Disclaimer: I do not claim to own any of the characters or trademarked concepts of Harry Potter. That all belongs to the wonderful JKR who has inspired so many of us to write. Any original characters and events of my own imagination belong entirely to me.
The Common Room had emptied for dinner whilst Ginny and Neville prepared themselves for their detention. They had already talked through what they could possibly expect but a slight fear was present as, after all, this was a known Death Eater they were dealing with.
Together they walked towards the Muggle Studies classroom, passing the main staircase. From where they stood, the clatter of cutlery and the noises of people enjoying a sumptuous dinner could be heard clearly. But the smell of a roast beef dinner floated up the stairs, making their stomachs ache. Sighing resignedly and ignoring the urge to join the rest of the Gryffindors revelling after a hard days study, Neville led the way. Before long, they reached their destination, but before they could even knock, Alecto Carrow was there before them, smiling maliciously.
‘Welcome. Do come in’ she said, her grin spreading as she chivvied them in. Two seats were in the middle of the room and Ginny and Neville sat in silence. A malevolent smile played over Carrow’s lips as she glanced from Neville to Ginny. She did this in silence for what seemed like forever, taunting them both as if expecting them to break the ominous silence that had fell over the darkened classroom.
Finally, Carrow seemed to accept that she could not goad them into the outspoken behaviour of earlier with silence and instead, she began to speak, in a slippery and dangerous voice.
‘Do you both know why you are here?’
‘Well I would imagine, Professor,’ started Ginny, her voice dripping with sarcasm, ‘that it would be because you told us to be here.’
‘One day Weasley, that tongue of yours will get you into even more trouble than you are in now. Until that day, I will teach you and your little friend here to have some respect for the teachers of this school.’
‘Oh we respect most teachers, professor, but unfortunately, you are a Death Eater and not a professor,’ retorted Neville, spitting the words with a distaste that couldn’t be ignored.
Ginny was shocked, never, in all the time she had known Neville, had he ever shown even the slightest ounce of disrespect for a teacher, not even Snape, yet here he was mounting a verbal assault on a Death Eater.Carrow seemed to get more purple with each word they spoke as the rage at their insolence engulfed her.
‘ENOUGH!’ she cried, ‘stand, now.’ But both Ginny and Neville remained firmly in their seats, staring insolently at Carrow.
‘I thought I told you to stand!’ And with a flick of her wand, Ginny and Neville were both standing, the chairs they had been sat on had vanished and both had the strange feeling that a puppeteer had just attached strings to them.
‘Why, thank you,’ smirked Carrow, and it was obvious that she was revelling in the power she now had, ‘and while we are at it, I think we will shut the two of you up.’ Ginny opened her mouth to protest but Carrow’s Silencing Charm had already hit her.
‘Children are meant to be seen and not heard, Miss Weasley, a lesson you would do well to learn. Now, enough time wasting, you are here to learn what happens to people who dare to cross me. You both seem to be rather fond of Muggles so you ought to enjoy this. You are going to partake in a display of Muggle duelling, purely for my amusement.’
Ginny opened her mouth to protest and ask what would happen if they refused but it appeared Carrow had already expected this. The Silencing Charm held, but as if by Legilimency, Carrow seemed to understand what Ginny was getting at. A wry smile spread over her ugly face and she permitted herself an uncharacteristic bark of a laugh before responding.
‘Miss Weasley, if I tell you to do something, you will do it. Surely you have heard of the Imperius Curse?’
And then it all started. Comprehension dawned on Neville’s face as he realised what was happening. Carrow was going to let them use each other as punch bags as a form of entertainment. Barely had he resolved to fight the curse with all his might, than he was forced to watch, horrified, as he saw his left fist speeding towards Ginny’s jaw. He tried in vain to stop it but it landed with a sickening ‘thud’ and Ginny stumbled backwards. Moments later, Neville felt a sharp slap across his face and, whilst his cheek smarted, he saw tears of pain and fury glistening in Ginny’s eyes. No sooner had he seen them, than they were gone, Ginny was determined not to give Carrow the satisfaction she so obviously craved.
Neville felt the pull of his puppeteer strings once more and despite his greatest efforts, and as though watching in slow motion, he saw his fists flying through the air and felt the pain as they found their target in Ginny. She retaliated to every shot, concentration puncturing the composed mask she was trying to keep on her face. After what felt like hours, but was merely a few minutes, Neville could no longer stand it and the next time he felt Carrow trying to force him to hit Ginny, he gathered all his might and his fist stopped just inches from Ginnys face.
Carrow realised that they were fighting her control and allowed them to slump to the floor, panting for breath. Ginny and Neville were both unable to comprehend what had just happened, what they had just done to each other, but Carrow watched them still with an evil grin plastered all over her face. With a casual flick of her wand, the Imperius Curse and Silencing Charm was lifted.
‘Perhaps now you will think twice before you act disrespectfully towards me. You are dismissed.’
Neville and Ginny walked in silence out of the classroom, Ginny limping slightly, both determined not to let even the smallest whimper of pain escape their lips. As one they returned to the Gryffindor Common Room, not even noticing the noise still coming from the Great Hall. Neville helped Ginny through the portrait hole and they both walked silently to the comfiest chairs near the fire. Most of the House were still at dinner so they assessed their injuries whilst discussing the many ways they would try and get revenge on Alecto Carrow.Neither had broken any bones but their faces were mottled black and blue already.
‘That absolute cow! Of all the cowardly things to make us do’ started Ginny but Neville interrupted.
‘Gin, I’m so, so sorry. I would never hurt you. I tried to stop but I just couldn’t. I feel awful,’ he said brokenly, and Ginny could see the tears welling in his eyes.
‘Neville, it isn’t your fault, I’m not angry with you. If we hadn’t done it then she would have ended up hurting us herself anyway. It just means that we will have to be more careful now that we know just what lengths they will go to silence us. And I’m sorry too Neville, you know I would never willingly hurt you like that,’ replied Ginny, her voice shaking with anger.
‘Of course I do, but I still feel rotten for hitting you like that. If Gran knew I’d been hitting girls…’ but he trailed off as he saw the look on Ginny’s face. It was one of mixed emotions; excitement, fury, pain and compassion all mixed into one.
‘Gin, you ok?’ asked Neville tentatively.
‘Oh I’m better than ok Neville, I have just had the most fantastic idea. Forget the old plan, this is better by far. Oh didn’t I tell you that she would regret picking on me,’
Neville sat there expectantly, waiting for Ginny to tell him her plan. Eventually she did and by the time she had finished talking, Neville’s face was alight with a sort of fire of determination and excitement. All they had to do was brief the DA and Luna and set a date. Then they would show Snape and the Carrow’s just what they actually thought of the new regime at Hogwarts.
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