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Jonathan stood in the shadows while the father that he shared with Elizabeth paced the floor as he muttered to himself. The younger man questioned the sanity of his father and the hesitation that Marcus Beales-Armstrong was now showing in dealing with his daughter after learning of her pregnancy was troubling.

While he agreed that the unborn child could be a valuable asset in their fight against the Aurors, it would be many years before that value could be realized. Clearly the child would have to grow up and then be trained and much could happen in the interceding years. Elizabeth would have to be destroyed or she would sway her son or daughter away from the teachings of its uncle and grandfather. That meant an open attack, something that would invite a response from Harry Potter and his Aurors, and they had precious few followers remaining.

If the child could be spirited away there was a possibility of success, unless Elizabeth was still alive in which case she would be a relentless pursuer as she sought to reclaim her offspring. She would be merciless to anyone that she encountered in the process and many of their number would die or end up in Auror custody, if they were fortunate.

There was also the very real probability of Albus Potter, his family and the family of Elizabeth intervening. Elizabeth alone was a problem but the addition of the rest of them would be a calamity.

He turned again as he heard his father mutter words that he could make out and the gist of them was frightening.

“A grandchild, Elizabeth is giving me a grandchild. For all that I have done, she is presenting me with a grandchild. Can I truly move against her now? Would she accept my presence in the life of her son or daughter? Would she accept my presence in her life? Have I been wrong about all of this?”

This worried the younger man, had his father had a dangerous change of heart? Had he decided that Elizabeth was worth saving? Would he change all of the plans that they had made and order him to withdraw?

‘No,’ he thought, ‘I cannot withdraw no matter what he says. Elizabeth must die and, if necessary, her child must die with her.’

He watched anxiously as his father turned to face him, apparently finally aware of his presence. The older man looked at him strangely and Jonathan knew that something was very wrong.

“My Lord, are you troubled?”

“Jonathan, your thoughts, what are they now that you are aware that your sister is with child?”

“My Lord, our plans cannot be altered. Elizabeth represents a threat to our cause and the fact that she is with child means nothing to me. She must die, we have lost too many of our faithful during our pursuit of that cause. To abandon it now would be a disservice to them and sully their achievements.”

“Achievements, Jonathan, what achievements are you referring to? Where are the resounding victories that we supposedly won? Who were our conquering heroes that laid enemies low? Where do you measure even the slightest amount of success? What have we truly been able to do other than to sneak into Hogwarts and kill one person? What did the deaths of Victoria, her grandparents and the Barker girl achieve for us other than to rally our enemies against us and around your sister? The cause is lost! We can do nothing against the force that is arrayed against us. Too many have been lost and your sister has proven a fierce enemy to face.”

“Are you suggesting that we fade into the shadows to live like vermin, my Lord? I would sooner face one of the Dementors than live in that fashion! The effect would be the same.”

“The child growing within your sister cannot be harmed, Jonathan, and as it cannot be harmed your sister cannot be harmed. I will not permit it, Jonathan, withdraw from Hogwarts and leave your sister to her life. Elizabeth shall give birth to her child, watch it and guide it as it grows and eventually enjoy the grandchildren that it shall give her. Our cause,” he said before pausing, “our cause is no longer sufficient to warrant further deaths on either side. Withdraw, Son, or face me in battle.”

“Father, we have spent so much in pursuit of this goal…”

“Withdraw, Jonathan, I have lost one child already to this, do not cause me to lose another.”

“But, Father…”

“Jonathan, I implore you, do not make me pursue a course of action that we will both regret.”

“I risked much for this, Father! I spent days walking the halls of Hogwarts while constantly wondering if I would be found out. I spent days after the battle in the library hiding and nursing wounds that I received, knowing that I could not go to the hospital for treatment and that I would be sent immediately to Azkaban for what I had done. I spent all of this time, years, listening to words of praise for my sister while at the same time listening to their plans to work against us! And now I hear this from the one that pledged to never acquiesce to them! It would have been easier to swallow had I been sent to America with our faithful. At least there I would have had a chance to keep my pride.”

“Jonathan, you will withdraw. You are to report to Professor Leeds and withdraw from Hogwarts and then leave the castle. You shall not pursue the course of action that we were on any further. Should I find that you are still troubling your sister and her family, I shall deal with it myself. Now, go!”

The younger man looked angrily at his father for a long moment and Marcus Beales-Armstrong believed for an instant that his son would lash out. But the boy finally lowered his head and then turned to walk out of the room to vanish with a POP. The older man stood silently in the room while he thought about what had just occurred. He knew that it wasn’t over yet.

‘He will strike at his sister at the earliest possible moment. I cannot allow harm to come to the child that she carries.’

Marcus Beales-Armstrong was still deep in thought when the POP sounded again and he did not see the figure that appeared behind him with a wand raised. He turned just as the curse struck him in the chest full force and was hurled backwards to land in a heap on the floor. The old wizard lay silently as the younger wizard stepped forward to stand over his father’s body.

“I’m sorry Father, but it must be this way. Elizabeth cannot be permitted to live any more than her child can survive to be born. I shall destroy both of them, as well as her family and the family of Harry Potter. Now I shall fight this war the way that it needs to be fought!”

He vanished with a POP and left the silent body lying on the floor where it had fallen.

No one noticed him as he appeared in the alley and then stepped out into the streets of Hogsmeade. Why should they even pay him mind, he was a familiar sight within the village along with others from Hogwarts. He walked up the path towards the castle and ignored the images that his sister found so entrancing. The view of the castle held no awe for him, it held only the knowledge that his sibling and the child that she carried was within.

He had begun his important mission and refused to be dissuaded from it.

The shield around the castle held no terrors for him, for he would be admitted without question. His identity confirmed, the Aurors that patrolled the grounds would not even glance at him, and he would go about his business unmolested by them. All that he had to do was to find a chance to destroy his sister and her baby.

Elizabeth stood in front of a group of third years while they performed their Transfiguration exercises. A number of them were nervous, and they needed to be, because a lot was riding on this exam. As nervous as they were, however, Elizabeth knew that they were much calmer than the fifth years were. Those students were preparing for their O.W.L.s and the terrors that they had been told existed if they failed the exam. The sixth and seventh year students had been having more than a bit of fun tormenting them with tales of woe.

The young witch watched as a boy horribly failed the transfiguration that he had drawn from the stack of possible choices. Elizabeth’s idea to make them masters of their own destiny by drawing their exercises randomly had been embraced by Professor McGonagall, who vowed to continue using it even after the girl finished at school.

“Jeremy, I’m very sorry, but that is unacceptable,” she told the student. “I’m afraid that you shall have to draw a different task from the stack and try again. Pay more attention to what you are doing, you only get two chances. Ignore what is going on around you and concentrate.”

“Yes, Mrs. Blackwell-Potter.”

Elizabeth watched as he selected another envelope and then walked back to the practice area to attempt the task without pressure from her gaze. Many could do the tasks well until they stepped before either herself or Professor McGonagall, then all ability seemed to betray them and they failed.

While she waited for the next student to approach her, she glanced down at her belly and wondered when she would feel the baby move for the first time, when she would see her belly begin to grow with new life. Lily and Beatrice had been overjoyed by the confirmation of what they suspected was happening with their friend. She remembered the laughter as they met in the common room and talked about what was to come, the baby that the soon to be aunts had fantasized about.

Would it be a boy or a girl? What would it be named? Which parent would it favor, its mother or father? How often would they get a chance to spoil it?

Several names had been suggested by the pair and Elizabeth had listened quietly to what they were saying. As the news had spread throughout the castle like wildfire, she was bombarded daily by suggestions of names for both genders. Kim had been particularly active in this and Elizabeth had enjoyed her enthusiasm and had promised the girl that she would get to see and hold the baby once it was born.

Even the staff, especially Professor McGonagall, had been involved in the activities and the young woman had sat with her mentor while the woman reminisced about the small, shy girl that had come forth when her name was called at Hogsmeade Platform.

“Mrs. Potter, I’m ready to try,” a young voice announced as it broke into her thoughts.

She looked at the girl in front of her and nodded as the girl placed her target on a desk and then cast the transfiguration that she had drawn. Instantly the target became a bird bath and Elizabeth nodded her approval after it became the target once again.

“Excellent work, Addison, you may be excused to study for your exam.”

The girl smiled as she gathered the rock that she had used and noticed a slight grimace from the seventh year.

“Are you okay?”

Elizabeth smiled weakly as she felt the nausea begin and she hurried to take a dose of the potion. She was relieved when the nausea abated almost instantly and ran her hand down over her belly to comfort the life within.

“Oh, no, you don’t, I have to get through these transfigurations, young man or young lady.”

“When will you know if it’s a boy or a girl?” the child before her asked.

“In a few weeks, but I’m not going to tell anyone what it is. You all have to wait until it’s born to find out.”

“But I want to know,” the girl whined.

“You have to wait like everyone else, Addi.”

“Okay,” the child responded sullenly before she turned to walk away.

Elizabeth watched her walk away and smiled, Addison wasn’t alone in wanting to know the gender of the baby. A number of children and adults had asked her the very same question and had been told the same thing. The healers at St. Mungos had told her that they could inform her about the subject but she had held them off. She wanted to wait for a while, much to the disappointment of many.

“Right now, that’s your little secret,” she whispered to her belly as the next child stepped up to face her.

“I think that I’m ready, Mrs. Potter.”

“Okay, Grace, let’s see what you can do.”

The younger girl took a deep breath after placing her target onto the floor and then cast her spell while the next child in line watched and Elizabeth observed.

He finally entered the castle and realized what time it was. The girl was busy these days, her finals done and all that she had remaining was the preparations that she needed to do for taking the N.E.W.T.S. This meant that she very likely was in the Transfiguration classroom assisting her mentor. Attacking her openly would draw a response from the ever present Aurors and he wondered just how to reach her. The possibility of an attack on her friends was obvious and he knew that it would draw her out into the open, but they were nearly as formidable as she was and that presented a problem. Against one of them he had a chance, but if the other girl or Elizabeth entered the duel he would be hard pressed to survive, let alone win.

Attacking the little girl would draw the same response as it had at her home because Elizabeth would fight with unbridled fury. His only chance against his sister was to strike a killing blow before she realized who he was. A strike from behind would be best and it had to happen quickly. If he could get behind her on the stairs and strike so that she fell to the stone floor far below her life would certainly end and he might be able to make it look like an accident. Thus it had to happen during a time when the stairs were full and in the confusion that would result he could disappear before things were sorted out.

Once what had truly happened was figured out, he knew that he would spend the remainder of his life sought by the Aurors and hated by many. He would return to Bulgaria to rebuild his father’s organization and become the new Dark Lord after destroying those who held undying allegiance to his parent.

A flood of students announced the change of classes and he stopped along a wall to watch as they passed him. They barely gave him a glance and those few that did look at him did so with disgust. None spoke to him and he was fine with that, although his status promised punishment for them if he decided to pursue the matter.

His heart quickened as he realized that Beatrice Campbell had just entered the corridor from the library and Lily Potter was with her. They walked towards him and glanced at him briefly as they exchanged a polite hello before walking on about their way. Blackwell was nowhere to be seen and he wondered if she might have gone another way to get where she was going. At this point in the term, a seventh year was pretty much free to roam without fear of reprisal from a Prefect or a professor. The students at that stage were far more concerned about what was only a few weeks away than they were about the relatively minor inconvenience of a confrontation for being in the halls.

The crowd cleared quickly and without Elizabeth entering his sight. There was always the possibility that she was in the hospital, a place that she frequented or that she had walked to Gryffindor Tower to lay down in her dorm. Either way he looked at it, she was out of his reach and this angered him.

A group of quiet first years walked past him as they followed Professor Grims and he knew that they were on their way to the area where he had conjured a scene where they could encounter some rather “dangerous” creatures while being safe from harm. The professors here at Hogwarts were rather more resourceful than the ones that he had encountered at Durmstrang. There is was all or nothing and more than one unprepared student had left school after being injured during a lesson. Here they created safe learning environments for the children to encounter while they built their skills.

His interest grew as he saw Kimberlee Lawson, the small girl that his sister had fallen in love with and protected fiercely. She was dutifully following her classmates while they journeyed towards their destination. This was a chance to learn where Elizabeth was and he had no desire to miss it. He stepped out to stop the child and she eyed him warily as he bent down to look at her eye to eye.

“Kimberlee, do you know where Elizabeth is? I really need to talk to her.”

The girl considered ignoring him and hurrying to catch up with her class. But the person in front of her was much larger than she was and held a position of authority. Ignoring him would get her into a lot of trouble and also lose points for her House. That had the possibility of making Elizabeth mad at her and she would do anything to prevent that from happening.

“I think that she is still with Professor McGonagall. That’s where she was when I saw her last.”

“Could you come with me and help me find her?”

The little girl wrinkled her brow in confusion at the request and looked at the hand that he held out to her. She glanced again at the receding forms of her classmates and thought about running after them. Kim was moderately frightened of the person requesting that she take his hand and walk with him in search of her friend.

“Please, Kimberlee, I really need to find her. It’s very important that I speak to her.”

Confusion troubled the child, on one hand she loved to encounter Elizabeth and tried to do everything possible to make that happen. But this was different because something in the eyes of the person before her, the one that wanted her to take his hand, scared her intensely and she wondered what he would do if she refused his request.

“Kimberlee, I’m not going to ask you again,” he growled. “Take my hand and let’s find Elizabeth.”

Kimberlee was trembling now as fears coursed through her, this person was mean and she wanted nothing to do with him. She backed away slightly and shook her head while speaking.

“I don’t want to.”

“COME WITH ME NOW, KIMBERLEE!”

“No!”

“KIMBERLEE!”

“What’s going on here?” a familiar voice questioned as he closed on the child.

The pair turned to see Elizabeth Blackwell-Potter standing in the corridor, her wand drawn and pointing at the person threatening the child as people stepped into the hallway to see what the disturbance was all about.

Kimberlee looked from Elizabeth to the wizard that was threatening her as the larger people appeared to be ready to duel.

“Kim, get out of the way,” Elizabeth announced, “it’s time that this all came to an end!”

He looked at the girl and then at his sister as he drew his own wand and prepared for the battle that was coming.

“Elizabeth, you apparently know who I am, don’t you?”

“Yes, Jonathan, I know exactly who you are. You’re my dear brother, the one that killed Victoria and Emma and fled both scenes like the coward that you are. You were really good, you had us all convinced that you were a student, but it was a lie. I thought that something was strange and couldn’t put my finger on it until that day in Diagon Alley when we ran into each other. My mother reacted strangely to you and it wasn’t until I asked her what was wrong that it all started to come together. She recognized a younger version of our father. Then you made a mistake, Jonathan or whatever your real name is, when you contacted me via our minds. I recognized your voice and then it all came together.”

“Elizabeth, you have to admit that I had a wonderful cover. Who would suspect the Head Boy?”

Gasps echoed through the corridor as Benjamin Randolph abandoned his normal speech and assumed the thick Bulgarian accent that was normally his.

“Let her go, Jonathan,” Elizabeth ordered, “or do you have to hide behind a child?”

Kim looked up at the man as she was suddenly shoved aside by him. She fell to the floor and rolled away from him to be scooped up by a Ravenclaw sixth year and hustled out of harms way.

“EVERYONE OUT OF THE HALL!” Elizabeth roared. “HE’S ALL MINE!”

An instant later, as the halls cleared of bystanders, each wand rose and spat hatred at the bearer of the other as curses were screamed.
 

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