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Invasive Procedures

It happened too fast.

Speeding down the hill. Running towards the mansion. Crashing through the front door. Bombarding the guards.

It was like her life was on fast-forward and she was not about to press stop. Ginny ignored everything around her, just kept her eyes focused on her destination. The ballroom. She felt her body slide along the ground, colliding with the double doors as her ears registered the shouts of spells and crashes echoing behind her. Her vision remained steady as she barged inside the room and pointed her wand. No one had time to react to her sudden presence – the perfect advantage. A quick and powerful disarming charm and Percy soared through the air, crashing against Lucius and turning over two chairs.

Ginny dashed across the hall and it was only then that the remaining men realized what was going on. They raised their wands but their attempts on Ginny were halted when the rest of the men barged into the room. Charlie immediately dove into action, stunning two men while Hermione raced towards Ginny. The rest became lost in clouds of spells, cloaks and tussles.

It was pure pandemonium but through it, Ginny and Hermione managed to make it to where Harry those were tied up. She knelt down quickly and undid her father’s ropes first before moving along the line to free the others.

“How did you get in here?” Arthur asked, rubbing his wrists before losing James’ bonds.

“Through the front door,” Hermione replied. She reached behind Ron and undid his ropes, locking him into a hug immediately afterwards.

“But how did you know to come?” Arthur questioned, freeing Fred.

“Instinct, foresight, call it whatever you want but I just knew something was wrong.” Ginny finally made it to Harry and smiled at him, relieved to see he was alive. “I also saw when Neville and Fred were taken,” she explained, reaching behind him. “After that, I couldn’t take waiting anymore. With Draco’s help, we managed to sneak up to the front and overtake the guards. I really don’t know how it happened but we managed to get through.”

“I’m just glad you’re here,” Harry said. The ropes dropped from his hands and before anyone could stop him, he cupped Ginny’s face and kissed her full on the lips.

“Ugh, hate to stop this lovely moment but we are in the middle of a fight here.”

Ginny broke from Harry’s lips and looked at George. He had just been knocked off his feet and slid to where all of them were. A blast curse aimed at him was deflected easily by Arthur. The pure look of fear tha flashed across George’s face in that moment was enough to stir Ginny into action. She gripped her wand tightly and stood up.

Every where, people were locked in duels. More bodies littered the floor than she could count and people were shouting and crying out. Lights from spells flew back and forth as complete blurs. She had a hard time telling who was doing better but she truly hoped that it was their side.

“Where did he go?” Ron asked, looking around wildly. “Where did Percy go?”

Ginny turned and noticed that the front of the ballroom was empty. The chair that Percy had knocked over was still toppled on the ground but he wasn’t there. From a streak of blonde and another glimpse of matted hair, Ginny instantly knew that Lucius and Greyback had disappeared into the mass of fighters; but there was no sign of Percy’s red hair.

“The bastard ran,” Fred said, cursing loudly afterwards.

“You guys go on,” Arthur said, turning his back on the fighting. “I’ll find him.”

Ginny watched as her father disappeared. She wanted to go after him, too, but knew they had to cut down Percy’s men first. So, instead, she turned back around and, with Hermione at her side, disappeared into the throngs. The noise seemed to rise to a deafening level but she had no time to adjust. Their presence was duly noted and it wasn’t long before they both became markers.

Hermione yelled, stunning one of the men.

She made to turn but a body flew past her, the brush knocking her on her backside. Glancing slightly, she noticed that it was one of their men, one who had sought to comfort her when she had been anxious about Ron’s fate. His eyes stared back at her, completely lifeless. Stifling a sob, she turned her head, only to see two men heading towards her. She scrambled to her feet and aimed her wand, blasting the floorboard and sending debris into the air. It was enough to cloud the vision of the men. Using it to her advantage, she jumped through the haze, punching one and elbowing another. She didn’t stop to see if the damage was enough; she kept running, trying to take out as much men as possible.

Meanwhile, Ginny fought a few feet away from her. Her face was covered in sweat and she already had a few scratches on her arms. But she paid no attention to them. Instead, she kept her eyes focused and trained on her surroundings, anticipating moves and then skillfully avoiding them. Her mind kept shifting to thoughts of the others, thinking that any second she would tread over one of their bodies or shift her eyes just in time to watch them fall. But she hadn’t yet and that kept her going. Just as she managed to weaken one man, she spotted another heading towards her from her right side.

“Stupefy!” she cried, her spell hitting its target. She spun and saw another adversary. Thinking quickly, she sprang to the side and aimed. “Impedimenta!”

The man halted and, luckily for Ginny, blocked a forth coming spell. His body exploded, the force knocking her to her knees. She looked up to see nothing but remains and blood splattered on the ground as well as singed pieces of clothing. Her stomach lurched and she forced herself not the throw up. It was a horrific sight and the fact that the spell had been aimed for her made the queasiness that much worse. She tried to pull herself to her feet but her legs refused to cooperate. Someone sunk next to her and she looked up to see Hermione.

“Come on, Gin,” she said, taking her hand. “You gatta get up.”

Ginny nodded and pulled herself to her feet. The two stood together, shoulder to shoulder. Their breathing was heavy and they looked tired but they refused to give up. Too much was riding on their fighting.

Neville fought his heart out. His actions were instinctively decided, calculated and executed without so much as a second thought. He didn’t have time to rethink them, anyway. If he killed a man, he killed him. If he stunned another, he stunned him. No hesitation, not uncertainty, no vacillation. None.

As he cut another man down, his eyes found his main target. Greyback crouched in the back of the room, watching the raging battle scene with a sick and utterly sadistic smile on his face. In front of him, a pile of bloody bodies was humped together, obviously leftovers from his monstrous way of killing. Neville noticed that some of the men in the mound were cloaked. He grunted and rolled his eyes at Greyback’s level of cruelty – so thirsty for blood that it didn’t matter whose side his targets were from, just as long as he got what he wanted. And Neville was about to get what he wanted, as well.

As if sensing Neville’s scrutiny, Greyback turned to look at him. His grin turned malevolent, revealing a row of jagged yellow teeth, some marked with a dark crimson. His hair was coated in red, too, and his scent was putrid – the smell of rotting corpses and stale blood. He stepped forward and stretched to his full height, towering at least three feet above Neville. But the attempt at intimidation did little to squash the desire for retribution. Greyback was about to pay for killing Albus Dumbledore and was going to do so dearly.

“Longbottom,” Greyback growled, taking another step. “We meet in the throws of battle again, I see.”

“It’s going to be the last one, too,” Neville said. He lifted his wand and narrowed his eyes, readying himself for a tough combat. “For you, anyway.”

Greyback laughed and then snarled. “Is that a threat? I don’t do so well with threats.”

“You killed my grandfather,” Neville said, eliciting a head-tilt from the werewolf. “And you hurt Luna.”

Neville watched as Greyback scanned the room until his eyes locked. Without having to turn himself, Neville knew just who had caught the werewolf’s attention. He could just manage, through the reflected image in Fenrir’s large eyes, to see Luna in a heated battle with one of the cloaked men. A part of him wanted to go to her aid but he took comfort in knowing that he wasn’t the only one who wanted to keep her safe. He watched as Draco shot into view and knocked Luna out of the way of an off course spell, concurrently taking out the same man she had been battling.

“She’s a pretty little thing, isn’t she?” Greyback’s voice drew Neville’s attention. “I’m going to have fun with her when this is over. Just like I was promised.”

All time froze as Greyback’s words sunk in. Luna’s predicament had been worse than he imagined. Not only had Percy attempted to rape her, but he had promised her to Greyback who would have undoubtedly done the same and then kill her. Neville’s anger bubbled, rose to the surface and exploded. He lunged at Greyback so fast that the werewolf was caught off guard and tumbled onto his back. A punch cracked against his lips and he pushed, flinging Neville a few feet away.

Neville flew to his feet quickly. Just as Greyback started towards him, he aimed his wand and shouted, “Expulso!”

The werewolf managed to bounce around the spell, causing the wall behind him to explode. Neville cursed and readied his wand again, only to be knocked down by Greyback. The two struggled against one another, one trying to dispel the other. Curling back his lips, Fenrir, growled and tried to knick Neville’s neck. He knew he couldn’t turn him into a werewolf but he could dismantle him, rip him to pieces and it would give him the same amount of satisfaction. But Neville had other plans. Freeing one of his legs, Neville managed to steady himself, gaining enough stability to push Greyback off of him. And it worked. The werewolf rolled away and Neville managed to move just before his hand scraped for him.

The two continued like that, matching skill for skill, wit for wit and move for move with neither coming out on top. Neville faltered a few times, his resolution slowly waning but each time Greyback made a move, he managed to block and retaliate. A part of him felt as if it was a useless battle, one he was going to lose. But another part - the one that had visions of a propitious future - refused to give up, even after Neville was thrown to the ground and his wand clattered and rolled away from him, almost completely out of his reach.

“It’s time to end this, Longbottom.”

Neville sidled onto his back and looked up at Greyback. “It doesn’t end here. One way or another, someone’s going to get you. And when they do, there won’t be any mercy.”

Greyback’s responding laugh was deep. He leaned closer to Neville and whispered, “I hope you’re ready to die.”

Neville prayed a quick prayer and hoped his idea was going to work. Timing it perfectly, he waited until Greyback’s leg was positioned properly. Then, he swung his foot sideways, knocking against the werewolf’s calf. Greyback stumbled and started to drop. Neville rolled out of the way just in time and heard a loud crunch as he propelled himself forward. He reached his hand out and grabbed the end of his wand, turning on his side once it was secure in his hand. Still lying on the ground, he aimed and yelled, “Incendio!”

Greyback didn’t see it coming. Still trying to recover from his collision with the ground, he had no time to prepare for the shot of flames that came at him. The last thing he saw was a fiery mixture of red and orange before heat completely consumed him. His body burned. His skin bubbled and cracked while his flesh melted from his bones. It was pure agony, repayment for all the pain he had inflicted on his victims. Out of the redness of the flames, he saw a figure rise into view, watching as he was engulfed by the flames, welcomed by the very weapon of hell.

Neville struggled to his feet as Greyback continued to burn. His screams were loud and as blazing as the fire that swallowed him but Neville looked on, oblivious to anything but what he was seeing. He knew being smoldered alive was one of the most torturous ways to die because of the amount of pain it inflicted – burning, suffocation and a painfully slow death. But no one deserved that kind of death more than Greyback. Relief flooded Neville as he realized his mission had been accomplished. His grandfather’s death was avenged and they were even closer to rectifying a long made mistake.

The scent of the werewolf's burnt flesh and his tormented screams filled the room but Luna had no time to feel relieved. Her attention was manned by something else. After Draco had saved her from what could have been an ugly death, the two had become locked in a duel with someone she never thought she would have the courage to fight.

“Is that all you’ve got, child?”

Luna’s hand shook as she tried to cast a spell. “Au-Augamenti!”

The jet of water was weak and only managed to form a mere puddle in front of Lucius’ feet. He stepped over it and laughed, spewing another insult from his lips. Lucius’ taunting was his weapon against her. She had tried to stun, blast and curse him but his words kept her aim off, riddled her to the point that she could not keep steady. She was afraid of him, afraid of what he might do to her. If it wasn’t for Draco’s presence, he may have already killed her. Draco had managed to keep Lucius in check; most of his spells had kept the man on his toes, unable to deal any kind of fatal blow.


Lucius bounced back from the force of the barrier and looked at Draco. He was still shocked that the boy was even still alive. When Lucius had spotted Luna, he had made a beeline for her, hoping to capture her and hand her back over to Percy. He still believed she deserved to suffer for her treachery and was not above letting her get her just punishment. But someone had stopped him, knocked right into him and sent him hurling to the ground. He had spun, thinking of murdering the son of a bitch. But the shock from seeing who it was had been evident on his face and had distracted him long enough for Draco to deal him a healthy punch. His lips still bled and burned from it.

Absentmindedly rubbing the tender spot, Lucius glared. “I don’t know how you managed to survive, but I’m getting sick of you.”

“Too bad,” Draco said, stepping in front of Luna. He was amazed at the level of energy that he had but was not about to question it. He raised his wand and twirled it, conjuring a knife similar to the one that had been thrust into his chest, nearly killing him. Grabbing it by the hilt, he held it steady and poised. “I would think that you’d be happy to see me, father.” The last word came out more as a sneer.

Lucius returned the gesture. He was beyond aggravated and the sound of Draco calling him father made something inside of him snap, something from a past he had tried to bury for as long as possible. It didn’t matter anymore, though. Things were going to change after this and his secret would no longer be a concern. Realizing this, Lucius’ sneer developed into a mischievous grin.

“You are no son of mine,” he said, lifting his wand. “You never were.”

Draco’s faced slipped into one of confusion. “What are you…?”

“It’s amazing the wonders that permanent transfigurations can do,” Lucius interjected, cutting off anymore words from Draco. “A little swish here a little flick there and one person can become another. A completely different individual. One who can be molded and trained into something else. It’s a pity it all went to waste.”

Draco’s confusion grew heavier. His grip on his wand and the knife slipped as he tried to make sense of Lucius’ words. Was he trying to hint that Draco was not who he thought he was? That he was somebody else? He looked directly at the man he had called father all these years but Lucius’ attention wasn’t on him, it was on someone else. Glancing out the corner of his eyes to where Lucius was looking, Draco saw James Potter battling alongside Harry, their backs to each other and their eyes focused.

But, before he had a chance to contemplate anything further, Lucius lunged at him. Acting instinctively, Draco swung his arm forward, consequentially embedding the blade of the knife into the man’s stomach and dropping his own wand to the ground.

A loud gasp of both pain and surprise escaped from Lucius’ mouth. He was hoping that Draco had been thrown off balance by his cryptic words, giving him an opportunity to take him out. But he hadn’t. He had reacted to Lucius’ movement quickly, and it resulted in the man’s death.

Shocked by his own actions, Draco slowly fell to his knees, Lucius dropping along with him. The man fell to his back, the hilt of the knife sticking up from his stomach. Draco pushed away, his eyes still lingering on the knife. But it was strange. He didn’t feel sorry for his actions. He felt strangely relieved and free. He stood and watched as Lucius’ eyes closed, locking him into eternal sleep.

Luna stepped up to him and placed her hand on his back.

“Did you hear him?” Draco asked quietly.

Luna bent and picked up his wand. “Yes, I did.”

Draco turned to face her. “What do you think he meant?”

Luna’s response was caught off by a loud blast. Draco pulled her to the ground and covered her body with his as debris rained over them. After a few minutes, the ring of the explosion ended and the two stood back up and looked around. The room was quiet, a huge contrast to the noise that had dominated it for almost a full hour. More bodies littered the ground now, most scarred and bloody. But a few people still remained standing.

A few of their army members were huddled together. James and Harry were still standing back to back, breathing heavily. Hermione and Ginny were on the other end of the room, also standing next to each other. Ron was helping Fred to his feet while George stood surveying the room. Sirius and Charlie were walking over to where James and Harry were, smiles of triumph on their faces. Neville was clambering to his feet, also wearing a smile of victory.

When Luna caught site of him, she broke from beside Draco and dashed over, wrapping her arms around his neck and knocking him back onto the ground. Laughter erupted from around them as Luna kissed Neville, overwhelmed and happy that he was still alive.

“I’m glad to see you, too,” Neville said, grinning up at her.

“Was it you who took out Greyback?” she asked, crawling back to her feet. Neville nodded. “I’m so proud of you.”

Neville pulled her into a hug and then led her over to everyone else was. “Is it really over?” he asked, looking around.

Harry shook his head. “I don’t think so. We still don’t know if Arthur found Percy.”

“Does anyone even know where they could be?” Ginny asked, rubbing dirt from her forehead.

Again Harry shook his head. “No. Are you alright?” he questioned, walking over to her.

She nodded as he rubbed her stomach and kissed her cheek. “I’m fine, Harry, just a couple of bruises. It’s nothing to worry about.”

“You didn’t take any blows to your stomach did you?” Ron asked, his arm around Hermione’s shoulder.

“Just a few. I was kidding,” she added hastily when Harry’s eyes widened and he let out a strangled cry.

Harry sighed and wagged a finger at her. “That’s not even funny.”

Ginny smiled and reached up to kiss him. Just as their lips touched, the ground shook and another blast erupted. “What the hell was that?” she asked, grabbing onto Harry for support.

“It sounded like it came from upstairs,” Sirius said, staring up at the ceiling. “Think it could be Arthur?”

“Only one way to find out,” Harry said, gripping tightly to his wand. “Come on.”

The group headed towards the doors of the ballroom and raced down the hallway, driven by the battle cries from above.

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