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The Harder They Fall by victoria_anne
Chapter 11 : Immortal
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 6

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Unable are the loved to die. For love is immortality.
Emily Dickinson


There was a song Finn’s mother sang to him and Hero as children, and though he couldn’t remember the lyrics, he could still easily recall the haunting melodic tune of his mother’s voice. The song itself, though a nursery rhyme, was actually quite gruesome; a woman singing about the death of her lover. As Finn and Hero grew, he would sometimes hear her humming it to herself, and it would always make him gag. The thought of love usually did.

Nowadays, not so much.

Brindley occupied his every thought. Hers was the first face he looked for when walking into the Great Hall or entering a classroom he knew she would be in. They became secret glances in the classroom. Sharing a desk in the library where underneath the table one’s foot would rest against the other’s. Stolen kisses late at night. Conversations over bowls of ice cream in the kitchens from the house elves who adored Brindley. But as the days passed, her condition worsened. He began sneaking in to spend time with her in the hospital after visiting hours were over. The thought of her dying made his heart ache. He’d offered to pay for her treatment, but she’d said no. That there was no point. Always she thought there was no point.

This is why the song of his childhood had been replaying in his head during the past few days. He wondered, would love always end in a broken heart?

Never before had he felt as though maybe he wasn’t so immortal. That life was not perfect, that his family’s wealth and name couldn’t fix everything. That he had condemned an innocent girl to danger to save someone else. More than once he wondered if he should tell Brindley about everything, but he knew she would probably walk straight to Grindelwald herself. How she would say that she was going to die in the very near future anyway. Finn wanted to do something special for her. He needed to show her that she was safe with him, even if she had no idea she was in danger in the first place.

He was doing the right thing.


His family name might not have been able to fix everything, but it certainly had its advantages. All it took was an owl to one of his uncles, a Floo trip to his house, and a couple of broomsticks. His uncle worked in conservation of places of magical significance, and it was with his help and an temporary undetectable charm that Finn was able to take Brindley up to one of the mountains in Scotland.

It was freezing on the mountaintop, but at least there was no snow. It meant the tent he had borrowed from his uncle sat dry and flat where he had set it up. The sun provided a little warmth, but it would soon be gone. For now, it was enough to see the green forest stretched out below, and a tiny village in the distance.

“Where are we?” Brindley asked as she dismounted the broom.

“Buachaille Etive Mòr,” Finn said slowly, proud he remembered how to pronounce the words.

Brindley nodded. “Oh, of course.” She hugged her elbows as a shiver passed through her despite her stockings and grey knitted jumper. “Do we have permission to be up here?”

He wrapped his arms around her, and she rested her head against his shoulder with a small sigh. “My uncle organized it.”

“Being a Blishwick has its perks after all,” she said, poking him in the ribs.

“Like our good looks.”

“I heard that skips generations.”

He pulled back so that she could experience the full force of his unamused expression.

She snorted and patted his arm. “Not you, honey. You’re handsome.”

“I know.”

The back of her head rubbed against his shoulder as she looked left and right. “So what is this about? My birthday isn’t until August.”

“Well… It’s not Brocken Mountain,” he began apologetically. “There’s no spectre, it’s not April thirtieth, and there’s no demons - that I know of anyway. But there’s plenty of room for you to dance.”

Brindley didn’t say anything for a long time, looking out over the mountain. Her silence made Finn’s stomach twist into knots. She hated it, of course she hated it, why was he such a fool? When Brindley finally turned around to look at him, there were tears in her eyes. “You remembered,” she whispered.

His insides untwisted themselves. “Yeah,” he said softly. “How could I forget? You called me stupid for judging everything so early.”

She laughed. “It was true! You were arrogant and annoying.”

“And now?”

“Well, you’re not annoying anymore at least.”

Finn snorted, then sat himself down on a rock and lit a fire with his wand. He made a wide gesture with his arm. “This is all yours. Your chance to dance on top of a mountain.” He waved his wand at the radio, and an upbeat tune drifted out of it.

She grinned, then giggled, raised her arms and twirled. Her head was tilted back to face to sky, eyes closed, smile wide. With the sunset dancing orange on her skin and snow that was now beginning to fall softly in her hair, she was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. Brindley stopped, laughing breathlessly, and reached for his hand. “Dance with me.”

She didn’t give him a chance to refuse; she pulled him unceremoniously to his feet and dragged him into the open area. With his hands in hers, she spun them around until they were dizzy and laughing. He twirled her around a few times, arm over her head, and she even taught him a type of Muggle dance called swing. When the sun had disappeared under the mountain, he placed his hands on her waist and held her close. A slow song from the radio floated around them. Finn pulled her closer. They swayed on the spot, forehead resting on forehead, as if the two of them were normal teenagers.

As if they were the only two people in the world.

As if one of them wasn’t going to die soon.

“Are you happy?” he asked.

“Yes,” she sighed. “Are you?”

“Yes,” he whispered, and closed the space between them by pressing his lips to hers. She wrapped her hands around his neck, but after a few minutes, she was shivering; now that the sun was gone, the heat from the small fire wasn’t enough to warm them. With an arm under her knees, he lifted her into his arms - to which she let out a whoop of delight - and carried her into the tent. They collapsed awkwardly into the small space, twisting until they both fit. There was a rock jutting out on one side; Finn could feel it digging into his ribs. None of it mattered, though; he moved to hover over her, and they were kissing again. Her fingers ran through his hair, the touch of every fingertip like a spark from the fire. His hands gripped her waist, pushing her shirt up just enough to feel the smooth skin of her stomach. She was trembling under his hands; it sent a thrill through him. He pulled her upright and onto his lap, her legs on either side of his hips. He nuzzled his face against her neck, the smell of cinnamon and her medicine - the smell of her - was enough to send a dizzying wave of want over him. Her breath came out in a sigh that vibrated against his lips where they were pressed to her throat.


It wasn’t cold anymore.

He moved his mouth up to hers, hyper-aware of every inch where their skin touched. They were both breathing fast, the sound of it filling the tent, almost drowning out the melancholy music that was still playing outside. Her skirt had lifted slightly when she straddled his hips, and he let his fingers trail up and down the skin of her thighs, pleased when she shuddered. Her hands were doing some exploring of their own; they slipped under his shirt to dance lightly across his chest until he pulled it off, throwing it into the corner. Taking hold of the edge of her shirt, he paused, raising his eyes to search her face. Brindley placed her hands over Finn’s, helping him lift it. Her shirt came off, discarded into the corner of the tent just as his was, and she bent to kiss his neck, rocking her hips back and forth slowly across his lap until he groaned. As if this were a sign she’d been waiting for, she started to eagerly unbuckle his belt. They'd never gone this far before, and he pulled back. “Wait, Brindley -”

“What is it?” she asked breathlessly, her voice so hoarse it made him want to wince. “Don’t you want me?”

Finn tightened his grip on her waist. “Of course I do! I want this - I want you - more than anything.” He swallowed. “It’s just… Are you sure? What about your breathing?”

Her fingers curled around the hair at the nape of his neck, bringing his face closer until their foreheads touched. “I am not going to break, Finn.”

With a heavy exhale, he eased her back down, propping himself up on one elbow to gaze at her bare skin. Freckles did dot her stomach - he’d wondered. She stretched her arms behind her back, wiggling a little bit, until the clasp of her brassiere came free, and that too was thrown away. His breath caught in his throat.

“You’re beautiful,” he said.

She ran her hands up his arms and whispered, “So are you.”

He bent to kiss her collarbone when a small, shiny patch of skin caught his eye. He laughed softly.

She immediately pulled back. “What? What is it?”

“This.” He touched the mark.

“It’s a scar,” she said defensively.

“It’s not that,” he said. “It’s shaped like a perthro rune.”

She snorted. “Trust you to notice that.”

He traced it slowly, making her shiver. He lowered his voice. “It means chance, fate. Knowledge that is hidden.”

She quirked an eyebrow. “I always knew I was mysterious.”

He maneuvered to show her the birthmark on his hip. “I have one, too.”

She touched it gently with a fingertip. “And what does it mean?”

Finn looked down at it himself, and entwined her fingers with his. “Strength,” he said quietly. “But sometimes I…” He broke off, swallowing.

“You are strong, Finn.”

He hovered over again and placed a gentle finger on the bruises that dotted her ribs almost as much as the freckles did. Another finger gently touched her chest, where her lungs made her breathing raspy. He hated that there was nothing he could do about the curse; that her pain was on the inside, and nothing he could physically touch.

“For now,” he said.

“For always. I know there’s been something on your mind lately; I see it in your face. You don’t have to tell me anything you don’t want to,” she added as he quickly pulled back. “I know you're scared, Finn, but you're stronger than you know.”

He met her eyes, and knew in that moment that he was doing the right thing in keeping her safe. That he would never do anything to hurt her. When he voiced this last thought aloud, her small hands came down from his shoulders to cover his. “I know,” she whispered, and brought his hands to her breasts. He closed his eyes, a groan sounding in the back of his throat. Her skin was soft, nipples hard against his palms. When she arched her back so that the bare skin of their stomachs touched, he came undone, leaning in to kiss her, hot and wet, hands cupping her breasts. He let her remove his belt, and his trousers, until there was nothing between them but his shorts and her panties, and it wasn't long before those were gone too. Her legs wrapped around his waist; he could feel her. It was nothing but skin on skin, nothing but him and her.

“Stay with me, Finn,” she whispered.


This time, he wasn’t gone by morning.


They were back at Hogwarts before the sun had risen. Despite spending the entire night on the mountain, neither of them had gotten much sleep. But after parting kisses in front of the fireplace in Slughorn’s office, Finn found he wasn’t tired once he reached his dormitory, after all. He had no desire to stay among the softly snoring boys, so Finn grabbed a coat before he headed outside.

It was early, but not so early that the castle wasn’t beginning to rouse. The front door was unlocked to allow the Ravenclaw Quidditch team access to the pitch for practice. Finn slipped out after them, veering in the opposite direction from the little cluster of blue. He followed the castle as it curved around, and soon the loud laughing and talking of the Ravenclaws disappeared, and the grounds were quiet and still. He fidgeted as he walked, something not right. Finn glanced down at his sleeves and realised he’d grabbed Tom’s coat. Though one or two sizes larger, it was warm, and that was what mattered. He continued making his way down to the small garden tucked away on one side of the castle, his shoes squeaking on the dew-covered grass.

The flowers in the little garden that was his destination were still asleep; their normally bright faces and perky leaves were closed and drooping, and some of them were even snoring. Finn paid them no mind; his eyes fixed on the two identical small stone plaques nestled in the garden. The one on the left read Myrtle Warren.

He shoved his hands into the pockets of Tom’s coat as he stared numbly down, and something cold touched his fingers. Frowning, he pulled it out. It was the ring Tom wore most days; gold with a little black stone set into it. Finn hadn’t known Tom to ever take it off. He returned his hand to the pocket, turning the ring over idly in his fingers. He closed his eyes, but the name on the other stone plaque was still etched behind his eyelids.

Hero Blishwick.

In this darkness, Finn could recall her face clearly. Her short honey blonde hair. Her eyes so similar to his own. Even her voice -

“Hey, twin.”

Finn’s eyes flew open. Standing before him was Hero, a playful grin on her face, wearing the clothes she had died in; a white dress that made her look royal, even angelic. She was more solid than a ghost, but her edges flickered like she was a mirage, a dream. She might as well have been.

Finn swallowed. “Hey, twin.” The words slipped out despite his shock, hoarse and automatic. His bottom lip trembled. Some small part of him was horrified that tears jumped straight to his eyes, threatening to fall without his permission. The larger part didn’t care at all. The ghost - or whatever she was - of his sister was here.

“You’ve grown,” she said, running her eyes over him.

He glanced down at himself, then back at her. It was true; where they once stood eye-to-eye, Finn was now tilting his head down to look at her. It didn’t seem fair that life was still moving around him but it had stopped for her.

“And so handsome,” she added.

Finn let out a breath of noise halfway between a laugh and a sob. “You didn’t think I was handsome before?”

The corner of her mouth quirked. “Of course I did.”

He took the hand not holding the ring out of the pocket and lifted it as if to touch her, but stopped just short of her arm, letting it fall again. She watched the hand longingly, then looked up at him sadly.

“Why are you here?” he whispered.

Hero glanced up at the castle, then down at her plaque in the garden. She was silent, almost contemplative. Finn couldn’t take his eyes off her. It felt as if he were in a dream, for dreams were the only place he saw her now. “I don’t know,” she finally said. Her voice wavered slightly, ethereal. “I don’t… I don’t remember much.”

Finn gripped the ring in his sweating palm. In the eighteen months since she’d died, he’d thought of a million things to say to her. A new spell he’d learned, a joke she would have liked, how good Sebastian was getting on his flute. Brindley. But now that his chance was here, he couldn’t think of any of them.

So he said, “I miss you.”

Hero smiled. A cold breath of wind made him shiver, but not a hair on her head moved. “I miss you, too.” Then something like comprehension crossed her face, and she looked up suddenly, her eyes wide. “Finn,” she said urgently. “Don’t trust Tom. He -”

“Hey, Finn.”

He jumped, letting go of the ring as he pulled both hands from his pocket. He turned around to see Brindley walking toward him, still in her clothes from last night. When he turned back, Hero was gone. Was she ever there, or had he imagined the whole thing?

Brindley was right behind him now, and she wrapped her arms around him. “Couldn’t sleep either, huh? Are you okay?”

“I, uh -” His mouth was dry.


He swallowed, voice husky as he said, “I'm fine.”

She came around to stand in front of him, but not before she noticed where they were. Her face softened as she returned her gaze from the plaques to him. “Are you sure you’re all right?”

Finn could only open and close his mouth silently, but he was saved by answering when she placed her head against his chest and slipped her hands into the pockets of his coat for warmth. He rested his cheek against her hair, unable to take his eyes from the spot Hero had stood just moments before.

“What’s this?” Brindley withdrew her hands from the pockets of the coat. She was holding the ring.

“It’s Tom’s,” he said. “This is actually his coat. I grabbed it by accident.”

Brindley squinted at the little black stone. “Look, it has a rune on it. Do you know what it means?”

Finn took the ring from her and peered at the stone. It did indeed have a rune etched into its black surface; triangular with a circle in the middle and a line crossed through it. Ancient and familiar.

The symbol of the Besmurten.

Finn’s blood turned cold. Had Grindelwald given Tom this ring? No, that couldn't be right. Tom didn't accept things that were given to him; he took what he wanted. Besides, Tom had the ring long before they'd met Grindelwald. Hero’s words echoed back to him.

Don’t trust Tom.

Well, after recent events, he knew that much for himself. But what had she been about to say? What did Hero know?

Brindley ran her fingers across his jawline, and he was dimly aware of the rasp from his stubble. “Finn, you’re really pale. Let’s go inside, you need sleep.”

He let her pull him back toward the castle. Brindley was chatting away, but he hardly heard her. His mind was a blur of thoughts, whirling around to the point he felt dizzy and sick. Brindley’s voice and the castle grounds fell away as he rearranged all the information he had on Tom. Was it him behind everything after all, and not Abraxas?

Don’t trust Tom.

But it wouldn’t have been Tom who went through his things months ago. If Tom wanted something from Finn, he demanded it of him. Tom wouldn’t know about the Muggle movie. He would have mentioned it to Finn by now. And Tom definitely wouldn’t have been involved with Dumbledore finding out about the coup. As far as Finn knew, Tom and Hero’s relationship had been nothing out of the ordinary, so Finn was at a loss for what Hero tried to say to him just now. Finn felt as though something bigger was at work here, something he was missing. Although it was an obvious, at least he knew one thing for certain.

Don’t trust Tom.


The last week of February passed in a blur of classes. Finn was sleeping early and waking late, but always he was tired. Over and over, he replayed his last meeting with Hero, and when he wasn’t thinking of her, he was thinking of Brindley. The two most important girls in his life. One he had already lost. The other was only a matter of time. Sometimes, when Saffron was out at a movie with the other Muggleborns, Brindley would sneak him into the Hufflepuff common room where they could be alone. He relished in those nights where he could have Brindley under his hands, covering every inch of her skin with kisses. Warm, safe, alive, his.

On Thursday, Finn walked into the dormitory straight after dinner. He was looking forward to it being empty, since there was a duelling club meeting on. Finn couldn’t bring himself to go down; his bed was all he wanted. He’d heard Sebastian was now at the top of the class. For the past few weeks Finn had been trying to spend time with his younger cousin, but Sebastian was always busy with a project he was working on. As it turned out, it wasn’t just Finn he was avoiding; Briony had approached Finn earlier, worried about Sebastian. Finn didn’t think there was too much cause. Maybe, despite his dueling skills, he was still being bullied, and Finn made a mental note to curse the little pricks later.

To his dismay, the dormitory was not empty. Tom was on his bed, propped up straight-backed against a pillow. Seeing him brought a wave of emotion over Finn. That ring somehow played a part in Hero’s appearance. Finn was sure of it. He had to be sure of it because it gave him the chance of seeing Hero again. Finn wanted to know what she knew. He wanted - he had - to see her again. He ached with the wanting. Tom must have put some kind of spell on it through the rune, or bought it from somewhere. Did it raise ghosts? Did he want to see his parents?

Runes held power, and though Finn knew a lot about runes, there were still some things that were a mystery to him. Since he always associated that particular one with Grindelwald, he never really thought to look any further into it. Obviously it had to mean more, and held powers of its own.

Tom completely ignored him as Finn crossed the room; he didn’t look up from the small black journal he was writing in with slow, determined quill strokes. Finn sat down on his own bed, taking off his shoes. Suddenly, he wasn't so tired anymore. He bit his lip as he deliberated his next words. He had to say them. He had to know.

“Can I… can I borrow that ring?”

Tom didn't look up from his writing. “What ring?”

Finn closed his eyes briefly. He should have known this wasn't going to be easy. “The ring you've been wearing recently. The one with the black stone.”

Tom finally looked up, his eyes narrowed. “Why?”

“Because I think it will go with my outfit.”

Tom blinked at him.

Finn sighed. “I know what it can do.”

“I don't know what you're talking about.”

“I think you do.”

Tom snapped the book shut. “I don't have it. It's serving a greater purpose now.”

Finn was silent for a moment, wondering what this meant. He concentrated on his tie as he slowly undid it, his heart sinking as hope left him. “Where did you get it?”

“I told you. The previous owner no longer had need of it.”

There was something new in Tom’s eyes now. They were feverish, bright; whatever memory he was recalling made him excited. Finn had a feeling there was something Tom was bursting to share, but Finn would have to ask. Tom never turned down an opportunity to share his achievements. So even though Finn knew he’d regret it, he said, “Whose was it?”

Tom was silent for a moment, stroking the finger on which he used to wear the ring as if it were still there. Quietly, he said, “My uncle’s.”

Finn had not been expecting this answer, and his breath audibly hitched in his throat. “You found him? How?”

There had been a time last year that Tom had been searching for his parents, but Finn had quite forgotten all about it. Despite Tom’s efforts proving futile, Finn should have known he wouldn’t give up that easily.

Tom nodded shortly. “In Little Hangleton.”

Finn’s stomach lurched; he lived in Great Hangleton. How strange it was to think that Tom’s family - unknown for his entire life - had been down the road from Finn the whole time.

Morfin.” Tom spat the word as if it were a bad taste in his mouth. “He told me where to find them, in a big house on a hill, forcing everyone to look up to them. I had to be rid of them, those filthy Muggles, and I am. I am.” He exhaled as if in relief.

Finn’s throat was dry. If Tom was saying what Finn thought he was saying, Tom was dangerous. Truly dangerous. A murderer. Tom was relentless. He would find Brindley, especially after it became clear Alenya Hills would not help Grindelwald find the Invisibility Cloak. Finn couldn’t let Tom win. He needed to keep him away from Brindley.

And he knew just how to do it.


A/N: As always, Julie beta'd this chapter because she is wonderful and lovely and generous ♥

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