when her tears stopped wetting his shoulders because she ran out of them, or when Malfoy managed to get up unbeknownst to him and leave the room. At some point the blond returned to the room carrying a pot of tea, three cups and a plate full of some food he managed to find in Bill's refrigerator.
He uncapped a bottle of a familiar pink potion into the tea in front of Bill, behind the sobbing woman's back, as if to show him that he was not trying to poison them. He poured three cups of tea and offered two of them to Bill and Harry's aunt. The latter took a little longer to accept, but with some coaxing from Bill she took a sip and immediately became calmer. The Calming Potion's effects on muggles were more powerful and potent than on w.
Bill downed his whole cup and sighed contentedly. They sat in quiet for quite some time, enjoying the peaceful effects of the tea on their battle-tired bodies and minds.
"You know this is all my fault." Malfoy said breaking the peace and silence without warning.
Bill blinked unsure of how to interpret Malfoy's statement. "How so?" He asked simply.
Malfoy sighed deeply. He set his cup down gently before he looked up. Bill saw nothing but regret and sorry in his eyes.
"I was stubborn, childish – I really do hate your brother. If it weren't for the fact that I love your sister exponentially, I would have destroyed your family's name because of how much I loathe the weasel. No offense of course." Bill could only nod, though the fingers on his wand hand twitched slightly.
He decided that attacking the man would not help anyone at the moment. He also could not forget how Malfoy held his sister back as she wanted to rip him to shreds at the last Order meeting he attended. For that, Bill could only be grateful and forgiving.
"I do not see how anything of your problems with Ron have anything to do with this, whatever this is." Bill said softly.
Malfoy gave a cold laugh. "It was because of that petty hatred, albeit totally earned, that I hindered the search for Potter. I remember much Olympian from my lessons with Conan. I could have analyzed the end of the memory you showed at any time."
Something about the uneasiness in the blonde's eyes unnerved Bill. Bill felt as if something was missing. Surely, Malfoy's hatred of Ron affected his interest in assisting the Order in their quest to find Harry, but for some reason Bill just did not believe Malfoy's simple reasoning.
For someone who is supposedly confessing, he surely knows how to only partially do so. Bill narrowed his eyes. "Ron wasn't the only thing that kept you from helping, was it?"
Malfoy started startled. He opened his mouth but closed it immediately afterwards. He looked down at his suddenly interesting hands like a kid caught red-handed. "As a kid I dreamed of gods and goddesses. They were all of different sizes, colors, and types depending on the culture and nationality. I loved the Norse, Greek, and Egyptian gods above all, partially due to their impact on magic and partially because of the stories my mother read to me as a child from their roles, romances and relations with heroes and us mortals."
He stood up suddenly fidgeting slightly with his hands. "I always wanted to see them, talk to them, for them to talk to me… It was something that stayed with me until I went to Hogwarts and had to rid myself of that "childhood fetish," as my father called it." He ran a hand through his hair. "But seeing the magnitude of their power, seeing the effect they can have a person, a war, even a world, scared me shitless!"
Bill suddenly followed his logic. "And you are afraid of analyzing the riddle because you think they will start talking to you?"
Malfoy shook his head in the negative. "No. I could survive a conversation with them."
"Then I'm confused-."
From his shoulder, Harry's aunt gave a loud groan. "Isn't obvious? He's afraid of Harry, not of the prospect of talking to those gods!" She said turning to look at the blushing blond.
"In few words, yes. I'm more afraid of what power he holds through them, than just Harry himself." He plopped himself unceremoniously in the chair he had previously occupied. "Ginny, with his necklace around her neck, hidden or not, frightens me."
"Why though?" Bill asked, detaching himself from the woman. "Neither Harry nor Ginny would use their powers for nefarious reasons."
"Have you heard the stories of Hera and Zeus?" Draco asked suddenly. "He supposedly hung her from the heavens by her ankles for defying him. Zeus's father ate his children because he was told one would be more powerful and mighty than he. Apollo turned hung a boy from a tree and flayed him alive for challenging him in a music contest. Hades stole Persephone from her mother and forced her to eat a pomegranate, now she must remain in the underworld with him from six months of a year."
Bill furrowed his brow in confusion.
Malfoy gave a small growl of annoyance. "These beings are not just about helping mortals become the best they can be; they are selfish, egotistic, and furthermore manipulative. I can almost assert that they can't be trusted."
Bill reeled back slightly. That was not what he was expecting. "Therefore…"
"Therefore, I worry sometimes about their influence on Potter."
Harry's aunt nearly pounced on the blonde. Bill barely managed to restrain her, although part of him did not want to and another part was afraid to. "How dare you insult Harry after all that he's done-," she said in a fierce growl.
Bill held his tongue. Something about Malfoy's argument didn't settle properly in Bill's mind. But something also told him not to question the man, he let the man explain himself to Harry's aunt.
"I'm doing no such thing." Malfoy sighed, something Bill noticed he had been doing a lot of in the past minutes. "I am just explaining my reasons for hesitation and worry."
"I understand your concerns, but those were all stories, stories that have filtered through human mouths and imaginations for eons. Regardless of how accurate they sound, how do we know their trustworthiness?" Bill asked.
Malfoy smiled sadly. "I've tried to convince myself with that one too. I got about as far as you are getting."
Bill narrowed his eyes at the blonde. What a lame and unconvincing excuse.
"They love him!" Harry's aunt said indignantly.
"They loved many mortals. Some were cursed for being loved. However, even those mortals who managed to survive, they were never as close to the gods as Potter is. I can't help but to fear it."
"What if Harry wasn't a mortal?" The woman exclaimed. "What if they had loved him so much that they made him immortal like them?" Her words rang in Bill's ears as if the woman had somehow managed to trap them there.
What if he wasn't a mortal? He froze in thought. What does she mean? His mind could not unwrap the idea. She couldn't possibly mean that Harry is – but that is outrageous! He tried and failed to silence the quiet, yet resilient, voice that said that Harry being immortal made sense.
Malfoy paled in, what Bill found to be, genuine shock and surprise. He gaped at the woman who now had the nerve to look ashamed of herself.
"Oh well… There goes that promise." She gave a dry laugh, wiping her face.
"You cannot be serious!" Draco's voice was ten times higher than normal. The blonde shook his head as if to remove the words that plagued it with hundreds of thoughts and thousands of questions to the thoughts.
Without warning, she turned to Bill. "Your son is gorgeous. He has Harry's complexion and eyes and your nose and hair," She said, apparently changing the subject. "But, I've held many babes before in my life, magical and non-magical, and your little tyke simply is not mortal. He glows like a light bulb when Harry starts speaking to them; or when he wears those sandals that they made for him."
Draco was beside himself in disbelief. "It cannot be! Never before has it been recorded that a demi-god was also a wizard. An immortal wizard…" He continued mumbling loudly, partially to himself, and partially to Bill and Harry's aunt.
Bill barely noted what the blonde was saying. His mind was still swimming with thoughts of his son as he body numbed.
Bill could barely breathe. A son… a baby boy with his hair and nose. The bit about Harry or their son being immortal had barely struck him yet. Tears stung the corners of his eyes as he thought more about the boy, the son, he had never seen.
He turned to Harry's aunt to inquire about his son, interrupting Malfoy's incessant ramblings in the meantime. "Please tell me, what is his name? I must know the name of my son."
She smiled warmly at him. Bill could see that this smile came from her heart this time and not just from her lips. "He carries not only your nose and hair but your first name as well, William Henry. After you and Harry. I christened him myself!" She said proudly.
Bill leaned back and soaked in his imagination's attempt to visualize the little boy. How old would the little tyke be now? He must be walking and talking already. I wonder if he's asked about me… I wonder if Harry told him about me. His father… I'm his father. I'm a dad.
Malfoy stood up abruptly causing the chair to tilt backwards precariously.
"Where are you going?" Bill asked, confused, his mind still scrambled by the newfound knowledge of his son. William Henry. I wonder how they christened him without a last name. Harry and I aren't even married!
"I must find Potter and talk to him myself. I have so many questions to ask him, and maybe talk to them through him as well." His eyes lit up at the possibility.
"So you've given up this irrational fear that he is too powerful and dangerous already?" Harry's aunt asked bluntly. Bill slowly began to see how Harry took after her.
"No. I am, however, a Slytherin. Though we are not generally brave, we are ambitious and self-serving. Despite what those gods are or were, I refuse to miss out on a chance to talk to them." He said honestly. "Or at least a demi-god."
Bill smiled. "I would recommend talking to my sister first." Bill could see the blond restraining himself from correcting Bill's slip of the tongue, as Ginny was no longer her sister by blood. "She, like me, as conversed with them at some point. Maybe she and Dumbledore can lead you on the right track?"
Malfoy nodded. He made to leave and turned around to face Bill. "What's it like?"
Remembering his last encounter with the deities, Bill shook his head grinning. "Like nothing else I've experienced."
Malfoy nodded, though this time more confidently. He bid them both a brief farewell before he hurried forth from the cottage.
Bill quickly went about reinforcing all of his wards, though he was quite certain that no one in their wildest mind would think to look for Harry's aunt at Bill's cottage. He was still considered by most the wizarding community to embody everything anti-Harry.
Bill returned to the sitting room and sat with Harry's aunt in timid silence for a moment or two. He was exhausted, but so much swam through his head at the moment. He was tired but not tired nor relaxed enough to sleep.
"Would you like to see the garden that Harry built here? It's very similar to the one he built in your own backyard." He thought it was best to distract the woman from any thoughts of her husband and son.
She nodded slowly in understanding, accepting his arm as he led her through the kitchen to the garden.
Everything shone with an ethereal light, despite that moon's illumination. The fountain's dripping gave off a melodious and relaxing music that seemed to remove all sad thoughts and feelings. Bill felt himself go slightly lightheaded and looked to Harry's aunt to observe her reaction.
Two tears glistened on her face, one under each eye. "It's beautiful." She said simply before she left go of his arm and went to observe everything more closely. Bill left to give her some temporal peace and to prepare a place for her to sleep.
With a sigh Bill looked up towards the night sky. Harry, you better hear this and find them. If you don't, I will.