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Chapter Five: Under Attack
“Alright everyone! I want three lines! Beryl, Marlene, Andersson, Glenda, Sicily, Black, Philip at the front! Peter, Remus, Cecilia, Jacob, Jerry, Harriet, Ben watch the back! Hurry up! Order! This is serious!” Evans was barking at everyone, and the students did as she said without question. The seventh and sixth years were supposed to guard the younger ones, Joe guessed. Good thinking.
“Pair up with Marly. Now.” Evans barked at Joe. She did as told quickly and took her place at the front. Time to concentrate. Death Eaters. She was used to this! But why were they here? To get her? Or was there another reason? It was true, she’d maimed the Dark Lord, but risking attacking Hogwarts just to get revenge on a teenager when his aims were so much higher seemed a bit far fetched… When the Head Girl finally managed to quiet down all the students they could start moving out of the common room. Silently the group shuffled through the corridor on the seventh floor until they reached the first staircase. Just as Lily took her first step on the stairs a knight on a fat horse appeared in one of the paintings on Philip’s left.
“Miss Evans! Miss Evans!” the knight called in a loud stage whisper. Lily spun around and hushed the students furiously.
“We have to be quiet—“ she whispered but cut her sentence short when she saw Philip gesturing wildly towards the painting. The figure in the frame puffed out his chest in importance.
“The Headmaster orders you to hurry! All other houses are already in the Great Hall and the Death Eaters are closing in!” The knight on the fat horse exclaimed. Lily’s face paled and the students started to whisper worriedly. Shit, Joe realised, they must’ve figured out how to breach the wards after all.
“Okay everybody, stay in your lines and start moving!” Lily ordered not bothering to stay quiet anymore. They all took off at a slow jog down the stairs, the older students helping the younger ones to keep up. It didn’t help much though, the Gryffindor tower was clearly too far away from the Great Hall for them to make it in time. By the time they reached the fifth floor they heard an explosion far off, and a minute later the knight reappeared galloping through the paintings on the eastern wall yelling at Lily that the castle had indeed been breached. For the first time Joe heard the Head Girl curse out loud.
“Sirius!” Joe called over her shoulder as they rounded a corner, almost sprinting now. “Do you know any shortcuts to the Great Hall?” Sirius frowned in thought for a second.
“There is one on the fourth floor that leads to the cellar floor right by the kitchen. That’s under the Great Hall so the house elves can probably transport us up into the hall, like our food.” Joe’s eyes widened in excitement, the plan wasn’t perfect but it was better than nothing. She was rather impressed with his quick thinking.
“Tell Lily!” Joe shouted eagerly. The black haired boy nodded and sped up to reach Lily who was in the front. Joe backed up a little to fill both her and Sirius’ spots in the formation temporarily. Joe heard Lily shout “Probably?!” after a while, but in the end she seemed to accept the plan. It looked like it would work too; they were literally within inches of the secret passageway on the fourth floor when a second explosion from the staircase in front of them made them stop. A small army of seven figures in black hooded cloaks stood there, their wands trained at the students. This was all real. Joe couldn’t believe it. Had they really breached Hogwarts, the home of the great Albus Dumbledore, to get her? There must be another reason. Suddenly a vague memory flashed before her eyes. Could it possibly… shit. What if..? She had to get back to the dorm. Joe woke up from her daze and looked frantically around. What should they do? Lily and Sirius who were at the very front stared at the Death Eaters with eyes wide as saucers.
“Evans! Defensive shield!” Joe hissed desperately. Lily suddenly shook herself at the sound of Joe’s voice and glanced back at her. Joe lunged forward quickly and put up a weaker Protego-shield in front of Lily as she started to circle her wand in intricate patterns. Joe was just in time too; as soon as Lily lifted her wand spells started flying towards her from the Death Eaters.
“Get the students out of here!” Joe harshly ordered Sirius as Lily’s shield went up. The Marauder quickly started ushering the students through the fake mirror on the wall and the other sixth and seventh years joined Joe in duelling the enemy on the other side of the golden shield. Sweat beads were forming on Lily’s forehead from the effort of keeping the shield up. The others jumped and dodged the curses the shield couldn’t stop best they could. Sicily yelled out in pain when a Cruciatus curse hit her, and Jacob quickly picked her off the floor and pushed her through the passageway so she would be out of the range of the curse. A voice swore and someone else’s blood splattered across Joe’s chest but she didn’t have time to see what happened. As all the younger students had passed through the passage the older students backed up towards the mirror. The ones at the back of the group hurriedly climbed through and in the end only Joe and Lily were left.
“Take the shield down and go!” Joe shouted and then swore when a cutting curse graced her cheek.
“No it’s better if you go first.” Lily reasoned in between mumbled incantations. Joe growled.
“Fuck Evans!” Joe made use of the strength of her male body and ripped Lily away from a dangerous curse before it hit her square in the stomach. As Lily lost her balance the shield crumbled. The Death Eaters started advancing on them rapidly. Joe hugged the smaller girl close to her chest and threw her through the mirror. “Someone—“ Joe dodged a curse. “stupefy! has to seal the passageway!” and with that Joe sent the wall crumbling to the ground so that no Death Eaters could follow the students. Then, she took off running in the direction she’d come from, seven masked figures hot on her heels. She was on a mission. It had to be the ring, Voldemort’s ring.
On the other side of the crumbled wall Lily threw herself backwards so the rocks wouldn’t crush her. “No!” She yelled desperately, but it was too late. Removing all the rocks would take hours, even for a professor. “JOE!” The Head Girl grabbed her red hair staring with horror at the pile of rocks in front of her. She took a step backwards, knowing she had to do something. Quickly she grabbed her wand from where it had landed on the floor and started running. When she reached the end of the passageway Sirius was waiting for her, nervously keeping an eye on both ends of the corridor they would be entering.
“We have to get the professors! Joe’s still out there!” Lily screeched frantically. Sirius didn’t ask any questions, just grabbed the red head’s arm and ran with her to the kitchen. The house elves squeaked in alarm when the door banged open violently but transported them swiftly when they saw the wild expressions on the Gryffindors’ faces. Lily and Sirius materialised on one of the Gryffindor tables in the Great Hall a moment later. Neither noticed the shocked faces of the students when they saw Lily’s battered appearance, and the blood which had transferred from Joe’s shirt onto Lily when she grabbed her. Lily catapulted off the table shouting “Professor!” before she’d even seen one. Soon she saw that Professor Sprout was the only one with the students and quickly ran up to her.
“Joe’s still out there Professor! He can’t get in, he sealed the mirror and I don’t know what happened! You have to help him, Professor!” She rambled. Sprout looked worried and hurriedly sent off her Patronus to inform the other professors.
“Now we can only wait,” the normally jolly professor said solemnly. Lily looked at the doors leading to the entrance hall and wringed her hands nervously, imagining what was going on outside. Had the Aurors arrived yet?
She didn’t protest when Sirius slung his arm around her shoulders and gently steered her towards their friends’ corner of the hall. James looked horrified at all his friends’ tattered and bloodied appearances. Out of the upperclassmen in Gryffindor, only he and Sirius were left unscathed. And when Sirius told him what happened to Joe he almost ran out of the hall to hunt him down himself.
Sicily was out cold on a Ravenclaw table. Beside her Philip laid on the floor. He moaned in pain as Madam Pomfrey straightened out his broken leg. A girl with a scarlet tie and a gash across her stomach sat silently nearby, waiting to be treated. The Great Hall watched the Gryffindors silently.
Joe dodged around a corner and flattened herself against the cool stone wall. A few seconds later three Death Eaters rushed past without noticing her. Joe briefly wondered where the other four had gone but didn’t dwell on it more than a split second. Time was precious. After cautiously peeking around the corner she hurried in the opposite direction of the Death Eaters and down a new corridor.
When she finally reached the seventh floor she was truly sick and tired of Death Eaters. She’d managed to stun one early on in the chase; he fell at the third floor. Then she accidentally blasted one off a moving staircase. She didn’t see if he survived or not, but she doubted it. The thought made her feel slightly sick. She didn’t feel better at all when she realized a mask clad, black robed figure was waiting for her by the Fat Lady’s portrait. The Fat Lady was reprimanding him but he didn’t take much notice; only seeming slightly annoyed by her high pitched whine. But how in the world was Joe supposed to out-duel a dark wizard one on one?! Before he took any notice of her she hid behind a suit of armour. She quickly analyzed her options. She could always sneak downstairs and hide with the rest of the student body. If they’d managed to move the whole House of Gryffindor seven floors without any lasting damage, doing it on her own shouldn’t be too hard, right? However, as appealing as that plan sounded right now, it wasn’t an option. She had to get into her dorm. But she had no chance of out-duelling a Death Eater.
She’d tried that before – bad idea.
Suddenly an unlikely idea formed in her head. Maybe she didn’t have to duel at all…
A devious smirk graced her lips. She’d picked up a few tricks from her boys lately. There was only one problem. She needed something to charm. The suit of armour was too big and she didn’t have any nifty coins or chewing gums in her pockets. Not even shoes or a shirt since she was only wearing her pyjamas bottoms. That only left one option. Sneakily she scanned the area for anyone who could possibly be watching. Satisfied there was no one around she dropped her trousers.
Walker was unbelievably bored. Most of his fellow servants of the Dark Lord were having a blast battling downstairs and he was stuck here, ordered to scout for some Gryffindor student. To top it off an annoying portrait was trying to talk him to death.
Suddenly he heard something. It sounded like a voice yelling… something? He didn’t understand it. And where did the voice come from? At first he couldn’t see anything that could possibly have a voice, but then he spotted something moving further down the left corridor. Cautiously he moved closer and closer to the strange object. It looked like… a piece of cloth perhaps? Yes, a piece of cloth was flying into the wall repeatedly and yelling “Kamikaze! Kamikaze!” whatever that meant. He grabbed for it and held it in front of his face. His eyes widened. Where had this come from? A red lacy thong, which had somehow spouted a mouth, vibrated violently as it yelled especially loudly “KAAAMIKAZEEE!” and threw itself into his face. Walker let out a yell of surprise (which was muffled by the suicidal thong) and tried to bat it off, to no avail.
Joe took advantage of the Death Eater’s distraction and pushed hard on the suit of armour. It tipped slowly to begin with before gravitation took hold of it and it crashed down on the thong-faced man, instantly knocking him out. Just to be on the safe side Joe separated an arm of the armour from its body with a well placed severing charm and repeatedly beat the Death Eater in the head.
Just to be sure he was out.
And because it felt good to have him at her mercy.
After making sure the Death Eater was sufficiently subdued Joe went over to the entrance of the Gryffindor tower.
“Hello, my dear. Lovely evening, isn’t it?” Joe greeted the Fat Lady with a strained smile that more resembled a grimace of pain than anything.
“Not since that blasted wizard woke me up.” The Fat Lady grumbled.
“No, no I guess not.” Joe agreed. “Listen, do you think you could let me in and then go hide in a portrait somewhere far off? Since there are dark wizards running around and everything, and I wouldn’t want them to get in there.” Joe glanced at the one under the suit of armour pointedly.
“Gobbledegook.” The portrait swung open and the Fat Lady had taken off before Joe had even had a chance to open her mouth. “Well,” She blinked in astonishment, “okay.”
Professor McGonagall was just storing a couple of stunned Death Eaters in a cupboard when Professor Sprout’s Patronus approached her. The normally stern faced professor paled when she heard what it reported. Just as the Patronus dissipated a shrieking Death Eater fell from the sky and landed with a sickening crunch. McGonagall winced and wondered where he came from. She turned her eyes upward and saw a fair-haired man rushing up the stairs, pursued by two figures in dark robes. Her stomach sank and she took off running. Huffing and puffing she took the marble staircase two steps at a time. What in the world was that bo—girl thinking?! Did he—she have a death wish?!
The transfiguration professor heard Joe and her pursuers up ahead, yelling spells and hexes at each other, but she couldn’t quite catch up. She cursed whoever made apparation impossible on school grounds. She thought she’d finally caught up when they were all the way up on the seventh floor. When she caught sight of Joe she stopped in surprise. She was beating up a Death Eater with… a piece of armour? What in the world? She clutched the stitch in her side and started moving towards Joe, but Joe disappeared into the common room and the Fat Lady took off to Merlin knows where. McGonagall cursed her luck and stomped her foot. She’d run up seven staircases for this? Turning around to go find a portrait or two who could help her search the castle for the wayward common room guardian, she caught sight of the unconscious Death Eater again.
…what was that on his face?
Joe opened her trunk and rummaged around it for what she was looking for. There—Voldemort’s ring. This had to be what he was after; why else would he be chasing her? And why hadn’t she thought of it before? And that night when she woke and almost put it on… Huh—she couldn’t quite remember it all. She picked the ring up and peered at it. She felt that urge to put it on again and frowned. What was going on? Just as she was about to put it down, slightly frightened of the effect the ring had on her, the hand that wasn’t holding the ring unexpectedly started moving. Joe stared in horror and tried to pull it back. Her hand shook with the effort, but steadily moved forward. Joe’s face was etched with pure terror and her mouth formed a silent scream as she involuntarily slipped the ring onto her ring finger. A burning sensation filled her chest and it soon spread outwards until it had reached even her toes. Her vision narrowed rapidly and soon everything was black.
Downstairs Voldemort stepped into the entrance hall. Everything stopped. Even the recently arrived Auror reinforcement paused for a second in the middle of the battle. The Dark Lord watched the frozen scene at his feet superiorly. He lifted his right hand and opened his mouth.
“Retreat.” Was the only thing he uttered before he turned his back on them and walked into the darkness outside.
The students spent the night in the Great Hall, but not many could sleep very well; especially not the Head students and their friends who still hadn’t heard a word from Joe. The next day classes had to be cancelled because the Fat Lady still hadn’t been found and the Gryffindors couldn’t access their schoolbooks and uniforms. It wasn’t until noon that they finally could enter the common room. There they found Joe lying on the floor. At first they thought something really horrible had happened, but Madame Pomfrey managed to revive her. It turned out Joe was just bruised and bloody and had apparently suffered some severe blows to the head because her memories of the night before were extremely fuzzy and partially blank.
“You really have to lay off the firewhiskey, it’s not good for you mate!” James joked when the Marauders visited Joe in the hospital wing. “And no more self sacrificing. It’s not good for you either.” Joe held up her hands in defence.
“I’m sorry, but I can honestly say I don’t know what got into me.” The five laughed. Lily who’d been standing in the doorway frowned and left without ever being spotted. She didn’t think it was something to laugh about. Perhaps understandably, this all made her very unsettled.
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