Duel – Beyond Hogwarts Thread

He had said he would come.

She had the note. She had the parchment in her bag. Every now and again she would open the fastening and look in, check it was there. Sometimes she took it out and reread the few sparse lines over again. Blunt, factual, straight to the point. Betraying nothing. But was it not enough that the letter was an affirmative? Was that not enough? He would come. He would come. He would come.

She folded it up again and sat back down. It was cold and she quickly refurbished a heating spell which in her anxiety she had allowed to run low. Worriedly she spun her compact into her hand and checked her reflection. Heavens what if she had a red nose? But no. Her reflection looked solomnly back at her, everything perfect and she smiled vaguely. How could he not love her? How could anyone fail to do so?

Agatha nervously pulled on the edges of her white fur lined boots and tugged at her Burberry mini skirt.

Oh where could he be? Her heart pounded loudly and her stomach twirled. What if it were to be one of his sick jokes? What if he didn’t come? She felt her whole life rested upon this one moment. She was risking all she had.

He must come.

There was something very very wrong about all this. After all, he was engaged. And happy. Poorer now after the obscenely expensive ring for the girl who didn’t care much about extravagance. But happy. He had the perfect house picked out; his future was meticulously planned; his neurotic almost-in-laws doted on him and obsessively tried to plan the wedding that neither wanted help with.

Life was finally going smoothly.

Until that bloody letter came.

He decided to take the tube rather than Apparate. It afforded him more time to think, to convince himself it wasn’t a betrayal because they were just going to talk. Never mind that he’d cheated with her, that she’d put them both through hell, that she’d actually killed his fiancee.

Yeah. Vivi didn’t know where he was. She would be busy for the better half of the day with her relatives back in America.

The thought scared him: an entire ocean between the two of them, and he was going to see his ex.

The train stopped and Avery walked mechanically out onto the platform. His mind was racing as his feet carried him up the stairs, down the street, and into the park where they were supposed to meet.

The park seemed colder than the street. An omen, Avery thought. Despite the cold, Agatha seemed perfectly okay. A mini even though it was freezing. Heating spell, he reasoned.

She looked nervous. He saw her steal quick glances at something in her bag when she thought no one was looking. But he couldn’t expend the energy thinking about that. This would be taxing enough.


She had played this scenario in her head hundreds of times over the past two and a half years. How she would look, what she would wear, how she would stand, what she would say. Oh what would she say. For she would say it all right this time. Say all the things she had been too proud, too stupidly stupidly proud to say before.

There had been a lot of time for thought and reflection. Trapped as she was in paradise, time was something of which she was not short.

And now it was no longer a dream. Reality stared her in the face when he did. For he was here, living breathing Avery, looking down at her with a face so familiar, so strange.

Despire her preparations, she felt unprepared. She had intended to watch him walk down the avenue to gain the advantage and now she was all a flutter and she felt a great ball of lead in her stomach and a dangerous pair of wings in her heart.

“Hey Avery,” she said as lightly as she knew how and rose delicately to greet him. She brushed his face lightly with her lips as he bent down to let her kiss his cheeks twice. She felt a warmth in her face which belied the frosty air.

“It is really so good to see you. Thank you for coming,” she said openly and honestly, meaning every word.

She was so nervous. She could hear the shakiness in her voice and hoped he could not.

He was beautiful still, despite the fact that his head was shorn. She longed to run her fingers along his head, to see his mouth curl slightly in that so familiar way. She longed to reach to touch his face, to hold, to keep.

But all of this was a long long way from being possible. And she knew Avery Berke. If she got this wrong, it would stay wrong forever.

Not again, Agatha vowed. Not again. This time Agatha Swales would eat her pride. For him.

The meeting was rigid and unfeeling and colder than the wind quickly chapping his face. The air kiss had been a formality, a mechanical “hello” devoid of emotion. He preferred it that way; he’d long since stopped caring. He only came because he knew Agatha hadn’t. She hadn’t moved on.

He owed her some courtesy, even though she killed Vivi and was twisted enough to think it romantic.

He’d decided on the train that he’d be direct. They had wasted too many years on subtext. They were older now, more mature; they could handle direct.

“So, what do you want?”

His eyes were cold. She looked and looked but she could not get past this shut down frozen Avery. She wanted the eyes that laughed. But no. nd his tone was equally frosty.

“So what do you want?” he asked, bluntly.

“I needed to see a friend,” she answered. It was not a faslehood. Not the entire truth of course. But it would do..for now.

“You may not care Avery,” she murmured. “But you have been the one person in my life whom I can rely on to tell the truth and to whom I can speak. You do not, you cannot understand what life is like for me. I live in a world where concealment is everything. Who are these people? Who am I? To whom can I speak? Noone noone…” he voice trailed off.

“This meeting is dangerous for me, I should not be here.”

Again she stopped and he said nothing.

“There are things you have a right to know,” she said.

He felt the muscles behind his left eyebrow pulling, but he wouldn’t let it rise. He wouldn’t show emotion (not that he currently had very much).

“Then why’d you marry him if you can’t talk to him?” A pause. “I’m not the one you should be talking to.”

Dangerous? Interesting, but Agatha had always been one to embellish. Danger may not really mean anything, but he decided to hear her out.

“What is it I have to know, then?” He thought he sounded impatient, and that irritated him a bit. Either way the question was out. Not much he could do about it.

“Why did I marry him?”

Agatha’s mind, and surely Avery’s too, flashed back to that day in May when Agatha, the beautiful bride had broken down at her own wedding. When her pride had cracked and in sheer and utter desperation she had asked him, begged him, on her knees and with tears streaming down her face, to say that he loved her. If only he had said it. If only he had. Then Agatha would have defied the world, defied her father and Matthew both. But he hadn’t. Wouldn’t. Couldn’t.

She half laughed, half cried.

“I had no choice,” she said. “My father insisted and Matthew. I told Matthew the truth that day and it made no difference. I could hardly believe it, but it really made no difference.”

“I hardly ever see him, let alone talk to him. I think I might actually hate him,” she said.

“You haven’t really changed.” It was more to himself than to her, but he didn’t care if she heard. Not anymore.

He was a Mudblood, but she’d dated him. Twice. Her father would have thrown a fit had he known, but at times, she didn’t seemed to care. “So what about your father? We both know you were never Daddy’s perfect little girl? You screwed a Mudblood, after all.”

It seemed such a simple solution that he wondered what she was doing. If she hated her husband so much, why bother sticking around? She was young, beautiful, rich. She could get any guy she wanted.

Well, almost.

“There’s always a choice, Agatha. You just chose the wrong one.”

Agatha had to speak. Now. She had to somehow get the word out. She had been fighting the curse upon her for years and unbeknowst to anyone she was almost free. The Unspeakable Curse had sealed her lips. But could she have spoken anyway? Were there any words to say the simplest thing?

“The problem was they both found out I had, and how nicely you put it Avery, that I had screwed a mudblood. That we had had sex. That I loved you and that I was…..”

She stopped. Not through choice. She tried again but her lungs filled with useless air. She stamped her foot.

“I can’t leave him Avery,” she said and looked him full in the face her eyes full of love and truth.

“He has our son.”

If Avery was emotionless before, he was even more emotionless now.

“He has our son.”

The words just kept repeating themselves over and over in his head.

“He had our son.”

He said nothing as he tried to wrap his head around the fact that he…

…no. Impossible.

There was no way. He’d been careful. And besides, she had seen the Medic and had been taking the Wizard version of the pill. He was sure of it. And the pill was 100% effective unlike its crappy Muggle counterpart. So it was impossible. And this was a joke. Yes, a pathetic, sadistic joke.

But one look at her killed his theory. Even Agatha wasn’t that good of an actress.

After the numbness passed, Avery expected shock. He expected to be overwhelmed. He expected mindless psychobabble to spew from his mouth. Pacing frantically. Even wordless gaping.

But not anger. He didn’t expect anger.

“Why’d you tell me this…?” he asked softly, breaking the good five minutes of silence that had passed between them. Then, a little more loudly, but still dangerously, “What good do you think would come of this? Why’s it so important that I know?”

If he didn’t stop, he would punch her. Not that it was entirely her fault, but punching himself seemed even more pointless. So he turned and started leaving. After all, nothing bad can come of a conversation if it never happens.


A loud noise like a car backfiring smashed through the silence of the air.

Matthew Willoughby apparated directly in front of his wife.

“I knew it,” he yelled and spun round to see Berke. “I bloody knew it. You bitch!” he screamed and whipped out his wand knocking Agatha sideways into the bench. Her head cracked horribly and she sat there unflinching, emotionless, making no effort to defend herself.

“You did it didn’t you?? I am going to lock you up you bitch and you will never ever get out.”

Matthew stode up to Berke and threw down his cloak at his feet.

Wizard’s duel.

It all happened at once. Matthew appeared, threw Agatha into a bench, turned to face Avery for a duel.

Yeah, like hell.

Avery wondered for a second why Agatha did nothing. She was insanely powerful, probably more so than her husband (whom Avery found himself disliking almost immediately).

Was Matthew that much stronger than she, or was he just intimidating.

Then a scary thought entered his mind: Alex never scared Agatha. Neither did Avery. And that Dmitri kid couldn’t make her cower like this.

Avery swallowed hard.

But maybe he wasn’t strong at all. Maybe he was overcompensating. (Avery grinned stupidly at the thought.) He seemed like the type to rule by intimidation. But unlike Avery or Alex or Dmitri, he didn’t have the power to back it up.

“You’re kidding right?” But Matthew didn’t move. Clearly, he was deadly serious.

Okay. Fine. Bring it. It took only a few seconds, but the cocky Avery was back. As far as he was concerned, it was a welcome distraction from the “You’ve got a kid” debacle.

A shallow bow. Wand up.

“Your move, bitch.”


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