AN: Updates will be slower now that I have rewritten all of the chapters I had previously, but hopefully I will still be able to manage at least once a month. Sorry this is late, but I am having computer issues...

Chapter 7

Testing Part 2

August 20

Somewhere in the Wasatch Mountains

About an hour of difficult hiking later they came across a heard of hippogriffs blocking the trail.

Dax approaching the alpha, who was easily recognizable because of his size. Dax bowed low and maintained eye contact. A tense moment later and the regal creature was bowing back and the rest of the herd was following their alpha's lead and also bowing.

After Ash and Cory repeated Dax's actions the trio was able to safely walk through the herd and safely reached the other side.

Cory, knowing how proud hippogriffs were waited till they were a good distance away before voicing his thoughts. "That was easy enough. Is there really a point to having them here?"

Ash remembered back to when he first met a hippogriff. "Yes, humility, you wouldn't want to go to school with someone who was to proud to bow to a hippogriff. Would you?"

"He has a point, Cory."


A while later they came across a wide, but slow-moving river. Wet, moss covered stones stuck out of the river like stepping stones forming a path to the other side.

Cory leaped to the first stone and then to the second before turning around and calling back to the other two. "Come on! It's easy!" He jumped to the next stone and yelped. His foot had slipped into the water.

Dax laughed. "Easy Cory?"

"Guys..." He struggled to pull his foot out.

"Stop screwing around." Dax said.

"Something has my foot!" Cory's leg slipped further into the water.

Ash shot a blasting curse into the water near Cory and a piece of something flew out of the river. "Grindylow!"

Cory quickly pulled his now free foot out of the water. "Fuck!"

Much more carefully than how Cory started they crossed the river keeping on guard for any signs of more Gindylow.

Once they were all on the other side Ash pounced on Cory, hugging him before pushing him away just as quickly. "Don't scare me like that!" Ash stomped away leaving two confused vampires in in his wake.

A few minutes later Ash froze. He could hear rhythmic thuds ahead.

Footsteps thundering down the hallway out side his room. The click of many locks being turned. His drunk uncle's face grinning maliciously as...

"Ash! Ash!" Cory called to him shaking his shoulders gently. "Are you all right?"

"Yeah I'm fine. I must have spaced out for a minute."

"Okay..." Cory said hesitantly looking at his mate in concern.

Ash heard the noise again. "Do you hear that?"

"Yes." Dax answered. "What is it?"

"No idea."

It wasn't long before they found out though.

They just went around a sharp turn in the path when they saw it. A mountain troll in their way.

"Great." Dax groaned. "How do we deal with that thing?"

Ash grinned. "Wingardium leviosa! The trolls club floated into the air. The monster looked p confused.

"What are you-" Ash didn't give Dax the chance to finish his question. The giant club came crashing down onto the Trolls head. The thing fell to the ground unconscious.

Cory broke out in laughter. "I don't want to know where you learned that."

Ash suppressed a sigh of longing at the unbidden memories. He almost wished he was still naïve enough to believe Ron was his friend.


After the Troll they faced a few other things like another Grindylow infested river and some vines that came alive and attacked them as they passed, but nothing that posed a real challenge until they were in a shadowy area surrounded by trees. In front of them stretching as far as they could see in every direction was a dense, ominous cloud of black mist.

Dax gasped. "Boggart mist! I have never head of a gathering of it this big before! They must have called it here on purpose."

"Well no duh!"

"We are running out of time." Ash said. "We only have three hours until nightfall. We have to go through it."

"We can't!" Dax exclaimed. "Boggart Mist is infamous for using people's worse fears against them. I makes them commit suicide and then uses the magic generated by their deaths to feed itself. If we can't go around we might as well just give up. It is impossible to get through."

"Unlikely not impossible Dax. Ash is right we don't have time to go around. If we don't make it to the school we will die. I for one prefer unlikely to live to going to die." Cory said. "We will face our worst fears. Everyone hold hands and don't let go no matter what you see or hear. Remember it isn't real. Walk straight and stay together. It will try to separate us, don't let it."

They took a step forward and plunged themselves into their own hell.

Not a foot into the Mist was all it took for the world to go pitch back. All their senses seemed to be deadened. They couldn't see a thing. Nothing smelled. There was no sound. It was like they had been sucked into another universe.

A few more steps and Ash shuddered. Voices were whispering in the darkness.

"Just stay together and walk straight." Cory said, but no one heard. The Mist swallowed all noise except it's own.

The further they traveled into the Mist the louder the whispers became. To Dax they sounded like his clan.

"Ooh!" His older sister cooed cruelly. "Is poor widdle Daxie-poo scared?"

"You are not worthy to be a vampire." His fathers voice was emotionless, but his mother's was full of cold hate.

"What is so special about you? Nothing! This is a clan of elite. You do not belong!"

His grandmother, the clan leader, came next. "You should let go. Come here Dax. I'll end it quietly. Don't embarrass your brother by making us do this publicly. Just let go."

It was Cory's voice that hurt the most though. "You're so pathetic! You remember how when we were turned they only wanted me, but I begged for them to take you to. Big mistake! You are a waste of space you good for nothing ugly worm!"

Dax tightened his grip on Cory's hand. "It is just the Mist talking. You're not real!" Cory's hand squeezed Dax's.


Screaming. That is all Cory could hear. People moaning, howling in agony. Begging him to help them, but he couldn't. He had to stay with Dax and Ash.

"Help me, Cory." It sounded like his older sister. "I am falling. Help me up. They'll be fine without you. Come help me."

"Don't leave me, Cory." It was five-year-old Dax. "I love you. Stay with me. Let go of them."

"They aren't real." He told himself. "They are just figments. The Mist is trying to distract me." It worked until he heard a sob from his left.

"Ash! Ash!" He called, but there was no answer. Cory was beginning to panic now. "Ash?"

"Cory!" A pained call from his right.

"Dax?"

A hand tightened around his. He responded the only way he could, by squeezing back.


Everything was dark. Oddly enough that comforted him. Dark reminded him of his cupboard under the stairs. Uncle Vernon couldn't get him there. He didn't fit. His cupboard was safe. Dark was safe.

Ash could hear whispers. People whispering bad things about him, but it didn't matter. They didn't matter. Everyone was always saying things about him, but their words couldn't hurt him because to him they were nothing.

"Oh Ash," It was quiet, but with the way it grabbed Ash's attention it could've been a firework. It was the man from the bookstore. "I hope you die out there. That way I won't have to bother with all of your tears and drama when I reject you. I can't believe I have a whiny little ungrateful freak for a mate."

Ash whimpered. That voice wasn't just anyone. He meant something. His words hurt.

"Freaks don't deserve to live." His Uncle Vernon sneered.

"Why would anyone want you for a son?" His father sounded cold, and uncaring. Even colder then he was back at Hogwarts before he found out about their relation. "You're weak! You couldn't even defend yourself against a pathetic muggle."

"Freaks aren't loved." His Aunt Petunia mocked.

"You're a disgrace." It was the voice he always imagined his mother would have. "I don't know how I ever gave birth to something as useless as you."

Ash sobbed.

"My brother is destined to be with you?" Daxton was indignant. "Eww! You should do everyone a favor and get lost."

Cory's hand tightened around Ash's briefly. "Can't you tell? I want you to let go, you piece of filth. No one wants to touch a freak like you.

Ash couldn't take it anymore. Ash let go.


AN: For those who haven't realized:

Fears:

Dax – to be rejected by his family

Cory – to be unable to help those he loves

Ash – to be unworthy of love