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Chapter 1: The Fighter
AN:This one-shot was written for A Strange Meeting challenge, where I was assigned two characters that had to have some sort of run in with one another. I hope you enjoy it!
You’re still so young. Barely twenty-one, yet you’ve already spent countless hours wondering who might die next. So young, with too many nightmares buried into your soul.
Every time you look at his scars, you feel your heart throb inside your chest because of what could have happened. Those marks show his bravery. You love them. But it could have been more. It could have been his casket, his grave. You could have been widowed before you even said I do.
And he’s still so broken. But you know that, don’t you? Because he sees what you feel, the nightmare stalking just outside the dream.
They’re all young. None of them should be forced to fight for their lives. But you wouldn't change the decisions you’ve made, you wouldn’t alter where your life has led, not for anything. Even if you sometimes wonder how the hell you got here.
You, the blonde princess with more intelligence than you know what to do with. How did you become a thread in the tapestry of war?
But you know none of that matters, not right now. All you can do is aim straight and curse quickly. There are too many people you love fighting this battle. Too many monsters waiting to kill. Watch for their eyes, cold and deadly, creeping behind every shattered wall. Aim straight and curse quickly.
Your feet continue to run as silently as the slippers of a ballerina while you make your way through the deserted corridors. You speed up despite your wavering breath, knowing that you won’t find what you need until you’ve reached the thickest of Hells, because you’re sure that’s where they’ll be. Your family. Always fighting the worst.
You barely turn the corner when a shadow starts coming after you. You race to slip out your wand, your hand just barely touching to tip, but you aren’t quick enough. His hands clench into fists around the silvery strands that bathe your back, trying to pull you down by them. He came out of nowhere. Just a shadow. He throws every bit of his muscle, his weight, into bringing you down, but you’re faster. Smarter. Better.
Your wand is burning in your hands as you grip it tightly inside your pocket, feeling the power at your fingertips. In one swift move, the weapon is out and your spell is uttered. Then it’s over. Aim straight, curse quickly. You feel nothing, nothing, as you watch him fall in his own pool of blood.
The only people you truly ache for are those that have made their way into your heart. Your family. You could kill a million times over to keep them safe.
It’s kind of scary, isn’t it? Not even batting your sweep of lashes at the knowledge that, because of you, his heart will never beat again.
But you continue on down the crumbing staircase without a second thought. You reach behind your head, for there’s something cool seeping down your neck. Your slender fingers come back tainted in blood. His or yours? You don’t care. You’ll wash it away the first chance you get.
They shouldn’t even be attacking! It’s over. They know that. Most disappeared like cowards, slipping away into the inky sky, but those still loyal put up a terrifying fight.
When you finally reach the Great Hall, it’s a swarm of Aurors. Setting out to capture the rest, you’re certain.
“Miss! Miss! You’re bleeding,” one shouts at you.
“Up stairs. Second floor. I zink ‘e is dead,” you answer mechanically. The way he nudges the man beside him, and tells him to bring a few extra, irritates you. They doubt you.
“You zink zat I am mistaken? Do what you want, but my spells never fail,” you sneer. Do you look like you’re unable to defend yourself? Do they think the blood trickling from your jawbone and down your chest wasn’t earned rightfully? You were defending your life. Your family’s lives. That isn’t something you take lightly.
They gape at you for a split second before taking off, heading up the cracked and gashed marble. And you start again on your frantic search to find them. Any of them.
There! Her long curtain of hair captures you, like she’s a fire for the lost traveler.
Your breath evens out as you come up behind them.
“Fleur, there’s blood all over you,” Charlie says, spotting you first. He sounds concerned, but not frighting. He knows you’ve seen worse.
“Most of it is not mine,” you answer. Your family looks up from their circle around Fred, eyes brimming with tears, now layered in fresh shock.
They didn’t know you could do this? Did they assume when things got messy you’d hide?
“I’m fine,” you snap as Bill’s arms move towards you. You don’t need comfort. Soon, but not now. They need it. They’re losing so much, you’ve barely lost anything.
“Could zey..?’ you ask, hoping by God’s grace Fred could be saved.
A dark shadow captures their eyes, telling you what none of them can voice — he’s gone. You feel the hand clamp around your heart, but you push it away. You don’t deserve to hurt the way they do, not now. You need to stay strong. The brother-in-law that tried his best to keep you all laughing through this war was taken from you, but their loss is much worse. A piece of their life has been slashed away.
You slip your body beside Bill’s to become part of the circle enclosing the camp bed. You meet his eyes. The pain in them kills you in a way nothing else can and you wish you could just take that pain away. You slip your arm around him, your fingers capturing his and hold them tight.
This shouldn’t be happening to him. To any of them.
Ginny’s gentle eyes glance up at you. Their color is distorted with tears that are being held captive, and suddenly she’s Gabrielle. She’s drowning in her own self imposed need to be the one they all lean on. You know that you’re good at many things, but nothing compares to your ability of being a big sister.
You pull your hand from your husband’s and slide up from the ground to the table, then motion for Ginny to sit beside you.
The moment her small frame lowers itself next to you, you wrap her into your arms. She’s been stronger than anyone should have to be. And right now she isn’t the almost grown woman you know so well, she’s a little girl.
Your eyes are dry as they glance around the Hall. Hundreds, maybe more, are gathered together, crying into the comfort of strangers and friends.
You see Tonks and Remus. They’ve been placed side by side, fingers threaded into each others. Aurors and Order members are surrounding the bodies, weeping for not only the two deceased lovers, but for the child left an orphan.
You’ll weaken eventually. When the comfort of your home overtakes you, you’ll let everything that seems like a terrible dream collide with reality. For now, your mind is clear and your heart is thankful for what you have left. As terrible as it may sound, you know that part of you is overcome with gratitude that it wasn’t Bill.
“Stop him!” The screaming of a man’s voice forces your head to snap up, your eyes frantically search the Great Hall.
“He broke through his bonds!” Came another yell, and before you, or anyone, can question what’s happening, a figure comes tearing in through the doors. Your body tenses, but you can’t react, no one can. It happens too fast, and you feel your breath catch in your throat as the man wraps his arms around the neck of a child. A little girl.
“No one move or I bite the girl.”
His words steal the breath from your lungs, and suddenly it’s terribly clear to you just who he is.
Just a few steps away from you is the man, the beast, that nearly destroyed your life. Every rational thought slips from your mind and all you can think of is one thing — revenge. But how? You know there’s no hope for a curse. Between the wall that guards his back and the child that shields his front, he’s untouchable. Even the Aurors aren’t risking it, their faces twisted in rage as they stare at the scene in front of them.
You try to block everything out. To think.
You can tell that the monster is only using one arm to hold the child by her chest, the other is wrapped loosely around her throat. The flesh of the loose arm looks charred, burned, and you realize he’s leaving it relaxed because he has to. He must've taken a curse to it. He may be strong enough to hold a child, but it would be harder for him to control you. That’s all the encouragement you need.
“Ginny, 'and me your wand.” She slides it over to you without hesitation, her eyes curious as they search yours. Without a word you conceal your own wand into the protection of your pocket.
Before you can move, Bill is already up, Charlie right behind him, George and Percy as well, and Ginny begins to stand. You reach over and place your hand on her shoulder, silently begging her to stay. She must’ve understood, because she lets out a breath and slouches back down.
"Zank you,” you whisper, putting as much gratitude into those two words as possible before standing to face the man.
“Take me.” Your voice is loud as it rings off of the fragmented walls. All the eyes of the Great Hall move from the monster who has positioned his teeth against the child’s throat, to you. You always did love being the center of attention.
“You wish to exit zis castle safely, no?” You can feel Bill’s eyes burning into you. He’s angry. He’s scared. “Use a prisoner to get you into ze woods without the Aurors being able to curse you?” You see the desire glinting in his beady eyes. “Take. Me.” You repeat again, then throw the wand in your hand to the ground and raise both arms to show that you’re defenseless.
“No!” You want to turn around and order Bill to go sit. But you know that wouldn’t be taken well. He needs to try and protect you, it's one of the things you love most about him. But right now, all you want is for him to trust you. “Take me instead,” Bill begs. “You can finish what you started.” He raises a hand to the scars on his face.
You force your nerves to steady as Greyback eyes the both of you, a sick pleasure filling him.
“Come here, sugar,” he finally hisses, raising a finger and pointing at you.
“No!” Bill’s scream tears at your heart, and you close the distance between you and the monster before he can react. You keep your gaze on the beast as he uses his injured arm to wrap around your neck, then throws the child to the ground.
“Thank you, thank you,” the parents of the girl sob as they stumble up to gather her, already staring into you with the same look of sympathy people give the dead.
“Please,” Bill’s pain is the only thing that can shatter you, so you try to block it out. To focus.
You don’t look at the faces of the Weasleys, your family, their tears would be too much right now. Except Ginny. She knows, and your instantly thankful that she hasn’t whispered the truth to anyone. Their fear must be sincere, Greyback would notice if it weren’t.
“Maybe I should just taste a bit to make sure you’re worth keeping,” he taunts and places his teeth on the curve of your neck. You need to do something. The anger radiating in Bill’s eyes isn’t safe. You could never live with yourself if he got hurt because of your plan.
You need a distraction. Your eyes meet Ginny’s, and she gives you a subtle nod.
“I’m his sister. Take me!” Your sister-in-law shouts, standing up and ignoring her mother’s screams. It was all the distraction you need.
Your hand slips into your pocket using the grace that you’ve been trained. The monster doesn’t even feel your movement. One strong curse and he’ll have to releases his good arm, the bad won’t be able to hold you by itself.
You slide your weapon from your robes and point the tip at the arm clutched around your chest. Diffindo! Your mind screams before he’s even broken his gaze from Ginny’s. The flesh of the monster’s forearm begins ripping apart. His blood runs over your skin. You duck down and out of his grasp while he clutches the bleeding gash.
Before you can aim again, he launches his body at you. But he’s not quick enough and someone is controlling him, throwing him through the air and against a the wall. Your eyes meet Bill’s, and so much of you just wants to fall into him. He alters his gaze to Greyback, and you can tell his temper has taken over, he won’t be able to control himself if he starts.
“Don’t kill ‘im,” you say before he can cast another curse. You raise your wand and shout, Incarcerous, loud enough for everyone around you to hear it. Proof that the beast has been detained.
“Don’t kill ‘im,” you whisper again. “He doesn’t deserve to escape zat easily. To get away with a painless death. I want ‘im to die after years of suffering on the floor of Azkaban.”
The faces filling the Great Hall are all staring at you with a mixture of bewilderment and gratitude. Somewhere in the distance, a person begins to clap, which is met by another, and another, until the entire room is applauding your statement.
And now, for the first time all night, you let yourself feel. Thick tears swell into your eyes, but you won’t let them escape until you’re in his arms.
It’s finally over.
So, as you can tell Harry, Ron, and Hermione aren't mentioned. This takes place right after the three of them leave, when there are still a few threats lurking in the shadows.
Thank you to CambAngst for constantly motivating me. This ended up being a very difficult challenge piece. And for beta reading! He's absolutely awesome.
My usage of Sugar as an objectifying word was inspired by WeasleyTwins - Come, Sugar. An awesome and terrifying one shot.
So, this was my first jaunt into second-person narrative! What did you guys think? And, as I'm sure you can tell, the pairing I was assigned that had to meet one another was Fleur and Greyback. Thanks for reading!