Annabel and Holly were on the upper deck bridge of the dinosaur gallery at the Natural History Museum. On the metal bridge, which crossed the entire gallery, they had a very nice view of all the massive skeletons, especially the ones that stretched up to the ceiling.
"Mom, Mom, look that one!" Holly exclaimed, pointing to a small one that reminded Annabel of a dragon without wings.
Holly was still wearing her school uniform; her blue tie was hanging loose on her neck. She was carrying the baby T-Rex she usually slept with, insisting he deserved to get to know his family.
"Let's see what it says." Bel bent down to read the information plaque about the extinct creature. "It says that this one is an Iguanodon that was a plant-eater and lived here in England!"
Holly stayed there for a while, fascinated by the creature. Annabel looked at her watch. It was half past five. Dudley was covering her this afternoon, but they were coordinating two main events that evening, and she knew that Dudley couldn't be in two places at the same time. She didn't want to rush Holly, but they would need to move fast if they wanted to see the whole gallery that day.
Annabel took out her heavy bag one of Geoffrey's old cameras that she had borrowed and started to take some pictures from the museum. It was then that she noticed three robust men wearing identical black coats who were not more than five meters away from her. The one in the middle was holding a wooden stick in his left hand – a wand! Annabel recognised it immediately. After all, how many times had she seen Harry carry his? Her heart started beating quickly the moment the man pointed the wand at a spot just near were Holly was standing.
Just as the man cast the spell, Annabel jerked Holly out the way. The beam of light that had been aimed at her daughter's head hit the metal bridge's handles instead. With surprising agility, Bel threw her heavy bag in the face of the wizard who was carrying his wand on his wrist, picked Holly up from the ground, and dashed in the opposite direction from where the three men were standing.
"Teddy!" Holly shouted, pointing to the baby T-Rex that had fallen on the floor amidst all of the confusion.
"Shushh," Annabel said to her daughter, who was now facing the wizards; however, the only thing that Holly could focus on was her little T-Rex that had been abandoned where she had been standing beside her mother mere seconds ago. Annabel continued to run, ignoring her daughter, without stopping to apologise to the people she had bumped into along the way.
The three men exchanged annoyed glares, and the youngest man on the right raised his wand and pointed to Annabel, who was still running a good twenty meters away from them.
A cold jet of green light left his wand and travelled in Annabel's direction. However, a young muggle boy, no older than ten who moved at just the wrong time, was the recipient of the Unforgivable, his destiny sealed by the curse meant for Annabel, who carried on running, still unaware of what had just happened. Holly, however, had watched the entire scene and started to scream.
"You bloody idiot!" the bold wizard with the goatee, recovering from being hit by Annabel's bag, said to the one who had fired the Unforgivable curse. "You just invited the whole British ministry here, you twat! Why don't you send them an invitation next time?" he exclaimed, full of rage, hitting the younger wizard in the face.
A small crowd of muggles had formed around the place where the boy had just collapsed. Annabel tried leave the bridge to go to the next room (the Tyrannosaurs Rex room), but for some reason it was blocked, and no matter how hard she tried, she just couldn't walk through the door.
Annabel turned around with Holly still screaming in her arms and saw that the three wizards were approaching them quickly. However, something completely unexpected happened: the dinosaurs hanging from the ceiling started to fly towards the three wizards.
Annabel bit her lip; she didn't want to think about what nasty jinx they were going to perform next, but to her surprise, the wizards were just as shocked as she was. The skeletons fell quickly, hitting the wizards, and before Annabel could comprehend what was going on, the metal bridge melted all the way down to the very place where Holly and Annabel were standing, causing the three dark wizards to fall to the ground floor. It was only then that Annabel realised, to her astonishment, that it had been Holly who had performed this act of powerful magic.
Carmen Ekatarina Mirzoyev-Garcia, a witch only in her mid-twenties, was on the ground floor of the dinosaur gallery observing the whole scene. Despite her muggle clothing, her shocking red hair made it easy for her to stand out from the crowd. When she realised that the silly muggle had decided to run away, she had blocked the passage from the bridge so Marco and those idiots would catch her sooner or later. But no, they had been completely embarrassed by a four-year-old girl. How pathetic was that?
"Bunch of amateurs!" she complained before pointing her own wand at the metal bench that she was sitting on. The bench started to float like it was a charmed magical lift until she reached the top of the bridge. Once there, she stood up, and with the grace of a princess, she left the bench, walking across the upper deck bridge, her icy blue eyes glaring at Annabel with a feeling of superiority.
Annabel hugged Holly tightly and tried to move forward once more, and to her surprise, this time they managed to get through the barrier.
When the three wizards that had fallen to the floor started to stand up, someone had just trigged the fire alarm and made the few muggles in the museum who were still unaware of the small battle that had just taken place just a few meters from them run like ants in an anthill on fire. The wristband of the oldest wizard gave a small electric shock to his right arm.
"Anti-apparition shields have being placed. Aurors are here!" the younger wizard whispered to the other two.
"We bloody need to get away from here then!" The smaller wizard said in panic.
"We must get the girl first! If we don't get her now, and they realise why we are here, they're very likely to lock the little bitch up under a Fidelius charm until she is ovulating," said the bold middle-aged man. "Both of you, create a distraction – I'm going to grab this little pest."
Harry and his crew arrived at the dinosaur gallery by its main entrance, which was the same upper deck entrance that Annabel and Holly had been standing on just seconds before he arrived. The first thing that caught his attention was the two wizards who were in the centre of the ground level throwing fireballs in muggles' directions. The second thing that he noticed was the big gap on the bridge where he and his team were standing. Finally, he noticed a small group of muggles standing in a circle around a boy's dead body not very far away from them.
Harry's team stayed still behind him, waiting for his instructions. Before Harry could open his mouth, he saw Dawlish and three of his five aurors start attacking the two wizards who were throwing fireballs downstairs.
"Ron, Daston, Hawkes,Ruby, have you all brought your brooms?" The four of them confirmed with head nods. "I want you guys to scan this room. This" - he said, pointing at the duel happening between their colleagues and the two wizards, "smells like a distraction. They are doing something else here – probably stealing. We need to stop them. The order is to arrest any wizard we see on this place."
All four aurors opened the small bags attached to their waists, and each one took out his own broom from the bag and took flight straight away.
"Neville, I know that we might not have enough time, but I want to try mapping the place."
Mapping a place was a very new "auror technology" that Harry had created, inspired by the Marauder's map. Harry had found the original Marauders' notes concerning the map, and he had optimized them in order to make a nice working tool for the aurors. Harry knew that it would take a long three and half minutes to complete a map for a place this size – however, if they managed to do it, they would have the location and the name of all wizards and muggles in the museum. "I want you to help me; let's divide the wizards in red and muggles in blue."
They mounted their brooms and ripped a parchment in two to start casting the old enchantments on the walls. Each one of them was flying in a different direction. The map was taking shape as they carried on casting the spell.
Annabel and Holly entered a dark room with a mechanical replica of the Tyrannosaurus Rex, which was growling and moving its head and tail in a very intimidating way. This room was usually very busy, but weirdly enough, it was completely empty today. The first thing Annabel did was find an emergency exit door at the back of the room. Annabel ran there with Holly at her side, but the door was blocked. It wouldn't open, regardless of how hard she tried.
"Please! Come on…" Annabel cried in despair while she banged the door.
"Don't be silly, muggle. All the exits from this museum have been magically locked. I can't get out and neither can you," said the red-haired witch who was around Annabel's age.
If the witch was concerned by the presence of a bunch of aurors in the building, her face didn't register any of it. Instead, she walked down the ramp towards mother and daughter as if she was parading on a catwalk. Annabel shielded Holly with her body while she tried to slowly walk backwards, not daring turning her back to the witch.
"W-What do y-you want?" Annabel asked, fearing her answer.
"Give me the girl, and nobody will get hurt." Carmen said with her wand drawn. She was still walking towards Annabel and Holly.
"No! Not my Holly! P-please, t-take me instead of her!" Annabel said, trembling.
"What would I do with a piece of shit like you? Move! I won't ask twice." Carmen was very close to them now – no more than two meters away.
"P-please…" Annabel begged.
But Carmen had no mercy. The red-haired witch raised her wand, and when she was about to open her mouth to cast a spell, Annabel took a deep breath and moved forward. She disarmed the witch with a Taekwondo movement that she had learned at the self-defence classes that her mother had forced her to attend when she was a child.
"What the hell!?" The witch exclaimed just before being punched so hard in her eye by Annabel's elbow that the pain made her bend down.
"RUN!" Annabel said to her daughter.
Holly stayed still, looking to her mother, who was trying to immobilise the witch with a wrestling movement. The witch was trying to get ride the muggle girl, but it seemed highly unlikely unless she could perform some magic. Carmen was an outstanding duellist; however, she was completely ignorant in the field of muggle fighting.
"Holly, if you don't run now, you'll be grounded for an entire year!"
That threat was enough to making the little girl leave the Tyrannosaurus Rex room.
Annabel was on top of Carmen, holding the witch on the ground with the weight of her body. Carmen tried to push her away, but it was in vain. Annabel raised her hand and slapped the witch on her face.
"This is for trying to take my daughter away from me." Annabel was shaking with rage. "And this is for calling me a piece of shit," she said, slapping the witch once more.
However, in her thirst for revenge, Annabel missed the witch's right hand, which quickly performed a wandless and silent Accio and managed to recover her wand. Without losing any more time, Carmen pointed it immediately at Annabel's face.
It was Annabel's turn to squirm in pain. Carmen stood up and looked down at the muggle who was writhing at her feet.
"You have just bought yourself a very painful death, muggle." Carmen suspended the effect of the Cruciatus curse, so Annabel would surely remember what she did after that. "And yes, you are a piece of shit!" Carmen spit on Annabel's face and stepped on her hands with her sharp high heels, making them bleed.
Carmen then pointed her wand at the mechanical dinosaur, casting a spell that would bring the extinct beast to life.
"Kill her!" Carmen ordered to the dinosaur.
Annabel, who was still trying to stand on her feet because of the powerful effect that the Cruciatus had on her, suddenly felt a new wave of adrenaline rush through her body. She dashed, running for her life, passing through the same door that Holly had entered minutes ago. The dinosaur tried to follow her, but the door arch wasn't big enough for his massive body. After trying twice, the Tyrannosaurus Rex knocked the wall down, and he left to carry on following his prey.
Once alone in the room, Carmen pointed at wand herself and transfigured her hair, making it shorter and dark. She also made her skin colour a nice shade of black and modified her eyes, turning the icy blue into a fiery brown. After this, she also transfigured her clothes, changing her coat and gloves' colour and shape.
Once she finished working on her appearance, she opened the big stone on her ring, revealing a secret magical expanding compartment. She took out two small vials, one containing a red liquid and the other a purple one. She immediately drank the first vial's contents and put its empty bottle back down her ring. Then, with the help of her wand, she made a muggle syringe appear on her left hand. She filled the syringe with the purple liquid and kept the vial, as well her wand, inside the ring.
Carmen took a deep breath before pressing the syringe into her neck. She suppressed the scream of agony that fought to leave her lips – scrutinizing pain was one of the side effects of the magic-repressing potion. The first potion would make her completely immune to memory charms; the second potion had the power of eliminating any sign of magic from her body. For the next twenty-four hours, she would be as powerless as a muggle. The British ministry's Aurors would never find out whom she actually was.
Before she began staging her role of the muggle who was running away from the 'bad men,' she bitterly thought that maybe she should have killed the muggle woman when she had the chance. However, the idea of that muggle having a painful dead at the hands, no…teeth, of a Tyrannosaurus Rex was much more tempting than a simple Death Curse; after everything the muggle had dared to do, she deserved to suffer much more than that! However, they couldn't afford having her tell the aurors the real reason for the attack. If she did so, the girl would be almost un-reachable.
"Holly, if you don't run now, you'll be grounded for an entire year!"
Holly didn't want to leave the Tyrannosaurus Rex room and leave her mother alone with that bad woman, but a threat like that was hard to ignore. Holly had never seen her mother fighting with anyone before; she was scared, and she really wanted to go home with her mother and with her baby T-Rex, if it was possible.
Holly was running alone, trying not to bump into the adults who all seemed to be in a panic as well. It was then that she saw the big man with the goatee who smiled at her in a maniacal way.
"Hello, little princess; time to go home with Uncle Marco," he said, raising his wand to cast a spell, but before he could say any kind of enchantment, the wand flew away from his hands and went straight into Ronald Weasley's hold.
Ron, who had just been flying a few meters above the two, landed next to them with both wands safely in his right hand.
"You are under arrest. You have the right…" But Ronald never got a chance to finishing his sentence because Marco punched him in the face with his muscled fist, making him shut up at once. Marco then took his wand back from Ron's hand, as well as Ron's own wand, using his physical strength. However, when Marco turned around to get Holly, the girl had disappeared.
"Little bitch. Wait until I get my hands on you…" he grunted to himself.
He was about to cast a spell to try to locate Holly when he was suddenly attacked by four aurors, giving him no choice but to duel them back. Marco was duelling with his and Ron's wands, a very hard technique mastered only by very few wizards.
It was at this moment a very much alive Tyrannosaurus Rex invaded the room, making Marco and the four aurors momentarily suspend their duel to observe the creature that came into the gallery thirsty for blood.
Marco then realised that it was unlikely that he would be getting Holly that day. If only they had chosen the school approach and done it all the muggle way like Francesco had suggested! The only thing he could do now was to get out with the others. All alive if possible…
He pointed his wand at the section of the wall that he knew would take them out onto the street and shouted, "BOMBARDA MAXIMA!"
The spell made a massive hole on the wall, and because it was a brand new exit, it hadn't been blocked by the aurors yet. Marco then whistled to the other two wizards who were still duelling with the ministry aurors, and they understood that it was their time to go. Marco used a simple Accio to take the brooms that belonged to the aurors that had been duelling with him and who were now trying to stop the Tyrannosaurus Rex that was currently trying to eat the muggles.
It was only a matter of seconds before Marco and his two partners left the museum mounted on their newly stolen brooms. However, the entire Dawlish team left on their tails.
"Kill her!" Carmen ordered the dinosaur.
Annabel, who was standing up a bit, still staggering, looked at the dinosaur fearfully. She didn't want to die like this, eaten by that monstrous creature in front of that evil woman. Although she still felt a bit unstable, she started to run, aiming to find a way to make the dinosaur stop following her.
But the Tyrannosaurus Rex didn't stop. It knocked down the wall, and continued to follow her. Its mouth, full of pointy teeth roared in a way that made her whole body shake. Her fear was so deep that Annabel ended up stumbling and twisting her ankle. She looked one last time at the beast- the one that would be her executioner-and closed her eyes, waiting for the pain that inevitably would come when the creature began to tear her body apart.
But the pain didn't come. Instead, she felt a pair of strong arms holding her body and lifting her up in the air. When Annabel dared to open her eyes, to her astonishment, she realized that she was flying. She was flying on a broom. She let a gasp escape her mouth before hearing a familiar, unforgettable voice.
"Hold on tight. We're going to land."
Harry had almost finishing the mapping when he noticed the muggle that had just fallen on the floor. He quickly looked around and realised that no one else seemed to have noticed that this murderous creature was going to kill her. Without thinking twice, he directed his broom to the very place where she had fallen and wrapped his arms around her body. He lifted her weight, carrying her on the side while he controlled his broom with his other free hand.
He felt a nice, familiar smell emanating from her short dark hair and from the rest of her body. No, it can't be her, he thought before he heard her gasping.
"Hold on tight. We're going to land."
It was only after he landed on the ground and dismounted his broom that they could see each other's faces. He was still holding her body in his arms when their eyes met again after more than five years apart. Harry's heart was beating so fast that he thought it would beat out of his chest; Annabel's eyes betrayed her and allowed a single tear to fall. He could feel that she was trembling. He moved his hand to the back of her neck and touched her forehead with his forehead. She closed her eyes and opened her mouth as her body begged for a kiss to happen.
He let his broom fall on the floor and closed his eyes, completely forgetting where they were or what he was doing. It was like the time hadn't passed; it felt like they were once again the same teenagers that had just exchanged promises of eternal love after spending their first night together. It felt like nobody else in the world existed, and it felt like the world itself had ceased its existence. It was only Harry and Bel – together. The way that it always should have been.
Annabel, who was centimetres away from Harry's lips, immediately opened her eyes and pushed Harry away. She looked towards the direction from where the girl's voice had come and opened her arms to hug the small girl who was running in their direction.