Chapter Eighty-two

Lucius Malfoy snarled as his robe got tangled in yet another bush. They should have already been at the castle, but the forest seemed to be fighting them for every step. Looking down at the clear path before him, Lucius rushed forward. He could see the last of the children rushing towards the castle; if he hurried he could catch a few. His foot caught in a tree root and he fell, landing solidly on the now rocky ground. Waiting for his breath to return Lucius heard soft laughter in the trees. The groans of pain from the other Death Eaters were the only thing that cheered him up. Thankfully their Lord was not with them, he would Portkey in when Lucius let him know it was safe to arrive. Pulling himself up, Lucius carefully walked forward, seething as he saw the children had disappeared into the castle.

His lungs burned as he ran through the castle. He had to get to the Potions lab. Sliding to a stop, his shoulder painfully connected with the heavy wooden door. Whispering the password, Draco burst into the room, slamming the door behind him. Looking at the clock, he groaned: 9:55. Looking at his clothes Draco ran off to his room to change.

At 10pm Draco ran back into the lab, his dark gray battle robes swirling around him. The potion hadn't changed color! Rainbow colors still swirled through the thick liquid. He had failed, oh Merlin! Draco's body began to shake with fear. The clock began to strike the hour. Draco froze, his eyes fixed firmly on the potion; he didn't breathe, didn't blink, nothing moved as he waited, all his hope and faith in the swirling liquid. As the ninth chime sounded the potion darkened and then turned midnight blue with iridescent white flecks.

"YES!" Draco shouted. Grabbing the potion off the shelf, Draco ran.

"Draco!" Blaise and Pansy shouted as they saw him. "Where are you going?"

The blond didn't answer. He didn't have time; he had to get to Gabriel. Rushing outside he could already see the Death Eaters emerging out of the forest. There was a blue glow around Hogwarts, and several students were transported out onto the lawn. When he saw Gabriel and his father talking Draco thought his heart would stop. There was no turning back now.

"I want to stay!" Tatiana demanded as she stomped her foot.

"We need you to be safe." Vincent insisted as he hugged her goodbye.

"We can help," Aubrey sniffed his large lavender eyes pleading.

"And you will," Mudiwa said as he kissed his cheek. "At Oma's you and the others will sit down and focus all your love into the crystal and we will send that energy to Gabriel." Aubrey nodded, obviously not happy, but knowing nothing was going to change.

"Come on," Ria said, holding Talha in one arm and reaching out to the others.

"We need to go so we can call everyone together as quickly as possible." Elena kissed Soto. "I'll see you soon."

"Yes, as soon as is possible."

With tears in their eyes the Portkey activated.

"Now that the women and children are gone, what should we do first?" Adonis asked.

Vincent blinked. "I didn't realize we had sent away all the women, I didn't think of it like that. Anyway, we need to sit in a circle with me in the middle; I'll be the connection between the other groups and Gabriel."

Quickly they all got into position. Clearing their minds they connected to Vincent, with their strength and energy ready to be sent to their Cherub.

The trees rustled, and shouts were heard. A werewolf howled. And Gabriel began to speak. Vincent took a deep breath, not letting his fear cloud his thoughts. He could feel glimmers of the other groups, but there wasn't a true connection yet. Splitting his focus, Vincent touched the edge of Gabriel's aura ready to send the energy on to him, but not wanting to distract his son.

Gabriel walked out of the tent into the crisp night air. The full moon hung low in the sky and lit the snowy ground in its soft light. Stars twinkled in the clear sky. It didn't look as if a battle was about to happen, as if evil itself was about to descend upon the school. Gabriel closed his eyes, feeling for where the Death Eaters were coming from, before walking out to where they would be emerging from the forest. Smoothly he knelt on the ground mindless of the cold.

"Hogwarts, please I need your help," Gabriel whispered as he connected with the wards. "Evil men are coming and hoping to take over the school. Please, I need your help to engage the ward allowing only those who mean no harm into the school." The castle's magic and sentience answered with a reassuring hum and together they pulled one of the oldest wards out of the very ground itself. It was a ward set up by Salazar Slytherin with the help of druids. It would block anyone, magical or Muggle, from approaching the castle. Slowly the ancient spell was brought to life; it pulsed and shuddered then burst forth only a few feet from the castle edge creating a sphere of protection around the school.

Worried that there could already be supporters of the Dark Lord in the castle, Gabriel directed the spell to scan Hogwarts. It wasn't long before several students appeared at the edge of the Forbidden Forest, ejected by the magic. After sending the castle his thanks Gabriel stood. Curses could be heard along with painful crashes. The trees sparkled with multi-colored lights as the fairies slowed the Death Eaters down. The students expelled from the castle gathered closely and glared at Gabriel while whispering furiously, too afraid to actually do anything just yet. Just as he saw figures in the trees Gabriel heard footsteps behind him. Turning, he gasped. There stood Hermione, Ron, Seamus, Luna, Justin, Dean, Neville and several other students who were in Hermione's defense group. "What's going on? What are you doing out here?"

"This is our world too, and we want to help protect it." Ron said his voice strong yet uncertain.

"You do understand that Death Eaters are coming and that I fully expect to see Voldemort himself soon?" The angry howl of a werewolf echoed through the night. "That was a werewolf; please go back inside where it's safe."

"No," Hermione stuttered. "We are going to help."

Black robed figures broke through the foliage; it was too late.

"The castle and the forest are the safest places to go if you need any help. Stay behind me and don't attack until they do," Gabriel ordered the students. Getting nods of agreement he turned to the approaching Death Eaters. There were at least a hundred led by Lucius Malfoy and Bellatrix Lestrange. "Good evening, can I be of any help?" Gabriel asked as he walked forward.

"You foolish brat!" Lucius snarled. "You will fall this night."

"Well, you can certainly try."

"You stupid boy, how can we fail?" the mad witch cackled. "The Dark Lord's most powerful followers are before you, and behind us hungry vampires and werewolves."

As if summoned the dark creatures walked out of the forest stepping into the pale moonlight. Several of the students cried out in fear, and the creatures responded with cruel smiles, showing their fangs.

It was time. Reaching into his shirt Gabriel pulled out the amulet and lengthened the chain enough to hold it above his head. Walking forward he called out, "I am a member of the Magical Creatures Council, if you attack me, you attack them."

Lucius was unaware that the dark creatures had begun backing up, as out of the shadows the council began to appear, Lysander and his team coming behind the group, swords drawn ready for battle. The surface of the lake rippled, and Selkie warriors emerged from the dark water, their magic swirling around their hands, black eyes cold and calculating.

Hermione gasped and looked around. "Ron, look!" Turing to the roof of the castle Ron and the others saw dozens of vampires waiting, silhouetted in the moonlight.

"Your necklace means nothing, boy. And if you think for one minute that we're afraid of you and your little friends, you're sorely mistaken."

As one the Death Eaters raised their wands. "Crucio!"

Gabriel threw up a shield protecting everyone standing behind him, As the spells ended Gabriel fell to the ground with a gasp.

"Children shouldn't do such power spells, aw… poor ikkle baby," Bellatrix crooned.

"Gabriel!" Draco called, falling to his knees next to his lover. "Baby, are you okay?" Taking his limp boyfriend in his arms, Draco made eye contact with his father and gave a slight nod. "Love, I need you to drink this for me, okay? It will help, but it will take a while to take effect." With a trembling hand Draco pressed the vial to Gabriel's red lips and watched the potions disappear.

Lifting his hand to his mouth Lucius spoke into his ring. "It is safe, my Lord."

The students screamed as Voldemort appeared before them, his gray skin even more ghastly in the moonlight and his red eyes glowing. Walking towards the black-haired boy he grinned triumphantly. "It is time this is ended. You and your little friends can do nothing! Congratulations, young Malfoy, you shall be properly rewarded for your help."

"You lying snake!" Ron yelled.

"Lucius, Bellatrix, please take care of these insolent children, and clear the way into Hogwarts for me. I'll take care of Potter."

Gabriel gasped and forced his body into a kneeling position, he desperately wanted to meet Tom on his feet.

"No, don't bother getting up," Voldemort sneered as he walked closer. Gabriel heard his classmates call out spells as the Death Eaters advanced on them. Reaching over his shoulder, Gabriel pulled his sword out of its scabbard with a groan. The metal rang as it hit the ground. "Don't worry, boy, when I re-tell this story I'll make sure to say how you fought until the very end."

Black robes swirled in front of him, and Gabriel looked up.

"You have great strength, and no control. I've recently come across a spell to remove a person's magical core; you will stay still while I try it out on you. Draco, hold him."

Draco's arms wrapped around Gabriel as a skeletal hand reached down and touched his forehead. As soon as the cold finger touched his skin, Gabriel leapt into action. Pushing off the ground he drove the katana through Voldemort's body. The razor sharp steel cut through his body like it was nothing, the silver tip bursting out his back. In that moment a hundred different things happened. Gabriel began to chant the ancient incantation. Fawkes and Mbiriviri appeared, dropping Aurora onto the Dark Lord. Aurora bit the madman, injecting him with poison. Instantly his nervous system began to shut down, and a huge amount of Voldemort's magic went into fighting the poison rather than Gabriel.

The two phoenixes circled around them creating a circle of protection, which no one could enter. They began singing and a glow surrounded the Dark Lord's body as his soul was called forth.

Draco prayed the potion would work. His wand was drawn and he was ready to help when he could. His father pounded on the barrier, glaring at him, and Draco knew his father would try and kill him as soon as he got the chance.

A voice called out over the battle. "I am Voltaire, head of the Magical Creatures Council. Those of you who would like protection sit down now and we will see to you after the battle; for those of you who choose to fight, we will kill you." Pausing a moment Voltaire waited to see if anyone would sit down. He was happy when several vampires and werewolves sat right where they were. "Attack!"

The vampires swooped down from the roof of the castle. Surrounding the students they fought against the Death Eaters. Voltaire smiled as the children sent out curses from between them.

The Selkies surged forward, calling to the water inside those who would hurt them. Jaime closed his eyes as he took all the water from an enraged werewolf. Hurrying he tried to get to his friend.

Lysander grinned as the call to attack was heard. Ruthlessly he cut down those in front of him, his sword whistling as it sliced through the night. One of the other vampires yelled: "Merrik!" A tall, vicious-looking vampire came forward.

"I was hoping I would meet you tonight," Lysander snarled.

"Do you want to join me?"

"No, I seek vengeance."

"For whom?"

"Marcy."

Merrik's eyes widened. He attacked. Before he even touched Lysander his body was in two pieces on the forest floor. Merrik blinked up at the angry warrior.

"You will not hurt anyone else ever again!" With one fluid stroke Lysander severed the vampire's head from his body. Lysander allowed himself a brief second of satisfaction before turning back to the battle. More than half of the remaining vampires were now sitting down.

A blinding explosion of light had the vampires shying away. Neville was separated from the group.

"Poor wittle baby, are you lost?"

For a moment he was caught between fear and anger, then he stood up, his back straight and head held high. Turning he faced the woman who took his parents from him.

"What's the little baby going to do?" Bellatrix cooed at him as she raised her wand.

Strength and power flowed into Neville; he raised his wand and a green light shot from it and the insane witch fell to the ground.

Gabriel, meanwhile, was shaking with effort. Energetically he followed the sword into Tom's body and then began looking for his soul. At first he couldn't find it, and then the potion Draco had fed him started to take effect. Suddenly he could see the wispy fragment of Tom's soul. Everything else slipped away and Gabriel's focus was sharp and clear. It wasn't as hard to work with the spiritual world as he'd feared it would be, especially with a battle going on all around him.

As he chanted, cobweb-thin strands went out from the shard of soul. As he continued to chant Gabriel sent his magic into the soul fragment and down the strands; it took longer than he'd expected for his magic to reach the different pieces of Voldemort's soul. Gabriel took a raspy breath. He felt as if he couldn't breathe, his body, magic and life-force were all stretched to their very limits. Focusing on the soul energy Gabriel began to pull the pieces together. Merlin, it was hard; he wasn't sure he could do it. Slowly he pulled on the pieces of soul, trying desperately to loosen them from their prison.

Vincent was becoming desperate; the energy wasn't any greater than when he'd felt the first spark. He gasped as his son's aura shrank almost to nothing. They needed to do something soon! Gabriel's life-force flickered. "No, please no!" Vincent cried in his mind. The spark began to grow. Slowly at first, then in a rush of magic, love and power. Instantly the gypsies added their own and sent it to Gabriel. They breathed as one keeping the connection open, sending their beloved Cherub everything they could.

Gabriel screamed as his body was flooded with even more power. Groaning he pulled again, and the soul began to draw together. He could feel his family with him. As the energy kept coming, the different parts of the soul moved closer and closer together. Throwing everything he had into Tom's soul, Gabriel finished the incantation. The soul fragments and magic combined, swirling together until the pieces were once again together, and whole.

Gabriel laid back against Draco. His face and lips were colorless and his breath was coming in shallow pants. Voldemort's body was lifeless beside them and Tom Marvolo Riddle hovered above them. He was a handsome teenager once again. Transparent tears fell down his cheeks. "Thank you, Gabriel Alec Dragonheart."

Tom disappeared into a soft golden light as Gabriel collapsed.

"NO! Merlin, Gabriel, please no!" Draco screamed tears filling his eyes. The two phoenixes landed on Gabriel's still body and began to cry.

"Gabriel!"

Draco turned and saw his lover's family rushing from the tents.

Despite the fall of their leader the Death Eaters didn't stop fighting. Adonis saw Severus fighting against a man with a pug nose and black hair. Behind him a troll-like man came up and pointed his wand at Severus' back. Running with everything he had Adonis rushed to save his lover, throwing himself the last few feet. Adonis screamed as his leg was sliced open, the force of the intercepted curse breaking his bone.

"You are no longer protected, Draco."

Lucius stepped closer to his son. Draco's arms were filled with his lover and two crying phoenixes. "Thank goodness I have your brother as my heir."

A flash of silver flew through the air as a throwing star sank deeply into Lucius' wrist. Before he could react he felt a sharp burning in his leg. Looking down he saw a black, iridescent snake slithering away towards his son. Lucius couldn't even say a word before he fell to the ground.

"Are you okay? How is he?" Vincent asked Draco as he fell to his knees.

"I don't know. I can feel him breathing but each breath shakes his whole body, and he's so pale."

"If you can clear a path I can carry him to the hospital wing."

"Yes," Draco answered, "let's go."

As they turned towards the castle they saw all the Death Eaters had been taken care of. Mudiwa was carrying a very bloody Adonis as Severus guided him through the crowds. Naveen and Soto were helping the injured. Feeling a tug on his robes, Draco looked down and picked up Aurora. "Thank you for killing him. Let's go, we don't want to miss it when he wakes up."

Draco felt his heart falter as Gabriel's limp body swayed with his father's movements. He just had to be okay.