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Watching Darkness Break
by melihobbit



“Ron, You-Know-Who and his followers sent the Dark Mark into the air whenever they killed,” said Mr. Weasley. “The terror it inspired… you have no idea, you’re too young. Just imagine coming home, and finding the Dark Mark hovering over your house, and knowing what you’re about to find inside…” Mr Weasley winced. “Everyone’s worst fear… the very worst…”

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter Nine, The Dark Mark (p.127)

I.


“Molly, listen to me.” Gideon placed a placating hand on his sister’s shoulder and pressed softly, but firmly, into the fabric of her shawl, as if trying to suppress the nerves that were tensed within her.

“This is my house, Gideon, and I won’t be bullied out of it!” Molly snapped, her voice fraught with anxiety and on the edge of breaking. Her brown eyes flashed at him with mingled defiance and fear. “You won’t tell me what to do!”

Gideon’s hand didn’t move, though he increased the pressure on her shoulder, and her lip twitched. “You know why you have to leave,” he said firmly. “There is no other choice. You must think of the children.”

Molly made a harried, fretful noise and roughly brushed away his hand, stepping past Gideon into the living room where Fabian was crouched on the floor with her two sons. He was trying to pull a muggle jumper over Bill’s head, but the little boy was crying and struggling against it.

“Oh, Bill,” she said desperately, hovering in the doorway as if she was torn between the cries of her son and her brother’s stern gaze. After a moment’s hesitation she ran forward and grabbed protectively at her son. Charlie, who had been standing to one side viewing the argument with trepidation, came to her side. Her hand reached down and curled itself in his soft, bright red hair as she looked at her two brothers, fear fluttering in her throat like a moth.

“It’ll be alright, Mol. You believe me don’t you?”

Her tear-blurry eyes met Gideon’s deep brown ones and she felt the fear settling its dusty wings over heart.



II.

Gideon Prewett stared out through the window of the shadowy living room, the soft light from a nearby streetlamp colouring his skin with a sickly pale yellow tone, making him seem ghostly, the hollows under his eyes filled with shadow. He was sitting tensely on the arm of a chair, not directly in front of the window but beside it, so that he could not be seen from anyone outside in the yard. His face was expressionless; his eyes glittered with intense concentration as he waited for the Death Eaters to come.

A muscle twitched in his leg and he shifted position on the chair. He had been holding his wand in one hand; when he loosened his grip he felt a bolt of pain shoot up his arm, so tightly had he been holding it. Gideon took a deep breath and returned his eyes to the yard, massaging his sore hand. His whole body was tensed with anticipation.

Not even he could explain why he was so sure the Death Eaters would come; it was simply a feeling in the back of his mind that he couldn’t shake. He knew that Fabian, his brother, felt it too; he could tell by the way his dark eyes held an unspoken expectation… though they still blazed brightly with determination.

Are you ready, brother? Gideon thought detachedly, his eyes roaming the shadowy corners of the garden beyond the glass. Are you really ready? I’m not. I’m just pretending to be strong while the world cracks apart around me, watching darkness break over the horizon. We’ll do what we can, of course, but Voldemort is too strong for us… even for us, Fabian... What we do will not make a difference. But we fight because it gives others hope.

A sharp pain came into Gideon’s head and he squinted, blocking the tears that fought for release. Now was not the time to cry.

Heroes weren’t supposed to cry.



III.

The sound of spell-fire hitting the side of the house was like grenades exploding. Some of the Death Eaters had made it inside and had trapped the Order members in the living room and kitchen areas; the once pretty, flowery wallpaper around the kitchen was now charred with gaping black holes that had burnt through to the wood; remnants of the wallpaper lay in a solemn scatter along the benchtops and in the sink. The furniture had been torn to shreds.

Fabian leaned around the corner of the archway that separated the living room and kitchen, shouting another curse that hurtled across the room in a burst of green fire towards the three Death Eaters.

“EXPELLIARMUS!” He heard a hoarse voice shout, as he ducked back behind the safety of the corner. There was a crash as Fabian’s spell was deflected harmlessly into one of the walls. He fell back against the cold brick, breathing hard, listening to the blood pounding in his ears. Shouts were ringing all around him; the cries of the Order members mingled with those of the Death Eaters.

Distantly, heard somebody screaming.

Too many, a panicked voice in his head whispered. There are too many for us. Oh god there’s too many!

A spell hit the wall directly behind his back, and he heard bits of brick hitting the ground. His hand clenched tightly around his wand and he closed his eyes for a brief moment, trying to shut out the noise...

“Fabian!”

No… no… you’re not a coward, keep fighting! You have to! The children... Molly... Arthur...

“FABIAN!”

He jerked his eyes open, and found himself face-to-face with his brother, who was gripping him by the shoulders. A dark stream of blood was trickling down one side of his face. His eyes were bright but strangely hollow, and they were ringed red.

“We’re going to have to hold them!”

Fabian blinked, not understanding. More shouts and screams. There was noise behind him; the Death Eaters were advancing.

“What?” He said softly, and Gideon squeezed his shoulder so hard that he winced.

“I’m telling the others to get out! Elphias and Benjy, they’re the only ones left! I’m telling them to Disapparate!”

Fabian’s skin went cold and he shivered, but continued to stare dumbly at his brother’s agonised face. “Where are…”

“They’re all dead, Fabian! Listen to me… we have to hold the Death Eaters off for them, alright?” He blurted, speaking so quickly that his words almost blended together. “I need you to help me!” He squeezed again, and suddenly Fabian’s vision cleared… and the world seemed too slow.

Gideon stared at him pleadingly, his eyes shining with tears, as if to say, do you know what I’m asking you?

He could no longer feel the wand in his hands, even as he turned his head down to look at it; he seemed to be detached from his body.

Do you know what I’m asking you?

Are you ready to be a hero, brother?


Fabian returned his eyes to his brother’s, and despite the fear clawing at his heart, he gave a single nod.

“Yes,” he said in a completely strengthless voice. “Tell them to go.”



IV.

Gideon willed his hand not to shake, but it did anyway, and the Death Eater at whose face it was levelled gave a brief, thin smile. Fear, hatred and grief had left his body wasted, but his eyes still blazed; the tears in them caught the light of the spot fires burning outside in the garden. He stood in the debris of the ruined living room while the five remaining Death Eaters converged around him in a semicircle.
The lifeless and broken body of his brother lay beside him in the rubble at his feet, one pale hand still loosely gripping the two shards of his wand, which had split down the middle when Dolohov’s spell had hit it.
Gideon did not look down at his brother. He had seen him fall; had seen the tiny spots of blood on his lower lip (oh god... the blood, he thought, and his stomach twisted); the sheen of death over his eyes... he had seen enough to last him an eternity of anguish.

He could not look again.

The hand holding the wand trembled, but the fire of hatred and determination did not leave his eyes. He stared directly at Dolohov, facing his own death. It had the eyes of a lunatic.

Gideon’s expression was set; he did not flinch as Dolohov casually lifted his wand from the folds of his robe. A cold breeze touched the tears on his cheeks and he shivered.

I wonder what Molly and Arthur will name their next child? He thought dimly as the spell twisted towards him in a blinding arc. It was beautiful and dazzling; not really frightening at all.

It was the last thing he saw, and he died with its purple glow burned onto his eyelids.



V.

What is a hero, but a man who continues to fight when his cause is already lost? He fights because his heart will not let him surrender.
It will break first.




‘Who cast the final stone?
Who threw the crushing blow?
Someone has to take the fall,
Why not me? Why not me?
Had consequence chose differently,
Had fate its ugly head,
My actions make me beautiful,
And dignify the flesh.

Me. I am free. Free.’

- R.E.M, Falls to Climb

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