As the time wore on the layers melted away, slowly. Too slowly to be any comfort.
Xena asked "Why are you doing this?"
Wolf glanced at her, as he shot another spark "To redeem myself"
Xena's eyebrows drew in as she held her wand up, but the tone in his voice told her not to pry.
She thought about Albus as she said "Bombarda Maximus"
Was he asleep? Was he having nightmares? Was he dreaming about this right now?
She doubted anyone knew or even cared that she was not at the castle.
She had always been a shadow, lurking around.
"Professor what happened?"
Harry Potter standing in the office looked confusedly between Scorpius, Rose and Professor McGonagall.
He had received an urgent owl from the distressed headmistress asking him to arrive at the castle at once with a battalion of aurors.
He had done so.
Professor McGonagall with her lips pursed indicating the turmoil in her mind looked at the sopping wet Scorpius "Would you care to answer that question Mr. Malfoy?"
The fire crackled as the group stood around the cluttered desk.
Scorpius hesitated and then said in a single breath "Xena Bedowin, she's been taken to the forest. Ebenezer Bernhardt is going to force her to make her first horcrux, Wolf Carrow is alive and Albus has gone after her"
The head auror's expression read shock.
He said sternly "Tell me where"
Scorpius said looking at the man significantly "I can take you there, Albus has a plan, but he needs help we've got until midnight"
Harry turned to Professor McGonagall "Professor, do I have your permission?"
The Professor in question raised her eyebrow "Potter, I have never denied you the right to break rules when required, it's a bad habit of mine and I won't use this moment to break it"
Harry nodded his thanks gratefully and looked at Scorpius "Scorpius can you show us where?"
Scorpius didn't waste any time "Yes"
Rose said suddenly "Uncle Harry, let me come with you"
Her blue eyes were filled with such determination pleaded with Harry.
When he looked at his niece, Harry felt like he was looking at Ron and Hermione.
If he left her behind, it would be like leaving them behind on his adventures.
He sighed "Do you have your wand Rosie?"
She nodded and held it up.
He nodded "Right, let's go. Quick"
They moved swiftly out of the office, Professor McGonagall watched them go and let out a breath, where the Potters and Weasleys were concerned, problems were never far behind.
As we waited Grawp and I were both alert.
The screams had stopped and that was a good sign.
The wind was cold and the trees created long shadows in the moonlight.
When Bernhardt showed up I was pretty sure I wouldn't know what to do.
I tried to swallow some of the fear inside me.
I checked my watch and realized we still had one hour left.
I wondered if we could stop him, just Grawp and I.
I highly doubted it.
I'd only ever dueled in the DADA classroom and only disarming at that, this was going to be quite bad.
I didn't understand why Wolf chose me.
I sighed and tapped my wand against my palm.
I felt slightly peaceful and numb.
The dark skies didn't give anything away.
Grawp's deep set eyes were trained on the sky, I could tell he was preparing.
I looked back down at the ground, hoping Scorpius had got Dad by now.
Suddenly I felt a wind that rustled the leaves of the nearby trees.
Compelled to look up I looked at the sky and my breath caught.
In the sky was a black trail zooming towards the pine tree.
I told Grawp "Let's hide, now!"
My thoughts were in disarray, why had he come early?
I scrambled behind a rock my heart pounding.
Clumsily I turned to look at the sky. I tried to prepare myself for what was to come but my mind was blank.
Grawp was hidden well by the trees, I held my index finger to my lips when I looked at him, he gave me a nod.
The black trail vanished and Ebenezer Bernhardt stood in front of the pine tree, unveiling the hood of his cloak.
I held my breath.
The forest had gone quiet, like even the insects knew he was here.
I could see from my position the grey eyes scanning the perimeter.
He looked majestic though unkempt.
He would be merciless if he saw me.
The air was chilly and I drew the invisibility cloak from my pocket.
I pulled it over me, being extremely careful not to move the leaves below me.
One sound could blow my cover.
Then before I pulled the hood over my head I nodded to Grawp.
The forest came alive as I stood up.
Grawp charged from behind the trees blowing his cover.
Bernhardt looked perplexed but he raised his wand "You stupid Creature, get out of my way"
Before I could disarm him or Grawp could snatch him, he spun out of the way with his wand raised and said nonchalantly "Stupefy"
I watched as Grawp's eyes widened and he fell back, on to the forest floor.
I was numb as the ground beneath me shook.
Ebenezar smirked "I should kill you but I am not in a mood"
My wand arm shook, my plan failed.
He said "I know there's someone else here, reveal yourself"
His voice jogged me out of my stunned state.
I pointed my wand at him from behind the cloak, and said in my mind- Expelliarmus.
The wand flew from his grasp, I picked it up and kept it with me.
His laugh rang through the forest "Ha ha Ha haaaaa! The cloak! The invisibility cloak isn't it!"
He turned and looked at me and I moved, why I don't know. As far as I knew he couldn't see me.
He said malliciously "You can't stop me, whoever you are I suspect you're a Potter"
I focused on stunning him, but before I knew what was happening he spun into the trail of black.
He spun around the place, creating strong winds.
The leaves flew and as he moved faster the cloak began to fly.
I tried to run but there was nowhere to run to, it was too fast.
Suddenly the speed was so much that I was struggling to keep my balance, I groaned in frustration, holding on to the wands.
My cloak flew and my cover was blown. I heard myself yell "No!"
I skidded backwards and lost my balance. His wand slipped from my grip.
I fell to the ground, and only had my wand.
I got to my feet and saw Ebenezer standing there, smirking "A child"
I trained my wand at him and he snatched his up.
He twirled it and I yelled "Stupefy!"
He deflected it "In a hurry aren't we?"
I didn't say anything I yelled "Petrificus Totalus!"
He deflected it again.
And then he flicked his wrist, and I felt pain, crushing my body. It was the most blinding sort of pain I could possibly experience, he used the Cruciatus curse.
I let out a yell.
I crumpled to my knees clutching my ribs, trying to stop it.
His laughter reached my ears and I writhed in pain trying to fight it.
I cracked my eyes open through the pain and caught the flick of his wrist and the pain increased, I screamed.
This was the way he would treat her, and I couldn't bear it.
My anger took control over my senses, I yelled "STOP!"
I slowly stood up and with a tremor that almost made me collapse again I shook it off and he was thrown back into the tree "I will not be tortured by you"
He looked surprised and instead of picking up my wand I lunged at him and punched him in the stomach.
He let out a grunt.
I threw his wand from his hand and pulled him up by his collar.
He tried to fight and threw a punch at my jaw.
Ignoring the moment of blinding pain, I kneed him in his groin, he bent forward and I continued punching.
All the nightmares I'd been seeing came back to me.
I wasn't thinking rationally, I said "Without your spells, you are nothing"
He had the upper hand when it came to magic, I wasn't as practiced but he was physically weak.
I kicked him and punched him so hard he spat blood out.
His eye turned a raw blue, his lip bled and his jaw was swollen.
But I didn't stop.
Those dreams, the things he did to her, the way he hurt her, I was too far gone.
I pushed him against the tree and punched him, each blow more satisfying than the last as it hit its mark.
I picked up my wand and held him by his throat against the bark of the tree, he clawed at my hand but my grip was too strong, I pointed the wand at his throat "Isn't this the way you plan to point your wand at her, you get joy in doing this to innocent people, isn't it?"
He struggled, and spat blood in my face, grinning a bloody grin he said "Huh, innocent….Voldemort's daughter…."
I felt sick looking at him "Shut up, you bastard! I've seen what you'll do to her, and I'll kill you, merlin knows I won't regret it"
I saw the amusement in his eyes, he didn't feel regret or remorse he was emotionless, he had no conscience.
My grip tightened and he spluttered "Do it Potter I dare you. You're holy father….such a brave soul…prove to me you're better than him…let me go from this world with a little respect for your family…..he didn't kill Voldemort…..Lucky….always lucky….I was there when it happened…..your father is worthless…..a coward"
I felt anger boiling in the pit of my stomach, I said with conviction "Killing someone doesn't make you brave just a worthless, shameless scoundrel that's what you are"
He said "No matter, you want to kill me, take my life. End it….save those lives…..go on…you want to….Don't you?"
I looked into his eyes, I wanted to wipe that smile off his face.
I curled my hand around wand and hesitated, I didn't know what to do. I felt like killing him wasn't a bad idea and I began to feel afraid of the way I was thinking.
Then I heard people running. It brought my senses back and the noises of my surroundings helped grasp the ropes of the world as I knew it. Not the beast I was a few seconds before.
I heard Rose "Albus!"
I heard Scorpius "Al!"
Then Ebenezer laughed and whispered so only I could hear "I knew it….coward"
My father said "Get him!"
Two men came running but I only heard them, my eyes were locked on Ebenezer's.
His face looked pathetic. And I had done that to him.
One auror said "Let him go son, we've got him"
The aurors took him, I slowly drew my hands away and lowered my wand putting it into my pocket.
I broke the eye contact and turned to go but when I heard his snort, I spun on my foot, raising my right leg and planted a kick in his ribs.
He lurched forward and coughed up blood.
I stood in that position, putting my foot down I said "I'm not going to kill you, it's too easy, and you deserve to live knowing you've committed these crimes. It's too easy to let you live. Live your filthy life. Live in the hell you created for yourself"
He looked into my face still bent over and both arms in the hold of the aurors.
This time he didn't smile, he was heaving. He didn't grin.
I said with confidence "You're the coward; at least I can live with my mistakes"
His grey eyes were stormy "I did it for the wizards, I did it for justice, I had a purpose"
I turned around and said over my shoulder "The purpose is lost Bernhardt, no matter how good the purpose was nothing can change the fact that you used the wrong method. One right can correct many wrongs but one wrong can undo many rights"
When he didn't reply I looked at my Dad, who looked shocked, Rose was covering her mouth with her hand and Scorpius was looking at me like he didn't know me.
I saw some eight other aurors and Wolf who was grinning.
My heart leaping I asked "Where is she?"
Wolf raised an eyebrow "That's the question you ask"
I said seriously "Where is she?"
She stepped out from behind one of the aurors, she looked a mess.
Her hair was all over the place having come undone from her braid and her uniform looked crumpled and dirty. Her face was smudged with dirt and she was looking at me determined.
She said not holding anything back "You are such an idiot"
I couldn't help but grin.
I ran up and hugged her.
When I did, I received a sharp whack to the back of my head "What the hell do you think you are doing?"
I rubbed my head and said to her "Ow! Hugging you"
She glared "This is not the place or the time"
Then she walked away from me and towards Bernhardt "I hate you"
Bernhardt looked at her "Voldemort's daughter"
I couldn't see her face, but I saw her fists curl. If he thought I hurt him, he did not want to pick a fight with her.
She said "Don't call me that, I am not"
He wheezed "Don't deny what you are"
She said sharply "I'm not denying I'm telling you a fact, and it will do you good to listen"
He panted "You could…. have been…. a good leader"
She said loudly "You are pathetic, that's all I want to say to you"
Then she started walking towards me.
My Dad sighed and looked at Grawp "Enervate"
Grawp groaned and started rising.
When he stood up I said "Sorry mate"
He looked around him and said "You catch him?"
Dad smiled "Albus did Grawp"
He looked at all of us "Let's go back to the castle, the rest of you, you know where to take him"
He pointed at Ebenezer.
The aurors nodded and one of the tall men with sharp eyes said "Sir, will you be joining us?"
Dad nodded "Let me get them back and I'll join in an hour"
The man nodded and they started to work.
I picked up my invisibility cloak and I said to Grawp "Thank you, you were awesome"
He smiled "You are welcome"
I waved and began to leave.
As we walked through the forest, Wolf said "I'm surprised you held him off"
I replied remembering his bloody face "I'm surprised too"
Scorpius told me "You looked mad"
I wasn't proud of what I did, but I didn't regret it "I did what I had to do"
Rose asked silently "Would you have…..Would you have killed him?"
I shuddered, thinking about what I had said and what I almost did "No"
Scorpius put a hand on my shoulder "Forget it"
Dad told me "We need to talk"
I nodded "We do Dad"
He smiled "I don't know whether to reprimand you or be proud of you, but I will tell you this. Temper can be a powerful thing but also fatal"
I sighed "I just…."
Dad said "I understand we'll talk later"
When everyone was silent and the insects could be heard again, Xena raised a hand to my face.
I looked at her as she looked at her finger which now bore some of the blood he had spat on my face "Where are you hurt?"
I looked into her eyes immediately drawn to them "It's his"
She blinked and then stated "You really are an idiot. I could have believed it if I had done something like that, I just can't believe you did. What were you thinking?"
I looked at her "You should try out the words 'thank you' sometime"
She glared at me "I do not appreciate mad behavior and acts similar to that of an imbecile done for me"
I asked a little exasperated "Are you even a little grateful?"
She asked "Why should I be grateful? I didn't ask you to save me!"
I looked at her irritated "What is your problem? Are you dumb? Stupid? What?"
I walked faster and when I reached the bank I didn't stop.
And when I reached the castle, I didn't stop either.
There was a limit to which I could stand her not accepting me.
I went to the astronomy tower and sat there, wanting to just scream in frustration.
I was facing the sky and breathing in the air when I heard her "You're fast"
I didn't turn around.
She said "I am a horrible friend"
Then she came and stood in front of me, I looked away though every instinct was telling me to look at her.
She sighed "Thank you. But I don't feel flattered, because I don't like favors"
I said before I could stop myself "I was not doing you favor. I was doing myself a favor and getting revenge for those nightmares"
She asked "Aren't you going to look at me?"
I shook my head.
She put her hand on my cheek "I might be a horrible friend, but you must know I am trying"
I swallowed hard, she asked "Can you teach me how to be a good friend?"
I closed my eyes to keep my resolve from breaking.
Then she was wiping my blood-splattered cheek with a handkerchief "When I thought this was your blood I saw red"
I asked "Do you ever see any other colour?"
Once she wiped it, she turned my face to face hers "Sometimes I see green, emerald green, so deep and I feel like I'll lose myself"
She looked straight into my eyes as she said this.
Her hair fluttered in the breeze, I noticed all the dirt on her face.
I asked "Did they hurt you?"
She said "Not really"
I caught her wrist and saw her wince.
I broke the eye contact and looked at her wrist, it had bright red marks and cuts.
And when my eyes wandered to her other wrist there were similar marks.
I looked back at her face but she had bent her head.
I asked "Why are you so held back?"
She looked up "What's the point of bearing your wounds to the world?"
I asked "What about me?"
She said "I don't want you to see my scars and feel any sort of obligation towards me or sympathy"
I asked frustrated "When will you understand that I love you?"
Her eyes widened and I felt like something snapped.
I opened my mouth to undo what I did, but no sound came out.
At first I thought she was going to punch me.
I really did, there was this look, where I feared my life and when she stepped closer I could feel my heartbeat getting faster.
Then she did something entirely different from what I was expecting.
I flinched when she raised her arms.
Then she leaned in and I was paralyzed, rooted to that spot.
When she kissed me, I was done for.
There was nothing else, my eyes shut on their own accord and I don't have a clue how long we stood there.
But when she pulled away she told me "Teach me Albus teach me how to be me, how to live, how to be alive"
I saw determination, a fierce determination.
I grinned "I'll be everything you need"
She smiled "So I guess, what are you now?"
I asked tentatively "Your boyfriend?"
She crinkled her nose "It sounds so….so…"
I asked rolling my eyes "So…what?"
She looked up at me "Disgusting"
Only Xena would say something as absurd as that and offending mind you.
I asked with resignation "Then you tell me what we are, go on enlighten me"
She grinned "I don't know, we're just us I guess, you and me equals nothing flashy, no display, just plain old us"
I laughed "I like that"
She laughed along with me. I said thoughtfully "Who would have ever thought, Voldemort's daughter and Harry Potter's son would fall in love"
She said moving from front of me to next to me and took my hand "It must be a dream come true"
I looked down at her "It truly is"
And that night, the stars gleamed brighter than they had in a long while. I was going to sleep well that night.
AN: Well that's it, with an epilogue.
This story is my dream come true.
Sorry it took so long to update, I had my final exams.
So please review! I'd like to know what you think!
Thanks for reading! :)