I can’t believe how much he has grown in the past few months. It’s like only yesterday I could have lifted him on my shoulders. I think this trip would be a good distraction, no, not a distraction, more like a well-deserved time off from everything. He’s being coming out of his shell for the past few years, but the dreams he says he’s having, sometimes I worry about him. Wednesday night he told me he had another one, and its understandable considering all that we’ve went through together. He’s so mature for his age though. I know he could handle anything the world could throw at him. Sometimes I think that I need him more than he needs me. Maybe that’s it. Maybe I’m the weak one, and just pretending to be the parent when in reality I depend on him maybe a bit more than he depends on me.
It’s a possibility that after this cruise, when we’re back in New York, I might tell him. Our life has been shaky together at times, but right now everything is looking up. I love my job, and this cruise is supposed to help us 'bond', even though he's being keeping himself busy these days with Mike and his vidoegames. Oh well, once he's enjoying himself on our holiday, I'm happy. I’ve got tons of paperwork, and if only Jacques saw me with all this clutter on our ‘holiday’, he’d most likely scold me again. He’s bossy and protective that way, even though he isn’t even twelve as yet. I know where he gets it from. I’ll admit it, every time I look into the mirror I see probably the most overprotective person I know.
But that’s okay.
We survived this long, haven’t we? That means I’m doing something right.
Yes we have. And now, things are finally settling down, even though I still worry sometimes- it’s hard being a muggle medical practitioner. For example, Anna Kallstrom and her bone marrow deficiency: I know could heal her right away, but so late at this stage, it will look even more ‘stranger’ than usual, and I have to be extra careful since that Nicholas Hunnigan fiasco.
Oh yes, that one was close.
I have to drill it in my head everyday to clinically prove that there is a solution to the problem before I go and help those kids. It’s frustrating. But to keep things safe, I have to go by the book. Speaking about books, I was supposed to borrow the Optometric text before I left New York to do some research on that eye problem Ryan has- and guess what? Through all the hustle and bustle, I forgot. Maybe I could just pop in and…
No. This is a holiday away from work. Dr. Randle could handle it for the while. I don’t need to save the world everyday, ‘super mum’. I don’t know. I love it when he says that. I deserve a bit of flattery now and then, don’t I? I mean, if my very own son doesn’t, who will?
By the way, I also need to change my glasses. It’s been two years already. I think they protect me a bit though. For one thing, I do think they make me look more, professional. Another bonus they make me virtually non-descript. Four days we’re here and I hardly make eye contact with anyone. I forgot them this morning and I’ve been getting some, well, a lot of flirtatious glances, well that one guy was good looking, but right now I have more important things to worry about.
Ron told me he’s sending Rose to Hogwarts this year. He then proceeded to question me about Jacques. I said I haven’t decided as yet and that triggered off the infamous Weasley temper, but he had to accept that for the time being. I’m not sure if Jacques would understand in such a short while, and I don’t know if want to do something so drastic. We’ve finally found a school where he could fit in better. It’s not easy explaining to his teachers how proficient he is in sports, or anything competitive without alerting him to the bigger picture. He’s so perceptive he’d begin to question himself if I even gave him the slightest hint that he’s, well, different. After those horrid seven years, all the moving, the secrets, being settled down at last feels like I’ve taken the weight of the world off my shoulders.
I wanted to tell him for so long, but now that he’s so happy, I don’t think letting him know about his, well, parentage would be such a great idea, and I daresay moving back across the Atlantic won’t be his cup of tea. Sometimes I wonder if going on this Caribbean cruise was a good idea and all; maybe we should have stayed home. One of the things that helped me decide was when he said he wanted another summer with the Cadets troupe, he said he loved it last year and fancied trying to become a prefect this year. He loved it a bit too much, I think. I wasn’t surprised when they made him junior squad leader, even though it was his first summer. That frightens me sometimes. Jacques’ magical aura feels so familiar to his back then…back in the early days. Putting him in any sort of military environment would definitely not be the best idea for my peace of mind right now.
After all, he is his father’s son, no matter how much I selfishly try to deny it.
The rain was pouring steadily over the Atlantic. A relaxing rumble emanated through the cabins, nearly everyone asleep in their beds as the ship moved calmly through the choppy waters. Everything was as it should be, the midnight showers beautiful over the blackness of the ocean. Content and happy with his life, the man in the all white uniform took in a deep breath, absorbing the lingering scent of the sea. All his life he dreamt of sailing, and to be the Captain of this particular ship was comparable to reaching the summit of Mt. Everest to a mountain climber. Groaning contentedly as he took to his chair in the lounge, Captain Robert Hillington of the Stargazer was well at ease, catching up on his reading with his usual cup of java.
“Sir!” his navigator called. “Something strange is happening- barometric pressure has changed rapidly- a pocket of low pressure has settled a mile ahead at bearing 011, directly on our course. Should we radio it in?”
“Why?” Captain Hillington said calmly. “A spot of unusual weather never hurt anybody. Relax, sonny,” he said easily, not even raising his eyes off his book.
“Sir- you need to see this,” the navigator said, a bit perplexed.
“See what-?” Hillington said in exasperation. What was it now? His navigator was pointing at the electronic thermometer on display. It was rapidly declining. “What the bloody hell?” He straightened up in his seat, watching the digits decrease at an alarming rate. Getting up to peer out to sea- his eyes bulged as a thick white mist materialized out of nowhere, encompassing them in a grey blanket.
“Sir! Radar has malfunctioned; all radio frequencies have been silenced! What the hell is this?” the navigator screamed, beginning to panic now. Captain Hillington had seen many things in his life, but this one had to be the most astonishing feat of nature he had ever seen. They weren’t even twelve hours away from Barbados. He opened the door to the top deck, raising his palm to catch the tiny particles of ice.
It was actually snowing in the tropics.
Robert Hillington rushed back inside and shut the door, examining the screens and digital readouts on the ship’s highly computerized sensor systems. Everything had gone haywire, numbers were jumping randomly, the radar screen was dead, and the GPS system read ‘OFFLINE’. What the hell was going on? The Captain spun away from his navigator, grabbing the headset of the intercom system. Flicking on the orange hazard switch, he began barking out orders over the handset.
“Sir!” The navigator said, very worried now. “What should I do?”
“It’s imperative that we get communication out.” He looked out the frosting window. “We definitely need to call this in.”
Below deck where it was warm and safe, a young boy with spiky black hair was oblivious to what was happening outside.
“Six hit combo, take that!” Jacques said to his new friend Mike. Both were in front of a television screen, their fingers working furiously as they battled it out on their latest videogame. It was late, past midnight, but both boys were caught up in the heat of the moment. They were around the same age, and they got along brilliantly since they met at the beginning of the trip. The fact that Mike’s mom was his mom’s good friend from work also worked in their favour since their room was only a few doors down the hall. So here he was by his good friend Mike, enjoying kicking his ass in Virtua Fighter when suddenly his vision swirled in front of his eyes and he found it hard to focus.
“Hey, you okay?” Mike enquired when he realized that his on screen opponent wasn’t fighting back. Mike nudged his dark haired friend with his elbow, giving him a curious glance. When he paused to look directly in his face, he knew something was wrong. Mike immediately dropped the controller and began to shake him. Jacques’ eyes had rolled back into his head and he was trembling violently.
“Jacky!” he shouted, trying to snap him out of it. Panicking, Mike sprung up from the room and dashed down the hall to number 42 three doors down.
Hermione Granger was dozing off, her journal still lying half open when a sharp knock on the door startled her. Tying her robe around her, she got up to answer it. Who was knocking so late- wait... Jacques was spending the night by Miriam and Mike tonight! Sensing out- she immediately recognized Mike’s life force on the other side of the door. Something had happened!
“What is it Mike?” Hermione shouted before she flung open the door. Mike was caught off guard, probably trying to figure out how in the world Aunty Hermione knew it was him.
“Jacky- I think he’s having a.. er...um ecleptic fit?”
“Ecleptic…?” Hermione questioned. After half a moment, it clicked. He meant an Epileptic fit. The thing is, Jacques was in perfect health, he didn’t suffer from anything like that. “Mike, come with me-” she said, taking the young boy’s hand and closing the door behind her. Dashing into Miriam’s room, Hermione was instantly annoyed that she wasn’t there supervising the children even though it was closing in on one o’clock, but the sight of Jacques having another ‘episode’ frightened her into action. Pushing Miriam to the back of her mind, she raced over to where Jacques just sat there, the whites of his eyes fluttering behind half closed lids.
Resting her palm on his forehead, she whispered something under her breath and Jacques slumped into her arms, breathing heavily.
“Jacques? Can you hear me? Are you okay?” Hermione asked, cradling his face in her hands. “Jacques? What happened?”
“Mom… someone, or something is coming for us,” he whispered.
“I’m scared mom…” Jacques said softly, his eyes watering slightly.
“Ssh….it’s okay, I’m here, no one is coming…don’t cry honey,” Hermione soothed.
“Cry? No…it’s not that...my eyes...they’re burning…” Jacques rubbed his eyes with his knuckles and when Hermione glanced back at him, her heart skipped a beat.
She could have sworn…Oh no…
“WATCH IT!” Jacques screamed suddenly and with strength beyond his tender years, shoved the two of them out of the room and into the corridor beyond. The next moment there was a tremendous flash of light and a deafening sound of wood shattering. The lights went out and the room exploded as a bolt of pure electricity arced down straight through to the floors below. Planks of wood and debris flew outside the room, and the sprinkler system triggered, immediately dousing them with water.
As if a light had switched on, Hermione Granger went into overdrive. With a few select words, Jacques and Mike were levitated away from her, both encompassed in a glowing light. Her face was dead serious as she felt that magical signature screaming at her from a distance away. It was unmistakable; it was the same aura from that train attack over twelve years ago.
So they finally found her, huh? Hermione gritted her teeth, absently rotating the gold ring on her right middle finger. And here she thought that she had taken all the necessary precautions over the past few years. She would give them credit, they were persistent. Nothing for four years, then out of the blue- this happens.
“Mom!” Jacques screamed hysterically as they floated out of harms way, their skin glowing with a soft luminance.
Stay calm Hermione….
She stood there quietly, looking up through the whole that the Lightning strike made and beyond that into the moonlit sky above. Those clouds weren’t there an hour ago. The boat was vibrating more than usual, the seas was reacting violently even though it was tranquil whole night. With another soft incantation, she manifested her wand out of thin air and rapped it on her sleeve. Her clothes immediately transformed into a witch’s robe, the Cloak of the Order of The Phoenix draped impressively on her shoulders.
“Don’t worry boys, I will protect you.”
Jacques eyes nearly bulged out of their sockets, his jaw dropping to the ground. After the initial shock, his expression changed into one of dawning comprehension-
Mom, just what in the world are you?
Jacqueline Ramellie levitated high above the ocean cruiser, the clouds behind her raging with thunderous ferocity. Her white gown hung limply against her, her whole body soaking wet. For a moment, she just soared there, perplexed. She masked her presence using the Phantasm jinx, the Detector Ward had pinpointed her target’s exact location and without further ado- executed with well practiced accuracy. The strike was tempered so that her victim wouldn’t die; only severely injured. Nothing her counter spell couldn’t reverse.
He wanted her alive.
She had done this many times, watering down her Lightning spell to strike down her targets for easy capture. It was an almost routine job, yet somehow, inexplicably, she had missed this time. She never misses. The only time she had missed was... that day…against him. Who exactly was this person?
Whoever it was, lady luck was on their side tonight.
The information given to her stated that it was a Caucasian witch in her late twenties or early thirties, with brown hair and brown eyes. The Detection Ward had picked her up easily, and according to her master’s sources, she was supposed to be on this boat. Increasing her body mass from featherweight to around half of her hundred and thirty pound weight, she descended, riding down the drafts of her Tempest spell. She knew that the same tactic won’t work twice. Her position was now revealed and she had to finish this quickly before the ship sunk. Considering the size of the hole she had made, and the fires that had erupted on the deck, that won’t be long; maybe half an hour for the most, if so long.
Oh well, sometimes the best of plans didn’t always work out as we’d like. With a grim smile on her face, the Torrentia Magi alighted on the top deck, peering down at the gaping hole on the bow.
Come out come out…wherever you are…
Below deck was a scene of panic. Crew and passengers alike were running haywire as the Emergency response staff tried in vain to co-ordinate evacuation procedures as water came gushing up through the hull. Hermione had a firm grip on the two boys’ hands as they raced through the halls to the recreation deck, hoping that Miriam would be coming from that direction as she most probably was trying to make it back to her room. She needed her to look after the two boys while she tried her best to save the vessel from sinking. Closing her eyes to slits she sensed out with her magic of Divinity- Fear, Shock, Anxiety swarmed all around her, but she filtered through the panicked minds and searched for her friend’s mental signature.
Finding her in her minds eye, Miriam was running in a completely different direction, obviously losing her bearings in the rush. Influencing her thought processes a bit, Hermione gently ‘nudged’ her to change direction and after a few seconds, they met at a crossroads.
“GRANGER! Oh my god! What’s happening!? Mike! Thank god! You’re okay!” she grabbed her son tightly then did a double take on her friend. “What in the world are you wearing?” she blurted, clutching her son tightly.
“Miriam – look after Jacques for a moment, I have to sort this mess out.”
“Just do it, okay? I’ll be back shortly. Jacques!” she reminded him sternly, giving him the look she used when she was warning him to stay out of trouble. She took a few quick strides as she bent the corner and was gone.
“What the hell- has she gone crazy?” Miriam asked herself. Jacques couldn’t believe it. Or maybe deep down he always knew. His mom definitely wasn’t just another ‘ordinary’ woman. She was a witch, and his dreams actually did mean something.
Like for instance; what was that strange place in his dreams- Hogwarts - all about?
Hermione made her way to the top, her wand shining brightly in the dark night. She knew exactly where the person responsible for this muggle attack was: on the top deck, behind the main communication tower. Ron would definitely want this particular person for questioning so she couldn’t allow her to escape. Better make it quick then. Pointing her wand- she stretched out with her mind, her voice clearly audible in the magical storm.
The spell connected and she felt her opponent’s magical potential. Just as she reached in to simply shut down her synapses and knock her out... a tremendous jolt of mental power rebounded back unto her and nearly fried her mind. Her vision blacked out painfully and her ears and nose started to bleed. Her eardrums rang so loudly she feared they had burst. Trying desperately not to pass out, she tried in vain to remain on her feet. Before she got a chance to issue the counter-charm she lost all co-ordination and with the loss of balance, she fell clumsily to her knees then keeled over painfully unto her face.
“He warned me about mental attacks. Said I should use the Reflector jinx on myself before engaging, if it came down to that. Hurts, doesn’t it? It does seem he knows what he’s doing.” Jacqueline floated down from the higher level, alighting gingerly the main deck. She walked over to where Hermione lay on the soaked deck, blood leaking out her nose and ears as she desperately tried to maintain consciousness. “Hmph- Is that what you tried to do to me?” she said softly. “It looks quite nasty,” she remarked haughtily. She pointed her wand and ropes immediately bound Hermione’s arms and legs.
“Silencio!" She sighed. " All right honey, be a nice girl, don’t give me any more trouble and there’ll no more need for any of this, alright?” she said conversationally, her tone implicating that there would be consequences is she did decide to give her trouble.
“You sure talk a lot, lady. Let her go, now,” came a young voice from the doorway. Jacqueline turned around and peered through the thick mist at a dark haired boy. What is this? He could be no more than thirteen, if so much. She smiled amusedly.
“Hello, little one,” she said sweetly. “What’s your name?”
“I said: Let her go!” Jacques demanded again, balling his fists. His heart was racing, and his hands were trembling, but he couldn’t just stand by and let her take his mum! Trying his best not to give in to the fear and run away, he forced his right foot forward on the deck, making a single step. Jacqueline chuckled sarcastically, raising her eyebrow speculatively. “I’ll..I’ll.. I’ll …” he shouted, trying to find something remotely intimidating to say.
“You’ll do what, boy?” Jacqueline encouraged, laughing at him. “Are you a hero? Is she your damsel in distress? I love it! You are so sweet!” she chuckled again. Jacques temper exploded and his face turned red.
“I’M NOT AFRAID OF YOU!” he screamed. “LET HER GO!” He began to run at her at full speed, only to be magically yanked up into the air by his ankle. Jacques screamed as he was suspended upside down, his jersey falling over his face. “What the bloody hell is this? LET ME GO!”
“I like you. You got spunk, kiddo,” Jacqueline smiled, and closed the distance between them. “What’s your name?” she asked again, staying an arm’s length away from the wildly flailing boy. After some futile swings at her, Jacques stopped, his breath coming in hard gasps as fear really began to creep in.
Was this a dream? What in the world was going on?!
“I see you’ve come a bit to your senses,” Jacqueline nodded. As she came up closer to him, she looked at his young face, the dark, spiky hair, the angled chin…
Stopping dead in her tracks, she spun around to look at the witch she had just captured. Rushing to her prone body, she moved away the rain soaked hair from her face. Jacqueline’s eyes opened in amazement. She recognized this woman.
This was no ordinary witch- this was Hermione Granger herself, the only person alive to control the Magic of Divinity! And if this was Granger…
“What is your last name, boy?” she demanded as she spun towards Jacques, the tone of her voice now eager, almost to the point of euphoric. “Your name! Give it to me!” she screamed, looking at his face closely now. Jacques shook his head in denial, folding his arms across his chest and squeezing his eyes shut.
“Stop playing games, boy,” she threatened, coming closer. “I asked you: what is your na- ack!” She choked suddenly, feeling a disgusting and foreign substance in her mouth.
The boy actually spit in her mouth!
She couldn’t believe it. Her eyes bulged with fury, and without warning she pointed her wand.
Jacques screamed at the top of his lungs as the Cruciatus curse racked through his body.
At the same moment on the other side of the ocean, the man referred to as the 'dodgy hermit from th’Hollow' suddenly woke up. Grabbing the innocuous piece of black cloth on the ground next to his sleeping mat, he disappeared from the tiny shack on the outskirts of the woods.
“MOM! Mom !” another young boy shouted, boltinh upright in the middle of the night.A few moments later Rebecca Lestrange burst into the room, turning on the lamps with a wave of her hand. She raced over to the bed, and took her son into her arms.
“What? What is it Marcus?”
“The man in my dream! I saw him again! Mom, I swear, I saw him clear as day!”
Rebecca paled, but she covered it up smoothly with a comforting smile. “It’s okay now honey, you and your brother are safe here with me.”
“He’s not my brother, Rebecca,” said a low voice. Rebecca turned towards the other occupant in the room.
“You know how I feel about you calling me that," she reprimanded in a soft voice, then sat down on the edge of his bed. She took a moment as she thought about what she was going to say next. "And furthermore, both of you are my sons, so that makes you brothers. We’re a family,” she reminded them.
“Really?” Apollo questioned a bit sardonically, his brow furrowing in a stubborn line. “And another thing, his name is Ares, why do you keep calling him by his middle name?” Apollo sat up and folded his arms, glaring at the boy on the other side of the room.
“Well, I like Marcus better,” Marcus countered.
“Believe me, little brother,” he said with a smirk, “Ares suits you better. Trust me on this one.”
“Shut up - what do you know?” Marcus grumbled. Apollo just smiled knowingly, much to Marcus’ annoyance. Rebecca frowned at her two boys.
“Listen to me, the both of you. You two are far too old to be bickering with each other as if you were seven year olds. You’re going off to school in a month so I want you start behaving like the young men you are instead of quarrelsome little children.” She tugged at Apollo’s ear sharply, making him squirm. “And you, Apollo, should not say things like that, you are brothers in every sense of the word. And take it from someone who knows, you two have a connection that I would have given the world for while I was growing up. You’re lucky to have each other.”
“But you do have a brother,” Apollo countered sulkily, rubbing his ear.
Rebecca stayed quiet, her eyes hardening at those words. “I have no brother, do you understand me, Apollo Daniel Lupin?” Apollo felt her magic permeate the room, a heavy pressure weighing down on his covers. This could be bad…
“S’ry mum,” Apollo apologized quickly, dipping his eyes.
“Good. Now, Marcus, here’s some water-” she flicked her wand and a glass of water appeared in her hand. “Drink this, it’ll help you relax, and don’t worry about that dream.” She kissed both boys on their foreheads and then closed the door silently behind her as she bade them goodnight. When the door was closed, Apollo whispered in the darkness:
“Was it him?”
“Who? In my dream?”
“Yeah. I think so…”
“What’s so funny?” Marcus whispered back. Apollo just shook his head sarcastically, infuriating his little brother even more.
“You’ll see,” he smirked. “Ah- an entire three more weeks. Damn. I can’t wait to go to Hogwarts. Get some sleep Ares- I’ve got a cool trick to show you tomorrow.”
Back at the ship, Jacqueline was getting frustrated with the whole situation. The standoff was nearing fifteen minutes already. To be honest, she rather dislikes these kidnapping missions. Preferred straight assassination, truth be told.
“I’m going to tell you one last time, Granger, release the anti apparition ward from this ship!” Jacqueline demanded, cursing Hermione once more. Her captive buckled as the Cruciatus racked through her body again, but as the effects subsided she chuckled under her breath as she spat out some more blood, her smiling silence infuriating the Ice Witch. The whole ship was tilted at an angle, the gaping hole through the heart allowing water to flood into the lower decks at an incredible rate.
Hermione had to keep concentrating. She was silenced and unarmed, so only by sheer willpower was she able to keep Jacqueline’s attention solely on her. Even after enduring the fourth administration of her captor’s not-so-subtle spell casting she couldn’t give up. If she only slipped in concentration and allowed Jacqueline to look at her son still unconscious on the deck behind her, it was all over. The Halo of Life was working, but at an incredibly slow rate. She needed to have her voice back, and to do that she needed her hands free, but to untie them she needed to have her wand, which was tucked away in her torturer’s robes.
All she had now was her eyes, and her small repertoire of non-verbal unarmed magic. Basically, the Leglimens Hypnotism was all she could use until she completed healing her ear drums to get her balance back. Hermione knew she was at a huge disadvantage. The only thing she had going for her was the fact that Ramellie could not take either of them using side-along apparation, and she wouldn’t dare carry her for the entire journey back to the mainland. Jacqueline may be a bit deranged, but she wasn’t stupid. Too much time spent with the enemy meant trouble. Right now, Hermione had to tough it out. The woman was losing composure- she could see it in her eyes.
The ship was sinking, and Jacqueline was now stalemated.
As the fifth curse racked through her, Hermione gritted her teeth and absorbed the excruciating pain, knowing that the longer she had them here, the more chance she had of escaping. Her reflected mental attack had really done number on her, and now she had to patiently begin healing herself back up, even through the pain. The Halo glowed warmly on her finger, just waiting for her to say the words, but unfortunately, she doubted Jacqueline would remove the silencing charm anytime soon. For now, it was a battle of wills- wait….
Her eyes bulged, her gaze shooting over Jacqueline’s shoulder and to the misty sea. On that swell, in the ocean- there was a man….
Nearly a mile away, a lone figure gasped as he broke the surface of the ice cold sea. Irritated and a bit perplexed, the robed stranger climbed on top of the water, using the Densify weight alteration spell to make his feet buoyant on the raging swells.
Interesting. I was only able to make it this close. The witch who created this anti-porting ward is indeed powerful...
The sinking ship loomed far ahead, the flickering flames and the twinkling lights giving the doomed vessel a life force of its own, a sparkling treasure being consumed by the inky blackness of the sea. The stranger could not see the masses of lifeboats coming towards his direction, but he could sense each and everyone on them, for in their hearts was fear, fear of the unknown, fear of the prospect of being stranded at sea and left to rot.
In short, the Fear of Death.
It surged at him in waves: the panic stricken nerves of those people, the racing heartbeats, the knife-edge balance of sanity- the point of no return where a once rationale man would resort to desperate and extreme measures for their own survival. These telltale signs were not uncommon to him.
But those muggles were not the reason he was here. Something, no someone, had reached out to him. Someone very important, he could feel it. He needed to be on that boat. The anti-porting ward had a large radius, but that could not stop him. Pulling back the right sleeve of his robes, he placed his palm on the surface of the water.
"Serpentus Patronum! "
Jacqueline turned around to see what Granger had spotted, and in doing so, saw the young boy still unconscious on the deck.
“Ah ha! Granger, it was fun, but I’m fed up of playing with you. Release this Apparation ward or else your boy here will be joining his father-” she smirked knowingly “- in the afterlife.” Hermione’s spirit deflated. She had lost the faint hold on her mind- and now Jacqueline had found her Achilles heel. She would use Jacques as a hostage, and Hermione would rather die than see him hurt-
But if she removed the warding spell, it would probably be the last time she would be able to see him.
She needed more time!
“You know something,” Jacqueline laughed- “I totally forgot! Sudden tragedy reverses most spells! We don’t need him, it’s you we want, so I’ll just kill him and if my theory is correct- your magic would fail. Avada-”
At that moment, Jacqueline saw what Hermione had seen a few moments before. Amongst the life rafts bobbing haphazardly over the fifteen foot swells, a lone man was walking on top of the water. The Witch in white stared, not quite sure if her eyes were deceiving her. He just stood there on top of the surging ocean, looking at them. She froze, squinting through the downpour at the miracle she was witnessing. After a few seconds, the man crouched and laid his palm flat on the surface of the water. There was a spike of magical energy in the air and the next moment, the man was gliding smoothly over the water with alarming speed.
The Snake God’s head broke the surface, the hooded figure standing proud on his crown. Shalingini surged through the sea with powerful undulations of his massive body, the stranger’s long traveling cloak sweeping back with the rushing wind. In a matter of moments the stranger had crossed the four hundred meter distance and reached the sinking cruiser. The huge snake tensed its powerful body, lifting his massive head over the starboard rail, the gigantic eyes reflecting the cabin lights as the Serpentrider calmly stepped unto the ship deck. The massive tongue flicked out at them, the glossy sheen of his ebony eyes momentarily mesmerizing both women.
The hooded man hissed softly as he alighted on the ship. The snake bowed his head dutifully.
[That is not necessary. I am at your command, my lord. Fare thee well.]
Jacqueline merely gulped, her eyes flickering from left to right. This was something she definitely did not anticipate. For four whole years- nothing. Now, here he was, the legendary Dark Lord himself….
“Stay Back! I mean it, I swear I will kill them if you take another step closer!” she screamed, her wand trembling violently.
The Stranger stopped, the harsh ship lights throwing deep shadows on his face. Jacqueline didn’t know what to do next. She froze for a few heartbeats, weighing her options. Could she do it? She now pointed her wand at the stranger, her hands trembling badly. Images of her past flashed at her-
Because you are young, I will show you mercy and spare your life…
She wasn’t young anymore, she would have been thirty two this year-
“Shit…” she cursed herself- this was not good. All the rumours, the exaggerations, now she had to question herself: Were they all true? Did this man’s mere presence instill the fear of death? Already she was thinking of her own life in the past tense. Could she escape? What was she to do? She took a few paces back.
“What do you want?” she ventured.
With unnerving patience the man once known as Harry Potter took out a leather-bound tome.
“Jacqueline - your name was never amongst these pages,” said a soft, low voice. “You could have lived a tranquil and prosperous life after I spared you the first time. But now you have made a terrible mistake.”
Ramellie paled, her breathing becoming difficult. Adrenaline and fright took over her, and she immediately used the featherweight charm to make her escape. The stranger frowned. The magic feedback of the storm was making it difficult to sense her position. Drawing out the Infernus from the palm of his hand, he summoned the element of fire to aid him.
A flaming bird shot out of the sky, arcing down towards him. It lighted on his palm, the flames flickering on his face. An eerie smile pulled at the corners of his mouth as the tiny bird pecked affectionately at his fingers.
It shot out of his hand, flying after the fleeing witch. Ramellie rode on the gale force winds of her magic, desperately trying to escape before that thing got too close. She knew about that firebird, the fabled Messenger of the Dark Lord Azrael. That spell signified one of two things- either you were in his favour, or more often than not: your time was near. That bird, once it found you, mean that he knew where you were. For seven whole years, that bird served as a constant reminder to those who were next.
She wouldn’t be just another statistic; she wouldn’t be just another notch on his belt. Deep inside she knew running was futile- the only chance she had was to fight! Clapping her hands in mid flight- she summoned her Lightning spell once more-
“Torrentia Lumos Max-”
Before the spell was finished, an invisible hand wrapped around her throat. Her neck constricted under the force of his magic, her whole body suspended in midair as she tried desperately to free herself from the curse.
“Don’t!” She screamed hoarsely, her feet kicking wildly as she tried to force air back down into her lungs.
At that moment, Jacques eyes reopened slowly, his vision blurry as the aftereffects of those excruciating cramps tightened his muscles. Taking a moment to catch himself, he nearly jumped a foot off the ground as the woman in white fell with a dull thud! on the deck, her eyes wide open in death. Petrified to the spot, he dare not move as the robed man approached the dead body and knelt down at her side, checking for a pulse. After the confirmation of death, he removed the blindfold to look at her face.
A sudden surge of memories flooded back into him- the French Contingent from Beauxbatons prancing into the hall – a red haired boy following them around… her blond hair- spotting her in the crowd cheering on someone…
These precious memories, they keep coming back at random …
Red hair? Blond hair? Which one was it? Did the boy have the blond hair, or did the girl have the red? Or was it a boy and girl both with red hair, or maybe two boys with red or blonde?
He remembered one man with blonde hair quite clearly-
Was it so it so long that they faced each other?
Shutting the book and then making it disappear, he strode across to Hermione. As he kneeled down at her side, the stranger frowned. Her magic somehow felt familiar…
“Lay still, I can ease the pain. Crucio Inanimagus, Leviticus armi asi salinta requiem, reflecto assimiliar incante! ”
The Dark Lord Azrael held his hands over her, and the pain inflicted from the Cruciatus vanished from her body. His hands clenched in pain as he buckled, his body shaking violently as the repeated curses now surged into him. Biting down hard, he finished transferring the dark magic from Hermione and let it run its course through his own body. He toppled over on his back in agony, his arms splayed wide as his hood fell back.
This was his punishment. He would bear it gladly.
Jacques got to his feet slowly, inching closer and closer to the stranger while Hermione came around. With a softly spoken incantation she healed herself completely and raced back over to Jacques, who was standing over the fallen man, peering down at his face. As soon as Hermione got close enough to pull him away, she involuntarily glanced into their rescuer’s eyes. Suddenly she felt faint and immediately shielded her eyes from his, desperately reaching out for her son before she passed out. Taking a firm hold on his shoulder, she pulled him close and disapparated, vanishing from the sinking ship in the blink of an eye.
Harry Potter lay quite still, slowly healing himself after absorbing the full brunt of the Cruciatus curse. For a very long time he just stared up into the sky, his face the epitome of amazement. This was a development he had never predicted. It had to be, the same hair, the same eyes, slightly different nose, but the resemblance was uncanny. In addition to the physical similarities, the mere fact that they could look at each other eye to eye was the clincher.
Who was that woman, and why did she hide my son from me?
Author's note: Thanks for reading guys, it's been a while since I've put out anything new, so I hope I met your expectations with the first chapter of 'LEGACIES: Brothers In Blood'. Thanks again, and tell me what you thought about it- was it good, was it bad? Or so-so? lol!
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