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Areopagitica by cherry_pop94

Format: Novella
Chapters: 7
Word Count: 19,606
Status: WIP

Rating: Mature
Warnings: Contains profanity, Strong violence, Sensitive topic/issue/theme

Genres: Drama, Horror/Dark, Action/Adventure
Characters: McGonagall, Pomfrey, Lupin, Fred, George, Ginny, Luna, Neville, Seamus, Skeeter
Pairings:

First Published: 06/14/2015
Last Chapter: 01/02/2017
Last Updated: 01/02/2017

Summary:




 Hogwarts during the Second Wizarding War is a quiet place, but from behind closed doors, revolution is rising. 

 Amazing banner by Livilulu @ TDA


Chapter 1: Prologue
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Image by Horcruxxx @ TDA

 

Disclaimer: Everything you recognize belongs to JK Rowling.




A great barn owl dropped a shoe-box sized package on Luna Lovegood’s plate Monday morning at breakfast. The purple wrapping paper was crudely ripped open already, having been inspected by Mr. Filch before it could enter the castle. Having no sympathy for the aesthetics of Luna’s gift, he’d sent it along to her with the pretty purple paper torn up and the yellow bow yanked off. Still, Luna smiled as she tucked the package under her arm and left the Great Hall with a sudden spring in her step.

Up in Ravenclaw Tower, Luna unpacked her gift with great delicacy. The box contained ten plain brown quills with dull ends that she had to sharpen herself. There was no ink included with these new quills, but Luna eyed them with an excited gleam. She pulled the thick blue curtains up around her bed and hastily grabbed her wand from inside her black stocking. She mumbled the spell quickly under her breath and then watched as blue light bathed her bed.

~

Ernie Macmillian gave Luna a cheeky little smile as she handed him a light brown quill with white flecks across the top half. It was one of her weekly gifts to the students – this week a quill, the week before a single black sock, before that, a pot of black ink. They were always like that – plain, mundane, nothing to get in a frenzy about at all, but Ernie’s smile stretched ear to ear as carefully tucked the quill inside his book bag and hurried back to the Hufflepuff common room after dinner.

Susan Bones was perched on an armchair there already, flipping through her transfiguration textbook, but not taking in a single word of it. She had a tired look about her, her shoulders drooped a little and her eyelids seemed too heavy. But when she saw Ernie enter the common room, the brown quill in his hand, she immediately perked up. With a quick peek around the mostly empty Hufflepuff common room, Susan dropped her textbook on the chair and scurried after Ernie up to his dormitory. They shut themselves up behind his warm mustard bed curtains and laid the quill down on the bed, both of them staring eagerly at it.

Ernie pulled out his wand from his back pocket and mumbled a spell under his breath. Blue light filled their cozy cavern.

~

One week after Luna received her prettily wrapped purple package of ten quills, Xenophilius Lovegood placed ten pairs of plain cotton gloves inside a shoebox wrapped in yellow foil. He folded each pair into little squares and lined them up painstakingly inside the box. He covered the top with a layer of sparkly red tissue paper and then placed the yellow foil lid on top of the gift. Although he knew his pretty gifts to his daughter were all ripped apart by Mr. Filch first, Xenophilius still took the care to tie a shiny blue ribbon around the box and address it to Luna in careful calligraphy on a silver gift tag.

He gave the gift to the family owl, Clio, to be sent off without any letter attached. The brown barn owl had been named for the muse of history more than twelve years ago by his late wife Pandora. She’d always loved the subject, reminding Xenophilius that events gone by should never be forgotten. The past informed the present would inform the future, she always said. Xenophilius tried to keep his wife’s words in mind always as he went about his days that were all too reminiscent of a time that was supposed to be gone by. 





Author's Note: So I thought I'd write a little something about Hogwarts during that one terrible year. I've this idea brewing in my head for a while, so hurruh! Please let me know what you think of this first chapter in the review box below! I love to hear your thoughts and opinions. 

My title, 'Areopagitica,' is the title of John Milton's anti-censorship pamphlet in 1644 against the new licensing laws in England. 


Chapter 2: Affiche Rouge
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Chapter Image by Amoretti. @ TDA




Two Wizards Found Dead in London by Strangulation

By Rita Skeeter

October 15, 1997

Last Wednesday, an elderly couple found a shocking surprise during their morning stroll. Two wizards, identified as Ulysses Thorfin and Jason Rolfe, going about an innocent evening walk after a night at the pub, were brutally strangled in the streets as they cried out for their families in their dying breaths. They are suspected to be victims of Kingsley Shacklebolt, a fugitive member of the underground terrorism cell, the Order of the Phoenix.

Reports say that Shacklebolt has been going on a killing spree of purebloods since he skipped out on his mandatory Ministry hearing three weeks ago. His killings are characterized by their crude, barbaric muggle methods. Indeed, Shacklebolt’s victims do not even get the curtesy of a quick, painless, magical death as this serial killer prefers his to respond to his baser instincts. Authorities have warned all purebloods to stay safe and in groups in these dangerous times as they continue their search for Shacklebolt. Do not approach this man on your own, no matter how noble the intention of ridding the world of this monster may be.

Shacklebolt is a known muggle and mudblood supporter, going so far as to openly support Harry Potter and other known fugitives. In his stint as an auror, his superiors described him as an ‘unstable man, not fit for the job.’ Indeed, this is why Shacklebolt was assigned the lowly job of protecting the muggle Prime Minister, giving into his delusions of grandeur. As if the Ministry would expend valuable resources to protect a muggle. Shacklebolt (cont’d on p. 6)

“Bloody Rita Skeeter,” Ginny grumbled as she tossed the Daily Prophet aside. “Bollocks, all of it.”

“I don’t know why you keep reading that stuff,” Neville pointed out as he shovelled the plain oatmeal into his mouth. It was a rare day that the Carrows allowed more than plain rolls sent to Gryffindor table at breakfast. “You know it’s all lies anyway.”

“We’ve got to know what the enemy is saying,” she said gruffly. Ginny dug into her own grey oatmeal with an angry kind of ferocity as if she were trying to kill it with her rounded spoon. “Way too many people believe in this crap. Rita Skeeter is the Death Eaters’ secret weapon.”

“I don’t deny that,” Neville mumbled. “’Underground terrorism cell’? That’s bullshit!”

“At least it helps us fight back.”

“Fight back against whom, Miss Weasley?” a slimy, deep voice said from behind her. Ginny turned and saw Amycus Carrow glaring down at her, a smirk across his lips.

She stood up quickly from her spot on the bench and tilted her head up, a haughty expression on her own lips. Ginny seemed to be looking down at him, despite the fact that he stood at nearly a head and a half taller than her. “The enemy,” she said loudly and clearly in a sharp tone. The whole Great Hall stopped their meager breakfast to stare at her in silent awe of her defiance, but knowing what was coming to Ginny.

“And who might that be?” Amycus questioned her with a thick blond eyebrow raised. His arms were crossed over his wide chest, giving Ginny that same glare he gave students in his Dark Arts class before tripping them up with some convoluted question.

“You,” Ginny replied without skipping a beat. The Great Hall did a collective gasp as Ginny spat out her words, not caring what her consequences would be, like she always did.

Instead of the fear that Amycus Carrow usually inspired among the students, Ginny stared up at his angry, red face with a kind of fire in her eyes, as if daring him to do something to her. He glared back at her, fury written all over him. Amycus wound his arm back, palm open, and smacked Ginny’s cheek as hard as he could. Up at the high table, Professor McGonagall winced, a flash of horror across her face though she too had become all too used to these displays of violence in her school.

Ginny’s head snapped back with the force of Amycus’s slap, but somehow she didn’t shake. She still stood tall as ever and then turned back to face her assailant, the same spark of rebellion in her eyes though sticky red blood dripped down her cheek towards her mouth. As the metallic taste began to fill her mouth, Ginny still didn’t flinch nor show any emotion other than unadulterated hatred.

“You will remember to hold your tongue around your superiors,” Amycus spat at her.

“So not you then? I don’t consider criminals my superiors,” Ginny glared at him as she spat blood out onto his shoes.

“You insolent bitch!” he cried out. Amycus pulled his wand out of his robes and sent Ginny back with a burst of red light. She screamed as the cruciatus curse raced through her. A shocked murmur went through the crowd as it had been weeks since Amycus or Alecto had publicly tortured a student. Of course, they’d all seen Alecto and Amycus torture and hurt the rebellious trio before

Hardly anything else could be heard over Ginny’s screams that echoed through the Great Hall. All other conversations stopped, forks and knives were dropped. All eyes were on her, whether they wanted to see or not. The horror was something you simply could not tear your eyes from. Ginny thrashed on the stone floor, a little pool of blood forming under her as cuts, bruises and scrapes formed on her body. The torture seemed to go on for ages as Amycus held his wand fixated on her, but really, it all lasted less than half a minute altogether.

Amycus stashed his wand back inside his robes and turned on his heel away from Ginny’s shaking body at his feet. Madame Pomfrey jumped up to rush towards Ginny, but Alecto’s cold hand on her shoulder forced her back down. The tears stung the aging matron’s face as she was forced to watch helplessly as one of her students suffered yet again. Ginny pushed on her weak arms to lift herself up, but they shook and gave out underneath her weight making her fall back to the floor. Neville and Luna rushed to her side slinging one of her arms over each of their shoulders and dragging her out of the hall, her feet trailing behind

The three of them snuck through the corridors and disappeared into a door that vanished into the wall behind them. Ginny was barely conscious, her body still shaking from the memory of the torture. Even after all those times the Carrows had raised their wands against her, each cruciatus curse still burned through her as if it were the first. Inside the Room of Requirement though, Ginny could rest as Luna and Neville tended to her wounds in the little infirmary it had become for them.

“They use you as target practice,” Neville said as he wiped away the blood off Ginny’s face with a damp towel the room had conjured up for them.

“And they like to use you as a knife sharpener,” Ginny shrugged, though she winced from the movement. “Such is life.”

“I guess so,” Neville agreed. Ginny bit down on her lip as Luna pressed some dittany into the wounds on her arms. She was used to the sting already, but she still couldn’t help it. Luna smiled reassuringly at her friend, but Ginny could feel herself fading already. Getting tortured was exhausting, they’d all learned.

“Pass me the Prophet,” Ginny mumbled as she pushed herself up on the white cot, her arms still shaking under her weight.

“It only makes you upset,” Luna reminded her, but still she handed Ginny the crumpled up newspaper from inside her book bag after glancing at the headline. “Kingsley didn’t kill them. You-Know-Who did, they were thinking of defecting. He ordered Bellatrix Lestrange to do it.”

“How does old Xeno know all this stuff?” Neville asked in wonderment as Luna passed him a red glove. He laid it out on the cot and waved his wand over it. “Mutatius acta publica,” he mumbled as the blue light erupted from his wand. It cast a hazy glow over the glove as it began to morph – first turning flat, then the colour changed from red to glossy black and white, then the texture changed from soft cotton to smooth paper.

Neville tossed his wand aside again and picked up the newest edition of the Quibbler. Across the cover was a huge picture of the two recently murdered Death Eaters, mugshots from yesteryear. “Chief Death Eater Murders Two Defectors,” the headline read.

“Daddy has his sources,” Luna said with a little half grin. She scooted over towards Neville and peered down at the Quibbler with him. Even Ginny put down her copy of the Prophet to read the actual news with her friends. These days, the Quibbler was the only paper that printed the truth. Between that and Potterwatch, the wizarding population could find out what they actually needed to know.

“Did you already distribute?” Ginny asked her.

“Not yet,” Luna replied. “I’m seeing McGonagall today, so I’ll get some out then.”

“We can’t be too suspicious,” Neville frowned. “Did you make up a reason for seeing her?”

“I’ve said that I’m struggling with a transfiguration concept,” Luna replied with a small smile. She flipped the page of the Quibbler to a page of tips for muggleborns and updates on the current whereabouts of Harry Potter – though this was a short section as no one had seen much of him since September when he infiltrated the Ministry with Ron and Hermione.

Still though, the battle raged on without him. Ginny had recently received word from her family about a skirmish that broke out at the Irish border. Four muggleborns and two rebels had been killed trying to escape into the still free Republic of Ireland. Ginny wondered how long that title would remain true; the Irish Ministry was weaker every day and Death Eaters prowled closer and closer to the border. The only other country muggleborns could somewhat easily escape into now was France, but that was all the way across the channel and Ginny had already heard the rumours of what happened to those caught there.

“Never mind that,” Ginny said quickly shaking her head. “Their next smear campaign is against Kingsley! At this rate, they’ll have vilified the whole Order by Christmas! We have to do something about it.”

“The Quibbler can only reach so many people at school,” Luna thought out loud in her breezy voice. “There has to be a way to reach a wider audience.”

“We can always go back to graffiti,” Neville shrugged. “A little juvenile, but it works.”

“Posters,” Ginny said suddenly, perking up. “We can make posters as well. ‘Shacklebolt for Minister of Magic.’ The Carrows will hate it. They can have information on them too. They’ll take them down quickly, but people will see it.”

“Posters and graffiti then,” Luna smiled, tucking a strand of blonde hair back behind her ears. “A counter-attack, I suppose.”

~

Ginny cast a disillusionment charm over the trio as they snuck out of the Ravenclaw common room, where she and Neville had picked up Luna, and into the dark corridor. They each had piles of posters under their arms and a bag of Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes magic-repellant spray paint – a line of products specially created by Ginny’s brothers for her use against the Carrows.

Ginny lead the pack as they scurried down to the main entrance hall, each of them leaving a trail of posters as they hurried along, stuck onto the wall with permanent sticking charms. Despite the name, the Carrows had found that by simply blasting off that part of the wall and incinerating it, they could get rid of the incriminating materials Ginny, Neville, and Luna had taken to plastering the school with. While Professor Binns did not appreciate this destruction of history, the Carrows did not too care much for the ancient ghost’s opinions.

Down in the entrance hall, Luna kept watch as Neville and Ginny sprayed their message across the wall. It was the bright red, bold colours of defiance. Godric Gryffindor’s colour stood out as if it glowed on the dull, grey Hogwarts walls, the paint staining the ancient stone work. They were sure that Godric Gryffindor wouldn’t mind them defacing his ancient school with their messages of their rebellion though. Around the bold message, the three of them plastered the empty walls with their bright red posters, screaming out their messages and featuring Kingsley Shacklebolt’s serious face

Ginny stood there as they finished, surveying their work as a smile spread across her face. Just a small smile, barely noticeable in the pale moonlight, but there it was nonetheless. A rare occurrence for her these days.

“Coming Gin?” Neville asked. He tossed the empty cans back inside his pack and waited for Ginny at the staircase with Luna. Still, Ginny stood and stared at their blood red writing on the wall.

“Yeah,” she said in a soft voice, barely above a whisper that echoed through the hall just a little bit. “Right, I’m coming.”

She slowly walked back towards her friends, that goofy grin still on her face and only growing larger.

“You okay?” Neville raised his eyebrow at her.

“It’s just nice, that’s all.”

“What? My lovely handwriting?” he scoffed.

Ginny chuckled and shook her head. “To be writing on the walls again, but for the right side this time.”

~

WE DON’T RECOGNIZE A WAR LORD AS OUR LEADER. KINGSLEY SHACKLEBOLT FOR MINISTER OF MAGIC.

A crowd of students stood in the entrance hall mouth agape at the huge red letters covering the wall with the posters with their bold slogans written across them covering every empty space around it. The whole wall was bathed in red and black now, the posters flashing all different slogans, but the huge graffiti unchanging, looming over them all as they whispered. Everyone knew who had pulled this stunt, but as if the taboo were on their names, no one dared speak them.

The DAILY PROPHET is a puppet of the regime. They lied about this, what else do they LIE about?

IGNORANCE is the tool of OPPRESSION.

STAY INFORMED, FIGHT BACK.

CHIEF DEATH EATER KILLED THORFIN AND ROLFE.

LONG LIVE POTTER.

Alecto Carrow ripped through the gathered crowd of students, pushing aside the smaller ones, shoving her pointy elbows into whoever was in her way. Her wand was raised at the incriminating wall, fury all across her face, making her turn a truly unpleasant shade of purple.

She threw her arm back to aim a spell at the wall, but before she could utter one word, her wand flew out of her hand and landed squarely into that of Minerva McGonagall. The older witch glared at the Death Eater as she held both wands in her hand.

“You will not cause more destruction in our ancient school!” McGonagall declared to loud shouts of approval from some of the older students around them. The loudest of all from a group small group of Gryffindors in the far corner.

“And what authority have you got, Minerva?” Alecto spat at her. She walked squarely up to the other professor, shoving aside more students as she went. It seemed that the whole school was there watching them with their breaths held.

Minerva glanced back at the graffiti plastering the wall. I don’t recognize a war lord as my leader. She thought to herself. The words nearly slipped from her mouth, but she could see the frightened faces of the students around her, watching fearfully. They wanted her to fight for them, but if she fought for them, they would be punished. Minerva lowered her wand again and gave Alecto hers back. The Death Eater snatched it back violently and blasted yet another hole right in the middle of the wall.

“LOVEGOOD, LONGBOTTOM, AND WEASLEY!” she bellowed at the gathered students. They all fell silent as she glared around the room, searching for her three targets. The three of them never showed though. Not even Alecto Carrow’s hawk-like eye could pick them out of the crowd. They had simply vanished. “Whoever finds them, will be rewarded,” she continued as she glared around the room at the students. Her gaze finally settled on the group of Gryffindor seventh years who’d cheered earlier. Seamus glared back at her, his thin face and lips in a snarl. Lavender Brown stood next to him, her hair dull and limp around her face, but her arms crossed over her chest and a smug look on her face. Alecto narrowed her eyes at them, almost daring them to speak against her.

Still glaring right at the Gryffindor posse, Alecto licked her thin, cracked lips. “Whoever is found helping them, will be punished just as severely.”





Author's Note: The next chapter is finally up! I sort of wondered what Rita Skeeter was up to during the war, so this is my little foray into that. I figured, with her slimy personality, she's milking it for every cent and capitalizing on her influence in the media. What did you think?

Affiche Rouge, the chapter title, means 'red poster' in French. The original Affiche Rouge was a Nazi propaganda poster depicting twenty-three French resistance fighters as terrorists. It was the inspiration for this chapter since Neville, Ginny, and Luna use red posters as well, but for the opposite purpose. But the Death Eaters are also using this Nazi tactic and calling resistence fighters terrorists. 


Chapter 3: Glavlit
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Image by Horcruxxx @ TDA




Vincent Crabbe grinned as he stood proudly before Alecto Carrow and beside his friends as she paced back and forth with her instructions. The last time he’d felt this way was when the Inquisitorial Squad badge was pinned on his chest, but this was far better. Vincent’s wand twitched in his hand as it ached to be used once more against some foolish student. There were far too many of them in the school that still thought that they could stand up against the Dark Lord. Far too many foolish rebels with all their hopes pinned on Harry Potter who hadn’t even shown his face in months.

Vincent knew that there was only one man to put his faith in these days. The Dark Lord had won, he had won, and everyone else was kidding themselves. What chance did Potter stand, after all, against the greatest wizard of all time? What chance did the world stand, really?

On his left stood Greg Goyle and on his right was Tracey Davis, her blonde hair pulled back in a high ponytail. Vincent tried to catch the pretty blonde’s eye, but she was focused straight ahead on Professor Carrow, her big brown eyes unblinking. Tracey had always been a bit pompous anyway, Vincent thought. Much too arrogant for a girl.

Alecto dismissed them with a wave of her hand a few minutes later and the handful of students streamed into the corridor, talking animatedly about their plans to catch the trio. Vincent declared that he’d be the one to catch them loudly with his chest puffed out as he walked past Tracey. She rolled her eyes at the obvious show and continued down to the Slytherin common room with her arm linked with Pansy.

Two days passed and no one had even seen a glimpse of Ginny, Neville, or Luna. They didn’t show up to meals or classes, they were never in their dormitories, they had simply vanished into thin air. Those who remembered Umbridge’s rule were certain that they were in the Room of Requirement, but this time, there was no traitor around to give the secret away. The three rebels of the school were gone and as each hour without their presence passed, the Carrows grew more and more irritable.

The Carrows kept the population on edge as always, but something about missing their three rebel leaders made the foundations shake. Few still dared to speak out, and those who did paid for it dearly. Padma Patil was still hanging in the dungeons for declaring loudly that the Carrows would never win and Seamus Finnegan spent a good amount of his time dodging the Carrows and any supporters, desperately trying to avoid their punishments for being Neville’s only remaining roommate. Crabbe had taken to standing outside the general area of the Room of Requirement for hours at a time, just waiting for them to show themselves.

Tracey Davis sniggered at him posted at the same spot as she strutted on past, her blonde ponytail swinging back and forth and a dirty house elf following her dutifully.

“Professor Carrow?” she knocked on the Muggle Studies professor’s door, her voice a sweet sing song.

“Hello Miss Davis,” the professor said as she swung her heavy door open. “What can I do for you?”

“My grandparents are away on vacation for a few months, you know, escaping the cold weather, and they were hoping that their elf could have a temporary place at Hogwarts,” she smiled sweetly as she roughly pushed the elf forward so that Professor Carrow could see it. “His name is Elbert.”

“Certainly,” Professor Carrow nodded. “Send him down to the kitchens immediately.”

Without another word, Alecto Carrow pushed the door shut in Tracey’s face. A crooked smile spread across the young blonde’s face as she walked away from the office.

~

“Explain to me again what we’re doing?” Veronica Jemiah asked Tracey. The two girls hurried down the staircase from Ravenclaw Tower to the dungeons with Tracey’s elf in tow. Veronica had a bit of a nervous sweat across her forehead as she followed her Slytherin best friend. Since they were young, Veronica and Tracey had been inseparable, not even differing Hogwarts Houses had forced them apart.

“We’re going to capture the trio,” Tracey explained. “Everyone and their mother knows that they’re hiding in the Room of Requirement, but we just need something to lure them out.”

“House elves?”

“House elves,” Tracey nodded. “Remember Malfoy’s old elf? Elbert says the dumb creature is absolutely devoted to Harry Potter. It’s helping Potter’s little posse here, I just know it.”

“So what?” Veronica raised her eyebrow. “If they’re in the Room of Requirement, the elf can’t do anything about it.”

“Potter’s girlfriend won’t let that elf die,” Tracey sneered. “The Weasley brat’s obsessed with Potter.”

“They’ll know the plan right away,” Veronica pointed out. “They’ll know it’s a trap.”

“So what?” Tracey smirked. “They’re Gryffindors. They’ll come on some dumb rescue mission anyway.”

“They can’t possibly be that daft.”

“You overestimate Gryffindors,” Tracey rolled her eyes and laughed as she linked arms with her friend.

Veronica and Tracey found themselves in the deepest dungeons in the castle, with only a dim torch lighting the dank room. Tracey pulled a knife out of her robes, the sharp blade glowing in the firelight as she commanded her elf to bring the captive. A single dirty elf stumbled out of the shadows, the creature bound up in a straightjacket.

~

Seamus, Lavender, and Parvati sat next to each other in the Great Hall as they silently ate their dinner – plain mash and soggy vegetables. Seamus poked at his food and daydreamed hopelessly of the extravagant feasts of the previous years with their whirlwind of delectable treats. He knew it was simply a way to crush them even more as he could see Slytherin table across the hall enjoying their smaller than usual, but still hearty meal. Resources in England had been scarce in the previous months and Seamus knew it was only going to get worse in the winter. The new regime refused to import from the muggle farmers and wizarding England had just never had a culture of farming before.

He, like everyone else, had heard the rumours of the people on the outside starving because of the new prices for food. Even worse, Seamus had heard what happened to those who tried to buy or steal from muggle grocery stores instead. It was a cruel world outside the castle walls, but when he looked around at the beaten and tortured students around him, Seamus was reminded that it was a cruel world inside too.

“I’m getting out of here,” Parvati said quietly as she stood. Her plate of mash and vegetables remained untouched, only the water glass was empty. Over the past few months, she’d grown thinner and thinner, her body getting frail and weak from the malnutrition. She always claimed that she felt too sick to eat, that she couldn’t stomach it knowing that her family on the outside was starving. And lately, her sister as well, who was still in Carrows’ dungeon.

Lavender quickly followed her friend out of the hall, shooting Seamus a quick glance as if to ask if he were coming as well. Seamus looked down wistfully at his half-finished plate, but decided to follow the girls out anyway. They really were all he had left at the godforsaken school. Parvati’s ankles shook as she walked, her whole frame slumped over. He didn’t know much about the situation, but from what he gathered, Parvati and Padma’s family had never come from much money to begin with, but now they were getting desperate. Seamus thought of his own mother, safe in Ireland for the time being and felt a surge of guilt wash over him.

As they climbed up the staircase, Parvati found herself resting more and more of her disappearing weight on Seamus as her feet began to give out underneath her. As they finally approached the tower, he was practically carrying her through the portrait hole.

“Parv, you need to eat,” Lavender pleaded with her friend as they set her down on the sofa. “You’re ill.”

“I just can’t,” she mumbled, tears stinging her eyes. “I just can’t do it.”

“Please Parv,” Lavender begged. She reached into the folds of her robe and produced a single slightly moldy roll. Seamus’s eyes widened at the sight of it – stealing food from the Great Hall was a huge offense these days.

“Lav, you shouldn’t have,” Parvati said softly, her voice fading. “They’ll torture you for that.”

“I can’t lose you too,” Lavender shook her head, she held Parvati’s frail hand in hers and kissed it softly. “Please eat.”

“Come on Parv,” Seamus rubbed her shoulder and smiled kindly at her. “Don’t give up now. Don’t you want to see the look on Snape’s face when we finally kick him out of that office?”

“I wish,” Parvati almost chuckled. A weak smile spread across her face as she looked at her two closest friends. Seamus had been an unlikely friend to her this past year, but she couldn’t imagine it without him now. “I don’t know how we’ll ever get out of this.”

“By fighting back,” Lavender said. “By staying strong and fighting back. We deserve justice. We will beat them.”

“I just can’t do it,” her eyelids fluttered as she leaned her head back on the armchair back. Parvati’s hair fell over her shoulders, not thick and shiny the way it always was, but thinning, falling out quickly, all that shine gone. She shivered as she drifted off.

“I wish I could,” she whispered. “But I just can’t do it.”

Lavender stood up again as Parvati fell asleep. She still didn’t take her eyes off her best friend, though Parvati looked less and less like the girl they once knew every day. Lavender pulled her wand out of her pocket, flicking it slowly to raise Parvati up and send her up to her bed. She floated gracefully up the stairs and disappeared around the bend. Lavender followed as Seamus stood in the common room watching them disappear. It happened all too often now. Malnutrition, starvation. Every day, he saw children starve. Children whose bodies were still growing and couldn’t handle it anymore.

He plopped down on the sofa and stared at the dying fire. At least he could always count on that to be burning, even if the common room never did seem as warm as before. He was the only one there, everyone else still eating their meager meal. He was alone often these days, either alone or with Parvati and Lavender, there was no one else left.

Out of the corner of his eye, a house elf appeared from the shadows of Gryffindor common room. It wore the fluffy white towels that all Hogwarts elves wore and carried in his little hands a bit of parchment. Seamus watched curiously as the creature made his way out from the shadows towards him, his big bug eyes downcast, his ears almost flat.

“Can I help you?” Seamus asked the pathetic looking creature. The elf said nothing, but still walked towards Seamus. In his hands, he held a crumpled up piece of paper. The elf held out the paper to Seamus and as soon as he had it, the elf disappeared without a single word.

Seamus sat dumbfounded staring at the spot the elf had just disapparated from. He’d never paid much attention to the house elves at the school before, but they usually didn’t allow themselves to be seen, let alone deliver cryptic messages to the students.

“What’s that?” Lavender asked as she came back down the stairs.

“I dunno,” Seamus shrugged. “This house elf just appeared and gave it to me.”

“Weird,” Lavender came and perched on the arm of Seamus’s chair. She took the paper from him and unfolded it. Her eyes went wide, her mouth dropping open as she read the messy scrawl.

We have Dobby. Bring the trio to the last dungeon, or the elf dies.

“We can’t,” Lavender breathed as she passed the note to Seamus. He scanned it quickly and turned back to her, panic on his face. “We can’t give them up!”

“Well we can’t let Dobby die!” Seamus protested. He jumped to his feet, pacing back and forth in front of the fire, ripping at the edges of the note with her nervous fingers. He thought of the kindly elf, the one Harry had introduced to the other boys in fourth year. He’d never cared much for the creature before, but that elf had helped them in their time of need. He shuddered to think what would have become of Parvati already if Dobby hadn’t brought the potions for her health. And all the other young students. The supplements and nutrients they needed but the Carrows wouldn’t give, it all came from Dobby.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck,” Lavender tugged at her hair as she slid into the recently vacated armchair. She tucked her knees into her chest, rocking gently back and forth as she let out her string of rude words.

“We have to go save Dobby,” Lavender exclaimed. She pulled her wand out of her boot and held it in both her hands. “We have to go!”

“Calm down, calm down!” Seamus grabbed her arms on both sides. Lavender’s breathing was heavy, her hands beginning to twitch, her mind racing over all the possibilities.

“We have to go!” Lavender cried. “I can’t, I just can’t have that blood on my hands! I can’t Seamus, we have to save Dobby! It’s Dobby, he… he’d save us in a heartbeat.”

“I know, I just… what if…”

“What’s going on here?” a timid voice asked from behind them. Lavender whipped around to find herself face to face with Parvati again. She leaned against the wall, her wand in hand, though her legs still seemed to shake under her weight.

“It’s nothing Parv,” Lavender said, her voice trembling. “Go back to sleep. Rest.”

“Something’s going on,” Parvati shook her head. She started towards Lavender and Seamus, standing straighter somehow, the shine in her eyes returning as she registered the worry on their faces. Dark circles still lined them, but somehow, she seemed to come alive again.

“It’s nothing. I swear,” Lavender pleaded. “We’re dealing with it.”

“Dobby right?” Parvati crossed her thin arms over her chest. “Sound carries around here.”




Author's Note: Hello readers! I know it's been an incredibly long time since I've last updated, but a lot of stuff got in the way and I really lost my muse with this one. I've been spending a lot of time planning and plotting it again, so hopefully the next updates will come sooner. Anyway, I hope you liked this chapter!

The chapter title, Glavlit, refers to the USSR entity that dealt with censorhip and state secrets. I sort of wanted to show a little about the almost police state that Hogwarts, and the UK beyond the castle, had become, so that's where this title came from. 

Edit March 5: Edited for some grammar and I added how Lavender and Seamus know Dobby and why they care so much about him. He sneaks them potions and vitamin supplements for the younger children and Parvati. 


Chapter 4: Trojan Horse
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Chapter image by padmeamidalas @ TDA




A large barn owl swooped into the Great Hall at dinner and circled the room once, twice, thrice. Clio the owl perched on the rafters and peered down at the dining children in confusion unable to find the recipient of her package. She had arrived at dinner instead of breakfast like usual and the old man with the large stick and grubby hands had spent longer than typical ripping through the pretty package before allowing Clio to carry it inside the school. The orange paper was ripped now, shredded along the sides and the ribbon haphazardly tied back on without any of the care the yellow haired man usually put into the packages.

Up on the rafters, the enchanted ceiling above a cloudy midnight blue, Clio peered down again at the children and saw two, one with dark brown hair and the other with blonde, almost like the girl she searched for. They waved up at Clio. They wore the same clothes as the girl she searched for, except for the ties around their necks. Yellow and black instead of the blue and bronze Clio expected.

Still, she swooped down from the rafters towards the children waving at her. They had warm smiles on their faces, as if eager to accept what Clio had brought for them. As she loosened her tight grip on the package, Clio felt an invisible force pull her suddenly away from the children and backwards. Clio let out a loud screech, attracting the attention of all the children in the Great Hall. They watched as the great barn owl fought back against the invisible hand that grabbed her, but to no avail. She landed with a thud across the high table, losing a sizable number of feathers as she did and knocking over several bowls and goblets. Clio stood up again when the invisible hand let her go and reached for her package to give to the children, but it was already gone in the hands of a yellow haired woman with a sneer on her face. The woman shoved Clio off the table and she had no choice but to fly away again, out of the Great Hall and away from the once happy children in yellow and black. All without even getting a glimpse of her Luna.

~

Ernie and Susan watched dejectedly as Alecto Carrow seized the package from Luna’s owl. Her sausage fingers ripped at the orange paper and opened up the lid at the high table picking up and putting down all ten of the red hair clips inside. She glared at Susan and Ernie as she did, urging them to quickly leave the Great Hall without finishing their meal of flavourless mash. Instead of heading to the basement where the Hufflepuff common room was hidden, Ernie and Susan scaled the castle’s many moving staircases until they found themselves outside of Gryffindor Tower.

Ernie knocked on the wall beside the Fat Lady’s portrait and yelled loudly. “Oi! Are you in there? Seamus? Lav? Parv?”

“My dear boy!” the Fat Lady cried waving her hand at Ernie to stop. “Must you yell?”

“Can’t you just open up?” Ernie pleaded. “I need to talk to them.”

“I most certainly cannot!” the Fat Lady cried indignantly. She seemed offended at the very thought of breaching Gryffindor Tower security. She turned her nose up at Ernie, though he still tried to talk to her. Just then, the portrait swung open, interrupting the Fat Lady’s silent treatment towards Ernie.

“I thought I heard someone hollering out here,” Seamus said to the pair of Huffelpuffs. “Luna’s package arrived?”

“Carrows,” Susan said shaking her head solemnly. “They confiscated it.”

“Crap,” Seamus bit his lip. “We’ve got news too. You better come inside.”

Ernie and Susan followed Seamus through the hole in the wall into the Gryffindor common room. Susan stared in wonder around at the cozy scarlet and gold decked out room. The roaring fire warmed her up as soon as she stepped inside the room. She’d never been in Gryffindor before and though the high ceilings and tapestries lining the walls made it quite different from the Hufflepuff common room, Susan still got the same sense of warmth in both.

“Suze,” Lavender turned towards them as they walked in, a look of panic on her face though she tried to smile at her friend. Susan’s eyes wandered to Parvati though. She was thin, like always, dark circles around her eyes. She looked frail, Susan thought. Still Parvati gave her and Ernie a weak wave.

“What’s going on?” Ernie asked them all.

“Dobby,” Seamus said. “Someone’s got him and they’re threatening to kill him if we don’t bring them Neville, Luna, and Ginny.”

“Wait sorry, but who’s Dobby?” Susan inquired.

“House elf. He’s been sneaking us supplement potions and food for the younger students this year. And Parv,” Lavender glanced at her best friend again.

“We have to save him,” Parvati explained. Susan wanted to cry as she heard Parvati speak. Her voice was raspy and soft, like she didn’t have it in her anymore to make the sounds. “He saved us. So we save him.”

“We’ll help,” Susan said immediately. Ernie nodded and pulled his wand out, eager to get going already. She looked at Lavender, Seamus, and Parvati, they did not seem as eager to head out as she felt.

“We need a plan,” Lavender explained. “We can’t just rush down there and expect to rescue him.”

“What about a disillusionment charm?” Susan suddenly remembered the spells she’d spent her summer practicing with her father. Ever since her Aunt Amelia’s murder, the Bones family had been on edge. Her father had ensured that his only daughter knew as much defensive magic as possible, but still, Susan went to bed every night plagued with fears and nightmares. If someone like Amelia Bones, head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement couldn’t survive, what hope did she have?

Susan tried her hardest to squash her insecurities as she waved her wand to show her friends the disillusionment charm. She held her breath as the magic swept over her, breathing out again when she looked down at her body only to see nothing.

“I could cast it over a few of us,” Susan said. “Then we’d have the advantage over them. They wouldn’t know how many of us there were.”

“Wow.” Seamus stared at the empty space where Susan used to be with his eyes wide open. “I didn’t know you could do that.”

Susan shrugged on impulse before she realized that no one could see her. “How about me, Ernie, and Parvati go invisible?”

“Sounds good,” Lavender nodded. She squeezed Parvati’s hand for a split second before grabbing her wand and gripping it tightly in her hand. “We’re in this together, okay? No one gets left behind.”

~

Parvati crept down the stairs behind Lavender and Seamus with Ernie and Susan behind her. She just could not get used to the sensation of looking down and seeing nothing where her body should have been. Invisible. She’d felt it before, metaphorically, but now she was quite literally invisible and it made her head pound. She was suddenly much more aware of her body. She could feel her weak heartbeat inside her thin chest. Pounding on steadily. She could feel the pulse in her wrists and neck, the even breathing in her chest. Every movement inside of her seemed to have been magnified by the fact that she couldn’t see anything at all.

She was tired. That Parvati was always acutely aware of. She was exhausted in fact. Her body could not physically handle to excursion down to the dungeons, but some Gryffindor adrenaline was pumping through her now. She could not, would not, allow the elf who saved her life to die at the hands of Carrow supporters. She remembered lying in bed, Lavender sobbing at her side, begging her to eat a bite of anything, but she just couldn’t do it. It made her stomach churn. But Dobby had saved her. He’d brought her potions that revitalized her. He gave her a life back.

Parvati did not know why she could not eat. It wasn’t for lack of hunger. She was constantly hungry. There was a constant empty pang in her stomach, but everyone else was hungry too. She saw little first year students cry because they were so hungry. She received letters from her brother describing their mother’s weak state for their cupboards in their modest little home were constantly empty. She feared for them. Her brother had purchased food from muggle grocers, it had kept them going, but that was a punishable offence. Parvati spoke a silent prayer for him each night, but she couldn’t help but feel like no one was listening.

As they turned the corner into the dungeons. Parvati felt a tug in her heart, a rip, more like it. As if it were trying to tear straight out of her chest. She found herself drawn towards a door on the side, locked, with only a little light coming out of it.

“Wait,” Parvati whispered to her friends before she could stop herself. Her invisible hand found its way into Lavender’s as Parvati pressed her ear against the wooden dungeon door. She could hear noises from inside. Animal noises, guttural, like some wretched creature was in immense pain.

“Alohomora,” Parvati whispered at the lock. It clicked open easily and she pushed inside, quickly cancelling out the disillusionment charm over her as well.

The cell was dark except for the light of a single candle sitting on the floor, illuminating an emaciated figure chained to the ceiling. The figure hung with chains around their wrists, hoisting them up on skinny legs that looked seconds from collapse. The figure was the source of the noise too. It looked human, but only barely and the noises were more animalistic than anything else. Parvati felt it again, her heart ripping out of her chest, as she saw the figure’s long, wavy black hair, identical to her own, hanging in greasy tassels over their face.

“Padma!” Parvati cried. Her sister did not look up from the dungeon floor. Parvati wrapped her thin arms around Padma, but found herself unable to lift her sister up. Tears stung her eyes as she clung onto Padma’s corpse of a body. She was covered in dirty and her own filth. Parvati vanished the cold metal chains that dug into Padma’s skin and held her tightly against her chest as she collapsed onto the floor in her arms.

“Parv?” Padma mumbled. “You came for me.”

“Of course,” Parvati kissed her sister’s hair and held onto her even tighter as if she feared that someone would come take Padma away from her again. “No one gets left behind.”

“I heard…” Padma began to speak, but her voice was hoarse, barely above a whisper. “Screams.” She finally finished her sentence. “From down the corridor.”

“Dobby,” Lavender bit her lip and looked from Seamus to Parvati and Padma on the floor. “Parv, stay here with Padma. We’ll come for you when we’ve rescued Dobby.”

“Be safe,” Parvati reached for Lavender’s hand and squeezed it before kissing it softly.

“I promise.”

~

Tracey paced angrily in the dungeon. They hadn’t arrived yet and it was nearly midnight. She could not accept that she had been wrong. She was never wrong. Dobby sat tied up against a chair, his big bug eyes still open though she’d fired a fair number of curses at him already. Still, the wretched elf would not stop talking about how ‘Harry Potter will win!’ Tracey was ready to kill the creature just out of annoyance, but she had to keep her bait alive.

“I’m bored,” Pansy drawled, perched in the corner waving her wand around to make patterns of sparks through the air. “Give it up, you were wrong.”

“No,” Tracey snarled at her. “We’re going to keep waiting.”

Pansy rolled her eyes again and went back to making swirls of sparks. Tracey grew more and more irritable as time went on, firing more and more odd curses at Dobby to make him shut up.

“Trace, let’s just go,” Veronica said. “Kill the bloody elf and let’s go back to bed. They aren’t-”

The door handle clicked open and light from the corridor flooded into the dimly lit dungeon. Tracey’s head snapped towards the door as she saw the familiar sandy haired Gryffindor walk in.

“Do we have a deal then?” Tracey asked. She kept her wand trained on Dobby as she glared at Seamus, no one else followed him inside. Not the other daft Gryffindors, nor the trio she hunted.

“Let me see Dobby first and I’ll bring you to Neville, Ginny, and Luna,” Seamus demanded. Tracey bit her lip, but then stepped aside to allow Seamus to get closer to the elf. Her wand was still trained on the little creature.

The Gryffindor dropped to his knees at the elf’s side. Tracey watched as Seamus cleaned the blood off the elf with his own shirt and ripped off strips to create a makeshift bandage on the worst of the bleeding.

“Hurry up,” Tracey snarled.

“You’ve hurt him!” Seamus accused her.

“You’re almost late!” Tracey shot back. “And where are they, you have your elf. Where are the trio?”

“Untie him first,” Seamus demanded.

“No.”

“Then I won’t tell you where they are.”

“You’re really in no place to be bargaining with me,” Tracey smirked. She waved her hand for the others to join her, but instead of hearing their footsteps shuffle from the dark, she heard nothing. Tracey turned around in a shock to see her friends, Veronica, Pansy, Blaise, and Theodore, all sprawled on the floor, taken out by some invisible army.

“You didn’t really think I came here alone, did you?”

As their disillusionment charms lifted, Tracey saw the figures of Lavender, Ernie, and Susan emerge from the shadows, their wands all drawn. She found herself surrounded, at a loss for words. Outsmarted by the Gryffindors and a pair of Hufflepuffs.

“Untie him,” Seamus ordered her again. Tracey, glancing down at her fallen friends, bit her lip and grudgingly did as she was told. She flicked her wand and the restraints around Dobby fell to the ground around him.

“We’ll be going now,” Seamus grinned at her as he helped Dobby to his feet. “See you around Trace.”

Tracey was fuming as she watched them head towards the dungeon door, leaving her alone with her useless and defeated friends. She wanted to scream out, but she didn’t dare move again four people when she was alone.

“Not a bad plan, Miss Davis,” a low voice said from outside. Seamus stopped in his tracks and stepped backwards as two tall figures in sweeping cloaks came into the dungeon. He raised his wand again, though this time, all the arrogance in his eyes gone.

Tracey’s mouth fell open as Alecto and Amycus Carrow came inside the dungeon, their wands hanging in their long fingers.

“Thank you Professor Carrow,” Tracey smirked at Seamus as she composed herself again. “Looks like you won’t be going after all, Finnegan.”

The dungeon exploded with light as Seamus, Lavender, Ernie, and Susan simultaneously shot spells at the Carrows. Seamus grabbed Dobby, tucking him under his arm as if he were a quaffle and dove for the exit. Tracey whipped her wand out and fired at curse at Susan, missing her by an inch. The fight between them had erupted with a bang. Tracey found herself whirling around the room stepping over bodies in some kind of macabre ballet, dodging curses shot at her while returning them back at her enemy. She watched as they fell one by one at the Carrows hand.

Susan collapsed, a pool of blood forming around her abdomen, Ernie screamed out in pain as a cruciatus curse from Alecto ripped through him. Even cocky Seamus found himself stumbling through the room, barely putting up any kind of fight as Amycus battered him into a pulp. Tracey grinned at the carnage, but her happiness was short lived.

“Where the bloody fuck is that elf?” she screamed suddenly. She manically searched the room, but only Lavender was even left standing and she just grinned as she too was finally slammed back against the wall unconscious.

~

“No one gets left behind!” Parvati cried as Dobby appeared in the dungeon where she and Padma had been waiting. “We all promised! We can’t leave without them!”

“Miss Lavender is telling Dobby to bring Miss Parvati and Miss Padma to the Room of Requirement!” Dobby protested. “Dobby is bringing Miss Parvati and Miss Padma to safety!”

“I won’t go!” Parvati shook her head. “I can’t go! What happened to them, please just tell me, what happened to them?”

“Miss Parvati is going now,” Dobby gentle touch on her arm quickly turned into a tight grip on the sisters as he snapped his fingers and vanished with them into thin air.

Parvati’s sob echoed through the Room of Requirement as they appeared. It was small, just big enough for three hammocks and a small washroom. It was dark too, but as Parvati’s sob ripped through the silence, Luna, Neville, and Ginny jumped out of their hammocks.

“What’s happened?” Ginny rushed over as the lights flicked on. She look between Padma’s tortured body and the blood coating Dobby and Parvati’s shaking sobs.

“You!” Parvati jumped to her feet and glared at Ginny. “You had to be the bloody hero! Look what you’ve done!”

“Parv, Parv, please, sit, have a drink, what’s going on?” Neville tried to reach for her arm and lead her towards a conjured chair, but instead, Parvati used what little strength she had left to shove Neville back away from her.

“Hiding in here like a bunch of bloody cowards!” she cried. There was fury in her eyes as she accused her golden trio. Too much pain from watching Padma disappear and now Lavender too, her heart was too heavy to keep on beating. “Do you know what we’ve all done for you to keep camping out here?”

“What’s happened?” Ginny asked trying to get an answer out of someone.

“This is your bloody fault!” Parvati screamed pointing her finger roughly into Ginny’s chest. “Who knows what’s going to happen to them now that they’ve-”

She was interrupted by a scream broadcasting through the school. It sent chills through Parvati’s whole body. She knew that scream, they all did. They heard it again, it echoed through the walls, bouncing inside Parvati’s brain. She covered her ears to block it out, but it was too loud and pierced through to her still.

“Seamus,” Neville stared at the empty space where his roommate’s tortured scream had come from with horror spreading across his face.

“Want to make it stop?” Alecto Carrow’s slimy voice replaced Seamus’s pained cries. “Come see me in my office. You know who you are.” 





A/N: I'm finally back with another chapter! The next one should come fairly quickly as I've already written it. What do you all think of this chapter? It was a hard one to write, a lot happens. Leave a review to let me know your thoughts!

The title of this chapter, Trojan Horse, refers to a story I'm sure you're all familiar with. Its from the story of the Greeks going into the city of Troy concealed inside a wooden horse that they've brought into the city under the pretense of a gift. This sort of silly technique inspired the bit where Lavender, Ernie, and Susan go into the dungeon invisible to make Tracey think that Seamus is giving in. 


Chapter 5: Room 101
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“You’re all free to go.”

Tracey opened the dungeon door and motioned for Seamus, Lavender, Susan, and Ernie to get out. They looked up at her in confusion. It had been less than half an hour since they’d been locked up. They’d barely even begun to really feel their injuries and already, they were being let go. The four of them glared at Tracey suspiciously, sure that it was somehow a trap.

“I swear,” Tracey raised both her hands. “You can go.”

She walked away without another word. The four of them found themselves stumbling up through the empty midnight corridors back to the Gryffindor common room where they could perhaps at last piece together the last hour’s mayhem. Lavender climbed through the portrait hole first. Her head was spinning from her fight with the Carrows. Behind her, Ernie helped Seamus through. He was weak still, his insides burning because of Alecto’s torture. Lavender couldn’t get his pained screams out of her head and seeing him was worse. She’d never seen her friend so broken as after that particular cruciatus curse.

She at last made it inside the common room and helped Ernie get Seamus onto the soft sofa before slumping down herself. Parvati at last stepped out of the shadows and into the firelight.

“I’m so sorry,” Parvati whispered, though her face was still in the dark.

“Why, what’s wrong?” Lavender reached for her friend, but found that she had no energy to stand. Parvati made to effort to come closer to Lavender. She stood in the corner, her back against the fire holding onto herself tightly as if she thought she’d fall apart.

“I’m so sorry,” Parvati repeated again, her voice beginning to break. “I made them do it.”

“Do what?” Lavender asked.

“Turn themselves in.” Parvati’s upper lip went stiff and she breathed in sharply. “They turned themselves in so you’d be free.”

~

Alecto Carrow grabbed Ginny’s arm and shoved her inside the small dungeon. Alecto slammed the door shut behind her with a loud thud, locking it with a distinctive click. Ginny fell across the floor when Alecto pushed her. She could only just lie across the room without touching the walls on either side of her cell. There was a small window, barely big enough for Ginny to fit her arm through, that let in some light from the outside. She jumped to her feet and took two steps towards it. Ginny had a view of the grounds from her cell. The sprawling green was illuminated by the moon and stars above. A full moon, Ginny noted.

Ginny slumped down below the window. She pursed her lips. This was unlike the Carrows – to just lock her up, no real punishment. From the torture she usually faced at their hands, solitary confinement almost seemed like a vacation. The cell was small, but not painfully so. She could walk in a small circle, she could stretch and lie down all the way, even if it was on a dirty floor. There wasn’t even a dementor guarding her outside. The Carrows had done worse to Ginny before and others for far less.

It was nearly an hour in the cell before Ginny noticed it. A small, black, leather bound book lying in the corner. The cover was blank, no title nor author. Nothing at all to denote what it might be. Ginny reached across the floor for it, her fingers slowly getting closer and closer to the soft leather. She felt a chill go through her, but ignored it as she finally touched the soft cover. Ginny pulled the book towards her, running her fingers across its spine. She pet the book as if it were a soft little creature, feeling some instinctual draw towards it.

She opened it, just the cover, and a gasp escaped from Ginny’s lips. She wanted to scream out, but something stopped her. Her breathing quickened, her heart rate sped up all the way. She could feel her head spinning, spinning. She could barely breathe. Ginny kicked the book away from her, but it could only go so far in the small room. She reached for the door and pulled at the handle violently, tugging, pulling, and kicking. She finally heard a scream escape from her lips as she yelled for somebody, anybody to let her out.

Little girl.

She could hear his voice in her head. TM Riddle. Those faint words were etched into her brain, carved into her memories. Not faint like they were in the diary, but bold. The words cut into her skin, leaving their invisible scars all over her.

Little girl.

His voice echoed through her even after all those years. She shut her eyes and she could see his looped script across the snow white pages. It was beautiful handwriting and Ginny could see it still in her head clear as day.

No one will ever love you like I do.

He had told her that again and again and again. His voice, she’d only heard it inside that chamber as she drifted away, towards death she thought. That chamber where he sucked the life right out of her. Ginny shook and screamed as she pulled on the door, kicking it, knocking loudly. She pulled so hard she thought her arms would fall right off.

Just a boggart, just a boggart, Ginny told herself. But she could not stop the nightmares from coming to her. It had been five years, but still he haunted her. He had marched through her dreams for months and months, she had relied on potions to sleep and spells to calm her down in the middle of the night when she’d wake up screaming. Ginny remembered her mother and father holding her, sleeping in their bed for the whole summer.

And then thrown back. Back into the school, back into the castle where she couldn’t even draw the curtains on her bed without being reminded of the darkness he had plunged her into for that first year at school that was meant to be so happy. The school she’d once been so excited to attend had become the stuff of nightmares, each corridor reminding her of those midnight possessions, each corner filled with the fear of him. She could barely look at a book without being tossed back into her world of nightmares.

And then it had stopped. Ginny didn’t remember when, she didn’t remember how. But one day, she woke up and the sight of her bed curtains no longer made her want to scream. She’d pushed him out of her mind and had not allowed him back in.

“Ginny,” a purring voice called to her from behind. She shut her eyes and pushed her face into the corner, but the hairs on the back of her neck stood up straight. She could feel his presence behind her. The diary had become him, his almost corporeal form. Tall, dashing, handsome. He was supposed to be her white knight.

“Ginny,” he cooed in that velvet voice. She wanted to turn around, to reach out for him, but Ginny didn’t move, she didn’t run to him like before. Run to him, loved him as her saviour. Because he had picked her up and listened to her heart when no one else did. He said he loved her as her only friend and she had believed him with all her heart.

“Little girl, don’t ignore me,” he called to her again so deceptively soothing. “I know you miss me. Your only true friend.”

“Not real, not real, not real,” Ginny muttered over and over again as she sank to her knees. She kept her eyes firmly shut, not daring to open them and at last gaze once again at his beautiful face. She had wanted him then, but not anymore. He couldn’t take her again.

“Just a boggart, just a boggart, just a boggart,” she repeated to herself. Ginny rocked back and forth on the spot, folded into herself as if she were trying desperately to disappear into the stonework. His voice dripped like thick honey over her, coating her, freezing her like a bug in amber. It was easy for him to paralyze her once again, somehow, he still had her whole soul.

~

Neville found himself shoved inside in a small, dark room. He tripped over his feet as Amycus Carrow pushed him inside. Neville stared up at the dark ceiling, it seemed to move, swirl around him. Finally, Neville stood and peered around his little prison. The room was no bigger than a closet, but long enough for him to lie down in. It was empty, except for one curious object floating in the corner.

The gold disk almost glowed, though there was no light in the room. It had a kind of pulsating magical energy about it. Neville immediately got his feet and felt himself pulled towards it.

Neville, a familiar voice seemed to call to him from the gold disk. He couldn’t place it, but the voice warmed him up inside, it was comforting, like he’d known this voice forever. Neville ran his fingers over the edge of the gold plate. It was perfectly smooth and sharp. The metal was cold, but he didn’t flinch away from it. Inside the plate was a swirl of white and silver liquid. No, not quite liquid, almost a gas. Too wispy, not real enough to be considered a liquid.

Neville slowly reached his hand inside the plate. The closer he got, the louder the voice inside his head became. Neville, the voice called. It was soft, feminine, it felt like a warm summer breeze. Neville, come to me.

“Mum?” Neville’s eyes shot open as he finally placed the voice. His mother never sounded soft like that anymore. He plunged his hand inside the gold dish. Instead of hitting the shallow bottom, Neville’s hand kept going, then his arm, and then he found his whole body plunging into the dish. Neville free fell as the silver and white swirled around him. But his fall was slow, as if he were gliding through the air, light as a feather, instead of plunging down towards the earth.

He landed lightly on his feet and stared around the scene he was just dropped into. It was dark, the moon shone overhead. Just a sliver in the sky. Strange, Neville thought. He remembered seeing the full moon earlier that night. He felt grass underfoot, Neville looked down and saw that he was standing on an immaculate green lawn. Even in the dim moonlight, he could tell how well taken care of it was.

A few feet in front of him, Neville noticed four figures. Three of them hooded, the fourth in a long dress, her wild, curly hair waving in the wind wild around her face. Neville froze when he saw her. That unmistakable curly mane, her looping gait, the way she swaggered around, circling two hooded figures tied and on their knees like a vulture.

Neville reached into his pocket to pull out his wand, but of course, it wasn’t there. The Carrows had stripped him of it before they’d locked him away. He was defenseless and she was right there, about to hurt those two people with the other monsters around her.

Bellatrix Lestrange danced her macabre ballet around her victims, her wand poised, ready to strike at any minute. Neville realized he was standing right in the open, nowhere to hide, he could only run. Behind him was an opulent manor, one of those grand old pureblood homes. It was tall and imposing against the night sky, like some kind of fortress. He couldn’t run in there. On either side of him, the manor’s well-groomed grounds seemed to stretch on forever. All bright green grass, fountains, and manicured hedges. Neville could barely believe that such an atrocity was about to occur in the beautiful garden.

He ducked behind a hedge just as Bellatrix circled around to where she could have seen him. Neville stared at her, it was the same familiar face as he had seen in the Ministry of Magic, but there was something distinctively different about her. Her hair somehow less wild, it was almost groomed. Combed so that her curls were deliberately styled, not tangled and knotted. Her face too was different. Still sullen, still sharp, those cold eyes still piercingly dark. But instead of the sallow circles around her eyes, instead of the lines and wrinkles across her age worn and Azkaban beat face, Neville saw youthful beauty. Bellatrix was radiant, more radiant than he’d ever seen her before.

She looked right at his hiding spot, he could have sworn that she saw him, but she did nothing. Instead, Neville watched as she circled closer to her victim. Her long, pale fingers reached for the hood over the first one’s face.

“MUM!” Neville shouted as he saw her dark pixie hair. Bellatrix yanked Alice’s face up by the hair and spat in it. They somehow ignored Neville’s shouts and his sprint towards them. He jumped for Bellatrix, but instead of hitting her cold body, Neville went right through her.

“Crucio!” Bellatrix cried. A jet of bright red hit Alice in her heart and she screamed out in pain. Bellatrix still held her up by her hair, but Alice squirmed and shook and screamed under her grasp.

“Mum!” Neville screamed again. He tried to grab her, but once again, he went right through her. She was nothing more than empty air, but her screams pierced through him sounding so, so real. The figure beside her screamed out too, fell down trying to reach for her with his bound hands and legs. His father, Neville realized. The other hooded figures, they each raised their wands and pointed them towards Alice until four simultaneous jets of blood red light raced towards her heart, she screamed, she cried, thrashed under the weight of four cruciatus curses.

“No, no, no!” Neville cried, he felt real hot tears streaming down his face, but he could not do anything for her, he couldn’t help his mother. He wanted to grab her, to grab her and his father and take off, run away, change what that he knew was to come, but no matter how hard he tried, every time he grabbed his mother’s arm or lashed out at Bellatrix and the other Death Eaters, Neville’s hands met nothing more than empty air.

~

They put her inside a hole. A tiny little box. Just tall enough for her to stand up and just wide enough for her to sit curled in a ball with her back against the dirty stone wall. It was a vertical coffin. There was simply no other way to describe it. Luna found herself settled into a small divot in the ground. It was so dark, she couldn’t see two inches in front of her face. She couldn’t hear anything, not the students upstairs, not the others locked in the dungeon with her. She was completely alone.

And then came a deep chill. Luna shut her eyes, though it made no difference in the darkness and waited for it to come. In her mind she played out memories, happy ones. Sitting by the creek behind her house with her mother and father in her happy childhood, practicing spells in the Room of Requirement with the only friends she ever had at her side, laughing with them, smiling. She waved an invisible wand in her hand and muttered the spell, but of course, nothing happened.

The chill came. It froze Luna to her core. She remembered it from before, she’d felt that same chill in the Department of Mysteries, but she could not fight it. Dementors swooped around just outside her hole. They’d never let the dementors inside, a dead student was too much even for the Carrows and they didn’t want to waste Luna’s magical blood. But even with the concrete wall separating her from them, the dementors’ pull was inescapable.

She shivered and wrapped her arms tightly around her thin body. The thick jumper of her school uniform and the robes wrapped around her did nothing to warm her up. The dementors’ chill came from the inside out. They first froze your heart, then crept into your blood, reaching every single part of you soon enough.

“Mummy,” a little girl’s high pitched voice rang through Luna’s head. It was her own voice from ten years ago when Luna still wore the dresses her mother made for her out of fabric she found at a discount in the muggle shop in town.

Luna tried to shove the memory out of her mind, but the dementor’s pull brought it back to the forefront. It played for her, clear as day. Little Luna, her light blonde hair in curly pigtails, wearing a dress made of the pink floral fabric her mother bought for just a pound and sewed only the night before. She skipped into the room, her basket full of plimpies for soup and flowers for their hair. Luna remembered kneeling on the floor beside her mother. Shaking her, petting her soft hair that was just two shades darker than her own.

“Wake up mummy, let’s go play,” little Luna said in her sing-song voice. “Let’s go play, let’s go play…”

Pandora never woke up. Luna begged her again and again, but Pandora laid on the floor still as ever with the remnants of her last experiment plastered onto the walls and floor around her. Luna laid next to her, just six-years-old, curled up into her unbreathing mother’s side surrounded by the shattered glass left by the explosion and she waited and she waited and she waited.

In the present day, Luna could feel the wetness on her cheek. The hole didn’t prevent her from feeling. Her head was spinning too, a bruise forming on her forehead, right in the centre where she had hit her head against the wall again and again and again. Luna was certain there was a forehead shaped divot in that wall. Anything to make her feel numb though. The spinning was better than the cold, anything was better than the cold. Luna tried to draw blood too, but no matter how hard she tried, there was no pain that numbed the cold. No pain was worse than the cold.

“Mum,” Luna whispered, her voice echoing around the hole. Her mother’s dead body haunted her. She shut her eyes and it was all she could see. Beautiful, young Pandora Lovegood, her blonde hair splayed around her as she laid face down in her own beloved home. Luna could hear nothing but her own screams as the memory of her father finding them and pulling his little girl away from his dead wife’s side played on in her mind, vividly as if it were happening right in front of her. Luna opened her mouth to scream again, but the hole had a way of silencing her. She opened her mouth and nothing came out. It was like the dementors had frozen her voice too. They took everything away from her. She couldn’t scream, she couldn’t move. They left her frozen in her memories.

“Mummy!” the little girl in Luna’s head cried out as her father scooped her up into his arms. Xenophilius cradled his little daughter, tried to calm her down, but he was shaking himself as he turned his wife’s body over to find that telling trickle of blood coming from her mouth.

“Mummy!” the voice was a shriek. It rang through Luna’s ears, ringing, ringing, ringing. It never stopped, not when she got out of the hole, not ever. She was always fighting the ringing.

“No,” Luna whispered to herself. “I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay.”

But the screaming inside her head, her little girl cries, drowned it all out.  







A/N: Didn't I say? Didn't I promise that the next chapter would be up really soon? I finished this one months ago, so I'm quite excited to share it with you now. I've begun working on the next chapter already, but I can't say when I'll be finished. Hopefully soon as well!

The title of this chapter, Room 101, comes from "1984" by George Orwell. In the book, Room 101 is the torture chamber in the Ministry of Love where people are exposed to their worst nightmares to break down their rebellious spirits. That's pretty much exactly what's happening to Ginny, Neville, and Luna here. 


Chapter 6: Republikflucht
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Anastasia Selwyn lived her life inside the lines. She was soft spoken and quiet, like a good pureblood girl should be. She kept her curly hair carefully maintained at all times like her mother had always told her was the only right way. She wore shiny black shoes with straps across them and carefully pleated skirts underneath her green Slytherin robes. Her posture was always perfect, etiquette lessons since birth would do that to a girl. She knew the perfect order in which to use the forks and spoons at a proper dinner, and at those dinners, Anastasia Selwyn knew exactly what her role was. She was to smile, look pretty, act nice towards her father’s colleagues and their children. Never a toe out of line.

So when Alecto Carrow asked her to pick up the class’s essays in her office before Muggle Studies that October day, Anastasia Selwyn did exactly as she was told with a polite smile. Alecto Carrow’s office was an unexpectedly warm place, she discovered. A roaring fire was constantly lit in the hearth with two large green armchairs around it. She had a sturdy mahogany desk with a leather chair behind and two smaller grey armchairs in front. The walls were lined with books that had titles that Anastasia didn’t recognize. It was organized too. Each file in its proper spot, every glass put away in the cabinet and the bottles of mead properly lined up on the small bar cart. The essays were exactly where Professor Carrow had said they’d be – on her desk in a neat stack arranged alphabetically by surname.

Anastasia tucked the stack under her arm as she made her way back across the plush brown carpet. As she exited the room, a flash of orange caught her eye. It practically glowed with incandescent colour in the dark office. The orange belonged to the wrapping paper on a box, a gift, it looked like. Anastasia walked over to the coffee table the box sat on for a closer look. The paper was messily ripped off and the lid was open to reveal ten plush red hair bows sitting on top of purple tissue paper.

Before she could stop herself, Anastasia found herself reaching for one of the red bows. She picked it up out of the box and held it in her hand. It was pretty, she thought. She imagined how it would look in her friend Valerie’s deep black hair. It would be striking. Her mind was filled with the image of her pretty best friend, her high cheekbones, the slope of her nose. She thought about Valerie’s twinkling eyes, the smile Anastasia rarely saw these days. A deep blush ran through her cheeks as she pushed her thoughts of Valerie’s dimpled smile away from her mind.

Instead she thought of Valerie with her books that year all second hand and her ripped robes mended with a purple swath of fabric instead of new from Madam Malkins. Her family had run into hard times in the war. Anastasia couldn’t remember the last time she’d seen Valerie in colour as bright as the red bows. On impulse, thinking just of how happy Valerie would be, Anastasia pocketed the red bow and walked out of the office and back towards her Muggle Studies classroom with the essays in her arms.

She dropped them off on Professor Carrow’s desk as she slipped back inside the classroom, then slid into her seat next to Valerie Perkins in the second row, the bow still burning a hole in her pocket. Anastasia barely listened as Professor Carrow extolled the virtues of pureblood. Her mind was inside her pocket, fear rising in her throat as she wondered what on earth had compelled her to steal from Alecto Carrow. Anastasia had never stepped a toe out of line in her entire life and now she suddenly found herself guilty of theft.

As the day went on, the guilt inside Anastasia built up more and more. It threatened to eat her up inside, destroy her. The bow, moved from her pocket to deep inside her bag, still seemed to sear Anastasia’s skin through all the layers of fabric between them. It burned her, as if a penance for the crime she had committed.

“Are you alright?” Valerie asked her as the girls sat down at dinner. Anastasia picked at the food on her plate. It wasn’t much, but they all knew it was better than what anyone else had. Some of the Slytherins heartily rubbed this fact into the other houses’ faces, but more often, they ate in silence. The only sounds coming from Slytherin table where hushed whispers as if they didn’t dare call more attention towards themselves.

“I’m fine,” Anastasia mumbled.

A loud ring rang through the Great Hall and all heads turned towards the podium where Alecto Carrow stood glaring down at them. Anastasia shivered under Alecto’s piercing gaze. She did not settle her eyes on Anastasia or even anywhere near. Her hawk eyes were on Gryffindor table, scanning the ragged crowd of students there picking at stale bread and plain mash for the fourth night in a row.

“It has come to my attention that a student at this school has pilfered from my office,” Alecto said. She narrowed her eyes as she spoke, her gaze still frozen on Gryffindor table, only occasionally scanning the room to settle on a pair of seventh years at Hufflepuff. “The item in question is criminal in nature and whoever is caught to have the item will not only face punishment at this school, but the matter will be taken to the Ministry of Magic on charges of treason.”

With that, Alecto was finished and returned to her seat at the High Table. Anastasia felt her insides churn. She wanted to vomit, but no food came out as she hadn’t eaten anything. She could once again feel the red bow burning her up from inside. She thought about Professor Carrow’s words, unable to link the red bow in her bag to anything so serious to require Ministry intervention. Treason? Anastasia couldn’t fathom that the bow was that important, but who else could have stolen from her office in the same day?

“I’m going to bed,” Anastasia said quickly, pushing her plate away from her. She stood up from her seat and bolted out of the Great Hall. She could hear Valerie chasing after her, heavy footsteps across the stone floors, but Anastasia didn’t stop running.

“What’s going on?” Valerie panted as she finally caught up with Anastasia in the cozy common room. Anastasia said nothing, she only slipped up into their dormitory.

“I did something really bad,” Anastasia bit her lip as she spoke. The girls dropped onto Anastasia’s bed, drawing the curtains tightly around them even though they were alone in the dormitory. Valerie mumbled a spell and lit up their little cave with a floating ball of light.

“What happened?” she asked in a hushed tone.

Anastasia didn’t dare look Valerie in the eye. Those deep, dark eyes could any truth out of her and Anastasia couldn’t drag Valerie into the mess she had created. So instead of looking at Valerie’s concerned face, Anastasia stared down at her bed sheets. Green. She counted the stitches, mumbling to herself.

“Ana, please talk to me,” Valerie said in a soft voice. She reached across the space and touched her friend’s arm. Valerie’s touch sent shivers through Anastasia. She’d always had that effect on her. The ability to bring her to her knees. Make her weak. Make her shiver. Make her blush. Anastasia wanted to lean into Valerie’s touch. To bury herself in her best friend’s soft hair, breathe in her familiar scent and tell her the whole truth. She wanted to let Valerie take away all her guilt and fears and pain. Not just the red bow, but everything else Anastasia buried deep inside her that Valerie could never know about.

“I did something awful.”

“Ana…” Valerie reached for her best friend’s face. She lifted Anastasia’s chin and wiped the tears from her face with her thumb. Anastasia’s eyes remained shut, still not daring to look Valerie in the eyes. “Does this have something to do with what Professor Carrow was saying?”

Anastasia bit her quivering lip hard until she almost drew blood. Slowly, she reached into her bag and pulled the red bow out from the depths. She held it out in both hands towards her friend.

“Is this it?” Valerie stared at the bow, a puzzled look on her face. Anastasia looked up at her through her hair. “How could this be what Professor Carrow was talking about? This is just a hair bow.”

“I… I don’t know,” Anastasia mumbled. “But I stole it! Today. I took it from her office!”

“I’m sure this isn’t it,” Valerie shook her head. “Why’d you even take this?”

“I… I thought you’d like it,” she confessed, at last looking at Valerie. Valerie took the bow from Anastasia’s hands and held it in front of her face. Anastasia felt the burning lift off of her, the weight disappearing from her stomach. Valerie had made it all disappear, the pain was gone, like it always was when Valerie was with her.

“It is pretty,” she said. She pinned the bow into her dark, black hair and smiled at her best friend. “What do you think?”

“It’s beautiful.” Anastasia reached out and tucked a piece of hair behind Valerie’s ear, showing off the bow even more. “Everything looks wonderful on you. But you can’t wear that out. Professor Carrow will recognize it.”

“Then I’ll only wear it when you can see,” Valerie smiled. She reached over and squeezed Anastasia’s hand in hers. “Thank you Ana. Don’t stress. No one will ever know. It’ll be our secret.”

“Thanks Val.”

“Now go to sleep,” Valerie whispered. She pushed the bags onto the floor and pulled Anastasia’s school jumper off over her shoulders. She undid the straps on her Mary-Jane shoes and tucked her into bed with a kiss on her forehead. Valerie slid off Anastasia’s bed as she made the light disappear as well. They were suddenly in darkness again.

“Wait,” Anastasia called as Valerie turned. “Will you stay with me? I’m scared.”

“Of course.”

~

Anastasia woke up with Valerie’s arms around her waist. Her best friend was spooned behind her, wrapping her up in her warm embrace. Anastasia turned around to face her. Sunlight streamed through the curtains and illuminated Valerie’s face, highlighting every curve and contour. She looked beautifully at peace in her sleep. Like nothing bad had ever happened to her. She was pure. Innocent. Anastasia could see the red bow resting on top of her raven hair, a perfect contrast.

“Good morning.” Valerie rolled over and stretched. She yawned softly and then sat up, smiling at Anastasia. “How long have you been up?”

“Not long.”

“Do you want to get breakfast?”

Anastasia shook her head and though Valerie protested, she soon left the Slytherin fifth year girls’ dormitory and headed towards the Great Hall with a promise that she’d be back soon. She had pocked the bow before the left, honouring her promise of secrecy.

Anastasia sat up in bed and curled her knees into her chest. She rested her face on her knee and rested her hand on the spot in the bed that Valerie had left warm. The other girl’s gentle morning smile lingered in Anastasia’s thoughts, filled her heart up. She knew her feelings for her best friend were beyond what they should be. Anastasia tried to deny it. She tried to be the good girl she was supposed to be, but there had never been anyone else but Valerie Perkins.

“Ana?” Valerie’s voice called. The curtain opened again and Valerie climbed onto the bed. She pulled a bit of toast out of her sleeve and offered it up to her friend. “Eat quickly,” she said. “We need to go.”

“Go where?” Anastasia asked, picking at the bread. “And don’t steal food for me. You’ll get in trouble.”

“Its fine,” Valerie waved her hand. “Come on.”

She grabbed Anastasia’s hand and pulled her out into the corridor. They hurried up the staircases and through the castle until they reached an empty spot on the third floor.

“You’re stressed. So we’re going to find out the truth,” Valerie said as she pulled Anastasia behind a statue. The girls were pressed up against the wall in the tight space. Anastasia could feel her friend’s breath on her skin.

“How-”

“With my help.”

Anastasia whipped around to see where the deep, male voice had come from. She saw a vaguely familiar seventh year in a blue and bronze tie. She had seen him around before, in the Great Hall, in the corridors. Hogwarts’ population had shrunk so much in the past year, it was easy to recognize almost anyone at the school.

“Michael Corner,” the boy said, holding out his hand to shake Anastasia’s. She took it and shook weakly.

“We can trust him,” Valerie whispered into Anastasia’s ear. She squeezed her friend’s hand tightly. “He’s with the resistance.”

Anastasia turned to Valerie with her eyes wide, unsure of what to say to her. The resistance within the school was an open secret and the leading members were too. Everyone knew about the trouble Ginny, Luna, and Neville had gotten themselves into. No one had seen them in over two weeks, one of those weeks, everyone knew, they had spent in the Carrows’ dungeon after being lured out of hiding by Seamus Finnegan’s public torture. But Michael Corner was not a part of that core group that everyone knew about. Anastasia gave her friend a concerned look, as if to ask how she knew this secret resistance member.

“We need to hurry,” Michael said. He took Valerie’s hand in his and pulled her forward. Anastasia look at how softly he touched her. Almost with affection. She felt a knot grow inside her stomach, but still, Valerie’s soft hand held hers too and it felt like a little flame warming her up.

Michael took them to a blank wall. He looked around the corridors and then shut his eyes. Anastasia moved her gaze between him and the blank wall in front of her. Her jaw dropped as she saw the door appear in the bricks. The Room of Requirement. Of course, she had heard about it. Everyone had heard about the secret room that Harry Potter held those clandestine defense classes in during the Umbridge year, but Anastasia had never seen it in person. Until that moment, she wasn’t even convinced that it ever existed – just another story blown up by the rumour mill.

Michael led the girls through the door. Anastasia was stunned to see the interior. It was a small infirmary. Limited healing supplies, but still, there were a few cots and little basins of water next to them. A handful of people milled about the room taking care of two people in the cots and a third folded into herself in the corner. Anastasia recognized them as the trio. Luna Lovegood curled up in a hospital cot with a bandage wrapped around her head. Neville Longbottom slept, though he thrashed around in the throes of a nightmare. And in the corner, Anastasia could barely make her out, was Ginny Weasley. Her bright ginger hair matted with dirt, her eyes staring straight ahead, unblinking. Her blue eyes sent chills through Anastasia’s spine. She was haunting.

As they entered the room though, the four students taking care of Ginny, Neville, and Luna all turned towards them. Suddenly, wands were drawn and they were met with fierce expressions. Michael threw his arms in front of Valerie, calming his friends.

“Woah guys, they’re with me,” he said.

“They’re Slytherin,” Lavender growled. She had an ugly snarl on her face, but she lowered her wand and crossed her arms over her chest. “And she’s a Selwyn.”

Lavender spit out Anastasia’s surname. Anastasia dropped her gaze, not daring to look at Lavender Brown for fear that her piercing stare would kill her on the spot.

“You want to see what they have,” Michael said. “Trust me. Come on, show them.”

He nudged Valerie’s side and Anastasia noticed again how close to her he was. His hand touched her lightly, encouraging her to show them what she had in her pocket. He looked at her with concern in his eyes, his hand still tightly grasped around his wand as if he were ready to throw a spell in her defense at any moment.

Valerie reached into her pocket and pulled out the red bow that Anastasia had given her. Anastasia’s stomach twisted into tight knots as she saw the bow again. She had loved it against Valerie’s hair, but there, in the harsh infirmary lights, it was ugly and too bold. A reminder of what she had done wrong, how she had dragged Valerie in with her.

“What is that?” Seamus raised his eyebrow at the bow.

“They found it in Alecto’s office. Ten of them, wrapped up in a box. This is it.”

“Alecto’s message today.” Seamus’s mouth fell open a little as he turned towards the two Slytherin girls. “If you’re found with this, you’ll be tried for treason at the Ministry of Magic.”

“I didn’t know,” Anastasia mumbled.

Seamus stepped forward and waved his wand over the red bow. Anastasia couldn’t make out his mumbled spell, but as soon as he said it, the bow changed colours, they glowed blue and began to morph. She watched it transform before her eyes in a glossy edition of a magazine. The Quibbler.

“Now you know,” he said, looking at her again. “Are you going to tell anyone?”

Anastasia shook her head.

“How do I know that I can trust you?” he asked. Seamus lifted Anastasia’s chin so that she looked him the eye. She wanted to turn away, to run back to the safety of her own bed, but she couldn’t. She was firmly planted there in the Room of Requirement with the Hogwarts resistance. So instead, Anastasia looked past Seamus. She averted her eyes and found herself staring at the only thing behind him – Ginny Weasley’s empty, empty blue eyes. Anastasia found herself lost in them. They were just a vast nothingness, her expression blank, her face completely blank. Ginny Weasley looked like a corpse.

“Is she okay?” Anastasia found herself saying before she could stop herself. Seamus looked behind his shoulder to see who Anastasia was looking at.

“No,” another voice said. Another seventh year Gryffindor walked up from Neville’s bed. His nightmare seemed to have subsided and he was sleeping peacefully again. “And she won’t be. Not unless you can work a miracle and get us some calming draught.”

Parvati Patil looked at Anastasia with a bored expression as she spoke. She was thin, too thin. She barely looked big enough to support the weight of her own bones. But still she stood among these soldiers and Anastasia could feel the strength radiating off of her.

“Maybe I can,” she said softly.

“What?” They all turned to look at her. Anastasia glanced sideways at Valerie. Her best friend looked at her in disbelief. She had a panicked expression on her face, as if begging Anastasia to stop talking. To just give them the bow and pretend it never happened at all. Go back to their cushy lives in Slytherin and pretend they never saw the secret room.

“Are you saying you can get a calming draught?” Parvati raised her eyebrow at the Slytherin girl. Anastasia could feel all eyes on her, burning into her skin. She tried to stand up straight, speak clearly like she was always told to.

“I’m a Selwyn,” Anastasia shrugged, concealing her anxiety beneath. “That means something here.”  




A/N: Hello readers! I am back. Sorry for the wait. There were a few details I needed to hammer out in this chapter before posting it. I hope you like it! Also, big thank you to everyone who voted for me and nominated this story for the Diadems! You guys are all the greatest and I love you so much. xoxoxo. 

The title of this chapter, Republikflucht, means desertion of the republic in German. It is an East German term for those who left the country for a life in the west. I thought it fit as Anastasia is deserting her pureblood world it seems. What do you think of these new characters? 

Remember to leave a review!


Chapter 7: Cabaret Voltaire
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“Ginny?” Demelza whispered as she pushed aside the dark curtails on Ginny’s bed. The inside was bathed with white light illuminating from Ginny’s wand. It was bright and made Demelza squint as she made out the figure huddled inside.

Ginny sat with her knees held against her chest and her eyes wide open. They were bloodshot with bags underneath them. Her skin was sallow, like a corpse. She stared straight ahead at the bright light, unblinking.

“Ginny,” Demelza said again. She sat next to her friend and pulled the wand out of Ginny’s hand. She didn’t fight it. “It’s been ages. Please. Shut your eyes. Sleep.”

“Please don’t take away the light,” Ginny begged Demelza, her voice hoarse and desperate. “Please.”

“It’s right here. The light isn’t going anywhere.”

Demelza came closer to Ginny and slowly put her arm on Ginny’s shoulder. Her friend flinched away from her touch, but then allowed Demelza to get closer.

“Shut your eyes Gin,” Demelza said. “I promise you, there is nothing to be afraid of here. Just shut your eyes. Sleep.”

“There’s everything to be afraid of.” Ginny shook her head as she spoke. She didn’t lean into Demelza’s touch, she sat up straight and kept staring at the light.

“Gin… what did they do to you?”

Demelza bit her lip as she waited for Ginny to speak again. She didn’t. She never did when they asked her what the Carrows had done to her in the five days they had her locked up. Luna had told them about the dementor and Neville’s screaming, vivid nightmares gave it all away, but Ginny had gone silent. She hadn’t said a word about it at all. She had come out physically unscathed, but her eyes seemed so hallow. Ginny couldn’t sit in the dark without panicking. She couldn’t sleep. She flinched when she was touched. She could barely eat. She only drank some water and picked at pieces of bread they managed to steal for her.

“We’re going to help you,” Demelza promised. “I swear. We’ll get that potion. You’ll finally sleep and Neville too. He won’t scream anymore. I know you can hear his screams at night. We’ll get you the potions.”

“Can I… can I be alone?”

Demelza hesitated for a moment before nodding slightly and giving Ginny her lit up wand back. Ginny didn’t move as Demelza shut the curtains again, leaving her alone in her florescent cave. Outside her cave, Demelza stayed there standing still. She stared at the light emanating from Ginny’s bed and listened as their single roommate snored softly. Finally, she sighed and Demelza left the sixth year girl’s dormitory.

Down in the common room, the fire burned softly and steadily still. It illuminated a figure standing in front of it, just staring.

“How’s Neville?” Demelza asked.

The boy didn’t turn around to face her. He shoved his hands into his pockets and continued to stare at the dancing embers.

“Asleep,” Seamus said. “He’s not screaming, thrashing a little, but not screaming. I think he’s exhausted himself out. He tries to stay awake, but he can’t. Sleep comes and so do the nightmares. Calming potion will let him sleep peacefully right?”

“Yes,” Demelza said. She sat on the armchair behind Seamus and stared at the fire too.

“Dependency,” he said. “That might be a problem, won’t it? They could become dependent on the potion to sleep or even just to function.”

“What’s the alternative?”

“Right.”

“Michael says the potion is our only hope,” Demelza continued talking. “He got word to his mother. She’s a healer. Use the potion and then eventually wean them off it since we don’t have enough to keep them going for long. Occupy their minds too, but no stress.”

“We’re fighting a war right now. It’s pretty fucking stressful.”

“I know.”

“Do you think we can trust her?”

“Selwyn?” Demelza asked.

Seamus nodded. It was barely perceptible in the dim firelight.

“What other choice do we have?” Demelza sighed. “How else do we get a calming draught?”

“I guess you’re right. I just don’t want to make a mistake here. There’s too much at risk.”

“I know.”

~

Anastasia took a deep breath and then knocked on Alecto Carrow’s office door. She stood up straight with her hands behind her back and her tie on tightly around her neck. She breathed in deeply and felt her tight collar constricting her neck. But Anastasia didn’t do anything about it.

“Miss Selwyn,” Alecto said when she opened the door. The tall blonde woman looked down her nose at the fifth year girl, but not with any contempt or malice. Alecto’s expression was blank, unreadable. “To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“May I speak with you, professor?” Anastasia asked in her pipsqueak voice. Alecto pursed her lips, but then nodded and allowed Anastasia into her office.

Anastasia sat on a brown armchair with her ankles crossed and her hands folded in her lap. She stared all around the office, avoiding Alecto’s piercing glare. She felt sweat forming in beads on her neck, her mouth was dry, her hands threatened to shake.

“I have something I need to tell you,” Anastasia said at last.

Alecto leaned forward in her own soft armchair towards Anastasia, a look of concern suddenly across her usually stony face.

“You can tell me anything,” she said softly.

“I… it’s about my father,” Anastasia finally said quickly. She took in a sharp breath as she spoke and shifted her hands so that they were stuck under her thighs.

“I’m scared for him,” she said. “He’s… mother says he’s always away. Late at night too. And… he has such a high up and important position.”

Anastasia bit her lip as she spoke and looked up at Alecto through her curly hair, throwing just the smallest hint of emphasis around her father’s rank. Alecto seemed to sit up straighter at the mention of Nathaniel Selwyn.

“You needn’t worry about your father,” Alecto said. “He’s a competent man.”

“But I do worry!” Anastasia cried. A few tears began to slide down her face as she continued to speak rapidly. “Mother says he’s always gone! He comes back hurt sometimes! I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I’m just sick with worry professor!”

“I see,” Alecto said. “Do you feel anxious?”

Anastasia nodded vigorously. “I don’t know what to do!” she sobbed again. “I know the fear is unfounded. I really do. But I just can’t help it. You know, I’m just sort of naturally anxious. Mum has suggested potions, but I don’t know where to get them. I know with everything that’s going on… only essentials are allowed and…”

“A calming draught?” Alecto asked. “Your mother suggested a calming draught?”

“Yes,” she said. “Father has too. They’ve tried to calm me with their letters, but I don’t know. I just don’t want to keep worrying them. Father has enough on his plate.”

Anastasia and Alecto sat in silence for a moment. Alecto pursed her lips and stared at the cabinet in the corner of her office. Anastasia watched as her professor seemed to be deep in thought over the situation.

At last, Alecto stood up and walked across the room to the cabinet. The heels on her boots clicked across the floor as she walked and opened up the cabinet with a flick of her wand. She fumbled inside for a moment and then pulled out a bottle of orange liquid the height of her palm.

“One drop when you feel that you really need it,” Alecto instructed.

Anastasia took the potion eagerly from Alecto and stared at the vibrant fluid. It was enough to go around to them all for weeks, she realized.

“Thank you!” Anastasia gushed as she pocketed the potion. “I’ll make sure my parents know what you’ve done for me Professor Carrow. They’ll be so grateful!”

“Of course,” Alecto said, with her lips turned upwards in what Anastasia assumed was meant to be a smile, but came across more like a grimace. “You should go. It’s a lovely day out.”

“Right,” Anastasia nodded. “Thank you again professor. Really. I really mean it.”

With the potion safely inside her pocket and a final wave to Alecto, Anastasia hurried out of the office and finally breathed out again. Her heart was racing as she ran through the hallways off to find someone to pass the potion off to. As she hurried towards the direction of the Room of Requirement, Anastasia heard voices behind the statue. She knew the voice well.

“It’s dangerous!” the girl said sharply. Anastasia slowed down and stopped just around the corner where she could hear them, but they could not see her.

“It’s the right thing to do!” the boy said back. They seemed to be arguing. Anastasia fiddled uncomfortably for a moment before stepping around the corner and letting the couple see her. Valerie immediately turned to her best friend and looked at her with an expression of pity and concern.

“Ana,” she said. “Hi.”

“I have it,” Anastasia said, looking more at Michael than Valerie. The Ravenclaw boy’s face perked up at Anastasia’s words and grabbed her wrist as he pulled her forward.

“I’ll call a meeting then,” he said.

“Stop it!” Valerie whispered harshly. “Ana, you don’t know what you’re getting into.”

“I’m already in, Val,” she said with a little smile.

“This is insane!” Valerie grabbed Anastasia’s other wrist. “You’re a Selwyn, Ana! Do you know what that means?”

“I know a lot better than you do,” Anastasia frowned.

“It means you’re safe, Ana!” Valerie cried. “It means you don’t have to do this!”

“I’ve seen a lot of things, Val,” she said, shaking her head slowly. “Things you wouldn’t believe. No one is safe. We have to go.”

“Ana,” Valerie pleaded one last time, but the stony look in Anastasia’s eyes made her stop in her tracks. There was no love in her eyes anymore, just stormy resolution. Valerie didn’t recognize the look anymore and she stepped back, dropping Anastasia’s wrist as an expression of anger came across her delicate features.

“Fine,” Valerie spat out. “You do what you want. Both of you. But I won’t sit back and watch. I’m out.”

She turned on her Mary-Jane heel and started down the hallway, tears beginning to spill from her eyes.

“Valerie!” Michael called after her. He dropped Anastasia’s wrist and hurried after his girlfriend. “Wait!”

She stopped and turned slowly to face Michael, a hopeful glint in her eyes. Michael stopped a foot away from her and stared right into her eyes.

“If you tell anyone what you know or what you’ve seen,” Michael said in a low voice. “You’re ruined.”

“Is that a threat?” she shrieked. Michael stayed stony faced in her hysteria. “You’re my boyfriend!”

“Ex-boyfriend,” Michael crossed his arms over his chest. “You better not talk.”

“So you chose her.”

“I chose the resistance. I chose what’s right, not what’s easy.”

“I get it,” Valerie said. She glared over Michael’s shoulder at Anastasia. Her best friend looked back at her with pain all across her face. Anastasia wanted to run to Valerie and hold her tight, but she couldn’t. She was rooted to the spot by the orange potion in her pocket. She couldn’t chose what was easy. Not again.

“Don’t worry, I won’t tell on your little militia,” Valerie spat as she walked away from them.

~

Anastasia sat uncomfortable in the Room of Requirement as several pairs of eyes stared at her. Her green and silver tie, a symbol of pride outside, was a target inside the walls of the magical room. She could feel their hatred seeping into her skin, but she couldn’t find herself to blame them for it. Her surname, worn as a badge of honour all her life, was suddenly a mark of shame.

“So she got the potion,” Lavender frowned. “That doesn’t make her one of us.”

“She risked a lot to get it,” Michael said.

“We all risk a lot every day,” Lavender crossed her arms over her chest as Michael held the potion out to her. “And how do I know she didn’t poison it or something?”

“I’ll take the potion if you want,” Anastasia said in a pip-squeak voice. She barely looked up from her shoes as she spoke, still mostly hiding behind Michael. “It’s just a calming draught. Not like it’ll do anything to me. But I promise, I wouldn’t hurt you. I swear.”

Lavender frowned, but nodded at Anastasia. Michael looked as if he had more to say, but Lavender’s sharp glare stopped him in his tracks. He gave the potion back to Anastasia and she pulled up the stopper.

“One drop,” Anastasia said. She stuck her tongue out and let one drop of the amber coloured liquid drip onto her tongue. It dissolved into her, tasting like nothing at all. Anastasia shut her mouth and looked expectantly at Lavender.

“I’m feeling a little sleepy,” she said after a minute. “But that’s all. No poison.”

Lavender took the potion tentatively from Anastasia’ outstretched hand. She glared at the little bottle and then back at the Slytherin. “This still doesn’t make you one of us.”

“I know,” Anastasia mumbled. “I just want to help.”

“Stay here,” Lavender ordered as she pocketed the potion. “I want to know where you are in case something goes wrong.”

She turned on her heel and walked out of the room. Still wands were gripped tightly in Parvati and Seamus’s hands as they guarded Anastasia. She didn’t mind the surveillance, but their untrusting glares made sweat break out across the back of her neck.

“You don’t have to let her treat you this way,” Michael told her when Lavender left. Anastasia looked out the corner of her eyes at Seamus and Parvati, they didn’t look any kinder.

“It’s not that we don’t trust you,” Parvati bit her lip lightly. “It’s just that well… you’re one of them.”

“I know,” Anastasia mumbled.

“She isn’t though,” Michael countered. “She got this potion, she stole the ribbon.”

“She didn’t even know what the ribbon was,” Seamus snorted. “And how hard could it be to get the potion? She’s a Selwyn, that’s one step below Lestrange in Death Eater royalty.”

“Why are you helping us?” Parvati sat down and leaned closer to Anastasia watching the trembling young girl carefully. “What have you got to lose under him? Nothing at all. You’re rich. You’re pureblood. Your darling daddy is a commander.”

Anastasia fell silent. The images of the summer played in her mind. Screams reverberating through her home that had been transformed into a prison. She felt his screams echoing down her spine. Don’t worry, Ana. Her father used to say that every night when he found her shaking in bed from the noises. It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it. But she couldn’t forget. She couldn’t forget any of it. Not the screams, not the dead man’s eyes, not the spot of blood on her father’s usually pristine robes. Stained. He was stained. She was too.

“No one’s safe,” she muttered. “No one can be safe under someone like him.”

~

Ginny stared at her empty wall. It wasn’t quite flat. Not quite smooth either. It was off-white. Almost grey. Almost everything was sort of grey. Maybe she was just tired. Little bumps were on the wall. Almost imperceptible bumps, but she’d been staring long enough to see them. She wanted to count them like the stars in the sky. Form constellations with the bumps and irregularities in the plaster just to occupy her mind. She counted, one, two, three, four… Anything to take her mind off it. Off him. Young, handsome, charming. She had loved him with all her heart and he’d taken advantage of her naivety and loneliness. And still four years later he could bring her to her knees.

Ginny, Ginny, Ginny. No one else had ever said her name in such a beautiful voice. No one had ever called to her with such love. She wanted him, she needed him still after all these years. She’d never found a voice to replace his.

How she missed the man who nearly took her life.

“Ginny,” a softer voice called to her. It wasn’t Tom’s comforting bass. Higher pitched, but soft. Almost like a whisper. A hand touched Ginny and she didn’t flinch away. It was a soft hand, touching her shoulder lightly. A warm touch.

“Ginny.” A face appeared in front of her. Soft, curly hair in honey brown. Pale skin, dark circles under her blue eyes. Ginny blinked at the face. She was pretty.

“Ginny, I have something for you,” the pretty girl said. She held out a mug, steam coming off the top. There was tea inside, it looked just right. The perfect colour. Ginny stared again at the girl’s blue eyes. She was very pretty, beautiful even.

“Please drink it,” the girl pleaded. She took one of Ginny’s hands and placed it around the mug. Ginny couldn’t make herself hold it though. Her arm seemed too weak. Besides, if she took the mug the pretty girl would leave her and she couldn’t leave her.

“Do you need help to drink it?” the girl asked. Ginny said nothing and did nothing. She just kept staring into those brilliant blue eyes. Endless, like the ocean. Ginny wondered if she knew what the ocean looked like. She did, she determined. He lived by the ocean. She wondered who he was. All she could remember was orange hair like hers and a silvery blonde. But when she thought of the ocean she thought of that. Sea salt smell, silvery blonde hair, and white seashells. It was a beautiful image.

The cup of tea reached Ginny’s lips and the warm liquid filled her up. She liked the feeling of the tea sliding down her throat. It was comforting. Familiar. Ginny liked tea, she decided.

Before long, almost in one, long gulp, Ginny had finished the entire cup. The pretty girl crouched in front of her still, but suddenly she came into focus. She was just curly hair and blue eyes anymore. She was a rounded jawline, pink lips, and freckles across her skin.

“Lavender,” Ginny mumbled in a weak voice.

“Yes!” Lavender exclaimed, though still in her soft voice. “Yes, I’m Lavender!”

Ginny blinked twice and watched as tears welled up in her friend’s eyes. She could feel a deep sense of relief spread through her body. A warmth she hadn’t felt in weeks. There was something magical in that tea.

“Thank you,” she finally sighed before at last, shutting her eyes and drifting off into a deep sleep. 




A/N: Hello lovelies! I'm back after a very long time with a new chapter! The website has changed a lot since I was last here and I'm a little sad about that, but still, I'll hopefully finish sharing this story here someday! Anyway, I hope you all had a lovely New Year's and I wish you all a wonderful 2017!

Cabaret Voltaire was the name of a gathering of Dada artists during the pre-First World War era. These were artists all nationalities coming together at a time when their nations were growing increasingly hostile towards each other. They were a show of solidarity and sameness in the face of growing difference. The idea of unity is what I wanted Anastasia's presence in the resistence circles to bring. 


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