Stories that inspired/influenced this chapter:
”The Year that went by” by potionslover (FanFiction)
”It’s just you against the world” by Ravii (HPFF)
“I Wear Black” by princessenr1 (HPFF)
Deleted Scenes” by hplove01 (FanFiction)
”While you were gone” by puttykat13 (Fanfiction)
Chapter Eighteen: Mysteries Unraveled
The Quidditch pitch was covered in darkness, shadows dancing eerily against the vacant seats. Thick coarse smoke met the sky in a union of blue and black, the ash of a burning fire blotting out the sun, causing the shapes of sinister faces to be peering down upon Hogwarts.
The early January chill was erased by the heat of an inferno. Fire blazed in the center of the field as orange and yellow reflected in the eyes of the evil, representing the hell in which they were forged.
Hundreds of the Hogwarts students were lined up around the bonfire, forced to attend for fear of reprisal, each holding a handful of books that would soon meet their fiery demise. There was no need to guess which books were targeted. Only the day before, a list of publications had been posted that would have to be burned.
“The Dark Forces: A Guide to Self-Protection” by Quentin Trimble “A History of Magic” by Bathilda Bagshot “Hogwarts, a History” by Victor Vanholder “Home Life and Social Habits of British Muggles” by Wilhelm Wigworthy “A Study of Muggles” by Charity Burbage “Quidditch Throughout the Ages” by Kennilworthy Whisp
Any book they decided would corrupt young minds was stripped from the curriculum and banned from the school. Not even the library was safe. It was purged in the silent horror of Madam Pince. If Hermione had been there, she would have had a heart attack.
An army of twenty, named after the wizard who had always protected us, stood together beneath the stands, watching the scene that was playing out. We were short one soldier, the only one of us that had been captured by the enemy, paying for the actions of her father.
I looked at the man who had become my leader. Light flickered off his solemn face as he stared towards the blaze, flames flashing in his eyes, too. They may have started a fire literally in this field, but they had not anticipated the one burning in this man. They had taken his heart when they had taken Luna.
Amycus and Alecto were now shouting demands and the line of students began shuffling by the fire, dropping the books into the flames. The Death Eaters looked more like monsters than humans, reveling in the destructions of pro-Muggle literature and propaganda.
Neville turned towards us, jerked his head towards the Pitch, and said, “Let’s go.” His voice was distant and the spark I had come to admire was not there. He gripped a book in his hands.
Neville stepped from the shadows of the stands and, one by one, we followed behind him. As the crowd noticed us, their lines stopped flowing and each student stared in hushed fascination. The Carrows stopped shouting and watched us come closer.
The crackling of the fire and the soft thump of our feet were the only things heard. Amycus smiled broadly, perhaps noticing the books we were carrying and assuming we were joining the festivities.
Neville paused several feet away and held his book towards them. Amycus’ smile immediately dropped as Neville held the book higher so that all within range could see. As the Death Eater sneered, Neville tossed the book into the flames. And without so much as a word, the rest of the Army threw our “Dark Arts” textbooks into the blaze.
We paid dearly for that one, especially Neville, and it was the last public rebellion we staged until the Final Battle started.
Several days after, I sat with Coote and Peaks at the Gryffindor table for dinner, each of us nursing the welts of whips and the ache of curses.
Neville, who had been sent down to solitary confinement and most likely torture, entered the Great Hall. He looked horrible. His robes were torn and his face was bloodied and bruised. He still had that far away look in his eyes as he scanned the room for something. His gaze fell on us, but kept searching. I imagined him alone for hours, chained up against the cold stone, with nothing to keep him company but the thoughts of whether or not Luna was safe.
I was about to rise and greet him, but Draco passed by him, and Neville’s eyes fell upon the Slytherin. They burned bright and he grabbed the back of Draco’s robes, flattening him upon the Gryffindor table, spreading dishes and food everywhere.
“Where is she, you bastard?” Neville snarled, his wand pointed directly into his face as the students cleared a circle around them. Neville’s grip was never as strong.
Draco’s stare dared Neville to move, but then looked towards me for assistance. Instead, while teachers and Slytherins came to break it up, I cast several shield charms in a ring to obstruct anyone’s path, and then performed the Muffliato charm so they could talk as loudly as they wanted.
“You are just as insane as she is!” Draco hissed. “They force me to take meals to her like a common house-elf! She thinks I care what a bloody Crumple-Horned Snorkack is.”
Neville loosened his grip and let Draco back to his feet. “She’s… she’s okay then?”
Draco, without warning, withdrew his wand and blasted Neville off his feet. He stepped closer, towering over him, and said with distain, “For now.”
The shouts of students ceased as Snape broke my shield charm. He walked directly to the two boys, staring coldly from one to the other. “Longbottom, I assumed you would exercise more caution. Did you not just leave the dungeons for your stunt on Monday?”
Neville stood to his feet, holding his chest where Draco had hit him. “Yes, Sir.”
“You will join Weasley in detention tonight with Hagrid,” Snape said. When I opened my mouth to protest, he cut me off. “Did you honestly believe you were powerful enough to cast a shield I could not break?” he asked, contempt oozing from every pore of his body. “And were you ignorant enough to think I could not recognize my own spell and be unable to break that as well?”
“Severus,” said McGonagall, entering the circle, “if Miss Weasley is to be punished for protecting her fellow Gryffindor from outside retribution, then I must insist Mr. Malfoy receive the same punishment for protecting himself.”
“Very well. Dinner is over. Your detention begins… now.” He whipped around, his cloak flowing behind him, and his greasy hair waving in his wake.
Exiting the Great Hall, Neville and I silently conversed about Luna as Draco followed reluctantly behind. “Are you all right?” I asked Neville quietly.
“I am now,” he said, the distance he had been exercising slowly diminishing. “I still hate that she’s in captivity, but at least she’s alright.”
I felt a hand on my shoulder, spinning me around from behind, along with Neville. Draco stared at us with an angry expression. “You know what I don’t get?” he asked violently, poking Neville in the chest. “I have been risking my neck to help you, but I don’t get any respect.”
“Do you really think you deserve respect?” Neville questioned.
“In case you haven’t noticed, I have been keeping my end of the bargain,” Draco hissed. He dug into his pockets and pulled the coin out that I had given him. “The Carrows would love to know how your precious army is communicating. I could have easily told them by now.”
“You gave him a coin?” Neville asked, looking aghast.
I ignored him. “What’s your point, Malfoy?”
Sneering, he replied, “My point is you don’t need to rough me up to get your damn information. Keep your filthy Blood Traitor hands off me.”
“Filthy blood traitor,” I repeated, pronouncing each word with emphasis. “You really have no idea, do you?” I almost pitied the bloke.
Draco grinded his teeth and his lip curled. “Things may be in black and white in your world, Weasley, but I live in a gray existence. I’m not sure what you expect me to do. Start wearing Gryffindor colors? Make a banner for the Chosen One? Not a chance in hell.”
I was going to speak, but Neville spoke up. “That girl you call insane, I love her. That girl you call Mudblood, I love her. This girl here-“ he motioned towards me, “-that you call Blood Traitor, I love her. The list goes on, Malfoy, of the people I love. You-Know-Who threatens their lives and the only way for them to be safe is for him to fall. If you love your family as much as you say you do, your path forward is clear.”
Draco frowned, his head vibrating from anger. Without another word, he turned from us and left, ignoring the fact he was supposed to be in detention.
“That went smoothly,” I muttered, watching Draco turn the corner. I rejoined Neville in our journey to detention. “Just so you know, that coin can only communicate with mine.”
“Good,” Neville replied, looking relieved. “But if he rats us out…”
“I think there’s hope for him,” I said, explaining how Draco had been behaving each time I met with him and how he had come within inches of admitting he wanted Voldemort defeated. “He could have let you believe Luna was dead when you had him pinned on the table, but he still told you.”
Neville considered it. “He looks like it hurts him to even think about helping us. I just hope that when the time comes and it really matters, he’ll choose a side.”
Coming to Hagrid’s door, we knocked, but there was no answer. The inside was completely dark and the door was locked. No one must have informed Hagrid that we were on our way down for punishment.
“Do you think he already went into the woods?” Neville asked, looking wearily towards the Forest. “Do you remember whose night it was to go with him?”
“Anthony and Terry,” I replied.
A deep moan escaped the forest on the wings of the breeze. I looked towards the shadows of the trees and back to Neville, questioning whether or not we should investigate.
Neville shrugged. “We’re not supposed to…”
I laughed and said, “When have we followed the rules this year?” I tugged at his sleeve. “C’mon, aren’t you curious?”
Stepping towards the Forest, the moan was carried to our ears again. On the edge of the tree line, we stood as the sun set into the horizon. The forest was dark and we plunged into the darkness, lighting our wands to guide our paths.
Wandering around, we called out for Hagrid. Several minutes of gallivanting brought us further into woods. The brush was thick and the aura of creepiness gripped our senses even more. The sound of hooves on the ground up ahead alerted us to the presence of at least one centaur.
“Show yourself!” called a voice from up ahead.
Neville and I slowly broke through the brush and entered the clearing. Faint light from the setting sun showed us the tall figure of a centaur. His bow was drawn and had an arrow aimed at my heart. I held my hands up to show that I meant no harm.
“I told the others not to show their faces here again,” the centaur said. “So they send others in their place? Do you think my kind unintelligent that we would not be offended?”
“No, Sir,” Neville replied, his hands raised, too. “We heard moaning. We were just investigating.”
The centaur raised his bow slightly. “Perhaps you think the centaurs need Wizard assistance,” he shouted. “That we can’t take care of our forest?”
From the other end the field, another centaur galloped towards the first. “Ronan, the intruder has been apprehended. Do you want to see him or do you wish for us to dispose of him straightaway?”
Ronan lowered his bow and nodded. “I will deal with him, Bane. Make sure these trespassers leave.” Ronan placed his bow and arrow in his quiver and galloped away, disappearing into the trees.
Bane looked at us with distain. He pointed the way we came and said, “Leave, wizards. Your kind is not welcome here. Consider yourself lucky you were not killed.”
My curiosity took control. “Bane, sir, who was the other intruder?” I thought that one of the DA members abroad had entered the forest, seeking to be allies with the Hogwarts centaurs. I hoped that they were not captured and killed.
Bane considered my question, and answered, “It does not matter, young one. Leave now.”
“How can you just kill them?” I shouted, knowing I was entering dangerous territory. “They only were seeking your help.”
“Seeking our help?” Bane bellowed, rearing up on his hind legs. “They did not enter the forest looking for our help. They come here, with their ideas of peace, calling us near-human intelligence, and demanding we register with the Ministry! You call that help!?”
I looked at Neville and back to Bane, aware of my mistaken assumption. “I’m sorry, Bane. I thought it might have been friends of ours,” I said quietly. “You say the Ministry was here?”
“We refuse to be governed by their laws,” Bane shouted. “And we will not join your cause. Centaurs are a proud race and live separately from your kind.”
“What will you do, then, when they come for you?” Neville asked loudly.
“We will fight!” Bane answered. “And die if necessary.”
“Then you will die for nothing!” Neville shouted. “Why can’t you see this is not just a Wizard’s war? The Wizards need your help and you’re letting your selfish ideals get in the way?”
Bane had withdrawn his bow fast and Neville had his wand pointed at the centaur faster.
“You dare point your wand at me?” Bane said.
“You dare point your bow at me?” Neville asked. Sweat dripped from the tip of his nose. If he was scared, he didn’t show it.
Bane peered at Neville for a long time, eyes flickering from his face to his wand and back again. Without lowering his bow nor dropping his guard, he said, “You have shown bravery beyond your years.” The string tightened on his bow. “The heavens have predicted a major shift in power. The end for one is drawing nigh and it will be soon. We centaurs will not choose sides.”
“You’re making a mistake.”
Bane raised his bow and shot an arrow past Neville’s face, narrowly missing the Gryffindor. “We do not make mistakes.” He pointed his finger towards the way we came. “Leave.”
As the cold winter months passed, we ceased all activity that would draw attention to ourselves. Too many people were getting hurt. We didn’t have the luxury of Madam Pomfrey anymore, and there’s only so much students can do for the injured. Since our actions were more secret, Demelza and Sarah returned to the DA, along with a handful of other students.
We were still doing underground stuff. We stole medical supplies and clandestinely assisted the wounded the best we could. We met with students that needed counseling or convincing. We sabotaged any dangerous potions that we were forced to make.
When February arrived, Apparition lessons started. I was not allowed to learn it. In fact, any Sixth Year associated with me or Neville was banned from the lessons.
Since I had that extra free time, I spent it with Angerona in the Room of Requirement. She was a fast learner, already able to Disarm me, Neville, Michael, and several other older members of the DA. On the grounds that she would only use it if she needed to contact me, I had finally given Ang a coin.
After a productive lesson with her, Simon, and several other First Years, we sat in the Room, ready to listen to the week’s episode of Potterwatch. Unfortunately, we could only find static.
“You don’t think they were captured, do you?” Lavender asked.
It was possible, of course, but Draco hadn’t passed any new information to me that week, so I was convinced they were all right. “They might be relocating,” I suggested.
The Army, disappointed that their favorite show was not on, slowly filed out of the room. Soon it was only Angerona, Neville, and, me. Neville looked relaxed on a bean bag chair and appeared as if he were dozing.
“Any news on your searches?” Angerona asked me.
I had resumed my search for answers since we had returned from Christmas break but the truth was that no answers were being found, at least not anything concrete. I pointed my wand at the door and cast the Muffliato charm.
“Not really,” I said, summoning several books in my direction. Placing them all in front of me, I said, “The only thing that seems strange is how Snape and Lily looked like they were friends when they were younger.”
Angerona grabbed a yearbook and flipped open to a marked page. It was Lily in her first year, standing next to Snape in the Potions Club. They were close to each other, laughing before the pose. “You’re right,” Angerona said.
“But it doesn’t mean anything,” I said, explaining that the friendship looked as if it just disappeared after their fifth year. “From their fifth year to their seventh, there are no more pictures that would even indicate that they knew each other.”
“Didn’t Harry say that Dumbledore trusted Snape because he said he was sorry about her dying?” Angerona asked. “Do you reckon he was telling the truth?”
“Not you, too,” Neville moaned, opening his eyes and looking at the First Year. “Whatever friendship Snape and Lily had doesn’t matter anymore. Snape… killed… Dumbledore…. End of story…” He stood up and sighed. “We should head back.”
Angerona and I both stood up and gathered our things. “How’s the other search?” she whispered as we exited the Room.
I hadn’t told anyone about my search for the Horcruxes, but she was a perceptive little witch, and she most likely pieced together that I was searching for two separate things. “What other search?” I asked innocently.
“The one you don’t ever talk about,” she replied. “You wouldn’t have to sneak around looking through all those Dark Arts books if you had just kept your textbook.”
I stopped. “What did you say?”
Angerona paused beside me and frowned. She repeated herself.
I opened my mouth to continue, but nothing came out except a gasp. Widening my eyes, I called to Neville, “Take Ang back to the Common Room. I need to go to Ravenclaw.”
Rushing towards the opposite tower took very little time. I couldn’t believe I had overlooked something so simple. All the books with Horcrux information had been taken from the library by Dumbledore and were now in Hermione’s possession, that much I knew, and no amount of searching through the old collection would give me what I needed.
But that was the old authority in this school. The new authority of this school didn’t care what dark books were in the library… or what dark books were being used for teaching…
I hadn’t opened my Dark Arts textbook on principle alone, but that might have been a mistake, and now I didn’t even have one since I had chucked it into the fire. But there was a person who hadn’t been able to get rid of her book because she had not been there with us.
Luna’s textbook, I hoped, would still be in her dorm room.
I caught Michael just as he was entering the Tower, and I slipped in unnoticed beneath my cloak. Rushing into Luna’s room, I threw light into the candles and searched around. On her nightstand, I found a stack of books.
I grabbed them and quickly went through each, dropping her Potions book on the floor in the process. Transfiguration, Care of Magical Creatures…. Dark Arts…. I opened to the glossary at the end and looked for the section “H.” Running my finger down the list of topics, I stopped upon the word that had evaded my searches for months: Horcrux
While my hands trembled, I speedily turned the pages, fearing that if I didn’t find it as soon as possible, it would be gone again and I would never discover the truth. Ignoring the paper cuts on my fingers, I settled at last on the appropriate page with detained breath.
There it was, staring back at me, defeated at last, found at last. Since January of the year before, it had always been just out of reach, just out of earshot, and now, finally, I would understand why the Trio had left and why they had been so secretive with their plans.
Reading over the description, I cried, the tears falling to the text book and staining the pages. I understood fully why Magick Moste Evile had refused to even give a brief description of what they were.
I examined myself in Luna’s mirror, placing a hand against the cool glass. Part of Voldemort’s soul had been inside of me. I felt sick to my stomach. With disgust in my eyes, I watched my chest rise and fall with breath, hoping that the residue of the darkest wizard had not lingered. I felt so dirty, even after all the years of being free from him.
But I’m not free, I thought. His influence was still evident all around. He had created more than one Horcrux. He had become impossible to kill. He had become immortal. The only way to be free from Voldemort now rested in the hands of the bravest people I had ever met.
I picked up Luna’s potion book from the floor and a piece of paper fell from it. I reached down and picked that up as well. I curiously looked at the photograph that had been inside Slughorn’s scrapbook, the one of Lily and Snape in their third year. It must have somehow slipped into Luna’s book when all the pictures scattered about. I placed it into my pocket.
It might not be necessary to state, but the nightmares were stronger than ever that night, and I finally understood why Dumbledore wanted to keep that particular piece of information from me.
The next two months flew by quickly. Both opposing sides were relatively quiet. It gave me a lot of time to ponder and think. I talked to the teachers and the staff, but no one had any answers to the Patronus mystery. The only person I thought might have the answer was Dumbledore and I wasn’t about to march right into the lion’s den again.
Several days before Easter break, I attended my last DA meeting. While I was exiting, Draco stood there at a statue watching me.
“Lost, Malfoy?” I asked.
Draco shook his head and gazed at me annoyingly. Leaning against the statue, he replied, “I’m not sure how you survive. It could have been anyone standing here.”
“Are you showing concern for me?” I asked, in disbelief.
His lip curled as he looked away. “No,” he said coldly. “I know something that might interest you.” He checked the corridor nervously. He cleared his throat before continuing. “Easter break is in two days. You might want to watch your back.” He was about to walk away.
I grabbed his arm and stopped him. “No, not good enough,” I said. “The last time you gave information like that, I had no idea what you meant and we lost Luna. Details, Malfoy.”
Draco frowned at me and straightened up, eyes boring straight into my eyes.
“There’s no one here to impress,” I said, motioning around the empty corridors. I held up my Cloak. “And I’m alone.”
“Fine,” he snarled. “The Carrows are done putting up with your rebellion. I don’t know what they’re planning, but it’s not going to be pretty. If I were you, I’d run.”
“I’m going home for Easter,” I replied, “but I will pass that information along.” I stared at him for an uncomfortable several seconds. Pondering, I asked, “Why is it so hard for you to do the right thing?”
“We’ve been over this,” Draco replied. “Whatever fairy-tale fantasy you have of me suddenly developing a conscience and willingly standing against the Dark Lord is just that… fantasy. The quicker you accept that, the less disappointed you’ll be in me.”
“I don’t believe that,” I said, slipping the Cloak around my shoulders. “I think there’s hope for you, and I think you know there is, too.”
Draco was silent, breathing in the air from the hallway in a long inhale. Shaking his head slowly, he turned and disappeared into the dark corridor, leaving me alone. I placed the Cloak over my head and vanished from sight.
When I arrived at the threshold of the Gryffindor entrance, I was about to say the password when I heard the Fat Lady speaking to another portrait that we called the Blue Knight.
“I’m not sure what he wanted,” the Fat Lady said.
“You shouldn’t have let him in,” the Blue Knight said.
“He is the Headmaster!” the Fat Lady replied. “And he had the password. On both accounts, I must listen to him. We are bound to serve the current Headmaster.”
“But he made us all swear to protect the students at all costs,” the Blue Knight said. “Surely that meant even from himself. He doesn’t exactly have a reputation of being merciful. After Dumbledore…”
The Fat Lady let out a sob. “Do not remind me!” she wailed. “If he murders her here in her room, I will never forgive myself for letting him in tonight. Ginny is one of my favorite students.”
I stifled a gasp. Snape was in my room. I thought we had some time to consider what we were going to do. I thought I’d have time to warn the others. But why was he waiting for me?
“He hasn’t been up for years, has he?” the Blue Knight continued, oblivious to my worried feelings.
“Not for almost two decades,” the Fat Lady said. “He would have spent the night out here waiting for her if she hadn’t come out to send him away.”
“He tried to apologize,” the Blue Knight said.
“It had been coming for months, maybe even longer,” the Fat Lady replied. “Lily Evans might have been a forgiving young lady, but even she understood where Snape was headed.”
I pulled off my Cloak and the Fat Lady gasped. “Ginny!” she cried.
“Beetle eyes,” I muttered, considering what I had just heard. When she wouldn’t open, I said it again, more forcibly.
“He is waiting for you, Ginny. I can’t…”
“I won’t go into my room,” I said. “I’ll come right back. I just need to tell Neville something. Please.”
The Fat Lady reluctantly allowed me through and I raced to Neville’s room. Rushing in, I shook him awake. “Neville,” I hissed. “Wake up now!”
Neville sat up, eyes wide, gripping his wand. He must have slept with it these days. “Ginny?” he asked groggily. “What’s wrong?”
I quickly told him what Draco had passed on to me and that Snape was waiting for me in my room. “I have to run,” I thought wildly. “If Harry comes here, make sure you get a message to me. Take care of Angerona.” I hugged him tightly and rushed out the room, wondering if he thought it was a dream.
Rushing away from Gryffindor Tower, I had no idea where I was running. With my cloak trailing behind me like a banner in my hand, I didn’t know what to do. Could I escape the castle in the middle of the night? Could I make it back to my house safely? Could I….
No more wondering. A flash of light had shot across my path, shattering the rock of the wall. I stopped dead in my tracks, looked to the side, and found Alecto Carrow staring at me. She raised her wand to strike again and I quickly put up a shield.
“Damn girl!” she screamed when the spell rebounded, missing her face by inches.
Without thinking, I threw the Cloak over me and ran. Turning a corner, I felt one of the spells rip through the bottom of the Cloak and my calf burned. Moving faster, I felt a trickle of warm blood on my leg. I stopped, throwing the Cloak off, and whipped myself around to face the corner I had just come from.
Wand raised, I waited for Alecto to follow. Instead, I felt cold inside, starting from deep within and flowing through all of my extremities. I heard Tom Riddle inside of my head and I trembled as I pointed my wand towards the dementors that had entered the corridor.
Before I could shout the incantation, a flash of silver entered. A silver doe, the same Patronus that had rescued me months earlier, chased the creatures off.
Turning around, my wand flew out of my hand and landed several feet from me. Alecto now stood in front of me, obviously taking the shortcut that I had been unable to take, her wand pointed straight at my chest.
“I did not want to kill you, Weasley,” she said calmly. “You would fare much better as leverage against that blood traitor family of yours. Oh well… accidents happen…” She smiled as she said it, “Avada Ke-“
I had shut my eyes, waiting for death, but it did not come. Instead, I heard the thump of a body and I looked. Alecto was now laying upon the floor, stunned, her wand in her outstretched hand. Looking around for my rescuer, no one revealed themselves.
Scooping up my cloak and wand, I ran again, rushing towards the one place I thought I’d be safe. I would enter the Room of Requirement and gather my thoughts, make a plan, and execute it. Coming closer to the door, another spell almost knocked me to my feet.
“Accio Cloak!” Amycus shouted.
I grabbed hold and pulled it back to my grip, slamming into the door of the Room. “I need a place to hide this,” was the first thought that entered my mind. The door burst open and I was in the cathedral of junk.
“Not what I had in mind,” I said loudly. It would have to do. Surely, Amycus couldn’t enter this place, but when I looked back at the door, he rushed in after me. I shot a spell at him and raced off, down one aisle.
He was hot on my trail, firing spell after spell, but my shield charm was deflecting them. As luck would have it, I tripped, falling flat on my face, and biting my lip hard in the process. I rolled over and sat up.
Amycus was no longer running. In fact, he was sprawled out upon the floor, resembling his sister several corridors back.
I stood on my feet, on edge, ready for another Death Eater to pop up, perhaps from the wall of junk to my left, where several decrepit brooms sat, or to my right where a strange configuration of a wig and tiara sat upon more piles of junk.
“Come with me, quickly.”
On instinct alone, I spun from my position and cast a Stunning spell. Slumping to the floor in a black cloak, his greasy hair falling over his shoulders, was Severus Snape. I had just stunned the Headmaster when he could have easily taken me from behind….
Was he the one that was protecting me?
I reached into my pocket for something to wipe my lip on and I pulled the photograph out, the one of Snape and Lily in their third year, winning Slughorn’s award. I half-smiled, turning it over and looking at the back.
Severus T. Snape
and Lily A. Evans
Third Year Top Honors
How things had changed so much from then. Snape, the shifty looking Slytherin who had called Lily an unforgivable name, was laying several feet from me, his loyalties always in question. Lily, the beautiful Gryffindor who had turned Snape away after too many second chances, was lying beneath the ground hundreds of kilometers away, her love lasting in the blood of the son she died to protect.
Severus T. Snape… Lily A. Evans…
I dropped the battered cloak on the floor as a connection formed in my mind that I should have seen so long ago. Lily’s middle name and the password we used back in October… it was the same.
Surely it’s a coincidence, I thought. It had been years since their friendship ended. Rushing from the Room, I needed to talk to Dumbledore. He would have the answers.
Shadows flickered from the torches, dancing against the walls and creating images that weren’t really there. I shook my head, forgetting about the tricks that my mind was playing. I was safe. The Carrows were successfully stunned and I honestly felt no threat from Snape anymore.
Gulping, I stopped at the entrance to his office, staring at the gargoyles awaiting the password. Thinking back, I said clearly, “Autumn,” expecting the entrance to appear, but it failed such expectations.
Disappointed, I pulled the photograph from my pocket and studied the Potions award winners. Turning it over to the back, I read the names again, and looked back at the gargoyles. I took a deep breath, and said, “Lily.”
Part of me anticipated more failure, but another part knew that the door would open. Putting the photograph away and contemplating what this meant, I stepped into the entrance and onto the stairwell. Step by step, I ascended, remembering the terror I had felt so many months and thinking that it might not have been warranted.
Cautiously, I entered Snape’s office, my wand drawn just in case. Scanning the portraits, I located the only one I wanted to see, his half-moon spectacles and the crooked nose as prominent as ever. Developing a smile, I called out to Dumbledore.
The former Headmaster opened his eyes and his well-known blue irises lit up. “Miss Weasley, we must stop meeting like this,” he said.
I smiled wider. “Hello, Professor. I wanted to speak to you.”
“Oh?” he asked. “You are risking punishment to converse with a portrait?”
I shrugged, grinning coyly. “I think I can handle another detention with Hagrid.”
He raised his eyebrows and beckoned me closer. “Despite your bleeding lip, you look far more collected than the last time you were here. Am I right in assuming you have come to terms with certain situations?”
“Yes, sir,” I replied, standing now directly in front of him. “I’ve been searching for a lot of answers.”
“I imagine your search was successful, otherwise you would not be here,” he said. “Do you understand now why I chose not to tell you?”
I nodded, swallowing apprehension. “Did…” I wanted badly to say his name to prove that I would not be intimidated by it. With no choice, I continued, “…he really split his soul more than once?”
Dumbledore pushed his spectacles up the bridge of his nose. “Six times. Seven distinct pieces.”
“Seven,” I repeated. “The most powerfully magic number.”
“Indeed,” he replied.
“Did you know that I would figure it out?”
“I had no doubt you would,” Dumbledore said. “I am only surprised it took you so long.”
“I’ve known for awhile,” I said, “but I couldn’t risk coming up here to talk to you until I unraveled another mystery.”
“And what might that be?”
Silly old man, I thought. He had to know what I was talking about. He spent all this time in this office. He must know what Snape had been doing. I humored his question. “I think Snape has been protecting us,” I replied. “He used to be friends with Lily Potter, did you know that?”
Dumbledore didn’t say anything.
“Of course you knew that,” I said, chuckling at myself. “But I don’t understand…. He… Snape murdered you, didn’t he?”
“It would appear so.”
It could never be a simple yes or no with this man. He was always secretive and mysterious, never answering questions directly. Needless to say, that was not the answer I was looking for.
I sighed, looking at the Pensieve near Dumbledore. The substance within shimmered, as if memories were swirling about. I gripped the edges, wanting to sink in, but instead I looked back to Dumbledore.
He must have understood my expression. “You are well aware that knowledge is power,” he said, gesturing towards the Pensieve. “You have been diligently searching for answers for a long time.”
“You want me to look?”
Dumbledore shook his head. “This is not about what I want, my dear. I do not know whether all secrets will be revealed if you were to view the contents of this magical instrument. I am merely suggesting that a clever young lady such as yourself will never be content not knowing if that could end your search for answers.”
“You know me too well, Professor,” I said. “I need to know.”
I gripped the sides of the Pensieve, considering, but my way forward was clear. Without hesitation, I plunged myself headfirst into the memories, and felt myself falling through years and years of thoughts.
When I landed, I found myself in a sunlit afternoon on a playground. Two girls were swinging a distance away and I moved closer, noticing the young features of Lily Evans. I wondered for a second if this was her memory.
The scene played out and I eventually understood that it must be Snape’s memories that I was watching. After viewing this particular scene, I was taken to months later, perhaps the next summer, when Lily and Snape conversed about Hogwarts, and eventually Petunia was hurt by a falling branch.
Then the scene at Platform 9 ¾, followed by the scene on the train, the Sorting, and several years passed in which the friends were top of their Potions class, and the scenes in their fifth year. I cringed when Snape called Lily a Mudblood.
“I’m not interested.”
“Save your breath.”
After the scene, I watched Snape, perhaps days after his attempt to persuade Lily, trying to talk to her in the hallways, the classrooms, the Great Hall, but the fiery redhead would have nothing to do with her offender.
Snape, disheveled and frantic in what I assumed was the Slytherin Common Room, wrote three letters on the outside of a piece of parchment: L.A.E. He flipped the paper over and began to write, steadying his hand as he did so.
Dearest Lily... You refuse to look at me and you refuse to speak to me...
He wrote without stopping until he reached I miss you so much… He lifted the quill and placed it inside the ink bottle, breathing heavy. A tear fell from his pasty face and splashed upon the table. He frowned, perhaps contemplating if he should finally tell her how he really felt.
He lifted the quill from its inky chamber and began to confess upon the paper. I love
Even before Snape began to write, a stocky Slytherin was creeping up on Snape. His brown hair was shaved. His eyes were dark, as if no color could escape them. “Severus,” he said roughly.
Snape jumped, dropping the quill to the floor. He turned in his chair and faced the boy. “Avery,” he stuttered, “what… what do you want?”
“Give me the letter,” he said.
Snape grabbed the letter of unfinished love and ran, pushing the boy away. He ran, clutching the words to his chest, tears burning the corners of his eyes. He ran, away from the students who had influenced him these years past, whose fault it was that the only girl he had ever loved now hated him.
He entered the Room of Requirement, panting, scanning the cathedral for a place to finish his letter or to hide, I do not know. He rushed over to a cupboard where several books were stacked, placed a hand on the topmost book, leaving an imprint in the dust.
The door began to open and Snape shoved the letter into the stack of books. He turned, wand ready, and faced the opening door. “Leave me alone, Avery.”
Avery laughed coldly. “Severus, I heard what has happened between you and the Mudblood-”
“Don’t CALL her that!” Snape screamed, mouth frothing.
Avery simply smiled. “The Dark Lord does not take kindly to those who go back on a promise. We promised him our services once we leave this place, and in return, we will have a place of wealth and empowerment in the new regime.”
“I… I don’t care anymore.”
“You think Evans will ever forgive you?” Avery laughed, coming closer to Snape, his wand pointed directly at his chest. “I think I even saw her talking to Potter today. Isn’t he the one you hate so much?”
Snape sank to his knees.
“And now you want to give up the only friends you have?” Avery said, clicking his tongue in shame. “No girl and now no friends… what are you to do, Severus?”
Snape lowered his wand, shaking uncontrollably. For the first time in my life, I wanted to place an arm around him, hold him tight, and guide him back to the good side, but the inevitable was clear. The choice Snape would make was evident.
Avery grinned. “I thought you’d come around… Crucio!”
Snape screamed, writhing in pain on the floor, and I cried out, rushing towards the torturer and trying to stop him.
The scene dissolved and I was standing beside a frozen Black lake beneath my tree. I stared curiously as James and Lily pulled away from a familiar kiss.
“You’ve always been the stag looking for his doe,” Lily whispered. “You finally found her.” She pulled him towards her and kissed him again.
I dashed around in the snow, looking for Snape. Surely he had to be there if this was his memory. I looked into the tree, expecting to the dark eyes of the Slytherin staring down upon the scene. He wasn’t.
“Lily, I’ll catch up with you later. I’ve got to take care of something,” James said, squeezing her forearm affectionately.
Although she looked disappointed, she replied, “That’s probably for the best. I have Transfiguration notes to go over. Thanks… thanks for a beautiful day.” She leaned closer and kissed him goodbye.
He watched her leave, trudging through the snow towards the castle. As she came closer to the entrance, he slowly reached into his pocket and extracted his wand. Once Lily was inside the castle, James aggressively pointed his wand at the trunk of the tree, towards me.
“How long have you been following us?” James snarled.
I froze. I was about to respond when a voice from behind me spoke. I turned just in time to watch Snape return to visibility.
“You…” Snape shouted, his words caught in his mouth as anger took control. His wand was drawn and was now pointed at James. “It’s an act! You’re pretending so you can get Lily. You’re not a good person.”
James shook his head. “I’ll admit that I’ve done some horrible things to many people and I am trying to atone for that. And yes, Lily is a major reason for my wanting to change…” His arm was unwavering as he kept the wand in place. “Unlike yourself, I care about Lily enough to change.”
“How dare you throw this back on me!” Snape roared, his mouth frothing. “You don’t care about her!”
“That is the only thing you and I have ever had in common.” He paused, allowing Snape to take the words in. He may have considered cursing the man right there, instead he lowered his wand, and said, “Don’t let me catch you following us again.” He turned.
Snape cast a spell, but the orange light barely missed James’ shoulder. James turned around and had him against the tree trunk in one swift fluid motion. Wand pressed against Snape’s temple, he said, “The only reason I don’t destroy you is because Lily seems to think you have some good in you still…”
“I know better,” James hissed. He pressed his free hand against Snape’s left forearm. “You’re seventeen now. Have you sold your soul to the devil yet? Have you been branded like a filthy cow? You had better hope we don’t cross paths once we leave this school.”
Snape pushed James backwards, but dropped his wand in the process. Without daring to pick it up, Snape screamed, “I will kill you, Potter.”
James laughed mockingly. I shuddered at the irony of the statement. “It’ll be a cold day in hell before Snivellus Snape is responsible for my death.”
The scene dissolved and I listened to Snape and Dumbledore. Snape had made a terrible mistake, revealing the prophecy, and Voldemort had set his sight on the Potters. The next scene, James and Lily were dead, and Snape was devoting his life to the memory of Lily Evans, and promising to protect Harry. The scene faded.
Rain fell silently upon the tombstones. The only noise was the soft sound of splashing as they hit the marble and granite. Storm clouds above blocked out all forms of sunshine and happiness. The descending water passed through me without feeling.
The cemetery was barren save one man, driven to his knees, shouting at the heavens in remorse. The weather looked cold and unforgiving but the man in front of me appeared not to feel the chill, and I guessed he may never feel anything properly again.
I knew without reading the epitaph what had happened. I came closer, quietly and respectfully, despite knowing that Snape could not see me. Considering the events, it seemed to be the proper thing to do.
“Lily, I’m sorry…” Snape sputtered, the rain mixing with the tears, the grief blending with the precipitation. “I’m so sorry…”
I noticed he was dressed all in black, a sign of mourning. I imagined him deciding to never wear anything but dark attire, for he could not allow himself to forget. No more happiness meant no more color in his life… especially not green… not the same color of the eyes that would surely haunt his dreams from that moment on.
“I’m so sorry, Lily.”
The repeated apologies had no effect on the silent mound of dirt nor did the water wash his sin away. He would be in a state of perpetual mourning, eternally atoning for his transgressions.
He cried. I cried with him.
The scene faded. I stood inside of an unused classroom. Against the back wall, countless numbers of desks and chairs were stacked together, on top of each other and propped against each other. The years of dust caked the objects. Was I in another version of the Room of Requirement?
I peered through the faint darkness at the other end of the room. It was then that I realized that Snape was standing in front of an elaborately decorated mirror with a golden frame, etched with a strange language: Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on wohsi. With the mirror propped against the wall, Snape refused to tear his eyes away from it.
“Lily…” he muttered.
I crept closer, directly behind him, and looked at his reflection in the mirror. I expected to see his hooked-nose profile manifested on the surface, but I gasped when I saw not only him, but Lily Evans. She was smiling and hugging him.
“Back again, Severus?”
Snape and I turned from the mirror and found Dumbledore staring at Snape. Even in the shadows, I could tell there was a strong look of compassion for the Potions Master. Snape grunted softly and, with all the power he possessed, looked back at the mirror one last time before he joined Dumbledore’s side.
“When we moved the Mirror of Erised into this room, Severus, I recall asking you not to come back,” Dumbledore said, taking a seat at one of the properly positioned desks.
“I promised nothing, Dumbledore,” Snape said softly, the shame in his eyes evident.
“Need I remind you that the mirror shows no truth?” Dumbledore asked. “You will waste away if you spend too much time here.”
“I wasted away a long time ago,” Snape whispered. “That,” he pointed towards the mirror, “is the only truth I have left.” Snape took a seat at a desk directly beside the Headmaster.
The sound of a door unlatching echoed in the silent classroom. Dumbledore quickly waved his hand over himself and Snape. Both men disappeared in time for me to see no one walking through the opened door. I heard footsteps walking quickly towards the mirror, then a familiar cloak fell to the floor, and Harry stood where Snape had been standing only minutes prior.
I quickly rushed over to confirm my observation. Judging from the sweater he was wearing, Harry was only eleven years old. With fascination, he gazed towards the mirror. When I followed his stare, I was unable to view what he saw. I hypothesized that I could only see Snape’s images because this was Snape’s memory.
“So- back again, Harry?” Dumbledore said, greeting the boy in the same manner he had Snape. He had reappeared, leaving Snape still invisible.
Harry looked terrified as he turned to meet Dumbledore sitting at the desk. “I- I didn’t see you, sir.”
As I listened intently to their conversation, I took Harry’s place at the mirror, hoping it would work for me even though I was not part of this reality. It did.
I was staring at myself, just as I was, with the same dirty face and torn clothing I had when I plunged into these memories, but there was only one difference. Harry stood beside me, holding my hand and stroking my hair. His emerald eyes gazed at me with such love and admiration…
I couldn’t stop the tears from coming. In the reflection, Harry wiped them away, but as I stood on the outside of the fantasy, no one was there to dry my eyes.
“It shows us nothing more than the deepest, most desperate desires of our heart,” Dumbledore said, before continuing, and the man had never spoken truer words.
When Harry left the room, Snape returned to visibility. “How long before you move the mirror?” he asked Dumbledore.
“As soon as possible,” Dumbledore answered. “And I request the same thing of you that I did of Harry. It will more difficult for you since you know where it will be.”
“Very well,” Snape said. He turned to leave, his cloak billowing as he turned. He paused, and looked back. “What do you see when you look into the mirror?” Snape had not bought the explanation of socks any more than I did.
Dumbledore turned and looked at the mirror from a distance, lost in a memory. The Headmaster did not answer, simply walked towards the mirror. I quickly followed, but knew the memory would be over as soon as Snape walked out the door.
I had never seen Dumbledore speechless before and as the memory faded, I am sure I witnessed what was the beginning of the Headmaster’s weeping. A thought struck me as the scene changed: maybe it was not for Harry and Snape he was relocating the mirror as much as it was for himself.
The years passed and Dumbledore and Snape were in the Headmaster’s office. Dumbledore was barely conscious, his hand burned and dead looking. Snape was working hard to save him.
“Lord Voldemort foresees a moment in the near future when he will not need a spy at Hogwarts?” Dumbledore asked.
“He believes the school will soon be in his grasp, yes.”
“And if it does fall into his grasp, I have your word that you will do all in your power to protect the students of Hogwarts?”
The rest of the scene transpired, followed by everything that happened in the Astronomy Tower when Snape was forced to strike down the man he admired the most, and then Snape and Mundungus, and then Snape accidentally slicing George’s ear off, and the scene dissolved again.
Snape entered the kitchen, his cloak flowing behind him. The House-Elves all cowered in fear. “Elves,” Snape started, “do not forget that you work for me and you must do what I say.”
“House-Elves are sworn to do what the Headmaster says,” Kreacher said. “Even if Headmaster is a murderer.”
Snape’s face turned darker. “I order you to protect the students of Hogwarts under all circumstances and I forbid you to tell them that I have made this order. If that is not clear, we will have a problem.”
“Dobby thinks this is clear,” Dobby said.
The scene changed. Snape paced in front of Dumbledore’s portrait, ranting, raving, yelling. “Those insolent children are not helping the situation,” he shouted. “Would it not be better to simply expel them all?”
Dumbledore shook his head. “Severus, they provide hope for the other students,” he answered. “Perhaps Miss Weasley can persuade young Malfoy after that detention you gave him. Yes, they must be allowed to test their boundaries.”
“They want to break into this office!” Snape hissed. “And steal this sword!” He pointed violently towards the Gryffindor Sword. “Potter’s girlfriend is just as reckless and insubordinate as he is.”
“Your anger is misplaced,” Dumbledore said. “Perhaps you are only seeing a redhead who reminds you so much of another, falling for a Potter boy?”
Snape inhaled heavily. “She is becoming frantic. She has not left this hallway for days.”
“Well then,” Dumbledore said. “You must allow her up. I think that I need to speak with her. Perhaps one of the Carrows will let the password slip, yes?”
The scene transformed.
Snape stood beneath the stands of the Quidditch pitch, the shadows hiding his face. Through the darkness, he watched five students step onto the field with their brooms. Snape muttered, “Foolish children.”
Snape must have felt the dementors’s influence before he saw them, because he buckled over, panting, repeating Lily’s name over and over again. Shaking the cold from deep within, he raised his wand, shouting, “Expecto Patronum!” The silver doe burst from the tip of the wand.
The secret Quidditch players finally noticed the changing atmosphere and dismounted their brooms. Looking skyward, Demelza screamed as a plethora of Dementors descended upon them.
Snape sent several more Patronuses out as the students scattered.
The scene changed and now Snape was taking the Sword and placing it inside a frozen pond, casting his doe afterwards. I watched him looking through the trees and Harry stripped to his underwear and descend into the water, followed by Ron saving him. They conversed, then Ron came running towards Snape’s hiding place. We were gone before he arrived.
The scene dissolved and once again, Snape was speaking to Dumbledore.
“The Weasley girl is getting suspicious of me,” Snape said, flexing his fingers and cracking his knuckles. “I overheard her talking to that pesky First Year.”
“It does not surprise me that Miss Weasley is trying to unravel the mystery that is Severus Snape,” Dumbledore said. “She has always desired to be knowledgeable. I wonder if she will be coming to visit me soon with more questions.”
“You’re not going to tell her anything, are you?” Snape questioned.
“There will be no need,” Dumbledore replied. “She is a clever little witch. I’m sure she will have pieced together most of the puzzle before she seeks me out.”
“And I am supposed to let her visit you again?” Snape demanded. “Dumbledore, I am running out of privileges to take away from her!”
“I presume if she risks coming up here again, she will be almost certain that she will be unharmed.”
“I find that most dissatisfying,” Snape replied, sitting down and glaring at the portrait. “She could jeopardize everything you have worked for, Dumbledore.”
“Oh, I doubt that,” Dumbledore said. “If there were anyone in the student body that I could trust with such secrets, it would be her. She surely has proven herself over the years. If not for her attachment to Harry, I would even consider telling her everything.”
Snape shook his head in disbelief. He opened his mouth to say something, but stopped, and changed his expression. “The Carrows have been ordered to apprehend the girl for leverage over the Weasleys.”
“Then you must make sure she can safely return to her family.”
...Without warning, I was being pulled from the memory. With a hand upon my shoulder, I was wrenched away from the Pensieve and fell to the floor, looking into the face of Severus Snape.
He looked from me to Dumbledore’s portrait. “How dare you, Dumbledore!” Snape growled. “You have no right to allow her into my memories.”
“I am a portrait, Severus, how would you suggest I stop her?”
I stood up, feeling the damp cheeks of where I had been crying. As much as I felt a connection to Lily, I was feeling it to Snape now, as strange as that sounds. An unrequited love for so many years that he was still holding onto, doing things for Lily though she’d never know.
I placed a hand on Snape’s shoulder and began to speak. “Professor, I’m sorry…”
Snape tore his arm away from me quickly. “Do not touch me,” he hissed. “I do not need your sympathy. I do not need your pity.”
While viewing these memories, I actually thought that the horrid man I had grown to despise all these years was nothing more than an act. I was saddened to realize that wasn’t the case. I frowned, but still felt a strong connection to the man who had every reason to feel bitter.
“Dumbledore is right, Professor,” I said quietly. “I won’t say anything. I’m great at keeping secrets…”
Snape’s cold gaze turned to me and cut my words off. He spoke, as if the actions had not transpired. “You are indefinitely suspended from Hogwarts. Your parents will be here shortly to take you home. I suggest you gather your belongings before the Carrows are revived. They will not be pleased once they are up.”
I looked to Dumbledore, who nodded, and waved me off. I knew I shouldn’t be asking any more questions… “Professor, did… did Lily ever know you were trying to save her?”
Snape lip curled. “No,” he answered.
Being at home should have been a relief after such a long time of suffering, but it was not. After months of productive insurgency, I felt helpless being caged up inside the Burrow with nothing to do. Combine that with the little knowledge I had of the happenings of Hogwarts, I was desperate to go back.
Normally students didn’t go home for Easter break so I knew most, if not all, of the DA were stuck in that school. I wondered if the Carrows, furious of my escape, had taken their anger out on my friends. I wondered if Snape could have any influence in protecting them.
From my seat on the edge of my bed, I looked at the calendar. It was the last day of Easter break. My heart, my continuously aching heart, extended to my comrades on the front line.
Double knocks on my door pulled me from my wonderings. I invited whomever it was inside and Fred and George, my wonderful twin brothers, strolled in. I didn’t hesitate to embrace them each, despite the fact that they had been there when I arrived days ago, hiding out from the Death Eaters as well.
“Any news?” I asked automatically.
“Lee, Lupin, and Kingsley just arrived,” Fred said. “I bet you’d like to hear a Potterwatch in person, wouldn’t you?”
I nodded. That sounded like an excellent idea. I hadn’t heard one for several weeks, although this was due to the Death Eaters that had invaded the area where they had been broadcasting.
“But there is news,” George said. “It seems that Hagrid hosted a ‘Support-Harry-Potter’ Party for our fellow Army members stationed at Hogwarts.”
“He didn’t!” I exclaimed.
“He did,” they answered in unison.
“The Carrows must have forgotten their invitations because they crashed the party,” George explained.
“Luckily Hagrid had a bouncer,” Fred said, smiling.
“Hey!” came a voice from the door.
Fred and George parted and Lee was standing in my door frame. I jumped from my seat and rushed over to embrace the friend I hadn’t seen since August.
“I wanted to be the one to tell you about Grawp and Hagrid,” Lee said, dropping me back to my feet. “I figured you’d get a kick out of it.”
“Did anyone get hurt?” I asked, beseeching each of them.
“The Carrows will be feeling it in the morning,” Lee said and he continued after I replied positively. “Hagrid and Grawp are hiding in the mountains, but as for our soldiers, we don’t know yet.”
“Any news of the Trio?” I asked. When they shook their heads, my heart sank. There had been nothing to report concerning them since their visit to the Lovegood home. I calmed myself. “No news is good news, right?” I questioned.
“That’s what Lupin reckons,” Lee replied. “If they got Harry, they wouldn’t be quiet about it.”
The small crowd that had gathered in my room parted once more and Tonks was standing in my doorframe this time. She was glowing in the only way a soon-to-be mother could. Her belly, sticking our far from her small frame, was huge and round. I did some quick math in my head and decided she could be due soon.
“Remus wants to start soon,” she said to the boys. “He doesn’t want me out very long.”
The twins and Lee shuffled from the room. I waited until they were gone to give Tonks the biggest hug ever since I had not seen her for a very long time either. I placed my hand on her bulging belly and felt the child within move. I smiled. “Have you thought of a name yet?”
Tonks nodded. “Teddy… after…” She was unable to conclude her sentence.
“Your dad,” I finished for her, embracing her again. It had been only a week ago that she had found out her father had been murdered.
She was a strong witch though. Ted had died, but not in vain, and if she had anything to say about it, his murderers would eventually pay. That wasn’t on her mind at the moment. “There’s something I want to ask you,” she said, wiping her eyes. “Remus and I both agreed. We want you to be Teddy’s godmother.”
“Me?” I replied. “But… I’m sixteen…”
“Old enough to lead a school rebellion but not to take care of a child?” Tonks said, teasingly pushing me. “If you don’t want to, I’ll understand…”
“No,” I cut her off. “I’d be honored to. I was just surprised. If you and Lupin chose anybody to be a godparent to Teddy, I thought you’d choose Harry.”
“Well…” Tonks started, attempting to conceal a smile and a sheepish look.
“You are going to ask him, aren’t you?” I questioned and she nodded. “That’s kind of expecting a lot out of Harry and me, don’t you think?”
Tonks shrugged. “We trust you two and there aren’t better choices.” She grabbed my head and squeezed. “Harry has far too much on his plate right now. When we ask him, we won’t mention we asked you, too. You can tell him once this war is over.”
We walked together, reminiscing of the old days, and joined the audience for an episode of Potterwatch.
When Bill rushed us from the Burrow and safely secured us at Aunt Muriel’s, he only briefly explained what was happening. The most important thing was that the Trio, including Luna and Dean, and especially Harry, were safe. It was difficult for me. For the first time in months, I knew exactly where they were, but Mum and Dad refused to allow me out of the house.
News from around the country reached us. Neville had been hiding out in the Room for several days and the remaining DA members were quickly joining him. Contrary to what Bill had told Harry, the twins were not continuing their mail-order business. Instead they were sending supplies, such as medical and defensive, to the Army via Aberforth.
There were many things I wanted tell Bill to relay to Harry and the others, but there didn’t seem to be proper words that could express such emotions. Bill understood and said he’d send my love to each of them. I agreed. It was simple and I hoped it would get the message across.
I sought Ollivander out on the second day of his stay with us to talk to him about my friends. I had only met the man once in my life when Mum and Dad bought me my wand. It was a good day when I found out I’d be receiving one. And that was because of Harry. When he dumped Lockhart’s books into my cauldron, we saved a fortune and Mum happily agreed to purchase me a wand.
Although I doubted he would remember me, I knocked on the man’s door anyhow. When he invited me in, I saw him perched at a desk and hunched over a slender piece of wood. A long, red, string-like substance glimmered beside him. Wood shavings were scattered on the desk and floor. He held a knife in his hand, carving the timber.
Curiously, I asked, “Mr. Ollivander, what are you doing?”
“Hmm?” he replied, pausing and looking towards me, perhaps only realizing then that he had invited me in. “Ginevra Weasley, I presume. Hazel, phoenix feather, ten inches, firm,” he said fondly. “Miss Lovegood has spoken very highly of you.” He placed his knife upon the desk. “And I believe your question was what I am doing?”
“Carving our mutual friend her new wand.”
He smiled knowingly. Perhaps he had taken part in this conversation with others before. “It is true that carving wands with magic works just fine, but the best wands, the ones that work flawlessly with their owner, are carved by hand.”
This was all very interesting, but I was recalling one of the first things Ollivander had said to me when I first came to his shop: The wand chooses the wizard. “How do you know Luna’s new wand will… choose her?”
“My dear, I have spent four months with the girl. We developed a close bond in the isolation and darkness. If my skill has not failed me, I am sure her new wand will suit her.” He held the piece of wood up to examine the coming smoothness. “I am eternally in Miss Lovegood’s debt. If not for her, I fear I might have gone insane.”
The irony of the statement amused me, remembering how so many people used to call her the loony one. “She is a very special person. I’m glad she’s okay,” I told him.
“And Potter and his friends,” Ollivander continued. “They rescued us from a certain death. I was beginning to lose hope.”
“What exactly happened at Malfoy Manor?” I asked him tentatively.
Ollivander shook his head. “My dear, I wish not to speak of it. Your brother Bill wanted to know as well, and also if I knew what Harry was planning. Of that, I have no idea.”
That was Harry for you. Always planning something, especially since the war had started. “Why would you know what he was planning?”
Ollivander placed the long piece of wood back upon the desk. “He questioned me. He is a curious young man, that Potter, asking deep questions about wands. He has that in common with You-Know-Who…” He shuddered, perhaps remembering things he wished to forget. I didn’t press the issue. “Whatever he is planning, I am not the one who would know. He has spent all his free time with the goblin.”
“Griphook?” I questioned.
Ollivander nodded. “It is most unwise to make deals with their kind. Our manner of agreement differs from theirs drastically.”
I was silent. Whatever Harry was planning with Griphook, it must have something to do with the Horcruxes. Perhaps the goblin was aware of where one was hidden. But the wandmaker in front of me was right. It isn’t very smart to trust a goblin.
In my silence, Ollivander had picked up the long string and was examining it. “Dragon heartstring,” he muttered, glancing at my inquisitive expression. “Your brother Charlie gave it to me.” He straightened the cord upon the desk.
“Mr. Ollivander, do you mind if I watch you make the wand?” I asked.
“Feel free,” he answered, “but I ask you to remain silent while I work.”
Days went by. The same feelings of anxiousness plagued me. I so badly needed to be out of Aunt Muriel’s, and not just because she was driving me insane. I couldn’t understand why I was forbidden to visit Shell Cottage since it was protected the same way as the house I was residing in.
On the final day of our confinement, Fred and I were battling each other in a game of Wizard’s Chess. For most of the game, we were evenly matched. Soon, though, I began to overtake his pieces.
It is very surreal looking back on that moment when less than twelve hours later, the scope of the whole Wizarding world would be transformed and the Weasley Family would be short one member. If I had known that would be the last time I’d be alone with a living Fred, I would have savored every laugh, every smile, every word, and every breath. If I had known, I would have pushed the chess set away instead of beating him, and held on, and never let go.
But I didn’t know.
“When did you get so good at Chess?” Fred asked as he scratched his head. With a puzzled expression, he stared at the pieces that had checkmated his king.
“When you were off making loads of gold, Ron was teaching me,” I replied. “I almost beat him last year in a fast-paced game.”
“Lousy little git,” he said jokingly of Ron. “Of all the things we were able to beat him at, Wizarding Chess was never one of them.”
I laughed, but reminiscing about Ron brought back to my mind that he was currently residing at Shell Cottage. I frowned.
Fred sensed my sudden shift in moods. He placed his hand upon mine, his fingers brushing against my wrist. I winced just enough for him to notice. He slowly turned my hand over, inspecting the bruising and scars from the chains of detention.
I brought my hand back to my body and touched it tenderly with my free hand. “It’s still sore,” I muttered, trying not to draw attention to the pain.
Fred furrowed his eyebrows angrily at the thought of the torture I had endured. “I would’ve never forgiven Snape…”
I wanted to burst out and reveal that it wasn’t Snape’s fault, but I restrained myself. The war may have been on pause in my life, but there were still battles raging elsewhere. Snape’s true loyalties would hopefully be revealed in due time and he would be hailed a hero.
“…if you had died,” Fred said, his voice cracking in one of those rare moments that he allowed himself to be vulnerable in front of me. “I’d never be the same… I don’t know if George or me ever told you, but you’re our favorite sibling.”
“I know,” I replied, grinning coyly. “But I’m alive, Fred. I’m fine. I’m not going to die. You’re here to protect me.”
Fred nodded. “I swear, Ginevra Weasley, I won’t let you die.”
Without hesitation, I said the same back to him, but even as we each made the pledge, we understood it was an empty one. We had no control over such things, but you don’t, and you can’t, think about those things in times of war. You make promises that you can’t possibly keep, and you hope with everything inside of you that fate will be on your side.
The moments of foolish guarantees passed and Fred sighed heavily, putting the chess set away. I watched him admirably and he then said, “Lupin and Kingsley won’t be here tonight for Potterwatch.”
“Oh,” I replied disappointed. I knew that Lupin wouldn’t be around since Teddy had just been born days before. I checked the time and saw that it was a half hour until they broadcasted.
“George and I were talking and Lee agreed,” Fred said. “Since you’re familiar with the show and the setup, how would you like to be a correspondent tonight?”
I jumped from my seat in excitement. “Are you serious?” I exclaimed. “Of course!” I felt invigorated, finally having something I could do for the resistance again. It would be so amazing to be on the opposite end, sharing the news with the Wizarding world and the Army at Hogwarts.
At that moment, Lee and George rushed in, thrilled expressions on their faces.
“You’ll never believe it!” George cried.
“What?” I asked.
“I thought it was going to be a slow news day,” Lee replied, his eyes bulging.
“What?” Fred questioned.
“And just in time for the broadcast!” George shouted.
“WHAT?” Fred and I both screamed.
“We interrupt this regularly scheduled static to bring you this breaking news,” Lee said twenty-five minutes later, hardly able to contain his glee. “Rumors have been pouring in for a half-hour, and if the reports can be trusted, it looks like Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley, Hermione Granger, and an unnamed goblin have successfully escaped an attempted break-in at Gringotts.
“The small attack force infiltrated the Lestrange vault and, when security was alerted, they freed a dragon guarding that particular level…” There was a note of amusement that Lee was unable to hide. “The Trio was last seen fleeing London on the back of the dragon.
“It is unclear what the intended target of the break-in was, but we here at Potterwatch are convinced that Potter, Weasley, and Granger are, and always have been, working hard to bring an end to the Chief Death Eater’s regime.”
Lee took a breath. George patted him on the shoulder. “That’s going to be a hard act to follow, River,” he said.
“Indeed it is,” Lee replied. “As you may already have guessed, you are tuned into Potterwatch. Our regular correspondents Royal and Romulus will be unable to join us this evening, but I am pleased to welcome back Rapier and Raphael…”
“Hello!” the twins greeted in unison.
“I am also excited to welcome new contributor Red.”
“Thanks, River,” I said, as he squeezed my knee. I imagined Neville and the DA crowded around the wireless in the Room, eyes bulging at the sound of my voice.
“Fortunately,” Lee continued, “no reports of any recent deaths have reached our ears. We reported last week that Augusta Longbottom was on the run. Since then, we have received a message from her. She is still on the run, but healthy and alive.
“Many Wizarding families have been forced into hiding. The Weasley Family, the Jordan Family, the Barton Family, and the Bones Family have all been confirmed to be in safe houses but getting along fine.
“We now turn to Raphael for an update of the New Wizarding Order.”
“Thanks, River,” George replied. “The Ministry has begun to issue status cards for all witches and wizards. The cards will identify your name, address, and most significantly, how much magical blood you have. For obvious reasons, we have refused to register for the cards.
“It also appears that Royal’s words have finally come true and the war has begun to shift into other magical races. The Ministry has begun to seek out tribes of dwarves, centaurs, and goblins, among others for registration. Where once we attempted to live somewhat harmoniously with other creatures, the new Ministry are placing the proverbial shackles on their wrists and turning them into nothing more than slaves.”
“Thank you, Raphael…” Lee began.
I froze for a moment since it was my turn next. I would be talking to thousands of people throughout the Wizarding World. It was killer on my nerves.
“T-thanks, River,” I said. I caught his eye and he pointed to his chest and mouthed the words from the heart, Gin… I cleared my throat. “First of all, let me say how honored I am to be sitting here. I have listened to this broadcast for months. It has kept me hoping like you wouldn’t believe.”
“We’re glad to have you,” Lee said, grinning.
“I have listened intently for news on Harry Potter and I agreed with Romulus. If the Boy-Who-Lived had been captured and killed, nothing would crush our spirits more than that single action. I am grateful that we know exactly where Harry has been for two weeks. Whatever he and his friends are doing, I know without a doubt that it will bring the fall of the darkest wizard in the world.
“I remember you asking Romulus what he would say to Harry if he knew he was listening, and if I have that same opportunity and if Harry is listening right now, I have a message for you…”
I knew what I wanted to tell Harry if I could speak to him, but most of those utterances I didn’t want the public to hear.
“You’ve been gone for a long time, Harry, and we’ve been waiting for you patiently. We’ve persevered in your name and your memory, and we’ve supported you since the beginning. Whenever you need us, you can count on us. We miss you, and I love… W-we love you…”
I paused, wiping two tears away.
“Well spoken, Red,” River said quietly.
Hours later, I lay in my bed, thinking over the broadcast, playing absentmindedly with my DA coin. Lee had congratulated me on a job well done and I hoped the audience felt the same way. In the darkness, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace. I’d be able to sleep well that evening.
The coin turned hot. It took me a moment to understand that a message was being sent. I scrambled for my wand, but when I groped for it, I dropped it to the floor. Grunting, I leapt from my bed and scrambled on the ground, searching for it.
Three simultaneous cracks indicated that three people had entered my room.
“Ginny,” Fred called as he lit his wand, illuminating his, George’s, and Lee’s face. He peered down at me. “What are you doing on the floor?”
“The bed was uncomfortable,” I said sarcastically. “Can you summon my wand?”
“Accio Ginny’s wand,” Fred shouted, my wand flying from under the bed. He caught it and handed it to me. “Harry’s back, Ginny. Get ready. We’re headed to Hogwarts as soon as possible.”
I processed the words in my mind, gripped the coin hard in my hand, and grinned wider than I had grinned in a long time. “Well,” I replied slowly, “we’d be leaving a lot faster if you’d give a girl some privacy to change.”
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