"Damn him!" Tonks was shrieking out almost every other moment. Harry's head was cradled in her lap as Fleur rapidly cast first aid charms on him.
"It was still a good idea." She muttered, as she sealed a gash on his head that was bleeding into his eyes.
"No, it wasn't!" Tonks snapped back at her. "You don't use an exploding charm at that close of range! Especially that powerful of one!"
"Non." Fleur protested. "'ow could 'e 'ave possibly generated that full explosion without the maxima modifier! There must 'ave been a fuel source we did not know of!"
"I don't…" Tonks started to say, but cut herself off with several rapid blinks and a look around as she felt the edge of the wards wash over them.
Lily took a step back from the ruined front of the train with a tired smile on her face, watching the front section speed away into the distance. The smile faded when she looked back at the cluster of the others and saw her son laying there.
"How is he?" she asked Fleur, trying to keep the worry out of her voice. Fleur just shook her head as her wand movements started slowing down so that she could focus on talking to Lily.
"'e is very injured." She said without looking up. "I know enough to stabilize 'im, but I need more time. Even then, 'e will need someone far more skilled than me to 'eal 'im fully."
"You have until we stop." Lily answered immediately. "I don't expect the Death Eaters to check on this part of the train now that we are outside of the wards, but I do not want to risk it."
Fleur nodded and went back to work, with Tonks still cradling his head and cursing out his name frequently. Lily looked over at Hedwig.
"I know you don't want to leave Harry." She told her gently. "But I need you to go to the back to where we had all the muggles go, and tell them that as soon as the train stops, they need to immediately exit the train and flee. They saw you with us, so remind them that we are with the GIGN, and they should believe you."
Hedwig nodded and ran off, while Lily turned her attention back to the front of their part of the train. The engine and burning train cars were now far ahead of them, and it seemed to Lily that the Death Eaters had made no effort to stop the engine. She idly wondered if the muggles would be able to stop it at all considering the damage it had sustained. Speaking of stopping…
She glanced down at her ring, and the Resurrection Stone seemed to pulse as it answered an unasked question, and in her mind she thought she could hear the faint sound of whispers. Those that believed in the Hollows had no clue that the Elder Wand was not the most powerful of the three, not when used correctly that is. She suppressed a shiver from the thought of how powerful the one who united all three would be.
She walked over to the side of the train and tapped the wall with her wand, guided by Ring on what to do. Immediately, she felt the train cars starting to slow down as each car's brakes snapped down, throwing up a fresh cloud of sparks. Fleur noticed and looked around before focusing on her.
"I'm not done yet!" She protested, her wand still making its movements over Harry. "What are you doing?"
"Then hurry it up." Lily replied, earning her a dirty look from both Fleur and Tonks. "The muggles also need a chance to get away."
"Maybe you should start worrying more about your son!" snarled out Tonks. Like a switch being flipped, Lily became incensed and strode over to tower over her.
"And just what is it that you are trying to say?" She hissed out at her.
"I'm saying that I still don't trust you being who you say you are and you aren't doing a good job of backing your words with actions!" Tonks yelled back, her hair now a fiery red. She didn't notice that Fleur was trying to carefully move Harry's head from Tonks's lap into her own. "You show up, claiming you are his mother. You then combine that was a nearly unbelievable story about how you are alive and expect us to fully trust you with Harry's life. Guess what? I. Don't. Trust. You."
Lily snapped and reached down to grab Tonks by the front of her shirt. Hauling her to her feet, and with a loud snarl, she slammed her into the side of the train hard enough that the metal wall bent a little.
"Don't you dare question my motives." She hissed into Tonks's face. "If anyone should be questioning anyone's motives for MY son, it should be yours metamorph!" She spat the last word out like it was something filthy that had burned her tongue. Tonks's lip merely curled.
"Well." She answered with an odd tone in her voice. "It's nice to know that mot of the stories about you are complete shite. Also, good to know that neither of us trusts the other. Now let go of me."
"Or what metamorph?" Lilly sneered. "Your wand is dead remember?"
In response, Tonks grabbed hold of Lily's forearm and before she could even process what happened, Lily was on her back feeling the last dying vibrations of the train's momentum.
"I was trained by Alastor Moody." Tonks said, standing over her with crossed arms. "Which means I am never truly unarmed and helpless."
"If the two of you are finished." Came Fleur's voice, causing both of them to look over at her. Harry was cradled against her, and while her wand wasn't pointed at them per say, it definitely wasn't aimed away from them either. Hedwig stood behind her, her hands covering her mouth as she looked at the two women with slight fear in her eyes.
"If you are done, then I 'ave 'im stable enough that we can move 'im. So, the most important question is, where do we go now?"
"Same as before." Lily said as she climbed back onto her feet. "We need to keep heading east. Trust or not, I think we can all agree that we won't last long behind enemy lines."
"How?" Tonks objected. "The proof that they do not fear attacking muggle transportation to try and get at Harry is all around us. What do we do? Walk?"
"Non!" Fleur protested. "I said 'e was stable enough to move 'im, NOT that 'e was stable enough to continue 'eading east. We MUST find someplace to 'ide while 'e 'eals, because 'e will die if we try to keep moving east."
Lily opened her mouth to answer, but noticed that Hedwig timidly had her hand raised. She closed her mouth and raised an eyebrow at the young owl-turned-human.
"I just felt that you might want to know that I did what you asked, and that the people are running away." She pointed out one of the windows at the steady stream of muggles running away from the train as fast as they could. Off in the distance, she could see the flashing lights of emergency service vehicles speeding in their direction.
"Whatever we are going to do." She announced as her eyes tracked their progress. "We need to do it soon. We don't want to be here when the muggles show up… I just hope the Death Eaters don't decide to attack them."
"So, let's make sure I understand all of this." Hedwig said, some confidence coming back into her voice. "Master can't travel far due to his injuries, right?"
At Fleur's head nod, Hedwig's eyes took on a far away look as her head tilted to the side in a very owlish manner.
"Cant move far and need a place to hide…" she muttered softly, before her face brightened up with a wide smile. "Oh! That's easy!"
Her proclamation earned her a startled look from the other women.
"We go hide with her grandmother." Hedwig said simply, pointing at Fleur.
"Wait, what?" Fleur managed to splutter out, while Lily also took on a thoughtful look.
"Yeah!" Hedwig insisted. "It's well known even among the owls that the Veela enclaves are some of the best warded places on Earth. Your grandmother is the matriarch of the French Enclave, right? She can grant us access through those wards. We hide there for however long Harry needs, and then we leave."
This time it was Tonks of all people who objected with a small shake of her head.
"I don't think it will be as easy as you think." She told Hedwig gently. "They have those wards for a reason and are very wary about who they let near them, never mind through them."
"Is it not worth to at least try?" Hedwig persisted. "Its not like we have many other options, and no one can think of anything else."
Both Lily and Tonks look at Fleur, who in turn was watching the first of the emergency vehicles, a police van, pull up.
"I guess we don't." she finally said, and Hedwig beamed with pride.
"Lead the way." Lily told Fleur, and Tonks bent down to pick up Harry. Fleur though, just shook her head and held Harry tighter to her. Tonks hesitated, but then nodded in acceptance.
As the first local constables started to board the train, the five individuals apparated away, the cracks getting muffled by the loud voices of the muggle authorities who just couldn't explain what had happened.
A/N: A very short chapter, but if you could see the chapters coming up, I think you would forgive me. In the next two chapters, "Harry's Harem" reaches shelter at last, in a place from one of the darkest periods in France's history. Not everything is as it seems though, and secrets are revealed.
Chapter 17 though, is an absolute monster of a chapter, making up over 25 handwritten pages so far, and not even close to being done yet. In it, we at long last get a view of the front lines back home, and how much the wizarding world has changed in just 3 weeks' time.
In other news, despite the age of this story, only ONE person has correctly guessed the secret of Tonks, though in this chapter you get the clue that her heritage does not have a pleasant past.
Be sure to check out my short story on Amazon called The Cape Hatteras Incident.
As always, leave your reviews and let me know what you think of the chapter!