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Albus crept slowly through the dark and frightening area as he stalked his opponent. The wizard was giving them a chase and had obviously not decided to escape via apparation. He intended to fight! Already he had stunned several members of the team that Albus belonged to and was taunting them with promises of more to come.

The tall vegetation that surrounded them shielded him from their view but also their approach from him. He clutched his wand tightly as he moved towards the sound of the voice that even now was taunting them.

“Gentlemen, I thought that you were ready for this, but evidently not! The best and brightest in the class! Hah! I would have more of a challenge from a group of squibs! Even first year students at one of the schools are more frightening than you are. Come and get me! I’m not even moving to evade you! All that I am doing is sitting here waiting for you and I’m getting bored.”

Evidently one of his team managed to find the man because there was the sound of a spell being cast and a single word rang through their minds as something crashed through the vegetation.


He moved in that direction as he ducked closer to the ground and soon came upon the classmate that had been the most recent casualty. The young wizard was breathing, but unconscious, and Albus knew that he would be fine. His presence wasn’t unnoticed as a second spell ripped through the tall plants and barely missed hm. Remembering the tussles that he and his brother had shared, he rolled out of the way just as a classmate rushed into view with his wand drawn and also as the spell being used against them was repeated.


He watched as the second trainee collapsed where he stood and as movement occurred ahead of him. His quarry was close he knew that, but how close? He slipped closer as the motion occurred again and heard the sound of muttered curses as their opponent took stock of the results of the lesson. Albus wasn’t certain, but he thought that they had lost at least seven members of the team of twelve. The man against them was a canny fighter, using the cover to his advantage and listening for their approach.

The sounds of their search were aiding him!

He searched through his memories as he heard another classmate fall, four were left counting him.

“Come on gentlemen, at least make this challenging!”

Albus gritted his teeth at the taunt and looked down as his hand pressed down on some sharp rocks. As he sucked the injury that one of them had created, an idea came to mind. He reached down to pick one of them up and then threw it into the brush near him.


The spell slashed through the vegetation to lash at the offending missile. This brought no satisfaction to his opponent, but did bring a compliment.

“Very good! One of you may have figured this out, but can you get me before I get you?”

Albus was very certain that he knew where the man was and was creeping forward when one of his classmates came crashing through the brush behind him. He was just turning when the young man, drunk with the savor of victory cast a spell that hit not their opponent, but Albus himself.


Albus Severus Potter felt the impact of the magic in his back, but never felt it when he landed on the ground and didn’t hear the crash that resulted when his assailant hit the ground himself. The exercise ended, the vegetation vanished and the remaining, now disarmed, trainees stood staring blankly at their instructor as he frowned at them.

“Potter was the only one here that I didn’t get. Imagine if this had been real, most of you are dead and he died as the result of someone not being careful and making certain of his target. Report to the locker room to clean up and then I want you back in the classroom. We have a lot of talking to do about this sad little episode.”

Minutes later, Albus awoke as the healer on duty roused him and checked him over. The man worked quickly to repair the minor injuries that he had sustained and soon the young wizard felt well enough to prepare to join his classmates while the “surviving” members listened to the chewing out that they received. He entered the room to find one of them looking very sheepish indeed and wondered why.

“Potter, how good of you to join us,” the Auror announced, “of course, things might have been much different had you not been stupefied by one of your classmates. You might have actually had a chance to get me, but this is why I stress checking your target before you strike. Had you gentlemen been in true combat many of you would be dead right now, and Potter’s wife would be a widow because of the troll that attacked him!”

Albus glanced at the still embarrassed young man and realized what their instructor was saying. He knew that he had been attacked from behind, and had wondered how the instructor that had been ahead of him had done it, now he knew. As the anger grew within him, he settled down into a seat and was listening to the tirade of the Auror when he suddenly felt a tapping at his shoulder and he turned to see that another instructor had entered the room and was trying to get his attention. The man in front of them stopped speaking as the senior instructor became visible.

“I need a moment with Potter, in fact, he will not be returning today.”

“”Yes, sir,” the instructor bellowed, “Potter, you’re dismissed!”

Albus rose to follow the senior instructor through the corridors until they arrived at his office. They entered the room and Albus began to fear that his career as an Auror was already over.

“Potter, you can relax, I didn’t bring you here to sack you. I have been informed that your wife is at St. Mungos and that you are needed there.”

Albus felt his face blanch as he realized what the man was saying and nodded numbly before speaking.

“Is Elizabeth okay?”

“I don’t know any of the specifics other than the fact that she was taken there. You’re free to go, be where you need to be, son. Be with your wife.”

Albus turned and rushed from the office, running down the corridors until he reached one of the portals which would take him from the Ministry to where he needed to be. A moment later, he was apparating in the lobby of St. Mungos and hurrying towards a nurse’s station. A young nurse looked up at the wizard as he arrived at the desk.

“Can I help you?”

“My wife was brought here, Elizabeth Blackwell-Potter.”

“Oh, yes,” the young nurse answered as she examined a list that had appeared before her, “she is actually on this floor. If you would follow me, I will lead you to her room.”

Albus followed the nurse through the corridors and soon was arriving at a room. That it was Elizabeth’s room was apparent as he saw his family, as well as Elizabeth’s sitting in a waiting area. They rose as he approached and he was soon bombarding them with questions. He soon learned that the healers had told them nothing and that she had collapsed at school after not feeling well for several days.

The door to the room opened and a healer stepped out of the room to encounter an anxious husband.

“Are you Elizabeth’s husband?”

“Yes,” he answered, “is she okay?”

“She wants to talk to you about that.”

Albus stepped past the wizard with a growing dread in the pit of his stomach and pushed the door open to step into the room where he immediately saw Elizabeth sitting up in the bed. He walked quickly to the bed to be gathered into a hug and he looked into blue eyes that told him without speech that she needed to tell him something.

“Are you okay, Beth?”

She nodded silently as he held her and then finally spoke when she was released.

“We need to talk.”

Albus settled down onto the stool next to the bed and didn’t notice the curtain on the window in the door slide closed. Elizabeth changed position in the bed and then looked at her clearly nervous spouse.

“I guess that you heard that I collapsed at school.”

“Was it another attack by your father?”

“No, that has been totally silent. I guess that for right now, my defenses have him stymied.”

“Are you sick?”

“No,” she answered, “It’s just going to take a while to get over this.”

“How long, a few days, weeks, how long?” he asked.

“Perhaps as long as several years,” she answered.

“Oh, Merlin’s Beard, how bad is it?”

“It’s going to take both of us to get through this.”

Albus felt a tear start its trip down his face as he listened to Elizabeth and tried to make sense of what she was saying.

Elizabeth looked at her husband and tried not to smile but knew that she was losing the fight. Albus was scared out of his mind and she thought about extending the game, but she loved him too much to continue the agony.

“Beth, you know that I will stay with you through anything.”

“I know, and you had better remember saying that because I’m not doing this alone,” she replied with mock seriousness as he squirmed.

“No matter what it takes, Beth, I’ll be there.”

“Good, Albus, because I’ll need and depend on you, especially at night,” Elizabeth added.

“Especially at night?” he queried, “what’s so special about the night? You didn’t get bitten by a werewolf did you?”

The young woman laughed at his confusion and he looked at her strangely.

“Beth, what’s going on?”

“Albus, there is someone else to think about now.”

“Someone else to think about?” he asked. “Beth, what are you talking about?”

Elizabeth smiled as she realized that she couldn’t hold him off any longer and finally reached forward to him.

“Give me your hand, Albus.”

He extended his arm and slipped his hand into hers. Elizabeth smiled as she pulled it towards her and then laid it on her belly. Albus looked at her in confusion and then in surprise as he began to understand.

“Beth, are you…”

“Yes, Albus, I am. I’m going to need you at night, because we are going to have diapers to deal with.”

“A baby?” he asked as he looked into her eyes and ran his hand over her belly.

“Yes, Albus Severus Potter, a baby! We’re going to be parents. In a few months, we are going to have a son or daughter to hold and take care of.”

“When did you find out?”

“Just a short time ago, but I have suspected it for a while.”

“Have you told anyone?”

“I wanted you to know first. You’ll be the one changing diapers and dealing with a fussy baby at night,” she answered with a grin.

“I have to do that?”

“You’re the father, it wouldn’t be fair for me to have to carry him or her for all of these months and then do all of the work after it is born.”

She grinned again as she read his face and then laughed out loud at his discomfort.

“Don’t worry, Albus, I’ll help with the diapers, but you get the really messy ones.”

“That’s what they created Tergeo for!”

“Oh, no, you don’t! We have to do some of it the way that Muggle parents would.”

“Should we tell them?” he questioned as he turned to look at the door.

“Lily is going to go mental when she hears. It’s all that she has talked about since we got married.”

“Maybe we should keep it from her for a while.”

“That would be mean.”

“Yeah, but a lot of fun in the meantime,” he answered.

Elizabeth looked at the man in front of her and smiled as he ran his hand over her abdomen again.

“A little lower,” she urged as she moved his hand back towards the proper location.

“Everyone will know soon, once you start to show.”

“I wear robes at school so it will be a while before that becomes a problem. Right now, I just have to deal with the morning sickness. Pain-B-Gone doesn’t do anything for that and the healer doesn’t want me to take it. It can hurt the baby.”

“Do they know if it’s a boy or a girl?”

She shook her head as she placed her hand on top of his.

“Not yet, but they should before long. We’re going to have to think of names, you know.”

“Let’s tell them,” he announced suddenly.

The girl nodded as she smiled and then a devious gleam appeared in her eyes.

“I want to do with them like I did with you. You know, pretend like something is really wrong!”

“They’ll kill us both, you know that don’t you.”

“Yeah, but it will be so much fun. Are Professor Leeds and Professor McGonagall still out there?”

“No, they must have gone back to Hogwarts. In fact, I don’t remember seeing Lily, Rose or Beatrice out there either.”

“The skunks,” she groused. “Since they didn’t stay, they can wait to find out about this. I’ll tell them when I’m ready.”

Albus turned to the door with his wand and then waved it. They watched as their families hurried towards the door, Albus remembering to move his hand away from his wife’s belly. They crowded into the room and soon were gathered around the bed.

“What’s going on, you two,” Victoria asked.

“I have a long term condition, Mom,” Elizabeth answered as she fought once again to keep a straight face.

Victoria felt her face fall as her daughter delivered the news gently and felt a tear slide down her face.

“It’s going to get really bad over the next several months,” Albus continued, “and likely last for years.”

“Dragon Pox?” Ginny asked as she too felt a tear begin.

“No, not Dragon Pox,” Elizabeth answered as she felt her resolve slipping at their agony.

“What is it, Elizabeth?” John asked.

Elizabeth looked into each set of eyes as understanding and relief began to materialize in those who stood around the bed.


She smiled and then finally spoke.

“You four,” she said as she looked at her parents and Albus’, “are going to be grandparents. Which means that you, Grandma and Grandpa, are going to be great-grandparents,” she finished.

“Are you saying…”

She looked at her mother as she nodded and then ran her hand down over her belly protectively.

“I’m pregnant.”

There were instant cheers and cries of joy as both Elizabeth and Albus were hugged and congratulated. Victoria broke the occasion by asking her daughter a question.

“How far along are you?”

“The healer said that we can expect to be holding a baby in about seven months.”

Harry stepped forward to kiss the young witch gently on the forehead and then hugged his son before he looked at Elizabeth seriously.

“You weren’t kidding about the Grandpa Harry thing, were you?”

“Not at all, I just didn’t think that it would be so soon,” Elizabeth breathed quietly.

“Lily is going to be so happy,” Ginny announced.

“I don’t want to tell them yet,” Elizabeth responded.


“There is still someone at the school to be on the lookout for. If word gets around about this, they’ll use it to get to me.”

“Oh, Elizabeth,” her mother said with anguish.

“But now, they’re threatening my child, MY CHILD! Nothing will anger me more than that and I won’t hesitate to eliminate any threat to him or her,” the girl challenged with resolve.

“Elizabeth, if you would like, I can arrange a stronger Auror presence at the school,” Harry offered.

“Thank you, Harry.”

All eyes turned as Artemis Trane spoke words that he once would never have thought he would.

“A baby,” the wizard said quietly, “a little great-grandson or great-granddaughter to love, spoil and watch grow.”

Elizabeth looked up at her grandparent and smiled. He was going to be a part of her child’s life, her son or daughter would not have to wait for years to meet him.

“Do you want us to notify Anne?”

She looked at her mother and nodded.

“I don’t think that it will change anything about the way that she feels about me, but yes, she needs to know that she is going to be an aunt. I want her to be included in this.”

“Consider the message delivered, Elizabeth,” Victoria replied as she looked down at where her daughter’s hand rested. “May I, Elizabeth?”

The young witch smiled and nodded before watching her mother’s hand lower to come to rest over where her grandchild was growing. The eyes of mother and daughter met as they felt intense love for each other and then Elizabeth watched as her father’s hand reached down to join that of his wife.

“I was having dreams about being in a dark, warm place with a constant noise and occasional pressure and now I understand what it was about. I was thinking about being in the womb and everything that happened there. Now, he or she is experiencing that.”

“Then you will be going back to school?”

Elizabeth looked at her mother with horror at the question.

“How could I not? I’m only weeks away from the N.E.W.T.S. I can’t give up on it now. I’m too close, besides I’ll be getting fat soon enough, I don’t want to do it by just sitting around.”

Those gathered around her laughed at the comment and Elizabeth felt as though she was glowing as she allowed the adults to follow the example set by her parents.

“These are your grandparents and great-grandparents, little one. They are going to help your Mommy and Daddy protect and love you while you grow up,” Elizabeth crooned to the new life growing within her as she ran her fingers gently over the flesh that would soon swell to contain the child that was growing beneath it.

Still undetectable by mere touch, the new life growing within Elizabeth shifted slightly in response to the tender touches that were being placed on the belly of its mother.

He walked slowly through the corridors of Hogwarts as students went about their business. Elizabeth Blackwell-Potter was in St. Mungos and untouchable. Her friends traveled together no matter where they went and thus were untouchable. Somehow, someway, there had to be an opportunity to strike at the girl, her family or her friends. All that he needed to do was to determine the best way to do so and it had to be soon. The Dark Lord was going to become impatient.

The sensation that he suddenly felt compelled him to shake his head and when it was relieved he smiled as he knew what was occurring.

‘I don’t have to strike at you, Elizabeth. Now there is a much more valuable, and less formidable, target to strike at and you will rush to defend it. When you do, I shall end this conflict and your life at the same time.’

Elizabeth didn’t know about this, but she had made a vow of her own while she was surrounded by her family.

‘Father, you shall never touch or know this child. I will destroy you and anyone else who threatens the child growing within me.

The stage was set, the players in their places and soon the show, a show which would be a tragedy, would begin on this final stage.

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