You are viewing a story from harrypotterfanfiction.com
View Online | Printer Friendly Version of Entire Story
Chapter 8: The Carrows Are Coming
"The Carrows are coming!"
There are some phrases in life that you just don't ever want to hear. "It's not you; it's me" is a classic. "A Blast-Ended Skrewt ate your cat" is another. But one phrase in particular haunted me throughout my seventh year at Hogwarts and still makes me feel a little bit queasy even now.
Ernie and I were walking back from the library one evening when we heard a cry coming from the next corridor along. Pausing only very briefly to exchange a glance, we hurried to find the source of the noise.
Even before everything started falling apart, it wasn't uncommon to find certain Slytherins picking on younger students, so it wasn't exactly a surprise to come across Crabbe and Goyle guffawing apeishly down at a trembling Dennis Creevey on the floor. What was surprising, though - or I suppose horrifying is more apt - was the blood.
"Oh, Dennis-" I gasped, but as I dived forward, Ernie grabbed my hand and held me back.
I didn't need to ask why, as when I tore my eyes from the scarlet trickle of blood rolling down Dennis' temple, I saw that Goyle had his wand aimed straight at me, Crabbe with his at Ernie. I automatically withdrew a step to stand shoulder to shoulder with Ernie, the two off us drawing our own wands.
"What did you do to him?!" I demanded fiercely. I can't even begin to explain how furious I was.
Malfoy hadn't returned that year - nobody was completely certain why, but we'd heard rumours about Voldemort using Malfoy Manor as base - but it seemed that this had only encouraged his cronies into more mindless violence, and with Snape and the Carrows in charge, it seemed that nobody was bothering to stop them.
"Ikkle Denise went skipping down the wrong corridor, didn't he?" Crabbe sneered, sharing a smirk with Goyle.
"What is wrong with you two?!" Ernie snapped, straightening his wand arm warningly. "You're both three times the size of him!"
"Yeah, well maybe he'll get the message now!" retorted Crabbe.
"He and his brother might have managed to fool the Ministry, but we know that they're just filthy little mudbloods," Goyle explained gruffly. "The other one got Petrified, didn't he? Mudblood! We don't want that filthy blood around!"
"He is fourteen years old!" I cried, white hot fury bubbling up to tears brimming in my eyes. "He's never done anything wrong to you-"
"Hannah, there's no reasoning with these idiots." Ernie spat, his hand finding mine again. I felt him squeeze it, probably hoping to calm me down.
"Idiots, are we?" Goyle snarled, as he and Crabbe took a warning step forward. As he did so, Crabbe aimed a sharp kick at Dennis on the floor, who doubled up, letting out a little cry that made my stomach lurch.
"Stop it!" I tried to warn threateningly, but my voice broke into a panicky shriek.
"What are you going to do, Abbott?" Goyle sneered. "You're just a weak little girl-"
Before he could say any more, though, I felt Ernie squeeze my hand again, and instinctively the two of us gave our wands a flourish, sending Crabbe and Goyle back into a wall. I dived for Dennis before even checking to see if they were unconscious.
"Come here, move your hand," I muttered gently, wrapping an arm around him as I tried to inspect his head injury.
"Hannah..." Dennis began, but Ernie intercepted his weak warning and jumped in front of us, casting a shield charm to deflect Crabbe's hex.
I pulled Dennis' arm around my shoulders and hauled him up off the floor. "Got your wand?" I asked him, shooting a disarming spell vaguely in the direction of Crabbe.
"Careful, Hannah!" Ernie snapped, dodging my spell.
"Yeah, but I can't really lift my arm..." Dennis answered weakly.
"It's alright, mate, we've got it," I said quickly. "Get round the corner, see if you can find a Professor or- you know, a friend."
Dennis nodded, wobbling slightly as he let go of me and went limping off down the corridor Ernie and I had first come down. I turned just in time to see Goyle getting to his feet, while Ernie's attention was still on Crabbe. Then, all at once-
Mine was aimed at Goyle, his aimed at Ernie, Ernie's at Crabbe. Crabbe was thrown onto his backside, Ernie stumbled back, and Goyle was knocked onto his side. But as I raised my wand again, I heard staggered footsteps behind me, and turned to see Dennis back already.
And then he said it. That phrase that still makes me feel a little sick, even now.
"The Carrows are coming!"
There was a moment of frozen panic in which time seemed to temporarily stop altogether. Then, all at once, I took Dennis and ushered him swiftly into the nearest spare classroom, as Crabbe and Goyle rushed off in the opposite direction - although for what reason, I'm not sure (I suppose they were just used to running from fights when teachers were nearing).
"Ernie!" I hissed, grabbing him by the wrist and pulling his toward the door to the classroom I'd just hidden Dennis in.
My heart jumped into my throat. Ernie shifted his hand so that it slipped into mine, and the two of us slowly turned to face Amycus and Alecto Carrow. I surreptitiously slipped my wand up into my sleeve, hoping that Ernie would do the same. We didn't dare say a word.
"What are you doing down here?" snapped Amycus.
Ernie and I remained silent. Amycus withdrew her wand and pointed it between Ernie's eyes.
"We heard noises," Alecto growled, glaring at us before glancing around. "What's going on?"
We remained silent for a beat longer, but when Amycus pressed the tip of her wand to the bridge of Ernie's nose, I panicked.
"We- we're Prefects!" I suddenly heard myself announce. "We heard a noise down here so we thought-"
"Don't lie to me, little girl!" Amycus warned, twisting the tip of her wand into Ernie's skin. "Or I'll knock your little boyfriend here into next week!"
My hand clenched my wand inside my sleeve. I was quickly getting very sick of being called a little girl. But how far could I get? With a little luck, I could have knocked Amycus back, but then Alecto would be on me before I could even think to react. And then what? I'd be sent off to join the Muggleborns and whatever was happening to them. I'd be killed. And what for? Just one little hit? I could never to that to my Dad.
"I think you've got it yourself, Amycus," Alecto suddenly said. "Look at their hands!"
My hand clenched my wand inside my sleeve tighter than ever, but the Carrows' eyes were elsewhere.
"Well, isn't that sweet!" Amycus cooed in a sickly voice, grabbing mine and Ernie's joined hands and tearing them apart. "Thought you'd creep off for a sneaky snog, did you?"
Amycus took Ernie's arm and roughly pulled him to the wall, wand pointed lazily at him. "Got a smug little face, hasn't he?" she mused.
"Well, his girlfriend is a pretty little thing, isn't she?" Alecto sneered, stalking closer to me, wand out. My lips curled slightly at the stench of his breath.
"Her? An average face, at best," Amycus dismissed. "So is that what you were doing, Smuggy? Getting in a little private time with Blondie over there?"
Ernie's eyes flickered briefly over to me, and I could tell immediately that he wasn't sure how to answer: say yes and probably get punished anyway, or say no, have to come up with a different lie, and still get punished? There didn't seem to be a way out. I couldn't offer him an answer - all I could do was pray that he didn't glance at the door that an injured Dennis Creevey was hidden behind.
Just as Ernie's eyes flitted back to Amycus, however, he didn't get a chance to reply - more footsteps were heard echoing along the corridor.
"Good evening, Amycus, Alecto," Professor McGonagall said curtly, nodding at each in turn. "I see you've been busy?"
From Alecto came a deep, rattly sigh, and he pointedly shot me a dark glare before spinning on his heel to focus his sunken eyes instead on McGonagall, wand now down at his side.
"We heard noises down here." he explained gruffly.
"Ah, of course," McGonagall nodded. "And so you found these two... doing what, exactly?"
Amycus' attention was drawn away from Ernie and her wand arm lowered as she glared over her shoulder. Yet still, Ernie and I didn't dare move.
"We are in charge of punishment, Minerva," Amycus snapped. "We're perfectly capable of handling this situation on our own. Now run along."
McGonagall's lips thinned, but she seemed very much used to this by now. She merely folded her arms, looking at each Carrow in turn.
"I'm sure you're well in control of these two students that have every right to be down this corridor before curfew, as it is now, who seemed to have been doing absolutely nothing wrong, yes," she said primly. "However, I must unfortunately call you both away from these most deserved punishments, as Severus has sent for you."
The Carrows glanced at each other, "Both of us?" asked Alecto.
"Both of you," replied McGonagall. "And so, in the meantime, I will take over punishment of these two... if you so please."
The rich expression on her face was so brilliant that I had to struggle not to smirk. The Carrows each ignored her and merely shot her a scowl as they left in begrudging defeat.
"He's in his office!" McGonagall said in a tone so bright that it almost seemed glazed with triumphant mockery.
As soon as the Carrows were out of sight and earshot, Ernie deflated, like he had been holding his breath the whole time. "Thanks, Professor!"
"Thank you so much!" I gushed breathlessly, instantly going for the door I'd shut Dennis behind.
"He's not in there, Miss Abbott," McGonagall stopped me. "He escaped out the door on the other side and immediately came to find me."
"I sent him straight to Madam Pomfrey with Padma Patil - she was doing Prefect rounds nearby - but I'm sure he'll be just fine."
I put my hand to my heart and exerted a deep sigh of relief, "Thanks you, Professor."
"Not at all," McGonagall dismissed. "Now back to your common room with the both of you, quick, quick."
I nodded obediently and turned to go, but Ernie paused. "Did Professor Snape really want to see them?" he asked curiously.
There was a beat of silence and the most minuscule touch of sheepishness about McGonagall that she didn't even need to say much more than, "Quickly, now, to your common room. I won't be taking this as an excuse for lateness tomorrow, Miss Abbott."