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Over the next couple of weeks, I comb over the newspapers for any mention of Cassius Vaisey. The only things that comes close are mentions of the NeoGrindelwalds and how the wizarding community should protect themselves for fear of attack. Vaisey’s name isn’t even mentioned, which means that he’s still out there, lurking, unnoticed…

I wave goodbye to Hannah, who has just given me a cup of coffee before my shift at Ollivander’s, where I have been working part-time since my short-lived career at the Ministry.

It’s still rather early for Diagon Alley, and the cobblestoned street is scarcely populated by witches, wizards, and even a few goblins. The autumn chill is finally lingering past sunrise, and I watch my frozen breath dissolve in front of me as I tread past the opening shops.

When I enter Ollivander’s shop, the old wizard isn’t at the counter like he normally is.

“Good morning, Mr. Ollivander!” I call, closing the door behind me. Silence greets me. “Mr. Ollivander?”

A muffled noise comes from the back workroom. I throw my scarf and traveling cloak onto the floor and rush inside.

“Mr. Olliva--? Oh my God.” I rush over to a crumpled heap in the corner.

Mr. Ollivander lies at an awkward angle on the floor. He cranes his head slightly to look tearfully up at me. His lips form words, but it takes him a moment to make sound.

“W-water.” His voice cracks. He raises a trembling hand points to a pitcher on the counter.

I dash over, looking for a cup. I finally find a dusty goblet and wipe it clean before filling it.

“Drink only a little bit at a time,” I say tenderly, as I lift his head gently towards the rim. A rancid smell fills my nostrils. He has soiled himself. “How long have you been here?”

He coughs before answering weakly, “Since an hour after you left yesterday… Cut my hand making a new wand… went over here to get some bandages… fell… ”

I examine his injured hand. The cut doesn’t look too deep, but it hasn’t been properly cleaned. A piece of his shirt has been ripped off as a makeshift bandage. Dried blood is splattered across his body. “We need to get you off the floor. Can you move?”

He shook his head, wincing in pain. “I think I… broke my hip.”

“Right,” I breathe. “Let me get some help--”

“No!” he croaks as tears stain his cheeks. “They’ll take me away… take me away from my shop…”

“But I can’t move you by myself… and I’m not using magic, not with a broken hip,” I tell him sternly. “I have a friend who’s learning to be a healer. Let me get her. She might be able to come without drawing the notice of official healers.”

He stares at me for a moment, breathing shallowly. “Not like I have much of a choice,” he moans, closing his eyes as more tears come. At a loss of what to say, I squeeze his hand to show my support.

“Thanks for getting us,” Victoria says a little while later as she emerges to the front of the shop. She rests her medical kit on the counter.

“How’s he doing?” I ask, looking up from the accounting books. Not much needs to be done here, especially since the summer rush is over, but I need to keep myself busy.

“Gaius is feeding Mr. Ollivander some broth. We’ve cleaned him up nicely, he’s taken some Skelegrow, and he’s resting in the bed we brought downstairs from the apartment.” Victoria hesitates, biting her lip. “Amelia… it’s a good thing you came in when you did. I don’t know what would have happened if you didn’t.”

A chill runs down my spine. “What’s going to happen to him?” I wonder, though I dread the answer.

Victoria sighs, running a hand through her raven hair. “Not sure. We need to contact his next of kin. He’s too fragile to be living by himself for much longer.”

“I don’t know how well that’s going to work. I get the impression that he’s a little estranged from his family,” I tell her glumly. My fingers rap gently on the counter as I try to recall family members of the old wandmaker. “But I think he has a grandson who wouldn’t mind helping.”

Gaius joins us. “He’s asleep. He should be feeling better in the morning,” he says in a thick Irish accent. His friendly eyes look sorrowful, but they warm considerably upon seeing my friend. I can understand why Victoria is so enamoured with him.

Before anyone can say anything, the ground vibrates, and we hear a loud explosion.

“What the--?” Gaius exclaims. People on the street begin shouting and running in different directions. The three of us rush outside to see what the commotion is.

A pillar of smoke rises above Diagon Alley. It’s coming from the Muggle side. Some witches and wizards are making their way towards the smoke, but most are fleeing. Another, smaller explosion sounds, and people’s screams from the Muggle side reach our ears.

I grasp onto my wand before sprinting towards the chaos. I hear Victoria call me from the entrance to Ollivander’s shop.

“Stay with Ollivander. I’m going after her!” I hear her shout to Gaius. I pick up my pace, determined not to have my best friend stop me.

I push past people as I emerge into the Muggle world. A nearby Muggle transportation underground station is in flames, and there are wizards in dark green robes firing spells at wizards and Muggles alike. The NeoWalds are here.


--

One good thing about prefect’s duty was that it meant that my Thursday was nearly over, which meant that I wouldn’t have Ancient Runes until next week, which meant that I could hide from James Potter until then. Earlier that day, I had Ancient Runes, and I couldn’t bring myself to look at him. Thoughts of what had happened during our duelling practice flared throughout my body, causing nervous beads of sweat to form at my brow.

Victoria had nearly pushed me inside the classroom, too. “It’s your favorite class!” she had insisted as she watched my pace outside the door. “You never want to miss it.”

“I know,” I had groaned, but the thought of facing James was too unbearable.

“Oh stop being such a ninny,” Victoria had said before she steered me to the door and opened it for me. Needless to say, I beelined towards my usual spot and got out my things without talking to anyone for the entire lesson.

And now, that class was over, and I didn’t have it again until Monday. Hopefully by then I would have recovered.

It was a quiet night at Hogwarts. I parted ways with my rounds partner, who was on her way to the Ravenclaw tower, before heading towards the dungeons. The comfort of my bed was an inviting thought after such a stressful day.

The portraits hung quietly on the walls. In the dim candle light, many of the paintings were already asleep. Others watched rather disinterestedly as I passed them. No ghosts were around, and I hadn’t even seen Peeves all night, so hopefully he was in a different part of the castle, so I wouldn’t have to bother with him.

I hopped over a trick step when I heard my name being whispered.

“Psst! Amelia!”

Pausing on the stairway, I glanced to my right, where the voice was coming from. From the shadows, James emerged.

“Oh! Hello!” I whispered back, clutching onto the railway for support. I took several deep breaths to steady my heartrate. “You startled me.”

“Sorry,” James said. “Come down here. There’s something I’d like to tell you.”

I skipped down the stairs and joined him by in the alcove. No one could see us unless they really looked. James really knew some good hiding spots around the castle. He stood in front of me and smiled shyly down at me.

“As a prefect, I must inform you that you are officially out of your dormitory after hours,” I said dutifully. I hoped my voice didn't betray the butterflies in my stomach.

“Are you going to report me?”

I hesitated. “No,” I said finally. “Not this time.”

“Last time you said that you would take away House points if you caught me,” he teased.

“I can change my mind,” I retorted, crossing my arms. “Now, furthermore as a prefect, I highly suggest getting back to your dorm before someone who does mind that you’re out after hours catches you.”

“And what about as a fellow researcher, on the case to solve the mystery of the Hallows?” James asked as a confident glint appeared in his dark eyes.

“Well, then I would wonder what this meeting at this late hour is all about.”

There was a pause. James put his hands in his pockets. “Listen, first I wanted to apologize for what happened earlier this week. I shouldn’t have left in such a hurry.”

I waved away his apology. “Don’t worry about it. We had an intense practice session, and then we didn’t want to get caught in the crossfires between Peeves and Mr. Filch.”

Silence fell between us again as we both looked away from each other, unsure of what to say. We were sweeping what happened between our practice and Peeves’ prank under the rug, though I could tell it was still lingering between us. I didn’t want to apologize, for I wasn’t sorry. But I also didn’t want to lose the rapport that we had…

“Are you ready to find out more about the Hallows?” James asked after a few moments.

I stared sharply at him. “What? Now? What have you found out?”

James signaled to lower my voice and smiled sheepishly. “I’m ready to show you something… but you have to promise not to tell anyone.”

Confused, I said, “Okay. I promise. What did you find?”

“Please don’t take this the wrong way,” James began slowly.

“That almost always means that I will,” I told him. My heart raced and my palms became clammy. What was he wanting to show me? And why would I take it the wrong way?

“That’s what I’m afraid of,” James sighed. He beckoned me further underneath the staircase, to where I saw his bag lying in the darkness. “Listen, I didn’t want to tell you about this straight away, because I wasn’t sure how you’d take it, but I think you need this.”

“What?” In my mind, I thought out many possibilities about what he could mean. Did he have information that I didn’t have? Did he have a reason to quit this research? Or to alter it?

“Do you still think the Hallows don’t exist?” he asked.

I shook my head. “James, I’m having a really hard time following…”

“Just answer my question.”

I thought for a moment. “I think there’s a probability that they do exist, or at least, some more than others, like the wand.”

James nodded and picked up his bag. “I think,” he said matter-of-factly, “that you need a little more faith in them. And I trust that you won’t betray my confidence.”

His words, while straightforward and light, had a whole other context. It wasn’t a threat, necessarily, but a statement to take caution about how I would use whatever he was about to tell me. It was a leap of trust on his part, and he was asking me to respect that. This discretion, I believed, was something that I was willing to do.

“Okay,” I told him, reaching out and touching his upper arm. My stomach twisted, sending goosebumps up my arms. My eyes searched his. “You can show me.”

He opened his bag and produced a long piece of silvery cloth. “Here, take this.”

I received the cloth, which felt like liquid in my hands. “Is this--?” I held up the cloth until it revealed the shape of a cloak. James was staring at me expectantly. “No way. An invisibility cloak?”

He nodded.

“Prove it,” I said, throwing the cloak at him. It would be much more effective if I could see him--or not see him--wear it. James caught it and grinned.

“Have it your way.” He threw the cloak on and disappeared.

“James!” I gasped, reaching out to where he had been standing. I felt something solid, and I realized that it was his hand.

“Hi there,” he said. I grasped what felt like liquidy cloth, though I could only see myself groping the air, and pulled gently to reveal his arm. He gave me a thumbs up, which looked quite ridiculous to see a floating arm do that without a body. I continued to pull until the cloak fell off him, until it reappeared as the silvery cloth in my hand again.

“Where did you get this?” I breathed as I caught its glitter in the candlelight.

“My dad gave it to me,” James explained, “at the beginning of this school year.”

“Wow. What a generous gift,” I said, handing it back to him.

“Yeah, but it wasn’t really a gift,” James said. “It belonged to his father, who got it from his father, who got it from his father… and so on.”

“A family heirloom?”

“Much like your pendant.”

I looked up at him, mind whirling. “But… but they fade with time… unless…” James’ grin widened. I took a step back in amazement. “Is it really the Cloak of Invisibility from…?”

My hand extended to reach for the Cloak, which James gave me while chuckling softly. “Yes,” he confirmed. “It is.”

“Oh, James… this is… extraordinary,” I said breathlessly. Then, it registered why he didn’t want me to take it the wrong way: since he had given me Tales of Beedle the Bard, James knew about the Cloak, and it was only now that he was sharing this with me. James read my face and bit his lip.

“Sorry I didn’t show it to you earlier,” he said, looking down at his feet. “I… I wasn’t sure if I could…”

“Trust me?” I suggested.

Hesitantly, James nodded, glancing up at me. “Yeah. Especially since the Hallows are linked to Voldemort and the Death Eaters and your family… Amelia, why are you smiling? I thought you’d be pissed.”

Before I could answer, there were footsteps above us. James tugged me to him and threw the Cloak around us. Startled at the quick succession of events, I involuntarily let out a loud gasp.

“Who’s there?” sneered Mr. Filch as he paused on the staircase above us. There was a meow, which meant that Mrs. Griggs, his cat, was nearby.

James breathed almost inaudibly in my ear, “Follow my lead.” The hairs of my neck stood on end as I nodded. James stepped around me, careful to stay under the Cloak. He winked before facing away from me, and quickly, carefully, he led us from underneath the staircase.

Mr. Filch was at the foot of the stairs. My instincts told me to stop emerging from the shadows and crawl back there to hide. Surely, he could see us! But the Cloak provided us with protection as James stealthily led us down another corridor as Mr. Filch made his way to where we had been standing moments ago. Mrs. Griggs’ eyes reflected towards where we were retreating.

I followed James in silence as he lead us on a winding path throughout the corridors. I didn’t know where he was leading us or if he even had a clue himself. Finally, we came to an alcove behind some knight in armor and we slipped inside.

“That’s better,” James sighed. “That was close.” He took off the Cloak.

“Very close,” I agreed, feeling the silvery fabric slip in and out of my fingers. “That was amazing…”

James laughed softly. “You get used to it, but it’s always a rush when you’re sneaking away from people in the dead of night.”

I raised my eyebrows. “I take it that you’re a veteran in using the Cloak for rule breaking.”

He shrugged and said mischievously, “All in the call of duty…”

I knew that it was my turn to bring up what we were talking about before Mr. Filch interrupted us. I let go of the Cloak and crossed my arms.

“I’m not angry with you, James,” I told him earnestly. I fingered the chain around my neck. “If I thought you were possibly linked to Death Eaters, I wouldn’t want to tell you about the Cloak, either. And besides…”

“Besides what?”

“I… I haven’t told you everything, either,” I confessed as my heart rate throbbed loudly in my ears. And I began telling him the very limited information I had withheld about my mother’s visit back in November.

“The Cause?” James murmured, leaning against the wall. “But what does that mean? Is it related to Death Eaters?”

I sighed, joining him on the wall. “I don’t know. I don’t think so… I think it might be something else… and I’m not sure if it’s very legal…”

“Oh, Amelia, I’m so sorry,” James said, facing me. I couldn’t meet his eyes. I didn’t want to see if they were full of pity, or worse, disgust.

“Thanks,” I said thickly, blinking back some threatening tears.

“Do you… do you want to go to the kitchens to get something to eat or a cup of tea?” James asked tentatively, taking a step closer to me.

I shook my head. “No… I think I’m ready for bed.”

“Right,” James nodded, hunching his shoulders. Was he disappointed? He lifted the Cloak. “But I insist on accompanying you back to your common room, so you won’t be at the mercy of Filch if he catches you.”

I gave a small smile. “Thanks, I’d like that.”

He threw the Cloak over us and let me lead us down to the dungeons. The corridors were eerily quiet and the shadows moved as the torches began to go out, but James’ warmth radiating behind me melted away my apprehension.

When we were around the corner from the common room, I stopped and faced James. “Thank you, James, for everything,” I told him earnestly. “I’ve learned so much in the span of one evening…”

James smiled smugly. “So does this mean that you believe in the Hallows?”

“Seeing is believing,” I murmured, returning his smile.

“Or not seeing, on account that we’re invisible.”

I laughed, rolling my eyes. “Not funny, James…”

“And yet you laughed…”

After a moment of uncertain silence, I said, “Well, um, my common room’s just around the corner. I better go…”

James stepped closer to me, and I couldn’t hold his piercing gaze. Instead, I looked at my hand as I rested it on his shoulder. “Thanks for showing me the Cloak…” I swallowed. “Goodnight, James.”

He slowly reached his hand up towards my face, brushing a dark strand of hair behind my ear. Stomach lurching, my breaths quickened, and I could feel my heart racing in my hand, which seemed to be frozen on James’ shoulder, though the pulse might not have been mine but his… I couldn’t tell. I felt like I could focus on everything and nothing at once. James’ hand lingered behind my ear.

I could barely register the feeling of my feet leaning onto my toes as I gravitated closer to him. He was leaning towards me, too, brown eyes shining from behind his glasses. “Goodnight, Amelia,” James whispered, sending warm air into my parted lips.

My next breath tasted of him as we kissed. A newfound awareness pulsated through my body, spewing bursts of energy to where I could feel James. His lips on my mouth, his hands on my face, his hair beneath my fingers…

We stayed rooted underneath the Invisibility Cloak, for how long I wasn’t certain, our kisses hidden from the world.


--


A spell barely misses me as it hits the storefront, sending glass everyone. The Muggles around me scream and start to flee again. I try to locate the NeoWald witch or wizard who shot the curse, but I have a difficult time seeing and breathing through the smoke. My sinuses flare from inhaling the haze.

“There you are!” gasps Victoria as she embraces me. Her eyes are wild with fear. “We gotta get out of here.”

“We have to try to stop this--”

“No,” she says sternly. “This is dangerous. I don’t want you to get into trouble again--”

“I don’t care about that,” I yell as we dodge another spell. We take cover behind a parked automobile. I finally see a figure in the smoke, and I send a Stunning spell his way. The wizard blocks it easily.

Victoria digs her nails into my arm. “Amelia, we have to leave,” she pleads. “I don’t want us to get hurt. The Aurors are here already, probably.”

The same figure in the distance casts a Stinging hex towards us. I pull Victoria out of the way. “You can leave if you want.” I cast the Disarming spell, but once again the wizard blocks it. The smoke is still too thick to get a proper look at our opponent. “Look out!” Once more, I pull Victoria to the pavement as another wizard sends a curse our way.

“Amelia,” cries Victoria, trembling. “Please…”

“Get yourself to safety. I’m staying,” I tell her before jumping back into the fray.

Like Victoria has predicted, the Aurors are here. “Stop this now!” one of them shouts. “By order of the Ministry of Magic!”

“The time for secrecy is over!” bellows a familiar voice. The Aurors cast a wind to clear the smoke a little bit. My mother stands in a group of NeoWalds, who send curses towards the Aurors. “The Muggles have oppressed wizardkind for far too long!” my mother shouts before sending a car flying. Victoria, who has remained by my side despite her desire to escape, and I run to steer clear of the influx of people headed our way to avoid the car.

I don’t see him in time. My foot catches onto someone’s leg, and I tumble down. Victoria screams, but it’s not because I’ve fallen. “Oh my God! James Potter!”

Bile rising in my throat, I turn to see if the body I tripped over belongs to him. A balding man’s face stares blankly at me. A sickening sense of relief overwhelms me; I glance up to Victoria, who’s looking terrified towards the figure who had been casting spells at us earlier. I stagger up to get a better look through the clearing smoke.

Sure enough, it’s James, in dark green robes, wand raised, readying to attack.

“James Potter! It’s James Potter!” calls an Auror from nearby. I try calling out, but my voice fails me.

He scans our group as some NeoWalds appear beside him. Even through the haze, I know that his gaze lands on me, but, with a jolt, I can’t read his expression. James sends a Stunning spell our way, but an Auror blocks it, which is good because I’m not able to move.

Suddenly, a third explosion sounds, and the building across the street from us collapses. Painful screams reverberate in my eyes, sending chills down my spine. My gaze quickly returns to James, who keeps his wand raised towards the Aurors.

“Our work here is done!” shouts a NeoWald as Harry Potter pushes past me to get a closer look at his son. By the time we can even react to what has happened, the NeoWalds, James included, Disapparate, leaving the street in smoky chaos.




---

A/N: Anything you recognize is JKR's!

Well, another update! They'll be slower for the next while, since my prewritten chapters are already posted and I have some other real life projects coming my way. But I just couldn't wait to get to this point in the story!

It's my favorite chapter so far. Please leave a review with your thoughts!

Stay amazing!

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