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“Hermione Granger called it a Magical Supernova.

“I heard that the flash of spell-fire was visible from the fleeing Hogwarts Express for well over fifteen minutes, and the tingle of the ambient magic in the air responding to such tense use had hairs standing on end, and doorknobs shocked anyone who decided to move.

“Very few people decided to do so; I’m sure, considering most of the students were paralyzed at the prospects of what was happening atop the castle they had called home. As they fled the scene, their headmaster battled the…creature…known as Voldemort in what was surely the greatest clash of magic any of them would be witness to in their lifetimes. Only, they weren’t being witness to any of it. The school had been evacuated, and no one was there. Just the two and their warring magic.

“At least that was how it was meant to be. But I found myself watching the Hogwarts Express pull from the station from outside of the Three Broomsticks, Ron and Hermione staring wide-eyed through the windows as they passed. A cheeky wave, and I took off running in the other direction, silently praying that if there was enough distance between me and the tracks, they wouldn’t be able to come back for me.

“It was a practice of repetition, running through the tunnel that lead from the Three Broomsticks back to Hogwarts, as it was a path I knew well at that point. Restrictions on leaving the castle, coupled with the promise of some…outside instruction, if I did make it out and into Hogsmeade, led me to sneaking along that path at least several times a week. And there I was, running it for potentially the last time. One way or another, I wouldn’t be sneaking out of the castle anymore, not with Dumbledore battling Voldemort just above me.

“Lowering my head, I charged forward and into the castle, to hopefully help the headmaster of my school battle my destined arch-enemy.”

I stop there and lift the tin tankard up and take a deep drink. At least I appear to, the thing has been empty longer than the drunk fool sitting next to me has been here, so he has no idea that I am not, in fact, downing yet another long swig of the house brew.

“…And then what?” He’s anxious. The words come out slurred, but with a twinge of impatience to them that clearly show that he has listened to the story this long, for this one particular part.

Too bad. “Well, the thing about a supernova is this. A star burns brightest before is burns out, it’s a huge flash, one last glorious expulsion of energy, and then it’s gone. But the thing about a star that goes is, it then becomes a black hole. Everything the star was, the black hole isn’t, and is, all at once.”

The blank stare is amazingly hilarious. He’s trying to figure out how this connects to the amazing tale of magic and bravery, the play-by-play on the fight he was hoping to get. It doesn’t and does, in all the ways that matter, but I won’t be telling him how. “You see, a black hole has amazing gravity. Stronger than even the star it had been. It doesn’t shine, doesn’t provide warmth. It doesn’t promote life. It eats everything. This, incidentally, reminds me of a relative of mine, but that’s neither here nor there. The point I am making is this. The site of Hogwarts, is a black hole. The reason it has become this is of no importance to you, and yes, that also includes how that happened. The important thing is this: though it’s not devouring everything, from the plant life to the earth around it itself, it is eating. But only one specific thing.” Pausing for dramatic effect and pretending to drink again, I leave him on the edge of his seat. Literally, if I kicked out with my foot, he’d fall on his ass from even the lightest tap to the chair. “Hogwarts is eating magic.”

The look on his face told me the amazing information I had just provided was not what he had been looking for, and there was an undertone of anger to his next words. “So what does this have to do with anything?”

“Easy. All of the magical problems that England has been suffering since, the nationwide drop in magical ability, is because of just that. Hogwarts, is eating it. The school went from cultivating the next generation’s magical abilities, making them stronger, to almost…repossessing the gift it gave them all.

“Truth be told, I’m happy for it. Wish I could go take back some of the work I put into the Dursley house.” Looking toward the man, I know I’ve done what I aimed to accomplish. I’m not stupid, and I know when someone is seeking me out, but pretending not to be. I called him over, which I’m sure was a shock, and it only goes to show a lot of restraint and acting ability that the shock didn’t show. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go and have a smoke. Damn those laws about doing that inside bars now, right?” And I slip out the door.

The man follows out with exactly an eight second delay. And at nine seconds, he finds himself pushed face-first into the wall in the alleyway which we had both exited out of.

“So, why have you been trailing me?” Silence answers my question, so I try it again, and the same result. “You know, I could beat the answer out of you.”

“Then why haven’t you?” He asks through gritted teeth, only to feel my hold on him release. He turns to look at me, fingering the wand peeking out of the bottom of his sleeve.

“Simple, really. I don’t hit women.”

“What? I have no idea what you’re talking about, but I’ll-” I cut in, because I really don’t have the time, or patience, for half-assed denials.

“Drop it Tonks. Just drop it, literally, drop the face.” The boring, unremarkable; and most importantly, male, features melted away to reveal the slight, upturned nose, the dark hair, and the defiantly pierced lip of Nymphadora Tonks. “I knew it was you the second you walked in, just so we can skip the old annoying ‘how did you know’ nonsense. I hope you got the information you were looking for, though, as we both know, I would have told you as much as I did if you had just come up to me and asked.” She’s stepped away from the wall some, so I take this opportunity to step even closer, seeing if she’ll back away into the wall, or stand her ground. She stays put, and I’m sure she notices the slight smirk on my face due to the corner of her lip twitching as well, and the straighter posture she adopts. “And I’m sure you also know that, given a bit more…coercion on your part, I could be tempted to telling more.” I’ve wedged myself between her and the wall, and I feel her lower body press into mine, her back ghosting just above my chest, before she removes the slight pressure of her form against me, and gives a slight shake of her head.

“Alright then. Good work, Auror Tonks.” A slap to her ass, and I’m on my way out of the alleyway, leaving her standing there.

“Harry! Wait up!” She jogs after me until she is standing right behind me, I can feel her near me, but not her touching me. “You never told me how you knew it was me.”

“Ever think that maybe I didn’t intend to?” She kicks me in the heel for this, and I begin walking in retaliation. She follows me, staying in stride and just close enough that she could hear me and I could hear her, without many others being able to. But that was immaterial to me, I have no intention of telling her anything. After all, if you leave them without answers, they have to come looking for some later, and the longer she’s chasing me, the easier it will be for me to catch her. I’m glad she’s behind me, as I’m sure I’m grinning quite widely at this point, but that fades as she speaks, since I know she won’t let it drop without an answer.

“When I walked in, I was nowhere near you, and didn’t even look at you. I looked nothing like how I usually look. How did you know, Potter?”

I could lie to her. It would be so easy. But why lie, when the truth is much less believable? “You feel different.” Vague, but not a lie. She makes it three more steps before my words seem to sink in, and she stops walking. I turn the corner, knowing she won’t find me for at least some time.

Hopefully at least long enough for me to get the thoughts of what I would do to her; given half the chance and another go at her alone in a dark alley, out of my head.


I often have this feeling of being followed. The more philosophical in society would inform me that this is due to a feeling of guilt leading me to feel followed because I believe I deserve to be followed. Either that or I’m simply paranoid.

I’m not philosophical. I’m a bit more…blunt…in my view of the world I now live in. If I feel followed, someone’s probably behind me. But if I’ve learned anything, it’s that a sudden turn to try and catch a glimpse of whoever it was that was following you is not how you go about identifying the person. They expect that. The easiest way to do so, is to try and catch a reflection in a dirt-covered window, a puddle of stagnant water or the shattered and often blood-spattered glass of the burned-out streetlights.

Fortunately for me, all of those things are around me as I walk the street. Unfortunately for me, I still can’t get a good view. Whoever it is that is following me is far from an amateur at tracking, and that doesn’t bode well. Either they are self-trained and hopefully have no allegiance to any faction; or worse, they have been trained specifically to follow and elude detection.

I hope it isn’t the latter.

As I move around a corner, I slow my walk and sink into a darker alcove, trying to see whoever it was. However, the very faint footsteps stop, and I see no one.

“Nice try Potter.” Shit. “It’s good to see you haven’t lost that famed sense for detecting danger. I won’t insult your intelligence saying I am no danger. But for now, I have no interest in testing that equally lauded survival ability of yours. Just know that I am watching you. We are watching you.”

“Who do you work for.”

“That, Potter, is something I cannot speak to you about. Not now.” He walks off, and the words left unspoken are louder than anything else about him has been.

Not ever.”


"Chapter I", posted on October 22, 2009 at 9:26 pm
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