Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter and The Vampire Diaries. They belong to J.K. Rowling and L.J. Smith. I am writing this just for fun and no money is being made.
AN: I don't have a beta, so I would like to apologize for my mistakes in advance. This chapter is unedited.
Please do not copy this story.
Godric's Hollow, London
(Same Day, Evening)
Heart beating in her throat, Athena opened her eyes, which involuntary went to the sky, searching for the dark mark, but it wasn't there. At least, not anymore. The velvety night sky was tranquil full ofgof stars, contrary to the darkness and terror that filled her.
Slowly, Athena looked around, knowing that she was standing in the same snowy lane under the dark blue sky, she had been in about a year ago. Everything felt the same – cottages standing on either side of the narrow road, Christmas decorations twinkling in their windows, the glow of golden streetlights indicating the centre of the village which was strung with coloured lights, and the war memorial partly obscured by a Christmas tree.
The graveyard was just behind it and she couldn't stop herself from moving towards it resolutely, ignoring everyone around her. Her eyes unwillingly went to the war memorial, the statue of James Potter, who had been her father in all but blood and her mum holding a baby in her arms. Snow lay upon all their heads, like fluffy white caps.
"Is that…" Kol started as she drew closer to the statue.
"James and Lily Potter." She finished, looking at her parents.
Somewhere behind her, her newly sharpened senses picked up the sudden harsh intake of breath which came from her dad. Athena turned her head slightly and saw him staring at the statue. The only indication that he felt something was through his eyes, which looked suspiciously wet, but other than that his mask was in place and she had to bite her lip to stay quiet. It made her throat constrict as she imagined how life would've been if Voldemort hadn't destroyed everything she held dear or things would've turned out if she would've grown up with her family… if she'd known all her parents. She gazed up into her parents' faces once again. It still seemed surreal to compare herself to the happy baby in her mother's arms.
She turned towards the church, knowing that the graveyard was just behind it. Athena knew her parents were there and felt a thrill of fear. She was so close, but wasn't sure if she could see them; wondering if they would be disappointed because of what she was planning. Perhaps not seeing them right now was the right thing because the decision was taken out of her hands when she felt a hand on her shoulder. Neville was standing beside her, looking at her with expressions, which told her that he understood her dilemma because who could understand better than him? After all, he too had lost his parents years ago, even if they were still alive.
Shacklebolt, unaware of her inner conflict, lit his wand and pointed it towards the dark street leading out of the village where the cottages ended and the lane turned into open country again.
Athena's heart sped up, knowing that he was leading her toward the dark mass that stood at the very end of this row of houses. Her eyes went to the cottage as soon as it came into view. It was just as she remembered, destroyed, and left in its ruined state. The wild overgrown hedge hid the rubble that lay scattered amongst the waist-high grass. It was covered in ivy and snow and the right side of the top floor had been blown apart; that, Athena was sure, was where the curse had backfired.
It was like déjà vu and suddenly, Athena felt like nothing has changed. She was here again, with Voldemort and his followers creating havoc and she was in the middle again. Just when she felt like she should abandon it all and run as far away as possible from everything, she felt a presence beside her. This time, she knew that it was her dad. The warmth that radiated from him was enough to calm her nerves like never before. Maybe it was the way he was looking at her worriedly or maybe it was the fact that he was standing with her along with Elijah and Kol and she felt like her heart would burst out of love for them. These people had no business being here and risk their lives for someone they hadn't known for long, but here they were. Ready to kill or die for her – in the name of family… and that's what gave her strength, made her resolve to end this for once and all.
Finally, she forced herself to relax. Gaining control over her emotions, she turned and saw Bill and Ron along with two Aurors standing in front of the cottage, muttering something to each other furiously. They stopped short when they saw her, and she couldn't help but notice the fact that Ron looked ready to break down any minute now. She had known him for almost half of her life now, he couldn't hide anything from her. Even Bill seemed morose, which in turn increased her unease tenfold.
"Ron. Bill." Athena greeted, noticing the sombre expressions along with the fact that the two Aurors looked ready to fight the vampires and would've if it hadn't been for the minister. It was hard to miss them arguing furiously about the vampires being here. It was obvious that they didn't trust the three, so she did the only thing she could. Clearing her throat to gain their attention, which was solely focused on her family, ready to fire spells if necessary. In turn, both her dad and Kol look ready to rip throats out and she shuddered.
The originals stayed quiet, still somewhat stunned by the method of travel or how it made them want to puke even though they'd forgotten what it felt like. Also, being here… amid these unknown wizards, although Athena was familiar with them, didn't do much to curb their worry.
"Athena…" Kingsley introduced. "This is head Auror Gawain Robards and Auror Mordecai Berrycloth."
She, of course, had seen them before – in the battle of Hogwarts and nodded.
"Uh… Auror Robards and Berrycloth. I know you don't trust them, but," she took a deep breath, knowing this will create chaos when it got out, but stated seriously, "…but he's my dad and they're my family. I trust them and I know they won't harm anyone until you try it first."
Kol and Elijah smiled, amused by her choice of words. While Klaus looked at Athena – moved by her words and how well she had come to understand them. Saying that he wouldn't harm them would be going too far, but he wasn't going to kill these people unnecessarily.
"Athena…" Kingsley called, not keen on wasting any more time and showed her a wand. "Auror Robards found this."
She looked from the wand back to him questioningly, not knowing whom it belonged to and she didn't recall seeing it before.
"It was Aberforth's," he told her grimly and she couldn't stop the gasp that escaped her.
"Is he…?" she asked dreading their answer.
"We don't know." Robards felt on edge because of the proximity of vampires, but still replied, "We haven't found him yet."
Bill shared a look with Robards and said, "There is something else."
With that, he pulled up a silver necklace that was crusted with blood along with a piece of parchment and questioned, "Have you seen it before?"
Athena frowned, knowing she had seen it before, but couldn't remember where. But before she could reply, Klaus moved forward, practically ripping the necklace from Bill and asked with scowl drawn across his mouth, "Where did you find it?"
"It was lying in front of the gate…" Bill pointed towards the cottage, eyes narrowed as he stared at the original.
Everyone looked at him immediately, knowing the vampires knew more about it and waited for one of them to speak.
"Our mother, Esther, created this talisman before passing it down to our sister. It was lost until we found that the doppelgänger had it." Kol explained.
Athena's eyes widened and she choked out, "Wait… the doppelgänger? Do you mean Elena?"
Elijah contemplated something before looking at Athena and questioned, "Didn't you say that Miss Gilbert has been missing since yesterday?"
Athena nodded, unable to understand why the death eaters would've kidnapped Elena. What did she have to do with all of this? So, she asked anxiously, "But… why would they…? I don't understand. Why Elena? She's a muggle."
No one understood why the death eaters would kidnap an American muggle or why they left her locket here? There was something that didn't add up.
"The blood? Is it Elena's?" Athena asked suddenly, dreading their answer. She didn't like the girl, but she in no way wanted Elena to be harmed.
Ron and Neville exchanged a look, which wasn't missed by her. At the same time, Elijah stated offhandedly, "The blood on the necklace doesn't belong to Miss. Gilbert."
Athena's eyes narrowed at her friends as they exchanged a glance with Kingsley.
"You're hiding something. What is it?" she demanded.
Ron winced, looking away guiltily as if he had committed a crime, but stayed quiet. Instead, he quickly glanced towards the cottage unintentionally before his eyes snapped back to hers and she knew… she knew there was something or someone in the cottage. A strong sense of foreboding settled in the pit of her stomach and she looked from Neville to Ron and then towards Kingsley, whose face was filled with sorrow and pity as he stared at her before saying, "To my knowledge, it was Dumbledore who warded the cottage when the Potters went into hiding. Normally, the wards fall with the death of the caster. I don't understand how, but the cottage is still warded and we're unable to enter. That's the main reason you're here. You're a Potter and we think that the wards will recognise your magical signature."
Klaus scowled at the Minister and deadpanned, "So, what you're saying is that you haven't been able to enter the house and have no idea what's in there?"
Kingsley pursued his lips and said, "Magic is tricky, Mr. Mikaelson. We've already tried to remove the wards, but…" he shook his head. "It's an ancient ritual and it seems like it's still working somehow. We're unable to enter, nor do we recognise these wards and that's why we need Potter to see if the enchantments recognise her magic."
He didn't give the vampire time to question him further, knowing he'll be wasting his time and turned towards Athena instead. "Have you been to the house since…?"
"Yeah. Last year just 'around Christmas when we were on the run." Ron replied before she could.
Athena looked at them and whispered, "…But we never entered the house."
"Do you think it's safe?" Elijah couldn't help but ask.
"No, we don't. Mr. Weasley, here is a curse breaker you see, but he too was unable to remove them… It's unusual," Robards told him thoughtfully. "…which is why we think it might be the blood wards."
"There's something in that house… something dark and sinister. I can still feel the residue of dark magic left behind that night," Bill suddenly told Athena. "…but there's something more. We wouldn't have put you in harm's way if it wasn't important."
"We're not taking any risk. We just need Athena to undo the wards and we'll handle it from there." Kingsley added.
Athena nodded at the two of them, ignoring her family who didn't look happy. She eyed the house which held both, the best and the worst parts of her life. Seeing as she had no other choice, Athena squared her shoulders and moved towards the gate, disregarding the people who were bickering fruitlessly. She didn't need to see but knew it was Ron who stepped beside her, intending to stay by her side no matter what. He probably knew what entering inside the cottage meant to her.
She grasped the snowy and thickly rusted gate and pushed it slightly, despite the fact that it was open, simply to steel herself for whatever was to come. Just like last time, a sign rose out of the ground, up through the tangles of nettles and weeds in golden letters, starling everyone but her and Ron. The two of them had been here the last time as well, but as she looked, she saw some new initials and messages carved into the wood with the everlasting ink. The most recent of those shining brightly over seventeen years' worth of magical graffiti, which hadn't been there last time, all said similar things.
Good luck, Athena, wherever you are.
If you read this, Athena, you have saved us all!
Long live Athena Potter.
She snorted at the irony of the words and moved towards the door slowly. It too was broken off the hinges, but it was too dark to see much of anything inside.
She heard Bill's voice, suddenly making her aware of his presence behind her along with the others. A flash of white light erupted from the wand, illuminating the surrounding area, making it easier to see heaps of rubble around them. The floor creaked under their feet as they moved forward, but before she could move further, Athena collided with something and lost her balance.
"Are you alright?" Elijah asked, helping her up and her nose wrinkled when she felt something wet and sticky on her hands.
"BLIMEY…" suddenly Ron exclaimed, startling her.
Her ears picked up a muttered curse and her eyes went back to her friend, who had turned sickeningly pale and was staring at something with horror. She followed his gaze, which turned out to be her biggest mistake. Her eyes too went wide and her heart sank when she saw what or moreover who it was. No matter what she did, she couldn't stop staring at the body or what was left of it. Her knees felt weak and she would've collapsed if it hadn't been for Elijah.
He tried to pull her, but she fought.
"Let's go, Athena…" he mumbled to her slowly, but she stayed where she was, frozen.
"You can't stay here… Come on, now…" He tried again, but she shook her head with a mumbled, "No."
'It had not happened… It could not have happened…'
She did not want to leave. She did not want to move anywhere and she tried to push the hands holding her. Surprisingly, whoever was holding her let her go, but then another voice whispered, "Come on love."
The voice was soft and she turned, only to see the face of her dad. Warm hands held her as he pulled her to him and she obeyed without really thinking about it.
"Bring him back." She murmured, walking blindly as Klaus led her outside.
"Bring him back." She begged as incomprehensible shouts stabbed the night.
Once outside, Klaus looked at her, eyes filled with grief, and whispered, "I'm so sorry, sweetheart."
Her eyes burned with tears and she blinked to clear the haze. It was as if coming out of a trance and she pushed him aside. She only had enough time to turn and vomited violently even before they could reach the gate. She felt someone rubbing her back soothingly, muttering something, but the scene danced in front of her even with her eyes screwed shut and she vomited again. Her body felt hot and cold at the same time and a tiny moan escaped her throat unknowingly. She couldn't do anything but heave when she saw the blood on her hands. No longer in control of herself, she curled into the body which was holding her. Mumbled voices reached her ears but she couldn't understand them. She breathed shallowly through her mouth after the voice told her to breathe. She felt pressure on both sides of her body and realised that she was being lifted, but made no move to stop whoever it was.
She wondered if she could've done something to save him as she floated into the darkness with the image of Hagrid's head lying on the floor of her parent's cottage, mouth hanging open and wide eyes staring right into her green ones accusingly.
He couldn't get the image of Athena, his fierce daughter – trembling like a leaf, begging him to bring her friend back, out of his head. For once, he was thankful that she had passed out as soon as they had reached home, for he did not know how to console her in this situation. She had already lost so many people, but the worst thing was that she had to see the askew body parts of her friend that had been discarded on the floor.
There was anger seething underneath the surface of his skin as he stared at the letter in his hand. It had been pinned to the wall, where anyone could easily find it. He was just glad she hadn't seen it.
You and I have been playing the game of life and death for years now.
'Love' has saved you time and again, but this time, it will be your end.
It's time to finish it once and for all.
See you soon,
The wizards didn't know who 'M' was, but according to the ginger, Ronald, it could be Marvolo.
Tom Marvolo Riddle.
This at least had made the minister believe that it could be Voldemort and not just the death eaters.
He didn't say it out loud, but he and both his siblings had a strong suspicion that Hagrid was killed by a vampire. He didn't know if they had a spell to drain blood from a body, but that was unlikely as the condition the body was in, couldn't be anyone but a predator.
Klaus eyed the friends of her daughter, Weasley, and Longbottom, who were sleeping on the couch. They had refused to leave until she woke up. He was just glad that she wouldn't be alone after waking up. He felt fear curling in his stomach as he looked at Athena. She whimpered in her sleep, looking vulnerable lying in the bed and his fury resurfaced again. He might not have been there when she was growing up, but now he was going to kill anyone and everyone who tried to take her away from him. She was his and no one was allowed to mess with anything that belonged to him.
Salvatore Boarding House
Stefan frowned when he heard someone knocking on the door. Caroline was staying at Bonnie's, who was still trying to find out anything she could about Elena. He could hear Damon's breathing from his room and knew that it wasn't Athena. The girl always appeared with a loud pop and never knocked as she practically lived here now. He blurred downstairs and was followed by Damon, and the brothers shared a puzzled glance before opening the door. Shock crossed their faces and jaws dropped open in an identical manner when they saw who it was.
"Elena?!" he exclaimed.
The girl in question looked ready to collapse or break-down any second now, covered in blood which wasn't her own. There was another thing that left them speechless – the girl standing in front of them wasn't human anymore.
Grief wasn't new to her. She had experienced it all her life. It was something that always managed to sneak up on her quietly and fill her whole world with darkness. She couldn't stop thinking about Hagrid – the person who showed her this whole new world which changed her life, who had always been her friend, who had given her the first birthday cake she remembered, who had fought for her with every step of the way. Memories played like a song in her head, repeating themselves for what seemed like forever and she struggled to accept the fact that he was gone. She was lying somewhere on the ground, staring at the vast sky ahead, but the heaviness in her limbs felt like she could stay like this forever.
She had found herself in her bedroom, with Ron and Neville sleeping on the couch as soon as she had opened her eyes. She had heard Rebekah talking to Elijah about her worriedly and though some part of her felt grateful to have people who cared about her, it was hidden by the fact that she didn't deserve their love because all it would do is lead them to their deaths. So, without giving it much thought, she had vanished out of there before any one of them could notice. She couldn't even bring herself to care enough to leave a note. What good it would do? She was going to die anyway. Probably, it would be better if they gave up on her before she could do more harm.
The silence and the stillness, broken only by the occasional chirping of birds or the sound of waves was unbearable. If her surroundings could have reflected the feelings inside her, the world would have been on fire, screaming with agony. Another person died because of her. The terrible hollowness inside her was something she had become accustomed to… and she couldn't stand it. She didn't want to feel it anymore.
Athena felt like she was lost and everything was spinning out of control. It hadn't been easy after she lost Sirius, but she had Fred, who had categorically refused to let her wallow in misery alone and had been by her side... until he too left. Finding her family had been a blessing and falling in love with Damon had been unexpected. The connection she shared with him wasn't something she had with anyone else. Probably, this was what finding the missing piece of your soul felt like, and for a moment, she had believed it to be true… believed herself to be someone else – Athena Mikaelson, who had a family that loved her, friends, and a happy life. For a moment, she had forgotten that she was the cursed Athena Potter until it all came crashing down.
She had never felt more trapped inside her head and body, never wished so intensely that she could be somebody — anybody but Athena.
She knew heartbreak and sorrow… had felt as it broke you until you feel like you should be ten feet under and then takes away your only ray of sunshine. It was just the price you had to pay for loving someone and she knew it was never going to get better.
Suddenly, she felt like a part of herself was gone, vanished into thin air just like that. Suddenly, the last couple of months felt like a dream – all the smiles shared with her family and friends, Damon's tender touch, eyes filled with love, the stolen moments felt unreal.
She wanted to hug her dad one last time. She wanted to see Kol, Rebekah, and Elijah smiling before she couldn't anymore. She wanted to apologise to Stefan and Elena's friends for the disruption caused in their lives because of her. And she wanted to feel Damon's lips against her own before he realised that loving her had been his worst mistake… worse than anything Katherine or Elena could be, but she discarded the idea as soon as it entered her mind. She didn't think she would be able to handle him telling her that he was better off and she should've never come to Mystic Falls in the first place.
She had felt hope for a moment… just a tiny flicker against the wind and she had tried to keep it before it was cruelly ripped away from her in no time at all. She knew now that there was no end to this suffering and she could do nothing but be the puppet in the hands of fate.
Now, there was only one thing she could do… Ending Tom Riddle and his cronies before they had another chance to destroy another life. She touched the two vials of blood resting in her purse. They weren't enough, but they will have to do.
She was going to end him for the final time tomorrow. She will.
Mystic Falls Cemetery
(The evening before the full moon)
"You — bloody — prick— Athena — Potter!"
Hermione shouted as soon as she saw Athena, standing casually in front of a tombstone.
"You — vanish — without — a — word — for — two — days — just — after — Hagrid — HOW COULD YOU DO THIS?"
Athena didn't reply and braced herself for more. Her vanishing act must've stressed Hermione more than she had anticipated, so she stayed quiet, knowing her friend wasn't done yet. What she hadn't expected was a swift slap on the face. The force of it knocked her backward onto the ground and she gaped up at the brown-haired witch. Only then noticing that her eyes were bloodshot, looking as if she hadn't slept for days.
"Hermione!" said Athena as she clambered to her feet. "Calm —"
"I will not calm down!" she screamed.
With a sudden jolt, Athena realised that Hermione looked just as she had before leaving them in the forest of Dean… completely demented. There was no way this Hermione would be helping her… not until she calmed down, at least.
"Hermione, will you please —" Athena tried again.
"Don't you tell me what to do, Athena Potter!" she screeched. "Don't you dare! Do you know how worried everyone is?!"
Athena winced, knowing she deserved it, and Hermione continued, "And then you send me your Patronus… asking me not to tell anyone and to meet you here alone!"
"Well, what do you want me to say?" Athena asked with a shrug.
"What do I…?" Hermione repeated perplexed before adding sarcastically, "Have you gone absolutely mad!? Why don't you take a couple of seconds to think about anyone but yourself? Think what your disappearance did to us? To your own family? To Damon?"
Athena visibly recoiled as if struck again, but her eyes hardened and she bellowed, "Do you think I want this? Any of this?" she waved her hands wildly, emphasizing on the cemetery. "Hagrid was my friend and he's dead because of me! And they killed Elena – a muggle who had nothing to do with all of this!"
"Wait, Elena? The one who's locket was found in Godric's Hollow?" Hermione shook her head. "Athena, she' not dead."
Athena frowned. "What? But…"
"She's not dead… not really. They turned her." told Hermione.
"How do you…?"
"Ron told me. He and Neville are in Mystic Falls." Hermione replied.
Athena blinked, feeling more confused than ever. Why would they take her, just to turn her into a vampire, only to let her go? It would mean that Tom was planning something.
"Elena returned after you… left," she said in a low voice, "With the deaths – everyone's been going insane, especially your dad and Damon."
Athena didn't want to hear this, but Hermione continued nevertheless, "I believe you warded yourself? Well, they're trying to search for you by any means possible. They've been threatening people left and right – Klaus even threatened to torture Kingsley if something happened to you. And let's not talk about Damon. It's just that I never thought I'd feel sorry for the guy… not until I saw him myself."
"I'm sorry," she said in a thick voice. "I'm so sorry for the pain I'm causing everyone, but — I just —"
Athena looked around at the darkness, suddenly glad that no one could see her misery, but she didn't know what else to do. If she got a chance, she would do anything… anything for their forgiveness, but now – with her future ascertained, she couldn't risk any more lives. It has always been irrefutable.
For once, her friend understood what she couldn't speak. The next thing she knew, Hermione threw herself at her, hugging Athena with all her might. She could feel tears soaking through her shirt and took a shuddering breath before pulling back. They both knew it was almost time and they couldn't delay. There wouldn't be another red moon for years to come and it was no secret that harnessing the power from the moon could amplify the powers of a witch tenfold.
She had been working on it for quite some time now and just hoped that the potion would be enough to stall her transformation until they finish the final ritual.
The sky was darkening as they carefully laid out the points of a pentagram using a concoction of various ingredients that formed a white powder. The pentagram and the circle needed to be perfect, so Athena checked it at least thrice before nodding to herself. Once done, she dripped the oil carefully around the circle on the ground. The spell was supposed to confine a person within the marked space, preventing anyone from entering or leaving.
She stepped back and looked up to the sky, which had darkened to a deep red hue. The spell specialized in sacrificial magic, binding powers, and summoning ritual. Lastly, she placed the silver bowl in the circle and started pouring the ingredients in it – angelica-root, eyes of the newt, a mixture of herbs, bone of a dead man, the heart of a living being and lastly the blood from the two vials she had stolen, both from Kol and Rebekah. Mixed with a few drops of her blood, Athena prayed for it to be enough.
Finally, for the spell to work, she required Hermione's help along with her ancestral magic, moon, and the sun as binding agents. She knew how dark the ritual was and how much power she needed to bind death to do the summoner's bidding.
She was about to light the matchstick, when Hermione grabbed her wrist, stopping her in her track. She stared imploringly and asked, "Are you sure?"
Athena looked at her friend and tried to give a small smile. She knew it didn't work when Hermione's face crumpled even further. "I am." She whispered.
"Athena, you don't have to do this. We can find another way. Please, think about Damon. You didn't see him…" Hermione pleaded again.
"That's quite enough!" Athena snapped harshly, surprised that her voice came out stronger than she felt at the moment. If stopped now, she wouldn't be able to go through it. Hermione might not understand, but she did. She had seen Death, had seen how cruel he was, how angry and he wouldn't stop until he made her suffer. If by offering her soul, she could save her loved ones, she would willingly do anything he said.
"Do you know how it feels to find your family when you've been an orphan your whole life? Do you even have an inkling how it felt when I survived, but Fred didn't? My parents or Sirius, Cedric, Remus, Tonks, Snape… and now Hagrid, Aberforth, Elena, and possibly Narcissa Malfoy. They're dead because of me! I've always felt guilty for falling in love again… I still do. I've always wanted a family of my own, but every time I get close, it gets ripped right through my fingers." Athena said, surprising Hermione at the sudden outburst. "Do you remember what happened in 'The Tale of the Three Brothers'? Do you remember how angry Death was for losing the three potential victims? Well, he still is and it all comes down to the hollows. I think I'm the first one to possess the three and it makes me…"
"…the master of death." Hermione piped-up.
Athena nodded before stating slowly, "It is believed that the Deathly Hallows were created by Death as a reward to the Peverell brothers for having evaded him. It was assumed that becoming the 'Master of Death' will grant a form of immortality, but… but what if it's a lie? Because wasn't it Death himself, who led the brothers to their death?"
Taking a deep breath, she added, "You know, all I wanted was to be with my family – mum, dad, and Sirius. I never wanted the Hollows in the first place. I don't even know why I kept them as I've never been afraid of dying. What if… what if the true master is the one who does not seek to run away from Death? What if it's the one who accepts that death is inevitable, and understands that there are far worse things in the living world than dying?"
"And what exactly do you think 'he' wants?" asked Hermione, her tone somewhere between scepticism and curiosity.
"What if it's just a game?" said Athena quietly. "I was confused the first time I saw 'him'. He warned me that there would be consequences of playing with Death when I bought Damon back. I realised it Bonnie told me that the identity she had felt was too dark… worse than black magic and it was her grandmother who warned her – her dead grandmother."
"Sorry?" Hermione gaped; disbelief etched on her face; positive that she was missing something.
"Think about it, Hermione. The world is filled with immortal beings, so why me? Why would 'he' go to such lengths and bring Voldemort back?" asked Athena impatiently.
"Because you're the only one who has been able to evade him again and again…" Hermione whispered with half a glance at her.
Athena said passively. "Also, because he perceived the hollows as gifts..."
"And you've disregarded them blatantly… despite being a human." Hermione finished.
"It's a theory." Athena shrugged. "Now you know why I have to do this."
Hermione pursed her lips, no doubt disagreeing but didn't say anything else. Athena saw her lips wobbling, but turned away as ripples of cold undulated over her skin. She wanted to shout out to the moon, she wanted her dad and Damon to know that she loved them, she wanted to see them one last time, she wanted them to know the reason she'd left them, she wanted to apologise over and over. She wanted to be stopped, to be dragged back by anyone… but she couldn't. Not when she'd come so far.
"It's time," Athena whispered, looking upwards at the sky. The sun was almost hidden from view now and sunlight would be blocked by the earth's shadow within minutes, turning it completely dark, giving her just enough time to work.
Athena stepped into the circle and looked around. She couldn't see the spirit, but she could feel its presence nearby and whispered, "Come on. Let's finish this."
Hoping, the spirit too was inside the circle, she nodded to Hermione, who braced herself, concentrating enough to start the spell.
Once inside, she sliced her palm enough for the blood to drip into the bowl. Deciding that she didn't have time for guilt, she pulled the torn picture of Bonnie and dropped it along with other ingredients. Once satisfied, she lit a matchstick and dropped it into the bowl.
With a Whoosh – the whole ignited at once, flaring up with an eerie steady flame, confining Athena inside the circle.
Holding her hand out, palm upwards, Athena waited for the ghost of touch she knew she would feel as soon as the spirit touched her. Soon enough, she shivered as she felt the cold breath of wind whispering in her ear, "Are you ready?"
"No." she mumbled through gritted teeth as Hermione began to chant.
Vi luna in sanguinem ;
Et sanguis sanguinem meum
Mors mihi ligándi offero.
Athena took a shuddering breath and clenched her eyes shut. She grasped at her tether to the spirit and focussed with all the magic she had. Their magic felt familiar and she felt it's warmth seeping into her skin as it grew stronger.
Ego voco super potentia Bennett pythonissam
Hermione's voice grew stronger and louder as she continued chanting. The world stood silent around them and the circle blazed, almost hiding Athena from the view, but she didn't stop even as the circle of fire shot upwards, creating a huge cylinder of blinding light.
Athena felt a new power surrounding her and drew a shaky gasp of indrawn breath when she felt someone holding her hands. Her eyes snapped open, only to widen when she saw the spirit glowing brightly. She was unable to see his face, but instead of a floating mist, he was taking the corporeal form steadily right in front of her eyes. The wind was howling and suddenly, she felt like the fire was burning her sides, growing wilder and wilder rapidly.
Her feet lifted off the ground as she rose into the air gracefully. His hold on her hands tightened when she tried to pull back and all of a sudden, she was scared. Her eyes flared with white light, her hair flailing around by the fierce wind and a terrible scream erupted from her throat. Her eyes flew open but whatever she was seeing, or whatever she was feeling, was causing her anguish.
The ingredients crackled in the bowl before burning out completely. There was a deafening crack of thunder and a blast of wind exploded from all directions, snuffling the light out. She hit the ground, almost hitting her head in the process with a pained groan as the thunder rumbled into silence slowly.
She fought to stay conscious when she heard a familiar voice… blinking blearily at the figure hovering above her, Athena noticed that he had long dark hair and blue eyes, but other than that, she couldn't focus. She rolled onto the side with a pained cry, feeling like her limbs didn't belong to her anymore. Everything was hurting like she had been thrown from the top of Astronomy tower. It was as if the pain had taken over and even breathing took effort.
"You're alright." A voice whispered, and it took all her strength to open her eyes and stare at him.
With every ounce of strength she could muster, Athena raised her head a few inches and choked out, "It wo-rk-d? Yo-u 're 'ere?"
Looking up at the sky, he said, "Gather your power. We don't have much time."
Athena squinted up at him when she heard another voice.
"Athena? Athena?! Please tell me you're alright!"
Hermione, she realised. Eventually, she mumbled a soft – 'm fine', faintly aware that the rays of the sun were breaking over the horizon. Eventually feeling stable enough, she sat up with Hermione's help, but her hands were shaking.
She looked around, frowning when she realised that the two of them were alone. "Mione? Where…?"
Hermione looked at her worriedly, contemplating something and said, "Didn't you see? He – he turned into a bright light and vanished inside you."
Athena felt like her head was going to split in two, but she gaped at the witch, utterly bemused and asked, "What?"
Hermione shook her head and asked instead, "How are you feeling?"
"Fine." Athena murmured, not looking at her. "You should leave."
"What? No! I'm not gonna leave you alone!" Hermione stated stubbornly, determination lacing her tone.
"Don't make me regret this." Athena snapped, her voice came out strained and rough. Hermione opened her mouth to protest but was stopped when Athena pleaded desperately, "Please, Hermione. I'm begging you… if not for Ron, please do it for the baby. Don't make me knock you out."
The look Hermione gave her was utterly wretched, but she nodded and threw herself at her friend one last time, crushing her with all her might. She kissed Athena on the cheek before pulling back completely and vanished with a loud crack.
Athena stayed frozen in place for a long time until she realised, she too would have to move. The spell was bound to the moon and will last until sunrise and that's how long she had to bind Death and force him to do her bidding.
'This was where everything started and this is where it would end.' thought Athena, looking up at the sky. She was in the park, feeling better than she ever had, knowing it was the power coursing through her body.
"Are you ready?" a voice full of mirth whispered.
She would've jumped out of her skin if it hadn't been for the fact that the same voice had been mumbling something or the other for the past hour now.
"Ugh! Go away!" she groaned.
"You're extremely ill-mannered. You're the one who asked for my help!" the same voice whispered dramatically and she resisted the urge to bang her head somewhere. She was about to retort something when he whispered again, this time seriously, "We're not alone. You better watch out."
And with that ominous warning, he was gone and she cursed out loud.
She had the elder wand but kept it hidden. She couldn't afford to lose it now. Her panic was rising steadily as she looked around. Shock crossed her face and her mouth dropped open when she saw Damon walking towards her.
"Damon?" she whispered. Something was wrong and she could feel it in her bones. Noticing that he was alone, she asked cautiously, "How – how did you find me?"
He didn't reply, just stared at her passively. At first, she thought that he was angry, but when she looked closer, she realised that it wasn't the case. His eyes were clear, but glassy at the same time as he stared at her blankly. His face was devoid of emotions and it didn't take her long to realise that he was under the influence of imperius curse. The knot in her stomach tightened. If Damon was here, it meant Tom and the death eaters were here as well. It could also mean that they had been keeping an eye on her.
And then, from right behind Damon, a drawling voice said, "Potter!"
Her eyes narrowed at the newcomer, hands clenched into fists and she hissed his name like a curse, "Lestrange."
If she played her cards right, she knew she could end him easily. Though for now, she kept the wand hidden, not wanting him to know that she had it. But her hopes were dashed and she felt her stomach churning when three black shapes emerged out of thin air surrounding her, blocking ways on each side and pointed their lit wand-tips directly at her heart. She didn't know who the other two were, but she recognised one as Amycus Carrow.
She eyed Rodolphus, who stopped beside Damon, wound one of his arms around his shoulder like they were old friends while twirling the wand in his other hand and grinned like a Cheshire cat.
Athena's insides plummeted sickeningly at the sight. Damon would've snapped his neck if he could've, but he gave no reaction whatsoever.
"Damon…" she breathed out-loud, unable to stop herself before her eyes met his captor. His face had hollowed out since the last time she saw him, making it gaunt and skull-like, but it was alive with a feverish, fanatical glow.
"Now that we have your boy-toy, do as I say or you'll find his pieces hanging just like the gatekeeper's," he said mockingly.
Athena let out a hollow laugh.
"Yeah, right!" she snorted despite herself. "I do as you say — And you'll just let him go, will you?"
"Ahh… but you're going to do as I say, Potter. We know about your great weakness for heroics – especially when it comes to your family." said Lestrange, sounding maliciously delighted; the Death Eaters laughed.
Her face went pale, suddenly realising that he could be telling the truth. If they got Damon, what's to say that her family was safe? One wrong move and they might kill not only Damon but others as well… The Mikaelson's were strong and her dad was stronger than anyone she had ever known. Everything she'd done – it could all be for nothing…
Fury ignited inside her when she saw his smug face. Remembering how Fred's expressions had fallen slack in front of her and Hagrid's glassy eyes as they stared back at her lifelessly was too much. With a low growl, she waved her hand, too fast for them to see and threw a ball of fire towards them. With a startled cry, Carrow jumped to the side, narrowly avoiding getting hit.
Rodolphus gawked, momentarily stunned by the wandless magic, before snarling. Waving his wand in a slashing motion, which Athena remembered from the Department of Mysteries, she managed to conjure a shield windlessly before the purple flame collided with it.
Gritting her teeth, she waved her hand, setting Lestrange's hand on fire. He jumped back with a pained scream.
One of them shouted.
Athena threw herself on the ground, dodging the curse and scrambled on her feet, hurling balls of fire towards them. It hit them on the chest, knocking them off their feet as they were thrown backward. She ducked when Carrow threw a hex at her but was too late as it slashed her jeans along with her leg like butter. She gritted her teeth to stop the scream of pain. Her knees buckled, but she couldn't give up now or they'll both be dead. Limping, she turned towards Carrow, and hissed inaudibly, 'Angebant et Mori.'
She stared motionlessly as Carrow struggled to breathe, the spell squeezing every mote of oxygen out of him. It didn't take long as the blood vessels in both his eyes burst, his face turning blue, mouth open in a silent scream and just like that, the light fades out of his eyes. He fell like his strings were cut, and with that, one of the death eaters fled.
Meanwhile, Rodolphus fired spells at his hand, frantically spraying jets of water, finally extinguishing the fire. Blank shock filled his face as he watched Potter doing dark magic and killing Carrow swiftly... that too with a spell none of them had heard before. His eyes filtered around wildly, realising that the two of them were alone, but determined that he wouldn't let Potter go… not this time.
Moving behind the vampire, more for the safety than anything else, he pointed his wand towards his chest and muttered, 'Comminuet Corde!'
Damon stayed where he was, but his face contorted with pain and he must've made some sound despite the effects of imperius curse because Athena whirled around, hand raised mid-air as if to strike, but froze.
Black veins were growing from Damon's neck, steadily rising towards his face and it looked like he was having a heart attack. He crumpled on his knees when Lestrange pushed him down, his fingers tightening in Damon's hair and he grinned manically.
He spat on the ground and said, "Your vampire will be dead within seconds and there is nothing you can do."
A whine of panic inside her head prevented her from thinking properly. She just knew she couldn't let Damon die. She didn't care about anything else; right now, saving Damon was her only priority.
"Let him go – let him go and I won't fight!" trembling, she begged.
"Please!" she cried as Damon's eyes rolled at the back of his head. "STOP!"
Rodolphus laughed, but her eyes stayed at Damon. A momentary distraction was all it took, so when the death eater shouted, "IMPEDIMENTA!"
She was knocked off her feet, her forehead slamming onto the ground, making her dizzy for a moment.
With a cry of triumph, Rodolphus raised his wand, whirled it through the air, and fired. For the first time today, Damon's eyes met her. They weren't vacant anymore but were horror-struck. Her eyes never strayed away from his as the flash of blue passed right through her. She couldn't keep her eyes open any longer and crumpled onto the floor where she lay motionless. She thought she heard someone screaming her name, but she gave into the darkness.
AN: I can imagine many of you being disappointed with this chapter. First, for Athena taking off without informing anyone, but I think, after feeling that she was the reason people died, she would want them to stay away from her. Second, what happened in Mystic Falls after she vanished will be in the next chapter. I also hope that I was able to explain Athena's side and why she did, what she did.
This turned out to be the longest chapter yet.
If you have any queries, I'll be happy to answer. 8 more chapters to go, including the epilogue.
Translation helpfully provided by Google:
Vi luna in sanguinem; et sanguis sanguinem meum; Mors mihi ligándi offero. – By virtue of blood moon; and the blood of my blood; I offer myself for the power to bind Death.
Ego voco super potentia Bennett pythonissam – I call upon the power of the Bennett witch.
Angebant et Mori – choke and die
Comminuet Corde – crush the heart
Thank you for the readers who are still with me on this story. Positive criticism is always welcome. Hope you and your loved ones are safe.
May 11th, 2020