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    I walk quickly down the dimly lit hallway of the Auror department to my uncle’s office door. Before I knock, I look back out over all the cubicles with a sense of hesitancy. I worry that I can’t do whatever this final test is. But before I can even think on it any longer, the door in front of me opens.

    “Rose?” My Uncle Harry questions and brings me out of the reverie I am in.

    “Huh?” I ask lamely as he watches me curiously.

    “Are you ready?” he asks as he steps aside holding the door open for me. I nod and walk into his office.

    “Have a seat.” He says calmly, gesturing to a chair in front of his desk as he walks around it and sits down. I sit nervously on the edge of the chair anticipating whatever it is he is going to say.

    “You don’t have to be nervous Rose.” He tries to reassure me. “I know it is difficult to gage this test because there isn’t a book you can reference or a person you can ask about it. Each test is different for each Auror. This is for safety reasons. Do you understand?”

    I nod as the bile in my throat rises and I feel ready to vomit but I do my best to keep it to myself. “Wha- What do I have to do?”

    “It’s simple. You’re going to be placed into a room with a penseive and a couple of vials of memories. Some of them will be yours, some of them will be someone else’s, but the catch is is that the memories will challenge you face your biggest fear. If you can get through them and overcome your fear by the end, you’ll pass.” he informs me.

    I sigh and feel a sense of panic run through my body.

    “So Rose, what is it that you fear the most?” He asks inquisitively.

    “Death.” I say looking into his green eyes unsure of how he is going to respond.

    He nods. “Go ahead and pull three memories from your mind where you experienced death in any way.”

    I watch him open the desk drawer and pull out two vials, one I see, already has memories swirling around inside of it. The second one he hands to me and I raise my wand to my temple and think hard about three memories. I extract them and place them in the vial.

    My Uncle Harry stands up and I do the same. “Let’s go next door.”

    We walk through a connected door in his office to the testing room. Inside there is only a table with a pensieve sitting on it.

    “Good luck!” He says as he back out of the room and closes the door.

    I hesitate again as I walk towards it and open the vials, spilling the silvery memories into the awaiting pensieve. I lower my head into it and I am engulfed by the swirling liquid around me as I fall into the memories. My final test has begun.

    I land firmly on the ground as the memory around me continues to recreate itself right before my eyes. When it does, I see that I am standing on the sidewalk in front of the home I grew up in. As I look around my surroundings, laughter and barking fill my ears, and I am suddenly drawn to the side gate that leads into the back yard. When I peer over the fence I see my four year old self running around a circle of my stuffed animals and my brother, playing what the muggles call ‘duck duck goose’. When I finally declared Hugo the goose, he got up and chased after me, our golden retriever Jack, following both of us excitedly. When I fell into Hugo’s empty space, we both fell to the ground giggling with Jack licking our faces.

    I watch my younger self with tears stinging my eyes. Jack was the dog my parents gave me as a big sister present when Hugo was born. I am about to go into the yard when I hear something meowing, by my feet.

    “Shhh!” I demand of the cat, but I know it won’t do me any good. The memory of that day comes flooding back and my palms start to become sweaty.

    “I-I-I can’t d-do this.” I begin to say when the cat meowed again, this time catching Jack’s attention.

    He came on a run barking at the feline intruder with my younger self and Hugo running behind in his wake. When he got to the fence I watch in horror as my beloved dog jumped the fence and the cat dashed off towards the street.

    Jack ran after him and my heartbeat quickens when I hear the squealing tires and a yelp.

    I look around the side of the house to see him lying under the car and blood running out from underneath it. The person in the car got out immediately and as they did, I can feel that familiar heaviness threaten to overtake me.

    I can't look. I feel sick and when I turned around I see myself running away to hide behind the tree that held our tire swing, while Hugo began to cry at the gate. I hear my father’s voice out in front of the house talking to the driver and see my mother coming around the side of the house to my brother. Her face looks pained and I feel the pit in my stomach drop.

    “It’s okay sweetheart, it’s okay.” She told him soothingly wiping his tears. “Where’s your sister?”

    Hugo was too inconsolable to speak so instead I watch as he pointed to me. The fear in my body swells as I see my mother look in my direction and see out of the corner of my eye, my father carrying Jack to the back yard.

    I watch as my mother held open the gate with Hugo clinging to her leg to let my father through. My knees become jelly as I see Jack’s dead body passing by me and just as I am about to fall over, the memory that surrounds me morphs.

    When I feel myself land carefully, I open my eyes to find myself inside the sitting room of a home I’ve never been to in my life. Around me are people that I recognized instantly as family and others that I don’t know at all.

    As I take in the scene in front of me, my train of thought is interrupted by a gruff voice. I am stunned when I turn to see a heavily scarred face with a blue eyeball that zooms around in one of its sockets. He walks with a limp over to my Uncle George, or is that my late Uncle Fred, completely ignoring my Uncle Harry, and hands whichever one it is a flask.

    They take a drink and pass it along a semicircle of six other people as my Uncle Harry looks on. I watch in awe as they all change and morph into my uncle. For a moment, I see the humor in this, but as I watch them all change clothes to match, I realize that this is serious.

    The man with the blue eyeball starts barking out orders of who will be riding with who as they transport my uncle to the Burrow. I feel an uncomfortable twinge as I watch them turn on the spot and walk outside. My Uncle Harry picks up a cage, with a beautiful snowy white owl inside, his broomstick and follows the rest of his company outside. I watch as they all pair off.

    My aunt and uncle climb aboard a thestral as does my mother with the current Minister of Magic. My dad, who was paired with a dark haired, but somewhat clumsy looking witch, mounted a broom. My Uncles, Granddad and another man that I didn’t know with scars across his face did the same. I watch my Uncle Harry as he walks over to Hagrid who climbs onto a motorbike and Harry apprehensively climbs into the side car. The cage with the owl is in between his legs. The gruff wizard climbs on board an oddly designed broom with another Harry look alike, and zips off leading the charge. Without hesitation, I quickly conjure a broom and mount it.

    The motorbike roars to life, and with a count to three, we all kick off from the ground. Once we’re in the air I see that we are instantly surrounded. Everyone scatters and panic rises in my chest as green jets of light instantly start to fly sinisterly at all of us. I do my best to dodge the on going battle and focus on my uncle. I watch in complete horror as two jets of green light narrowly miss Hagrid and hear him yell out. The motorbike then proceeds to roll over. I watch as my uncle’s broom falls towards the ground and he struggles to grab hold of his rucksack and the cage of his owl just as Hagrid is able to right the motorbike back to position.

    Just as my uncle is breathing a sigh of relief, I watch as another jet of green light zooms right towards him, but narrowly misses. Instead of hitting him, it hits the owl in the cage and I watch as my uncle tries to wrap his head around what just happened. I feel myself go numb and slip off the broom I am riding as I fall into the dark oblivion below.

    When the memory materializes in front of me, I find myself standing in front of my grandparents house. As I stand looking at the muggle home, I see myself walk past in the window in front of me. I slowly walk up the front steps of the deck and turn the knob. I am cautious in every step that I take after the first two memories I have visited left me feeling numb.

    The door opens, the sound of singing reaches my ears and I turn in the direction of the small sitting room to the left.

    ‘You are my sunshine…’

    I peek around the door frame to see my younger self sitting in a chair singing and looking apprehensive, but holding onto my grandpa Granger’s hand. Tears run down the cheeks of my younger self’s face as my father kneels beside me. My mother and grandmother are on the other side of his hospice bed.

    ‘My only sunshine…’

    I begin to panic and I cannot get my feet to move any further into the room as the singing grows louder in my ears as if it is trying to drown me. I try covering my ears with my hands and closing my eyes, but I can sense the presence of death around me and know that my twelve year old self is sitting in that chair watching him die.

    I open my eyes to see his arm reach up into the air as if he is seeing something that the rest of us in the room cannot. I watch the twelve year old me start to shake sitting in that chair, and my father takes his hand and places it on my shoulder.

    I turn my eyes one more time to my grandpa as I lip read the last line of the song.

    ‘Please don’t take my sunshine away…’

    His eyes close and I watch as my grandmother and mother hug and know that he is gone. I sink to the floor in the doorway and cannot stop the flow of tears running down my cheeks as I sob uncontrollably.

    I sense movement and open an eye to see the memory change before me. I try to calm myself as I feel myself land on the hard ground, leaning up against something that feels like it was made of stone. When I feel able, I begin to investigate. The crescent moon in the sky lazily casts its rays on tombstones dotted all around me and I automatically freeze. This isn’t my memory.

    There is a chill in the air that is uncomfortable and heavy as I continue to glance around, still unable to move. I see a tall tombstone in front of me is that of a skeleton holding a scythe and decorated with wings.

    “The angel of death,” I whisper trembling. I fall to the ground and crab walk backwards until my body hits an iron cauldron. I freeze in place when a flash of light catches my attention and I see two younger boys fall to the ground with a trophy between them.

    “Where are we?” I see my uncle ask his companion and I hesitate to move. I don’t want to stand and walk around because I am too scared to step over the patches of earth that hold dead bodies below them. ‘What if they reach up from under the ground and grab me?’ I think as I sit propped in place, the thought alone makes me shiver.

    I watch my uncle wander around the graveyard looking confused as he goes along. He comes to a stop in front of the creepy angel of death tombstone, running his fingers across the name that is engraved there and I can see the panic rise in his face. He instantly draws his wand and runs to the other boy.

    “Harry! The cup is a Portkey!” I hear the other boy yell.

    “Cedric, we have to get back to the cup!” Harry yells the panic in his voice makes every nerve in my body tremble and then it happens. I watch Cedric’s confused face, and then see the panic set in him as he suddenly pulls his wand from his pocket, doing him absolutely no good. I hear an unfamiliar voice call out and the only word I catch is kill. Another voice shouts the incantation. “Avada Kedavra!”

    My blood runs cold as I see the green light hit Cedric in the chest and see him fall to the ground. My uncle is standing there with a look of horror on his face and all I can do is hope that this memory will end before I have to see anymore.

    I fix my eyes on Cedric’s dead body until it fades from my view completely.


    My heart is pounding in my chest as the next memory falls into place and I realize that I am at Hogwarts. I can hear the buzz of conversation waft out of the Great Hall and I slowly make my way towards it. I automatically look to the Ravenclaw table and find myself sitting there next to Luci Adams, my best friend and Scorpius, who is sitting across from us.

    I slowly walk over to where the younger me is sitting to listen in on the conversation in order to find out exactly what memory this is.

    “What are your plans for the day?” Luci asks Scorpius and the younger me.

    “I have some studying to do in the library.” Scorpius replies looking in my direction and raising his eyebrows.

    “What?” I hear myself ask.

    “Don’t you have some homework to catch up on?” Luci questions me.

    “Yes, but I don’t think it will hurt if I wait until this afternoon to do it. I have some flying I want to do this morning.” I hear myself trying to say convincingly, and then I realize what day this memory is from.

    I can feel my heart rate jump and the blood pump faster through my veins. I panic a little when I see my younger self stand up to leave the Great Hall and I feel the heaviness in my body as I dutifully follow.

    I watch myself walk through the front doors and down the hill to the pitch. The grass is damp and the air is slightly cool, but still. The closer we get to the pitch the more my body and mind are internally screaming at me to stop.

    I see myself halt and look up; my eyes follow my younger self's gaze.

    There about fifty feet above the ground is Benji Longbottom, who is attempting to fly on a broom. I watch as my younger version sets off at a run, and I reluctantly run after. I focus on myself as the other Rose desperately looks around for Benji’s aide, Andy, who is nowhere to be seen.

    Then the still air is broken by my blood curdling scream, and I watch for the second time in my life as Benji falls helplessly from the broom. I don’t react, but watch in horror, as my younger self doesn’t even attempt to pull the wand out to do anything. The younger me is just as paralyzed as I am. He falls to the ground with a hard thud, and I begin to panic as my other self runs to him.

    “No!” I hear my younger self yelling out. “No! No! No! Benji!” The tears begin to flood my eyes.

    I fall to the ground, as I watch my other self copy me. Behind me I can hear footsteps of others thudding on the ground, running towards the scene. I don’t recall where they came from, so I close my eyes and begin rocking back and forth, and my arms wrap around my knees as the tears freely fall down my face.

    I hear movement around me, but I refuse to look up. I know what’s happening and I don’t want to remember. Benji my best friend since childhood. The boy I watched out for and loved. The one that I stuck up for when the other kids teased him for his disability.

    I continue rocking trying with everything to make the images of that day disappear, but they don’t, and I break all over again as I hear a voice say, “he’s gone.”

    And in that moment I feel myself die too.

    I feel nothing as the memories around me shift, and I find myself standing in complete darkness. I am dead. Broken. My head hurts from crying, my body aches from the physical pain my body has suffered watching and reliving the memories before.

    Goose bumps riddle my body as I light my wand without using my voice. I hold it up to see that I am on some sort of island in the middle of a lake in an underground cave. Stalactites hang threateningly from the ceiling as I take in my surroundings. There isn’t anyone here with me which I find odd, but then something strange happens.

    A ghostly fog appears and I feel like I am seeing something that is supposed to be there, but for some reason I’m not. The realization hits me like a ton of bricks. The memory has been tampered with.

    I catch glimpses of things happening around me. Clues. I see a basin with a necklace, my uncle and the late Professor Dumbledore, but I am unable to connect the dots. Why would this memory enhance my fear?

    Then I hear a trembling old voice call out. “Water.”

    There is something about the way that this word comes out that makes me cringe and for some odd reason I find myself dutifully walking in the direction of the water.

    I kneel down to examine the eerily calm surface, and just as I place my finger tips into the water a decomposed hand shoots up and grabs me around the wrist in a vice-like grasp. I scream and it echoes off the walls of the cave and I see more limbs, then torsos and heads with hollowed out eyes, climbing out of the depths of the lake.

    I am struggling to fight as I am pulled towards the water. To fight against the inferius that is pulling me, to fight against the fear of the dead pulling me to my death. The vast unknown of never being again.

    ‘Is this it? Is this how I would really die?’ I think to myself as I continue to fight and struggle.

    Just as my ankle breaks the water and more limbs grab and claw at me, I see flashes of the memories I just relived.

    My dog, my uncle's owl, my granddad Granger’s death, the graveyard, and Benji. Then it dawns on me, that death is an unpleasant fact of life that no matter what I do, I won’t be able to escape.

    The water is now up to my knees and as I sink further into the dark water I realize that I can fight. I can overcome. I may not be able to avoid death all my life, but it doesn’t mean that I cannot live now. Death doesn’t own me and none of the people or animals that have been lost would want me to lose out on life because of a fear.

    I lift my wand and begin to shoot flames at the inferi and the two that are holding me release my ankles.

    The next thing I know, I am being pulled back out of the memories.

    When I land on my butt on the floor of the testing room, I see my Uncle Harry smiling at me as he holds out his hand to help me up. I smile weakly back as I stand up and wonder to myself if I’ve passed my test.

    “Congratulations Rose.” He says as he holds out his hand.

    I look down to see a shiny silver Auror’s badge.

     

     

    Author's Note: This was written for 'MalfoysCarolinaGirl's Phobia Challenge'. I hope you enjoyed it. The phobia's highlighted here are Necrophobia, the fear of death and Thanatophobia, the fear of dead things. 

    A huge Thank you to AngelEyez3954/LJ for all of her help in looking this over and giving great feedback. To ProfessorMcGonagall/Minnie for helping with the beginning and the end. To anyone on the Forums that listened to my idea and gave me the encouragement to write this. Thank you!!

    You are my sunshine - Children's nursery song I don't own any of the lyrics.

    The Graveyard Scene: Taken from Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire Chapter 32, Flesh, Blood, and Bone By J.K. Rowling

    “Where are we?” 




    "The cup is a Portkey!"

    "Cedric, we have to get back to the cup."

     

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