Image Credit: Ansley F., Tifton, GA They ran, their feet pounding against the browning grass of the castle grounds, their hearts racing in their chests, their breath coming in short, strained bursts. They ran, hand in hand, together in their deceit and fear. They ran, they ran because they had to. Scorpius led Rose down the rocky banks of the Black Lake, tripping several times over the slippery stones. Waves crashed onto the bank, nearly sweeping them away, as the wind began to howl its sad andImage Credit: Ansley F., Tifton, GA They ran, their feet pounding against the browning grass of the castle grounds, their hearts racing in their chests, their breath coming in short, strained bursts. They ran, hand in hand, together in their deceit and fear. They ran, they ran because they had to. Scorpius led Rose down the rocky banks of the Black Lake, tripping several times over the slippery stones. Waves crashed onto the bank, nearly sweeping them away, as the wind began to howl its sad and desolate cry. The skies darkened and a roll of thunder joined the chorus of waves, wind, heavy breathing, and heartbeats that sang around them. It was as if the world had just turned against them, against Rose’s choice. What would they do now? Where could they go where her brother and cousins would not find them? Had Hugo, James, and Albus seen them? “Stupefy!” Scorpius swerved to the right as the stunning spell wizzed by his left ear, missing him by just a hair, the fury behind the spell burning his face as it passed by. They glanced over their shoulders, and saw, to their horror, Hugo. Standing the length of half a football field away, he had drawn his wand and it was at the ready to strike again. Even from that distance, Rose could see the anger building in him, the red that was creeping into his face, his burning ears, the fire in his eyes. She saw her cousins’ jaws drop as they stared in awe. Hugo made a large flourish with his wand and opened his mouth to cry yet another jinx, but before he could, a large wave washed up on the bank and swept him off his feet. He thrashed around in the swirling white waters, twisting and turning to free himself of its deadly grasp. Scorpius made to move toward him, but Rose grabbed his arm and pulled him back. “You’re mad!” “We can’t let him-” The wave had released Hugo from is clasp, innocently settling itself back into the Black Lake, waiting for another opportunity to strike. Hugo stood up and drew his wand again, sopping wet and seething with rage. Rose plunged her hand into her robes and clasped her wand, but Hugo already had his raised. “Expelliarmus!” Hugo’s wand flew out of his hands, spinning and spitting sparks every which way. Albus lunged for the wand and caught it right before it hit the angry waters. “Run!” he roared. Scorpius took Rose by the arm and pulled her from the bank as Hugo wrestled with his cousin for his wand. His mind was racing as he led her up the bank and into the nearest hiding place. The rickety old boat house was perched on a series of boulders arched over the Black Lake. With each crashing wave, a gush of water sloshed over the deck and soaked their legs. The wind whipped around them with the force of a hurricane and was soon joined by rain. It came pelting down on the old roof in a symphony of drops. Scorpius guided Rose up the slippery ladder and into the attic where they huddled together against the cold. “W-what if they find us-s?” she shivered. “I-I don’t know,” whispered Scorpius. He tilted her chin up and stared seriously into her eyes. “You can leave me, Rose. They’re not after you.” “I won’t leave you,” she answered, poignantly. “Rose, if you get hurt-” “It would hurt more to leave you,” said Rose, firmly. “I don’t understand you, Scorpius. Not ten minutes ago, you were begging me to give you a chance, you deserved it. And, now-now you’re telling me to leave you. Do you want me, or do you not?!” “It has nothing to do with my wants, Rose,” he answered, vehemently. “Your brother, one of my oldest friends, just tried to stupefy me! If you were to get caught in the crossfire…I would never forgive myself.” “So I won’t get caught in the cross-” “Bombarda!” The blast blew through the attic floor and sent wood splinters every which way. Scorpius threw himself over Rose to protect her, but the slivers of wood scratched and scraped them both. There was another loud bang and Scorpius heard Rose squeal as the attic floor split and they came tumbling down. Scorpius toppled onto the deck with a sickening crunch and a howl of pain- one of his ribs had broken. Rose screamed as she splashed down into dark the raging waters. She had almost been completely been swept out into the lake before James had managed to grab a hold of her arm. Hugo rounded on Scorpius, fire in his eyes, his wand aimed at Scorpius’s heaving chest. He could not move, he could not reach for his wand. Would he, if he could? Could he really betray his friends in such a way? Hugo had certainly betrayed him, but he, himself, was not a traitor. “Expelliarmus!” Scorpius slammed into the wall face first with another blood curdling crack. He coughed and sputtered as blood poured down from his nose into his mouth. His vision was blurred, his body ached, and his heart was slowly breaking. “Hugo,” he gasped, “please…” Hugo raised his wand again, his anger unshaken. “Don’t…please…” “Levi Corpus!” Hugo was suspended upside down as if an invisible hand had hoisted him up by his ankles. Albus sprinted into the boathouse and made a wild lunge for Hugo’s wand before it fell into the water. Rose, who was being held back by James, broke free of his grasp and rushed over to Scorpius, but Hugo thrashed wildly in the air to block her path. “Don’t you dare go near him!” She whipped out her wand, pointed it right between his eyes and glared at him. He glared straight back at her, and then, her wand fell to the floor and into another’s hand.