I never thought it would come to this, not for me, and not for them. Sure I knew who I was, I'd known since I was around ten - it was a security thing for me to know, meant I was less likely to get in trouble I couldn't get out of or something. I was never sure Katya wanted me to know, I think she wanted me to remain just her daughter, Anna Krakowska. The problem was I was so much more, I was born so much more.
Now, with another kid not much older than me covering my six, I pointed the spare gauntlet at the dark, praying no one came round the barely visible dark corner. I hadn't a clue how to use these, sure I'd seen film of them on Mamochka but then, who hadn't?
There were wasps in my stomach, more vicious than harmless butterflies. There was too much at stake for butterflies. I could barely see into the dark ahead and could feel my heart galloping in my chest. Even through the fear though something felt right. This adrenaline ran in my blood, it was in my nature not just my upbringing. I wasn't worthless.
Even the jacket I wore, the one I had stolen when I broke into her apartment, it was as if I was aware of every part of me that it touched. For the first time I wore my own name on the back of the outdated shield hoodie. Today was the first day since I was brought to america that I wasn't Anya Krakowska. I was finally Rose Romanoff.
I knew it was all to keep me safe, I knew I was a massive liability on the field. I knew that I was an easy way to affect my Mamochka's emotions, the one thing that could make her take a wrong turn, a wrong turn that in her hands could bring the world to it's knees. I had the gene, the one she got from her Mamochka, the one that said who we really were but again, one detail that could cause huge amounts of trouble for Mamochka, and the wider world. I was one of the very unlucky ones, I was a female with Haemophilia.
There was a twitch in the dark, my eye caught it instantly - muscle memory from my foster mother's basic training - the air in in my lungs crouched and refused to move. I had to be ready, I had to be silent and I had to watch everything as closely as I could. A cat jumped of a distant dumpster, my breathing kickstarted once again. Der' mo.
I'd always thought the only way I would see combat would be in a kidnap. Katya had done all she could to keep my identity safe, but my blood work and red hair would sell for millions, any hospital visit was a risk. Any new school, new teacher, new neighbour, even for the highly trained ex-shield agent who posed as my Mom I was always at risk. I couldn't even claim I was from Russia, had to make out I was Polish instead, had to change my name, if we ever visited a big place I had to wear high quality wigs to cover my red hair.
I was a serious asset, but also a serious issue.
"Jeez, bloody cat, thought I was going to have to break the law there." The voice from behind me hissed, trying to lighten the mood a little. We were both new to this, both raised in the shadow of parents unlike any other.
My right arm was killing me but I didn't dare lower my wand. I knew it was my best luck, even a simple Petrificus Totalum could bye us time. I thought about Mum, thought how it would ruin her career if her daughter used an unforgivable curse. I thought about Dad, Gran, Uncle Harry, all the good people I knew who, back in the war, had used unforgivables. If it wasn't for their lawbreaking I'd never have been born. They would all have been dead.
I knew enough, Dad always said I had my Mum's brains and was cleverer than he was by the time I was six years old. The only practise I'd had was books, and they can only teach you so much. If only I'd had the same DADA lessons they had back in the nineties, before they tightened the belt on who could teach and what they could teach. By my age my parents could both cast a patronus, I hadn't even had the need to try.
The girl at my back, pressed against my spine, she knew a very different world, a world full of science and technology, not much like the world of magic which I had grown up in. I had a wooden stick that she had no reason to trust would even work. I wasn't sure I trusted it to work. I stared into the dark, picturing wand movements in front of me. Did I even know the movement for Crucio?
In order to cast such a horrible spell you had to mean it. I knew that, but I wasn't sure if I could ever mean it, and even worse, could I mean anything enough to kill a person? Did I have the strength for something so horrible. I knew all my family members had only cast these spells with other people they loved at risk. Was the world as a whole enough? Was knowing my little brother would never make his O.W.L's enough? I had to pray that, like it had for Mum and Dad, the power would be there when I needed it. That I was strong enough, wise enough and brave enough to make them proud.