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Two weeks after making good on their promised meeting with Professor Tindwell, Elizabeth and her friends boarded the Hogwarts Express for their final trip home for the holidays as students. Elizabeth looked out through the window while the train moved along the rails and Tiger, ever adventurous, went from person to person seeking his share of their attention.

Kim had hurried to find a compartment where she could visit with other first year girls and Elizabeth was happy with it. This gave her a chance to catch upon reading that she had put aside as well as jot notes down for the volume that she needed to finish. It had made great progress in the last two weeks and Professor Grims had been overjoyed when she had presented him with her first draft.

“I had not expected this until after break, Elizabeth,” he had exclaimed as he looked at it.

“It’s a copy, so you can keep it if you like.”

“Actually, I will not, I do not want to see it again until it is a final draft,” he had answered as he handed it back to her. “My notations shall appear in it in the copy that is already in my office. It will be some welcome reading for me over the break.”

She remembered smiling at him and then hurrying out of his office to meet with Professor Tindwell. He had not returned the parchments that she had given him, and vowed not to until they had been read and then marked. This worried her, because the success of the term rode on those parchments and there was only one major potion remaining to be produced and the notes that she had taken during the production of its successor were vital.

“Don’t worry,” he had reassured her, “you shall have what you need back before you need it. Expect an owl with the results and your notes sometime during break.”

She had nodded to him and then wished him a happy Christmas before hurrying to make her way to the Great Hall where her friends waited for her. She had been the last to arrive and they soon were walking down the path to Hogsmeade for their trip home.

“Elizabeth, are you going to read the entire time we’re on the train?” Lily asked. “I want to talk about names for my nieces and nephews.”

“Names for your nieces and nephews, what are you talking about?” Elizabeth asked as she looked up from her book. “Is James going to be a father?”

“Not James, silly, you and Albus!”

Elizabeth put the book down to fix her friend with a glare.

“Lily, it is going to be a long time before there are any babies.”

“A long time? You mean, like a year from now, that’s a long time!”

“Lily.”

“It’s going to be so much fun spoiling him or her.”

“Lily.”

“And when she’s not spoiling the baby, Aunt Beatrice will be.”

“Beatrice, not you too,” Elizabeth responded in her best exasperated tone.

“Elizabeth,” Lily continued as she changed her tone, “we all know that it is going to happen sooner or later and we are just having so much fun teasing you about it. Please don’t make us stop; you have to admit that it will be fun to hold a baby someday.”

The girl smiled and nodded before looking at her friends with a sly glance.

“Just remember, you two, that someday Aunt Elizabeth will be spoiling your children and I’ll do a good job of it.”

The girls looked at her with wide eyes and then at each other as they understood what their friend was saying. She would repay them for everything and probably give much more than she took.

“Now, if you two don’t mind, I’m going back to my reading because this book I found in the library in the box will finish my volume.”

“Can we visit over break to use the library?” Lily asked.

“Sure, it will give me a chance to tell you both what I intend to do to spoil my nieces and nephews when you have children.”

“You started it!” Beatrice growled at Lily as Elizabeth returned to her book while Tiger snuggled against his owner.

Elizabeth awoke to Lily shaking her several hours later and opened her eyes to see that they had arrived at Platform Nine and three-quarters. She noticed that Tiger was already in his cage and Beatrice was poking her fingers through to pet the unhappy feline.

“I put him in there for you,” she announced.

“You’re lucky to still have your arms,” Elizabeth answered. “Grab him the wrong way and a dragon has nothing on the irritation that he will show you.”

“I think that next time you can put him in his cage,” Beatrice stated as she glanced at her limbs.

They hurried to gather their things and soon were stepping out onto the platform and into the arms of their families. Elizabeth had more hugs to receive as she gave them to her in-laws and then accepted the embrace of her husband. She looked into his eyes as they hugged and then kissed him deeply as the group prepared to leave the station.

“Are you able to come to the house and see what I have done there?” he asked.

“Knowing your tastes,” she responded, “I can hardly wait.”

She turned to her family and noticed the ready winks that she received. They had her belongings, including Tiger, and had given their blessing for her to visit what would soon be her home.

“Remember, Elizabeth,” Lily announced loudly, “babies!”

Lily smiled broadly at the blush that Elizabeth displayed and ignored the horrified looks that she received from her parents. The group watched as the young pair hurried to the small room where the portkeys were kept and knew that Elizabeth and Albus soon would be visiting the house that they owned.

As they stepped into the space where their portkey waited Harry looked at his daughter sternly before speaking to the uncaring Lily.

“When we get home we need to have a talk, young lady.”

Elizabeth and Albus stepped into the familiar house and she looked around the rooms that her husband had done his best to arrange.

“You, you did a good job,” she stammered.

“You don’t like it?”

“Well, it definitely has a man’s touch,” she responded as she tried not to wrinkle her nose.

“Mom said that you would probably want to rearrange it some.”

“Yeah, some, but some of it is brilliant.”

They walked from room to room and then upstairs where she glanced into the bedroom where he had carefully arranged things. She turned to kiss him again and then stepped into the room to examine it.

“Mom helped me in here.”

“I love it, Albus, and not just because you mom helped. I love it because you cared enough to try. What else is there to see?”

“Well, there are two more bedrooms that I haven’t done much with.”

“Where are they?”

They left the bedroom to walk down the short hall to find the smaller rooms. She looked around at them and then turned back to him. He stepped up to her to put his arms around her from behind and then kissed her on top of the head.

“Someday, Mrs. Potter, our children will sleep in these rooms.”

“Not you too,” she answered as she turned to look into his eyes.

“Maybe not right now, but someday,” he answered as he kissed her again, a kiss that she returned deeply.

“Someday,” she responded as she kissed him once again and pulled him toward her.

Her family had arrived home and Tiger was freed from his cage while John and Victoria settled down for the day. The house was quiet with Elizabeth not in it. She had a way of brightening a room and it seemed much less gleeful with her absent.

“I guess that our little girl is all grown up now,” John stated as the parents of his wife settled down in their normal seats.

“John, is it over? I mean really over.”

“You mean the whole thing with Marcus? No, I don’t think that it is over; there are still a few of his followers around. Remember the attack at the school? I think that there is at least one still at Hogwarts and sooner or later he is going to try again. We just have to hope that she is ready to deal with it.”

“Do you think that he will really try to kill his own daughter?”

“He killed Victoria, and she was his daughter as well, I don’t think that Elizabeth will be given any more consideration than her sister was. Yes, I think that he will try or give someone else the order to do so.”

“Then we need to be ready here. They tried once before while she was here and they will try again. Personally, I would give everything that I have to be the one to put an end to Marcus, he’s done too much to my family,” Victoria snarled.

While they waited for dinner and talked quietly, he knelt quietly in the presence of the Dark Lord. He shivered slightly and wasn’t certain whether it was the presence that he was in or the cool wind that stirred his robes.

“I begin to wonder if you are up to this task, Jonathan. I begin to wonder if you are up to killing my daughter. Are you incapable? Do I need to find another, more capable assassin?”

“It shall be done, Master, Elizabeth Blackwell-Potter shall not survive the term at Hogwarts.”

“Many have said that and now they are all dead, killed by the very girl that they were sent to kill or the forces that protect her, or in Auror custody. This costs us much, for each one in custody has the potential to inform upon us. How is it that you, of all of my followers, believe that you can succeed where all others have failed?”

“It shall be done, my Lord. Have I not promised with my life?”

“Your life will not be worth much if you fail to fulfill your vow and are taken by the Aurors. I would kill you myself if that happens. The blood flowing in your veins offers you no protection. I would kill you just as swiftly as I would any other liability.”

“Like you killed Elizabeth Blackwell-Potter? Your threats fall hollow.”

“Do not challenge me, Jonathan, or it shall be your corpse that the worms feast upon!”

The eyes that burned from under the hood told the figure before him that the one that he spoke to was determined. But the source of that determination mystified him. Was the younger wizard determined to destroy their enemy or replace the master that commanded him? Which path would Jonathan follow?

“Find her and kill her, Jonathan. She shall journey home as you have done. Even so, she shall be protected by the Aurors and her own vaunted abilities. Destroy her and the rewards shall be great, fail and you shall pay with far more than your life. Remember what dwells in the caverns below this place, it has been a long time since they have had one to deliver their kiss to.”

He shivered again, damn him anyhow, he couldn’t let the one before him sense fear and he was almost announcing it for all to hear. The person before him would show no more mercy to him than Elizabeth would should she best him.

“Go, find our quarry, and do not return until Elizabeth is dead. If she does not die, use your wand to take your own life, it will be far more merciful than I shall be.”

He watched as the figure before him faded in a cloud of mist that vanished as swiftly as the Dark Lord did. Looking around the battered structure that he was in, he vanished abruptly with a POP as he set out in search of the one that he meant to kill.

The next morning Elizabeth appeared in the garden of her home with a POP and walked to the house where her grandfather watched from the table that he sat at as she entered quietly.

“You were out late, young lady.”

“I know, Grandpa.”

“Your parents, your grandmother and I were all worried about you.”

“I know and I’m sorry.”

“Problems with Albus?” he asked quietly.

“No,” she answered as she shook her head. “We talked a lot and went for a walk and lost track of time.”

“I see,” he responded, “anything else?”

“No, I just decided that I needed to get home to get some sleep.”

“But there are beds there, why didn’t you stay to get some sleep there?”

“I knew that you would all be worried about me.”

“Well, go ahead and go upstairs to get some sleep.”

She stepped forward to kiss her grandparent and then hurried out of the room to rush to her bedroom. The path that she took had never seemed so alien and the room that she entered looked strange. The girl closed the door behind her and then leaned back against it with her face in her hands as she thought about the day and its events.

‘It’s all changed now. There’s no going back.’

She walked to the bed and changed into to the night clothes that waited for her before joining Tiger in bed. The time passed slowly as she lay awake thinking about how things had changed in her life and how they would continue to change in the future. Tiger snuggled against her and she finally managed to fall asleep while the house began to stir.

Artemis Trane had watched his granddaughter leave the room and smiled inwardly. The old wizard was extremely fond of the young witch and hoped nothing but the best for her future. She had seemed nervous when she had realized that her attempt to slip into the house unnoticed had failed and he imagined that he knew the reason why. He mused quietly about what that meant and what the future could bring.

He was enjoying his cup of tea and the Daily Prophet when Victoria stepped into the room and walked to him to kiss him gently.

“Her door was closed, what time did she slip in?”

Artemis looked up at his daughter and smiled before responding.

“Around five, she was a bit shocked to see me already up.”

“Is she okay?” Victoria asked as she turned to walk up to her daughter’s bedroom. She was stopped by the hand of her father on her wrist. She looked down at her parent as he spoke quietly.

“Victoria, she’s fine. Our little girl isn’t so little any more, she’s eighteen, a married woman that will be finishing at Hogwarts soon, and likely wouldn’t appreciate us prying.

“You don’t think…”

“It doesn’t matter what I think, Victoria, Elizabeth is an adult and can make decisions for herself now. We have to remember that if we want to remain a part of her life.”

Victoria sat down quietly as what her father was saying registered. Elizabeth had likely made a decision that could have far reaching consequences and everyone would have to live with those consequences. She picked up the cup of tea that had appeared before her and sipped it while she thought back to her own days of being eighteen. A noise pulled her attention to the fact that her mother and husband had entered the room, Amanda smiling broadly.

“I just peeked into her room and she looked like an angel, cuddling Tiger and those long eyelashes that she has.”

Victoria smiled as she thought about the person sleeping in the room upstairs. Elizabeth would refuse to talk about the time that she had spent at the home that she would share with Albus. The days of the girl openly discussing things in her life were gone.

While Elizabeth slept and her family enjoyed breakfast, Albus looked around the house that he had shared with his wife the night before. He was worried; all had been going wonderfully until she started to think about the Dark Lord and whoever was still at Hogwarts carrying out his bidding. He had managed to calm her enough to forget about what was troubling her. It had all ended when she left to travel to her parent’s home.

He gathered his cloak and then vanished with a POP to attend another training session at Auror Headquarters. The training wasn’t easy, but he was beginning to enjoy the challenges that were presented to him. Albus actually considered himself to be fortunate; many other candidates had already been washed out of the training, leaving only a few remaining out of his class. He couldn’t count on his father either, Harry had been quite clear that he would not intercede on his son’s behalf. Albus would succeed or fail on his own.

The young wizard had just appeared when his father stepped up to him and pulled him aside.

“Sorry about what your sister said yesterday at the platform.”

“What did she say?”

“She told Elizabeth to think about babies.”

“Oh, that, don’t worry, Dad, Elizabeth was laughing about it when we got to the house. I guess that Lily and Beatrice have been teasing her about it for some time. Please don’t be too hard on Lily. She was just having a bit of fun.”

“That’s what I gathered when I talked to Lily. She really loves that wife of yours. I just didn’t want you to be upset with Lily.”

“We’re not upset with her.”

“How did she like the house?”

“I think that we’re going to be doing some rearranging.”

“That, son, is something that you are going to have to get used to once she moves in.”

“Which won’t be until she finishes at Hogwarts, she told me that her parents were quite clear on that.”

“It’s just a few more months, Albus. Don’t anger them now because it could make problems later on.”

The shout of the instructor announced the start of the classes and Albus hurried toward the classroom where he would listen to the training session that would move him one step closer to being an Auror. Harry watched as the young wizard walked into the room and then moved on to his own office. As the door closed behind him and he sat down behind his desk he smiled.

‘Babies.’

Elizabeth finally opened her eyes and groaned as Tiger rubbed the top of his head against her face. The cat purred loudly as he realized that he had achieved his goal and was soon rushing down the stairs to the room where his breakfast waited for him.

Elizabeth followed a short time later after showering and changing her robes. Her parents and grandparents looked up as the young woman entered the room and made her way to the table where a plate had appeared for her. She picked up her tea cup and smiled sheepishly at them before taking a sip.

“Good morning everyone.”

“Good morning,” Victoria answered, “did you have a nice visit with Albus?”

“Yeah, it was wonderful spending time with him.”

Elizabeth knew that her mother wanted to ask more but wasn’t surprised when she didn’t. Obviously she had been a topic of conversation and it somewhat bothered her, still it was nice that they cared about her enough to talk about her.

“I want to go to Diagon Alley today. That house needs some things and Albus is definitely a boy. He has no tastes when it comes to decorating a house. His mother tried to help, but we have to make it our house.”

“Would you like us to come along?” Victoria asked.

“If you want to.”

“Do you know what you need or want for the house?”

Elizabeth feigned disappointment at her mother’s question before pulling a parchment out of her pocket and unrolling it.

“Yeah, I made a list.”

“That’s our girl, always prepared,” Artemis responded with a laugh at the sight of the parchment.

“Shall we go then?” John asked.

“Apparation?” Elizabeth responded.

“If you want,” he answered, “but I thought that you didn’t like to apparate.”

“I’ve gotten used to it. Can I stand next to you, Daddy?” she asked with mischief as she finished her breakfast.

“Only if you promise not to throw up all over me, especially given the fact that you just had breakfast.”

The group laughed at the memory of the story and rose to gather their traveling clothes before they vanished with a POP. Diagon Alley didn’t notice the addition of five more people on the busy shopping day, especially with Christmas approaching. Elizabeth and her group were so involved with their shopping that they failed to notice something as well.

The person that followed them and managed to mingle so easily within the crowd that he wasn’t noticed. Not that anyone would have cared had they noticed him.
 

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