I know, I know, it's about time I got another bloody chapter out! Incase you haven't read my little note on my homepage, I have been terribly busy with school and riding. I worked on this ferociously all Sunday, and didn't exactly have a chance to post it on Monday... :O) I know you all still love me. Anywho, this is semi-action-full, so bear with me. Any confusion will be cleared up in the next few chapters! Thanks! PLEASE REVIEW! It takes seriously 2 minutes. Tell me what you think of the characters, how you like them (Particularly Leah) What you like about it, suggestions for my writing (Hey, this whole thing is a learning experience for my writing ability gained from all 13 years of my life) or just constructive criticism! I'd love it!
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Harry Potter or anything else you recognize. They belong to the truly brilliant Joanne Katherine Rowling. I ONLY own Leah Baker and other characters you do not recognize. Also, I got my main idea about the Power from Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series and do not claim ownership to it.
The blue light that managed to filter past the gray storm clouds bathed Leah's surroundings. She was running as best she could in the dense wood, though it was quite difficult, and her path consisted of weaving back and forth while dodging the tree branches. The attempts were useless though; her chest, arms and face were littered with dozens of cuts that stung painfully. It was dark, so the visibility was horrible. Leah swore loudly as she tripped over something, then continued on in a sprint. What was she running from? Good question. Not even Leah knew.
With a thud, Leah had landed ungracefully on the forest floor. The picture that once held Annie was staring up at her mockingly. Annie wasn't in it anymore...the truth dawned on Leah harshly. It had been a trap. And as foolish as Leah had been, she fell for it. Shakily the girl got to her feet, and folded the picture in half before placing it securely in her pocket. There was a loud crack, and Leah whirled around, almost gasping when she faced the girl who had haunted her dreams for several weeks now...the hate radiated from Naomi's eyes as they penetrated into Leah's own gray ones. If only she had known just what was about to happen…
Now, half an hour later, Leah found her self being chased–no, not chased, manhunted–through some thick forest in the middle of no where. There were no signs of any life; no birds in the trees, or predators prowling across Leah's path. Heck, when Leah had tripped over a root and most likely sprained her ankle a while back, there were no bugs in the dirt she had fallen face first into. It was horribly bizarre. Leah stopped and bent over while resting her hands on her knees. She glanced around, in desperate hope that she lost whatever was chasing her, though she had an eerie feeling that she hadn't. It was a game of cat and mouse, and Leah had unwittingly ran herself into a corner. Her labored breathing echoed in the vastness of the empty the forest while her hawk like eyes surveyed the woods that surrounded her. Leah suddenly remembered something that Elle had once told her. "Leah, you have freakishly good hearing and intuition." Elle had been referring to when they played a game with a bunch of friends in the woods behind their house. Now that Leah thought about it, the resemblance between the game and Leah's circumstances currently were uncanny. Elle, Toby, Leah, and about a dozen other people had played a game in the forest, where there was a designated safe zone. One person had hidden in the forest, which wasn't too big, and tried to get into the safe zone. They hardly ever caught Leah when it was her turn, either because Leah could hear them coming or oddly enough, sensed if someone was coming her way. Her reminiscing was abruptly interrupted when something zoomed past her, blowing her hair around. Leah turned to face it. Whatever it was hard to describe. It was like a little ball of air that floated through the air with relevant ease. Let's just hope my so called freakishly good hearing and intuition holds up, Leah thought. She started to back up, then turned around and bolted in the direction she had been headed in. Leah was desperately hoping that this all would stop sooner or later. Even though she had been on the cross country team back home, running through a forest took a whole lot more out of you then a track, and the pain her ankle was emitting hurt terribly. A steep, heavily wooded bank that Leah had been oblivious to suddenly met her path. Unprepared, Leah tripped down it, tumbling into logs, over stones, and hitting her head against something hard. Her vision faded out of view momentarily, and Leah was submerged in a bath of darkness. She gained her vision back relatively quickly, and rolled out of the puddle she had landed in. Leah hoisted herself up into a sitting position, and glanced around taking in her new location. Her attempts were fruitless though, as it was dark, and she couldn't see any better. Leah was silently berating herself for not having her wand on her at all times, because at least then she would have had some sort of protection. A whizzing noise came from behind Leah, and she turned around quickly. Nothing… Suddenly, something hit Leah in the back of the head with great enough force to finally knock her out as she fell into a pool of pitch black…
* * *
Harry, Hermione, the Weasleys, Tonks, Moody, Lupin, along with half a dozen other Order members sat down at the kitchen table, preparing to indulge themselves in Mrs. Weasleys excellent cooking. Harry's eyes shifted around, scanning over Leah's empty spot at the end of the table. Surprisingly, the adults hadn't been the least bit concerned about her sudden absence when Tonks had informed them. The low murmur of idle chatter had fallen across the table as everyone served themselves healthy servings of dinner. Harry looked across the table at Ron and Hermione, who were in a rather heated discussion about, of all things, how to do a summoning spell properly. Ginny was sitting to the right of Harry, lethargically flipping through a Witch Weekly magazine. He sighed audibly, and returned his attention to his food. At least when they got back to Hogwarts the schoolwork would busy Harry enough to the point where he wouldn't be constantly dwelling on every moment of his existence. It had been pretty rough lately, but Harry was determined to get through it all. He had great friends to help him get there, as well as the people who he didn't fancy being around, namely Malfoy and the other Slytherins. Now that he thought about it, Leah had practically added herself to that list. So far, she had just been a rude, cold and bitter person to everyone. There was no denying it. But it almost seemed like she was wearing a frigid façade that covered her true emotions… Harry shrugged the thought off. There certainly were evil spirited people in the world, and the Malfoys proved that quite nicely. A loud noise came from the dining room that nobody used. Everyone stopped talking, and glanced over with mild curiosity, assuming it had been Kreacher. To everyone's great shock, a very battered Leah hobbled through the door, using the wall for some much needed support.
Everyone gasped when they saw the state she was in, and a distinct, "Bloody hell," was heard from Ron. She glanced up at them, and her eyes had a haunted expression in them like she had been to hell and back. Her jeans were torn, dirty, and grass stained. Her tank top was partially damp, covered with blood from the dozens of scratches that were on her chest, arms, and face. She had managed to bust her lip, get a black eye, and her hair was mussed in it's pony tail. Her breathing was shallow and rapid, as if she had just got done running the mile.
"Merlin, Lee! What the hell happened?!" Tonks exclaimed, jumping up to help the girl.
"Riddle," She wheezed, making Harry's blood run cold. Surely it was a coincidence… He exchanged glances wit Ron, Hermione and Ginny briefly.The other adults had jumped up, and were helping Leah upstairs, while talking in rushed voices, leaving the under aged kids at the table in a very curious and alarmed state.
* * *
After leaving the four very confused kids in their wake, Leah along with all the other adults walked upstairs into Leah's bedroom, where there was a silencing charm placed on the door. Leah was eased onto her bed and hit with a wave of questions.
"What on earth happened Leah?" Tonks asked again.
"Riddle–" Leah gasped in pain, but clenched her jaw in attempt to not cry out. "Portkeyed me to some stupid forest, where I kind of ran away from her for about a half an hour. I only saw her in person for a moment or two before I fled, and then, she somehow turned herself into a ball of air somehow. Don't ask. It followed me around when I ran. I tripped over a log cause it was dark, and fell down a bank. Something hit me upside the head and I blacked out. I must have been portkeyed back here. That's all I remember," she responded in one breath.
"Here you go dear," Mrs. Weasley said, handing Leah a potion that was fizzing quite un enticingly. "It'll get rid of the scratches, but I'm afraid it won't ease the pain." Leah drank the disgusting potion in one gulp. She closed her eyes, and heard the shuffling around of the Order members as they walked out of Leah's bedroom. She was quite surprised that there hadn't been anymore interrogation, but she suspected that would come when she wasn't delirious. A few minutes later, Leah heard footsteps running up the stairs and down the hall, where they stopped outside of the door. Hermione and Ginny came in, out of breath and trying to act nonchalant. Leah suppressed her laughter. They knew better then to ask her any questions, especially since she appeared to be asleep. Disappointed that Leah couldn't be subject to endless questioning, the two girls quickly readied themselves for bed. Quicker then she'd prefer, Leah fell asleep a few moments after the light was turned out.
* * *
The next morning, Leah stiffly got out of bed around noon. As she hobbled into the kitchen, she saw that it was August 25th. Her sixteenth birthday. What a wonderful start to my not-so-sweet sixteen, Leah thought sarcastically. As she entered the kitchen, she received viciously curious stares from the others. Leah ignored them and got some cereal before sitting down as far away from Ron, Harry and Hermione as she could. She looked up from eating when Moody and Tonks walked into the kitchen.
“Come on, we need to speak to you,” he said gruffly. This sparked yet another round of curious glances from the others.
“Come on Lee,” Tonks said, grabbing her by the arm.
“Hey hey hey! I can barely walk here! Why are you guys acting so strange? Can’t you just tell me here?” The glare she received from (surprisingly) both of Moody’s eyes was enough to convince anyone to do anything. Grudgingly, Leah got up and stiffly walked to the library with the two Aurors.
“Sit down, Leah.” Leah wearily sat down on the sofa. Tonks and Moody sat down across from her.
“What exactly do you want to do when you grow up, Leah?” Tonks asked. Oh god, not another conversation on my future, Leah thought.
“Have you ever considered becoming an Auror?” Moody inquired. Leah looked at them amusedly.
“Not really…why do you ask?”
“Leah, from what we have seen so far, you look like you would be an excellent Auror. You have great instinct, you’re always alert to what’s going on around you, and have already proved yourself to be a powerful witch." “Yeah, one problem. I have never dueled before.” Tonks broke into a grin, and Leah had a strong sense of foreboding.
“That is precisely why we brought you here.”
“To teach me to duel?” Leah asked incredulously. “Surely two excellent Aurors like yourselves have better things to do with your time then teach some girl how to duel. What’s your motive?”
“Well, nothing really, plus you need to learn to defend yourself incase you have another little meeting with Naomi.” Leah snorted.
“Ah, so let me guess. Professor Dumbledore is making you guys teach me how to duel so I don’t go and kill myself when I have the amazing misfortune to meet up with Riddle again. Or, is it that he feels that I am shutting myself out from everyone and that I need some attention so I don’t take suicide as a last resort. Which one?” Moody looked livid.
“Don’t you talk back to your elders, girl. We volunteered to do this out of the generosity of our hearts so you don’t come back far worse then you did last night. Forgive us for caring,” He growled. Leah was in a state of shock. For the first time, in a long time, somebody cared.
“Alright.” She managed to get out after a moment of regarding the Aurors with hesitation.
“Good. Now there are a few main things to being a successful Auror. Stealth,” He glanced at Tonks, who fidgeted uncomfortably, and Leah almost laughed, “dueling, interrogation, and deception. You want your friends close, but your enemies closer. Understood?”
“Yes sir.” He glowered at Leah for a moment at her last comment, and then continued on.
“How much do you know about dueling?”
“Like what spells to use?” Leah asked. He nodded. “Well, there’s disarming, Expelliarmus and I believe Rictosumpra is one. Stupefy is the stunning hex, the Unforgivables, but only licensed Aurors can use those, and there is also Impendita, and Protego, which blocks the hex or curse aimed at you, and…some others,” She finished lamely. Tonks was grinning, seemingly impressed of Leah’s knowledge or lack thereof.
“Good enough. Stand up,” He said. The second Leah stood, he waved his wand and all the furniture was moved out of the way. “Now, dueling stance.” Leah got into the same position more or less that the wizened Auror was in. “Normally, you stand back to back with your foe, then walk ten steps, turn around, and duel. We won’t be doing that for a while. Alright, ready, set, duel!” Without any warning, a strong disarming spell hit Leah square in the chest, knocking her backwards before she could react. “What was that about, Baker?!”
“Incase you haven’t noticed, that was rather short notice,” Leah said through gritted teeth as she stood up and grabbed her wand which had rolled away from her.
“Do you really think you will have time to prepare yourself for battle when your enemy pops up right behind your back!?” He barked.
“No.” Leah said, glaring at him.
“Good. Ready set, go!” He cried. Right as the spell was about to hit Leah, she shouted, “Protego!” The curse died down a bit, but still hit Leah.
“Aargh!” She moaned in frustration.
“You have to say it with more intensity, Baker!” Leah scowled as she stood up, and got back into the stance.
“EXPELLIARMUS!” He cried, right as Leah yelled, “PROTEGO!” The spell that was about to hit Leah died within a few feet of her.
“Good job!” Tonks said.
“Alright, that was a pretty good warm-up. Now, let’s try something else…”
* * *
“PROTEGO! RICTOSUMPRA!” Leah cried as she leapt out of the path of a jelly-legs hex. Her disarming spell hit Moody, who expertly stayed on his feet.
“Not too bad.”
“Where are you finding the emotion to make them so powerful?” Tonks asked curiously.
“I don’t know…emotion makes them stronger?” She inquired stupidly.
“Well, yeah,” Tonks said. “You need to have the emotion and drive to really make the hexes powerful.”
“I don’t know… I guess I just have a lot of unfocused anger,” Leah said cyncially. Moody, who totally missed the sarcasm, crossed his arms and asked, “What are you so angry at?” The demeanor in the room took on a full one hundred eighty turn.
“Seriously?” Leah said softly. She was shocked at her own tone.“Yeah.” Leah snorted.
“Well, maybe it’s the fact that I’ve lost my entire family in less then a year,” She said harshly, counting them off on her fingers, “my sister died in a car crash, then Voldemort has to go and blow up the local Winn-Dixie while we were shopping in it.” Hermione, who had just walked in the door of the library, interrupting the lesson, stopped dead in her tracks and her eyes grew wide. Leah’s expression took on one of horror. Tonks and Moody turned around.
“What are you doing?” Moody barked impatiently.
“N-nothing,” She squeaked.
“Whatever you heard, Granger, does not leave this room. Got it?” She nodded her head dumbly, while looking at Leah’s vacant expression. I am again hiding in my little façade of indifference and impassiveness. It’s sickening, Leah thought sardonically. Hermione turned around and quickly walked out of the room. Leah sighed.
“I’ll be following her,” She said while putting her wand in her back pocket.
“Don’t put your wand there, girl!” He roared. “What if it ignited?! You’ll lose your buttocks!”
“Speaking from experience there, Mad-Eye?” Tonks asked dryly. Leah grinned at her and continued out of the library. She ran into the kitchen, where Hermione was just about to sit down.
“Granger!” Leah said loudly. Weasel, Potter and Ginny had been sitting in there, playing Exploding Snap, looked up.
“Yes!?” She said, her voice unusually high.
“Come here,” Leah said, gesturing towards the hall. “Make sure you listen to what Moody said,” she said once they reached the hall. Hermione nodded vigorously. Leah turned to go back in the kitchen, when Hermione asked, “Leah, what was that about!? And last night when you came back here! Where did you go?!” Leah slowly turned around, and glared at the girl.
“That is my own personal business that I would prefer you to keep your nose out of,” She replied coolly, before walking into the kitchen. Leah had a funny feeling that Hermione was too smart for her own good…
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