I should have realized my mistake the second it was made. It was too quiet in the room, my gasp too loud, so, of course, the death eaters heard me.
They all turn; even my dad manages to pull himself off the floor enough to stare at us. Scorpius and Rose both pale, raising their wands nervously.
Surprise and awe flitters across dad’s face and his cracked lips move as he croaks, “Albus.”
Tears fill my eyes as I stare at his rumpled appearance—his hair tangled with dirt and blood, his glasses cracked, broken, askew, his face smothered with dirt except for a few tear stains, and how thin he looks—but also because he’s here. He’s actually here, and he’s alive and…
The first death eater slams my dad back on the ground where he lies limply, passively, not even trying to fight.
A long, haunting silence fills the room. Nobody breathes, nobody moves, and then a death eater raises his wand, stepping towards Scorpius.
My wand flies in the air, Rose’s too, while Scorpius just blinks. I’m about to shout a spell when a voice interrupts me.
“Don’t,” somebody gasps from the ranks of death eaters.
Everyone turns to look at the man who spoke in surprise (or just plain confusion in some cases) but Scorpius begins to tremble, his face turning an angry shade of red. He steps forward a bit, his wand raised.
“I should have known,” he says, his voice full of disgust and hatred. “I should have known.”
“Scorpius,” the man murmurs pleadingly, but Scorpius isn’t listening. His eyes glimmer with a light I’ve never seen as he shakes his head, his nose wrinkling. He swallows hard, and I can’t tell if he’s more angry then upset, or more upset than angry.
“How could you?” He asks, his voice horribly condescending and livid. “Mum needed you. I needed you. And you just left. To join them.”
“Scorpius…” The man whispers again, and suddenly I realize what’s going on. Oh. Of course.
I reach a hand out to Scorpius, trying to calm him down, trying to comfort him, but he doesn’t seem to notice in his rage.
“Why?” He asks, tears of anger and hurt filling his eyes. I watch as his hand by his side clenches into a fist. “Why would you do that?”
“Scorpius,” he whispers helplessly. He steps towards us when another voice, one so jarringly familiar says, “Don’t.”
The man jerks to stop, he opens his mouth to protest as the other man commands, “Shut it.”
There is another long silence before the second man steps forward, twirling his wand around his finger aimlessly.
“The Imperius curse is just lovely, isn’t it?”
“What?” Scorpius breathes, his face paling, and suddenly he looks horrified. His eyes flash back to the first cloaked man.
We can all practically hear the other man smirk. “You’re all just weak aren’t you? The great Harry Potter—kidnapped. What a waste.” He draws his hood back and I shake my head angrily, bile rising in my throat as I realize I was right—he is who I thought he was when he first spoke. He looks at the three of us, pity in his deep set black eyes. “It truly is a shame you all have to die now, isn’t it?”
“No!” The first man gaps, drawing back a step, he turns his head towards Scorpius again, the panic in his voice undeniable.
Zabini turns to look at him, his mouth falling open. He walks through the other death eaters and circles the first man like a lion stalking his prey. “Incredible. You’re starting to resist the spell, aren’t you? It’s effects must be wearing off—maybe you’ve been under its influence for too long.” After he finishes musing he snaps his fingers and the two death eaters closest to them pounce, grabbing the man and pinning him up against them.
He struggles, and his hood falls off, and in the process he manages to knock off his mask, revealing silver eyes and blonde hair.
Rose looks confused, while Scorpius looks like he’s suddenly ill. I can’t see dad’s face from here, but I’m hoping he’s still okay.
“Well, there really appears to be no need for that spell anymore,” Zabini drawls, and with a flick of his wand, Draco seems freer. He straightens up, struggling even more now, a new kind of fire in his eyes.
Zabini steps closer to us and tilts his head, a sardonic smile on his face. After a moment he murmurs, “I suppose I’ll just have to kill you know, won’t I?”
“Albus!” Dad cries, right as Draco gasps, “Scorpius!”
Zabini nods his head and a death eater stalks towards us.
It is that moment when everything comes into focus. I can feel him leering closer, his breathing heavy, his eyes methodical in the way only an insane killer can be, his breath hot and disgusting. The room is dark, barely lit, but still light enough to see.
I don’t want to die. Not now.
In an instant my arm has snapped up. “Stupefy,” I gasp, and the man falls to the ground.
There is a stunned silence and then another wand is raised, “Expelliarmus!” Scorpius shouts, and the wand flies out of the man’s hand.
I turn to Zabini, smirking that annoying smirk I picked up from Scorpius. “If there’s one thing I can tell you, it’s this. We’re not going down without a fight, Zabini.”
And all hell breaks loose.
Colored jets of light, red, green, gold, blue, white, black, they’re everywhere, flying up towards the ceiling, smashing into the walls, whizzing past my ear, missing me by just an inch…
Every death eater has joined the battle against Rose, Scorpius, and I (bloody hell, we’re going to die) except for the two who are holding Draco Malfoy.
I manage to duck a few spells and glance over my shoulder quickly to check on Rose and Scorpius.
And suddenly I realize what the visions were about.
Scorpius has his wand raised, yelling spells, shooting jets off in every direction while Rose is staring wide-eyed. After a moment she manages to steady herself and join the fray.
And the black hallway was the Department of Mysteries. Of course.
I breathe out a shuddering breath, flicking my wand and yelping, “Protego!” as a jet of electric green, obviously the killing curse, flies towards me. The spell bounces off and flies back to its original sender.
I try to fight my way over to my dad, hoping that somehow if I get over there I can free him—maybe manage to find a wand for him to use, or to at least just get him out of here.
I make it up to the platform, but then, through the crowd, I spot Zabini. He’s watching me, and his eyes tell me that he knows what I’m trying to do.
I take a daring step towards my dad, and Zabini doesn’t do anything, so I remove my gaze from his for just a second, blocking a spell shot by another death eater.
And then I hear Zabini’s voice, yelling above everyone else, “Aestas Inclinatus!”
I turn just in time to see the silver jet hit me. An electrifying pain shoots through me, and I reel backwards, feeling as if someone has just punched me in the stomach. My knees go weak and I sink to the ground, gasping. I lean over and vomit until nothing is left in my stomach and I’m left to just upheave air. Everything is fuzzy and spinning, and I feel so ridiculously dizzy that I might have to just lean over and vomit again. I can barely see straight, but I’m somehow able to catch a glimpse of Zabini stalking towards me, smirking, through the pain I’m feeling. I also manage to see Draco Malfoy break away from his two death eaters, yelling a curse that hits Zabini and makes him confused for a long moment.
Then everything goes black.
The first thing I feel is soft hands touching my forehead. “Albus?” A soft voice asks. “Al? Are you okay?”
My eyes flutter open, and I’m met with emerald. “D… Dad,” I whisper, trying to move, but everything is spinning again.
Dad touches my cheek gently, and I note that he managed to get his hands out of the ropes that were binding him, but now they’re red and raw, bleeding. I blink tiredly and dad murmurs, “Are you okay, Al?”
“I… I think so,” I say drowsily, my voice soft.
I turn my head just in time to see Zabini stalking towards us again, snarling angrily. Dad leans down quickly and picks up my wand, snapping his wrist, muttering, “Petrificus totalus.”
Zabini falls to the floor, struggling, his wand rolling away from him and right up to my feet. I lean down painfully and pick it up, wrapping my hand around its ridges. Dad takes it from me gently before jamming it in the keyhole on the chains around his feet, causing them to fall to the floor.
He folds my hand around my wand gently and then breathes, “Will you be okay if I go help everyone else?”
I nod, and say, “Dad.”
He turns back to look at me, his emerald eyes full of fire behind his glasses. “Yes?”
“I love you,” I whisper, leaning my head back against the floor softly.
Dad’s face softens and he whispers, “I love you too, Albus. Don’t ever forget that.”
“I won’t,” I promise, smiling slightly up at him.
He smiles and then takes off in the other direction. Through the crowd, I can see Scorpius, who’s fighting his way towards me.
I weakly block a spell shot at me, even though it hurts like hell to move, I somehow still manage.
Scorpius makes it to me in the next instant and shoots a few spells out before asking, “Are you okay, Al?”
“I think,” I breathe back but then ask, “Do you know what hit me?”
Scorpius squints for a moment and then says, “Zabini said Aestas Inclinatus, I think, but I’ve never heard of that before.”
I swallow. “That’s what I thought he said too.”
Scorpius flicks his wand, blocking a few more spells as I look him over. He looks tired, confused, and… Devastated.
“Scorpius?” I ask softly, grasping his hand tightly. “What’s wrong?”
He bites his lip. “Al…”
“What?” I demand.
His silver eyes fill with tears and finally he whispers softly, “My mum died.”
I feel my mouth fall open and my stomach drops. “Wha—when?” I breathe, swallowing hard.
He sniffles, trying not to cry, and tells me, “This morning. I—I went and visited her earlier.”
“Oh, Merlin…” I choke slightly and gasp, “Scorpius, I’m so sorry, I should have… I should’ve…”
“It’s okay,” he says softly, blinking away more tears. He forces a smile at me and says, “I’ll be okay. It’s just…”
“I wasn’t there,” I say to myself (practically rambling now), horrified. “I wasn’t there, and I…”
“Al,” he murmurs. “It’s not the end of the world.” After a moment he quickly changes topic, asking, “Do you think you can get up? We need to find a way out of here.”
“The tunnels?” I suggest as I move so I’m sitting on my knees, shifting, trying to figure out if I’m strong enough to stand.
Scorpius pauses to think about this, but then shakes his head. “No. Too obvious. They probably know how to collapse them, anyways.”
“Oh… Right,” I mutter, biting my lip. “Erm… maybe…” I pause for a moment, considering. “Is anyone else here? In the ministry? Maybe if we make a loud enough noise somebody will hear us.”
Scorpius’s eyes light up. “You’re brilliant.”
I smirk, shifting again. “Aren’t I the one who’s normally telling you that?”
“Yes,” he responds, smirking back at me. “But I make a snide comment. You don’t.”
I chuckle and hold my hand out, standing up uncomfortably, unsteadily.
Scorpius watches me carefully and then asks, “You alright?”
“I—I’m fine. Don’t worry about it.” After a short silence I glance around and ask, “So how do we make a racket? It’s got to be something really big.”
Scorpius bites his lip, but after a quick look around the room his eyes light up. “I got this,” he informs me. “Just cover my back.”
I nod and stand up quickly, ignoring my sudden rush of vertigo and roll my shoulders, wincing as that annoying pain shoots through me again. I screw my face up tightly and then let out a deep breath, swallowing.
After a moment I open my eyes and block a few hexes, aiming my wand in the general direction of all the chaos and say, “Expulso.”
I glance back at Scorpius just in time to catch him aim his wand at the ceiling (er… what?) and gasp, “Demitto.”
I hear a noise, a rattling, shaking like sound that reminds me of the tinkling of falling glass. I glance up, nervous, and suddenly, I see what Scorpius saw.
There’s a chandelier on the ceiling.
I don’t know what spell Scorpius cast, but the chandelier has begun to shake, shuddering as if it’s possessed. I glance at Scorpius just in time to see him mouth, “Duck.”
I hit the ground the second the chandelier unhinges from the ceiling and falls towards the ground, shattering, glass flying everywhere, almost as if it’s a waterfall.
I cover my head with my arms, wincing as glass shards fly at me, slicing my arms up. Hot, sticky blood drips slowly out of the cuts and I look up hesitantly, searching for Scorpius, Rose, and my dad.
Scorpius is still beside me. He glances up, and I note the long scratch, the blood dripping down his cheek. He gives me a slightly fearful look.
“Al,” a light voice gasps from behind me. I turn quickly to find Rose staring at me, blood dripping over her eye, a long bruise running across her face. Scorpius seems to instantly change as he spots her, glowering at her chaotic and bloody state.
“Who did that you to?” He growls unhappily. Rose raises an eyebrow at him.
“Well, the glass was you,” she informs him slowly, and he winces at that, sorrow flashing through his eyes, almost an apology. “The bruise was the death eater with the dreadlocks. He tried to leave and I tried to stop him…”
“And?” Scorpius asks, breathless, taking another step closer to her, his silver eyes simply staring into her blue ones as if that was all he would ever need out of the world. Just her. Just one moment with Rose.
I try to back away slightly. Private moment. Seriously, if they get any mushier I might gag.
“And…” Rose bites her lip. “He, erm, used the Cruciatus curse, and…”
Her voice trails off when she notices the look on Scorpius’s face. He looks absolutely livid.
I feel the same way too, but the man with the dreadlocks is nowhere in sight. I can’t do anything to make him pay for hurting Rosie.
Rose stumbles for words and says quickly, “Really, it didn’t hurt that much, he didn’t do it for long, it’s just I was thrashing, and—”
“Oh,” Scorpius sneers slightly, still angry, completely interrupting her. “Don’t give me that crap. I know how much it hurts. You don’t ever forget it.” For a moment his eyes fill with a haunted looking expression and he breathes, “It really is the most painful thing there is.”
He looks down at her, agony in his silver eyes, almost as if he’s wishing he could have taken her pain away. She stares back up at him, an unfathomable look of sorrow and—Merlin is that what I think it is?—love in her eyes.
I bite my lip as they stare at each other. I block another jet of light—one that nearly hits them and say, “Hate to interrupt, you two, but, um, there’s still a battle going on here.”
They both turn to look at me, and then turn red. I snicker slightly but cover it up with a cough. Rose blinks at me as Scorpius glares.
That’s when the doors burst open and the minister and a group of aurors burst through the doors. Their jaws drop at the sight they find before them.
Three teenagers not yet out of Hogwarts, standing side by side, looking exhausted, covered in blood and bruises. Draco Malfoy being pinned to the floor and tortured by a few death eaters (I wince and hope Scorpius doesn’t notice this) and the great Harry Potter, practically in rags, covered in blood and dirt, his glasses falling off his face, his hair disheveled and all over the place, and the glass, all over the floor, the broken chandelier laying on the ground.
The minister—Kingsley Shacklebolt—turns to look at Scorpius, Rose, and I, astonishment written all over his face as the aurors take off, fighting the rest of the death eaters.
“Hi,” is all I manage to say before I pass out again.
A/N: Chapter nineteen. We are officially one chapter away from the end of Gone. Oh, Merlin, I’m going to cry… *sniffle* no, no, not yet, I’ll be saving that for the next chapter…
Anyways, chapter twenty gives you a happy ending, blah, blah, blah, just read it and you’ll all be satisfied.
The sequel will be called Time, and its first chapter will be posted in just a few weeks. I’ll update Gone with a notice when I get it posted.
Anyhow, here’s the chapter twenty preview:
And then I can hear voices coming from the hallway. I glance towards the door, seeing Rose and Scorpius do the same in time to hear mum’s panicked voice, saying rather angrily, “My son is in there.” There’s another quiet voice, probably a healer, to whom mum responds with, “Go to hell.”
Gotta love Ginny.
I’ll get the last chapter (oh my gosh…) up as soon as possible.