I hope that you've all been safe during this time of great uncertainty. To cheer you up, I thought that I'd finish posting the last couple of chapters of 'the Cursebreaker and the Goblet of Fire'. Can you believe that we're up to Chapter 14 already? Blimey, the time sure has flown passed.
Don't forget to follow, favourite and review! (Reviews are better than pancakes, lol)
Hope you enjoy! - S.G.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or its characters. I just use that world to escape from time-to-time ...
Pancakes and Nightmares
"I won't let you hurt them!"
The wind howled as I ducked, Rakepick's curse obliterating the nearby mound of rocks where I had been standing mere seconds ago.
"Hiding?" her taunting voice echoed against the obsidian cliffside with the roaring of crashing waves as she let out a vigorous cackle. "Not much of a Curse-breaker, are you?"
My heart pounded against my ribcage as I pressed my back against the rocks, fear and anger coursing simultaneously through my veins like fire and ice.
Her next spell gouged a chunk of rock from the cliff-side, narrowly missing my head. I hit the ground with a thud; scraping my knees on the sharp almost glass-like pieces of crushed coral as I retaliated with a spell that knocked the witch off her feet. Rakepick snarled, running her tongue against her bruised lips as she bared her teeth. She looked like a rearing Chimera; her ice blue eyes gleaming hungrily as she picked herself up.
"Learned a few new tricks from your brother I see," she drawled coolly. "Such a pity he didn't make it. Just like your poor little friend, Miss Khanna …"
I didn't hear her footsteps but she was suddenly looming over me, a cunning smirk tugging at the corner of her mouth as she pointed her wand at my chest. I felt my limbs harden under her body-binding hex as she let out another laugh, as cruel and clear as the raging ocean.
"After I'm through with you, I'm going to kill each and every one of your pathetic friends, just like I did Rowan." She leaned in, whispering softly in my ear as I struggled to move.
No. Not like this.
"I'm afraid that this really is the end for you, Curse-breaker," she smiled almost sweetly as she closed her eyes as if savouring the moment before her face slowly began to morph into someone, no, something else. Her skin turned a skeletal white, brilliant red hair shrank back into her scalp as her nostrils turned into slits, and, as her eyelids fluttered open it was no longer the gaze of Patricia Rakepick that stared down at me but the crimson reptilian eyes of Lord Voldemort himself.
He reached out to cup my chin, his pale hand like ice as he ran a taloned finger down along my cheek.
"There is no escape," he hissed, "not from me."
Voldemort grinned, red eyes gleaming almost manically in the morning light as he raised his yew wand.
I woke up, opening my eyes with a scream. I lay flat on my back, panting hard as though I had just run a marathon. Every inch of my body was covered in a thick layer of icy sweat as I gasped; heart still pounding as Charlie turned on the lights, looking extremely frightened.
I shook my head, taking great gulps of air as I tried to push myself up in bed, barely resisting back the strong urge to throw up.
"Hey, hey, hey, it's okay – I'm here," Charlie murmured, gently combing my damp hair out of my face with his free hand as he pulled me into a reassuring embrace.
His arms were strong and warm, calming my racing pulse almost instantly and it was only then, did I feel the tears that I'd been trying to fight back finally breakthrough. I buried my face into the warmth of his bare chest, feeling the steady beat of his heart vibrate against my cheek as I quietly sobbed.
He didn't ask again, simply tightening his grip, which enveloped me in his strong clean scent as he continued to smooth his fingers through my tangled hair. I stayed like that, cradled in his arms until I slowly yet surely began to relax in his embrace.
I looked up at him, the slightly orange light from the bedside table shining over his face as his eyebrows furrowed with concern.
"Do you wanna talk about it?" he asked tentatively, his voice even more tender than usual as he looked down at me.
I hesitated, averting my eyes as I slowly tried to recall the vivid dream to him: the black cliffs, the howling wind and biting waves – it had all seemed so real.
"She said she'd kill all of you," I whimpered softly, "Just like she did Rowan."
Charlie frowned, the worry evident in his expression as he brushed a stray bit of hair behind my ear.
He nodded and didn't press further when I trailed off again. Whether it was out of respect or purely because he was at a loss for words I couldn't be sure. All I knew is that he was here, his presence acting like a Patronus against the Dementors that haunted the darkest depths of my imagination.
I didn't remember falling back to sleep that night, but I woke up; feeling completely at home in Charlie's embrace as I opened my eyes to morning light filtering through the balcony window. Tiny fragments of last night's dream flittered through my mind as I sat up, sending shivers down my back as I rubbed away the sleep from my eyes.
"Morning," Charlie crooned, his gaze soft as he opened his eyes.
I nodded, nestling myself into the warmth of his bare chest as he rested his lips against my forehead.
"Good," he smiled, catching my lips in a tender, heart-stirring kiss before he pulled back, if only to get a better look at me. "I have a sleeping draught somewhere in my cabinet if you need it."
"No, don't worry about it," I replied, feeling the steady drum of his pulse beating rhythmically against my cheek. "It was just a nightmare."
"Still," he said, "its always there if you need it, alright?"
"Alright," I smiled, my heart swelling with affection as I kissed him again.
Charlie gaze softened, looping his arms around my waist as he held me close.
"How about I try and make pancakes today?"
"Are you sure this is how your mum makes pancakes?" I asked.
"Of course!" Charlie replied, plonking a large dollop of batter onto the pan. "I've watched her makes these blueberry pancakes a thousand times, if not more …"
I raised an eyebrow as the stove started to smoke.
"Um, Charlie, sweetie? No offence, but you do realise that pancakes are supposed to be golden, not black," I chimed as I watched Charlie struggle to flip the burnt lopsided pancake with his wand.
"It's not black, those are the blueberries," he retorted, "And it's crispy, not burnt, see?"
"Right," I replied, hugging him from behind as he finally managed to flip the 'crispy' pancake without dropping the frying pan.
He tipped it out onto a clean plate, eagerly cutting off a piece with a spoon before he popped it into his mouth.
"Urgh, that's awful!" he exclaimed, spitting the rest out into the sink as I poured him a drink of water.
"Maybe it was a bit too 'crispy'?" I suggested, giggling despite myself as he accepted the glass.
"Oi, don't laugh! My next batch will definitely be better."
His next batch was definitely not better. After a few more attempts, the Weasley finally gave up, chest falling as he slumped into a nearby chair.
"Aw, don't be sad," I said, giving his shoulder a gentle squeeze as he let out a sigh of defeat. "Why don't I give it a go?"
"I don't get it," exclaimed Charlie, "How come yours worked out great and mine didn't?"
"I used sugar instead of salt," I replied.
There was a slight pause as realisation dawned on his face.
"I accidentally used salt didn't I?"
"That … makes more sense."
Later that evening ...
"What is it?"
I handed him the letter, unable to say a word and he took it with a frown.
I felt Charlie tremble as he read the letter, eyes widening.
Bethany, Charlie I hope you're okay,
You-Know-Who is back. Don't respond to this letter. Wait for further instruction from Dumbledore about the Order.
"The Order …" he murmured, setting the letter down as I averted my gaze.
"The Order of the Phoenix, yeah," I nodded.
"Wait," Charlie frowned, "how do you know about it?"
"I've always known about the Order," I admitted later as I ran my finger through a line of soot. "Dad was one of their informants. He used to work as an Auror for the Ministry and the Order used our house as one of their bases of operations."
"So you knew Harry's parents?"
"The Potters were old family friends of my parents. James, Sirius and Remus were like big brothers to Jacob, and Lily was like an older sister that I never had …" I trailed off, my voice hitching slightly as I choked back on the sharp pain of emotions that threatened to overcome me.
Charlie's face paled as he began applying dittany to a particularly nasty wound that the dragon had inflicted on its own tail.
"My uncles were members too," he replied hoarsely.
"The Prewett brothers," I nodded, recalling my Dad speaking of them. I'd only met them once, a week before they were ambushed and murdered by five Death Eaters. It would seem that their location had somehow been compromised.
"Fabian and Gideon didn't go down without a fight mind you," Dad added solemnly when he told my Mum, "Took down three of the five Death Eaters before they were killed."
He and Alastor Moody had rushed to the scene, catching one of the said Death Eaters, but by the time they had arrived the damage had already been done. Fabian and Gideon Prewett were lying dead on the floor of their safe house and the Death Eater that they had caught, Antonin Dolohov was sent to Azkaban for his crimes.
There was a far-off stare in the dragon keeper's eyes as he continued bandaging the sleeping dragon's tail.
I squeezed his shoulder, wordlessly providing the comfort he needed as he leaned into my touch before he pulled me into a bone-crushing embrace.
We just stayed like that, entangled with one another like ivy, both with the same question hanging over us: What were we going to do now?
So it's truly begun. What will happen next? Stay tuned to find out! - S.G.