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 The idea was so blindingly obvious, the others all seemed to be stunned they hadn’t thought of it first. The Shrieking Shack was an ideal hiding spot, made all the more ingenious by its proximity to Hogwarts. The Movement would have assumed nobody would think they’d be stupid enough to hide out so close to Hogwarts, yet it was still the perfect position from which to launch a counter-attack. So, McGonagall, Kate, Ginny, Neville, Tom, Ron and I headed off to attempt to go to the shack and fight the Death Eaters off, saving Harry and Hermione in the process. It was decided that McGonagall and the Weasleys would go in the direct route, through the doors, whilst Kate, Neville, Tom and I would sneak in the back way, so to speak. The Whomping Willow was less than pleased at our arrival, but the freezing charm Tom used swiftly incapacitated it. Hiding out in the tunnel, Kate was convinced that they would have used some sort of sensory charm. I agreed, it was highly unlikely their base would be undefended. It wasn’t as if they could hide the shack anyway, that sort of magic wouldn’t go unnoticed. It was likely that little magic had actually been performed, but nevertheless we proceeded with caution.

Tom went first down the narrow tunnel, the sides appearing to close in around us. I followed him, with Kate behind me and Neville bringing up the rear. We proceeded down the dingy tunnel, which appeared to open out as we neared the end of it. We saw the entrance to the tunnel ahead of it and a quick bit of almost silent wand work from Tom told us there was indeed a sensory charm on the small opening, which led out into the shack’s ground floor. Not that it mattered. Directly in front of us, strapped to two chairs, were Harry and Hermione. They were surrounded by around ten members of The Movement, who all appeared alert and agitated. They were all speaking, clearly arguing but it was obvious that they had placed a silencing charm on the tunnel, so we couldn’t hear a word they were saying.

At the heart of the debate was Malfoy who was clearly angered by something someone had said. Another man was grabbing Malfoy from behind, restraining him from attacking someone. A woman, tall and dark haired, stood up furiously and whatever she said had an effect, because Malfoy sat down and calmed down, though the anger was clear to see on his face. The dark haired woman kissed the man restraining Malfoy and I could feel Tom shake in front of me. I placed my hand on his shoulder and there was just enough space in the corridor for him to turn his head towards me. He was on the verge of crying and I shot him a confused look.

“Those are my parents,” he growled, standing and leaving the safety of the tunnel. I swore furiously and went to pull myself out, only for Kate to grab my leg and pull me back. The silencing and sensory charms had been broken and I could tell this would not end well. We were supposed to wait for McGonagall and the Weasleys but I had no idea how long they would be. We had certainly taken a shortcut and they would be in no hurry.

“Wait!” Tom’s mother yelled as the Death Eaters moved to curse him. “My son…”

“Mother,” Tom replied icily. “Father.”

“What are you doing here Tom?” his dad murmured, stepping towards him. I made another wild swing forwards, but Kate grabbed my ankle again.

“I came here to find Harry and Hermione and take them home,” Tom snarled, nodding briefly at Harry and Hermione, who were gagged. I caught sight of their wands out of the corner of my eye and muttered Accio to bring the wands zipping into my grasp.

“Get him!” Malfoy was saying. “What are you waiting for? Get him.”

“That is my son Draco!” his mum growled. “Join us Tom, you could be great.”

“You’re mental!” Tom roared, pulling out his wand. “I never supported you back in the Voldemort days and I don’t support you now. What, did you think faking your own deaths would get you out of Azkaban? I’m sick of you hanging over my head like a curse. So I’m ending this now.”

“Tom!” I yelled, finally breaking free of Kate’s grasp as Malfoy tried to curse him. Tom dodged and before he could fire back, I rugby tackled Malfoy, blasting three more Death Eaters with the wands in my right hand. Tom stunned both his parents, before pulling me to my feet. Behind me, Kate and Neville climbed out of the tunnel, wands flying. At which point, we realised we were in trouble. Whilst Malfoy and Tom’s parents were out for the count, the members I’d blasted were back on their feet within seconds and we were outnumbered in a 7 v 4 we were never going to win. I blocked a multitude of curses but then the jets of green light came out.

I focused on the three members I’d already weakened, but by the time I’d finished them off, the other four had all resorted to Avada Kedavra. Tom and Neville were ducking and dodging and I saw an opening to free Harry and Hermione. I slipped past one of The Movement, who turned to face me. I ducked low and punched him on the underside of his chin but he kicked me off and loomed over me, as I dropped the three wands I had in a loose grip in my right hand. Suddenly, a spell hit the man directly in his back. He spun, more angered than hurt, to face Kate, who was firing spells and taunting him. I knew what was coming and even as I sat up to stop it, it was too late. The words left his lips and the jet of green light rocketed through the air, crashing into Kate’s stomach, cutting her taunts short as her eyes went dull and she hit the floor with a sickening thud. I screamed. I didn’t need to check her pulse to know she was dead. The Death Eater leered and turned back to me, at which point McGonagall made an entrance. It was devastating. With little more than a wave of her wand, all four men were crippled, hitting the floor and writhing in pain. It didn’t matter. None of it mattered. Not anymore.

Ginny and Ron ran straight to Harry and Hermione. Neville and Tom ran straight to me. And I ran straight to Kate. As I reached her I knew one thing. This wouldn’t be a teary goodbye. She was dead. And I couldn’t change that. There were no last words, no moment of glory. She was dead the second the spell hit her, unable to convey any final thoughts as all the life was blasted out of her within a second. I cradled her lifeless body in my arms until Tom reached me. He put his arm around me and helped me up, doing what he could to get me away from the hell that was Kate’s dead body. As we walked away, I could tell he paused for one second. He left me alone for a split second, then turned back to the pile of unconscious bodies, kicked both his parents in the head for good measure and then turned back to me, a weary smile the most he could muster. And then, together, we left the shack, oblivious to the rest of the world.

I was sat in Kate and Zara’s dorm, white as a sheet and deathly quiet. I didn’t really feel like talking. There wasn’t much to say. Who would I talk to anyway? There was nobody around. None of the boys could get into this dorm and Ginny and Ron had bigger problems, bigger things to worry about. Harry and Hermione had been rescued, but neither of them had gotten out unscathed. They were both bruised and cut and it was clear they had been crucioed. Harry seemed to be holding himself together. He was quiet but certainly there hadn’t been any long term damage. Hermione, however, was another story. She didn’t have any recollection of who she was, or what she was. Her memory was completely fucked, she’s obviously been obliviated. It was a devastating blow for Ron, who hadn’t left her side. Madam Pomfrey had said that her memory would probably return, how long that would take was beyond her. What Hermione needed was “mental stimulus”. Her parents were on their way and Ron was trying hard to talk to her.

Away from us, the Ministry had pretty much cleaned up the mess we’d left behind. Or rather, the mess they’d failed to clean up once already. Most of the Death Eaters were looking at life in Azkaban, others were looking at the Dementor’s Kiss. Oddly enough, Harry had spoken out on Malfoy’s behalf. If he hadn’t Malfoy would already have suffered a fate worse than death. He had had plenty of chances, and if it was up to me, the Dementors could have him, but I guess Harry has always been more forgiving than me. I’m too much like my dad I guess, angry at the world. But then again, he has a right to be I suppose. But then why don’t I? The world took Kate and Zara from me. I had Tom, but I couldn’t help but feel that someone somewhere had it in for me.

The knock on the window startled me. I never saw it coming. Tom was sat on my broom, grinning at me. I opened the window, startled but still managing to smile.

“You’re an idiot!” I laughed, as he flew in. I yanked him off my broom by the scruff of his neck, my hand firmly clasped around his collar.

“And you’re depressed. Let’s change that!” he smiled mischievously.

“How can you be so cheerful?” I asked, allowing a hint of anger to creep into my voice. “Kate’s dead, Harry and Hermione are a mess, James might not live through the night and your parents are lying sons of bitches!”

“Look, Lucy,” he said gently. “I know now seems like a bad time, but the best of things come from the worst of times. Harry’s going to be fine, Hermione will get there, my parents are where they belong, in Azkaban and no amount of moping will help James or bring Kate back. You have to try and move on, no matter how early it seems.”

“I don’t know if I can Tom, everything is so blurred right now, I just need some time to recover.”

“Come with me.”

It wasn’t a request. The forcefulness in his voice made it clear to me that I had to trust him. I sat on the back of my broom. He jumped back on in front of me and I clung to his back as we whizzed out the window again. I barely had a chance to feel the wind wisp over me before we had landed again, this time in the hospital wing. The place was quiet, with only the so called “Golden Trio” and Ginny there. Harry smiled at me wearily as I entered.

“How are you Harry?” Tom asked.

“Fine,” Harry lied. “Just a few scrapes I’ll be alright. What about you Lucy?”

“I’ll live,” I replied. “You’re not fine at all.”

“No, I’m not,” Harry admitted. “I feel like hell but after a bit of sleep I’ll be better. It’s Hermione I’m worried about.”

“Who are you? You seem familiar,” Hermione interrupted, looking at me, trying to focus.

“I’m Lucy,” I replied gently. “This is Tom.”

“I’m sorry Lucy, but it won’t come to me right now,” Hermione replied wearily. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I can barely remember Ronald and Harold here.”

“It’s Harry and Ron,” Ron corrected.

“Shut up Ronald,” Hermione sighed, shooting Harry a wink. “I know it’s Harry, I was joking.”

“Well, we’d better be going,” Tom smiled round at them, jumping back on the broom.

“We only just got here,” I turned to him, confused.

“I know love, but I’ve got more to show you,” he winked.

It appeared that our next stop was some small village in Durham. At least that’s what he told me. The thrill of the flight was short-lived, as the cold wind swiftly turned from refreshing to bitter and although the speed never changed, I soon became used to it. Luckily, the flight wasn’t particularly long and we landed soon enough. I looked in a window to see Zara and who I presumed to be her father. They were sitting, eating dinner, laughing. The last part felt crucial. Zara was happy. For all my worries, at least one of us was moving on and sufficiently quickly as well.

“Do you want to tell her about Kate?” Tom asked quietly.

“No, you were right,” I whispered. “Time is a weapon, we need to use it.”

“One last stop, then I can take you home. It’s almost Christmas anyway and McGonagall let us go home for the holidays early.”

“Thank heaven for small mercies,” I muttered, not taking my eyes of Zara as we disembarked again. Mercifully, Tom had placed a spell to beat off the wind and I almost fell asleep on his shoulder as we flew, speed no longer an issue. When we eventually landed, it wasn’t a surprise to see we were at St Mungo’s. We left the broom in the waiting area as we headed up to the ward. James was awake and smiling. Amy embraced me as soon as I entered.

“He’s going to be okay!” she laughed. “The Healers have given him the all-clear.”

“I was lucky,” James shrugged it off. “We all were.”

“Not all of us,” I muttered and Tom held me close.

“If you’ll excuse me Mr and Mrs Hunt,” he said, addressing my parents. “I would like to take your daughter home. She’s been through a lot and she needs rest.”

“Of course Tom,” Dad replied smiling. “And call me Jake.”

“I still don’t,” James pointed out, to a chorus of chuckles as Tom and I left the room.

“We’re not resting, are we?” I asked, giggling.

“Anything but love, anything but…”

A/N: Hi guys :D Penultimate chapter :( but i guess all good things must come to an end and tbh i'm excited to be moving on to new projects (LP4) :D :D So please please leave a review and hopefully the final chapter will be up soon (although it is more of an epilogue than a direct continuation). HP

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