That night, he waited at the Ravenvenclaw common room, his eyes fixed upon the stairs leading to the girls' dormitories. Myrtle showed up and sat beside him. "Waiting for someone?" She asked conversationally.
"You're that ghost girl who's friends with Ilumi and Gabby," Takeshi observed, surprised to see her there. Was she part of whatever Ilumi was planning?
"That ghost girl?!" Myrtle cried. "How rude! I have a name, you know!"
"Myrtle," Ilumi hissed as she emerged down the stairs with the doll in her arms.
"Your boyfriend is quite rude," Myrtle huffed. "He-" she paused mid accusation and stared wide eyed at the doll, with terror in her eyes, unable to move or speak.
"Relax Myrtle, it's not for you, it's occupied," Ilumi assured.
"What is it with that creepy doll?" Takeshi stared at it with distrusting eyes. "And what do you mean it's occupied?"
"You couldn't trust me, so why should I trust you?" Ilumi turned her wand on him and before he could react, she put him to sleep, still sitting on the Ravenclaw common room couch. "Oh get over it Myrtle, if I wanted to exorcise you, I would have done it ages ago. You don't have to worry, you're a precious friend."
"Tha-thank yoou," Myrtle managed.
"Well then, friend, can you make sure the coast is clear to go to the Gryffindor common room?"
"Ri-right," with Myrtle as her look out, Ilumi was able to make it to the Gryffindor common room without getting caught.
Myrtle went on ahead, and Gabby opened the door for Ilumi. Ilumi stepped in and glared at Fred and George, who were busy working, probably on something illicit, in a corner of the Gryffindor common room. "Why are they here?"
"We're Gryffindors," one of the twins declared, Ilumi wasn't sure which one has spoken and she didn't care. "You're not," the other twin added.
"They won't bother you," Gabby interjected. "Is there any chance I can talk you out if this?"
"No," Ilumi firmly declared.
"She put her boyfriend to sleep, didn't even give him a chance to reach for his wand," Myrtle gossiped. She she seemed to have calmed down a bit now that Gabby was around.
"Ex," Ilumi corrected and Gabby stared at her. "We just haven't been getting along lately and he's too deep in that whole DA thing."
"She knows?" Fred looked at Gabby with a betrayed expression.
"She's not going to tell anyone," Gabby assured. "You can trust her."
"Yeah, trust her to sell us out to save her own skin," George glared.
"I've had about enough of people acting like I have some sort of obligation to save them," Ilumi hissed. "I won't tell on you, but I won't cover for you either. I expect the same courtesy, you throw me under the night bus and I'll throw you under an army of night busses," she warned.
Fred and George stood their ground, "do your worse!" They drew out their wands.
"No!" Gabby hissed in and urgent whisper. "Ilumi is here to do something against Umbrage, we're on the same side."
"They shouldn't know about it though," Ilumi glared at Gabby.
"They were planning to go after you, saying you're Umbridge's pet because you've never openly defied her. I had to do something to make everyone see that you're not on her side," Gabby explained.
"I refused the spoke she offered me in her squad, didn't I?" Ilumi glared. "Besides, I don't care if these two come after me, I can take them."
Gabby stood between them, blocking Fred and George as they raised their wands angrily. "I know you can."
The twins let out an indignant chorus of "what?"
"She can," Gabby assured. "You have no idea. More importantly, you agreed and signed the parchment that if Ilumi was indeed here to take revenge on Umbridge, you wouldn't betray her." Seeing as Ilumi was still glaring, Gabby elaborated. "They are the cover I promised. That's why no one is coming down here. Fred and George warned people that they would conduct a series of dangerous tests tonight and that they shouldn't come down to the common room until morning, no matter what they heard."
"Fine, let's get started," Ilumi put down the doll in the middle of the Gryffindor common room. Fred and George looked at it apprehensively, they took me it to be creepy. Ilumi muttered and incantation and the ghost contained within the doll rose up from it. It was a monstrous translucent creature with the trunk of an elephant, reptilian eyes and scales, a pair on indentations on the scene fe of its head where ears should be, protuberant fangs, long claws in its four skinny legs and three long thin tails.
"What is that?" One of the twins muttered, while Myrtle took to hiding behind the other, sobbing into his back.
"An illegal hybrid, or the ghost of one. It invades dreams, possessing the unconscious mind and causing terrors," Ilumi explained.
"Are you convinced that she's against Umbridge?" Gabby asked unnecessarily as the creature howled eerily. "You don't need to answer, your faces say it all. You know what that means according to the parchment that you signed. Keep this a secret or forfeit ownership of all your products and that will mean you won't have anything to put in your shop."
"We thought we'd be delivering a traitor, that there was no way you'd convince us," Fred muttered incredulously.
"This is... spectacular," George commented, while trying to squirm out of Myrtle's frightened grasp.
Ilumi commanded the ghost to attack Umbridge and off it went. "I needed to release it inside, they have trouble going in and out of structures, as if they can't cross thresholds without being carried over them. The empty classrooms were not an option because the areas outside the dormitories are being guarded by Filch and the noise would attract him. The dormitories aren't so closely guarded because we can't be given detention for being in our dormitories."
"But you needed to keep the other students at bay, and that's where I offered to take care of that for you," Gabby finished.
"I'd prefer a plan with less witnesses, but at least they have a reason to keep quiet," Ilumi finally agreed. Her wand was still out with gentle black and violet smoke coming from its ignited tip. "Guess I better get comfortable," she took a seat. "I can't release that thing from my magical grip or it'll cause chaos for more than just Umbridge."
"That's a dark art," Fred pointed at the wand, while George fought with Myrtle to get her off.
"Yes," Ilumi didn't deny it. "Ghosts don't want to disappear, if they wanted to pass on, they wouldn't be ghosts. I basically fill them with the fear of disappearing and manipulate them to do my bidding. This technique is only supposed to be used to stun a particularly violent ghost during an exorcism. I'm using it illegally to avenge Gabby."
"Even though I told her not to," Gabby added.
"Yet you understood you'd best help make it go smoothly because something was going to happen anyway," Ilumi assured. "My father understood too, he could arm me or I'd go in with nothing but my wand and it would have been worse."
"How do you know that dark art?" George inquired suspiciously. He had managed to escape Myrtle's grasp and was straightening his crumpled robes.
"I'm not a Death Eater if that's what you're asking. I'm an exorcist, I work with my father during the summer and it's vital for exorcists to know about this sort of thing," Ilumi stated logically.
"But you can't make a patronous, Takeshi was upset the other day saying you needed to learn and refused to join the DA," Fred half asked and half stated.
"Takeshi didn't fully trust me so I didn't fully trust him. I told him not to join, not to pick sides," Ilumi frowned. "I'm not on your side, certainly not on Umbridge's, staying neutral but closely guarding the threats' every move would afford me to best chance to come out unharmed and protect Gabby and Takeshi, but they wouldn't listen. I let it go with Gabby because at least she trusts me, but Takeshi doubts me, he doesn't trust me so I don't trust him. He's too deep in the DA, he might reveal things in hopes of pressuring me into helping them. Things that you can't reveal without forfeiting your future. I'd show you my patronous, but my wand is occupied at the moment."
A look of realization invaded that twins ' faces, but it was Myrtle who voiced their conclusion. They didn't bother questioning why she knew what she knew, figuring she must have floated into the room of requirement unnoticed at some point. "She doesn't need the DA's help, she can already defend herself."
"In the heavily haunted places dad and I visit, don't you think we'd run into a few rogue Dementors every now and then?" Ilumi stated what should have been plainly obviously.
"The DA is a risk for you," George concluded. "A risk without rewards because you've already learned what Harry knows. Probably more..."
Fred nodded, "you could be helpful to the DA, but you'd be risking exposure and expulsion, in exchange for nothing... Nothing except doing the right thing," he frowned.
"Not at the cost of Gabby, I can protect my sister better if I'm at Hogwarts. Umbridge would expel me immediately if she knew just how well versed I am in defense against the dark arts, curses and counter curses," Ilumi finished. "I had to chose between helping the whole school a little bit for a short while then most likely suffering a great loss, or throwing away my reputation and being able to ensure protection for my sister. I always told myself I'd find a way to have it all if I was in such a situation, but I've realized it's just not possible and I don't regret my priorities, my sister is more important than all of you."
Fred and George weren't sure how to respond, si they didn't. They had learned to understand Ilumi a little though and why she kept her resources to herself, it was so she could have more to give where it really mattered.
After an hour, a tired Ilumi recalled the creature, forced it back into the doll and, with Myrtle's help, returned to the Ravenclaw dormitories.
Once Ilumi was gone, Gabby looked at Fred and George. "Was I right or was I right?"
"Wrong!" The chorused to her surprise.
"Yeah, she'd make a powerful ally, but she'll get fed up if you keep putting yourself in danger knowing that she'll come save you," Fred mused aloud.
George agreed with his brother. "She can't be forced to join the order if she doesn't want to, besides, she's a minor anyway and the one Lupin wants us to persuade is her father, not her."
"If she joins, he'll follow," Gabby voiced confidently. "The reason he won't join is because he thinks he can protect Ilumi better while pretending to be a Death Eater."
"Maybe he can," mused Fred.
"His pretense is... well... very realistic. He'll do as little damage as possible, but he'll make sacrifices if needed. His heart's in the right place though, he does what he does for Ilumi, she is all that matters," Gabby sighed.
The next day Umbridge could be found in the hospital, muttering incoherently and taking one calming potion after another. She had the brooch checked of course, but it was just an innocent brooch. She assumed that her night terrors were caused either by a strange curse she had been attacked with in her sleep, or by some kind of potion. She thus suspected Snape.
The aforementioned head of Slytherin wasted no time in calling Ilumi to his office and outright accusing her of using the dark arts on Umbridge. Ilumi was, naturally, about to play dumb, but this proved unnecessary when Snape punctuated his accusation with the finality of a single unexpected word, "brilliant."
Ilumi blinked, feeling for the first time in a long time like she was in the presence of Mr. Snape, her father's friend, instead of professor Snape, the teacher who was cold and distant. "Thank you," she said simply.
Unknown to them, trouble was at the horizon at the Ravenclaw dormitories. Takeshi paced at the common room after having been sent down the slide which were once stairs leading to the girls' dormitories. He was determined to investigate Ilumi and, being unable to gain access to her quarters himself, he asked a female Ravenclaw to investigate for him, then after Cho Chang refused, he asked Marietta and she agreed.
Some time after the stairs retired themselves to grant Marietta passage, she returned from rummaging through Ilumi's trunk with a doll. "I found it," she handed it over. "It's cute yet creepy," Marietta shuddered. "Do you think it's from another man?" She gasped dramatically, secretly hoping that it was, she wouldn't be opposed to the idea of Takeshi becoming single again, not being aware that he and Ilumi had already pretty much ended their relationship.
"It's more complicated than that. She was holding it last night. It has to be some some of amulet or catalyst, but what does it do?" Takeshi examined the doll curiously. He held it in one hand and tapped it with his wand with the other. He felt something like a ripple of energy responding to his magic. "It's definitely magical," he curiously tapped it again. "Is it a weapon or the key to where it lies?" He tapped it again and felt as if something was grabbing on to the energy coming from his wand. He pulled the unknown thing and suddenly a monstrous specter appeared.
Marietta screamed and Takeshi dropped the doll. The other Ravenclaws were in class, with Takeshi and Marietta being left along in the common room. Takeshi attempted to push the being back into its container but it easily cast him aside. Marietta shrieked and dashed out of the common room, shouting "monster!" at the top of her lungs.
The commotion attracted the attention of the occupants of the nearest classroom as soon as she was in earshot and students poured out followed by their teacher. The specter appeared, floating towards the crowd and the students, unfortunately all first years, began to panic, while the unlucky professor tried to keep some semblance of sanity.
The specter seemed uninterested in the professor or the incantations coming from her wand, and curiously wondered on aimlessly. The being passed by a classroom occupied by a ghostly history professor and a group of bored students, among which were Harry, Ron, Hermoine and Neville, along with others.
Neville, who was often particularly unlucky, had fallen asleep and the creature soon targeted him, with the intention of haunting his dreams. At a loss of what to do, Harry pulled out his wand and shouted, "expecto patronum!" A silver stag emerged and began to do battle with the ghostly monster while students poured out of the classroom.
Neville was woken up by the commotion and tripped while trying to join the others in their get away, but did manage to get to safety in the end. The history professor was of no help, fruitlessly instructing the students to remain seated while the went for help. The monster roared loudly and the stag disintegrated into silver smoke.
"Run!" Ron shouted a very practical suggestion, which Harry and Hermione were all too quick to put into practice.
The trio dashed out of the classroom, spotting professor Mcgonagall dashing over to them from the opposite side of the hall. She ushered the students behind her and called out her own patronous, but wisely didn't stick around to watch it fight. Pushing Harry, Aron and Hermione along the corridor, they retreated down the nearest flight of stairs.
"Professor Snape!" Professor Mcgonagall called shrilly. "There is a," she didn't know what to say when he burst out of his office surprised by her loud urgency. "An identified ghostly creature terrorizing the students, the ghost of a forbidden hybrid no doubt. This is too serious to be a prank and I somehow doubt even Umbridge would go this far. It may be an attack by he who must not be named. I will leave Harry Potter in your care and regroup with professor Dumbledore at once."
"Wait! Does it look like an elephant lizard monster?" Ilumi inquired urgently, hoping for a negative answer.
"Yes!" Professor Mcgonagall exclaimed with suspicion filled surprise.
"I thought you said it was contained!" Snape snapped.
"It was!" Ilumi defended. "Contained and under control, unless some colossal idiot let it out!"
"What's going on?!" Harry interjected, unable to remain silent any longer.
"Oh it's nothing, the creature causes a state of fear, no one is controlling it so it's free to frighten everyone. It'll try to enter the mind of anyone who's asleep and pulling it out without a magic leach so to speak will be difficult. Don't worry though, the fear is a trick and no one is likely to be sleeping at this hour anyway. It's simply a doll," Ilumi explained.
"A doll, in Hogwarts!?" Realization covered Mcgonagall's features and the situation no longer felt half as alarming now that she knew what it really was. It was still pretty alarming on its own though.
"Order business?" Ilumi offered weakly.
"What?" Mcgonagall exclaimed.
"Phoenix," Snape stated simply and walked past her, followed by Ilumi. "I hope you realize your father will have to give up some valuable information for this."
"Oh no," Ilumi stopped following. "Dad is perfectly safe putting up a false act right under what's his name's nose. I'm not about to drag him into danger. I'll get the intel myself, repay the order for overlooking this and remain uninvolved. I don't want to endanger my father, he's the only one in the world who cares about me enough to make me a priority."
"The rest of the world be damned," added Snape. "Move, fix your mess and we'll talk later."
Ilumi ran towards the Ravenclaw common room along with Snape. "The order took my mother and could cost my father his life as well. Umbridge hurt my sister. How can I protect them both?"
"You can't," Snape answered simply. "You can't have everything in life. You need to do what your father did, what we all did, choose what's most important and forfeit the rest."
"Quantum quills!" Ilumi gave the password and opened the way. "My mother chose the order, mother chose strangers, father chose me, my loyalty is to him," Ilumi concluded, spotting the doll, or what was left of it. "We've suffered enough, we can't win and revenge is too costly, we can only cut our loses." She picked up the remnants of the doll, the container was broken and a replacement would be needed. Her father has caught the creature of her, she merely commanded it. Recapturing it would be difficult, though Mcgonagall seemed to calm down when she found out the truth so it was probably something that the professors could do. She would prefer to do it self though.
"So be it, you forfeit your sister," Snape concluded.
"Gabby..." Ilumi sighed, not really surprised that Snape was aware of their bond, everyone was. "I have to go, I have to join dad and watch his back. I'll clean up here and leave. We will do what we can to delay the dark lord, but we must also stay alive. Dad is my priority."
"Would you sell out the-" Snape asked, as Takeshi stumbled down the slide to the girls' dormitories and came to a stop at his feet.
"Of course not," Ilumi immediately replied. "Silence is golden, and you do a fine job." She spoke in riddles, referring to her father's neutrality and Snape's position as a spy.
"I can explain," Takeshi jumped to his feet. "I was only trying to find a clue to stop it."
"Five points from Ravenclaw for trying to trespass on the female dormitories and ten points from Ravenclaw for ruining valuable private property," Snape said coldly, as Ilumi deposited the broken doll into a creeped out trashcan. Takeshi wisely kept his mouth shut under Ilumi's withering glare. "Go see the headmaster, he must have cornered it by now."
Ilumi scurried along, but instead of running into Dumbledore, she found Mcgonagall at the great hall. She soon spotted Dumbledore watching from the corner though. "I think I have it," Mcgonagall placed the monstrous creature into a new doll. Having calmed to situation, she turned to face Ilumi with a stern expression. "Well, I must say-" whatever she has to say was swallowed by the sound of shattering porcelain and the creature broke free of its prison.
"That is not supposed to happen," Dumbledore looked at the creature sternly.
"Was it?" Mcgonagall didn't finish, but Dumbledore understood.
"No mistake of yours," Dumbledore glared at the creature as it howled ominously, as if expecting something to happen. Sure enough, something did happen, the mark of the dark one appeared on the creature's forehead.
"Ilumi!" Gabby dashed into the great hall with Ash perched on her shoulder. "Letter for you, Ash is in a frenzy!" She saw the creature, "what the?!"
"Gimme!" Ilumi hastily opened the letter while Dumbledore and Mcgonagall's patronous were joined by Snape's.
Harry, Ron and Hermione, who had been hastily escorted to Dumbledore's office by Mcgonagall, had left it and arrived at the great hall, Harry leading the way and the other two following him, trying to stop him from doing something reckless. Harry sent out his patronous as well.
"Dear daughter, my apologies, but I believe the doll I sent you might have been damaged. Please return it and I will send you one that's in perfect condition. You can't very well have a tea party with a doll like that one," Ilumi gasped. "It's a patronous eater!"
"Those exist only in theory," Dumbledore dissolved his patronous, and took the liberty of doing the same for the others.
"Headmaster, you already know why they exist and thus you know they're harmless," Ilumi assured.
"Indeed, I believe that Icarus would only give Voldemort useless spells that only appear to be good. That is helpful in creating a diversion, but he could give the order more..." Dumbledore move to stand between the creature and Harry.
"The order has taken too much already," Ilumi stepped forward and Dumbledore allowed it. "A container, please." Sure enough, Dumbledore had a spare and gave it to Ilumi. She called out her patronous, a tiger, and guided it to jump into the doll, with the creature following it, then becoming easily sealed. "It's not too bad when you know just what to do and by process of elimination you should, except it's counterintuitive to use a patronous as mere bait."
"Nonetheless, Voldemort felt the need to contaminate your father's parcel, expecting you and not Voldemort to be blamed," Dumbledore pointed out.
"I'll accept expulsion for that," Ilumi offered.
"No, I rather have you here," Dumbledore decided. "Your father will be tested and I'm sure that he'll rest easier knowing that you're here. Bring the daughter of an apparently loyal Death Eater might not be enough to keep you safe from Voldemort for long."
"And joining the order will get me killed right away," Ilumi reminded and Dumbledore, though in disagreement, didn't bother arguing.
"Everyone back to class," Dumbledore finally spoke. Put this incident out if your mind.
With the creature gone and classes having resumed, Harry found it hard to put the incident out of his mind, but he had other things to worry about. Umbridge had recovered, erased her own memory of the nightmares, rumors told, and she was back with a vengeance. Her newest accomplice was Marietta, who wore the unfortunate scars of a broken contract on her face.
Thankfully, because of some quick thinking from Hermione, the centaurs of the forbidden forest unwillingly assisted in putting an end to Umbridge's reign of terror. However, Harry's final mission before the summer, ended in tragedy, Sirius Black had died.
Ilumi's mood wasn't much better. She was lost in confusion and uncertainty. She could bare to lose Takeshi, she could, with difficulty, even bare to lose Gabby, but not her father. She couldn't lose him, no matter what it took. Little did she know that her father was already planning a way to tie loose ends and get her out of danger. He too would survive if all went well, but it would be complicated, very complicated.
That summer, the plan was put into action, in an isolated region of distant Russia. Meanwhile Gabby would visit Hawaii that summer and return with a bit of a surprise. Summer vacation was almost ending by the time the event took place.
All bundled up for the northern cold, Gabby made her way through a desolated region. There was nothing but snow on the ground as far as the eye could see and she wondered if it really was this cold in the middle of the summer, or if there was magic at play. At least the Sky were clear. "We should keep heading straight, Meow."
Gabby's traveling companion approached, seemingly having a worse time with the cold than her. His name was Mau, but the Hawaiian wizard had long since given up on correcting Gabby, and simply become accustomed to answering to Meow. After a while, he started thinking it might be endearing.
The pair kept moving forward until in the distance they spotted a small cabin. Convinced that they were on the right trail, they rushed forward and rounded the structure, the sounds of spells near by becoming louder as they approached.
A short distance away behind the cabin, previously obstructed from view, they found that the intelligence they had received as in fact true. The information didn't come from the Order of the Phoenix, but from some of Gabby's friends who had overheard some talk at Hogsmeade. As soon as the owl reached her in Hawaii, she became determined to go back, even against her grandmother's wishes.
Mau, a wizard a little older than Gabby, had taken a liking to the lively witch from abroad and, being a master at aparating long distances, offered to take her back, with some stops along the way, since no one could possibly aparate that far in one go. They went from island, to island, to ship, to ship, to ship, to land, to distant land, until they eventually reached the general area they were aiming for and began to search through it, for a clue, for a sign, for anything.
There was Icarus dueling Ilumi, with another wizard that Gabby didn't recognize as anything but a Death Eater a short distance away. The Death Eater, ever vigilant, had noticed their arrival and was running towards them. Icarus shot a deadly spell that went straight for Ilumi and without thinking Gabby disaparated and reappeared in front of her.
"What?" Ilumi gasped in surprise.
"No!" Icarus yelled.
An invisibility cloak was dropped near by and Takeshi appeared. He clutched his heart as if in pain and collapsed.
"Gabby! Gabby! Why are you?" Ilumi fainted just as Mau and the Death Eater reached them.
Mau attacked with a fireball which the Death Eater blocked with a crystal ball he was holding. The glass shattered and before Mau could attack again, his wand went flying as the Death Eater disarmed him.
"No, no, this can't be," Icarus desperately cradled the two unconscious girls with fatherly sorrow.
"Stand down boy, you've done enough damage," the Death Eater removed his hood, revealing himself to be Snape. Mau didn't know him, thus still remained on edge, cautiously eyes his wand a few feet away.
"Pull yourself together Icarus, your daughter lives, is she not all you care about?" Snape snapped.
"My daughter is dying," Icarus replied sorrowfully. "Quickly, give me the potion, the emergency potion!" Snape shook his head, while still keeping an eye on Mau. "The potion, Snape! Before Gabby dies, before my daughter dies!"
Confused, but perceiving what was happening, Snape handed Icarus a potion he had hidden in his robes. Mau made a move for his wand. Snape made to stop him, but Mau touched the wand just in time as disaparated before Snape's spell could reach him. "This has gotten messy." Icarus snatched away the potion from Snape. "There's no going back. If you do this-"
"She is more important, more important than me or the order," Icarus gulped down the potion and his body began to glow. "I leave it to you."
Snape took out another bottle from his robes and collected the energy from Icarus into it, mixing with the contents that were already there. There was no cauldron, only his wand to mix with, something that could only be done by a true potions master. Icarus fell to the ground, dead, and Snape made Gabby drink the potion, knowing she would resent it.
Some time later, gasping and out of breath, Mau returned to the cabin. The door curiously swung open and Mau clutched his wand tighter. "Be calm," Dumbledore soothed, placing a gentle hand on Mau's tense shoulder.
They entered the cabin where Ilumi, Gabby and Takeshi were unconscious and Icarus lay dead. "This is a fine mess, Dumbledore." Snape voiced in place of a greeting.
"Precious little can be salvaged," Dumbledore shook his head sorrowfully and joined Snape at the small table. "Sit, Mau, let me introduce you. Mau reluctantly sat down, wand still out. "There will be no need for that," Dumbledore assured, gesturing to the wand, which Mau reluctantly put away. "This is Professor Snape, Potions Master at Hogwarts and a spy for the Order of the Phoenix."
"Then Gabby is..." Mau trailed off, looking in her direction.
"In good hands," Dumbledore assured. "Icarus however..."
"He is Ilumi's father, a Death Eater who was willing to kill his own daughter to prove himself to the most evil one," Mau recounted what he had learned.
Dumbledore sighed, "Icarus loved his daughters more than the world and everything in it. He died for them."
"What? I don't... understand..." There we're too many questions and Mau didn't even know where to start.
"Hmm..." Ilumi stirred awake. "What happened?" She sat up slowly and took in her surroundings in a daze. A rush of memories assaulted her and she looked around desperately. Spotting her father, she stumbled out of bed and approached him unsteadily. "Dad? Dad!"
"I'm sorry, child," Dumbledore comforted. "He has passed."
"But how? He was alive, his spell missed, but he was alright!" Ilumi shouted.
"The potion I gave you was to make you appear as if you were dead," Snape explained. "But your father insisted that I kept other potions at the ready in case anything went wrong and he accidentally hit you. If you did end up in mortal danger, he would give up his life force to save you."
"Gabby..." Ilumi realized. "He sacrificed himself for Gabby?"
"It seems the foolish girl was trying to save you," Snape finished.
"Don't talk about her like that," Mau snapped at Snape, then addressed Ilumi. "Gabby told me about you, Harry Potter and Dumbledore, he told me about Snape too, but I didn't recognize him." He didn't think that Gabby's description of cute in a scruffy sort of way fitted Snape at all, he wasn't cute in any sort of way, but Gabby, bless her kind heart, had a way to see the best in people, even when it wasn't there.
"She tried to save me even if I wasn't in danger, ended up almost getting herself killed and lived only because my father died for her," Ilumi cried. "Dad... why..."
"If it was a choice between saving an innocent girl and being there for his daughter, Icarus would always choose you," Dumbledore voiced. "Yet this time, the price was losing one of his daughters."
"But in his only..." Ilumi didn't finish.
Dumbledore continued, "Gabby Grantwish, her grandmother fell in love with a genie and they had a daughter who fell in love with a wizard named Icarus. His wife, your mother, she died on a mission for the Order of the Phoenix, she died protecting her allies and your father never forgave the order. He thought it would be safer to pretend to join Voldemort until things calmed down. The pain of loss took away his willingness to take risks and he could only think of protecting what he still had."
Dumbledore paused, allowing everything to sink in, then continued after a silent moment. "She was due to give birth in a month and Icarus didn't think she would sneak off to work for the order like that. I should have stopped her myself had I known at the time, but the order was short handed and she still had another month to go. She was dying, the children were removed from her dying body by a skilled healer, the witch she had been meeting for her mission, which was to escort the healer back to base and show her they way in. By the time this happened, Icarus had caught up with them. He was too late to save his wife but in his anger he cursed the healer's young son to die if either of his twin daughters died. That boy was Takeshi. The ordeal separated the Illusion and Grantwish families and Mrs. Grantwish threatened to take both girls away, but in the end, the custody ended up as you know it."
The whole cabin was silent as Dumbledore explained. "The only reason Icarus agreed to stay away from one of his daughters was so that the Death Eaters wouldn't target her if they found out of the falsehood of his loyalty to Voldemort. As for his other daughter, he equipped her as well as he could with as much power magic as he could teach her. With that daughter, his only as far as most people know, apparently dead, Icarus would have no one left to lose as far as the Death Eaters knew and could finally pursue his revenge. I was hoping to convince him to join the new order or at least work in tandem for a common goal."
"Why did you do this?" Gabby spoke, revealing that she had been awake to hear Dumbledore's revelation. Takeshi had heard as well, though he didn't know what to say. "I wanted to save Ilumi and ended up killing her-our father! Why did you bring me back from the brink of death?!"
"It is what he wanted," Snape answered simply, "and I had given him my word."
Gabby stumbled to her feet and Mau was at her side in a second. "He wanted to fight you know who without his loved ones getting hurt. I'll do it for him. I have no one left to lose that the Death Eaters know of. They'll never know of my sister."
"What about your grandma?" Ilumi asked quietly.
"Grandma is dead. She knew it was coming," Gabby cryied. "She went to Hawaii to die, and haunt, and hope that her ghost would keep me there in a tropical paradise far from England and all the complications in it. But I couldn't stay, I had to find Ilumi. I'm so stupid! I got the information that was meant to trick the Death Eaters. How did I not see past it? It's all my fault!"
"No it's not!" Mau argued. "You couldn't have known. You tried to save her!" Gabby's sorrow was beyond consolation, from him anyway. He turned to Ilumi, "tell her."
"Good intentions, bad results, just like mom," Ilumi tearfully voiced.
"I'm sorry..." Gabby exited the cabin with Mau following her.
"You should go after her," Takeshi encouraged, breaking his long silence.
"She's so troublesome, first trying to drag us into the order and now this. Her good intentions cause more harm than good. She's too obsessed with granting everyone's wishes and ends up with nothing," Ilumi snapped.
Normally, Takeshi might have argued, but by now he knew Ilumi better than that. "It's frustrating, I know," he hugged her. "But you haven't lost everything yet. Don't let your father die in vain."
"Takeshi, why did you even come here?" Ilumi sighed hopelessly. She was tired, so tired of dealing with everything.
"To find you," Takeshi admitted. "And to prove that this time I will trust you. I didn't understand what was going on, but I trusted you to know what you were doing so I stayed quiet." Sensing that they needed a private moment. Dumbledore and Snape went to talk outside. "Can we start over?"
Ilumi thought for a moment and dried her tears. "Everything has fallen apart in the life I used to know. The possibility of a new start is all I have left now." With heavy hearts and the promise of new trust, they kissed.
When the summer ended, they didn't return to Hogwarts. Perhaps they would go back later, but now was not the time. Ilumi and Takeshi had dropped off the radar and were figuring out what to do next. Gabby and Mau had disappeared as well, though she had a pretty good idea of what she wanted to do. First, Gabby needed to break the curse that linked her to Takeshi, then, she could continue with her plans without dragging anyone else into them.
It took some searching, some of it illicit, but Gabby finally found how to break the curse that linked them to Takeshi. She poured over the old time at her grandma's old place in England, not the Hawaiian vacation home she preferred to haunt. "I think this is all I need," Gabby examined the ingredients on the table. It had taken quite a bit of effort to gather them all.
"Yes, you've checked five times already," Mau sighed.
"I just don't want to disappoint him," Gabby shifted nervously. "If he comes and we don't have everything then-"
"Excuse me masters, Dolly is bringing the guest you were expecting." A house elf motioned towards the man next to her, it was Snape. Dolly the elf, unlike most house elves that wore towels, pillowcases and other things, was wearing clothes, doll clothes to be specific. Gabby had gotten her a whole wardrobe and Dolly had burst into tears, until Gabby had assured her that those were not real clothes, they were doll clothes, toys. That made Dolly the elf feel much better and she happily wore different toys each day, just as Gabby had suggested she did. If anyone dared to inquire about her clothes, she would be quick to state that she had no clothes, she was wearing toys.
Snape examined the ingredients and nodded wordlessly. He walked over to the cauldron and began to work. Gabby and Mau made sure to stay out of his way, while Dolly went off out of the room, to clean, cook or do some such thing that a house elf might be inclined to do.
Snape kept returning to work on the potion of broken bonds until the process was finally complete. "I will not be coming back, least anyone notices my absence and wonders where I've gone."
"Thank you!" Gabby vowed, clutching the finished potion in her shaking hands. "If there's anything I can do-"
"Don't do anything stupid," with that final warning, Snape left.
Gabby sighed, she wondered why Snape had even agreed to help her make this. It probably had something to do with the fact that Icarus had been his friend. "Okay... here goes."
"Are you sure of this? You're essentially drinking a dark curse," Mau frowned.
"Just having it casted on me won't be enough at this point, it has to reach deeper, I have to drink it," Gabby insisted. "Once this link is broken, we can offer to help the order or if they won't let us, we can fight you know who on our own."
"What about us?" Mau asked.
Gabby tried to give him a reassuring smile. "We'll get it all back." She drank the potion and it knocked her out.
Mau caught Gabby before she hit the floor and gently carried her to bed. She would be out cold for a while, as all the bonds she shared were broken and she forgot them. That would mean she would forget him too, but he would be there when she woke up. This was the only way to break the link between her and Takeshi, so that her life felt like her own to risk as she saw fit.
While those events were taking place in England, Ilumi woke with a start in Japan and couldn't get back to sleep. She walked out to the yard where Analace floated quietly, watching over the sleeping cats. "Trouble sleeping, my lady?"
"I felt something unnerving, I can't describe it, but I'm feeling uneasy," Ilumi admitted.
Analace floated over to her. She was a pale and translucent as any ghost, and she was wearing a maid outfit. She had been killed and forced to become a ghost by her previous employer, whose own ghost kept her from leaving his mansion in Transylvania. After the famous exorcist Illusion was called, that brought the end of her murderer, or what was left of him, and her freedom. Grateful to have been freed, Analace chose to serve as the Illusion family maid, remaining as their loyal ghostly companion, who usually stayed behind at home caring for the cats.
This time however, Ilumi had taken Analace and the cats with her after accepting Takeshi's invitation to go to Japan. Ash, Ilumi's big gray owl, was perched happily near by, above the snoozing cats. There were a dozen of them, black and white, with various shades of gray and different patterns of black and white spots and stripes on their fur. Two of the cats, one pure white and one pure black, were bigger than the others. They were Ilumi's Ivory and Gabby's Ebony. Ivory had ten kittens, all which lived with Analace, since Gabby's grandmother had insisted that one cat was enough. Ebony had just shown up at in Russia before Ilumi and Takeshi left, no doubt Gabby had Mau drop him off to keep him safe.
"My lady?" Analace's voice finally got Ilumi out of her trance.
"Sorry?" Ilumi blinked.
"I asked if you'd like some tea, my lady?" Analace repeated.
"Oh no, I'm ok, I think I'll just go back to bed." Ilumi couldn't shake the feeling that something was off, but she couldn't figure out what it was.
A few weeks passed before the uneasy stillness was interrupted and Mau showed up. "Ilumi, Takeshi!" He called loudly at the door.
"There's no need to shout," Analace poked her head out through the front door, the rest of her ghostly body still inside. "Please state your name so that I my ask my lady and lord if they wish to-" Analace stared at the empty spot out in front of the door and shook her head.
A confused shout echoed from the basement. Analace phased down through the floor and found Mau, reduced in size and trapped inside a bottle. "Aparating is not blocked here. My lady believes that those who would aparate into someone's home uninvited shouldn't merely be stopped, they should be punished. She convinced my lord to replace the apparition blocking magic with a curse instead."
"Analace? I thought I heard something," Ilumi rushed down the stairs, followed by Takeshi. "Look! We caught someone!" She received the bottle that Analace handed to her and shook it curiously, much to Mau's dismay. "Aren't you Gabby's boyfriend?"
"Yes, and she's in danger, let me out of here!" Mau shouted urgently.
"What's the problem?" Ilumi asked seriously.
"She severed all the bonds she had to free her life from being linked to Takeshi's. She wanted to join the Order of the Phoenix and I was with her, but after the potion took effect and she forgot all her bonds, she changed. She's focused only on fighting Voldemort and she's not with the order, she's trying to infiltrate them," Mau explained in alarm. "Let me out of here! I have to find her. I thought you might be able to help."
Ilumi handed the bottle to Takeshi, who freed Mau while she went upstairs. The two young men quickly followed. They caught up to Ilumi, who was hastily writing a letter. She called Ash over and gave him the letter. "I'm informing Mr. Himura that I can't take any exorcism jobs at the moment. Looks like we might be busy for a while. I'm not about to let my father's sacrifice be in vain." Ilumi, Takeshi and Mau returned to England.
xoxox xox xoxox
I haven't finished listening to the HP audio books at this point. I wanted to know what happens in detail before writing the rest of the story and ended up dropping it. I planned for Gabby to recover her sense of self after being reunited with her sister and rescued from a group of Death Eaters who only pretended to believe she wanted to join and were going to kill her. Ilumi and Takeshi would stay together and so would Gabby and Mau. The four of them would eventually join Harry's supporters and their stories would end at the same time as the seventh book ends.