“Thank Merlin,” Harry sighs as he unclenches his fist. I wonder who he has called back from the dead. Long ago, James showed me pictures of Harry’s family and friends. He could summon heaps of them from the dead, pulling himself back to those who loved him. I could barely handle my grandfather whom I had never met. “He is alive…” The relief behind his voice causes my stomach to clench uncomfortably as a vice tightens around my lungs.
“I know,” I tell him quietly. I’ve taken the basket of apples from him and have put in a few more. Harry staggers forward, and I grab him by the arm and lead him to a stone bench a few steps away from the apple trees. We sit down together with our backs to the house. Harry’s trembling shakes the bench a little bit.
“Where did you get this?” Harry asks.
“By owl post. Someone sent it to me.”
“Do you know who? Or do you remember the owl?”
“I have a few ideas of who could have sent it to me, though I can’t be certain who. No idea how they found it, though. And the owl evaporated in a puff of smoke…”
“Who do you think sent it to you?”
“My mother,” I answer bitterly. “Or Cassius Vaisey.”
Harry ponders silently for a moment. The dawn birds begin to chirp in one of the few remaining summer sunrises. The dew on the grass has soaked through my trainers. “A warning then,” Harry says.
Chills run down my spine. Finally, the words are spoken aloud. Crossing my arms, I stare into the distance at the brightening sky. “He’s still out there…” My voice fades away.
“The search for him hasn’t stopped,” Harry informs me, but I’m fairly certain he has said this to reassure himself, too.
“The Stone will help,” I say quietly. “To check to see if he’s… he’s still alive.”
“Amelia…” Harry trails off. He rubs the scar on his forehead. “Look, I won’t pretend that you know nothing about the Hallows. Whatever you and… and James discovered while at Hogwarts, well, that’s a part of you now.” He shifts towards me. “But be reminded of this. The Hallows are deadly. Promise me you won’t go looking for the others.”
An exasperated laugh escapes my lips. “You don’t have to tell me twice,” I say.
“Okay, okay. I promise that I won’t go looking for the other Hallows.” My eyes find his. It’s all that I can do to not shy away from the sheer amount of seriousness behind his gaze. I get the sense that he doesn’t fully believe me, and I don’t blame him.
“Good. Now, you’re a smart witch. I’m sure you know that I’ll have to take the Resurrection Stone into my custody,” Harry continues.
“As Head Auror or as James’ parent?”
His lips tug into a small smile as he shakes his head a bit. “You’d’ve made a pretty good Auror,” he says. “But to answer your question, this is for the Ministry.”
“Ah, okay then,” I say slowly. “I suppose that’s for the best…” Closing my eyes, I sigh. “I hope it’s useful to you in your search for James, as an Auror and as his father.”
I can feel Harry stand up next to me. I reopen my eyes in time to see him discreetly put the Stone into his pocket. “Thank you, Amelia.” I take the basket and stand up, facing him. He takes off his glasses and rubs the dust off of them with the inside of his cloak. “If you have any more information, I’ll make sure you can tell me directly,” he says.
“Oh, um… that’s good to know,” I reply awkwardly. I wasn’t expecting this.
“You know…” Harry begins. He puts his hands in his pockets and rocks on his feet for a moment. “You know, speaking as his father, I can see now how much James meant to you. Means to you.” He pauses. “And I know how much you meant to James.”
“Let’s go back inside,” I say suddenly, turning away from him and walking across the garden. I can feel Harry’s stare in the back of my neck, and I hear him follow me after a few strides. My lips tremble, and I try to steady them before I reach the others.
“Sir? Any news we can use?” Barrett asks impatiently when we reenter the house. Uncle Michael and Aunt Susan stand at both of my sides.
Harry waves off her advances. “Amelia’s told me everything that I need to know,” he answers firmly. “And we’ll leave it at that for now.”
Auror Barrett scoffs as Auror Peakes stands.
“C’mon. Let’s go. We need to get your leg properly looked after, Peakes,” Harry says. When the Aurors reach the front door, Harry turns to my aunt and uncle. “Thank you for your hospitality at such an early hour. I’m sorry we had to intrude like this.”
“It’s perfectly fine,” Aunt Susan says as she rests her hand on my shoulders. “I’m glad you were able to speak to Amelia.”
“I am, too. Keep an eye on each other. There are dangerous wizards out there,” Harry says as the three Aurors step outside onto the front porch.
“We will,” Uncle Michael assures them.
Harry looks at me. “Remember what we agreed on, Amelia.” Auror Barrett fumes in the background, glaring at me.
I nod. “Of course.”
Harry nods back in grim affirmation at me as Uncle Michael closes the door. “I suppose you won’t tell us what’s happened?” he asks.
“I can’t,” I tell him.
“Really, Amelia,” scoffs Aunt Susan. I break away from her and take refuge on the staircase. “We’re on your side.”
“I know you are.” I begin to make my way up the stairs. My eyes are itchy from little sleep, and my body aches from the weight of everything.
“You can trust us, Amelia,” Aunt Susan pleads.
I linger for a moment on the steps. “I trusted James. Look how that turned out.” Without another word or glance, I retreat in my bedroom, wishing for sleep but knowing that it won’t come.
I had read through James’ book three times when we finally caught up. I was, as per usual, sitting at my favorite spot in the library. This study table happened to be near the Restricted Section, so not many people wandered over here. Also, there was a window looking over the Forbidden Forest. Sometimes, I liked to watch the trees move in the wind or a flock of birds erupt into the air from the canopy.
“I didn’t see you at dinner,” James said as a greeting.
I had been watching the darkening sky and hadn’t noticed him. “Hi,” I breathed, willing my heartbeat to slow down. I suspected that the fright at his sudden appearance wasn’t the only reason behind my heart’s fast tempo. “I had a late lunch. Wasn’t hungry.”
To be honest, I had been in the library, combing over James’ book one last time, trying to make sense of it all.
“Ah, I see.” James pulled out the chair next to me, which didn’t help my beating heart. Normally, he sat across from me. “Well, you read the book then.”
I cleared my throat. “Yes. It was like stepping back into my childhood, but there are some parts that I don’t understand.”
James looked around to see if anyone was nearby. He leaned towards me and answered in a low voice, “How much do you know about the Second Wizarding War?”
“I’ve read some books--”
“Of course you have.”
“And I’ve heard my aunt and uncle and their friends talk about it. They were in Dumbledore’s Army and fought in the Battle of Hogwarts.” I turned to the page in James’ book where the symbol of my grandfather’s pendant appeared. “But I don’t really understand how that connects to this story.”
“‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’,” James murmured, leaning over so he could see the page. His finger traced the outline of the symbol. He sighed. “How much do you know about Voldemort and my father?”
“The whole wizarding world knows about that,” I said. “Harry Potter was the Chosen One, able to defeat Lord Voldemort in the very end.”
James slowly nodded. His brown eyes stared into mine, and I could sense his discomfort and hesitancy. “Part of the reason why my dad could defeat Voldemort is because of this story, the supposed origins of the Deathly Hallows.”
“Deathly Hallows?” I asked, scrunching my nose. I glanced down at the book again.
“Yeah,” James confirmed. “Take a look at this symbol, the one on your pendant and in this book. You have the Elder Wand, the most powerful wand in the world, the Resurrection Stone, able to summon the dead, and the Invisibility Cloak, to wander around unseen, supposedly hiding from Death.”
“How has this to do with Voldemort and Harry Potter?”
“Isn’t it obvious?”
I glared at James. He leaned back in surprise at my intense annoyance. “Sorry,” he said. “I meant that the Hallows are connected to my dad’s victory… like how the Elder Wand was used.”
“What?” I was incredulous. “Are you saying that these...Hallows...exist?”
James studied me for a moment. “Are you saying that they don’t?”
“I-I… I don’t know,” I confessed, shaking my head. “Sure, the wand can be real, and even the cloak, too, but Invisibility Cloaks fade with time, don’t they? And the Resurrection Stone… summoning the dead? I have a hard time buying that…”
James pondered for a moment, but I couldn’t tell what he was thinking. My stomach twisted and turned at his close proximity, but I couldn’t tell if it was because of my hormones or this new information. “Well, the Elder Wand exists, anyway. It helped my dad defeat Voldemort, who searched for the wand. He killed for it.”
I swallowed, though my mouth had gone dry. “Okay, so the wand probably exists…”
“It does,” James said firmly. Then he hesitated. “Amelia… you said that your grandfather’s pendant is a family thing… Do you think that it’s possible that…?”
“That what?” I demanded, leaning towards him.
James furrowed his brow in a concerned sadness. “That your family are… or were… Death Eaters?”
“No,” I said flatly. “I was named after my cousin, Amelia Bones, who was murdered by Lord Voldemort. My own grandfather was killed by him, and my mum--” I stopped, blanching. I looked out the window. Most of the colors of dusk were not swallowed by darkness.
“Your mum what?” James prompted quietly. When I didn’t answer him, he put his hand gently on my shoulder. As light as his touch was, it was one of the heaviest things I ever felt. I faced him again.
“She works out of the country, as you know,” I explained. A wave of horror washed over me. I couldn’t sit any longer. I pushed James’s hand away and stood.
The room was slanting. I staggered over to the window and opened it a crack to let the evening breeze rush in. I leaned my forehead against the cool, stone wall of the library and drank the fresh air.
“Amelia, are you all right?” James asked concernedly. I heard him come near the window.
“You’ve gotten me this far,” I began slowly, closing my eyes and focusing on the cooling sensation of the stone wall. “What I’m about to tell you, you have to promise not to tell anyone.”
“What? Amelia, what’s going--?”
“Promise me,” I snapped. I looked over at him with such ferocity that he took a step back.
“I promise I won’t tell,” he breathed. I nodded and leaned my back against the wall. I swept my dark hair to the side to let the evening breeze touch my neck.
“Good… Okay. My mum was here last November, right before the detention we had together. That’s kind of why I got into trouble in the first place. It was the first time I saw her since turning eleven, and her visit rattled me, put me on edge…”
“Okay.” I could tell that James was still confused.
“It wasn’t just the shock of her visit. It’s what she told me… and what she didn’t tell.” I glanced around to see if anyone else was nearby, like James had done earlier, and they, thankfully, weren’t. I drew out my grandfather’s pendant, which was the symbol for the Deathly Hallows. “She gave me this, explaining that it belonged to my grandfather, that this and what it stood for… runs in the family. But she didn’t say anything about what it means.”
James stared the pendant for a moment before locking eyes with me. “D’you reckon that it could be linked to the Death Eaters?”
I shrugged. “I don’t know. It could be… but what my mum said implies that this stems further back in my family than the time of Voldemort.” I put the pendant back underneath my shirt.
“Maybe your grandfather wasn’t part of it. Maybe your mum was.”
I thought of The Cause, tempted to tell James. But I didn’t know what it was. Maybe The Cause was about Death Eaters and blood purity and Voldemort… but how did these so-called Hallows connect to that?
“I think,” I said as a closed the window, “I need to do more research.” I brushed past James and went back to the study table. The book, Tales of Beedle the Bard, was still open to the story with the Hallows.
“We need to do more research,” James corrected as he joined me.
“Why?” I asked him. “Why do you want to help me?”
For the first time that night, James smiled. “Don’t you remember? I love adventures, though I suspect that you’ll have us read a load of books...”
“But it doesn’t bode well, especially for the son of Harry Potter--”
“Look. You’re clearly upset about this. You could use another mind,” James interrupted. “I’m personally curious to know what this is about. It’s part of my dad’s story that has always been kinda vague to me, too. So, will you let me join you?”
I stared at him for a moment, unsure of what to say. The possibilities of how this could go wrong swirled around my mind. My heart began to race as I nodded. “Okay then.”
“Brilliant. I’ll finish the reflection on our Ancient Egyptian Runes project, so you can start looking for more information on the Hallows,” James said. His tone became more excited as he went on. I envied his enthusiasm, and it must have shown on my face because James asked, “Amelia, are you okay?”
“What? Yeah. I’m… well, I will be fine,” I said. I looked down at the story again, frowning.
“You will be,” James said confidently. “I’m sure of it. The grand mystery of the Hallows!”
“Yeah,” I said bitterly, “And why my mum abandoned me to chase a fairytale.” My thoughts spiraled to the darker depths of my mind as James watched me, uncertain of what to do. Then, my stomach rumbled.
“C’mon,” James said as he lifted his bag onto his shoulder. “I can tell you’re hungry. Let’s stop for tonight and get something from the kitchens before curfew.”
I gathered my things and joined his stride. “Before curfew? This is new.”
James chuckled. “I can’t be an outlaw all of the time.”
“I can’t tell you how good it feels to have a bath,” sighs Hannah Longbottom contently as she emerges from the bathroom in her and Neville’s flat above the Leaky Cauldron. Her hair is in an elegant knot, and she’s wearing flowing blue dress robes. “Honestly, the small things in life are taken for granted.”
“Are they really?” I muse as I bounce baby Frankie, her four-month-old son. I have just given him a bottle and am getting him ready for sleep.
“Yes. And I truly enjoyed the glass of oak matured mead. Thank you, honey,” Hannah says as she places a kiss onto Neville’s forehead. He smiles up at her from the sofa.
“Anything for you, dear,” he beams.
Frankie coos in what seems like agreement before belching. We laugh as I wipe away some of his spit up from his chin. I’m here tonight as a babysitter, though Neville and Hannah haven’t left yet. Part of it is to get me out of the house (at Aunt Susan’s insistence) and the other part is to allow Neville and Hannah a peaceful evening out by giving me baby duty.
“He’s gotten so big,” I say as he looks up at me and grabs my hair.
“And he’s growing,” Neville agrees as he picks up a copy of The Evening Prophet. “Blimey, they’re really starting to mess things up again.” He frowns.
Hannah cranes her neck, glancing down at the article from behind him. “So much for a restful evening,” she says darkly, “if you read that.”
“I have to. Minerva wants to have a meeting tomorrow to talk about how to handle the updates in the attacks with the students,” Neville responds.
“Oh, yeah, you mean the one at The Quibbler and that village?” I ask as rock Frankie.
Neville looks knowingly over a me. “Yes, those ones. Susan and Michael that you were questioned about them.”
A blush works its way up my cheeks as Neville stands and walks over to me, handing me the newspaper.
“Amelia, Hannah and I know that you had nothing to do with these attacks. Just know that you can tell us anything, just like you can tell Susan and Michael,” he says gently. I avoid his gaze, cursing Aunt Susan for pressuring him to say something like this to me. I just know that she’s done it.
“I know, Neville. Thank you,” I say, more out of courtesy than anything else.
“We best be off,” Hannah says as she comes over to kiss Frankie goodnight. “Good-bye Frankie. Mum and Dad will be back soon.”
Frankie looks up at her, sucking his fist. Neville kisses his son, too.
“Goodnight, Frank,” he says. “Amelia, please help yourself to anything in the kitchen when he finally falls asleep.”
“Will do. Have fun you two!” I say as the happy couple leaves on their date.
After they’ve gone, I read the article in The Evening Prophet. Not much has changed since the article this morning.
ONE NIGHT, TWO ATTACKS: NEOWALDS ARE AT IT AGAIN
Some witches and wizards enjoy turning to the pages of The Quibbler for an independent news source, but will they be able to get this month’s edition? Last night, the headquarters of the beloved wizarding magazine was ransacked and burned, leaving very little left behind. Witness and editor-in-chief, Luna Scamander, says, “I was able to get myself out of the building before it collapsed. I saw the wizards in their green robes, attacking the building.”
When asked about the future of The Quibbler, Mrs. Scamander says, “While the building for The Quibbler has been destroyed, the spirit has been left undamaged. The true headquarters for the magazine lies in the hearts and minds of its readers. As long as you have them, you have The Quibbler.”
The Quibbler, in addition to being an independent news source, reports the speculations of the movements of the wizards in green robes, the NeoWalds. Was this a chance attack? The second one suggests otherwise.
A small Muggle village in Kent was attacked the same night. No one was killed, but a statue, in memorial for World War II (what Muggles call the war from 1939-1945), was destroyed. The Ministry today has taken steps to modify the memories of the Muggle witnesses and to lend support to a community who lost their prized memorial. The statue in question represented the end of the War, but Ministry officials can only suspect that the NeoWalds wanted to destroy it as it was connected to the downfall of Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, who was defeated by esteemed Hogwarts Headmaster, the late Albus Dumbledore.
Where will the NeoWalds strike next? Will there be any casualties? More to follow as further information makes itself available. The Auror Office will be available for comment tomorrow morning.
So there it is. The NeoWalds. The NeoGrindelwalds. Still causing destruction. Still thriving. I continue to wonder if my mother was present at one of the attacks.
It was only a matter of time before there would be the next one.
Frankie sirs in my arms but has fallen asleep. Carefully, I carry him into his crib, wrapping him in a soft blanket. I stare down at him for a few moments, relishing in his sereness. He would wake up tomorrow and have no idea about what is happening outside of his home.
“Sweet dreams,” I whisper before returning to the living room. I cast The Evening Prophet to the side and pick up one of Neville’s many books on Herbology.
I wonder what’s going to happen next, what Harry is doing with the Stone, what James is doing while, I presume, in captivity, who even sent me the Stone.
Well, Harry has it now. What could the sender want me to do next? Surely not go after the other Hallows. But maybe they want me to, maybe they want me to do the dirty work for them. But Harry made me promise otherwise.
Of course I could promise Harry that I wouldn’t go looking for the other Hallows. I already know where they are.
A/N: Anything you recognize is JKR's.
This quick update is due from a sudden stroke of inspiration! I am so looking forward to writing the next few installments. :)
Thank you to those who reviewed. If you haven't yet reviewed, please jot down a thought or two on the story, your predictions, your reactions, etc. I would love to hear from you! :)
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