[Where: Forbidden Forest, Hogwarts]
[When: During the end of the battle in Wales]
[Why: Tying up loose ends]
"Well what do you know?" said Marshall Trimble as he looked up into the sky. The dark clouds that had been poised to release a charge of deadly magic now fled far to the South and out of sight. "They all did it."
"Of course they did," Aja said weakly. "I suppose that means there was no need for any of this."
Trimble looked down at Aja, his wand still pointed squarely at her. They were in what remained of the Forbidden Forest, large and foreboding it once was, it now bore a wound that made it look like it was hit by a meteor. Trees were uprooted, ground up-heaved, and Aja lay on the ground, partially transfigured into a spider-web of trees torn from the ground.
Trimble sniffed and looked down at her disdainfully. "You mean you didn't need to get in my way, little lady? Well I reckon you'd be right about that."
"All you had to do was your job, Trimble," Aja whispered, every new breath of hers coming painfully. "All you had to do was watch it happen. That is the only reason Dumbledore allowed you to come to Hogwarts, because of your Oath you made to us."
Trimble looked uncomfortable for a moment, but it quickly passed. "Been watchin' for a long time, ma'am." Then, suddenly, he lost his cool. "All that bloke from the Walpurgis Society wanted was a little information. The kind we piss away every second! We watch and we watch and we watch, but what do we get out of it? I got tired, and there wasn't any indication that Voldemort wasn't gonna get through this on top!"
"Then I suppose you weren't watching carefully enough, young man."
Trimble looked down at her and frowned, and then a strange smile spread on his lips. "Guess I didn't, now that you mention it."
"There's a reason why we only watch, Marshall. There are trade-offs to every line of work. Ours is no different." Aja gasped painfully. "You knew this when we approached you."
"Maybe y'all told me, but I had no idea what y'all were talkin' about when you did," Trimble growled. "Now I do, and I'm tired of this shit. I had nothin' against you, old woman. You just needed to stay the fuck out of my way. You didn't, now look what's happened."
He stepped forward and turned his wand sideways, aiming it at Aja's heart. "But I won't keep you waitin' any longer, ma'am. I'll make this quick. Ava-"
And out of nowhere came Ferreus, all quickness, teeth and claws. Trimble instantly turned his killing curse on the magical wolf. It pounded off of the ground, bounced off a tree and came at Trimble like white death. Trimble's wand moved so fast it was a blur, sending hundreds of tiny sparks at the flying wolf-crup. The sparks exploded on impact, and the scent of burning flesh and fur filled the air. Ferreus was sent flying to the edge of the ruined clearing.
As soon as Trimble's spell connected and Ferreus flew, Takeshi appeared, a flourish of white robes. Trimble responded without pause, and wands sparked as spells clashed together, slashing through the air. They went back and forth for several seconds, and though he was one-handed, Takeshi was quickly getting the better of him. He slashed, a silver arc of light exploded and Trimble was torn in half. As his two pieces fell to the floor, Trimble popped out from the nowhere several yards away, turned and ran as fast as he could. Behind Takeshi, Ferreus exploded forth, unharmed, and gave chase.
Takeshi watched them go, then turned to the ailing Aja and knelt by her.
"Don't worry," he said softly. "Ferreus and I will chase him to the ends of the earth. He will not get away."
Aja smiled weakly. "Don't underestimate him, young man. There's a reason he was chosen."
Takeshi nodded slowly, then looked over her wounds. "I wish you had trusted me enough to tell me what he was planning." He drew his wand around her, detaching her from the pieces of the woods that had been fused with her body.
"I didn't know if I could, and I must say, I was perhaps a bit over-confident myself. How did you know?"
Takeshi grunted as he worked. "He sent a golem after me. Though the school was closed, I had nowhere else to go and elected to stay, as, did I find out later, did you and he. There."
Aja gasped slightly as her body was freed from the woods. "My wand, please."
Takeshi nodded and picked up a frail piece of wood that looked to be nothing but a twig, and handed it to the old woman. Aja lifted it, and flicked her wand once. The forest responded immediately, as if her command couldn't but be obeyed. Fallen trees were rooted, grass and plants and other foliage grew into place. Within a minute, the hole in the forest was restored. Aja's hand grew limp, and her wand threatened to slip from her fingers.
"Good. I leave this forest like that. Now then, take me home, please."
Takeshi nodded again. "Of course. I'll just tell the others we're coming back-"
"You misunderstand," Aja said. "Take me home." Takeshi looked at her with great uncertainty and started to slowly shake his head, but Aja continued, "I believe I'm watched long enough as well, wouldn't you say? As so with Albus Dumbledore, I believe I deserve my rest."
Takeshi took a moment, then nodded gravely. Gently lifting Aja to her feet with his wand, he put his arm around her and made a quick gesture with his wand. Then the two stepped forward and disappeared.