Chapter 27 Heaven is a place nearby ** ** Here it is…. (Song…Hero, by Chad Kroeger) * ** *** ** * ~ I am so high, I can hear heaven I am so high, I can hear heaven Oh, but heaven, no heaven, don't hear me And they say that a hero can save us I'm not gonna stand here and wait I hold onto the wings of the eagles Watch as we all fly away Someone told me, love will not save us But how can that be? Look what love gave us A world full of killing And blood spilling That world never came And they say that a hero can save us I'm not gonna stand here and wait I hold onto the wings of the eagles Watch as we all fly away Now that the world isn't ending It's love that I'm sending to you It isn't the love of a hero And that's why I fear it won't do And they say that a hero can save us I'm not gonna stand here and wait I hold onto the wings of the eagles Watch as we all fly away And they're watching us They're watching us As we all fly away And they're watching us They're watching us As we all fly away They're watching us They're watching us As we all fly away ~ * ** *** ** * ** *** ** * The scene inside the gates of Hogwarts was one no one would ever forget. The crowd of aurors, order members, and reporters watched in horror through the large windows in the entrance hall as Harry and Voldemort’s spells hit each other in mid-air as they were raised into the sky, green light flashing. Ginny was fighting desperately against Bill trying to get closer to the window, to observe the going ons outside closer, although her attempts failed against Bill’s strong grasp. She finally relented and watched silently at the looks on the adults faces as they audibly gasped and a gold light emanated through the windows, as death eaters shrieks from outside wafted into the surrounding hall. She stilled as Dumbledore turned from the window and addressed the group. “Harry has sent up the signal, proceed as originally planned, and with extreme caution, we don’t know the condition of either Harry or Voldemort, and must continue as if to expect the worst.” Dumbledore spoke with a hard resolution, but it was obvious to everyone that his words were causing him pain. “Begin,” Was the one worded command from the aged wizard, but as soon as it was said everyone broke apart heading to his or her separate destinations. Dumbledore exited the old oak doors first, followed by the elite members of the order, then the aurors, and finally the few reporters who had been brave enough to venture out into the fray, cowering behind Dumbledore’s army. Ginny was struggling against Bill with even more force as Dumbledore had told them to assume the worst, crying out desperately, insisting that he let her go. It was killing Bill to have to keep his sister away from Harry, but he knew it was for her own safety, he let his mind wander briefly to how he would feel in Ginny’s position…that one wander of thought, however, caused Ginny the second she needed to struggle out of his grasp and run up next to Dumbledore who had already begun battling with a handful of death eaters. She pushed hands away from her as her eyes landed on a charred piece of earth; in which laid two bodies. Voldemort’s…and Harry’s. She could feel her heart clench painfully as her eyes took in the sight of the defeated boy before her. A tear escaped down her cheek as she took a few tentative steps towards Harry, who lay sprawled flat on his stomach. Step. Step. Step. She dropped to the ground before him, still barely containing her sorrow. “Harry,” She choked, “It’s Ginny.” No answer. “Harry, it’s me.” She said again, a slight panic rising in her voice. Still, no answer. Slowly, she gripped his shoulder, supporting his head as she rolled him over onto his back. She gasped at his condition. His eyes were closed shut, lips parted slightly as if trying to say something. His face was covered in scratches, and his robes were covered in mud, and torn around the edges. He looked even weaker and paler now than he did at any other time she could remember seeing him. She couldn’t stop the tears from coming this time as she let out a gut-wrenching sob and flung herself on top of him, clutching onto the front of his robes for dear life, ignoring the battle surrounding her. “I should never have left you, I’m so sorry, I love you so much, ever since I met you I knew you were the one, and I still know. You can’t leave me Harry, not now that everything’s better, everyone’s safe, and we’re finally together. I’m not ready to say goodbye. I’m not ready.” She whispered desperately against his warm body. She was barely aware of a flash of light in the distance, but chose to ignore the continuing flashes that were growing more rapid around her, most likely from over zealous reporters. * ** *** ** * Meanwhile the battle was raging. “STUPEFY,” Roared Sirius, as a death eater dropped to the ground stunned. “Nice one Padfoot,” James called over his shoulder, as he shot a spell back to the death eater he was battling. “I know,” Sirius responded cockily as he ran up to help Mad Eye who was battling against three at once. “Where’s Lily,” He shouted over in James general direction, as he dodged a jet of blue light. “Right here,” Said Lily, as she stunned a death eater that was sneaking up on Sirius. “Thanks for that one,” Said Sirius, spinning in reverse and giving a gulp at his close call, before turning back and finishing off the last death eater in the small group he had been battling with Mad Eye. “JAMES WATCH OUT,” Yelled Remus a few feet away, at James who had been preoccupied by the scene with Lily and Sirius. He whipped his head back around, but wasn’t fast enough to dodge a burst of orange light which slashed against his chest, leaving a trail of blood. “OH BLOODY HELL,” Shrieked James, before turning to face the offending death eater, “That hurt you bastard,” He snarled before charging after the death eater, who tried to back away, but failed as he was caught by a stunning charm in the shoulder fired by an incensed James. “Well I guess that means he’s okay,” Chuckled Sirius, before racing off in another direction, leaving Lily against a rather short death eater. She gave a nervous laugh in return, as she went to face the next challenger. *** “All these bloody death eaters, I’ll tell you Kingsley, I’ll be glad when this is all over.” Growled Moody from behind a large bush that he and Kingsley had taken refuge behind in an attempt to avoid a death eater with an odd affiliation for the severing charm. “ I hear ya Alastor.” Agreed Kingsley, “But right now we just have to focus.” “Well what have I been telling you all this time, constant vigilance, maybe if we had all been practicing it twenty years ago we wouldn’t even be in this damned situation in the first place.” Said Moody. “Well it’s a little late for that, wouldn’t you say?” Countered Kingsley. “Oh stop arguing and keep a sharp eye.” Argued Alastor. “Honestly Moody, sometimes I don’t even understand you.” Said Kingsley before he sprang out from behind the bush and shot a few wandering death eaters in the back with a stunning spell. He quickly checked they were unconscious before turning back to Moody with a triumphant smile, “And that my friend, is how it’s done.” Moody gave an undistinguishable grumble before heaving himself up from the ground joining Kingsley against a rather large crowd of Voldemort’s army. *** Tonks gave a small gulp as she examined the line of death eaters advancing upon her. This was it, the end, she was sure of it. She would die here alone, no one to see her fall. Her thoughts drifted briefly over to Harry, and how a seventeen year old had faced willingly against Voldemort and his entire band of followers she would never know. She hoped that he was okay now, that he would pull through and make it out. He deserved to be happy, and he had Ginny now. She knew the two of them loved each other, and it made her heart soar to know that two people so torn apart from change and evil could still find the ability to love so strongly. She gave a small sigh as she thought of the love that she had never possessed. Sure she had, had her school girl crushes back in her day, but she had never found someone that she could claim her love for. She was beginning to think he didn’t exist. Now here she was, thirty-two years of age, facing her death, all alone. The thought was a painful one, but she was determined to stand tall, and fight to the end. One thing for sure they would have to work to bring her down. “STUPEFY,” She cried at one of the advancing death eaters, who dropped to the ground, momentarily stunned. She ducked as a whirl of red light flashed above her. “PROTEGO,” She screamed, blocking another attack. The spell hit the invisible shield, and bounced back into the death eater who had conjured it, too slow to move out of the way. “EXPELLIARMUS,” Yelled one of the three remaining death eaters. Tonks gave a small scream as she was blasted into a nearby tree and her wand was whipped from her trembling fingers. She watched in fear as the death eaters approached slowly, raising their wands in unison, ready to give the final blow. She couldn’t take it anymore, she couldn’t watch. She clenched her eyes shut waitng. Waiting… Waiting.. Waiting. But that final blow never came. Slowly. Tentatively, despite the inner struggle she was having with herself that it was definitely not a good idea to open her eyes, she couldn’t help herself, the temptation was just too strong. One eye open. Two eyes. The picture that was spread before her, was not what she had expected by a long shot. Before her lay three very unconscious death eaters, all with blood pouring out of one orifice or another. There was one lone figure standing victorious above them, grasping a stitch in his side, panting for air. Remus Lupin. “You all right,” He wheezed looking upon her with concern. “How did you…you were on the other side of the grounds, how…” She gaped at him. “I saw you were in trouble, I thought you could use the help.” He answered simply. “You got that right,” She answered, looking pointedly at the death eaters strewn across the ground. “We better get going, I want to go around and make sure everyone’s okay, I haven’t seen Sirius or Harry in awhile.” Said Remus, looking anxiously at the crowd behind his shoulder. “I saw Sirius not too long ago chasing after some death eater yelling something about tree stumps, although I have no clue why, but I haven’t seen Harry at all.” “That’s what I’m worried about, so is James. He’s been searching everywhere for him, no one we’ve talked to has seen him either. No one has confided their worries in Lily yet, we’re afraid she’ll go into hysterics, she’s already so latched onto him.” “Yeah, well I really wouldn’t hold that against her seeing as he is her son who she hasn’t seen for seventeen years, and the first time she does see him, he’s thrown into battle no less than half an hour later. She has a right to latch onto him.” Countered Tonks, thinking of her own feelings if she had been in Lily’s position, “I actually think she’s handling it quite well, not many people would be able to watch their sons go into battle, let alone the ones they haven’t seen for nearly two decades.” “I know, we’re just afraid of her reaction, and we’re even more afraid for Harry. A couple of aurors found Voldemort’s body over near the other end of the grounds, in a large burn mark, but no Harry.” Remus whispered nervously. “What do you mean in a burn mark?” Tonks questioned. “Just that in the middle of a giant piece of charred earth, with another piece of still green earth across from him, almost as if a body had been strewn there.” Remus reasoned. “Are you trying to say Harry’s body is sprawled somewhere?” Asked Tonks in horror. “We just don’t know.” Remus muttered, turning his head to watch a death eater stun an auror. “But we don’t have time to think about it either.” He finished as he ran off to finish the defeated aurors battle. *** “WHERE ARE THEY?” Screamed a livid Ron Weasley, to an increasingly annoyed Madam Hooch. “For the last time Mr. Weasley, I know just as much as you do of the condition of Mr. Potter and your sister.” She replied trying, but failing to mask the exasperation in her voice. “Everyone else is here except for Brooke and Neville. I talked to Parvarti and Lavender, they’re having nervous breakdowns, saying Brooke was like a sister to them, and well Dean and Seamus are still looking for Neville.” Said Hermione, running up to where Ron and Madam Hooch were conversing. “Shit, no one knows anything. None of the aurors in here know anything either, and they won’t let me out no matter how much I argue with them.” Snarled Ron, turning to survey the Great Hall. As soon as an unidentified source had alerted Dumbledore that Voldemort and his death eaters had surrounded the perimeter of the castle all of the students had been hauled from their dorm rooms and sent to the Great Hall, where they had proceeded in locking them in. It took only a few minutes for all of the students to notice that one key figure wasn’t in the room with them; Harry Potter, as well as a large handful of Slytherin students. It was the subject on everyone’s mind as they were forced to remain in the sealed Great Hall with nowhere to find any information on the mayhem outside. Ron had run from student to student asking about Harry, and soon found Ginny was still missing as well. In a blind panic he began assaulting the few teachers and aurors that had been locked in with them, begging them to give him the smallest shred of information regarding the whereabouts of his friends. Now the information that Brooke and Neville were missing as well was more than he was willing to handle. “What do you mean?” Questioned Ron. “They have no clue where they are, and I’ve been asking all the Ravenclaws about Harry and Ginny, but they’re just as daft to where they are as everybody else. The Slytherins who are left refuse to tell me anything, but I think they know at least a little more than the other students.” Answered Hermione with a sigh. “What about all those idiot reporters who got pushed in here by Dumbledore, they have to know something, otherwise they wouldn’t have come to Hogwarts in the first place.” Ron reasoned. “I suppose, I’m just worried that as soon as I ask they’ll recognize me as Harry’s friend and bombard me with questions. So far they keep asking the Hufflepuffs about what they know about the attack, they haven’t made it to the Gryffindors yet.” “Right, well then we should just ask them together, it will be harder to overpower the both of us.” Said Ron. “Are you sure Ron?” Asked Hermione uncertainly looking at the crowd of reporters who had circled around Ernie McMillan, once he had mentioned that he knew Harry. “Positive, it’s the only plan I can think of at this point.” Ron answered. “But what good will it do, the teachers would never let us out, even if we found out what was going on.” “Yeah well I have an idea for what to do once we get to that point, but first we have to find out where they are.” Said Ron as he began to make his way towards the crowd of reporters. “Okay, I trust you.” Said Hermione, as she followed behind Ron towards the reporters. *** “Draco Malfoy,” Sighed Dumbledore, looking at the boy, who had just been revealed as the death eater he had been battling. “Yeah it’s me.” Spat Malfoy, sending a cold glare to Dumbledore. “Why?” Asked Dumbledore shaking his head in disbelief. “Oh come off it, you knew I would never follow you. You knew I would go against all of you who sent my father to prison.” Sneered Draco. “Indeed, I however hoped to be wrong.” Said Dumbledore sadly. “The dark lord will prevail in the end, just wait and see.” Hissed Draco. “That Draco, is where you are wrong. Tom does not understand what he is up against, he underestimates his opponents too readily.” “Just like Saint Potter, everyone’s favorite little golden boy, making up lies about the dark lord to try and gain favor amongst his servants.” “What lies has Harry told you?” Asked Dumbledore, calculating the young man before him skeptically. “He disgraced himself by saying that the dark lord was no more than a dirty half-blood.” Spat Malfoy. “I am afraid young Mr. Malfoy, that Harry was not lying, Tom’s father was indeed of non-magical heritage, who left his mother, a witch, when he discovered the truth about her. She in turn died shortly afterwards, leaving Tom orphaned. He blames all muggles for the way his father acted, and is driven by that obsession. That obsession will be his downfall.” Explained Dumbledore. “I don’t believe you.” “That is of course your decision, I just wish you would have considered your options further before pledging your allegiance to Tom.” Sighed Dumbledore. “Never,” Growled Draco, as a Ministry Employee ran up to bind him and take him back to where they were holding the other captured death eaters. *** “SHIT,” Roared James, kicking the death eater who he had just stunned. “What’s up Jamie?” Asked Sirius, who had been drawn over by James display. “I still can’t find Harry.” He whispered anxiously. “What? He’s missing?” Asked Sirius, who had not been informed of his godson’s disappearance. “Yeah, no one knows where he is, I’ve been asking everyone, and they have no idea what could have happened to him.” “Oh bloody hell, I just figured that since I hadn’t seen him that he was okay,” Murmured Sirius, running a nervous hand through his untidy hair. “That’s what I’m hoping for, Moony’s still looking over at the other end of the grounds, but as far as I know he hasn’t found anything.” “EXCUSE ME, EXCUSE ME!” James and Sirius both snapped around, to see a very excited reporter being followed by a wizard holding what looked to be holding a large tape recorder. “Who the hell are you?” Questioned Sirius. “Tony Baxton, from the Wizard Wireless Network, we’re recording the battle for the public.” Answered the Reporter. “What the hell, you’re recording a battle?” Asked James, thinking he must have been mistaken, he had never heard of anything so completely absurd before. “Yes sir, I couldn’t help but come over when I heard you talking of Harry Potter, now please tell me how you know him?” Asked the reporter, holding the microphone to Sirius’s face. “Oh Merlin, you have to be joking, we are in the middle of a fucking war if you haven’t noticed, this is NOT the time for interviews.” Swore Sirius. “Calm down Sirius,” Whispered James, putting a hand on Sirius’ arm to stop him from speaking anymore profanities, “That isn’t going to help anything.” “Wait, did you just say Sirius…Sirius Black, but you’re supposed to be dead. Oh this is too good, Mr. Black would you please tell me how you were able to come back to the wizarding world? How do you fell about your name being cleared?” Asked the reporter excitedly, shoving the tape player farther into Sirius’ face. A brief flicker of surprise crossed across Sirius’ face as the reporter mentioned that he was cleared, but quickly recovered as he remembered what the situation at hand held. “See what you’ve gone and done James!” Grumbled Sirius. “James…JAMES POTTER, oh my merlin, this is unbelievable, where is your wife, is she here too? How were you able to return from the dead? What is your response to the reports of all of your sons daring activities?” Asked the reporter who looked like he was about to wet himself out of ecstasy, shoving the tape player into James face. “THIS IS NOT THE TIME,” Yelled Sirius. “Please I’ll only take a few moments of your time,” Continued the reporter, but Sirius and James had already shoved him off and began marching in another direction. “I WOULDN’T GO THAT WAY IF I WERE YOU,” The reporter called after them. “AND WHY THE HELL WOULD THAT BE?” Screamed Sirius, wheeling around to confront the annoying media member, his face beet red from all the shrieking and swearing he had been emitting. “They say that over there is where Harry Potter died.” Whispered the reporter quietly, pointing to the direction that they had been heading. James was barely aware that he had collapsed to his knees and was vaguely aware of Sirius muttering, “no, no, no,” from above him. “YOU ARE LYING.” Shrieked Sirius, “I CAN PROVE IT TOO.” He screamed, grabbing James arm roughly and hauling him in the direction that the reporter had been pointing. He stopped, however, when they reached the clearing that held the body of Voldemort, and straight across from him the patch of green earth, surrounded by charred grass. “Oh Merlin,” Muttered Sirius looking at the scene before him, “This isn’t happening,” He said even quieter. “What isn’t happening?” Asked a bright voice from behind them. Sirius let go of the grip he had on James, who sunk back down onto his knees, and whipped around to find Lily looking at him with a puzzled smile. “Lils,” He choked out, trying not to cry at the thought of his godson dying. He had to be strong for Lily, for James, and especially Harry. “What happened?” Asked Lily, panic forming on her face, as she observed Sirius’ expression, and her husband reduced to his knees in the middle of what looked similar to a muggle blast zone. “Harry…they said that Harry…” Sirius tried to say the words, but he couldn’t. “They said that Harry what?” Demanded Lily, running up next to James who was gazing blankly at the patch of green earth, “Oh God…” She whispered as realization began to sink in. “Harry.” James muttered, before he let one sob escape his lips, and collapsed into Lily’s arms, who’s eyes had gone wide, and gaze unfocused. Sirius not knowing what else to do, dropped down next to Lily and James, as duels continued to break out around them. *** Ginny Weasley was beside herself. Shortly after finding Harry she had dragged him out behind Hagrid’s cabin so that no death eater would find them and cause any more harm. Fumbling with Harry’s limp body she finally made it to Hagrid’s back door, and stumbled up the steps pushing the door open, ignoring Fang jumping up on her. Her fingers trembled as she pulled her wand from her pocket and cast a levitation spell on Harry to lift him up past the steps and into the cabin. She directed his seemingly lifeless body onto Hagrid’s monster sized bed, and collapsed down next to him once he had settled. Taking his hand in hers she began muttering to him, trying to get some sort of reaction. “Hey Harry, you can wake up now, there’s no one here who can hurt you, you don’t have to pretend anymore.” She paused momentarily to let a gut-wrenching sob out. “You can’t leave now, think of everything you’d be missing? Like Quidditch, I know how much you love Quidditch, besides you still have to beat Slytherin out for the cup.” “And what about Remus? He needs you, especially after what happened to Sirius, you’re all he has left.” She said through her tears. “And remember Harry, remember how you were telling me that as soon as Graduation was over you were going to clean out the Potter Estate, and make it fit to live in. Then you’re going to be an auror, and you were telling me all about your plans for your office. You want to paint it in Gryffindor colors, remember Harry? And the kitchen, you told me you were going to get red marble, and gold fixtures. And do you remember how you told me you were going to fill the living room with so many couches and poufs that it would rival Trelawney’s classroom?” “What about Ron and Hermione? They love you, they love you like a brother and a best friend, what about the golden trio? They need you, you’re their leader. What’s Ron going to do if he doesn’t have you to complain to when he gets too much homework, or if he’s having a problem with Hermione? And what about Hermione? What’s she going to do without someone to nag about homework, or to complain to when Ron is being pig headed?” “And what about me Harry? What am I going to do without you? We have it all planned out, you can’t just give it up now. Not after six years of knowing each other, not after everything we’ve been through this year together, I don’t know how to go on without you. You’re my rock.” “I know that night in the common room that I told you I wasn’t a damsel in distress and that I didn’t need you to protect me, that I was independent. I lied Harry, I lied, I need you, I need you there to help me with my defense homework, to tell me to calm down, to tell me everything’s going to be okay. I Just need you to be there.” She could barely get the last part out she was crying so hard, especially after he hadn’t shown any sign of response. “Why?” She mumbled, as she pulled the large patchwork quilt on Hagrid’s bed over Harry, and crawled in next to him taking him in her arms, praying that it was just a dream. A very bad dream that she would soon wake up from, and then go down to the common room and find Harry sitting there staring into the fire, ready to tell her everything was going to be okay. *** “I can tell you what you need to know about Harry Potter.” Whispered Ron to a reporter in the back of the circle that was surrounding Ernie. The reporter examined him for a few seconds before grabbing a hold of a wizard holding a quill and parchment and dragged him along as he followed Ron and Hermione into a corner of the Great Hall, away from prying eyes. “What can you tell me?” Asked the reporter. “I have a proposition for you,” Said Ron to the reporter, as Hermione looked anxiously behind her shoulder watching the crowd of reporters still surrounding Ernie. “What would that be?” Asked the reporter, lifting a questioning eyebrow. “A question for a question. I tell you what you want to know about Harry, and then you answer a question about what you know of the current situation.” Proposed Ron. “And what would you know about Harry Potter?” Asked the reporter still looking at Ron uncertainly, ignoring his comrade who was tugging at his robes. “What,” He finally snapped turning around to face the other wizard who had followed them out of the tussle, listening intently as the other man whispered something into his ear. After a few seconds he turned his attention back to Hermione and Ron. “Are you Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, Harry Potter’s best friends? That is what my partner here is telling me.” Asked the reporter. “Yeah that’s us, so what do you say?” Confirmed Ron. “It’s a deal, but I ask the first question.” The reporter agreed. “Fine,” Snapped Ron who was getting impatient. The reporter signaled for his partner to be ready with his quill and parchment before asking the first question. “Has Harry Potter discovered the power he must use to defeat he who must not be named?” “Yes.” Answered Ron. “And what is that power?” Continued the reporter. “Ah, I believe it is my turn, you already asked one question.” Ron replied with a smirk. “Very well then, ask your question.” Spat the reporter. “Why did you come to Hogwarts tonight?” Asked Ron. “A man named Mundungus Fletcher came to the station a little while ago, where he said he could tell us where the final battle was going to take place, if we offered him something in return. I believe my boss thought it would be an exclusive story for the sum he paid, but it seems that Fletcher hit up a fair few other media sources with the same deal.” Answered the reporter. “Figures,” Mumbled Hermione. “Now, Now, it’s my turn. What is the power that Harry Potter discovered for use against he who must not be named?” Asked the reporter. “I don’t know if we should say anything about that, we were supposed to keep it secret.” Said Hermione, looking at the reporters oddly. “We really don’t have any other options at this point, besides by now it’s probably already been revealed to Voldemort or one of his followers.” Ron said to Hermione before turning back to the reporter’s question, “Acer Motar.” “Stupid boy, you must be lying, no one has held the power of Acer Motar since Merlin, nice try though, now just answer the question.” The reporter scoffed. “Why would I lie about that? I swear on my mother that I am telling you the truth, Harry has the power of the Acer Motar.” Argued Ron. “I still don’t believe you, you’ll have to prove it…tell me about his powers, describe them for me, then we can see if you’re lying or not.” The reporter countered. “Oh Honestly,” Interjected Hermione, steeping in front of Ron to face the reporter, “Harry has the power of Acer Motar, no matter what you care to believe it is the truth, now it is our turn for a question. So sir, tell me what do you know of Harry’s condition.” The reporter looked ruffled at being spoken down to by a seventeen-year-old witch, but conceded under her glare and answered the question. “Well we have another team who followed Dumbledore and his men. I talked to him through a two way mirror about half an hour ago and he said that the death eaters had abducted some girl named Ginny, and that they had sent Potter a note saying that if he came out to face them that they would let the girl go.” “ Well Potter went out and they sent the girl back in, and they watched through the window as Potter was put under a few bouts of Crucio, before he faced some death eaters, and then went up against Voldemort. He said that they had been dueling when all of the sudden they both were surrounded by this green light, then it turned gold, and they dropped to the ground.” “ Then Dumbledore told the crowd that Potter had sent up sparks or something like that, and that they were to proceed as planned and assume the worst. That’s all I know, we had to cut off our connection so that Bob could cover what was going on out in the action.” The reporter answered, stopping at the end to take a large breath of air.” “Now tell me what signs of power Potter exhibits during his so called Acer Motar.” The reporter demanded. Ron answered, due to Hermione’s visibly shaken condition after hearing the reporter recount what he knew about their friend’s condition. “Well it’s a bit annoying really. He can do wandless magic, he says it’s because desiring something is an emotion, it’s confusing Hermione knows more about it than I do.” Ron said, looking at Hermione silently asking her to take over. She got the drift of what he wanted and stepped in to answer the question, holding onto Ron’s arm for support. “Well, Acer Motar is the channeling of ones emotions into basically a wandless magic, I’ve read books on it since Harry was told he had the power.” Explained Hermione over to Ron before turning back to the reporter. “Anyways, Harry has been practicing with our defense Professor after lessons, he’s quite accomplished at it. He can basically perform wandless magic. That’s the extent of it really, except it helps enhance the powers he already possesses, although I’m not even sure he knows that bit, I never got around to talking to him about it.” She finished sadly, but seeing the puzzled look on Ron’s face, explained further, “It enhances such powers as agility, speed, makes him more alert, helps him retain information better, that is most likely why he’s been doing so much better in classes recently.” “Right,” said Ron, “What she said, now tell me what you know about two people called Brooke Vener and Neville Longbottom.” “I don’t even know who they are.” Answered the reporter. “Now can you tell me who Harry Potter’s love interest is?” Asked the reporter. “Ginny Weasley, my sister,” Ron replied irritably, “Now you tell me where the battle is being held.” “Out on the grounds of the castle, now you tell me how long Ms. Weasley and Mr. Potter have been seeing each other, and how serious they are about their relationship.” “Sorry, we have to go now, we’ve asked our questions, you can probably get the rest of your information from some other students, most of what you’re asking isn’t kept too secret around the school, thanks for your time.” Said Hermione politely, pulling Ron away from the rude reporter. “What now?” She asked him, once they were well clear from everyone else. “It’s time to re-employ the DA.” Said Ron with a smirk. “What do you mean?” Questioned Hermione. “Well the two of us may not be able to get out of this hall, but if we get the DA to get together, and some of the other students in sixth and seventh year then we could probably ban together and get out there to help Harry.” Ron answered. “That actually does sound like a promising idea, but Ron didn’t you hear what that reporter said?” “Well he said quite a few things Hermione, you’re going to have to be a lot more specific.” “He said that when the Order went out to where Harry and Voldemort were that they were to assume the worst, what do you think that means?” She asked biting her bottom lip. “I don’t know, but all I know is that we can’t just stand back and watch this happen, he’s my best friend, I’m not going to let him stay out there alone, not after I’ve been telling him the entire time that I was going to be there beside him when it came down to this point, and I don’t intend to go back on that promise.” Ron replied determined. “Then what are we waiting for?” Asked Hermione, smiling at Ron’s sheer loyalty and determination. “Nothing,” He replied simply, before heading over to the podium up near the teacher’s table. *** “I’ll help you go look for him.” Said Tonks, observing the nervous look on Remus’ face as he stood surveying the pandemonium that had erupted. “Okay, but we need to find James before he has a nervous breakdown as well, he was panic stricken enough the last time I saw him, who know what he’s like now.” Remus answered. “Where should we start, he could be anywhere?” He asked Tonks. “Well if it were me I’d look over where people are saying they saw Harry’s body,” She stopped a moment as she thought how surreal it was talking about Harry’s body, it felt like she was condemning him before she knew the verdict. Shaking the unpleasant thoughts from her head she continued. “If James has been asking about where Harry is, by now someone will have probably told him about that burn mark you were telling me about, and he probably would want to go over and see it for himself.” “You’re right,” Remus agreed, “That sounds like as good a place to start an any, but we need to be careful making our way over there, we don’t want to get ambushed.” He warned. “Right, we should go along the forest line, there’s less activity over there.” She pointed out. Remus simply nodded, as he and Tonks crawled through the large shadow of the dark forest, careful to stop whenever they saw a death eater get too close for comfort. Finally they stopped, when they saw a large charred piece of earth, with Sirius, Lily, and James kneeling in the center, all looking completely helpless. “Oh God,” Whispered Remus, as he saw for himself what he had been told about. Tonks had started to cry into his shoulder, at the horrific sight of Voldemort’s body, but no Harry… “We have to get them out of there, they’re sitting ducks.” Said Remus, trying to keep the emotion in his voice to a minimum. “I’m going to bring them over here, you cover me.” Remus ordered Tonks, as he drew his wand out from his sleeve and ran over to his three best friends. He walked cautiously over to his friends, careful not to attract too much attention from any death eaters. Once he reached them, he saw that they were in no way fit to continue battling, so crouching down I front of them he tried to coarse them out of their position. “Padfoot come on, you have to get out of here, you’re an open target.” Whispered Remus tugging on Sirius’ arms trying to get him to stand. “But Harry…” Replied Sirius weakly, looking sadly into Remus’ eyes. “I know Padfoot, but you have to help me get Lily and James out of here, it doesn’t look like they can make it without help.” Said Remus looking down to the miserable heap, that was Lily and James, “I can’t believe…” He started to say before trailing off, and looking back down at the black ground. “Sirius, if Harry is alive, it won’t be all that pleasant if he wakes up to find that the people who just came back to life are indeed dead again, and I don’t exactly feel like being the last marauder again, so just please compose yourself for five seconds and then you can grieve.” Remus pleaded with Sirius, careful to check for any approaching death eaters as he reasoned with the hurting animagus. “But Moony…” “I know Sirius, I know, but we have to get out of here.” Remus consoled, taking Sirius’ arms in his and heaving him off of the ground. He helped him steady for a few moments before releasing his grasp, and leaning down to get James and Lily up. “Prongs, it’s just me, it’s Remus, we have to get you out of here before a death eater finds you.” Implored Remus. “Moony…” Whispered James. “Yeah James it’s me come on it’s time to get up now.” Said Remus, knowing that if these two were anything like Sirius was, that they weren’t going to get anywhere fast with just talking, and that he would have to get him to stand up by lifting him off the ground. So gripping James arms, very much like he had done with Sirius. He lifted him off the ground, before turning and gently lifting Lily into a standing position. “Okay you three you’re going to have to work with me here.” Said Remus, although he knew it would be up to him, and him alone, to get the four of them to safety. It took a long time to get back into the edge of the forest where Tonks was anxiously waiting, because Remus had to stop every couple of seconds and go push one of the party forward, who had decided that they couldn’t walk any longer. “Finally,” Wheezed Remus as he handed Lily who he had been supporting over to Tonks, “They’re all like a bag of bricks.” “What do we do now? It’s not safe back here, any death eater could run in here in the blink of an eye, and we wouldn’t be able to defend ourselves with these three.” Said Tonks thoughtfully. “Well we certainly can’t take them back to the castle.” Said Remus, deep in thought. “What if we take them…Oh I got it!” Tonks said excitedly. “Where?” Questioned Remus. “Hagrid’s hut, we can take them over there, it’s the safest place.” Said Tonks, pointing excitedly over to the darkened hut. “Sounds good to me, but we have to drag these three over there.” Said Remus, gesturing to Lily, James, and Sirius. “Better get started then,” said Tonks with a sigh, as she put an arm around Lily’s waist and began helping her over to the direction of Hagrid’s cabin. Remus following soon after, an arm around Sirius, and an arm around James. *** “Sonorous,” whispered Ron, pointing his wand at his throat, as he and Hermione climbed the stairs up to the teacher’s table. “You’ll do fine,” Hermione whispered in his ear, planting a kiss on his cheek, as he walked up to the podium, normally reserved for Dumbledore’s speeches. “MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE,” Ron’s magically magnified voice echoed throughout the hall. On command, everyone in the hall stopped what they were doing and turned to listen to Ron. “WILL ALL ORIGINAL MEMBERS OF THE DA, AND ANY SIXTH OR SEVENTH YEAR STUDENT WHO IS WILLING COME UP HERE PLEASE.” He called out again, before saying the counter charm, his voice returning to normal. He walked over to where Hermione was standing, and they watched together as all the original members of the DA went up to the stage without hesitation, and after consulting with their friends, followed by the majority of the seventh and sixth year students, minus the Slytherins. “What’s up?” Asked Dean, as he and Seamus ran up to where Ron and Hermione were standing. “We found out what’s going on with Harry, and we need help to get out of here.” Said Ron. “Well hell Ron, if something’s going on with Harry then we’re going to, remember what I said that night, once the DA always the DA,” Said Seamus. “Thanks mate,” Said Ron sincerely, patting Seamus on the back. By that time everyone who had decided to come up and see what Ron had been yelling about had joined them on the stage. “What was all that about Weasley?” Asked a sixth year Hufflepuff. “The reason I called you all up here is because we need your help. We have found out what is going on with Harry, and we need to go and find him.” Ron explained. “Well it’s about time,” Cried Ernie McMillan from the back of the crowd, “I told him I’d be behind him when it came down to it, and Hufflepuff’s don’t go back on their promises.” There was a general murmur of assent at Ernie’s words and the group of students seemed more incensed to go and help save their appointed hero. “What’s your plan?” Asked Padma Patil. “We need to overpower those who are guarding the doors and make it out to the front grounds, that’s where the final battle is being held, but we have to assume the worst.” Said Hermione, a pained look glazing over her features as she spoke the last part. “What do you mean the worst?” Asked Susan Bones. “What she means is that we spoke with a reporter not too long ago who had been in contact with a man on the field. He told us that Harry had dueled death eaters, been subjected to Crucio, and finally battled Voldemort. Apparently after a while of dueling both Harry and Voldemort were surrounded by a green light that changed to gold, then there was this blast and they both fell to the ground. Dumbledore told the crowd to proceed as if the worst had happened.” Ron explained quickly. “Bloody Hell, we have to get him out of there, besides Neville’s out there somewhere.” Said Seamus. “And Brooke,” Added Lavender, whose eyes were rimmed with red from crying. “Well what’s your plan, we have to get out of here.” Said Justin Finch-Fletchey. “Don’t worry we have one, a good one.” Said Ron smiling at the support people were giving his friend, as he crouched down to explain their next steps, everyone bending down with him, listening intently to what he had to say. *** “Albus I think we have most of them rounded up, the aurors are finishing up binding the ones that have already been stunned, I don’t think they were expecting us to fight back so hard.” Said Professor McGonagall breathlessly to Dumbledore, as they observed the battle that had begun to die down before them. “No Minerva, I would say it is all because they no longer have their leader to guide them, I examined the body myself, Tom is gone, for good this time.” Said Dumbledore somberly. “But Albus is it true what they’re saying about Harry?” She questioned. “I am afraid I have no answer, I have not seen him around, however I do believe Ms. Weasley freed herself from her brothers restraint and has found him.” Dumbledore answered calmly. “That poor boy.” Professor McGonagall muttered, “You know Albus, I never told anyone this, but he was always my favorite.” “I think he is many peoples favorite, he has a spirit unmatched by any other student I have ever seen enter the halls of Hogwarts.” “Do you think he will be alright?” “We can only pray Minerva, we can only pray.” *** “Well that certainly took long enough,” Panted Tonks as she set Lily’s trembling figure down on one of Hagrid’s pumpkins, while Remus leant up against a nearby tree trunk still supporting James and Sirius. “We need to go inside, we can relax in there.” Remus huffed, as he struggled to catch his breath. Tonks gave him an obvious look of annoyance as she assisted Lily off of the pumpkin and trudged after him as he pushed the heavy wooden back door open, still gripping James and Sirius. “Ginny,” Tonks squeaked as she entered behind Remus who had stopped at the scene he met when he had walked into the large one room hut. “Tonks,” Ginny whispered through her tears. “Oh sweetie, what are you doing in here all by you lonesome…” She stopped as she noticed what Ginny was clutching onto, and quickly set Lily onto a chair at Hagrid’s oversized kitchen table. “Come here,” She whispered as she dragged Ginny away from Harry’s body and took her over to the couch. “Harry…” James whispered, as he looked at the frail boy lying in the giant bed, “We found him Moony.” He said, a sad smile on his face as he turned to look at Remus. “Yeah James we found him,” Remus said trying to placate James, and not break into tears at the same time, as he put him and Sirius down next to Lily. “Merlin,” Sirius whispered as he started to cry, “This wasn’t supposed to happen like this.” “Shut up Padfoot, he’s just sleeping,” Said James, obviously in distress. “Look at him James, does he look like he’s just sleeping.” Sirius shrieked, trying to wipe the tears from his face. “I said SHUT UP,” Yelled James, as he leapt out of his chair, sending it crashing to the ground. “Look at him James, just look at him James,” Sirius repeated, burying his head in his hands. James looked like he didn’t know what to believe and spun around to face Remus. “Moony he’s just sleeping right?” James asked looking for confirmation. “I don’t know James, I’m sorry, I don’t know.” Remus replied, letting a tear slip down his cheek. James just nodded and sank back into another chair, as the whole room watched Lily stand up trembling, from her seat at the table, and sit down next to Harry on the large bed. James broke down into hysterics as he watched his wife pull the quilt up around Harry’s body, and kiss him on the forehead, like he was just going to sleep, and she was tucking him in for bed, after a long day out playing with friends. “It’s just not fair,” Whispered James. “I know James, believe me I know.” Remus whispered back. “What am I supposed to do now?” James asked Remus desperately. “Just wait James, just wait and hope.” Remus answered, putting an arm around his friend’s shoulders. “Oh Ginny, come here, it will be okay,” Tonks whispered to Ginny over on the couch, wrapping the small girl into a large hug. “No it won’t, he’s not waking up, not even when I talk to him.” Ginny sobbed into Tonks shoulder. “Don’t fear the worst Ginny, we don’t know, he might just be sleeping.” Tonks soothed. “I love him Tonks, I love him.” She whispered, as she continued crying. “I know you do Ginny.” “Do you think he knows how much I love him?” She asked sullenly. “I think he does know, probably more than you think he does, and I know he loves you just as much, if not more.” Tonks replied consolingly. “It’s my fault he’s like this, if I had fought back just a little bit harder, then they wouldn’t have been able to get me, and he wouldn’t of had to fight. It’s all my fault.” “No it’s not Ginny. Listen to me dear, he was going to have to battle against Voldemort whether you had been captured or not, but he fought to get you back, and he fought against evil. He fought for what he believed in, and he didn’t back down when he was faced with danger, you should be proud of him. He won Ginny, he beat him.” “I know he did, and I am proud of him, it’s hard not to be, but it won’t feel like he won if…if he’s…if he’s…” “Shhhh,” Tonks soothed. “Don’t think about that, we have to have hope, we have to be strong. Harry would want us to be strong, he wouldn’t want to see you so upset. We don’t know what’s wrong with him, he’s probably just very drained from all the power he exerted.” “But I love him.” She whispered, as she ran out of tears, and fell asleep in Tonks arms. *** “Alright we all know what to do then?” Ron asked the crowd, as they all nodded their understanding. “Good, now then Hermione do the charm.” He ordered, turning to face Hermione. “I really don’t feel good about this.” She said nervously, “I could really end up hurting you.” “I’m willing to take the risk, besides I trust you, just do it.” He commanded, closing his eyes tightly. “Fine, but don’t blame me when you end up in St. Mungos,” She replied grouchily, as she raised her wand and performed the severing charm on Ron. “Ahh,” He let out, as he bit down on his bottom lip, and blood started to seep through his shirt. Slowly he opened his eyes, examined his wound, and then turned to face the group of students who were flinching at the amount of blood he was letting out, “Go to your stations.” They didn’t need telling twice, and all ran off to their appointed locations. “Ready ‘Mione?” Ron asked. “As ready as I’ll ever be, you sure you’re okay?” She asked nervously. “I’ll be fine, we just need to get out of here, remember to make it look realistic.” “I’ve never been much of an actress, but I’ll do my best.” “That’s my girl,” Said Ron smiling, “Here goes nothing,” He said with a gulp, “Love you.” He blew her a kiss, and then let out a horrified scream as he flung himself over the edge of the platform. “RON,” Hermione screamed as planned, “OH MY GOD SOMEONE GET HELP,” She shrieked again, as she flew down the stairs leading down to where Ron had thrown himself, and crouched down next to him, leaning into whisper into his ear, pretending to check his pulse, “You okay.” “Yeah,” winced Ron, “Keep it up.” She nodded her assent, before plastering the terrified look onto her face again as she spun around to face the crowd of students, aurors, and teachers who had come running over at her cries. “Hurry someone get help, he’s bleeding, we need to get him up to the hospital wing.” She explained to the group in a faux panic, as she pretended to be fighting back tears. “Oh Ron,” She wailed turning back and burying her face next to his to hide her laughter. “This is kind of fun,” She whispered. “Quiet, before you blow our cover,” He muttered through clenched teeth. “Sorry,” She replied hastily as she composed herself, and looked back up at the group assembled above her, “WE NEED HELP,” She shrieked again, fighting tooth and nail to not crack up into laughter. “We can’t let you out, we’re under strict orders from the headmaster to keep all of the students locked in the hall.” An auror told Hermione. “But he’s bleeding, and his pulse feels weak.” She argued. “We have to do something Sam, the poor boy is bleeding something awful, I doubt Dumbledore would be too happy that the only reason this boy died was because you wouldn’t open the door for him,” Said another auror, coming to stand next to the one who had just spoken. “I will not have a student die on my watch,” Demanded Professor Vector, the astronomy professor coming up to argue with the aurors. “Now, now, there is no need for arguments, we need to help Mr. Weasley here in any way we can, and I think we will have to send him up to Poppy, before the ward is filled with injured aurors and Order members.” Interjected Madam Hooch, coming to stand next to Professor Vector. “Please, don’t let him die,” Said Hermione, as she fake sobbed into her hands. “We won’t let him die Ms. Granger,” Assured Professor Vector before turning back to the two aurors. “See now you’re upsetting the students, we just need to get him out of here.” The auror looked hesitantly at Hermione, it was obvious he had no experience with crying girls before, he conceded and let out a gruff, “fine, but only the girl and the injured boy leave, we keep the rest of them in here.” “Very well,” Said Madam Hooch, “Now come Ms. Granger, Mr. Weasley will be just fine, we’re going to take him up to the hospital wing where Madam Pomfrey will fix him right up.” “Really?” Hermione asked weakly, trying to hide her smile. “Yes dear, now come on.” She said lifting Hermione off the ground, while Professor Vector, helped Ron to his feet, who was putting up a dramatic act of clutching his stomach and groaning. The two professors and aurors helped Hermione and Ron to the door, Hermione watched carefully as Madam Hooch unlatched the giant oak doors, looking behind her once more to check that everyone was in position before shouting, “NOW” On cue, every member of the DA, and the seventh and sixth years who had volunteered their services drew their wands and shouted “STUPEFY” at the teachers and aurors who were in the hall with them. As if perfectly staged, all the aurors and teachers fell over stunned. “Oh my god, I just stunned a teacher and an auror, oh I am dead, oh the ministry is never going to give me a job, this is going on my permanent record, I just know it.” Hermione wailed, looking down at Madam Hooch and one of the aurors that she had just stunned. “Calm down Hermione, we can worry about that later, but could you please do something about this now,” Said Ron from behind her pointing at his shirt which was now soaked in blood. “Oh Ron, I’m sorry, here.” Shrieked Hermione as she cast a few spells over Ron. “That should stop the bleeding and help numb the pain a bit, it’s not anything much, but it’s all I can do, healing spells aren’t exactly my forte.” Said Hermione anxiously, as she ran her hand across Ron’s blood soaked chest. “Thanks ‘Mione, it feels better already.” He said smiling, before turning back to the hall to see the various students who had attacked the teachers and aurors explaining to the fifth years what was going on, and that they were to stay behind and guard the younger students. Once everyone had assembled themselves at the now opened doors, they left, latching the doors behind them as they left. “What now?” Asked Padma Patil, once they had reached the hallway. “We go out through the front doors and give them hell.” Snarled Ron, leading the mismatched group of students out through the front doors. *** “I think the Order members and aurors are getting tired they’ve been battling for at least three hours now.” Squeaked Professor Flitwick, running up where Professors McGonagall and Dumbledore were still talking. “I believe you are correct Filius, but at the moment I feel it best that we continue as we have been, there will be plenty of time to rest later on.” Said Dumbledore. “Albus look at the doors.” Said McGonagall all of the sudden, grabbing hold of the aged headmasters arm and wheeling him around to face the doors where Ron, Hermione, and the rest of the assorted students were now assembled. “I didn’t expect anything less.” Said Dumbledore smiling as Ron marched up towards where he and the other Professors were standing, “Mr. Weasley, I see you decided to join in the fighting.” Greeted Professor Dumbledore as Ron and the rest of the group approached. “Professor I refuse to sit back and watch my best friend go into battle without me.” Said Ron with conviction. “I appreciate your determination Mr. Weasley, although it is my displeasure to inform you that no one knows of the current location of Mr. Potter.” Said Professor McGonagall jumping into the conversation. “What do you mean?” Asked Hermione. “Ms. Granger, I should have expected you’d be here as well, what I mean is that no one knows where Mr. Potter is, although Voldemort’s body has been found, he is dead.” McGonagall explained. “Well if Voldemort’s dead that means that Harry has to be alive, right?” Asked Ron hopefully. “That Mr. Weasley, we do not know.” Replied Dumbledore somberly. * ** *** ** * * ** *** ** * There you go, my writing hiatus is officially over, and you all can expect me to go back to my original posting schedule, which is usually pretty quick. I have a three day weekend after the last of my finals, which are tomorrow morning (Biology and Algebra today…major ughhhh), so look for at least one other update before Monday, I have to make up for the times I didn’t update. You won’t see any double updates tomorrow (it’s like 10:30 on the 19th…I’m trying to pretend I still don’t have a bio final tomorrow and am going to be staying up studying literally ALL night), because not only is it the last day of finals, but it is also my birthday, and my friends are taking me out for a night on the town, I love my buds…I AM OFFICIALLY 15!!! So happy…As I keep telling my biology teacher it is cruel and unusual punishment to subject me to finals on my quincienera, but will he listen to me…NOOOOOO…. my schedule really sucks it’s like from 5 am to 6 pm every weekday, that’s why you won’t find much posting Monday through Friday, my crew schedule is just intense, plus I have hw for about three hours a night. LOL, now I’m just ranting and complaining, just ignore me, my authors notes are too long anyways, but hey I like leaving messages…I’m addicted. thanks to everyone who has stuck with this story despite the wait, and hopefully you all enjoyed it, as much as I enjoyed writing it. P.S- I cannot tell all of you how happy I was to see some new faces, or pseudonyms would be more accurate, in the review section, please if you are reading this story, review (that means you too all you silent readers, you know who you are)…it takes such a small amount of time, and makes me so happy, and it inspires me to keep writing and leaving frequent updates, you can refer to it as my birthday present…lol. And thanks for all the lovely reviews from the last couple of chapters, I’m trying to answer as many as time allows, so don’t be offended if I can’t answer one or all of your reviews, just because I don’t respond doesn’t mean that they haven’t inspired me and left a smile on my face, or that I haven’t taken any suggestions left, remember constructive criticism is my friend. Not just my friend, but my best friend, not just my best friend but my bestest best friend…you get the point. Sorry for all the fluff in this chapter, but hey I like fluff…I am definitely going now…I am so gone…Out the window…No longer here…My god I am lame. LOVE YOU ALL!!!!! ~Much Love, Treacy…a.k.a ---SeaMar~ Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending. -- Carl Bard
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