The footsteps of hundreds echoed and crashed through the great hall, as the students of Hogwarts rushed in to dinner. Hardly anyone skipped dinner, for no one in their right mind would skip a wonderful without a very good reason.
Tonight it was ham and roast potatoes. The steam rose high, and the savory smells wafted throughout the cavernous hall. He ate quickly, there was DA meeting that evening, and those always called for fun and excitement. As of late the atmosphere had become a bit tense, Harry Potter was becoming increasingly paranoid of an attack; and his headaches had been getting worse. Some thought he was crazy, and just faking it to get attention, the people who thought that didn’t come anymore. Dennis was one of them. But in Dennis’s world, chasing after girls was a better pastime anyway.
It was late when the DA had finished their meeting, people out of breath and broad smiles on their faces, and slipped silently out into the forbidding hallway. Not five steps out of the Room of Requirement, Harry stopped, stock-still.
Voldemort and his army of Death Eaters happened to be outside, lurking in the deep shadows, but steadily drawing closer. Dumbledore had gone away that morning to attend to some “Ministry business” (which they highly doubted had any inkling of truth), and Professor McGonagall was just not Dumbledore.
The students quickly organized themselves into patrols, there were entrances to guard, owls to send for help, and teachers to notify. There was a school to defend. A select group including the Golden Trio would even escape outside to try and contact help. What could just a group of students do against an army of death eaters trained to kill?
Almost nothing went according to plan. A few owls did manage to be sent, alerting members of the Order and Dumbledore what was happening in his absence. But wandering patrols woke more students, who turned frantic, and alerted even more students of the very delicate predicament. Harry and the rest who were to escape for more help didn’t get within the length of a quidditch field of the Forbidden Forest before they were surrounded.
It was a full moon, but everyone seemed blind. High-pitched screams could be heard throughout the castle, of a death eater in hot pursuit of a student. There was no doubt that the whole castle was awake. Students were pushed out of windows, and dragged by their hair into a group outside. Thrown into small groups, assassinated with malicious ease by the black-cloaked sorcerers.
A lanky boy, eyes wide with fear, fled from cover to cover, camera frantically snapping pictures in the eerie moonlight.
The Order and Dumbledore finally arrived, and the tide of the battle turned. Aurors began popping into the Forbidden Forest, and running into the thick of battle. Now with real trained fighters the course of the battle began to turn. But that did not really matter. The battle was to be decided from one duel, between two men. One couldn’t really be considered a man yet, he was only 16. But by other standards, years before he had become a man. The other could barely be considered human, his face was a grotesque contort between a man and a snake, with half-lidded bright red eyes.
The dawn rose to a silent and haunted fortress, no longer bubbling with laughter and happiness. The field about Hogwarts was soaked in blood, and littered with bodies twisted in unnatural positions. The boy was silent, dutifully snapping pictures of the morbid horror. Almost everyone was dead. When healers from St. Mungo’s arrived hours later, they gathered everyone who still had breath left in their body.
His clothes were torn in many places, encrusted in dry blood and dirt. Once bright and almost-too-big-for-his-face blue eyes were now solemn, he ran a hand through his dirty blond hair, and it stuck out in all directions, grime ground into the once soft and clean locks.
How did it come to this?
The boy didn’t pay attention to his own appearance that was a small matter compared to the scene he had been dropped in. He continued to silently pad around the once immaculately kept lawn. Hundreds lay dead: students, teachers, aurors, members of the Order and Death Eaters alike. Few had been spared. The fiery beauty once known as Ginny Weasley lay in the mud, red hair fanned out like a halo, a defiant tribute to her death. The skull of a poor first year had been crushed when a death eater had levitated him into the clutches of the womping willow. Click, click. Click, click. The boy continued to take pictures.
A stray breeze blew away the black mask from the still face of Lucius Malfoy, still contorted into a malicious sneer in death. He didn’t even hear the “mudblood” girl sneak up behind him, and much less did he expect that she would be his downfall. But she too, about three yards away, was also dead.
One roll, two. Three, four, five rolls of pictures. An invisible force guided his hand, forcing him to lift the increasingly heavy camera to his eye, and click the shutter. Image after image was burned into his mind, of lost and vacant faces of people who would never again see the light of day. Flies buzzed above the bodies, on the road to decomposition. The stale stench of death permeated the air, and there was no sound, only silence. The edges of the great lake were tinted red.
It was then was the picture taken that traveled everywhere in the wizarding world, and was seen in almost every home. The body of the Boy-Who-Lived, Harry Potter. His skin was white as marble, hair black as night. The lightning scar stood out almost unnaturally against his skin, a blood stain on a black-and-white photograph. Voldemort was dead, but that was to be celebrated, and not such a catastrophe. The boy shivered, and snapped a picture of the late leader of the Death Eaters; people would want proof that he was indeed dead.
He woke up with a start. Sweat soaked his shirt, and Colin was breathing hard. It was like yesterday; he could almost feel the cold stones of Hogwarts beneath his feet, and the laughter echoing in the halls. He could still smell the stench of death that hung over the battlefield, feel the cold metal of his camera held in his trembling hands. He could still see the lifeless body of Harry Potter lying broken before him. He had been the anonymous sender of the picture to the Daily Prophet, the world needed to know.
Dennis had come out almost unscathed. He had been knocked unconscious near the beginning of the battle, and ignored for the rest. He woke up in a hospital room days later, he barely saw any of the fighting, any of the death. And he wondered why his brother was so lost and forlorn.
Invisible, that was how he liked to be. Maybe if he lost himself, he wouldn’t remember. Having those imagines burned into his mind was enough; he didn’t need to be made a hero out of. Ron Weasley was a hero of battle, the only of the Golden Trio to survive. Samantha Rosencart, who had been a second year in Hufflepuff, had written several books on her fight for survival against the horrid death eaters, and both would hold demonstrations in wizarding academies on the finer arts of surviving a deadly duel. Invisible was quite enough for Colin Creevy to handle with.
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