Susan Bones was very uncomfortable.
She was squeezed up into a corner with about four other people, hiding from the evil Carrows and their idiot followers, who were out and about the school searching for them, the missing students of Hogwarts.
Little did they know that they, the remnants of Dumbledore’s Army from fifth year, had been hiding right under their ugly noses, gathering old members and new, waiting for the perfect chance to strike.
Yes, some things were about to change now. The Headmaster, Severus Snape, had left on one of his frequent missions for You-Know-Who a few weeks ago, and the Carrows were frantically searching for the students they’d lost in his absence lest he turn his anger on them.
Susan smirked, as Neville Longbottom, the leader of her group, motioned them forward with a wave of his hand. If the Carrows weren’t so stupid, maybe they would actually have a chance of catching them in the act. As it was, she wasn’t too worried.
“All right, mates,” Neville said, a manic gleam in his eyes. “As far as we can tell, there should be a couple of second year Ravenclaws and Hufflepuffs chained up in the corridor right ahead. Susan and Hannah, would you two go free them? Seamus and Brenton, you two can come with me. We’ll take care of the message.”
Susan nodded and gave Neville a smile. She remembered back in the old DA days, how Neville was the one poor boy who couldn’t hit the side of a barn with his spells. Now he was one of the leaders, and she respected him for it. She remembered the words he’d spoken to the runaways in the Room of Requirement when they had first started making raids on the castle to retrieve students and such. He’d said, “C’mon, guys. We’re going to make it better. The place: Hogwarts. The time: now. And there’s no time or place like it. If you’ve got a dream, this is the time to make that dream happen. And so we’re gonna get our school back. We can do it, we just have to try.” And it was hard not to believe him.
The three boys wished them luck and began spraying the wall with a paint spell they’d learned from a textbook in the Room of Requirement, the escaped students’ home. “C’mon,” Susan told her best friend Hannah Abbott, who nodded. They turned and jogged quietly towards the door directly opposite them.
“I wonder who they are…” Susan said as she slowly pushed the door open, pulling her wand out and holding it at the ready.
Hannah shuddered. She’d only been on one rescue mission before as she was a rather new escapee, but she’d been shocked at the conditions of the Carrows’ prisoners. They’d been chained to the wall, and several had been beaten and bloody; the use of the Cruciatus Curse wasn’t uncommon.
“Lumos,” the two girls whispered together. They shone them around the corridor. At first nobody was visible, but then a tiny cough from further down the hall made them keep going.
Susan and Hannah gasped as the light from their outstretched wands fell upon a tiny girl who was laying there in a pool of blood, apparently having difficulty breathing. The two girls exchanged a glance, then as one they bent towards the girl.
Susan patted her arm gently. “Wake up, wake up,” she murmured. The girl wasn’t responding to her touch.
“She won’t wake up,” said a hoarse whisper from the other side of the corridor.
Hannah and Susan jumped, looking for the source of the noise. They found him, another small, dirty child, this one a boy. After a minute they recognized him.
“Devon!” Hannah cried, and then covered her mouth in shock.
Susan hurried over to embrace him. “I didn’t know where you were!”
Devon was Susan’s one and only cousin, the last survivor of the infamous Bones murders committed by Death Eaters when Devon was only a baby and Susan a small child. He’d lived with their Aunt Amelia until she had been killed the year before, then he’d stayed with Susan and their parents. He was a Hufflepuff second year, and a very brave one at that. Susan felt sure that if he’d been in school in her fifth year, he would’ve joined up with Dumbledore’s Army in a heartbeat.
He’d gone missing with several other students a few weeks previous, and Susan had been making herself sick with worry.
Once Hannah too had gotten her hug (although it was awhile before Susan would let go) they all three turned back to the little girl lying down in the hallway.
“Who is that?” Susan inquired of her cousin. She couldn’t see the girl’s face, but if Neville had been correct, and he usually was nowadays, then she was one of the second year Ravenclaws.
“That’s Cecily,” Devon said sadly. “She’s in my year, and she’s a Ravenclaw. That evil witch tortured her a lot.” Susan could see tears in his eyes, and she put an arm around his trembling shoulders.
“We’ll get her out. Both of you.”
Hannah nodded. “I’ll go find Neville,” she said. “You stay here with these two.”
She got up and hurried out of the corridor to find the three boys.
Susan turned to look at Devon. “Did she torture you?”
He shook his head. “Almost, though.” His fear of Alecto Carrow was apparent; most of the students’ was. She and her brother may not have been very smart, but they were cruel.
“What did you do to end up here?” Susan wanted to get the whole story, to get details that the escapees could use against them.
Devon sniffed and swiped a grimy hand under his nose. “The boy Carrow was insulting Cecily’s dad, ‘cause he was a muggle. So we started hexing him, and then the other one came in and they had us chained up. And they tortured her ‘cause of her dad, but not me. And I tried to stop ‘em but I couldn’t.” He looked tearful again.
“It’s okay,” Susan whispered to him. “We’re going to get you out, right now. You’re gonna be safe, okay?”
He looked up at her hopefully. “Where are we going?”
“You’ll see. Remember the old stories about Harry Potter and Dumbledore’s Army?”
He nodded. She’d replayed these memories to him many times.
“Yeah? Well this is where we used to have our DA meetings. Nobody can get in.”
He grinned, suddenly excited. “Cool.”
Suddenly the door to the corridor opened and three figures hurried in, one of them closing the door quietly behind them.
“Lumos,” they all said, and the air was lit up on their side. Neville saw Susan and Devon and hurried over. When he saw the little girl he stopped short. “Uh oh,” he said. He knelt down to examine her. “Brenton, come over here and help me flip her.”
Together the two boys gently turned the girl over onto her back. Her eyes her shut gently closed, her mouth open and gasping for breath. The pool of blood was coming from a very scary looking cut in her forehead.
Neville stood up, then turned and muttered something. It was a stretcher.
“Wow, Neville, good job,” Susan said, surprised that he could do that advanced spell.
Neville looked embarrassed as he considered Cecily. “I don’t think it would be a good idea to try to levitate her onto it.
Brenton nodded, and they again bent down and lifted the girl onto the stretcher. It wasn’t difficult; she was very small.
They stood back and admired their work for a second, then Neville nodded. “Right. Let’s get out of here. Susan?” He looked to her for consent.
She nodded, then looked to Devon. “Ready?”
He set his little jaw and nodded. “Let’s do this.”
They had to smile at his determination. “Way to go, mate,” Neville told him as they made their way out of the corridor.
Devon was beaming.
As they passed the hallway Neville and Brenton had been working on, they saw words written in massive letters in blood-red paint: “DUMBLEDORE’S ARMY LIVES ON.”
Susan and Hannah congratulated the boys on how good and creepy it looked. “It gives me chills,” Susan said, a grin on her face. Let that teach those idiotic Carrows to mess with the students of Hogwarts!
Neville and Ginny and Luna, the other leaders of the group, had mapped out the corridors which the Carrows and their supporters were most likely to patrol during the nights. They made sure to avoid these, so their options got smaller and smaller. Literally.
Hannah was in control of Cecily’s stretcher, and she was having a little bit of difficulty maneuvering it up the increasingly narrower staircases and hallways. After a few minutes she ran it foot-first into a suit of armor, knocking it down and causing a loud clatter that was sure to wake up half of the castle.
The five conscious kids swore under their breath, and Hannah looked like she was about to cry. “I’m so sorry!” She whispered.
Neville shook his head. “Just get her up to the Room, you’re almost there. We’ll be right behind you.”
Hannah nodded and took off.
A shout of anger could be heard from a couple of floors down. “Oh, Merlin,” Susan whispered. “It’s Amycus Carrow. Let’s go!”
They all turned and fled up after Hannah, frequently turning to look over their shoulders to make sure they weren’t being followed. They were just clearing the sixth floor landing when several people jumped out from behind a tapestry.
Immediately there was jets of light flying all over the room, hitting objects and exploding everywhere. Susan instinctively grabbed her wand and pointed it at a random opponent! “Petrificus Totalus!” His limbs sprung together and he hit the floor hard.
“Bones?!” Came a girl’s incredulous cry.
Susan knew the voice, she’d strongly disliked this girl all through school and hated her merciless teasing. “Parkinson,” she replied through clenched teeth.
Pansy Parkinson, the horrible prat of the Slytherin seventh years and one of the Carrows’ pets, was standing with her wand pointed casually at Devon, who was standing off to the side. “Help me!” was his expression.
“You caused quite a racket down there, didn’t you?” The girl smirked.
Susan shrugged. “I suppose so.” She was afraid to raise her wand for fear that her cousin would be hexed.
Parkinson grinned widely, and began a swishing movement with her wand, which was still pointed at Devon. He squeezed his eyes shut in anticipation as Susan gasped and fumbled with her wand, trying to come up with words for a spell.
Pansy crumpled to the ground.
Susan looked around for the caster of the spell and found Neville standing there. There were a few more bodies lying on the ground around him and Brenton.
“Thanks, Neville,” Susan said weakly.
“Anytime,” he replied.
Devon ran over to Susan and gave her a hug.
“Do we just leave the bodies here?” Brenton asked, eyeing them as if they were slugs.
Neville shrugged. “Suppose so. C’mon, let’s go before someone else catches us.”
He and Brenton led the way up the last flight of stairs to the seventh floor, Susan and Devon taking the rear. When they reached the corridor with their special wall, Neville paced back and forth in front of it three times.
The door appeared. Neville cleared his throat, took hold of the handle and opened it, holding it open for the others to pass first.
“Let’s go,” Susan whispered to Devon. They followed Brenton into the Room of Requirement, nodding thanks to Neville on the way in.
Devon gasped as he saw the sight awaiting them. Hammocks and banners representing three of the four houses were everywhere, and people were sprawled about, talking, reading, and doing other everyday things. Over in one of the corners, Hannah and a few others were poring over a book beside Cecily, most likely trying to figure out how to mend her injuries.
One of the seventh year Gryffindors, Seamus Finnigan, looked up at their entrance and said excitedly, “Look! They brought another kid!”
Devon ducked his head quickly in embarrassment.
“This is it, Devon,” Susan said, a smile forming on her face as she watched her fellow runaways and DA members looking up curiously at them to see the newcomer. “This is our home.”