Chapter 10 : The Final Battle
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It was a surprisingly cold and starless night for the month of May. The Hogwarts grounds should have been silent and peaceful but they were the opposite. The castle and its grounds were locked in a raging war. Sparks and flashes of light shattered the darkness and cries and screams of pain could be heard echoing in the distance.
Lupin’s eyes shifted around him leaving the face of his opponent, something that was not advisable in a battle to the death. He was surrounded by children, kids he knew, he had taught them all. They were children, they shouldn’t be here, they shouldn’t be caught up in this war. Then again that’s always the way, children getting caught up in the conflicts of adults. Lupin thought of his own son, at least Teddy and Tonks were ok. At least they were safe far away from all this.
They were dropping like flies. He couldn’t bare it. There was nothing he could do to protect them. They were just children. Yes, they were of age, but they were still children, seventeen years was not enough to even begin to scratch the surface of life. It pained him to think about it but some of them would not make it out of here alive and there would be so much they didn’t experience. Their lives cut short by an evil that shouldn’t be allowed to exist.
He was woken from his subconscious thoughts by a killing curse flying right by his left ear. Dolohov was raging. Lupin sent a flash of red light back at him that knocked him off his feet. He would have to face it, the time for stunning and disarming was over and the time to kill was at hand. The Death Eaters would kill him if given the chance so why shouldn’t he return the favour? Still he could not bring himself to end some ones life. But then he remembered what these Death Eaters had done and death was the least they deserved.
To his right Lupin spotted Colin Creevey. He should not be here as he was underage. But he just like Ginny wanted to fight, to give Harry time to do whatever he had to. Lupin liked Colin. He was a sweet, funny, courageous kid. Lupin had always admired him. He had proved that size doesn’t matter. Colin was definitely one of the smallest kids in the school but you couldn’t meet a more determined one if you tried and despite his height he battled on even if the odds were against him. Lupin remembered this from when Colin was facing the Boggart in Defence Against the Dark Arts class all those years ago and it looked like nothing had changed since.
Colin was duelling Yaxley, the poor kid, he didn’t stand a chance but despite this Colin fought on and you had to admire that.
Yaxley drew back his wand. Lupin knew what was coming next and he had to stop it.
He gave one sudden quick flick of his wand and Yaxley went flying backwards, slammed into a tree and toppled to the ground out cold.
“Colin! You have to get out of here!” Lupin shouted as yet another curse flew past the side of his head.
“I can’t, Professor,” Colin called back, “I want to fight!”
Bits of rubble flew through the air as one of the castle’s outer walls came crumbling down. The Giants were rampaging.
“Colin! Please!” Lupin shouted unable to hide the plea in his voice. He couldn’t help it. Every time he looked at Colin he saw Teddy and he didn’t want anything to happen to either of them.
But the argument ended there as Dolohov was on his feet once more and was relentless about continuing the fight with Lupin. There were flashes of light that would blind anyone who looked at them. Their wands were moving so fast that they looked like brown blurs. This truly was two powerful wizards duelling at their best, for both knew the price of a false move.
Bangs could be heard in the distance, faint thuds and slowly the castle walls crumbled and trees became up rooted. Giants could be heard roaring in the distance and the clicking of pincers of the monstrous acromantulas echoed in the darkness.
Flashes from various spells and curses cast shadows on the poor souls that had fallen. Lupin couldn’t bear to look. Most of them were children, innocent children.
In the distance cries could be heard, cries that would send shivers down your spine, cries of sadness, cries of terror and cries of pain all symbolizing the turmoil war brings.
Then there were other sounds and these sounds were worse in a way. It was the high-pitched cold laughter of Death Eaters as they watched Hogwarts students, members of the DA and the Order of the Phoenix fall to the ground, never to get up. Lupin couldn’t bear it, it was just…he couldn’t even finish that sentence for no words would suffice, no words could ever fully describe the true horrors of what was going on here.
A flash of blue light hit Lupin in the face and he fell back against the ground. Blood splattered everywhere.
“Professor! Professor Lupin! Are you alright?” shouted a weak voice. It was Colin.
Lupin scrabbled to his feet and faltered a little. His head was throbbing. Then he sent a killing curse directly at Avery who was about to attack Oliver Wood from behind.
“I’m fine, Colin,” Lupin said kindly, looking around for the boy.
He found him.
Lupin’s heart stopped and a chill ran down his back. Colin was falling backwards. Time seemed to slow down. An eerie silence descended on the grounds. Lupin could no longer hear anything. It seemed to take Colin an age to fall. Lupin saw the whites leave his eyes. Colin hit the ground with a soft thud. His eyes were empty now, black, like the starless sky above. At least now he would no longer feel any pain.
“No…” Lupin gasped.
Who could do this? What type of heartless person could do this to a child? He thought of Colin’s family and his little brother Dennis. They had just lost their son. Lupin couldn’t bear to even think about losing his son. Teddy and Tonks meant more to him than anything else on this earth. Families were torn apart, knowing only pain. Things like this shouldn’t happen. But they were happening and that’s why they were fighting so things like this would never happen again.
Lupin looked down at Colin. He was tiny in death. He once again thought of his own son, but Teddy was safe, but for how long? How long would it be before this fight reached him and Tonks? He couldn’t bear to watch his family fall just like Colin had. He would rather die himself than witness that. It was too horrible even to put into words.
Lupin now thought of Harry, who at seventeen had been through so much suffering and he had even more ahead of him. The duel with Voldemort was something even the most experienced wizards wouldn’t take on lightly. Lupin knew Harry would do it, Harry would end it, Harry would defeat Voldemort and purge the world of his evil spell and people like Colin and countless others would not have died in vein and Teddy could grow up in a much happier world.
Lupin was dragged from his thoughts remembering that this was not the time or place for such things. There was a war going on and Harry was counting on him, Harry needed time.
He turned slowly, the lust for revenge raging through him now. He saw Dolohov with an evil triumphant smirk across his face. Lupin looked down and saw a flash of green light hit him in the chest. It was amazing how long an instant was when it was your last. A soft breeze blew through his hair, the smell of the grass wafted towards him. His heart pounded in his chest, beating for the last time and he felt the warmth of Tonks’s hand in his. Then three words entered his mind:
And everything was gone.
“Have you seen Remus?” said Tonks calling after Aberforth.
“He was duelling Dolohov,” shouted Aberforth, “haven’t seen him since!”
“Tonks,” said Ginny gently, “Tonks, I’m sure he’s OK-”
But Tonks had run off into the dust after Aberforth.
She had to find Remus. They would fight together watching each other’s backs. They would both return at the end of it all back to Teddy together. A family.
Tonks couldn’t just take a back seat while everyone else was fighting. It was not in her nature. She was an Auror, a fighter at heart. She didn’t want to be left behind, not knowing what was happening. Not knowing if she would see Remus again.
They had had an argument prior to his departure about Tonks staying behind. He beseeched her to stay and watch over Teddy no matter what happened. He said that it would be far easier to fight knowing that they both were safe and out of harms way. Tonks didn’t want to stay. She wanted to go with him but he had pleaded with her and she begrudgingly remained behind.
She was agitated and restless. Teddy was sleeping soundly oblivious to the horrible things happening in the world. Tonks couldn’t stay still. She kept shifting. She had no idea if Remus was still alive and she couldn’t stand not knowing.
She had kissed him goodbye. Then she looked into his prematurely lined face, his brown eyes and it was like a knife had stabbed her heart. This could very well be the last time she ever laid eyes on him. He then bent over Teddy, kissed his little forehead and ran his fingers through his silky hair. Soaking up every inch of his son, his most valuable treasure. Though Remus didn’t say it Tonks knew that he thought that this would be the last time he would ever see him.
Tonks’s eyes burned but she would not let the tears come. She didn’t want Remus’s last image of her to be one of her falling to pieces. She walked him to the garden gate. He turned back to look at her but he was lost for words. She wrapped her arms around him, never wanting the hug to end, never wanting to let go of her Remus. Reluctantly they broke apart.
Remus opened the gate and walked out onto the street. He turned back once more, took one last look at his wife and then disapparated.
“Nymphadora?” said her mother quietly.
Tonks nodded in response, her voice seemed to have left with Remus. She didn’t even correct her mother for calling her Nymphadora instead or Tonks or Dora. She allowed people to call her Dora now since Remus had gotten into the habit of it.
“Nymphadora, if you want to go. I’ll look after Teddy,” she said
Tonks looked into her mother’s eyes. “But Remus told me to stay here.”
Andromeda smiled, “Since when do you do what your told?”
Tonks’s smiled back and grabbed her wand from the kitchen table and pocketed it. She then looked down at her son. She stroked his hair and he slept on. She bent down and kissed him. Then turned and hugged her mother.
“No matter what happens Nymphadora, I promise I will look after him.”
“Thanks,” said Tonks for it was all she could say. Her throat seemed to have swollen. Then she turned on the spot and disapparated.
Tonks ran through the dust after Aberforth with one thing and one thing only on her mind finding Remus. She whipped out her wand and sent curses and spells at the Death Eaters as she past.
The very castle itself seemed to be shaking. She watched as suits of armour and gargoyles sprang to life attacking unsuspecting Death Eaters. It had been seven years since she had left the school and yet she remembered every inch of the place as if she had just headed out of the Hufflepuff common room up to Transfiguration.
There were more people here than she expected, members of the Order, Hogwarts staff and students fighting side by side. She ran down the corridors catching glimpses of the battle going on. She turned a corner and ran head first into Charlie Weasley.
She tripped and fell. He helped her up.
“Tonks!” he gasped breathless.
Just then the ceiling caved in and Charlie grabbed her wrist pulling her out of harms way.
“Tonks!” he said again, “what are you doing here? Shouldn’t you be with Teddy?”
“Where is Remus?” she demanded to her nothing else mattered.
“I think he is in the grounds -” Charlie began but before he could finish Tonks had disappeared down the corridor.
She darted onto the grand staircase and sprinted down the stairs jumping the last few steps. Surprisingly enough she did not trip once but she didn’t even notice. She had to get to the grounds, she had to get to Remus.
She burst into the entrance hall and weaved her way in and out of the duellers and dodged Peeves who was dropping Snargaluff Pods down on the Death Eaters. Out of the corner of her eye she spotted Dolohov duelling some one who was not her husband so she didn’t stop but continued sprinting out into the grounds.
It was a cold, dark and starless night. Flashes of light could be seen flying in all directions. Walls crumbled and giants roared. She saw duellists fall to their knees and crumple. She heard cries of pain followed by the laughter of Death Eaters
“Remus!” Tonks called.
Why did the Hogwarts ground have to be so big? There was no way he could hear her over the noise of the battle.
She headed into the thick of the fighting for that was surely where Remus would be. Then she spotted a masked Death Eater about to curse a young man who was on the ground scrabbling to get up. Cowardly Death Eaters, always attacking when their opponent’s back was turned or when they were on the ground.
Tonks sent a flash of red light directly at the masked figure and it fell to the ground. Tonks then heaved the man to his feet. He was breathless and scared but still determined to fight on.
“That was lucky! If it hadn’t been for you and Professor Lupin I would already be dead,” Wood panted, clutching his wrist, there seemed to be a lot of blood oozing from it.
“You have seen Remus?” said Tonks urgently.
“Remus - Professor Lupin - yes…he saved me from one of them…a little while ago…” he replied his voice shaking a little. Wood trembled as he knew that saving his life had cost Lupin his.
“Where is he?” said Tonks not even trying to hide the desperation in her voice.
“He’s…” Wood began but he could not finish, his voice had caught in his throat. Instead he pointed to a body lying on the grass a few meters away.
Tonks said nothing.
Fear gripped her now, her heart raced as she went in the direction Wood had pointed. There was no way that was her Remus. Remus was so strong, so brave, so courageous. There was no way a Death Eater could kill him, unless Remus had put others safety above his own and with the grounds full of Hogwarts students whom he had taught Tonks knew what had happened.
“Lumos,” she muttered her voice trembling as her wand tip lit up casting a shadow on the man lying on the ground.
Her heart stopped. There was no way that this was true, it simply couldn’t be. Her eyes were deceiving her. She knelt down beside the man. She brushed his hair out of the way and she looked down at the familiar face of the man she loved. The enormous and incomprehensible truth swept over her. Remus, her Remus had fallen, never to get up. He had gone down a path that she could not follow. He had left Hogwarts, left the world, left Teddy and left her.
The tears came and she did nothing to stop them. Her heart was breaking, she wanted to rip it out along with everything else that was screaming inside her. It was not worth feeling the small insignificant pleasures of life if she would always have to endure this horrible pain of losing him. There was nothing she could do, Remus was gone, never to return. She would never see his smiling face or hear the sound of his voice or feel the warmth of his hand in hers.
Her hand shaking she reached out and gripped his, it still had warmth in it. If only she had gotten here quicker, she could have stopped it, she could have saved him.
She threw herself across his chest. She remembered the last time she had held him, never wanting to let go and now she knew she couldn’t. She wanted to stay here with him, she couldn’t leave him, not here between the bodies of Death Eaters.
Tears trickled down her face, those silent, painful, grieving tears.
“Remus…Remus…come back…” she sobbed.
There was a cackle of laughter from behind her.
“Aw! Does little Nymphadora miss the werewolf?”
Tonks’s breathing quickened. Bellatrix Lestrange was standing inches from her enjoying every second of her pain.
“But you loved him, didn’t you? You loved the beast, the werewolf!” she taunted.
Tonks drew her wand. Nothing mattered anymore, nothing except killing Death Eaters but Bellatrix was quicker.
Tonks screamed in pain, it was as if every bone in her body was on fire. But this pain was nothing, not even a hundredth of the pain in her heart, the pain of losing Remus. There were worse things, far worse things than the pain of the Cruciatus Curse.
“Don’t worry dearie, Auntie Bellatrix will look after you, she will reunite you with the werewolf very soon!”
“His name is Remus Lupin! And he was a great man! A great wizard!” Tonks yelled. So many emotions were flooding her and she didn’t know which ones to follow.
Bellatrix looked a little taken back by this retort.
“Crucio!” she shouted furiously.
The same blunt pain spread through Tonks’s body, but it was nothing, it was bearable where as losing Remus was not.
“A great man? A great wizard?” mocked Bellatrix, “he was weak! That’s why he died! Waste of wizarding blood werewolves, they are fit to do the Dark Lord’s bidding and once he has control, they will be wiped out along with all the Mudbloods and blood traitors!”
“Voldemort will never get control!” shouted Tonks fiercely, sending a curse directly at Bellatrix. It didn’t matter about using his name, Remus always used it, Remus never feared it and neither did she. She no longer feared anything.
“Harry will stop him! Harry will defeat him!”
Bellatrix let out a laugh.
“Little Harry Potter is nothing compared to the Dark Lord! Did you actually think a child, a mere boy could defeat the greatest wizard the world has ever seen? He too will be joining the werewolf before the nights over!”
“His name is Remus!” bellowed Tonks as she sent a Cruciatus Curse at Bellatrix and she shrieked in pain. Tonks smiled at the sight, she did not know where this rage was coming from. She had never used an Unforgivable Curse like this before, she actually wanted to inflict pain.
Bellatrix looked up at her, she had a flicker of fear in her eyes, clearly she had underestimated her niece.
Suddenly Voldemort’s voice reverberated through the darkness. The two could hear him as clearly as if he stood beside them, his breath on the back of their necks, a death blow away.
Bellatrix squealed with excitement at hearing her master’s voice, Tonks still had her wand pointed at her.
“You have fought valiantly. Lord Voldemort knows how to value bravery. Yet you have sustained heavy losses. If you continue to resist me, you will all die, one by one. I do not wish for this to happen. Every drop of magical blood spilled is a loss and a waste. Lord Voldemort is merciful. I command my forces to retreat immediately!”
From all around her, Tonks saw Death Eaters retreating into the shadows of the forest and out of sight, Bellatrix however didn’t move.
“You have one hour. Dispose of your dead with dignity. Treat your injured. I speak now, Harry Potter, directly to you. You have permitted your friends to die for you rather than face me yourself. I shall wait for one hour in the Forbidden Forest. If, at the end of that hour, you have not come to me, have not given yourself up, then battle recommences. This time, I shall enter the fray myself, Harry Potter and I shall find you, and I shall punish every last man, woman and child who has tried to conceal you from me, one hour.”
There was a moment’s eerie silence after this statement. However Bellatrix did not like being recalled from battle when she was so close to destroying the blood traitor of the Black family.
She would end it quickly.
Tonks screamed once more, it was harder to fight the pain this time, her body was drained, worn out.
Bellatrix brought Tonks level with her face and whispered, “You see Potter is as good as dead. Your hero will fall and even before that you shall be reunited with the werewolf, the beast you love so much. You shall be together in death for that is all you deserve after desecrating the noble and most ancient house of Black,” Her face etched closer to Tonks and the malice in her voice was intensifying, “And don’t worry about your little were-cub, he will be joining you soon. I will make sure of it!”
There was a triumphant smirk on Bellatrix’s face and a flash of green light,
And Tonks’s body crumpled, falling slowing and landing on the grass beside Lupin.
Well as we say in Ireland, Sin é! I hope you enjoyed my story! Thanks to everyone who read it and a special thanks to everyone who left a review!
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