Hermione was still fussing over Rose even though it had been a solid hour since the incident with the ghosts. The great hall was now full of teachers, aurors, ministry workers and a group of very startled teenagers. The other students were crowded around the entrance of the hall trying to get a glimpse of the magnificent angel that stood next to Scorpius.
After the chaos had ended, they had learned that Hogwarts wasn’t the only school affected. Apparently ghosts all over the world had started going berserk and had even killed a few people before suddenly vanishing for no reason whatsoever.
Despite this, most of the ministry personnel in the room were more concerned with the fact that Heaven and Hell were very real places. They would glance over at Cassandra every few seconds as if they were hoping she’d just disappear.
Hugo was sat on one of the benches next to Dom and the other Weasley’s and Potter’s. The poor kid was pale as a sheet and looking queasy.
“Mum, I’m fine, really,” Rose complained.
“You just almost had your heart crushed by a ghost! That is not fine!” Hermione huffed back.
“There’s no physical damage. If there were, I would heal her,” Cassandra said which seemed to put Hermione at ease.
“Yeah, and I don’t think the ghosts are coming back anytime soon,” Rose agreed.
“How did you do that by the way? I’ve never heard an incantation like that before,” Dom asked.
“It was an Enochian summoning spell,” she said.
“Enochi-what?” Ron asked looking confused.
“Enochian. The divine language.”
“Angel’s got their own language?” Scorpius asked with raised eyebrows.
“It makes sense, they predate all of ours,” Dom shrugged.
“Yeah, but I thought they’d just, I don’t know, read minds or something,” Scorpius admitted.
“Telepathy is intrusive, we don’t like using it.”
“Good,” Hugo mumbled. Obviously he had some things in his head that he didn’t want anybody seeing.
“Cass,” Scorpius said quietly. “You said that Lucifer did this?”
“Yes. He’s moving closer to the lines that separate the planes of existence. This was a side-effect of that movement,” she nodded.
“Does that mean that there is going to be more stuff like this?”
“Yes. I’m not sure what but his ascension will definitely cause major disruptions. That’s why I think it’s best for us to leave immediately.”
“Wouldn’t it make more sense to stay? I mean, Hogwarts is a fortress,” he suggested.
“This castles defences are not designed to stop something like this. Magic is useless against demons, they aren’t of this world,” she explained.
“Well there’s got to be something you can do?”
“I will protect you,” she stated.
“Well, that’s another thing. I’m sure that you’re one hell of an archangel but you can’t be everywhere at once. What if we get separated or something? We need to be able to defend ourselves. I mean, can’t you teach us some of those Enocowhatsy spells or something?”
“Our magic doesn’t work like that. There are some that only require the incantations but most require divine energy and that is something your species does not possess,” she said quickly.
“Well, there’s gotta be something,” Scorpius said sounding exasperated.
Cassandra thought for a moment.
“Perhaps,” she nodded. “I’ll be back in a moment.”
And then she was gone which caused quite a stir in the great hall.
“Where did she go?” an auror asked aloud.
“Wherever she wants I guess,” Scorpius shrugged and turned to Hugo. “How you feeling Skywalker?”
“Like I’m gonna puke!” he groaned.
“Me too,” Scorpius nodded. “Look on the bright side, at least we got Heaven on our side,” he tried.
“Ha! Heaven...I only found out that it existed an hour ago...”
“Yeah, I’m havin’ a hard time with it too...part of me still thinks that I’m just gonna wake up and find out this was just a big nightmare...but I’m starting to doubt that. If this isn’t some trippy dream...you wanna help me save the world?” he asked trying to sound cheery.
“Save the world?! I haven’t even taken my Owls yet and you want me to help you fight the devil?!”
“No, I want you to help me stop him before he can even get here,” Scorpius corrected.
“Oh, sure, because that’s going to be so easy! I think you got the wrong Weasley, mate. Try my dad, he’s right over there,” he said before letting his head fall into his hands. Dominique started rubbing his back, trying to be supportive.
“Hey, you think I feel any differently?!” Scorpius suddenly barked causing Hugo to look worried. “I’m a Malfoy! Malfoy’s and salvation don’t really go together! I’m an E student at best, I can’t fly a broom, hell, I was never even supposed to exist!”
That last part seemed to get quite a few people attention. That got worse when Scorpius made it obvious that he really wished he hadn’t said it.
“What do you mean?” Dom asked looking confused.
“Nothing,” he said and turned his back on them. “Look, none of us asked for this but according to the angel, this stuff ain’t goin’ away if we close our eyes and stick our fingers in our ears. We just gotta sack up and deal with it in any way we can.”
Where was this coming from? He wasn’t usually so eager to jump into a fight.
For a second nobody spoke. They seemed to want to say something but it just wouldn’t come.
Their attention was yanked away but the sound of a large clunk on the table. They spun around to see that Cassandra had returned with a large travel back that looked full to the brim.
“Oh, presents,” Scorpius mocked and walked over to see what she had brought. The adults in the room also gathered around.
Cassandra pulled a large jar of clear liquid from the back and put it on the table. It looked just like water except that it had a rosary wrapped around the lid.
“Please tell me that’s vodka,” Hugo moaned.
“Holy water, blessed by several priests in Jerusalem. It won’t kill a demon but it will drive them back,” she then pulled three small sticks that looked almost like incense. “Palo Santo sticks. When they burn the smoke becomes a repellent for Hellhounds.”
“Hellhounds?!” Harry, Hermione, Ron and Rose yelped at the same time. “You mean like Fluffy?”
“Who’s Fluffy?” she asked.
“One of Hagrid’s pets. A giant three headed dog that’s living in the forest, I think,” Harry said quickly.
“Is it visible?”
“Can you see it?”
“Bloody right we can. Saw a way too much of it if you ask me,” Ron shuddered remembering their encounter with it.
“It’s not a Hellhound. Hellhounds are invisible to the human spectrum and about the size of bears, unless you count Cerberus who is about the size of this hall. He guards the gates of Hell so he can’t leave until Lucifer does,” she said with disinterest.
“But some of his pups can?”
“Yes, it’s entirely possible that some came back with the demons,” Cassandra nodded.
“Whoa!” Scorpius said looking into the bag and extracting a double barrelled sawn-off shotgun. “A shotgun Cass? Really? We gonna save the world by robbing a post office?”
“It’s not the gun, it’s the rounds,” she reached into a bag and pulled out what looked like a standard 12-guage shell. “The bearings are made of cast iron and have been blessed by a Shinto priest. They’ll be extremely harmful to demons,” as she spoke, Hugo reached into the bag and pulled a second shotgun which was promptly snatched away by Hermione.
“My son is not touching a gun!” she growled. Hugo moaned in annoyance before reaching into the bag and removing a large silver machete. Hermione grabbed that off him as well. “Or a sword!”
“Oh, fine! So it’s okay for Harry to kill a big snake with a sword when he’d twelve but I’m not allowed to defend myself against demons when I’m fourteen, almost fifteen?!”
“Silver is a purifying metal, it’s harmful to demons,” Cass said. Apparently that was her attempt to explain why Hugo should have it.
“I don’t care if it kills Godzilla!” Hermione hissed back. “These things are dangerous and he could hurt himself!”
“Cass, what would the demons do if they got a hold of Hugo or Dominique?” Scorpius asked.
“Most likely, they would try and possess them in order to get closer to you. If possession wasn’t possible, they would torture them for information then kill them. The killing would probably be very slow and painful and in the most horrific manor possible in the hopes of causing you emotional distress,” she said with no emotion whatsoever.
As she spoke, Dom, Hermione and Hugo’s faces dropped with fear.
“But you’re right Hermione, he shouldn’t defend himself against that,” Scorpius said with as much sarcasm as possible.
Unable to retort, she angrily put the gun and the blade back on the table and turned her back on them.
“I can also give you something to make it impossible for the demons to possess you,” Cassandra said unfazed by anything that just happened.
“So that the whole torture and horrible death thing is a certainty, wonderful!” Dominique laughed uncomfortably.
“It’s an Enochian brand,” Cassandra said. “You might want to brace yourself, this will be unpleasant.”
Before Scorpius had time to properly react, Cassandra grabbed his arm and a white hot burning pain shot through his body. He yelled out in agony before his knees gave out. As quickly as it had arrived, it disappeared leaving Scorpius shaking and breathing hard.
He looked at the spot where her hand had been and there was now a circle of strange symbols that he had never seen before. She had literally burned them right into his skin.
“Sonofabitch! A little warning next time Cass!” Scorpius shouted.
“I did warn you,” she said looking puzzled.
“A bigger warning! Like giving me enough time to get drunk before you start scorching stuff into my flesh!”
“My apologies. Should I wait before giving Hugo and Dominique the same mark?”
“No, no, no, no!” Hugo said backing up. “I’ll take my chances with possession!”
“Screw that! Nobody is riding around in my meat except me!” Dom said, stepping forward and pulling up her sleeve.
“Love it when you talk dirty,” Scorpius winked which earned him a scold.
Dominique didn’t scream. Instead she sort of squeaked from clamping her eyes and gritting her teeth together so hard. Hugo wasn’t so controlled. He yelled so loud that it echoed around the whole hall and caused some of the students to jump. Ron and Hermione looked like they wanted to jump in a stop it but they didn’t.
“Anybody else wanna get scarred for life?” Scorpius asked cheerfully.
Most of the adults took a step back looking nervous.
“If you’re determined to stay in this castle, I’ll begin putting up similar protection around the school. Demons won’t be able to enter.”
“Good plan Batman,” Scorpius nodded.
“Who’s Batman?” she inevitably asked.
“That’s it! We’re having a movie night!” he said in all seriousness.
“Because you need to be educated.”
She was still looking at him as if he’d gone off the deep end. Scorpius just sighed.
“Look, can we expect any other apocalyptic crap to happen tonight because I’d really like to get some sleep!” he said rubbing his eyes.
“Of course, you should rest. It’s a requirement of having physical form,” she agreed.
“You’ve got physical form but I’m guessing you don’t need a nap?”
“No. I only have form in order to come to Earth. We’re not allowed to show our true visage to humans,” she said simply.
“Your true visage?” Scorpius asked.
“In Heaven we don’t require form; there angels are divine conduits of power.”
“So, upstairs you’re just a little ball of light?”
“A more accurate description would be; a multi-dimension progression of celestial energy equivalent to the size of the Eiffel Tower,” she said passively.
“Sacrebleu...” he mumbled.
“C'est vrai,” she said back with perfect pronunciation.
“You speak French?”
“I speak every language,” she said without boasting.
“Okay...well...bonne nuit,” he said before walking away. As he approached the entrance to the great hall the students cleared out of his way looking frightened as if he had some kind of horrible disease or something.
He ignored it. People had avoided him right from the start so he was used to it by now.
Scorpius continued to walk down the corridor but he wasn’t heading for the Slytherin dorms, he was going somewhere else. Oddly enough, he was heading to the very place that made people hate the Malfoy’s so much. He was going to the Astronomy tower.
It was the highest point of Hogwarts castle and overlooked the entire valley below. You could see for miles on a clear night. Outside it was still pretty cloudy which was blocking out the moonlight so the view wasn’t as good as it could be but it was still pretty peaceful night.
It was hard to believe that this was the very spot that Dumbledore died. His father had been a part of that terrible night and no matter what he did, he couldn’t live it down. Ironically it was where Scorpius came for some peace and quiet.
He leaned on the rail and looked out at the blackness.
“I thought you were going to bed?” a smooth voice came from behind him.
A moment later Dominique was at his side, leaning over the rail with him.
“I just said that because I needed to get away. I don’t think I’m ever gonna sleep again,” he sighed.
“I know the feeling,” she nodded. “Angels, demons, the apocalypse...that stuff is supposed to stay in movies and books and stuff...”
“Yeah, I wish...”
“You seem to be handling it pretty well. The whole ‘we’ll deal with it’ speech was good,” she smiled.
“You kidding me? I feel like my frickin’ heads about to explode! When those ghosts started going crazy I thought I was gonna have a heart attack...I think I still might!”
“But you were pretty quick to jump on Cassandra and make her save everybody instead of just protecting you. And trying to take it easy on Hugo, it’s very un-Malfoy-like.”
“Doesn’t mean I can save the frickin’ world!”
“But you are gonna try, right? Because I kinda like it here,” she said chuckling lightly.
“Not like I have a choice is it,” he grumbled.
“Well, I guess I don’t have a choice in helping you then.”
“You have my sympathies,” Scorpius said.
She smiled and silently looked out over the valley for a moment.
“What did you mean down stairs? When you said you weren’t supposed to exist?” she knew she probably shouldn’t be asking but she couldn’t seem to help it.
“I...err...” Scorpius looked away uncomfortably.
“You’re right, forget it. It’s none of my business,” she said awkwardly.
“It’s okay...I guess its small potatoes compared to what’s happening now,” he sighed for paused for a second. “Summer before my third year I heard my parents arguing in the kitchen. I went down to see what they were so angry about and ended up eavesdropping on a bombshell...I was an accident. My parents weren’t trying to get pregnant and they didn’t want me. My mother even went to St. Mungo’s and tried to get an abortion...but it didn’t take. They were stuck with me...”
Dominique’s mouth had dropped open with shock. She couldn’t believe it. And suddenly she felt very guilty about how she had treated him in the past.
“They probably would have given me up for adoption but they were worried about how it would make them look. It why they can’t wait to get away from me most of the time. All their holidays are booked for the summer and Christmas. I think they’re in France or German in a few weeks. They always just drop me off at my mum’s cousin’s place. He’s a great guy, missed the wizarding gene so he’s a squib. He fixes and restores classic cars, the ones that aren’t really in circulation anymore. He’s got a big TV and huge DVD collection. I spend most of the summer having movie marathons, it’s awesome,” he smiled.
“Scorpius...I’m so sorry,” she breathed.
“It’s okay. Trust me, I already went through my whole ‘wallowing in self-pity’ phase. After a few weeks of that, I just got up, dusted myself off and decided; screw my parents! Screw everybody that’s got a problem with me. I wasn’t supposed to be born but I was so I’m gonna make the most of it. You probably remember that my third year was when I started my whole rebellious, give-em-hell attitude.”
“Oh yeah...that was when you told Professor Holmes to shove her detention up her ass,” she laughed.
“Yeah, that wasn’t one of my best days...” Scorpius joined in with the laugh but that vanished pretty quickly and was replaced with a sombre look. “Guess now I know why the abortion didn’t work...I wasn’t just chosen for this...It’s the reason I exist.”
Dom reached her hand up gently rubbed Scorpius’s shoulder. She couldn’t imagine how hard this must be for him.
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